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Thursday, December 13, 2012

What is Demography and GOP By-BY

Demography is destiny, which means the GOP is going the way of the Whigs and the Dodo.    Across the country, they see an aging white majority shrinking as the U.S. heads for the future as a majority-minority country and the Grand Old Party becomes the Gray Old Party.     I have been writing about this trend for a couple of years now and have even attempted to explain it to republican friends.    The aging party of old white men likes things just the way they are and makes no accomodation for the future.   Keep it up and the republicans will dry up and blow away like dry leaves on the fall wind.

In the month since 51% of the electorate chose to keep Barack Obama in the White House,  I've spent my time listening to GOP pundits, operators, and voters.   While the Party busily analyzes the results, its leaders and factions are already out front, pushing their own long-held opinions and calling for calm in the face of onrushing problems.

Do any of their proposals exhibit a willingness to make the kind of changes the GOP will need to attract members of the growing groups that the GOP has spent years antagonizing like Hispanics, Asian Americans, unmarried women, secular whites, workers, union members and others?    In a word:  no.

It looks as if the party is betting all its money on cosmetic change.  Think of it as the Botox Solution.    It wants to tweak its talking points slightly and put more minority and female Republicans on stage as spokespeople.   Many in the GOP seem to believe that this will do the trick in 2014 and beyond.    You've heard the expression “putting lipstick on a pig,”  well the Gullible Old Party is deluded.   Marko  Rubio spewing the old republican line is just as repulsive as Chuck Grassley tripping over his personal stupidity.

The Blame Game and the Short-Term Outlook

Although most Republicans see hints of future demographic challenges in the exit polls, many prefer to focus on other factors to explain Romney’s loss out of a desire not to  “blow up the party if there are less radical solutions.”    (Hence, the delusional quality of so many of their post-mortums and the lack of interest in meaningful change.)

First, they cite the Romney factor:    a weak candidate, too moderate -- or too conservative -- who failed to fight the Obama campaign’s early efforts to paint him as an out-of-touch plutocrat.

 In other words, his history (Bain Capital and Romneycare) depth-charged him before demographics could even kick in.    He was, unfortunately, the perfect quarter-billionaire candidate for a Democratic narrative that the GOP is only out for the rich and doesn’t  “care about people like me.”    (He predictably lost that exit poll question by a margin of 81% to 18%).    Running a “vulture capitalist”   (and a Mormon) drove a number of Republican voters to stay home or even -- gasp! -- vote for Obama.  It’s a mistake that won’t be repeated in 2016.

Second, they point to the Obama factor.  In both 2008 and 2012, he attracted unprecedented levels of minority and young voters, a phenomenon that might not be repeated in 2016.   Some Republican operatives are also convinced that his campaign simply had a much better “ground game” and grasp of how to employ technology to turn out voters.   (Half of self-identifying Republican voters think, as they did in 2008, that Obama simply stole the election through registration fraud involving African Americans.)    Whenever you analyze political situations it is a mistake not to factor in the dim witted attitudes and bigotry of the average republican voter.

Third, they emphasize the powers of incumbency.   Romney only became the presumptive front-runner because the GOP’s A-list-- mostly too young in any case -- feared the huge advantage an incumbent president enjoys and stayed home.    2016, they swear, will be different.    Nor do they seem to fear a reprise of the 2008 and 2012 primary circuses because the A-lister's in 2016, they insist, will all have well-established conservative bona fides and won’t have to bend over backwards to cultivate the conservative base.     I look forward to the next 16 candidates grappling  for conservative nut job approval and the 2016 Republican spot.

Trying to appeal to the Right while facing various nutcase candidates, Romney shot himself in both feet, labeling himself a “severe conservative” and staking an extreme anti-immigration position.  George W. Bush, on the other hand, could run as a “compassionate conservative” in 2000 because his street cred on the Right was unchallengeable.  Indeed, Paul Ryan is already talking up “compassion,” while Ted Cruz, the new (extreme) senator from Texas, is hawking “opportunity conservatism.”

Fourth, there is the perceived success of Republicans other than Romney, particularly in what white Republicans call the “Heartland.”   GOP operatives are still angry at Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for losing two gimme Senate seats to the Dems by “saying stupid things”  (in the words of Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor and frequent visitor to Iowa), and they wonder how they lost in Montana and North Dakota.

Still, they kept their majority in the House of Representatives, losing only a handful of seats.  (That the GOP lost the majority of total votes cast gets less attention.)   The Party also added a 30th governor to its roster, and held onto its control of the majority of top offices and legislative chambers in the states.  Come 2014, GOP operatives expect the Party to do quite nicely, as the opposition party often does in midterm elections, especially if turnout demographics look like 2006 and 2010.  Another lesson many movement conservatives have learned is that the more they pound away on their issues, the more they shift American politics rightward even when they lose. 

All of this suggests to anxious Republicans that they are not crazy for seeing no immediate need to make big changes to appeal to demographic groups outside the Party’s aging white base.  But the short term is likely to be short indeed.  Think of them, then, as the POD or the Party of Denial.

Meanwhile, on the Bridge of the Titanic

Avoid it as they may, the long-term picture couldn’t look grimmer for the Party.  Demographics may well be destiny.  Even acursory look at the numbers exposes the looming threat to the Party’s future prospects.

Whites:  About three-quarters of the electorate (and 88% of Romney’s voters) this year were white, but their numbers aresteadily sinking -- by 2% since 2008.  Yes, many whites may have stayed home this year, turned off by Mr. Car Elevator, butwhites are projected to become a demographic minority by 2050 -- or possibly even before 2040 -- and minority births arenow outpacing white births.

White Christians:  The bulk of Romney’s supporters (79%) were white Christians (40% of whom were evangelicals), but thisis an aging and shrinking group.   Three-quarters of senior voters but only a quarter of millennial voters are whiteChristians, and the generations in between are much less likely to consider themselves “strong” members of their religionthan seniors.  (Non-white Christians, Jews, observers of other faiths, and the growing number of the religiously-unaffiliated all overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.)

Hispanics:  According to the Washington Post exit polls, Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote in 2012 (67% in 2008).

Already 10% of this year’s voters (9% in 2008), the Hispanic population is exploding, accounting for half of U.S.population growth.   This seems so simple for me to see and project.   How is it that republicans can't see this?

Asian Americans:  The nation’s fastest growing demographic group -- now 3% of this year's voters (2% in 2008) -- gaveObama 73% of its vote in 2012 (62% in 2008).

Unmarried Women:  The percentage of unmarried women has been growing slowly since the 1970s, up to 53% of women as of lastyear.  Even among subgroups favoring Obama, there was a marriage gap in which unmarried women (23% of this year’s voters)favored Obama by huge margins.  Despite winning 53% of (mostly white) married women, 31% of this year’s voters (down from33% in 2008), Romney lost women overall by 11 points.   I am convinced that republicans hate women and their actions inreguards to women's health issues, fair pay and general level of respect clearly show it.

The Young:  The millennial generation (born between 1978 and 2000) has been voting overwhelmingly for Democrats (66% for  Obama in 2008, 60% this year).  They are projected to be 40% of the eligible voting pool by 2020.    Because they are  relatively diverse and secular, the GOP cannot assume that enough will emulate previous generations and swing to the rightas they age.   Republicans ignored the youth vote in the last election.   Republicans said the juice wasn't worth the squeeze.

Such polling figures should frighten GOP leaders.  There’s no reason to believe that what we saw on November 6th was anything but the tip of the iceberg.   The republican party is a scam operation with people like Dick Morris, Karl Rove and Shawn Hannity bilking gullible republicans out of their money and transferring it to their own use.

