Please Proceed, GOP

nance2Over the past four-plus years, it has been downright mind-blowing to watch you, the GOP, rewrite history in a never-ending attempt to compare the current administration to the overwhelming failure that was the Dubya presidency – and somehow come to the conclusion that between our man and your boy, Obama is the one who is somehow found wanting.

You have compared every aspect of Obama’s term in office to the Reign of Error that preceded him. And while those comparisons have been blatantly ridiculous, the entertainment value of watching you equate the astounding accomplishments of one with the dismal record of the other is priceless.

For the record, let me remind you of history as it actually unfolded, rather than as you want it to be perceived.

Barack Obama never received a briefing entitled Bin Laden determined to strike in the US”, which he immediately ignored, along with dismissing the constant and dire warnings of the intelligence community. The attack of 9/11 happened on your boy’s watch, and you can chalk up the resulting deaths of over 3,000 people in his column. You can, of course, count that as a win in your “war on terror” – although I doubt most Americans think of it in that light.

Barack Obama never invaded a country based on wholly fabricated assertions of possession of WMDs, leading to the deaths of thousands of US troops, untold numbers of innocent civilians, and expenditures that led to the largest deficit in US history. That was your boy. In fact, the only aptitude your boy ever demonstrated in his eight years in office was his ability to lie to the American people almost as easily as he spent their money.

Barack Obama has never landed on an aircraft carrier to announce “Mission Accomplished” when the only thing accomplished was the prelude to a disastrous war that plunged our own nation into unfathomable debt, and the nation of Iraq into unfathomable death and destruction. Again, that was your boy (the one who never did come up with even a modicum of proof that he had completed his military service) strutting around, all gussied-up in military gear as he sent US soldiers to die for what he perceived to be his political glory. Our man’s citizenship, despite your propensity for spewing bullshit, has been proven. When did your boy even come close to proving that he actually served?

Barack Obama never boastfully vowed to “get Bin Laden, dead or alive” only to sheepishly admit later that, “I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.” It was our man who stated unequivocally that he would get Bin Laden – and then did so. It was your boy who turned out to be all hat and no cattle – a term in keeping with your boy’s pretense of being a tough-talkin’ Texan, when what he really was is a gutless mama’s boy whose lack of intelligence, skill and work ethic would have landed him a career of pumping gas at some obscure interstate truck stop were it not for his daddy’s connections.

Barack Obama has never overseen the phenomenon of millions of US dollars in cash simply disappearing in the “fog of war”. It was your boy and his cohorts who pulled off that magic act – while funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets via their shareholdings in corporations that were coincidentally awarded no-bid government contracts, the oversight of which was conveniently non-existent.

Barack Obama never sent our troops into harm’s way ill-equipped, lacking the most basic necessities in order to complete their mission safely. It was your boy who sent our soldiers into battle without body armor, and then added injury to insult by supplying them (via his VP’s corporation, Halliburton) with contaminated drinking water while they risked their lives in the middle of the fuckin’ desert.

Barack Obama never outed a covert CIA agent, jeopardizing her life and the lives of others in service to the country, nor did anyone from his administration. That was your boy’s administration, the same group of pathological misfits who freely used their political power to discredit their detractors, regardless of the consequences to the individuals involved, and the country at large.

Barack Obama has never vacationed while a major US city and its citizens was left to drown in the aftermath of a hurricane. That was your boy eating birthday cake with John McCain, and strummin’ the ol’ geetar for a photo-op in California while NOLA residents died for lack of food, water, shelter and medical attention. It was our man who responded to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy with skill and expediency – and eating cake and strummin’ wasn’t even remotely part of the picture.

Barack Obama has never owned a fake ranch in Texas, an off-the-beaten-track hideaway where he can drink himself rancid every weekend out of public view. It was your boy who required his lackeys to explain the cuts and bruises resulting from his drunken escapades as a brush-clearing mishap, a biking excursion gone awry, or an epic battle-to-the-death with what was undoubtedly a would-be al Qaeda assassin disguised as a pretzel.

Barack Obama has never made a complete fool of himself on the international stage by attending events of global importance too soused to speak coherently, too drunk to know that giving a “massage” to a fellow world leader is inappropriate, too stupid as well as stupefied to understand that the office he held not only demanded a certain decorum, but deserved it. It was your boy who repeatedly embarrassed our nation in front of the entire world; it was our man who had to undo the damage your clueless idiot caused to our international reputation.

And while we’re on the topic… Continue reading Please Proceed, GOP

Stormy Monday, 7/8/13

If you don’t feel like doing something interesting with your Monday, like clipping your toenails or trying to teach your goldfish to roll over, watch for Rick Perry’s announcement about his “exciting future plans.” Will he declare his intention to run for a fourth term as Texas Governor? Or has he finally remembered the third federal government department he wants to shut down, clearing the way for another presidential run in 2016?

