Someone needs to explain the first rule of holes to Rand Paul...namely, that when you find yourself in one, stop. digging.
Yet there he was, back in the teevee machine this morning, attempting - rather unseccessfully, I might add - to mitigate the disaster that was his interview with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night by lambasting the "loony left" for seizing on his libertarian lunacy as a legitimate campaign point. In the process, he called the President of the United States "unAmerican" for criticizing Britain's largest corporation for causing the spill and lying about the extent of the damage.
In talking about private businesses, however, Mr. Paul set off yet another round of Twitter and e-mail chatter from left, right and everywhere, by lambasting President Obama and his top aides for insisting that BP be held accountable for the oil spill threatening the coastlines of several states.
"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' " Mr. Paul said, echoing a remark made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar early on. "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. I've heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen."
And on another topic much closer to home in Kentucky, where mining is still a timeworn trade, Mr. Paul seemed to thread the blame-game theme over into the Massey mining accident in West Virginia. "We had a mining accident that was very tragic," he said. "Then we come in, and it's always someone's fault. Maybe sometimes accidents happen." (Congressional hearings are being held on mine safety this week.)
Two accidents, forty dead, entire ecosystems being destroyed chasing carbon-based energy, and he sums it up in a two word bumper sticker from the eighties...Shit Happens.
When the Courier Journal opted not to endorse any republican in the primary, they said that the republican primary presented a "dismal choice."
The more we get to know Rand Paul, the more that is looking like an understatement of vast proportions.
Now it is all over Twitter that he is trying to weasel out of his scheduled appearance on Meet the Press this weekend.
If he fails to keep that date, he's toast.
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Just tweeted by David Gregory ...Rand Paul is trying to cancel his appearance on MTP Sun. We are attempting to get him to reconsider.Hard to figure when the first to appearances have gone so well. [...]
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The Rand Paul CRA debate brings up a topic that usually only comes up in the context of judicial nominations, but it also shines a bit of light on what is actually pretty mainstream Republican thinking.
DavidNYC wrote about it back in 2004.
I'm hardly the first person to make this point, but it's one that bears repeating: While conservatives are preparing to pack the Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary with right-wing judges who will seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, their real aim is a stealth campaign against the New Deal interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause (ICC).
Don't get me wrong: Roe and other hot-button social issues matter a great deal. But the power to destroy the ICC has much more far-reaching consequences....
Every time someone like this comes up for a nomination, we need to say that they want to make Social Security illegal. Not get rid of it - make it illegal. They want to make the minimum wage illegal. They want to make clean water laws illegal. This is not a mis-statement or exaggeration of their position. This is exactly what they propose.
Not very many Republican candidates or office-holders are either naive enough or dumb enough to talk about this stuff out loud--to make it the cornerstone of their campaigns. But Rand Paul's position that the Commerce Clause has been used too broadly is pretty standard thinking in the Republican party. It's essentially the founding philosophy of the Federalist Society, and has been the philosophical underpinning for the GOP since 1937 when Roosevelt's Supreme Court helped enact New Deal reforms.
So while Rand Paul is one of the few Republicans who will say it out loud, it's going to be on display in the Kagan confirmation hearings, as BTD reminds us. Republican Senators are going to use the health insurance reform law as their stalking horse. The Republican push to declare "Obamacare" illegal is subscribing to the same Commerce Clause philosophy as expressed not-so-subtly by Rand Paul.
Rand Paul is probably the only Republican in recent memory who has been stupid enough to use the Civil Rights Act as an example of the very mainstream Republican view of the overreach in Congress and the Courts in using the Commerce Clause. But scratch the surface of any Republican's assertion that health insurance reform is illegal, and you'll get the same philosophy.
So Paul isn't necessarily an extremist as far as Republicans are concerned, he's just not bright enough to realize he's not supposed to talk about this so brazenly.
Rep. Souder resigned this week. Ideological purity versus implementation of policy for the public’s welfare, the purpose of politics, don’t mix. See Rand Paul. However, there are times when you have to take a stand and go down fighting if[...]
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The wolves of Wall Street devour the unsophisticated states and municipalities that come to them for help and advice. The Senate doesn't care.[...]