The factions in the party that are not socially conservative see these looming threats as an opportunity to get the GOP to drop the social stuff.  But movement conservatives aren't going to cede ideological ground, not when they (correctly) think it’s a necessity if they are to attract their base voters.    “This country doesn't need two liberal or Democratic parties,”  is the way Bobby Jindal puts it, typically enough.   Since the Democrats represent workers, women, jobs, fair pay, clean air, drinkable water and health care the Republicans must oppose it.   Makes sense to republicans, how about to you?   If republicans have a good idea we will adopt it and try to implement it.   Republicans then turn against their own idea and oppose it and even label it a European or socialist.   There can be no doubt about it republicans are crazy.

Like right-wing pundit (Fox News) Fred Barnes, many movement conservatives and Tea Party leaders will continue to insist that whites are going to remain “the nation’s dominant voting bloc… for many elections to come.”    Hedging their bets, they have decided to become more “inclusive” or at least just inclusive enough in these days of micro-targeting and razor-thin election margins.   After all, Romney would have won New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado if he had captured even slightly higher shares of the Hispanic vote and he could have won in the Electoral College if fewer than 200,000 voters in key states had switched their votes.

To get more inclusive, however, these leaders offer an entirely cosmetic approach: emphasize the Party’s middle-class message, increase outreach or “partnership” with Hispanics and Asian Americans, back off the anti-immigration message a tad, say fewer stupid things à la Akin and Murdock, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

A Nonsense Strategy

When it comes to why this won’t work down the line, it’s hard to know where to start.    Take that middle-class message.   Many Republicans think that it should offer “crossover appeal” on its own, so long as it’s said loudly enough.

But what exactly is it?  After all, it’s never about jobs going abroad, retirement worries (except insofar as the GOP wantsto increase insecurity by privatizing Social Security), underwater mortgages, missing childcare for working families,exploding higher education costs, or what global warming is doing to the Midwestern breadbasket and coastal agriculture(much less the long-term capability of the planet to sustain life as we know it).   Instead, it remains about “choice,”lowering taxes (again), “entitlement reform,” and getting the government out of the way of economic growth.

As if what the middle class really wants or needs is “choice” in education (Jindal’s plan to divert tax funds to privateand parochial schools through vouchers was just ruled unconstitutional); “choice,” not affordability, in health care (the#1 cause of personal bankruptcy in America); and ever more environmental pollution, as well as further challenges togetting workman’s comp if you get injured on the job.

Studies have repeatedly shown that most Americans are “operationally”  liberal on the substance of most policy issues.  Inother words, Republicans will support “small government,” until you ask about cutting spending on anything other than anti-poverty programs.   In fact, less than a third of self-identifying Republicans surveyed by Reuters/Ipsos this year“somewhat” or “strongly” disagreed with the proposition that the wealthiest Americans should pay higher tax rates.

As a counter to the charge that the GOP is the party of the rich, Jindal offered this on Fox News:   “We... need to make it very clear... that we’re not the party of Big:  big businesses, big banks, big Wall Street, big bailouts.”

Um… who other than Republican true believers will buy that?

The Jerk Factor

As for those demographic groups the GOP needs to start winning over in the medium- and long-term, putative 2016 A-lister Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to see a middle class “message of prosperity and freedom for all” communicated loudly to immigrants and the young.    But as one astute Republican insider said to me, “Hispanics won’t hear our message so long as they think our immigration platform says, ‘We hate Mexicans.’”

Bobby Jindal was right to say,  “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first.”  But the Party hasn't truly begun to grasp what might be called the liking gap between the GOP and the groups it needs to cultivate.    It’s time for Republicans to take a long, hard look in the mirror.    It’s not just recent anti-immigration fervor that repels Hispanics and others from the party.    The GOP needs to internalize the fact that the dead bird hanging from its neck is its entire modern history.

It’s true that the Democrats were once the segregationists and Abraham Lincoln and the conservationist, trust-busting Teddy Roosevelt were Republicans, as Republicans are fond of pointing out.  But that’s ancient history.

The Party’s modern history began when business leaders got politicized in response to the New Deal and then the GOP begancourting the Dixiecrats after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965 (despite knowing that he had“just delivered the South to the Republican Party”).   The white South started voting for GOP presidential candidates in the Nixon years and would soon become solidly Republican.   At 70% of the electorate (nearly 90% in Mississippi), it remains so today.

White-flight suburbs around the country followed suit.  Add in the fervent cultivation of evangelical Protestant Christians-- anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-evolution, anti-science -- and the various modern incarnations of nativist Know Nothings.

Don’t forget the ejection of moderates from the Party, and you have the essential history of the modern GOP in two paragraphs.

So the GOP can say that it wants to and plans to like Hispanics, Asian Americans, unmarried women, and secular youth, butto be believable, merely easing off on its anti-immigration message or going quiet on abortion won’t do the trick.   And ifit wants to prove that it cares, it will have to put some real money where its mouth is.What the Party Should Do -- and Won’t

Here’s an idea:  how about some  “extraordinary financial gifts” like the ones Mitt Romney denounced just days after his loss!

To really go after the groups it needs, the GOP would have to do the inconceivable: drop the  “entitlement reform” racket,open the wallet, and reach below a restrictive definition of the middle class.  It might, for instance, mean adding more money to Food Stamps, rather than poking fun at the “food stamp president,” because a full quarter of Hispanics and 35% of Hispanic children are poor.

According to the Census, the median income for Hispanics in 2009 was $38,039 versus $51,861 for whites.   The difference is far starker when you compare median net worth:   Thanks to the economic crisis, Hispanic households lost 66% of their median net worth, falling to $6,325 in 2009, compared to $113,149 for white households (a 16% loss).

It would undoubtedly mean supporting equal pay for equal work, which the GOP has consistently opposed.    It would mean working to make healthcare more affordable for everyone.   That’s how you prove you care in politics -- and it would also be good for the nation.

Similarly, if the Republicans want to be taken seriously as “defenders” of the middle class, they would need to dosomething to defend it from its predators.   No, not the lower class but the upper class, the predatory lenders and speculators, the fraudsters, the manipulators of the financial system, the folks who got bailed out while everyone else shouldered the risk.

It hardly needs to be said that this isn’t likely to happen in any of our lifetimes.

So far the only Republican suggestion I’ve heard that seems more than (barely) cosmetic is for the Party to drop itsaversion to gay marriage.   That would, at least, be a beneficial, if cynically motivated, move to look less hateful.

Hesitation in the Face of Change

It is, of course, theoretically possible that Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) could attract enough Hispanic and other voters in 2016 to win the presidency.   Provided that the primaries don’t turn into another wierd battle.   Provided that the tone set by Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, or fringe candidates of their ilk doesn't sink the A-listers.    Provided that not too many “stupid” things are said -- on abortion, immigration, evolution, or global warming.    (Rubio has already gotten to work on that one by punting on a question about the Earth’s age to keep the creationists happy.)

But come 2020, 2024, or 2028, whatever’s left of the GOP is going to be kicking itself for not having built a foundation of anything other than words that no one outside its rank-and-file actually believed.    Texas, after all, could go purple by 2020 or 2024.

Of all the signals emanating from the GOP since Election Day, perhaps the most significant came last week when the socially and fiscally conservative Tea Party kingmaker Jim DeMint voted with his feet.  The man who would rather have “30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in principles of freedom than 60 who don't believe in anything”  is leaving that body for the Heritage Foundation -- a hint about the future of what is arguably the most important GOP organization in the country.

It looks like the GOP is at the wheel of the Titanic, sailing toward that iceberg, while the band plays “Nearer My God to Thee” for all it’s worth.   Have a good trip.

California Showing Signs That the GOP is Gone

Trends start on the left coast and spread across the nation.   It has worked that way for as long as I can remember and I'm hoping it continues because if the future happens first in California, the Republican Party has a problem.

The nation's most populous state – home to 1 in 8 Americans – has entered a period of Democratic political control so far-

reaching that the dwindling number of Republicans in the Legislature are in danger of becoming mere spectators at the 

Democrats hold the governorship and every other statewide office. They gained even more ground in Tuesday's elections, picking up at least three congressional seats while votes continue to be counted in two other tight races – in one upset, Democrat Raul Ruiz, a Harvard-educated physician who mobilized a district's growing swath of Hispanic voters, pushed out longtime Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The party also secured a super majority in one, and possibly both, chambers in the Legislature.