With none other than George Walker Bush urging Congress to get comprehensive immigration reform done, I now have to reassess my own enthusiasm for it. And don’t even get me started on the macabre irony of Bush uttering the words: “It’s very important to fix a broken system…”

Foreshadowing the probable fate of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” bill, Rep. Michael McCaul claimed in an interview this morning that Americans “don’t want a comprehensive bill like what we saw with Obamacare.” How he knows this, he didn’t say. Maybe he’ll explain it after he and his House Republican colleagues get together behind closed doors midweek to discuss how they’re going to derail reform.

Speaking of Obamacare, if you’re in Virginia or Ohio, watch for this week’s rollout of new TV ads (funded by the infamous America-hating Brothers Koch) designed to convince you that it sucks. The ads will later appear in other states. If the campaign is successful, watch for future Koch-financed commercials aimed at making you doubt and/or despise kittens, electricity and oxygen.

Secretary of State John Kerry returns to Israel later in the week to continue efforts to broker direct talks between that nation and the Palestinians. After last week’s flap about the State Department first denying then later admitting that Kerry spent time aboard his yacht in Nantucket as Egypt’s government was being overthrown, the Secretary no doubt craves the peace and tranquility that have always been hallmarks of the Middle East. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 7/8/13

Stormy Monday, 6/24/13

This afternoon, the Senate will probably attempt a vote on an omnibus amendment to the comprehensive immigration bill, following last week’s agreement on inclusion of border security measures. If the amendment passes, the bill moves one large step closer to Senate approval. This coincides with a TV ad sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce debuting today, featuring Rand Paul and Marco Rubio (and someone named Paul Ryan) pitching the need for reform to skeptical Republican viewers. Presumably, Rubio was plenty hydrated before the cameras rolled.

Yesterday, Paul told CNN’s Candy Crowley that the failure of his proposed amendment granting Congress final authority to decide if border security is adequate will lead him to vote against the bill. Pendejo.

Speaking of immigration, Edward Snowden is said to be seeking asylum in Ecuador, aided by legal advisers provided by WikiLeaks. The leaker’s passport has supposedly been revoked, but he traveled to Russia on Sunday from his previous fastness in Hong Kong.

Tuesday, Massachusetts voters will fill John Kerry’s Senate seat with either Democratic House veteran Ed Markey or self-described “moderate Republican” Gabriel Gomez. The latest polls put Markey up by eight to 12 points, which Gomez tacitly acknowledged on Fox News over the weekend by discussing his intention to make another run for office if he loses this one.

With Congress as useless on climate change as it is on most other issues, the President will lay out a series of executive measures in a Tuesday speech at Georgetown University. Details of the speech have been closely guarded, but the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline will apparently not be part of the subject matter, and might not be announced until 2014. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 6/24/13

TSW #37

I don’t know what planet Peggy Noonan inhabits, but I’m quite certain its atmosphere is critically lacking in oxygen. There’s no other way to account for her periodic dispatches to Earth via the Wall Street Journal. One of the latest, concerning last week’s opening of the George W. Bush Library, Museum and Crawfish Hut, is a textbook example of oxygen-deprived punditry at its flailing, gasping worst.

Like so many of Noonan’s ruminations, the piece reads like something written well in advance of the event it supposedly comments on, with just enough anecdotal detail added afterward to lend it a flimsy plausibility. And like so many of Noonan’s ruminations throughout Barack Obama’s White House tenure, it follows a paint-by-numbers approach: Peggy Noonan loathes the President, therefore obviously everyone else does too.

“Obama fatigue has opened the way to Bush affection,” proclaims Noonan, and having picked up that mythical ball, she runs like hell with it, dodging historical fact, empirical evidence and mountains of polling data as she makes her way downfield:

One thing Mr. Bush didn’t think he was was superior… He always seemed moved and grateful to be in the White House.

And so would I if five conservative Supreme Court Justices had installed me there over the express wishes of the electorate, but – come to think of it – I don’t remember any occasions where Bush seemed to be genuinely moved or grateful, for anything.

Glibness and triteness fight for dominance in Noonan’s portraits of the presidential attendees. It’s pretty much a draw:

Anyone can soften with age, but [Carter] seemed to have sweetened. That don’t come easy. Good for him.

… [GHW Bush] feels the tugs and tides of history… [the] crowd, and the people watching on TV—the person they loved and honored most was him.

At first I didn’t understand how Noonan knew which ex-President TV viewers “loved and honored most” but then it occurred to me that she probably just phoned all four or five of them afterward to check.

Then she segues into some nice stuff about Bill Clinton, so you just know she’s fixing to move on to some really nasty stuff about Barack Obama. It’s always fascinating to see which adjectives Noonan resorts to regarding the President, when the words she really seems to want to use range from “shiftless” to “uppity” and back again: Continue reading TSW #37

Take Five (Conduct Unbecoming edition)

ONE: Wings of Desire

The least surprising recent gun news was the shameful failure of expanded background checks legislation in the Senate. Least surprising because, after all, 42 of the 45 naysayers have been recipients of gun lobby largesse; the other three, evidently, are just dolts. A few other recent firearms stories, by contrast, were a little harder to anticipate.