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On Monday, I interviewed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by phone as he was walking around Manhattan between scheduled events. As agreed upon in advance with his publicist, half of our 20 minutes would be dedicated to general questions regarding the current political and electoral situation, including his potential 2012 candidacy, and the other half would be a discussion of his new book, To Save America. Below is the transcript of the first half.
As regular 538 readers know, I'm bullish on the former Speaker's chances to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and think he could be formidable in the general election if nominated. I won't repeat my reasons here, but I will return to this question of his potential 2012 candidacy after the end of the second part of this two-part interview, which will be published this coming Monday.
Fivethirtyeight.com: As early as right after Obama?s election you sort of hinted to Sean Hannity that would very much consider running for president in 2012. So I guess I would ask you to give us a status update on where your thinking is about a candidacy for the presidency.
Newt Gingrich: Calista and I will make a global decision probably in February or March. We are methodically trying to think through what we?re going to do. We run four small companies and we have a lot of other activities. So we?re taking steps so that if we do decide to run everything will be in order.
And I have to say that the failure of the Obama Administration in practical, real terms?jobs, terrorism and other issues?and the radicalism of the Obama Administration, I think make both me and Calista more inclined to say, ?Yea, looking at it in the context of what is our duty as citizens, how do we live that out??
538: Let?s assume you did run, for the sake of argument. Because you have to keep a platform in simple terms these days, what might be your three or four talking points if you run?
NG: This actually fits very directly into why I wrote To Save America, because I think the three key questions we have to discuss in the next three years are: What kind of people are we, what do we have to do to compete with China and India successfully, and what threatens us and what do we have to do to be safe? And I think those three things are the core, big decision points that America?s faced with that we all have to have the courage to talk though.
These two elections?2010 and 2012?are different from any elections in modern election history. This is much more like 1800 or 1828 or 1860 or 1932 in that it is a moment of fundamentally redefining America. And we clearly have a very left-wing, secular-socialist machine trying to create an America fundamentally different than anything which we have historically been as a country.
And I think the real referendum of 2010 and 2012 is, Is that really where you want to go and do you really think it will work? And I think on both of those test questions this administration is going to lose badly.
538: Conversely, let?s assume you decide not to run or you run but fail to win the nomination. Is there a particular candidate among the commonly expected field of contenders?and I?d love you to name only one, but if you have to identify two or three?who you?[Gingrich could see where I was going and cut me off here]
NG: I have many friends who have been very successful as governors, for example, whether it?s Tim Pawlenty or Haley Barbour or Bobby Jindal or Mitch Daniel or Rick Perry. At the same time I think the most interesting governor in America today is Chris Christie. What he?s doing in New Jersey is just historic.
And then there are other folks I admire a great deal. John Thune, who I worked with both in the House and in his role as a senator, I think is a very attractive person. So I think there are a number of folks out there who are going to offer new ideas and new approaches. And frankly, if John Kasich wins and if Meg [Whitman] wins in California, I think you could easily see people of that caliber; when you?re governor of Ohio or California, you suddenly become a potential candidate also. So I think we?ll have a number of smart and very capable people.
And part of the reason I wrote To Save America was to begin to outline a fundamental argument. Two-thirds of the book is a series of proposed solutions so that we both have an ability to distinguish ourselves from the Left and we have an ability to say to the country, ?Here?s what we would do that would be right, not just what they?re doing that?s wrong.?
538: It?s interesting you mention that because the GOP has lost the national popular vote in four of past five presidential elections, and in 2004 Bush won by about 2.5 points. You talk about your hero Ronald Reagan, and even George H.W. Bush, they put pretty good numbers in the Eighties. What?s it going to take for Republicans to win a national election in a way they really haven?t been able to do now for almost 20 years?
NG: Well, a couple things. And I say this having been very active in the 1980, 1984 and 1988 [presidential] campaigns, and then of course in 1994 with the Contract With America. I believe, first of all, you have to pick large issues that create a clear choice so people see that there?s a real difference. This is what Reagan meant in February of 1975 at CPAC when he said we need to have bold colors, not pale pastels. And I think this is very, very important at a time when the media is largely on the Left you have to be consciously aware of the danger that they're always going to be trying to distort whatever you?re doing. So we need very big choices.