"Republican leaders should look at California and shudder,"  says Steve Schmidt, who managed John McCain's 2008 campaign and anchored former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's re-election team in 2006.    "The two-party system has collapsed."

Republican voter registration has dipped so low – less than 30 percent – that the party's future state candidates will be hobbled from the start.

Republicans searching for a new direction after Mitt Romney's defeat will inevitably examine why President Barack Obama 

rolled up more than 70 percent of the Hispanic and Asian vote, and 9 of 10 votes among blacks, essential ingredients in his victory.    Women also supported Obama over Romney nationally and in California, where they broke for the president by 27 percentage points.

There is no better place to witness how demographic shifts have shaped elections than in California, the home turf of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan that just a generation ago was a reliably Republican state in presidential contests.

A surge in immigrants transformed the state, and its voting patterns. The number of Hispanics, blacks and Asians combined has outnumbered whites since 1998 in California, and by 2020 the Hispanic population alone is expected to top that of whites.   With Latinos, for example, voter surveys show they've overwhelmingly favored Democratic presidential candidates for decades.   Similar shifts are taking place across the nation.

"There are demographic changes in the American electorate that we saw significantly, first, here in California and Republicans nationally are not reacting to them,"  said Jim Brulte, a former Republican leader in the California Senate.

"Romney overwhelmingly carried the white vote – 20 years ago, that would have meant an electoral landslide.    Instead, he lost by 2 million votes"  in the state, Brulte said.

Perhaps no part of the state better illustrates how Republicans surrendered ground than in Orange County, once a largely white, GOP bastion where Nixon's seaside home became known as the Western White House.

Today, whites make up a little more than 40 percent of the population, while 2 in 10 residents are Asian and about 1 in 3 

is Hispanic, according to the census.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter managed to collect about a quarter of the vote against Reagan in the county.   But by 1996, with the county diversifying, Bill Clinton grabbed 38 percent of the vote, and Al Gore boosted that to 40 percent in 2000.   This year, Obama won 44 percent of the vote in Orange County, according to preliminary returns.

Romney  "implemented a winning election strategy for 1980," University of Southern California professor Patrick James said 

in a statement issued by the school.     "If you look at the demographics and voting proportions, the Reagan coalition would not win a majority today."

Celeste Greig, president of the conservative California Republican Assembly, said in an email to supporters Friday that the party was in need of a makeover, emphasizing Main Street over Wall Street.

"We have to admit that as a party in California, we're just plain disorganized,"  she wrote.

Romney bypassed California this year, waging his fight in battlegrounds such as Ohio and Florida.   In claiming the biggest electoral prize in America, California's 55 electoral votes, Obama rolled up a nearly 21 percent margin.    Voters also returned Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to Washington in a landslide, after Republicans put up a virtually unknown candidate, Elizabeth Emken, an autism activist who had never held elected office.

Independents now outnumber Republicans in 13 congressional districts in California, a trend analysts predict will continue.

California counted more registered Republicans in 1988 than it does today, although the population has grown by about 10 million over that time.    You'd have to go back to that year to find a Republican presidential candidate who carried the state, George H.W. Bush.

Surprisingly, Democrats continued to make gains in the state even at a time of double-digit unemployment, with polls showing that voters are unhappy with Sacramento and Washington.    And it could get worse for the GOP. Republicans are trailing in two other House races in which the vote counting continues.

It remains unclear what direction Democrats, who have close ties to public employee unions, will take with their additional clout.   If they achieve the super majority in both houses of the Legislature, Democrats can pass tax increases and override gubernatorial vetoes without any Republican support.

The state is saddled with a litany of problems, including a long-running budget crisis, massive, unfunded public pension obligations, tuition increases at California universities and growing demands for water, affordable housing and energy.

Gov. Jerry Brown sounded a cautionary note this week, saying he intended to avoid spending binges.

Still, Democrats believe they have the state's demographics on their side with a message that appeals to a younger, more diverse population.

More than half the young voters in the state, ages 18 to 39, are Hispanic, according to the independent Field Poll.    Thirty

-five percent are Asian.    If you look into a classroom in the Los Angeles area – tomorrow's voters – 3 of 4 kids are Hispanic.

The GOP retains pockets of influence regionally, including rural, inland areas.

Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel has been pushing the party to become more aggressive about recruiting 


 "It's not just all about the Latinos," he says.

Schmidt traces GOP troubles with Hispanics to 1994, when voters with encouragement from Republican Gov. Pete Wilson enacted Proposition 187, which prohibited illegal immigrants from using health care, education or other social services.

The law eventually was overturned, but it left lingering resentment with many Hispanics at a time when the Latino population was growing swiftly and becoming increasingly important in elections.

California  "is not just a large state, population-wise, it's a trend-setting state,"  said Schmidt, a public relations strategist.    "It could be a glimpse of the future."

6th Congressional District 

Shenandoah Rockingham Highland Agusta Alleghany Bath Bedford Rockbridge Botetourt Roanoke

Revolt in Athens, Tennessee!

20 People Wounded
14 Autos Overturned, and Burned at Town Square
Jail Under Seize 8 hours
Sheriff, Senator & Others Flee County

This incident is recalled by gun rights supporters as a reason to have free access to fire arms to protect ourselves against the government.   It happened in a small town in Tennessee in 1946.   From this incident they go back to the revolutionary war and the stand against the British.   If you aren't familiar with these second admendment arguements you will be so here is some info on the future talk you will hear on tv and in the print media.

There had been long-standing concern in McMinn County about political corruption and possible election fraud.  At citizen request, the U.S. Department of Justice had investigated allegations of electoral fraud in 1940, 1942, and 1944, but had not taken action.   Lack of action on the government's part is nothing new and is one tactic used today to get beyond the public caring about an event.   This was fronted by veterans and not allowed to be delayed and dropped. 

Athens, Tennessee: The uprising was led by ex-GIs recently returned from battle, to discover dishonest election tactics and corrupt and crooked local government.    Having seen first-hand, Tennessee blood spilled and Tennessee lives lost in the battle for freedom, these patriotic veterans weren't about to knuckle under to the special interests. Certain insiders, for their own profit and benefit, had taken control of the small community of Athens, a town of about 7600 people (Time Magazine says 11,00, either way a small town.).

The violence started on election day when a poll watcher was attacked and thrown through a glass door.   The town folks, already agitated, became incensed.    They went home and returned with pistols, shotguns and whatever weapons they could lay their hands on.    The incumbents and  "insiders"  had recruited extra deputies from neighboring cities and counties but they were no match for the now armed and angry citizens of McMinn County.   Sheriff Pat Mansfield and State Senator Paul Cantrell, along with others, fled the scene.    Twenty-five deputys retreated to the jail which was surrounded and fired upon by the civillian army.

At 4:00 A.M. the next morning, the  "25"  surrendered their arms and came out with hands up.    Although a cry went up to  "hang 'em", cooler heads prevailed. The   "25"  were taken to the edge of town, stripped naked and told not to come back.

The upshot was the incumbent and  "insider-clique"  were out.   The slate backed by the citizens and supported by the GI patriots was officially certified victorious by State authorities in Nashville.

Thus, a new sheriff, trustee, register of deeds, circuit court clerk and county court clerk were seated (3 Democrats, 2 Republicans). All were new, all were honest and freely elected.    The year was 1946.    In 1948, a city council / county commission form of government, one of the first in the state of Tennessee was created. Athens prospered and grew and today has more than doubled in population. 

Monday August 12, 1946
from Time Magazine

The restless crowd in the public square, the campaign posters on the courthouse maples and the granite-faced strangers swaggering in the streets of Athens, Tenn. (pop. 11,000) were all familiar portents. Election day was upon the  "Friendly City."