If you’re ever in Memphis and thinking you could kill for some Jack Pirtle’s chicken wings, just don’t bring along an assault rifle. Antonius Hart Sr. and his creatively named son Antonius Hart Jr. made that mistake recently, and not only are they facing criminal charges, but they didn’t even get their wings.

After receiving the wrong order on their first visit to a Pirtle’s drive-thru, they returned for their wings but stubbornly insisted on getting some free chicken as compensation for being inconvenienced. When this demand was refused, Hart père allegedly brandished an AK-47. Jack Pirtle’s staff then called the cops, who arrested the Harts and confiscated the rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition.

In a gun incident with less obvious motivation, Seattle police were called to the Northgate Mall recently after security reported a man fondling a shotgun in the parking lot:

The man, who wore a cowboy hat, a white shirt and khaki pants, walked to his Ford Explorer with the shotgun and put it in the vehicle, police spokeswoman Renee Witt said. He then lingered outside the vehicle smoking a cigarette and at times handled the gun in the Explorer, police said…

“We’re now looking into whether he had a legitimate reason for having the shotgun – maybe he was transporting it,” Witt said.

Well, maybe. Or maybe it was transporting him, if you catch my drift, but it’s also possible that the man’s peculiar behavior was inspired by the Northgate Mall itself. A recent consumer review on Yelp suggests that it might be the shopping center of broken dreams:

This mall has nothing interesting, honestly. Everything seems run down and depressing which for some reason stresses me out.

So I normally have a few drinks before shopping and that helps take the edge off, but once the alcohol wears off I die…

In further malls’n'guns news, a woman waiting for a parking space on Thursday at a mall in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park had the bad fortune to cross paths with an armed jackass in a hurry:

Investigators said a woman decided to stop and wait for a person to leave a particular parking space when a man driving a car behind her grew impatient and started honking and yelling obscenities.

Authorities said the woman didn’t budge and the man in the car behind her drove up to her side of the vehicle, pulled a gun and started waving it at her, threatening to kill her if she didn’t move.

Background checks? We don’t need no stinkin’ background checks…

TWO: Say What?

Bismarck’s NBC affiliate KFYR (“Your News Leader”) proudly presented their new co-anchor the weekend before last, and then they fired him. AJ Clemente, thinking that his Evening Report debut wasn’t yet underway, uttered the words “fuckin’ shit” into a live mic. Clemente and co-anchor Van Tieu then went into this awkward back-and-forth:

TIEU: Good evening. I’m Van Tieu. You may have seen our newest – AJ on – in [inaudible] North Dakota news, and he’ll be joining the weekend news team as my co-anchor. Tell us a little bit about yourself, AJ.

CLEMENTE: Um… thanks, Van. I’m very excited. I graduated from West Virginia University, and I’m used to, um, you know, from being from the in – East Coast.

Clemente was canned the following day. Especially in view of his Cooperstown-ready surname, it’s a damn shame he doesn’t have a lifetime batting average of .286 with 403 home runs and 1,337 RBIs; he’d probably still have a job. Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who actually owns these impressive stats, had this to say to a sold-out crowd during a televised ceremony before the first ballgame at Fenway following the Marathon bombing:

We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job that they did this past week. This is our fucking city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong. Thank you.

A couple of hours later, FCC chair Julius Genachowski tweeted:

David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.

That and the $14.5 million Ortiz is making this season will be a great comfort to the slugger, no doubt. If you really want to see something wrong done right, leave it to Republicans. Steve Kush is the executive director and Bob Cornelius the former executive director of the Bernalillo County Republican Party in New Mexico, and they really dislike women who want to see a higher minimum wage. Cornelius and Kush attended a hearing on the topic and had some choice social media comments about a couple of female members of the activist group Working America. As one member of the group spoke, Kush tweeted:

Nice hat Working America chick but damn you are a radical bitch

Before moving on to Facebook to comment on Working America’s executive director:

Uh oh another Working America chick…nice boots…I know she makes more than min wage

Cornelius soon chimed in:

Maybe she uses those shoes to walk Central [Avenue]…even in this economy she can exchange bumper cables for boots

Kush then posted:

… she was hot enough to almost make me register democrat

After being suspended indefinitely without pay, Kush has expressed remorse for what he calls an “ill-fated attempt at humor.”

THREE: Many Crappy Returns

Ever notice how washed-up Republican politicians never seem to go away? No matter the magnitude of their defeats and disgraces, no matter the fervid desire of the general public never to hear or see them again, no matter the outrageousness or flat-out irrelevance of their opinions, they just will not go away. Exhibit A? Joe Walsh.

