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Tea Party Poopers

15 Sep

In the final round of primaries last night, the Tea Party movement enjoyed stunning wins over the GOP establishment in contests for House and Senate seats from Delaware, the governor’s mansion in New York, and possibly a Senate seat from New Hampshire, capping off a tumultuous summer of intra-party clashes. Ultra-conservative insurgent Christine O’Donnell won a surprise victory in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, defeating Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), a well-respected moderate with the firm backing of the Republican establishment. Yesterday’s primaries were the latest battles in the year-long GOP civil war, but it was also perhaps the most heated, with both sides taking nasty swings at each other. Most observers agree that O’Donnell has no chance of beating Democratic nominee Chris Coons in November, so for Republicans, an O’Donnell win means failing to gain a Senate seat, and thus likely losing any chance of taking control of the upper house. O’Donnell was not seen as viable in the primary until the last weeks of the campaign, and so the GOP establishment — along with some more mainstream Tea Party groups wary of O’Donnell’s delusions — lined up squarely behind Castle, who had served nearly 20 years in the House and two terms as governor. However, after polling showed O’Donnell posed a real threat to Castle, the state GOP opened fire on her with everything they could muster, questioning her competence, honesty, and even sanity. For their part, O’Donnell supporters used the attacks to bolster her anti-establishment credibility, and fired back with their own ugly attacks on Castle’s sexuality and masculinity, while some even physically threatened the head of the Delaware Republican Party.

RAGE FROM THE MACHINE: The Delaware GOP — which refused to list O’Donnell on their website of candidates — pulled no punches, calling O’Donnell “reckless,” “hypocritical,” and “dishonest.” State GOP Chairman Tom Ross blasted O’Donnell as a “troubled perennial candidate” who is “not electable in Delaware or anywhere else for that matter,” even for the position of “dog catcher.” He also accused her campaign of running on “half-truths and outright lies.” Later, Ross implied O’Donnell was “delusional,” and on Monday, Ross called her “kooky,” and said most voters are “laughing” about her candidacy. That’s a “good thing,” Ross added. The state party even recorded a “robocall” with O’Donnell’s disillusioned former campaign manager accusing the candidate of “living on campaign donations — using them for rent and personal expenses, while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt.” National Republicans have been equally skeptical of O’Donnell, though perhaps more discrete. Republican officials in Washington “have said privately they intend to write off the seat if O’Donnell is victorious against Castle,” and not waste any money or resources there for the general election. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the man tasked with electing Republicans to the Senate, told CNN before the election that O’Donnell’s electability was a “serious issue,” and that he wasn’t sure if he would support her if she won. Meanwhile, establishment conservative pundits also generally sided with the GOP, with the Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway writing, “William F. Buckley, the godfather of the modern conservative movement…would not vote for Christine O’Donnell.” The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes both came out against O’Donnell, with Kristol dismissing her as “no Sarah Palin.” Former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove — who generally provides sunny electoral outlooks for Republicans — told Fox News host Sean Hannity last night after the winner was called, “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win” in November. Even FreedomWorks, the mega Tea Party organizer run by former House Speaker Dick Armey, refused to back O’Donnell. Ironically, O’Donnell condemned “Republican cannibalism” this morning on Good Morning America, saying she doesn’t need the GOP establishment to win in November.

CIVIL WAR: The intra-party battle over O’Donnell reflects a much larger civil war within the conservative movement about the future of the Republican party. The GOP establishment had tried to fend of Senate Tea Party challenges from Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Mike Lee in Utah, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Ken Buck in Colorado, Joe Miller in Alaska, and Marco Rubio in Florida, among others. While RNC Chairman Michael Steele earlier this year promised that the “Republican Party will not to meddle in local races — especially GOP primaries featuring candidates backed by Tea Party activists,” political action committees controlled by current GOP members of Congress had spent at least $2,162,790 through June on establishment-picked candidates in primaries against Tea Party candidates. For its part, the group Tea Party Express spent $300,000 in support of O’Donnell, reflecting an explosive proliferation of outside conservative groups that have spent huge sums of money backing Tea Party candidates across the country. Meanwhile, The Progress Report identified 17 GOP primary contests that pitted establishment and Tea Party candidates in which the losing candidate has refused to endorse the winner. Indeed, Castle said he would not endorse O’Donnell and showed a “lack of traditional campaign courtesy by choosing not to congratulate O’Donnell by name” during his concession speech last night, prompting at least one pundit to speculate that Castle may chose to back Democrat Coons over the GOP nominee. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who lost her primary after Tea Party Express came in and spent heavily against her, called Castle to warn him to “be careful” about the group, because they are “certainly not above misrepresentation.” Last night, she had even harsher words, calling the Tea Party Express “an outside extremist group” that “hijacked” the Alaska GOP. On the other hand, Castle seemed more in awe of the group’s prowess, telling the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, “The Tea Party Express, which claims it’s not a political party, is in reality a pretty good political operation. This is a more sophisticated political operation than they’ve been given credit for.”