A sharp sun drove a few voters to the shady courthouse lawn and its weathered wooden bench inscribed  "Compliments of Paul 
Cantrell."    But Sheriff Pat Mansfield, with a gold-plated badge glittering on his sports shirt, looked coolly confident in a knot of armed deputies.    This was the day that Sheriff Mansfield and State Senator Cantrell, the iron-fisted bosses of McMinn County, had arranged to trade offices.

But as soon as the polls were opened it appeared that the arrangement might strike a snag. Poll watchers from the upstart 
G.I. Nonpartisan Ticket were embarrassingly overzealous.   Sheriff Mansfield's deputies felt compelled to bundle one young watcher off to jail.    When a Negro farmer turned up to vote in Precinct 11, an annoyed deputy shot him in the back.    At the cramped polling place in the rear of the Dixie Cafe, khaki-shirted veterans could not seem to crowd their way up to the ballot box.

"Here It Comes."    By afternoon the suggestions of hard feelings were growing firm.    Half a dozen of Mansfield's deputies were beaten and carried out of town.   When the polls closed at 4, a tense throng milled outside the voting place in the office of the Athens Water Co. to await the count.    Suddenly two G.I. watchers burst through the shattering plate glass door, closely followed by a deputy wildly waving a pistol.    A woman in the crowd screamed:   "Oh God, here it comes."

Two carloads of deputies screeched to the curb.    Holding back the crowd at pistol point, they threw the ballot box into one of the cars and carried it off to the jail for their own brand of safe counting.

When night fell rifles passed through the hands of muttering veterans rallying in front of G.I. election headquarters.   A block away a movie marquee blazed its attraction:   Gunning for Vengeance.    Shadowy figures soon lurked along the ivy-covered 
ridge overlooking the two-story brick jail.    A pale yellow light gleamed through the jail's tall front windows;  the deputies were inside.    Outside, the street was solidly lined with deputies' cars.

A black-haired veteran walked up to the jail front, and shouted: "We want the ballot boxes back where they belong or we'll open up on you."

From the jail came a single shot.    From the ridge rang a deafening volley.    From everywhere all hell broke loose in the Friendly City.

"Let Us Give Up."    Flames burst from an auto parked in no-man's land.     A woman screamed from an apartment next the jail, begging for safe conduct through the erratic cross fire.    An ambulance seeking to rescue the wounded inside the jail hastily retired before sniper bullets from the trees.    For six hours the night echoed with the unequal exchanges between 73 deputies and their besiegers, now swollen to hundreds of shouting, wild-firing volunteers.    Once, the barricaded deputies called out a threat to kill three G.I. hostages, jailed during the day, unless the assault ceased.

Toward dawn a thundering explosion rocked the bullet-riddled jail front.    A dynamite charge had ripped away the porch, and behind the billowing cloud of smoke and rubble the sporadic firing ceased. From within a voice called:    "Stop it. You're killing us.    Let us give up."

Leaving their wounded bleeding on the floor inside, the defeated garrison of Cantrell-Mansfield followers filed out, hands high in the air.    Under a glaring spotlight beamed on the damaged entrance, the onetime law of McMinn County squinted wearily at a jeering, taunting mob.

At week's end McMinn County Politicos Paul Cantrell and Pat Mansfield, whose Democratic machine had bullied the fertile 
East Tennessee valley for ten years, were still absent and in hiding. The entire G.I. Nonpartisan ticket (including two Republicans) had been declared elected.    The new Sheriff will be Knox Henry, 34, filling-station owner and an overseas Air Corps sergeant.

In Athens' white, gingerbread courthouse a public mass meeting chose a minister and two businessmen to run governmentless 
McMinn County until the G.I.s could take over.    Shootings and car-wreckings by armed bands of vigilantes continued. Big-jawed, towering Jim Buttram, twice-wounded corporal with the Ninth Division and manager of the G.I. Ticket, promised   "to help maintain order."

McMinn County's shooting veterans had spectacularly rid themselves of one type of tyranny.    But thoughtful citizens knew 
they had set an ominous precedent.    Abraham Lincoln had made the point:

"Among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and. . . they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost."

Fiscal Cliff Fictions:     Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It

It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan.    It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn't cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

This isn’t just cognitive dissonance.    It’s irresponsible reporting.     Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party.    I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.

I’ve written a lot about the GOP’s defiance of reality–its denial of climate science, its simultaneous denunciations of Medicare cuts and government health care, its insistence that debt-exploding tax cuts will somehow reduce the debt—so I often get accused of partisanship.    But it’s simply a fact that Republicans controlled Washington during the fiscally irresponsible era when President Clinton’s budget surpluses were transformed into the trillion-dollar deficit that President Bush bequeathed to President Obama.    (The deficit is now shrinking.)    It’s simply a fact that the fiscal cliff was 
created in response to GOP threats to force the U.S. government to default on its obligations.    The press can’t figure out how to weave those facts into the current narrative without sounding like it’s taking sides, so it simply pretends that yesterday never happened.

The next fight is likely to involve the $200 billion worth of stimulus that Obama included in his recycled fiscal cliff plan that somehow didn’t exist before Election Day.     I’ve taken a rather keen interest in the topic of stimulus, so I’ll be interested to see how this is covered.     Keynesian stimulus used to be uncontroversial in Washington; every 2008 presidential candidate had a stimulus plan, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. But in early 2009, when Obama began pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan, the GOP began describing stimulus as an assault on free enterprise—even though House Republicans  (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus alternative that was virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s socialist version.    The current Republican position seems to be that the fiscal cliff’s instant austerity would destroy the economy, which is odd after four years of Republican clamoring for austerity, and that the cliff’s military spending cuts in particular would kill jobs, which is even odder after four years of Republican insistence that government spending can’t create jobs.

I guess it’s finally true that we all are Keynesians now.  

Republicans don’t even seem to be arguing that more stimulus wouldn't boost the economy;  they've suggested that Obama needs to give up  “goodies”  like extending unemployment insurance (which benefits laid-off workers) and payroll tax cuts (which benefit everyone) to show that he’s negotiating in good faith.    At the same time, though, they also want Obama to propose bigger Medicare cuts, even though they spent the last campaign slamming Obama’s Medicare cuts and denying their interest in Medicare cuts. In Florida I had the pleasure of hearing a radio ad from Allen West, hero of the Tea Party, vowing to protect Medicare.

Whatever.    I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position.    It would seem tendentious to 
point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes 
up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth.    But we’re not supposed to be stenographers.    As long as the media 
let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it.    Every day

Republican's are ignorant, non-thinking robots.     If they say 5 things 2 will conflict with three of their statements and they don't even appear to be aware of it.     I am ashamed to live in a part of the country where these garden slugs are in control of the governing structures.     As long as republicans settle for the sorry leadership the GOP offers them the country will continue to suffer and go downhill.      Sometimes the truth is harsh.

The fellow in the above photo is The President of the United States of America.      His name is Barack Obama and he is close to finishing his first term and starting his second term.      The voters elected him in a fair election.       Republicans have thrown away the first four years of his Presidency road blocking and opposing anything he wanted to do.      Imagine how much better the shape of our economy would be if those of you in the loyal opposition were loyal to our country.      He has gotten the job done  without you.
Will you continue to be childish pond scum or will you put away the anger and work for the good of the United States?     If you want to be treated and talked to like adults then ACT LIKE ADULTS!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Fox News Blows, Are You A Viewer?

Distort, Attack, Repeat: The Fox Propaganda Machine in Action

Fox may look like a news broadcast, but it’s really the advance guard of the GOP distortion machine.    An hour-by-hour look at how Fox turns Obama into the second coming of V.I. Lenin

In a new Rolling Stone story, Tim Dickinson tells how onetime Nixon henchman Roger Ailes built Fox News into the most profitable propaganda machine in history.   A master of dirty tricks, Ailes has amassed enormous power in the Republican Party – and the country – by pioneering a new form of political campaign, one in which Fox functions as a  "giant soundstage created to mimic the look of a news operation,”  disguising GOP talking points as journalism.