The former Congressman, a lazy and stupid man, made headlines in March when he informed a rally full of rapt Teabaggers that Americans are lazy and stupid. Now America’s highest-profile deadbeat dad is using the Boston Marathon bombing as a springboard to more headlines, as he calls for, essentially, a law enforcement jihad:

“We’re at war, and this country got a stark reminder last week again that we’re at war,” Walsh said to host Martin Bashir during an appearance on MSNBC. “And not only should we take a pause, Martin, when it comes to immigration, we need to begin profiling who our enemy is in this war: young Muslim men.”

Walsh has repeatedly hinted at another run for office, but with any luck voters will begin profiling white, middle-aged, Islamophobic scofflaw candidates and stop the little buttmunch before the sleeper cell of his political aspirations can be activated.

Todd Akin, the rank misogynist whom Walsh was quick to defend, has also been trying to get a foot back in the door of relevance. In an interview with KSDK in St. Louis, he responded ominously to a question about returning to politics:

“It’s one of those things that depends on the circumstances really.  I don’t rule anything out. I consider it a bright new future and I’m interested to see what the possibilities are.”

Personally, I’m hoping that the body politic has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. Continue reading Take Five (Conduct Unbecoming edition)

Take Five (Really, Really, Really Fuzzy Math edition)

ONE: Misunderestimations

This week marked the tenth anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq, illegal as in fraudulently undertaken, thereby invalidating any supposed sanction previously conferred either by Congress or the United Nations, and also incomprehensibly immoral, like all crimes against humanity.

There should be no surcease, ever, of denunciation of the criminal horror unleashed on Iraq by the Bush administration and those who helped enable it, the latter largely for shamefully political reasons. In a nation with such a bounteous supply of prisons, there’s plenty of room to house the guilty for the rest of their lamentably natural lives, and their accomplices for some fraction thereof.

I have no hope that either will ever happen.

This week, fifteen months after the last combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq, the anniversary was marked in George Bush’s “beacon of democracy in the Middle East” with a wave of lethal violence, tersely quantified by the New York Times:

… 57 dead and nearly 190 wounded in separate attacks that included 17 car bombs, 2 adhesive bombs stuck to cars, and a killing with a silenced gun.

This week, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies released the results of a study conducted by its Cost of War Project. The study found:

The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest…

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number…

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Yes, effecting mass death, destruction and chaos is more efficient than ever, yet it still doesn’t come cheap. Of course, that’s not how the Bush junta made its sales pitch. In the run-up to The Decider’s trigger finger getting intolerably itchy, Mitch Daniels, his OMB director, nudged up the saturation on the administration’s already over-saturated blue skies, to obscure what it would really cost in borrowed cash to dust off Saddam Hussein as one would a garden pest and install a compliant regime straight out of whatever remained of Dick Cheney’s wet dreams:

Mr. Daniels would not provide specific costs for either a long or a short military campaign against Saddam Hussein. But he said that the administration was budgeting for both, and that earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush’s former chief economic adviser, were too high.

And then he added a scabrous little grace note:

Mr. Daniels cautioned that his budget projections did not mean a war with Iraq was imminent, and that it was impossible to know what any military campaign against Iraq would ultimately cost.

The viciously, deliberately dishonest math behind all this has long been known, although it has constantly been revised upwards. Contrasts were drawn between prediction and reality almost from the outset, despite the best efforts of White House propagandists, supine but incessantly talkative members of Congress, and the jitterbugging marionettes of the mainstream media. The immense gap between the predicted and actual numbers probably still provokes gales of rheumy cackling whenever the old gang gathers around the fireplace for a snifter of brandy or human blood in whatever dank privy the original PNAC signatories still hold their unholy soirées.

TWO: With Fiends Like These…

Over and above the rancor they directed at Democrats, progressives and various other favorite scapegoats for the deleterious effects of their own wretched ideas, participants at CPAC ‘s 40th anniversary shindig last week were also remarkably splenetic toward each other.

Rick Perry brought a McCain/Romney dartboard:

“Now, the popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections… That is what they say. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012…”

Rand Paul was even more bluntly insolent to his elders:

“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered… I don’t think we need to name any names here, do we?”

Donald Trump’s post-speech press conference featured another of the oafish magnate’s swipes at Karl Rove:

“This is the same mind that spent $400 million and didn’t win a race. He’s the most overrated person in politics…”

Louie Gohmert discharged a lot of indiscriminate buckshot, some of which winged the Nixon administration:

“Vietnam was winnable, but people in Washington decided we should not win it.”

Sarah Palin continued her lupercalian vendetta against sort-of-Republican Mike Bloomberg:

“Bloomberg’s not around,” Palin joked as she slurped on a giant soda, “our Big Gulps are safe.”

Brent Bozell dragged in a whole sack of grudges. Against, for example, Paul Ryan:

“… your proposed budget that has the federal government spending $41 TRILLION over the next ten years, with more and more and more spending increases every single year, and assumes all the oppressive Obamacare taxes. Congressman, that’s what liberal Democrats do, not us.