TEA PARTY SENATE: O’Donnell’s win, and that of other like-minded insurgent candidates, mean the Senate could have a sizable contingent of far-right tea partiers when the new session begins in January. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has already started a Tea Party Caucus in the House, and has hinted at a bid to overthrow the GOP leadership with true “Constitutional conservatives.” Meanwhile, Joe Miller, who defeated Murkowski in the Alaska Senate primary, was more blunt, warning Senate GOP leaders to “catch the wave” of the new right-wing uprising. “The leadership has to embrace that message or else there will be real problems,” Miller said in an apparent threat. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin seemed to endorse this takeover, saying, “mark my words…Joe someday will help lead the United States Senate.” Ultra-conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been leading the effort to remake the Senate in his image, using his Senate Conservatives Fund to circumvent the Party leadership and spend hundreds-of-thousands of dollars on behalf of right-wing anti-establishment candidates from Alaska to New Hampshire. Politico’s Mike Allen dubbed DeMint “Enemy No. 1 in his caucus” for his activities, and a senior GOP aide told Politico, “in Jim DeMint’s world, the ‘principles of freedom’ are more important than a candidate who pays their taxes, is honest with voters and who isn’t a complete fraud,” referring to allegations about O’Donnell.

Text from ThinkProgress

Photos from Paul Boylan

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Beck’s Trip To Washington

27 Aug

Flatulent prat Glenn Beck has organized a rally in Washington. He is duly eviscerated by John Stewart …

FOX “News”: Evil or Stupid?

25 Aug

Stewart: FOX Failed To Mention Co-Owner Is One They Accuse Of ‘Terror Funding’
Jon Stewart continued his coverage of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ debate last night, focusing on Fox News’ incongruities harder than he ever has. In a segment called “The Parent Company Trap,” Stewart shared with his viewers how Fox News’ plan to “follow the money” from mosque builder Imam Rauf to terrorists will be a tricky one because it leads right back to Fox News.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Stewart showed clips from his show last week, in which he mocked Fox News for playing a dangerous game of association based on speculation, and wherein Fox continued to mention a nameless man with ties to Imam Rauf through the “Kingdom Foundation.” It turns out the man they are referring to but never name is Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the biggest shareholders of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Stewart: FOX Failed To Mention Co-Owner Is One They Accuse Of ‘Terror Funding’ (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
Jon Stewart Follows The Money; Claims That Watching Fox News Funds ‘Terror Mosque’ (mediaite.com)
Jon Stewart Says “stop watching Fox” If We Want To Cut Off Funding To “Terror Mosque” (lezgetreal.com)
“Stewart: Fox Smears Owner Alwaleed bin Talal!” and related posts (juancole.com)
Jon Stewart Takes Fox News to Task for Hiding Shareholder’s Funding of Controversial Mosque (theroot.com)
Fox News’ Ties to Terrorism (outsidethebeltway.com)
Fox News Overlooked the Minor Detail That the Mosque Was Funded by Their Second Largest Share Holder (iflizwerequeen.com)
News Corp Top Shareholder Is Ground Zero Mosque Funder (newsone.com)
‘Let’s do as Fox News commands, and follow the money’ (washingtonmonthly.com)
Daily Show on ‘terror funder’ & Fox co-owner Prince al-Waleed bin Talal (americablog.com)

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Sarah Palin’s Homer Moment. d’Oh!