On the day after the president gave his State of the Union address in January, Fox News swung into full campaign mode, hammering Obama with five GOP talking points that have come to define the budget debate.    The baldfaced distortions came not just from a parade of Republican politicians – who outnumbered Democrats by 3 to 1 – but from the network's own anchors.

Look through for an hour-by-hour rundown of the day's relentless Obama-bashing.     

Every Day these clowns build their shows around the GOP talking points.    Never a break, just the Republican line.

Shepard Smith is a talented newscaster who plays it straight up.    Shep can anchor the news for any network and is really out of place with this collection of losers.

So there you have it, just another day for angry old white republicans.     Fox News brainwashes them and people like Karl Rove and Dick Morris tell them that Mitt Romney will win the Presidency in a land slide.    They are comfortable being lied to and dim-witted enough to come back for more.     The Republican Party must change or vanish.    I hope they don't change.

GOP Doesn't Have A Mitt Romney Problem, It Has A Fox News Problem

Poor Mitt Romney has become a Republican punching bag as leaders within the party denounce his post-election comments about 
how President Obama won re-election by promising government-funded "gifts" to minority groups and young voters.    As 
Republicans jab Romney though, they're missing the larger, more pressing point:   They don't have a Mitt Romney problem.    They 
have a Fox News problem.

Romney's  "gifts"  put-down echoed the infamous claim Romney made during the campaign that 47 percent of Americans see 
themselves as  "victims"  and are overly dependent on the government.    With the campaign concluded, lots of fellow Republicans now feel free to bash Romney:

• "It's nuts," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

• "I absolutely reject what he said," announced Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

• "When you're in a hole, stop digging.    He keeps digging," complained Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Though prominent conservatives are now lashing out at the former presidential candidate, the truth is Fox News has loudly championed the divisive philosophy behind Romney's  "47 percent" and  "gifts"  comments for months and practically authored them for the Republican candidate.    Last week Fox talkers cheered Romney's "gifts" post-election critique, treating it as a universal truth.    (According to Fox Business host Stuart Varney, Obama was   "buying votes with taxpayer money.    Handouts all over the place.")

And it's not just a Fox News problem.    Republicans have an even more expansive right-wing media problem (television, radio, Internet, etc.), which now doubles as the face and voice of the GOP and which celebrates the kind of toxic "47 percent" and "gifts" rhetoric that's being condemned within the party.    The far-right press is convinced Obama won re-election by  "offering"  voters a "check"  in exchange for their support.

As Media Matters noted:

Fox host Bill O'Reilly said that voters feel economic anxiety and just  "want stuff,"  while Fox host Eric Bolling said Obama 
is a  "maker versus taker guy."     Fox contributor Monica Crowley said that the election showed that "more people now are dependent on government than not."     Rush Limbaugh compared the president to Santa Claus, saying that "small things beat big 
things" in the election and "people are not going to vote against Santa Claus."

In fact, O'Reilly and Limbaugh rushed to take credit for Romney's "gifts" comments last week, since both of them had been pushing the "maker vs. taker" narrative in the wake of Romney's election loss.

The split over Romney's "gifts" remark highlights the larger divide within the conservative movement between two distinct camps: activists and politicians who want to get more Republicans elected vs. right-wing media players who want to grow their audience.

Note that after the Republican flop on Election Day, talk radio's Laura Ingraham dismissed conservative hand-wringers who 
worried about the political future by stressing that  "talk radio continues to thrive while moderate Republicans like John 
McCain and to some extent Mitt Romney continue to lose presidential elections."    That's how hosts like Ingraham view the 
political landscape.   That's how they determine success and failure, not by tallying the wins and losses posted by Republicans candidates, but by counting up the number of radio stations that carry their syndicated show.

The same is true with Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson.   Asked why the conservative media completely failed in their attempt to "vet" Obama, who easily won re-election despite four years of hysterical, far-right claims about him, Carlson told BuzzFeed his publication's work had been a success because traffic to the site was up.    (Carlson also blamed the  "legacy media"   for being hostile to his site's supposed  "journalism.")

I'm sure that's comforting news to RNC leadership. And I'm sure the Daily Caller chasing inane, anti-Obama conspiracy theories for the next four years will put the Republican Party on firm footing for 2016.

For now, it's easy to blame Romney.    That's what losing parties often do after an election, they pile-on the vanquished candidate. The part that would take some guts and fortitude would be calling out the right-wing media that are generating the type of hate rhetoric that Romney embraced and routinely used during the campaign.

Republicans won't because they're intimidated by the right-wing media's power.    That's why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie quickly got on the phone with Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch after Murdoch tweeted that Christie, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and his bipartisan appearances with Obama, needed to re-endorse Romney or  "take the blame"  for the president's re-election.

Murdoch:  Jump! Republicans:   How high?

That unhealthy relationship is the reason why, when it comes to the simple question of whether America is divided between  "makers and takers,"  and if the 62 million Americans who voted for Obama represent a decaying nation of moochers in search of handouts, there's a wide gulf within the conservative movement.    The right-wing media consider the claim to be a central tenet, while Republican leaders think saying it out loud is completely batty and a prescription for an electoral losing streak.

So yes, those are conspicuous handcuffs the GOP is wearing:   Fox News has hijacked the party's communications apparatus and 
is pushing the type of paranoid, blame-the-voter rhetoric that loses elections, and the type of rhetoric Romney's now being blamed for. 

But the GOP can't turn it off.    In fact, most Republicans can't even work up enough courage to ask Fox News to turn down the volume.

Unwilling to acknowledge the GOP's future poses a long-term media problem (the topic is not to be discussed), Republicans 
pretend they have a short-term Romney one.

A political party in which its main leaders are afraid to even state the obvious about science/evolution theories that have been around for a century can NOT lead the nation into the future.    The GOP has become is a parody of their conservative values. 

FOX Can't Get the Job Done Any More

Fox News understands its audience.    Viewers tend to be older, white, male and, crucially, affluent.    But this audience is no 
longer politically dominant.    The GOP must look beyond Fox to remain relevant.

5:24PM EST November 20. 2012 - Walk into the offices of almost any member of Congress and somewhere in the lobby you'll see 
at least one TV screen. If it's tuned to Fox News, you can be reasonably certain you're visiting a Republican. Former Vice 
President Dick Cheney famously required his advance teams to tune all the TVs in his hotel suites to Fox.    Even in my own 
bipartisan consulting firm you can tell the partisan leaning of who you are visiting with a quick  "Fox Check"  of their TV monitor or computer home-screen.

As a Democrat who once worked in media, I am filled with admiration for Fox.    Don't get me wrong, the ideological bent of 
the programming annoys me to no end, but it's supposed to because I'm a liberal.    Therein you find the magic.

The folks at Fox have been hugely successful in tying their brand to a single political party and tying that party to them. 

Republican voters nationwide know, in their heart of hearts, that to get the news they can use the only place to go is Fox. 

Similarly, Republican politicians know that if Fox hosts take a stand on something the only smart thing to do is agree with them or face the ire of Fox's largely white, older and quick-to-anger audience – aka, the modern Republican base.

Dear Republicans, this has to end.    For its very survival, the Republican Party must file for divorce from the Fox network.

Just as there is nothing wrong with a cable TV network, such as BET, targeting a mostly African American audience, there is 
nothing wrong with Fox programming for a mostly older white and largely male audience.    Both demographic groups have tremendous spending power which enables those networks to sell that advertising at profitable rates.    That's what cable TV is about – selling advertising to make money.

Back before 2008, when that Fox demographic was sufficient for the Republican party to win national elections, it made perfect sense for the GOP to align with Roger Ailes' programming outlet. 

We all may love our American way, but what political party wouldn't want a U.S. version of the old Soviet Izvestia, a  "news" outlet that promotes the party line while ferociously attacking the other side?    That's what the Republicans got with Fox and, while this might infuriate my fellow lefties, there was nothing wrong with that.    Politics is about winning, and at one time the Fox/GOP combo was a victorious one.