“This is not conservatism. It is, literally, Democrat Lite…”

Against Haley Barbour:

“… my friend, when you call for unity and on conservatives to ‘sing from the same hymnal’ and then publicly trash good conservative groups like Club for Growth for supporting good conservatives, you’re out of tune, and you’re out of line…”

Against the House leadership:

“John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy… you, like virtually every single other Republican elected to Congress solemnly vowed to rid us of Obamacare, which you can do simply by refusing to fund it. Why haven’t you done so?

“You’ve done nothing for over two years but give us excuses and more commitments that tomorrow, yes tomorrow, you’ll honor your promises. Gentlemen, where promises are concerned, you are not what you promised to be.”

With all the heated infighting, it’s a good thing attendees could buy a Marco Rubio water bottle in the exhibit hall.

THREE: Minority Report I

Desperate to garner votes from minority groups they mostly would prefer not to have anything to do with, Republicans still don’t seem to understand the difference between genuine outreach and simple smash-and-grab.

Take the CPAC breakout session called “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” chaired by K. Carl Smith, an African-American conservative. What could go wrong? Lots: Continue reading Take Five (Really, Really, Really Fuzzy Math edition)

Take Five (CPAC Up Your Troubles edition)

ONE: Middle Age Queasy

The Conservative Political Action Conference turns 40 this year, but don’t expect maturity from a gathering where the speakers include Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Artur Davis, Dick Morris, Wayne LaPierre, Rick Perry, Allen West and Donald Trump.

The coveted keynote slot will provide a generous 33 minutes for Cruz to prevaricate, obfuscate, fabricate, fulminate and regurgitate. Organizers have allotted the second and third longest slots to Palin and Trump, respectively, though why Palin needs 16 minutes and Trump 14 to recite “me, me, glorious me” is a mystery only slightly less mysterious than either of them being invited to begin with. I suppose The Donald and The Sarah deserve grudging credit for realizing that Fitzgerald’s dictum about American lives having no second acts is irrelevant now that first acts can simply be prolonged indefinitely.

Over and above her CPAC gig, Palin manages to keep busy just being Palin. She devoted at least part of Monday to crafting a tweet celebrating the overturning of New York City’s ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces:

Victory in NYC for liberty-loving soda drinkers. To politicians with too much time on their hands we say: Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!

Yes, because nothing says “liberty” like 17 ounces of carbonated water, HFCS, artificial color, artificial flavors and caffeine. But it’s not all freewheeling Twittery for Palin; her latest higher calling is nothing less than saving Christmas:

The former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor has a deal with HarperCollins for “A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas,” scheduled for November.

HarperCollins announced Monday that the book will criticize the “over-commercialism” and “homogenization” of Christmas and call for a renewed emphasis on the religious importance.

Wow! Only 48 years after A Charlie Brown Christmas definitively addressed the very same issues. And Palin’s so versatile that she even wrote the first review of the not-yet-written book:

“This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas.”

That’s what cutting edge is all about, Charlie Brown. You betcha. As for Trump, he’s taking his cues from none other than Charlie Brown doppelganger Newt Gingrich, who last Friday tweeted his brainstorm to save White House tours recently suspended under sequestration:

Donald trump should offer to pay for the white house tours. He can afford it and it would show who cares more for American students

This was followed two minutes later by:

Trump and president obsma both golf but trump doesn’t charge the taxpayers $920,000 for a golf weekend in florida.

Yeah, damn that obsma anyway! Two minutes later, Gingrich found some more meat on that bone:

If trump offers to pay for the White House tours what will President Obama’s excuse for punishing visiting school children be?

Trump was nonplussed about all this until he joined Fox and Friends by phone on Monday:

“I think it’s so nice of Newt to suggest that,” the media mogul said, adding that Gingrich and his wife are members of his club in Washington. “But it sounds reasonable to me. Why not?”

Gingrich is also speaking at CPAC, so he and Trump have a readymade opportunity to discuss the idea in detail, assuming the Gaylord National Hotel has a room large enough to accommodate both their egos simultaneously.

TWO: In Through the Out Door

CPAC drew criticism recently for barring GOProud, an action that prompted the Log Cabin Republicans to withdraw from the event in solidarity. The groups have now gained some exceptionally unsavory company: notorious Islamophobe Pamela Geller.

Geller devoted a recent appearance with Christian radio host Janet Mefferd to throwing a tantrum about the CPAC snub:

… I’ve always held events there even though I wasn’t warmly welcomed because of the influence of what can only be described as Muslim Brotherhood facilitators or operatives like Suhail Khan and Grover Norquist… This year I could not get an event, I was banned…

What are they doing at CPAC? Essentially they are enforcing the Sharia. Under the Sharia, the blasphemy laws, you cannot say, you cannot offend, you cannot criticize and you cannot insult Islam. That is effectively what they’re doing, they are enforcing the Sharia.