10 Aug

Welcome to “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.” This unintended outtake from the half-term governor’s new reality show is evidence that not all her neighbor’s are enamored. A teacher in Homer, Alaska greeted Palin and her entourage with a huge “Worst Governor Ever” banner. Palin – flanked by pie-loving private security and husband Todd – engaged the critic in a conversation:

“You swore on your precious bible that you would uphold the interests of this state. And then when cash was waved in front of your face you quit.”

“Oh, you wanted me to be your Governor. I’m honored.”

Palin at first attempted to win another convert with her folksy charm, but then let her snark slip through the harm. She shared a snide exchange with her daughter Bristol (unwed, teenage mom turned abstinence spokesperson –when the woman revealed she was a teacher.

Here’s Sarah Palin making an ass of herself on YouTube.

She also sure believes in taking the law into her own hands … On the public dock, private security patted down private citizens. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure from their government. Private security searching private citizens in a public place, doesn’t fall under that category. It’s a bit more hinky.

Whether it was TLC or the Palins who contracted security, under what authority did they operate in a public location? Were they looking for weapons? Well, now there’s a Second Amendment issue.
Related articles

Sarah Palin Also Hates Teachers [Rogue Rules] (jezebel.com)
‘Celebrity’ Sarah Palin Confronted by Citizen in Homer While Filming Her New Reality Show (videocafe.crooksandliars.com)
Shannyn Moore: Sarah Palin’s Homer Moment – D’Oh! (huffingtonpost.com)
“Did Sarah Palin Roll Her Eyes at Teaching?” and related posts (nymag.com)
Video shows Sarah Palin engaging protester in Alaska (ctv.ca)
Watch: Sarah Palin Mocks Teacher Who Confronts Her with ‘Worst Governor Ever’ Banner (towleroad.com)
Sarah Palin Teacher Drag Queen Brouhaha (outsidethebeltway.com)
Palin’s run-in with a former constituent (dailykos.com)
Sarah Palin Rolls Eyes at Teacher During Altercation (Watch) (manolith.com)
Sarah Palin To Angry Protester: I’m Honored You Think I’m A Celebrity! (VIDEO) (mediaite.com)

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Right Wing Freaks Hate Soccer

15 Jun

On Friday, the world’s biggest sporting event, the World Cup, kicked off in South Africa. The United States, long unfamiliar with the sport, has over the last two decades increasingly taken to the game and is now widely considered a rising power. Yet as soccer has grabbed the spotlight, it has also attracted the scorn of nativists on the right, who see the growing attention being paid to it as a byproduct of some conspiratorial leftist plot or the result of insidious foreign influences. Fox News host Glenn Beck ranted, “I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much.” Whether one is a fan of the world’s game or not, the notion that soccer’s growth is part of some plot is reflective of a conspiratorial nativism all too prevalent among the right wing. Soccer is a growing sport in the United States, across all demographic groups, and as a result, the U.S. national team, as seen by its draw in its first World Cup game against England on Saturday, has rapidly improved and is now capable of competing with the world’s best. This has led to unprecedented excitement in the United States and an extraordinary level of exposure for the game. Instead of something threatening, this is a demonstration of the ever evolving nature of American society and our global interconnectedness.

CONSERVATIVE CONSPIRACY: The growth of soccer in the U.S. and the notable expansion of attention and enthusiasm surrounding this World Cup has given rise to numerous conservative conspiracy theories. Matthew Philbin on the conservative site NewsBusters asserted, “The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with ‘American exceptionalism’ — the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America’s rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.” Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor asserted that “the left is pushing it in schools across the country.” Guest host Mark Belling on the Rush Limbaugh Show added, “They’re force-feeding this down our throats.” Beck blustered, “It doesn’t matter how you try to sell it to us, it doesn’t matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn’t matter how many bars open early, it doesn’t matter how many beer commercials they run, we don’t want the World Cup, we don’t like the World Cup, we don’t like soccer, we want nothing to do with it. … They continually try to jam it down our throat.” By this logic, one of the major leftist socialists who is pushing soccer is Beck’s employer, Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus show more soccer than any other networks. Furthermore, ESPN, which is broadcasting the World Cup, is devoting previously unseen amount of resources to their coverage for an American network. These networks, and big corporations like Budweiser and Coca-Cola, are not investing in soccer because of some leftist motivations, but because doing so is increasingly lucrative.