Not any more.

If election night told us anything, it told us that attempting to win a national election by focusing your energy on an older, white and mostly male voter base was a loser's gamble.    The coalition President Obama put together of younger women, African Americans, Hispanics and Asians is the coalition of the American future.    The Fox/GOP base is the coalition of the American past – its votes are important, but no longer to the exclusion of everyone else's.

This isn't a Fox News problem.    In fact, Fox should not do anything right now to broaden its base.    Older white men will 
always be a sizable portion of our population, and they'll continue to have money to spend on the products they see advertised on Fox. 

That means huge revenues for Roger Ailes, the Murdochs and the whole Fox network.

It is, however, a Republican problem.    The days of this being a mutually beneficial relationship are over.    Demography is electoral destiny, and the demographics of Republican electoral victory are no longer aligned with the demographics of Fox profitability.   I can only say to my Republican friends that it's time for Fox to go.   Pick up the clicker and change the channel and do it soon, before the American people pull the plug on your party's future.

"My view is that Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party and that I don't comment on Fox News." 
Howard Dean

Local News
6th Congressional District 

McCain Skipped A Briefing On Benghazi To Hold A Press Conference (on Benghazi)

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is demanding a special select committee to investigate the events leading up to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya and has held around-the-clock television appearances pressing for a complete review of the incident. 

But all of the senator’s media interviews and press availabilities may be interfering with his ability to gather information about the event.    On Thursday morning, CNN’s Dana Bash reported that McCain chose to hold a joint press conference with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) rather than attend a closed-door briefing about the attacks: 

I have to tell you something that just happened on Capitol Hill, and that is our senate producer Ted Barrett just ran into John McCain and asked about something that we’re hearing from Democrats, which is John McCain is calling for more information to Congress, but he had a press conference yesterday instead of going to a closed briefing where administration officials were giving more information.   Well, Ted Barrett asked John McCain about that, and it was apparently an intense very angry exchange and McCain simply would not comment on it at all.

McCain would not offer comment to CNN.   When pressed by CNN’s Ted Barrett reporter to explain his absence, the Senator 
responded angrily: “Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or 

At least one Republican senator is criticizing McCain for skipping the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee briefing,  The Cable’s  Josh Rogin reports. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), “who was there at briefing, and Senator McCain, 
who was not, are members of our committee, and I know they would play very important roles,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Republicans have dismissed the need for a select committee.

John McCain has reached the point where he is not even a shadow of a senator.   His staff does all the work and carries him as best they can.   McCain screams out for attention and when not talking from staff notes makes a complete fool of himself.    He is foul tempered and useless and most likely medics will tote him off the senate floor.   McCain will never recover from the thumping President Obama gave him and the worst decision of his life, Sarah Palin.  A foul tempered old man spending his last days seeking attention and promoting war with other countries.   Arizona must be very proud.

Lieberman on McCain, Graham: ‘My two amigos’ wrong on Benghazi hearings

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is known for backing Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on hawkish national 
security policies but on Sunday said that “my two amigos” were wrong to call for a Watergate-style investigation into September attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi.

During an interview on Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Lieberman and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) if they agreed 
with the demand that Congress create a joint select committee like those used to investigate Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair.

“The committees within the United States Senate are very capable of investigating this in the right way, and this is one time I have a slight disagreement with my good friends,”   Chambliss explained.

“Yeah, I respectfully separate myself from my two amigos on this and agree with Saxby,”  Lieberman agreed.    “This was a tragedy but it doesn’t rise to the level of 9/11 in [2001].    Our committees can handle this and come up with answers.”

“If for some reason our colleagues think when we’re done that we haven’t done a good enough job, well let them think about a special committee then.”

Amherst County Virginia Democratic News


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Have You Seen Mitt?????

Mitt Romney was spotted pumping gas in La Jolla, California, near one of his many homes. 

 There Is NO Excuse For Anyone To Watch Fox News 

I channel surfed over to Fox to see if the whipping their credability had taken on the last election had corrected their constant stream of bull and propganda.   It Had Not.     Rasmussen was still their pollster and his results were just as silly as his prediction of a Romney Land Slide and the talking Fox Heads were talking the same trash as before the results of the election were known to all.
Fox News is a fantasy land for old white republican men and other fools looking for a return to a 1950's lifestyle.    Billionaires have taken over the GOP and these small time republican sheep don't even know it.    The humor publication  "The Onion"  delivers more truth in a single issue than Fox News does in a full year.    If Fox is your source for news your knowledge of current events is laughably small. 

They came.   They spent!   Then, they limped home, tails between their legs.   (OK, they didn't limp; they were flown home on their private Gulf-stream jets.   But still, their tails were tucked down in the defeat mode.)

"They"  are the far-right corporate billionaire extremists who tried to become America's presidential kingmakers this year.   Unleashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United edict allowing unlimited sums of cash in our elections, they spewed an ocean of money into efforts to enthrone Mitt Romney in the White House and turn the Senate into a GOP rubber stamp for totally corporatizing government. 

 On election night, they gathered at exclusive Romney victory parties, but the celebratory mood quickly soured, for key states were choosing Democrats.    The people were speaking, and (damn them) they seemed to be deliberately voting against the barons. 

Take casino baron Sheldon Adelson, for example.   He became the 2012 caricature of an obscene billionaire trying to buy democracy.   Adelson rolled the political dice on eight candidates, betting more than $60 million — and crapped out on all of them.   Also, the uber-arrogant Koch boys, Charles and David, amassed some $200 million from their corporate vault and from other billionaires to knock out President Obama. 

But at evening's end, there the president stood, re-elected by a majority of voters and winning with more than 56 percent of the electoral votes.   And Bob Perry, another self-serving, ultra-rightist billionaire dumped $21 million into GOP Super PACs trying to win senate races in Florida and Virginia, as well as the presidency.   All for naught.    Democrats not only gained two seats in the Senate, but new senators such as Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin and Mazie Hirono are expected to make the Senate more populist and much feistier.   Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Chris Murphy and Martin Heinrich are expected to make the Senate more progressive than it has been (admittedly a low standard) and less likely to support the kleptocracy the barons so dearly hoped to establish. 

 Of course, the billionaires aren't through.   They reckon that the roughly one billion bucks they put up this year just wasn't enough firepower.    So look for even more obscene spending in 2014 and 2016.    Meanwhile, let's check in on the premier political bag man for moneyed corporations:  Karl Rove.   You know it's been a good election night when he has a hissy fit on national television.    It came at just past 11 p.m., after he heard a TV network declare Obama the winner in Ohio.    This was not just any network; it was Fox, the Republican Party's official propaganda machine!    Rove, who is a rabidly partisan GOP politico and fundraiser, also doubles as an expert  "analyst"  for Fox.    (Proof again that this network has amputated the word  "conflict"  from the ethical concept of "conflict of interest."    But I digress.) 

Rove was sitting just off-camera on the Fox set when the on-air anchor team made the call on Ohio.   In fact, he was on his cellphone at the time with a top Romney staffer who was wailing that Fox was wrong, that Romney was winning Ohio.    With his right knee jerking furiously, Rove demanded to be put on the air to rebut the network's own professional vote counters.    He got what he wanted, publicly chiding his Fox colleagues for being "premature."    

This prompted an unusual moment of dead air, after which anchor Megan Kelly said,   "Well, that's awkward."    Since every news outlet and even Republican Party officials were by then conceding Ohio (and the presidency) to Obama, Kelly asked whether Rove was using his own math just to  "make himself feel better." 

 Bingo!    Karl the Kingmaker was having a really bad night.   In the past year, he had talked assorted corporations and fat cats into putting some $256 million into his attack ads against Democrats, assuring the donors that their money and his political genius would put the White House and the Senate in GOP hands.    He came up a bit short. 

