Santelli’s rant staged?

February 28, 2009

Apparently just another GOP echo-chamber stunt, bankrolled by the Kochs.  But details just emerging.

Barry and Kos are on it.

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It’s all about dignity

February 28, 2009

I’ve heard so many definitions of ‘liberal’.

Like this one: “He’ll do anything to prove he’s a good guy. He’s a liberal” from the movie The Color of Justice.  It’s cynical and clever, but not right.

Instead, I love this one from one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers:

I came to this country and worked hard also.. and, like you, have been lucky enough to be successful.  This country is wonderful that way – if you work hard you have a good chance of being successful.  But many people work very, very hard and are not successful – and not because they are stupid, or lazy.  The difference between Obama and his predecessors is that he realizes that the people who work hard and don’t make a lot of money, or work hard and don’t have health insurance, or who worked hard all their lives and now – in their golden years- have little to show for it also deserve some minimum level of dignity.

And yes, someone has to pay for it, and I’m happy for it to be me and people like me, because there for but for the grace of God.  It’s not punishing the successful, it’s realizing that hard work is only part of the equation and we as a society need to recognize our obligations to those people who have held up their part of the bargain but didn’t end up on the winning side (and children get an automatic pass).

I don’t know if he considers himself a liberal, but his feelings are also mine, and I do.

Limbaugh’s memes

February 28, 2009

I’ve never listened to Limbaugh’s show, so I thought I’d check out his CPAC keynote to see what he’s peddling first hand.

The main theme seems to be that Obama is punishing excellence and achievement by taxing the wealthy more.  This is pretty standard GOP meme and it is wrong in several ways:

  1. We are basically going back to the old rate under Clinton, after having had a huge tax break on upper incomes which did not help the economy, and produced huge deficits under Bush (something conservatives conveniently have no problem with).
  2. I don’t buy that a successful individual will decide to work any less hard because his total tax bill is between 0% and 11% higher (due to a top marginal rate of 39.6% instead of 35% above 250k only).
  3. We are still nowhere near the 70-91% top tax rate we had much of the 20th century.

He supports this with the usual argument that the top 5% income bracket pays over 50% of all taxes (citing NY numbers specifically).  This is so deeply flawed it really needs to die:  It hides the fact that those 5% top earners have increased their income thousands percent in the last decade while the lower 50%’s wages have remained stagnant.  So if anything the statistics illustrate just how grave the income equality gap has become (in fact I think Democrats should confront this head on and own this argument).

Another recurring claim is that liberals just want control.  This is just thinly-veiled fear mongering and conveniently hides that it goes both ways:  Conservatives are constantly intruding in people’s lifes: Their phone conversations, their reproductive choices, their sexual choices (e.g. gay marriage or gays in the military), their choice to have or not have a cross at their courthouse, their choice not to pray at school, their choice to die in their own terms, their choice to use recreational drugs.  Let’s be real here, both sides want control: Liberals want control to allow everyone to do whatever they want, conservatives want control to ensure everyone lives by their Christian code of values.

Some other statements (paraphrasing):

  • More Americans live as conservatives than any other way, even if they don’t vote that way:  Very comforting to your base, but impossible to support, and in fact very wrong if you believe the polls these days.  He could point to party id polls (more people consider themselves conservative than liberal), but I believe the third of the population that are independents these days just want pragmatism over inptitude, and right now choose Democrats.  Also after 8 years of the word ‘liberal’ getting a bad name I think it will come back.
  • The media (i.e. the drive-by media) is against you:  So don’t listen to any of them and only listen to me instead.  Enough said.
  • Obama is busy fomenting anger and fear:  I think Obama is definitely challenging the populist anger simmering across the country, which is brilliant; better to let us know he’s on our side and get us behind him in effecting the change we want (and voted for overwhelmingly).  I understand Rush would have a problem with this since many of the pitchforks are pointed at him.
  • We (conservatives) don’t hate anyone: Hahaha.  Empty words.  I’ve read the quotes (from his show, Michael Savage, etc.).  I actually put myself through Hannity every now and then.  The hate oozes.  Every second is filled with fear and hate.  Mr. Limbaugh, you can’t tell me that up is down or day is night.
  • Barney Frank and Chris Dodd caused the financial crisis: I don’t even need to refute this ridiculous claim.  Rush, stop covering Phil Gramm’s ass.  Can anyone in your movement ever accept responsibility for anything?

Then it got more tactical… conservatism doesn’t need to change, we don’t need to be going after the Walmart vote or the Hispanic vote or whatever.  So that was it for me… things to do.

Newt Proves Holder’s Point

February 27, 2009

Devilstower makes a subtle but remarkable point about Gingrich’s criticism of holder’s recent ‘nation of cowards’ comment:

While Newt joined in the pile-on to the blunt phrasing Holder used, Newt was too afraid of talking about race to even mention the subject of Holder’s comment.

In other words, Newt Gingrich proves that — at least as far as conservatives go — Holder was absolutely correct.

Schadenfreude

February 26, 2009

I was just thinking today that Republicans could not be having a worse week.  There was just too much damage to keep track of, but Paul Jenkins does just that dutifully.  Excellent read.

Yes, I do feel a bit guilty for reveling in their misery, but only a little bit since really, they are doing it to themselves.

Boombox

February 25, 2009

Now if we can just get Rihanna to pull a Timberlake and do her own take…

First they give away whatever seats they have left in the Rust Belt, and even some in the South, by opposing any help to Detroit.

Then they give Obama carte blanche to NOT work with them on the upcoming major legislation (70% of public now considers them ‘the party of NO’ while viewing Obama as conciliatory and fair).

Now in California, by their intransigence, they have singlehandedly ensured that the 2/3 rule for passing budgets is repealed in an upcoming ballot.  This will effectively take away what little shred of power they still have in the state.