Thursday, February 11, 2010

What is wrong with American politics in 2010

When it comes to Congress, we would argue that hypocrisy is the norm. Odds are, if someone has held public office for any length of time, they've probably been on both sides of any one position at one time or another. But the systematic hypocrisy that the Republican party is engaging in right now should be downright shameful. We say "should," because it is obvious that none of them have shame at this point. (And let us assure our Republican friends, this ain't about you. This is about your national party as a whole and the individual politicians who are engaging in this behavior.)

The picture above is of Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA). Rep. Gingrey is just one example of how today's national Republican party has absolutely no shame in being outright liars and hypocrites. See that big check he's holding? That check is $625,000 dollars worth of stimulus money that came into Rep. Gingrey's district. He's so proud of that money, he went out and got a big check printed up, so he could roll into Cedartown, GA and brag to all his constituents about all he was doing to help them. Trouble is, Gingrey voted against that money. That's right, he opposed the bill. Called it a "trillion dollar debt" bill. See for yourself, here's his own website touting his opposition. And Gingrey is not the exception in the Republican congress. Oh, no...he's the rule. Seriously, watch the video at the end of this post. Look at the number of Republicans that have been caught trashing the stimulus, while bragging to their own constituents about how good the money is and what all it can do for their district. The brazenness is alarming.

And it ain't just our Federal Government Republicans that are pulling this crap. State Republicans are getting in on the duplicity too. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is the lamest one. Why? Because he had the audacity to pen an op-ed for Politico where he claimed the Economic Recovery Act a failure, calling it "a nearly trillion dollar stimulus that has not stimulated." However, Jindal was lying. Why? Because it's obvious the act HAD stimulated something: Jindal's hypocrisy. Less than 24 hours before his op-ed was published, Jindal traveled to Anacoco, LA to deliver his own sweepstakes check (which contained approximately $300k of stimulus money). But Jindal should get extra chutzpah points. He actually put HIS OWN NAME on the check. That's right, like here you go good people of Anacoco...I, Bobby Jindal, am have written you this check. Me. Your governor. Enjoy...don't mention, I love you. What's mine is yours, you know.

We are sure we could hear lame excuses like, "Well...the stimulus is a terrible idea and it's going to bankrupt our country, but I've a duty to my constituents that if they're going to be saddled with crippling debt because of these evil Democrats, they should at least have something to show for it," but we don't think so. Why?

First, such excuses would simply open them up to further attack. Because if they believe the stimulus is bad, it means all the BS they are telling people when they brag about those checks is wrong. And they know that it is not. For instance, Rep. Gingrey told the folks of Cedartown this:

The money comes from federal stimulus funds and will fund the second phase of
Cedartown’s Streetscape project, with new sidewalks, landscaping and other
improvements to the downtown area. [...]

Believing that the project qualified
for federal stimulus funds as a “shovel-ready” project, Gingrey presented the
proposal at the federal level, his spokesperson, Linda Liles, explained.

“These federal dollars will allow us to work both phases together and
complete Streetscape by mid-2010,” [City Commissioner Scott] Tillery said. “This
will be a big boost for the historic downtown area and for the whole city.

Secondly, these Republicans don't won't to bother with explaining their actions. Why, because it is obvious that honestly dealing with voters is not a plank in the Republican party platform right now. Plank...hell, it ain't even a splinter.

Just look at their lame attempts to portray President Obama's administration as soft on terrorism over the whole Abdulmutallab (the Christmas bomber) situation. Newt Gingrich was on the Daily Show the other night and Stewart asked why the Obama administration was wrong to make Abdulmutallab aware of his rights, but Bush's administration was right to make Richard Reid aware of his rights. "Richard Reid was an American citizen," insisted Gingrich.

Problem for Newt was, Reid wasn't an American citizen. So Newt being Newt, had to come out yesterday and try to dig himself out of his hole. But...Newt being Newt, he only dug the hole deeper. Newt "explained" that he had meant to say Jose Padilla, not Reid. Newt further explained "treating terrorists like criminals [is] wrong no matter who" is president.

Well...that's not what you were saying? You were defending the Bush administrations actions, but now in trying to cover your own mistake, you're throwing them under the bus. Because if treating terrorists like criminals is wrong, then the last administration was wrong. We don't think Newt made a mistake about who Reid was. Stewart specifically asked, "Didn't they do the same with Richard Reid, who was the shoe bomber?" Either Newt is lying about the mistake, or he's not the "expert" he's supposed to be. Hell...who doesn't know Reid was the shoe bomber?

But a bigger point is this, even if Newt meant to say Padilla, then it blows their argument about mirandizing a suspect out of the water. How? Because as Marc Ambinder points out:

Padilla was captured and not Mirandized. He was subject to harsh
interrogation techniques. That, ostensibly, was Gingrich's point. But -- and
this is a very simple rejoinder -- Padilla DID NOT talk when he was held

Mirandizing him either would not have made a difference -- OR perhaps a
more hospitable interrogation might have helped to loosen his lips early on.