For example, American Crossroads, one of Rove's two political funds, spent $103 million to defeat Democratic Senate candidates, but the return on that investment was a pathetic 1 percent.    Billionaires expect quite a bit better, so Rove had some explaining to do and some crow to eat.    By the way, in response to this brouhaha, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's  "The Daily Show"  said,  "'Math You Do As a Republican To Make Yourself Feel Better' is a much better slogan than the one Fox has now."    But again, I digress. 

To be fair to Rove, his 1 percent return on the money he handled is not atypical of the secretive Republican political funds in this election.    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce laid out $31 million in dark money and got a 5 percent return on their funders' investment.

 Worse, the National Rifle Association surreptitiously invested $11 million in several Republicans — and got zero return.    As a researcher for the Sunlight Foundation, an independent watchdog group, put it:   "It may mean people really don't like big money in politics." 

 What the rich buy with all the money the spend on elections is fear... Nobody bet the farm on this election... The rich spent chump change to change the minds of chumps.. and the rich will be back next election and next election until Congress passes regulations to end this obscene practice the Supreme Court hung on America.

Those on the Supreme Court who saddled the country with the Citizens United decision should rot in hell for their lack of judgement.

Karl Rove Fleeces $300 Million Dollars from the Gullible Rich

What Are His His Excuses For Wasting $300 Million Of Other People’s Money

In 2000, Karl Rove predicted George W. Bush would win 320 electoral votes. Bush won 271–if you count Florida.

In 2006, he said he had “THE math” that showed the GOP would keep the House of Representatives. They lost 30 seats and the 

In 2008, when he wasn’t closely involved in the McCain campaign, he came out with a map just before the election that pretty much predicted the president’s landslide.

In 2012, Karl Rove has been a de facto campaign manager for the Romney campaign. He’s raised $300 million to elect Romney 
and Republicans and is so closely tied to their fate that he joked might be involved in Todd Akin death after the Missouri 
congressman blew an easy Senate pickup for the GOP with his “legitimate rape” comment.

On Tuesday, Rove predicted Romney would win at least 279 electoral votes and 51 percent of the national vote.

Then as the week went on and Mitt Romney’s lies about Jeep exporting jobs blew up all over Ohio and the president was 
called  “outstanding”  by the keynote speaker of the Republican National Convention, state polls kept showing what they’d 
been showing for months–the president is ahead in Ohio. And he’s coming back in Virginia and Florida, states that would give him an electoral landslide.

There’s also the fact that cell-phone only voters who support Obama are being seriously under counted in the polls.

So what’s Karl Rove to do now that his butt is on the line to $300 million worth of donors? Start making excuses.

He spoke the the Washington Post–despite the fact that he has a Wall Street Journal column and can go on Fox News seemingly 
at will.    The man called  “Bush’s Brain”  told the paper that Hurricane Sandy changed the election.

“It’s the October surprise.    For once, the October surprise was a real surprise,”  he said.

This was after GOP insiders told Politico’s Mike Allen that Romney’s impending loss would be blamed on Hurricane Sandy, and to some degree Chris Christie.

Friday the CEO of Fox News’ parent company Rupert Murdoch tweeted this:    Thanks Bloomberg right decision.@now Christie, while thanking O, must re- declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) November 3, 2012

 In Rove’s Post interview, he didn’t explicitly say that Romney would lose.    But you get his drift: “…There’s a subtle 
disadvantage for Romney [in the wake of the hurricane].    For a five-day period, the country stopped talking about the presidential campaign really and people were talking only of the mega-storm.”

Basically, we did everything right!    And we would have gotten away with it if were not for that pesky super storm!

How would you be acting if you knew you were about to blow $300 million that you scammed from some of the richest people in America?

Republicans Tell Unemployeed Vets to Drop Dead

As if to underscore Mitt Romney's indifference to the 47 percent, his Republican Party colleagues in the US Senate used a procedural vote to block a $1 billion bipartisan bill that would have given tens of thousands of jobless military vets the opportunity to work.   No Political Party ever deserved defeat more that the Republican Party.   Republicans have not spent one single moment representing the country, they were in full time persuit of power and their actions are sickening.

Inspired by President Obama's State of the Union Address challenge to get veterans working, the Veterans Job Corps bill would have created a program to fast-track 20,000 former service members into federal jobs as law enforcement officers, first responders, and parks workers.    The legislation "was one of the few pieces of legislation [to] make it through Congress, which has been mired in partisan gridlock for the last two years,"  reports Stars & Stripes' Leo Shane. 

A few enthusiastic Republicans even added several provisions to the bill, including measures to increase internet access for job

-seeking vets and to aid them in their transitions from military life. "Once it incorporated ideas from both sides of the aisle, I thought it would be an easy sell,"  Tom Tarantino, a war vets' lobbyist, told the Washington Post Wednesday.

But despite support from 58 senators, the bill couldn't achieve the supermajority needed to get an up-or-down vote, dashing any chance that it could pass before Election Day in November.    Forty Republicans succeeded in blocking the bill Wednesday afternoon, including self-styled budget hawks Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).    But chief among the bill's attackers was Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.   "Americans don't trust us," he said.    "And why should Americans trust us when we keep using gimmicks and budget sleight of hand to hide more spending and drive the country further into debt?"

Coburn seemed to argue that government spending is more of a "real problem"  than the plight of US vets.

Conservatives say the bill was a budget-buster, with Sessions alleging that it  "violate[d] the Budget Control Act by adding 

to the deficit."    Coburn complained that the jobs bill made him want to quit his own vocation.    "I don't want to come [to work] anymore,"  he said,  "and the reason I don't want to come anymore is because we're not doing anything to address the real problems that are in front of our country."

In saying that, Coburn seemed to argue that government spending is more of a "real problem" than the plight of US vets. 

Young ex-service-members—many of whom were in the now-famous 47 percent of non-income-tax-paying Americans while they were deployed or held junior ranks—face unemployment levels up to 31 percent higher than their civilian counterparts.    It's a plight that Romney and other Republicans pay lip service to in their attacks on the White House.    "President Obama's policies threaten to break faith with our veterans and our military,"    Romney's campaign literature (PDF) states.  "We must do better."

Yet conservatives' plan to block a pro-veteran bill that had the support of the GOP-led Congress, all the Senate Democrats, 

and five Republicans in the upper body.    "These men and women have worn our uniform, shouldered the burden and faced 
unthinkable dangers in forward areas during a very dangerous time,"    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of the GOP 
supporters of the bill, told the New York Times.    For his part, Sessions says he'd vote for a budget-neutral GOP-drafted version of the bill—a version that saves money by doing away with the Veterans Job Corps, which was ostensibly the whole point of the proposal in the first place.    Sometimes you have to destroy a jobs bill in order to save it.

Republicans Squabble over Direction Party Needs to Go.

The election may yet be remembered less as the day Mitt Romney lost the presidency and more as the day the Republican party 
died, at least in the shape that has existed for decades.

The post-mortem into Tuesday's disastrous election results was already under way Wednesday.   There was near consensus that 

the party needs a drastic overhaul.   Does it move further to the right or to centre?    Does it reach out to women, the young 
and minorities, eating into the Democratic coalition?

Some conservatives, especially those from the Tea Party, argued for a shift further to the right, saying that first John McCain in 2008 and then Romney this year were too moderate, both Rinos ("Republican in name only").   

In an early taste of the blood-letting to come, former House speaker Newt Gingrich said he and figures such as Karl Rove – George W Bush's former strategist and co-founder of the Super Pac Crossroads – had been wrong in focusing on the economy. 

The party needed a rethink, to reach out to Latinos and other ethnic groups.   "Unless we do that we're going to be a minority party," Gingrich said.   The party has been and remains overwhelmingly male, old affluent and white.

It has survived as an election fighting machine for so long only because of what Republicans describe as the southern strategy.  That strategy is dependent on a guaranteed bloc of support among whites in southern states (bigots) the party has enjoyed since the 1960s civil rights era.    Throw in Christian evangelicals and others from the mid-west and the mountain states, and there was an election-winning combination.   