Also joining GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans, albeit voluntarily, is MSNBC’s resident purveyor of flapdoodle, SE Cupp. She recently tendered her regrets, publicly:

“… as a proponent of gay rights, CPAC’s decision to sideline GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans makes me increasingly uncomfortable… It seems like we’re hardly in a position to be marginalizing any kinds of conservatives, let alone ones who have been so courageous in the face of adversity… until the conference stops shaming some of its most valuable advocates, it’s unfortunately not an event I can take part in.​”

Cupp’s calmly reasoned position prompted a fretful rant from Mr. Unreason himself, Joseph Farah. Sensing the black helicopters of tolerance hovering over his pinched and pusillanimous reality, WND’s founding father lamented:

This little brouhaha with Cupp comes at the same time dozens of Republicans – including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress – have signed a legal brief arguing in favor of same-sex marriage…

Farah went on to shake a querulous finger at Meg Whitman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Richard Hanna, Stephen Hadley, Carlos Gutierrez, James Comey, David Stockman and Deborah Pryce, noted conservatives all. Or not:

What do all these people have in common?

They are not conservatives.

Ah. Good to know, I guess. Farah finished with a flourish of hyperbole worthy of a pilled-up teenager posting on a message board at 4:00 AM:

The Conservative Political Action Conference is for conservatives – not for people who seek to undermine the Judeo-Christian basis of Western civilization with one of the most radical ideas considered since child sacrifice.

Keep it unreal, Joe.

THREE: Hot Air Apparent

CPAC 2013 will also feature John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, who recently stuck his head up out of the ground to find out whether he would see Mitt Romney’s shadow. Bush is ostensibly in the public eye these days because he’s hawking a new book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, but of course what he’s really hawking is the idea that the GOP will be desperate enough to nominate him in 2016. To that end, Bush has been appearing on various talk shows, casually trying to convince conservatives of his viability with a string of inane observations. Continue reading Take Five (CPAC Up Your Troubles edition)

Take Five (Push, Push Sweet Charlotte edition)

ONE: Consider the Barn Burned

One of many sharp contrasts between the Republican and Democratic conventions was how the parties treated their former favorite sons. George W. Bush, a fellow you might remember from his demolition of the economy, his demolition of Iraq and/or his demolition of Republican claims to seriousness as a political party, appeared briefly on video, albeit with his daddy functioning as a sort of fig leaf of supposed respectability.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, appeared live in Charlotte, and delivered a speech as good as any he’s ever given, meaning it was utterly masterful. For those too young too remember the Clinton years, now you know. President Clinton, though, had plenty of company. Deval Patrick, Tammy Duckworth, John Kerry, Julián Castro, Jennifer Granholm, Elizabeth Warren, James Clyburn and many, many others roused and inspired. It was the polar opposite of the sorry spectacle in Tampa the week before, the “highlight” of which was a cranky old man chatting with a chair.

Michelle Obama’s star turn on Tuesday night cut through four years of right wing crap attempting to portray her husband as aloof, out of touch, out of his depth and out of step with that absurd construct Republicans like to describe as “mainstream American values.”

Gabrielle Giffords led the Pledge of Allegiance on the final night, and if you didn’t have tears in your eyes watching it, well, you’re either a Republican or you need to consult an ophthalmologist.

Vice President Biden, as always, came across as that rarest of creatures, a politician I actually do want to have a beer with. Make that a few. And if he feels like cracking open a bottle of Jameson to cap off the evening, hell, yes, I’m in.

And Barack Obama? He did great, but I thought he sounded bone tired. And how could he not be? This election cycle he has the White House to carry on his back as he works the stump, and of course he can’t even play a round of golf without catcalls from the jerks, puds and phonies across the aisle. He’s spent four years pulling the country out of a deep hole, and for his extraordinary efforts he gets called a commie, a foreigner, an imposter, uppity, angry, lazy, a fraud. Why he wants the job again, I don’t know, but I’m damned grateful that he does, and it’s going to be no less gratifying voting for him again than it was the first time.

TWO: Matthew 25:35, with a Side of Orzo

While the late change of venue for President Obama’s Thursday night acceptance speech provided the usual conservative media suspects with plenty of food for thought – and by “thought” I mean “risibly baseless speculation” – it also provided 8,000 pounds of actual food to folks in need in Charlotte.

Bank of America Stadium’s “VIP suites and club rooms” were to have teemed with hungry Democrats on the convention’s final evening, and stadium chef Jon Morey and his staff worked feverishly to prepare a mountain of upscale eats in anticipation. Instead, the Carolina Panthers and the stadium’s food services company Delaware North Inc., with logistical support from US Foods, ended up distributing tons of “pecan-fried chicken, baked orzo, fresh crudités, three bean bake, fresh cut fruit and something called short rib cobbler” to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, and thence to local soup kitchens, daycare centers and homeless shelters. Food was also donated to local non-profits A Better World and the Harvest Center of Charlotte.

While it’s not known whether any leftover food from the Republican National Convention got to the truly hungry, a convoy of refrigerator trucks was rumored to have made the 200-mile trek from the Tampa Bay Times Forum to 1295 North Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach. I know this because I just originated the rumor.