So Gingrich's reference -- his proof that the Bush administration used
a different practice and that it worked -- is so far removed from the point that
he is trying to make that it is, to quote Wolfgang Pauli, not even wrong.

It ain't just Newt. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, got PWNED! by Savannah Guthrie on MSNBC the other day. Bond's position as ranking member on intelligence means it is his job to know what the hell he's talking about when it comes to intelligence matters like...we don't know...maybe how terror suspects are interrogated, handled and prosecuted. Look at this video. It would be embarassing if only the man was capable of being embarassed. Apparently he is not. He get's called on Reid being treated the same way and no one in the GOP cried out. His answer is, "it's a lot different time." Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot, Senator? What's different, besides the fact that your party is no longer in power? When asked that, Bond argued that we now have military commissions. When it was pointed out that we had those back during the handling of Reid, Bond simply ignores that point, saying "It turns out that mirandizing Richard Reid and trying him in the civilian courts was a bad idea." Savannah Guthrie, one of the interviewers then shot back with: "He is serving a life sentence right now, he will never get out. How is that a failure?"

See...this is yet another example of Republicans just flailing away, throwing every single bit of shit they can think of against the wall and hoping that at the end of the day, even if nothing sticks, then at least they can run by saying, "look...4 years of Obama and the wall is covered in shit."

Rachel Maddow had a great segment the other night where she absolutely eviscerated the Republicans. How? By simply stating facts. Seriously, you should watch it. We don't care what party you identify with, you need to watch the video. But we'll post her conclusion, simply because we think it identifies the current state of politics in this country "balls on dead accurately." That's an industry term.

Courtesy of Benen.

"What Republicans are doing on policy is no longer interesting," Rachelexplained. "It is so thoroughly, unrelentingly, consistently predictable, that
anyone who thinks it's an open question as to what Republicans are going to do
about the next legislation that's proposed just is not paying attention."

Rachel ended the segment explaining exactly why all of this matters:
"Republicans, right now, do not care about policy -- by which I mean, they will
not vote for things that even they admit are good policies. On policy terms they
have been caught bragging on the stimulus as good policy. I have no doubt that
some of them think that health reform is good policy. We know they think that
things like a deficit commission or cap-and-trade or PAYGO are good policy,
because they're on the record supporting them.

"But they're not going to vote for them because ... screw Policy. Screw
what even they believe is good for the country. Screw what even they believe is
good for their own districts. They are not voting 'yes,' for even things they
agree with. For anything substantive. They are not going to vote 'yes' for
anything substantive that this president supports. It's not going to

"You're not going to earn Republican votes for a second stimulus, for
example, by pointing out that it's good policy that creates jobs. We know they
already know that. They concede that in their home districts. And they're still
not voting for it.

"And they are unembarrassed about this fact. They are not embarrassed.
Charging them with hypocrisy, appealing to their better, more practical, more
'what's best for the country' patriotic angels is like trying to teach your dog
to drive. It wastes a lot of time, it won't work, and ultimately the dog comes
out of the exercise less embarrassed for failing then you do for

Well said, Rachel. Well said.


Mike Reino said...

C'mon, P-Luv - you're milquetoasting this post... Where's the passion? ;)

pluvlaw said...

Was it flat????

Seriously, I've learned to tune out most of the bullshit. Or just laugh it off. But some of the crap from the past week or so just pisses me off because of how wrong it it. The whole miranda crap is simply maddening. Probably because it's right in my wheel house. I work everyday dealing with Due Process. It is what separates our country from the rest of the pack. And yes...due process means sometimes bad shit happens. But on the whole, it works.

But here is what really ticks me off. People who think that torture or killing off every terrorist is how we defeat fanatacism are just lazy. They're not bothering to consider how wrong and shortsighted that is. First, we can't kill them all. Second, we know from our own history, that torture isn't going to end this. Just look at history. It wasn't roughing up wiseguys that broke the mob. You can't take criminal enterprises down from without. You have to make them crumble from within. And the way you do that is by showing them there's a better deal. You turn people. You have them rat each other out. You make it where no one can trust each other. It eventually becomes so damn hard to do business, that you eliminate the appeal of it.

Then Obama goes on Katie and panders to the right. WHY? The people who think due process is bad aren't gonna vote for you. They aren't gonna support you. By and large, they are exactly the same people who you could show that Maddow video to and it wouldn't make a dent. They would repeat some nonsense they heard Glenn Beck say or something a chain email told them and they would ignore the actual votes and actions of the politicians they "identify" with. It's lazy and sad. Like Douglas' line in American President: it's advanced citizenship. STOP trying to win them over. Just do what has to be done. When you start tilting at the windmills, you'll never get anything done.

Anyway...I just needed a Sam Kenison like yell to clear my own personal space in the echo chamber of public opinion.

As our buddy Gust said...we'll see.