But, as Election night showed, that no longer works.   Not only did the Republicans fail to take the White House, they also failed for the second time in two years to take the Senate.   The latter is almost as bitter a disappointment as the failure to win the presidential race.     The tea party appeal is mostly to older, less educated and those bothered by immigrants and blacks.

The chances are the shape of a new-look Republican party will not be decided by Gingrich or Rove or others of that older generation but the younger one, figures such as Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who gave the stand-out speech at the Republican convention in Tampa this year.   He is already a front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination.

In a statement, Rubio identified two targets.  The first was that the Republicans had to expand its reach, to be seen as the party of not just the affluent but as the party that helps people become upwardly mobile.

Like Gingrich, he called for outreach to ethnic minorities.    "The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them,"   Rubio said.   

He is well-placed to make the argument as a Latino himself, the son of Cuban immigrants.

The party has to not just appeal to Latinos but to begin to take at least some of the African American vote too from the Democrats.   As well as addressing its failure among ethnic groups, the other priority is to address the alienation of gay and female voters.   The only solid support the Republican Party has comes from the bigots in the South and old white men and there just aren't enough votes there to maintain a National Party.   Voter supression has already been tried and it didn't work so its either change and grow or become a minority parity.

Tea Party blames Romney for being a 'moderate candidate'.   Following the Tea Party Path is a sure fire trip to third party 


But the shift to a new-look party will not be easy.   Relations between establishment Republicans and the newer Tea Party 

activists threaten to become messy.   Within minutes of the result being announced, Jenny Beth Martin, head of the Tea Party Patriots, blamed the loss not on the changing demographics or social issues but on the candidate.

"What we got was a weak, moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the 

Republican party,"   Martin said.    "The presidential loss is unequivocally on them."

The Tea Party had a bad election again, with its more outlandish candidates having failed at the ballot box, but it is not finished yet, and it will have a say in what the new Republican party looks like.

The prime issues for the Tea Party are not so much as social as small government, a policy that has a big appeal throughout 

the country, especially in the mid-west and the mountain states, as well as cutting the deficit and lowering taxes.    Above all, like Martin, it is anti-establishment.

A Tea Party activist, Evelyn Zur, from Parker, Colorado, is fully behind the idea of reaching out to Latinos and African Americans;                       he sported a T-shirt at a recent rally saying   "Black and Conservative Are Not Mutually Exclusive".   Zur resented the way the Tea Party is demonised as racist.    She argued there is a space for conservative views among blacks in urban areas who have fared badly under the Democrats.    She also sees the move as pragmatic. "Blacks and browns are going to be majority so Republicans have got to get them aboard,"  she said and this good looking tee-shirt is the way to get it done.

One of the younger generation of Republicans who will have a say in the reshaping of the party, Henry Barbour, nephew of the former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, shares the view that the party has to reach out to Latinos, blacks, women and the young.  Some of the candidates the party put up came across as  "hostile", he said, adding that he did not have to name them.

Unlike the Tea Party activists, Barbour is mainstream, an influential figure in his native Mississippi and in the Republican party beyond its borders.   The party was and will remain a conservative one, Barbour said, and policies such as opposition to abortion would remain a given.   But the party could also learn from the Democrats about better organisation in identifying and getting out voters.   It would also help if the people we are trying to recruit didn't know that the party hates them but I'm unsure of how to handle this as of yet Barbour said.

He thinks the party should listen to figures such as his uncle Haley Barbour and former Florida governor Jeb Bush but that the people who will lead the party should be Rubio or Romney's running-mate Paul Ryan or someone else from that generation. 

 A younger person with the same old views might just get over.   Some women and blacks to pose in the photos will also be good.   We can try to get by on image until the old whites die off and real change becomes possible.

The main message of the election was the need to be more inclusive.    "What we have to do is do is take our message to people who do not historically support us - blacks, Women, Latinos, Asians, Gays, the young, hippie types, people who might agree with us but we do not sit down with and break bread with," Barbour said.  "We either do it or we continue to blow them 


When asked why not develop positions that support the concerns of these people?   Barbour said Gee, I never thought of that, If we were to represent their interest we'd be the Democratic Party.

John McCain Has Lost His Mind

Senator John McCain’s repeated attacks on President Obama over the years shows the senator for what he is, a bitter frustrated old man whose legacy as a self proclaimed  “maverick”   is a thin veneer over a partisan right wing fanatic.

If McCain had his way we would still be fighting the Vietnam War irrespective of how many young Americans were killed.  The loss of one or two million Americans means nothing to a man who would not blink an eye at dropping napalm from a jet fighter burning the skin off innocent Vietnamese children.

Today he wants to wage an eternal war in Afghanistan against 300 Taliban fighting over barren soil and rock impervious to plant growth without care to the cost to America’s fighting heroes or our national treasure.

Now McCain seeks to lynch his rival, President Obama, for actions in Libya another place where this mad white man would fight endless war as he would fight endless wars elsewhere around the world for no other reason than to satisfy his own personal rage.

McCain and his little lap dog Lindsay Graham have gone beyond reality in their attacks on President Obama.   A recent check 

on McCains brain function was his picking of Sarah Palin as a running mate.   No matter what McCain says or does he was 
soundly beaten by President Obama and he should get medical help to adjust and live with it.   Lindsay should step out of the closet and enjoy the sunshine.


For the first time this year, the richest member of the US Congress had a a net worth of more than $300 million.   The 2012 list includes Senate and House Democrats and Republicans hailing from all over the United States. In 2012, about half of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress reported a lower minimum net worth than last year, which Roll Call attributes to new mortgage disclosures.

Here is CNBC and Roll Call's countdown of the 10 wealthiest members of the 112th Congress. Can you guess which political 

party had the most members on the list – and who grabbed the top spot?

- and Roll Call

10. Rep. Jim Renacci (R) – Ohio

Minimum net worth: $36.67 million 
Renacci's minimum net worth remains relatively unchanged from the year before, rising just slightly to $36.67 million. 

9. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) – Calif.

Minimum net worth: $41.78 million 
Feinstein's minimum net worth dropped about $3.6 million to $41.78 million in 2011.

8. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) – N.J.

Minimum net worth: $56.8 million
Lautenberg's minimum net worth rose about $2 million in 2011, to $56.8 million.

7. Rep. Jared Polis (D) – Colo.

Minimum net worth: $72.09 million
Polis added at least $6 million to his fortune last year to arrive at a minimum net worth of $72.09 million.

6. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) – Conn.

Minimum net worth: $79.11 million
Like many on Roll Call's list, much of Blumenthal's minimum net worth of $79.11 million comes from the family of his spouse. His wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, is the daughter of New York real estate magnate Peter Malkin.

5. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) – W.Va.

Minimum net worth: $83.08 million
Even multimillionaires have mortgages.
Rockefeller took out a loan of at least $1 million on a New York condominium in 2011 and disclosed it on the liabilities section of his annual disclosure form. Though in prior years such a purchase would have likely gone unnoticed, lawmakers were required to report mortgages on personal residences for the first time this year under new disclosure provisions in the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK, Act.

4. Sen. Mark Warner (D) – Va.

Minimum net worth: $85.81 million
Virginia's junior senator increased his wealth by nearly $10 million from the year before, reporting a minimum net worth of at least $85.81 million in 2011.

3. Rep. Darrell Issa (R) – Calif.

Minimum net worth: $140.55 million
Issa's minimum net worth dropped by about $80 million from 2010 to 2011, dropping him one spot on the list, to third place.

2. Sen. John Kerry (D) – Mass.

Minimum net worth: $198.65 million 
Kerry has been a mainstay on Roll Call's list of the wealthiest in Congress for more than 15 years, due in large part to the assets of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the widow of Sen. H. John Heinz III (R) of Pennsylvania of the Heinz ketchup fortune.

1. Rep. Michael McCaul (R) – Texas

Minimum net worth:  $305.46 million 
McCaul tops the list for the second year in a row with a reported minimum net worth that broke the $300 million mark.

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