THREE:  Unfair and Unbalanced

Speaking of Palm Beach, one of the newest residents of its county jail is David A. Kappheim, who earned his stay by allegedly committing domestic battery, aggravated assault and criminal mischief. Why? His girlfriend is a liberal, and he tried to strangle her.

When Kappheim was approached by the arresting deputy, he said “he was very conservative and (his girlfriend) was a liberal.” He also told the deputy that “he felt that he was going to have to kill her,” the report said.

Kappheim also admitted to trying to kill his girlfriend three times, the deputy said. When he was placed in handcuffs, he allegedly had a panic attack and kicked the sheriff’s car’s rear door so hard it was knocked out of its alignment.

While inside of the woman’s apartment, the deputy said he found documents that made him believe Kappheim is obsessed with Fox News and the Republican Party, and that he may be a danger to others.

Rick Scott had barely arrived in Tallahassee in 2011 when he ordered a purge of felons from Florida’s voter rolls. Just this once, perhaps that worked out for the best. Continue reading Take Five (Push, Push Sweet Charlotte edition)

Slouching Towards Tampa (Big Mac Daddy edition)

Mitt Romney’s little reminiscence about poking around in his father’s sock drawer and discovering a free-McDonald’s-forever card signed by Ray Kroc himself was, amazingly, not quite the weirdest story from the right-hand side of the campaign trail last week. I’ll get to the weirdest one below, but I’m still fascinated by the runner-up.

Romney was speaking to a crowd at a Chicago fundraiser when an attendee mentioned having worked for McDonald’s, and its head honcho directly, for many years. The invocation of Ray Kroc apparently activated something in the candidate’s personal anecdote database, a database that has served Romney only fitfully to date as he oils his way around the nation in search of cash and votes:

“You know how boys liked to go through their dad’s top drawer, just to sort of see what he has in there, maybe find an old coin he might not miss?” Mr. Romney asked the audience…

“I found a little paper card, a little pink card, and it said this entitles George W. Romney to a lifetime of a hamburger, a shake and French fries at McDonald’s,” Mr. Romney said. “It was signed by the hand of Ray Kroc.”

Mr. Romney said that when “I saw this thing [I] was like, ‘This is a gold mine, Dad!’”

“So I had it laminated,” Mr. Romney said. “My dad, as you know, would go almost every day to a McDonald’s restaurant and get either a hamburger or a fish filet sandwich. And he would present this little card, and of course, the person behind the counter would look and say, ‘Well, what is that?’ They’d never seen something like that, but he said it was never turned down.

“They always honored it,” Mr. Romney said.

Let’s just consider this in context for a moment. Kroc bought McDonald’s in 1961 from the eponymous brothers who opened the first McDonald’s outlet, so that’s the earliest possible date for the drawer incident. Romney would have been about 14 at the time. George Romney, meanwhile, had been head of American Motors since 1954, had been named Man of the Year in Industry by the Associated Press four consecutive times by 1961, and was a millionaire on the strength of the astonishing rise in his company’s share price under his management.

Against this background, George Romney’s younger son was rifling through Dad’s dresser, looking for… well, let’s say maybe an old coin. And the famous auto tycoon, at least after the lamination his larcenous son generously arranged, didn’t pay for his many orders at the Golden Arches; instead, he simply flashed a card which none of the McDonald’s employees recognized, but which was nonetheless sufficient to prompt them to give him his grub for free.

It’s a measure of the overweening aura of strangeness of most of Romney’s personal anecdotes, I guess, that I can find this story completely believable. Peculiar, even vaguely creepy for reasons I can’t explain, but completely believable.

What I still find totally unbelievable, despite empirical evidence for it, was the hands-down weirdest Romney campaign story of the week. I’m referring, of course, to Paul Ryan being tapped as his running mate. While I’ll be disparaging everything there is to disparage about Paul Ryan in the next installment of this column, right now all that occurs to me that I should have seen this coming.

After all, Romney and Ryan had a chance to bond during their Wisconsin crime spree back in April, when the pair plied their audience with free eats at a Cousins Subs:

The Democratic Party obtained video of the luncheon from one of its staffers who attended the event. In the video, Romney says, “So bring your friends to the polls, get out and vote and if you want another sandwich, there are more back there.” Romney and Ryan interchangeably ask voters whether they want “turkey, ham or Italian” subs. The subs in question ranged from $4.49 to $4.99.

Naturally, in true GOP style, the Romney campaign treated the ensuing criminal complaint with juvenile derision:

WISN 12 News received a statement from the Romney campaign, which called the complaint laughable.

“This is a laughable stunt by the Democrats designed to distract from President Obama’s disastrous polices that have resulted in record job losses and skyrocketing gas prices. Democrats are willing to do and say anything to avoid a discussion about the president’s three years of failure in the White House.”