Second, I think you have to have somebody who?s articulate and coherent who?s capable of waging an education campaign. You start off in any kind of debate in a country dominated by a left-wing media, you always start out with the Left trying to define the issue against you and then you have to work your way back to what the real issue is. And I think the more articulate, and the clearer and more certain our candidate is the better off we?re going to be in terms of winning in 2012.
Third, you have to be prepared to take the argument everywhere. You cannot write off anywhere. I think it?s very significant that Chris Christine did better in urban areas in New Jersey than any Republican in a generation--carried counties no Republican has carried in a generation. I think it?s very significant that Bob McDonnell had over 40 meetings with Asian Americans, and over 100 meetings with Hispanic Americans, and ran a statewide ad about an African American entrepreneur. He ran a campaign that reached out to everybody?on very conservative principles, but nonetheless reached out to everybody and the end result was that he got 59 percent of the vote, the most by any Republican candidate for governor in Virginia history.
So, I'm an optimist that with the right approach and the right enthusiasm and the right dedication, we can be competitive almost anywhere.
538: OK, let?s turn the 2010 midterms. Nobody on the planet knows more about how to construct a winning Republican congressional message and majority than you. I would like to ask you to compare the political environment right now with how you recall it with six months leading up to 1994 cycle, and things about it are similar and what things are different?
NG: Well I think the Republicans are not as strong today as they were in 1994 because we had the legacy of Reagan still. And I think people just generally thought that we were in better shape than they are right now.
On the other hand, the Democrats are in dramatically worse shape right now. This is the worst unemployment since the Great Depression. The president, to my surprise the other day, tried to make the case that going from 9.7 to 9.9 percent unemployment was actually good, that that was positive news. I don?t know how good an orator he thinks he is, but I don?t think you can talk your way into that one for most Americans.
And so, from my perspective I think that they're going to be going into an election where people are paying attention because the economy is so bad, where they?re going to get very bad marks for having run up a huge decifit, and where the average American is paying attention because of the economy. And what they?re seeing out there is a very radical administration that they don?t like. And I think it's that combination that is so dangerous for the Democrats.
I go all over the country making speeches and I am just amazed at the degree of agreement that we're getting almost everywhere that these guys are not acceptable, and that they are literally not representing the kind of future for America that we want.
538: Hey, there's a new poll out this week that indicates that maybe the Republican momentum the last six months has tailed off a little bit, that maybe the Democrats are coming back a little bit. Is it possible the Republicans, say around the time of the Scott Brown victory, peaked a little too early this cycle?
NG: I don't think you can cleverly calculate things like this. History is bigger than you are. Politics and governing are much more like sailing than they are like operating a powerboat. You're at the whim of tides and of winds and of things that are so much bigger than you. You've got to take advantage every morning as best you can.
I personally don't believe there's any great bounce back for Democrats right now. I haven't seen anything that indicates that they're doing dramatically better. I think that, if anything, they temporary lull in the economic problems because we borrowed and spent well over a trillion dollars in a very short time and when you do that you're bound to have some side effects. But I think it's also clear to most Americans that that's not sustainable.
We'll have a little better sense of this tomorrow after we see what happens in Pennsylvania and Satruday in Hawai'i. But if we in fact pick up both of those seats, I think it will be pretty hard to make the case that Democrats are having a good year.
538: I want to ask you a couple questions about the Republican Party and the conservative base in the wake of Obama's victory in 2008. You took a lot of criticism for not coming out immediately for [US House NY23 conservative candidate] Doug Hoffman. Do you regret that decision, Looking back, do you regret not backing him?
NG: I don?t care about how it affected me. Look, I've been around a long time. I have a deep, passionate commitment to party building, and as a general rule I try to endorse and support the local nominee. What I was told at the time was that [Republican nominee Dede] Scozzafava had won the support of the local parties and that she was their choice. And therefore I did what I've done since 1960, when I was a volunteer in high school for the Nixon-Lodge campaign, and that was a pattern that helped build the George Republican Party and helped build a national majority.