MORE CONSERVATIVE CANARDS: Another right-wing claim is that soccer can  be liked by socialists only. Neoconservative Gary Schmitt wrote, “My suspicion is that the so-called ‘beautiful game’ is not so beautiful to American sensibilities…in sports, that means excellence should prevail. Of course, the fact that is often not the case when it comes to soccer may be precisely the reason the sport is so popular in the countries of Latin America and Europe.” The notion that excellence doesn’t prevail in soccer is absurd, as demonstrated by Brazil’s continued dominance and the fact that only seven countries have won the World Cup. Gainor said, “the problem here is, soccer is designed as a poor man or poor woman’s sport,” adding the sport “is being sold” as necessary due to the “browning of America.” Claims that soccer is a “foreign” ignores the fact that the game has become a major part of the American cultural landscape. Soccer has now for decades been a mainstay of the suburban middle class. It was so thoroughly embraced that conservative political consultant Alex Castellanos coined the term “soccer moms” to describe the swing voting group of middle class suburban white mothers who spent countless hours in minivans driving their children to and from soccer practice. As conservative Stephen H. Webb lamented, “Conservative suburban families, the backbone of America, have turned to soccer in droves.” Conservatives seem immensely uncomfortable with the growing diversity of soccer in the U.S., represented by the fact that so many women and Latin American immigrants have brought that tradition here from their home countries and have helped expand the growth of the sport in the U.S. The American men’s national team currently playing in South Africa closely resembles the ethnic melting pot of the country it represents. Perhaps, that is why so many on the right have a hard time rooting for them.

THE UNITED STATES IS EMBRACING SOCCER: In the U.S. today, more kids under 12 play soccer than baseball, basketball, and football combined. According to FIFA, the United States has 18 million registered soccer players, more than any other country in the world. American youth have been playing soccer in the millions since the 1980s, and as this initial soccer-playing generation enters their 20s and 30s, there is a growing market in the U.S. that is interested in soccer. Furthermore, the increasing interconnectedness brought about by globalization has removed barriers to follow the sport, with access to soccer expanding with the growth of cable and satellite channels and the internet. As a result, each successive World Cup has attracted more attention in the States. The U.S.-England match drew 17 million viewers — more than the current NBA finals. The U.S. professional league, Major League Soccer, has recently expanded into new cities despite the recession and has seen league-wide attendance grow to more than 16,000 on average — quite strong for a league only 14 years old. Soccer is also immensely popular amongst women, and the U.S. women’s national team is one of the top teams in the world. The U.S. men’s team has also made immense strides in the last two decades after not even qualifying for the World Cup between 1950 and 1990. In 2002, the U.S. reached the quarterfinals. Last year, they beat the world’s top ranked team, Spain, and narrowly lost to Brazil in the finals of the Confederations Cup. The U.S. also finished first in its World Cup qualifying group for the second time, coming in above Mexico.

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British Election: Nick Clegg, David Cameron

25 Apr
Nick Clegg and the yellow revolution. Who’d a thunk it?
Last week, during the leader’s debates, we heard a lot about the various people Mr Cameron had met. There was much amused twittering about his anecdotage. (Not that he was entirely on his own with this rhetorical strategy.) You can imagine that his advisers might have mentioned it after the event. That seemed a little forced Dave. Or maybe they didn’t. And maybe after the heat of battle has faded it didn’t seem so bad again. Maybe worth trying it again next time. And then the David Cameron Anecdote Generator arrived. Very clearly and virally pointing out what he was doing. I think it’s possible, that even though most people in the country haven’t seen this, it’ll have a nagging influence on strategies for the debate. How can you persist in a technique which has been so thoroughly skewered? We shall see.


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George Bush: How’d He Do?

22 Dec

(Well, I think we all know the answer to this question). George Bush is busy on his Bucket List tour trying to shore up his legacy. Its not going so well for him, and not just because of flying shoes… Here is David Letterman’s take…