Sadly, the hoagie racketeers were cleared by Waukesha DA Brad Schimel, who is – if you’re not sitting down, please do so right now – a Republican. And far more significantly, Leopold had found his Loeb, Sacco his Vanzetti, Butch his Sundance. And now they want to take their crime spree national. Continue reading Slouching Towards Tampa (Big Mac Daddy edition)

Slouching Towards Tampa (With Friends Like These edition)

With his certain victory today in the Texas primary, Mitt Romney will finally have his party’s nomination more or less sewn up, but is there anyone, even among Republicans, who actually likes Romney? Of course not, but it’s fascinating to watch those who, for various reasons, are pretending that they do.

Let’s start with evangelicals, a voting bloc without which the Republican Party would be about as viable as Whigs. Romney has a dual problem with evangelicals: he’s nowhere near conservative enough, no matter how much he pretends to be, and his religion is regarded by a large swath of the Christian right as little more than Scientology with a big-ass choir.

Romney made the quadrennial ritual forelock-tugging visit to Liberty “University” on May 12. Despite a large turnout to hear him speak, and the faint praise of some in attendance, others on campus were less than welcoming:

Liberty teaches that Mormonism is a cult, and university officials took down a commencement Facebook page after it was flooded with hundreds of posts objecting to Romney’s appearance.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the “school” chancellor, showed off his versatility with a little stand-up routine before Romney’s speech, likely sending Jerry Sr.’s corpse into rapid rotation:

… Jerry Falwell Jr. told parents, staff and students that “we are electing a commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief.”

Not to be outdone, the candidate did some comedic ancestor-spinning of his own:

Romney went right at the latest hot-button issue, bringing much of the audience to its feet in cheers by declaring: “Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”

Romney has also received lukewarm plaudits from another previously hostile demographic, his former primary rivals. Erstwhile Swiss citizen Michele Bachmann, for example, had contended as far back as December:

“No, he cannot beat Obama because his policy is the basis for Obamacare… You can’t have a candidate who has given the blueprint for Obamacare. It’s too identical. It’s not going to happen. We have to have a candidate, a bold distinct candidate in the likeness of Ronald Reagan.”

Not having found such a candidate, Bachmann has since decided that if she squints tightly enough, a flip-flopping, suspiciously moderate, milquetoast venture capitalist is close enough. Bachmann also accompanied fellow has-been Herman Cain to a DC press conference on May 16, where Cain issued his own full-throated “yeah, he’ll do” endorsement:

“We as conservatives know that in order to win, we have got to rally around our nominee… It is clear that Governor Mitt Romney is going to be our nominee, so I wanted to formally endorse him today… I know there are lot of people who may not be as excited as some of us about the process, or as excited about the ultimate nominee…”

Another vocal Romney skeptic has finally come around, if only because it keeps his incessantly marketed name in the news:

… Donald Trump is delighted that Mitt Romney is using The Donald’s star power to lure lottery contestants and donors to a major fundraiser June 28 for Romney’s presidential juggernaut.

… fortunate attendees will receive, according to the campaign, “airport transportation in the Trump vehicle… stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower… [get a] tour of Trump Tower” and “dine with Donald Trump and Mitt Romney.” Trump will host a fundraiser for Romney, featuring a drop-by by former rival Newt Gingrich, next Tuesday at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

Trump managed to fake enthusiasm for Romney better than most, but can’t do so without, as is his wont, paying homage to himself:

“I feel strongly that Mitt is really doing well. I think he’s gonna be a great candidate and a great president. We need a great president. I feel a lot of people listen to what I have to say.”

Funny stuff, though not as funny as his tellingly phallic comments from April of last year:

“I’m a much bigger business man and have (a) much, much bigger net worth. I mean, my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney,” Trump said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Romney, a candidate who will unhesitatingly cozy up to any abrasive jackass, is perfectly cool with another of Trump’s look-at-me gambits, his birther obsession. In fact, it was precisely this topic that yesterday prompted Romney to make his first honest statement of the campaign:

Asked… whether Trump’s questioning of President Barack Obama’s birthplace gave him pause, Romney simply said he was grateful for all his supporters.

“You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Whether that appreciation extends as far as granting Trump a plum turn at the podium in Tampa remains to be seen:

“Mr. Trump’s massive popularity is just one of the many reasons he is being sought as a keynote speaker at the Tampa RNC Convention,” Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump, told The Daily Caller.

Trump’s not the only major league asshat who seems to have succumbed to a mild case of Romney fever recently. You might remember a Republican éminence grise or bête noire – named George W. Bush:

“I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home — the White House.

Alas, since Bush was essentially as welcome as herpes to the organizers of the 2008 Republican convention in Saint Paul, I don’t expect his being “for Mitt Romney” will net him much mic time this go-round, which is a pity. It would be a real highlight of the convention to see Bush and Trump on stage together, spinning plates, perhaps, or maybe doing a combover-and-paper version of “Dueling Banjos.” Continue reading Slouching Towards Tampa (With Friends Like These edition)