It turns out that I was being misinformed. She was much more radical. Once you got into her record it was clear she was much too radical. She was the one candidate that Mike Long and the conservatives said they would not support. And the national movement came together in a very decisive way and defeated her. I promptly did everything I could to help Doug Hoffman, and I think Doug would tell you that I've been helpful to him right through the last weekend of the campaign, and I've been helpful to him since then.
Everywhere I go with American Solutions we meet with tea party leaders. And I think there's a general understanding of what happened and how and why. And I think if you've been active as long as I have, and you're willing to be as aggressive and risk-taking I have, you're going to have a bad day occasionally.
538: Speaking of tea partiers, do you think they're for the Republican Party. I assume so, but are there any potential complications that movement causes?
NG: I think the tea party movement is good for America. The tea party movement is creating an arena for an entire new generation of activists who would never have become active Republicans and who are motivated by citizenship and by a genuine, deep desire to do something postiive.
Everywhere we go with American Solutions through our town hall meetings we spend time with tea party leaders. We had 55 Louisiana tea party leaders at a meeting in New Orleans, to give you an example. My experience is that they are remarkably serious and sincere people. They are thoughtful. Many of them are studying the Constitution and taking very seriously what's happening to their country.
I also believe that in 2012, unless the Republicans do something really foolish, that the tea party people will be in the fight in a coalition to beat Obama. The real test for Republicans will be if we win in 2012 and fail to deliver. I think at that point you'd see some movement toward a third party. But I believe in 2012 virtually everybody who does not want a secular-socialist future is going to be unified behind beating Obama.
NOTE: At this point I asked Gingrich what "something foolish" might be, but the Speaker had to put me on hold a few minutes to take a call from one of his daughters. When he came back I asked the question again and he answered it, but foolishly I forgot for a minute or so to turn my tape recorder back on. From my notes I can safely report that he said he was talking about the party nominating somebody "totally unacceptable" to the tea partiers or the conservative base. I asked him if he had any particular candidates in mind that met that definition, but he said he did not or at least did not name anyone. I used the moment to ask him about two potential presidential candidates he failed to mention in the long parade of possible GOP contenders he listed earlier in the interview: Ron Paul and Sarah Palin.
Recollecting from my typed notes and memory as best I can, Gingrich said he was supportive of Palin's selection as vice presidential running mate in 2008 and recommended to the McCain campaign that they select her. He said some nice things about Paul but noted that his support tends to top out "around 8 or 9 percent." I do not want to imply to readers, and do not infer from Gingrich's tone or words, that he is less enamored with the idea of Palin or Paul as the 2012 nominee, or at least compared to the other names he mentioned. It may very well be that in the earlier answer he simply forgot to discuss them, but leave it to the readers to make what they wish of that omission.
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Meet the Meatrix
Meatrix, Food, Agriculture, Economy, Health, Cruelty to Animals, Americana, Environment
copyright ? 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
As you gobble that fine food, be it steak, a frankfurter, roasted chicken, or an omelet, please, sit back relax. Put your feet up and stay a while. I will furnish the entertainment in the form of a film. Meatrix is fun, fascinating, and far from folly. This presentation is playful; the message profound.
You may recall the fairy tales you loved as a child. The plots varied, although all had elements of mystery. Adventures were abundant. Tots were often so engrossed in the tales, they barely noticed that the themes taught a life lesson. Meatrix is as the fables you once anxiously awaited and even asked others to read aloud to you.
The main characters move you through the story. Moopheus leads Leo through the world of rolling hills, the family farm, and into . . . Well, I do not wish to tell you the ending. Please travel with the pair as they stroll along. Follow them into the meadows and fields. Allow yourself to suspend disbelief, or embrace mistrust. Just as Leo, you and I, and the person who shares a meal with you, have a choice. We can take the blue pill or the red one. Fantasy or reality; either may be hard to swallow. Nonetheless, let us indulge. The travel could be delicious . . . or dreadful. Are you ready for to explore? If so, let us go. Let us meet Meatrix. He will show you the way. The decision to travel is yours.
If you choose, to meet The Meatrix and Learn About the Issues, you may want to Take Action. What can you do? If you wish to, Spread the word. At least, consider what you eat, where it came from, and what sacrifices were made for your breakfast, lunch, snack(s), or dinner. Perchance, the "Happy Meal" is not such a bargain or worth the price.
In the Colombian presidential election campaign, the Uribe-heir designate Juan Manual Santos who just two months ago was presumed by most political observers on his way to an easy victory now finds himself fighting for his political life in this his[...]
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Missouri GOP Congressman Roy Blunt is one of the oil industry's best friends in DC. Even in the wake of the disastrous oil spill, he was defending BP and trying to protect it from increased liability. That's the position of GOP Senators, which is what Blunt wants to be.
But, then a funny thing happened to Roy Blunt. The campaign of Robin Carnahan, the Democratic candidate in Missouri, released this video about Blunt, his ties to big oil and his willingness to let taxpayers bail out BP:
video details and more
That sent Blunt scrambling. This week, he flipped his position and now says he's for increased liability.
Whenever a candidate starts flip-flopping, it's clear they're worried. Blunt is getting hit from both sides. He's also facing an increasingly serious challenge from the right in his August 3rd GOP primary. The teabaggers are uniting behind a seriously hard-core conservative named Chuck Purgason. In the wake of the defeat of several incumbents, Purgason is feeling some momentum. His campaign sent out a press release that trashed Blunt:
The four primaries Tuesday, especially Trey Grayson's and Arlen Spector's losses, shared a common theme: the establishment's choice is not necessarily the people's choice. "As Robin Carnahan starts her "no bull" campaign, it's clear that her mission is to define Rep. Blunt as the establishment candidate because of his record of irresponsible spending," said Sen. Chuck Purgason. "Carnahan's plan only works if her general election opponent has a record of supporting Bank Bailouts (TARP), Cash for Clunkers and unbalanced budgets.Those are fighting words for teabaggers. And, Blunt is tied to all of it.
The Republican National Committee announced Friday it raised $6.8 million in April and had $12.4 million on hand at the end of last month. That monthly haul is some $3.5 million less than the Democratic National Committee raised: the DNC took in $10.3 million and had $15.1 million in the bank at the end of the month.
The good news for soon-to-be ex-Rep. Mark Souder: There are no rules that expressly prohibit Members of Congress from sleeping with their staff.
The Indiana Republican announced Tuesday that he had been having an affair with a part-time aide and that he is quitting the House out of shame. GOP staff said Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) alerted the ethics committee immediately after discussing the affair with Souder on Monday, and Souder announced his resignation Tuesday.
But it turns out the House Ethics Manual has no specific prohibition against Members engaging in romantic relationships with their staff.
I will not mention any names, but I’ll just say one of the top conservative leaders in Washington, DC, not elected, but a real opinion-shaper, had two questions. First of all, how could he have been so stupid to have walked into this type of controversy? And secondly, this is part of a news story so I’m going to say it, what the hell was he doing on MSNBC? This isn’t an anti-MSNBC situation but you don’t find a whole lot of very liberal Democrats going on Fox News election night or the night after to do their victory lap. They’re wondering whether he’s ready for prime time.
Last night, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) honored House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN) with a leadership achievement award for his contributions to the Hispanic community. However, Roll Call reports that “nobody — including Pence — can seem to figure out why.”
About 15 hours after Massey CEO Don Blankenship told Congress that worker safety is the company’s top priority, another Massey miner died in West Virginia, The Associated Press reports.
Tommy Christopher reports that Dale Robertson, a self-described tea party activist who was basically drummed out of the movement over holding a quasi-racist sign, has signed up with the Washington Times as a contributor to its tea party blog.
Robertson, you may recall, was thrust back into the limelight in March, when he was quoted by the paper as never having seen any racial slurs at tea parties, despite having been photographed holding a sign that featured the N-word.
I guess if I was to attempt a defense of the Moonie Times it would be that considering Fox has Glenn Beck, CNN just hired a guy who called Justice Souter a goat fucking child molester, numerous Republicans in the House are birthers, and apparently believing it is a-ok for business to racially discriminate and that the ADA should be rolled back lets you run for the Senate, if you’re a wingnut it is hard to figure out just why this might be over the line.
On this day in 2000, President James Garfield’s spinal column was placed on display for the final time as part of an Out of the Blue Closets exhibit at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington.