Nel's New Day

March 6, 2018

CPAC Represents Today’s Republican Leadership

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is past, but there is no doubt that it represents the Grand Old Party of Republicans. Embarrassed by the radical performance at this year’s annual conference, a National Review writer tried to justify CPAC’s racism and attempted to whitewash this statement from Ian Walters, the fundraiser’s communications director from the podium at the Ronald Reagan Dinner:

“We elected Mike Steele as chairman because he was a black guy, that was the wrong thing to do.”

The first black chairman of the Republican National Committee, Steele served from 2009 to 2011. Five years later, two percent of registered Republicans were black—the same percentage as in 1992 and down from 11 percent in 2012. DDT got eight percent of the black vote.

Last year, the GOP was good for white supremacists; they had a 20 percent increase of neo-Nazi groups over 2016. Anti-Semitic events increased almost 60 percent last year with much of the increase in schools. K-12 schools saw a 94 percent increase from 2016, and anti-Semitism on college campuses were up 90 percent. Because many students don’t report being bullied, the number could be double.

It’s impossible to cover up the flagrant racism at CPAC. It brought Marion Marechal Le Pen from France who wants to unite standard conservatives with “Identitarians,” including white supremacists and fascists. Matt Schlapp, the man who invited Le Pen to address CPAC members, pretended to not understand her politics.  Standard U.S. fringe conservatives Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity joined the lesser known Le Pen as did Nigel Farage, supporter of the economically disastrous Brexit.

The NRA had a strong message at CPAC.

  • Dana Loesch said that “many in the legacy media love mass shootings.”
  • Wayne LaPierre declared Democrats aim to “eradicate all individual freedoms.”
  • Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) told his crowd that Democrats would repeal the 2nd Amendment and bizarrely asked the crowd if they preferred tax cuts or the 2nd Amendment.

Over four decades ago, 400 conservatives met during the crisis of Watergate and Richard Nixon, arguing whether to dump the president. Honored speaker in 1974 was Ronald Reagan, and an honored guest was POW John McCain, who DDT insulted at the 2018 CPAC. In the 1990s, Newt Gingrich led the group farther right, and DDT brought the conspiracy theory surrounding President Obama’s place of birth to CPAC in 2011. Last year, Dan Schneider, executive director for the American Conservative Union, banned the “alt-right” from CPAC, and the RAISE act to eliminate almost all immigration was considered outside the mainstream. This year white supremacists were largely accepted, and the creator of the RAISE Act, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), has led the charge against DACA legislation. CPAC and the GOP require a superiority, even hatred, toward Muslims and almost all people of color.

CPAC members have given up pretending that the conference about “ideas” and the “conservative agenda.” Star Dinesh D-Souza explained their mission in his book Letters to a Young Conservative:

“One way to be effective as a conservative is to figure out what annoys and disturbs liberals the most, and then keep doing it.”

That statement epitomizes DDT’s rallies, and he used the CPAC audience for a rally. After trashing his prepared remarks, he admired his hair in the monitors and returned to lies about how much he has accomplished.

Speakers who wanted to address the importance of conservatism were booed.  Columnist and author Mona Charen decried the “sophomoric clownishness” of the movement when she appeared on Morning Joe. She said:

“But there’s this ethic, this mood of trolling the opposition, that if you can create liberal tears, then anything goes. And even to the point of inviting the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, a Nazi, an anti-Semite from France. And what was the point of inviting her? It was again to create a response, to jab a needle in the eye of liberals. And they think this is a game, it’s not. It’s not a game.”

At her CPAC speech, the crowd jeered when she called out Republican “hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women.” Her criticism was directed at “sexual harassers and abusers of women, who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women — and because he happens to have an ‘R’ next to his name we look the other way.” Charen needed security to get her safely out of the room. Her impressions of the event are here.

CPAC used to be a big deal, but the media attention for this annual event has waned even more than its attendance. Missing this year were most elected officials including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and libertarian-when-it-serves-him Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Instead DDT’s appointees, including four Cabinet members, dominated as speakers. Front and center was VP Mike Pence, who tried to defend DDT’s agenda and rally activists for the 2018 elections. White House counsel Don McGahn told his audience that DDT picked judicial nominees who he “could relate to.” Other speakers included Mike Mulvaney with other high-level DDT officials such as Kellyanne Conway, three far-right governors, and a sprinkling of minor congressional members. Sebastian Gorka, the gone but not forgotten White House aide beloved by neo-Nazis, called DDT “only accidentally the GOP candidate” and claimed that the GOP is “riding his coattails.”

Conservative celebrity Ben Shapiro, who started writing his political blog as a teenager and now claims that the Florida teenagers advocating gun safety laws have no insight, did complain to CPAC about DDT’s lying, calling it “nonsense” and “immoral.” But he was an outlier and received little publicity. Radical anti-Muslim Pamela Geller canceled her panel after her sponsor, American Principles Project, told her to pull Jim Hoft, founder of the right-wing fringe website The Gateway Pundit, who spread false conspiracies about the Florida shooting survivors being paid “actors.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), headed for the 2020 presidential election, complained about how reporters’ questions are “never about substance,” after his inability to successfully answer questions about the shutdown and the easy accessibility to AR-15s. His speech comparing characters on the animated TV show The Simpsons was far from substance. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-simpsons-main-characters-137323  His argument that Homer, Bart, Marge, and Maggie are Republicans describe his party as greedy, stupid, juvenile, vandals, and—in the case of Marge—enabling these characteristics. Witty and over-achieving Lisa, defined by Cruz as the Democrat, looks out for others. She doesn’t compromise her values but doesn’t force them on others, and she refuses to be a corporate shill. (Okay, maybe then she isn’t a Republican.)

Also “substance” from Cruz’s speech, “We can stop [the shootings] by going after criminals,” and “freedom works.”

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote:

“Now CPAC encapsulates the GOP. Adherents of President Trump’s brand of Republican politics do not bother to disguise their extremism, conspiracy theories, paranoia or xenophobia. In a real sense, the party of CPAC and Trump — who is scheduled to speak on Friday, and will surely feel entirely at home with the hyperventilating rhetoric and contempt for facts on display — have displaced the rest of the party. The GOP used to contain, cool and generally outvote the extremists who showed up to CPAC each year for a ritual display of their ideological fervor. Now, the extremists — spitting venom and brandishing the Fox News view of the world (in which the FBI not Russia is the bad actor) — are the predominate voice in a party that has shed intellectual and moral integrity, as well as any pretense of concern for serious policy.”

Bill Kristol said:

“About CPAC, what needs to be said was said by Eric Hoffer: ‘Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.’”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremism, called this year’s gathering like “a carnival of conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and mainstream Republicans all uniting under President Trump.” HuffPo shows some of them. The SPLC continued:

“In many ways, CPAC has become an annual measure of how far the radical right has moved into the mainstream of the conservative right, especially in recent years as anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT groups have found political friends in the United States and Europe.”

Fifty-five years after George Wallace blocked a school door to keep black students from going in, CPAC celebrated its legacy of racism, led by DDT, who was supported by almost every Republican speaker. The group continued to ridicule Hillary Clinton, as if she were president, and brought out the cry, “Look her up!” The American Conservative Union gives a platform to the new “normal” of the Grand Old Party that spreads hatred and rejects anyone except white men as leaders of a multi-cultural country.

February 25, 2017

DDT: Lies, Lies, Lies

cpac-ballroomConservatives celebrated at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his minions this year—a change from last year when he wasn’t even wanted at the conference. DDT’s speech could have been the one he wanted to give last year as he quoted Hillary Clinton’s term “deplorable” and encouraged the crowd to shout “Lock her up!” Another last election message was the conspiracy against Bernie Sanders with “super-delegates.” Numbers also plagued him when he claimed that they would not read about CPAC “lines that go back six blocks.” The speech is probably for his 2020 run, but the lies are the same. Even the ballroom at CPAC was not full for DDT’s speech.

Other false claims from DDT: “Obamacare covers very few people,” and “[the wall is] way, way, way ahead of schedule.” The Affordable Care Act reduced the number of uninsured by 20 million people, and there is no schedule for the wall that may never be built.” The rate of people in the United States who lack health insurance has hit a record low with only 8.6 percent of people, about 27.3 million, being uninsured. That’s 20.4 million fewer people than when the program started in 2010, and the number would be lower if the Supreme Court had maintained the states’ mandatory Medicaid expansion. Red states showed the greatest decline in the number of uninsured, and those without Medicaid expansion had the highest percentage of uninsured with Texas and Mississippi at the top.

Throwing red meat to his CPAC base, DDT defined his enemies: “radical Islamic terrorists”; immigrants who he described as “the gang members, the drug dealers, and the criminal aliens”; and, of course, the “dishonest media.” Also the Constitution as he whined about the “Fiii-rrrst Amendment!” After he talked about keeping “the bad ones” out, he excluded several media outlets from his Friday briefing session.

DDT’s new National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, negated the use of the term “racial Islamic terrorists.” Speaking to his staff, he said that the label was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic.”

 With so much news flooding the air waves about DDT, this one may have slipped through the cracks. One week before Michael Flynn left his position as National Security Advisor on February 13, 2017, he received a proposal for the way that DDT could lift sanctions against Russia. DDT’s personal Mafia-linked lawyer Michael D. Cohen, business associate plus convicted felon and government informant Felix Salter who helped DDT scout deals in Russia, and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko are pushing the plan of releasing evidence of corruption to allow Artemenko to take over the government and negotiate a long term Russian “lease” of Crimea.

The goal is to replace the current Ukrainian government with the Russia-tolerant faction allowing DDT to lift the sanctions against Russia’s military invasion and capture of Russia and give Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the $500 billion deal for Exxon Mobil. Flynn has disappeared, but the plan surely remains, most likely with a payoff for DDT. And it’s on paper. Artemenko is currently under treason investigation, and Cohen denied delivering any plan.

DDT’s assertion that his Muslim ban is to protect the country was soundly debunked by a report from his own Department of Homeland Security that concluded citizenship is an “unreliable” threat indicator and that people from the seven countries have rarely been implicated in U.S.-based terrorism. People from the dangerous seven countries identified by DDT, the same ones where he doesn’t do personal profit-making business—Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Libya—are “rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism,” according to the report.

Although terror groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen pose a threat of attacks in the United States, the other four countries are “regionally focused.” Of the 82 people “who died in the pursuit of or were convicted of any terrorism-related federal offense,” over half were U.S.-born citizens. Eight of them convicted or died in pursuit of terrorism were from Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Yemen. People are more likely to be killed by guns, trains, a railway vehicle, their own clothes melting or lighting on fire, lightning, falling furniture–the list goes on and on about the dangers of life outside terrorism. Of the 3,252,493 refugees admitted to the United States from 1975 to the end of 2015, 20 were terrorists, 0.00062 percent of the total.  Only three of them were successful in their attacks, killing a total of three people.

At the same time DHS released its report refuting DDT’s claim about Muslims and terrorism, Secretary John Kelly released a memo creating a new DDT-ordered federal office to work with victims of undocumented immigrants. He wrote that “criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents.” Once again, the government is “misrepresenting,” a polite word for lying. Undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes and U.S. citizens and are less likely to be criminals in some cases.

The Secure Communities (S-COMM) immigration enforcement program failed to reduce crime. A study of 159 cities shows no correlation between crime rates and levels of immigration, and other research showed that levels of recent immigration had a negative affect on homicide rates and no affect on property crime rates. Another study found that immigrant influx was correlated with decreases in homicide and robbery rates.

The only people who need to be afraid are those with brown skin who might be accused of being Hispanic or Muslim. For example, Muhammad Ali Jr., son of one of the greatest boxers and civil rights activists in the nation, was detained two hours on February 7 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FL) airport on his return from Jamaica. He had gone there with his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, who gave a speech about black history. He was asked twice about his religion and “where he got his name,” a common question for Muslims. Agents released Ali’s mother when she showed him a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but Ali had no picture of himself and his father who died last year. DDT’s Muslim ban was overturned three days prior to Ali’s detention, but agents reportedly did not respect the court’s judgment.

NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre is using the DDT system of lying. Before Election Day, he told gun lovers that they had to vote for NRA Republicans because every one of his predictions about Obama taking guns and sabotaging the Second Amendment had come true. The reverse was actually true as federal gun safety laws and those in most states were weakened. At CPAC, LaPierre ranted about how the “Anarchists, Marxists, communists, and the left of—the rest of the left-wing socialist parade” are coming for the guns.

Anti-Trump protesters “spit in the face of Gold Star families,” a revision of history when progressives defended these families and DDT excoriated them unless they were white. LaPierre said these leftists want “to tear down our system.” At the same time, White House and white supremacist Steve Bannon declared that “deconstruction [aka destruction] of the administration” is its goal. The crowning claim from LaPierre was that progressive activists get paid $1,500 a week, $78,000 a year. Watch for the letters of your newspaper because these lies are sure to appear there.

“I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public. Ron Barber—at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead—held town halls. It’s what the people deserve in a representative.”

gabby-giffordsThat was the response from Gabby Giffords to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who used her as an excuse for not facing his constituents. Gohmert won his last election by more than 49 points, and his district is one of the reddest in the country—but he’s afraid of “the threat of violence at town hall meetings.” And he used the 2011 shooting at former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) where she was severely injured and six people were killed. With her customary bravery, Giffords responded:

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls. [During my congressional career] listening to my constituents was the most basic and core tenet of the job I was hired to do.”

Giffords’ husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly said that Gohmert shouldn’t “hide behind” his wife to avoid town halls:

“If he doesn’t want to do town halls, he should just say he doesn’t want to face his constituents. He shouldn’t hide behind Gabby.”

Town hall complaints from tens of thousands of people included the repeal of health care, Scott Pruitt’s confirmation to head the EPA, and legislators refusal to investigate DDT’s links to Russia. Many crowds chanted, “Do your job!” Terrified of this response, a vast majority of GOP legislators simply avoided their constituents in any way they could.

Gohmert also repeated lies that “paid” groups were disrupting the Republican town halls. No town hall meetings this year have been violent, even if some members of Congress have called the police instead of facing a group of people. There’s no evidence of paid protesters, and progressive activists haven’t “threatened public safety.” It was the violent Tea Party members who protested Barack Obama’s election and gathered with their guns to threaten and spit on legislators who supported the ACA.

If Gohmert—and his GOP colleagues—are so terrified of vilence from guns, it’s time for them to enact gun safety laws. And it’s time for “these people” to stop lying.

 

 

April 24, 2016

Conservatives Use God as Justification

About going back into politics, Marco Rubio, failed GOP presidential candidate, said, “We’ll see if God offers us another opportunity in the future.” Let’s hope that God has more sense than Rubio. Below are other lawmakers that God should turn down.

Answering the question about funding a defense for Oklahoma’s latest unconstitutional attack on women, state Rep. David Brumbaugh said that God will pay all the legal expenses as well as fixing the state’s disintegrating economy. The state has a $1.3 billion deficit. Last week, the state House passed SB1552 that revokes the license of any doctor who performs an abortion other than for women who have miscarriages or have endangered lives. If the Senate passes House amendments to the bill, which looks likely, and Gov. Mary Fallin signs the bill, which looks likely, women can’t even get a legal abortion within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy when 90 percent of these surgeries are performed. Brumbaugh compared passing this bill to the abolition of slavery, the Civil Rights Act, and the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is a place where religious conservatives go to pat themselves on the back because they are better than the rest of the people in the United States. It’s also a place where they plan to make everyone in the nation believe the same way that they do. Many of their positions will be found in The Federalist. George W. Carey explained that its readers “would agree with Clinton Rossiter that it stands with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution among the “sacred writings of American political history.” One of these authors of “sacred writings,” Henry Scanlon, published a piece explaining how women who share his views are “incredibly attractive,” whereas the women on the left are manly. In one paragraph of his 2,000 word piece, he writes:

“The young women who attend CPAC are spectacular. No kidding: What’s up with this concentration of incredibly attractive young, conservative women? It’s noticeable and remarkable. They are beautiful and stylish in the way French women often are, which is to say in their own way, not in a conforming or predictable way. They all look like the girl the high school quarterback wants to date, and they are confident, relaxed, and smart, joking amongst themselves.”

He has an explanation for this incredible beauty: daring to read Ayn Rand makes young women “the prettiest, smartest girls” because they have an inner confidence. Scanlon’s wife told him that it’s because these women don’t act like boys which is ugly and they are willing to take fashion risks like Parisian trendsetters. In addition, Scanlon thinks that women get wrinkles from being “politically correct.” In essence, conservative women are “freer” because they don’t have to think. And of course, because God favors registered Republicans. Now we know what religious Republicans are thinking about at CPAC.

In addition to ogling young women at CPAC, Republicans are writing letters in support of former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and asking for leniency for the recently-convicted child molester. Among 40 letters of support for Hastert is one from Rep. Tom DeLay, the former House majority whip who helped make Hastert the speaker and wrote that he is a man of “strong faith” and “great integrity.” DeLay wrote:

“We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few. He doesn’t deserve what he is going through. I ask that you consider the man that is before you and give him leniency where you can.”

Dennis HastertWhile part of the movement to impeach President Bill Clinton over an extramarital affair between consenting adults, Hastert covered up Rep. Mark Foley’s inappropriate relationships with young Congressional male pages. Legislators in southern states are in a panic about molesters in their women’s bathrooms. Lawmakers, here’s what a child molester looks like. The sentencing for the man who was two heartbeats away from the presidency for eight years is this coming Wednesday. It is not for his molesting children but instead for a financial crime. (More about Hastert here.)

Many fundamentalist Christians, finding Donald Trump too liberal, are turning toward Ted Cruz as a presidential candidate in November. Their question now is whether he’s the kind of fundamentalist that they want. Cruz’ father, foreign policy adviser Jerry Boykin, PAC leader David Barton—and possibly Cruz himself—are “Seven Mountains Dominionists” who want to take over seven cultures: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business, and government. Those who say that Cruz is just a “constitutionalist” see Dominionism as an “elastic” concept and avoid talking about the Dominionist influence on Cruz.

Every year since 1952, the President of the United States has been forced to sign a proclamation declaring the observation of the National Day of Prayer despite the 7th Circuit Court ruling that Congress’s law is unconstitutional. Alabama state Rep. Mack Butler wants to push religion into government ever farther with his proposal of a resolution demanding that the United States become a Christian nation banning abortion and returning to “traditional values.” His proposal follows the first “whereas” that “God has blessed America, where freedom exists for all, regardless of belief or creed.”

God wanted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to make a fortune off securities fraud, according to the man who’s charged with an alleged kickback deal in which he persuaded people to invest in a company. After his friends put $840,000 in Servergy, Inc., Paxton, who failed to tell them his connection to the company, got 100,000 shares of stock. Paxton claims that the shares were a gift from Servergy’s CEO, William Mapp, because Mapp told him the shares were a gift while they were eating at a Dairy Queen.

Texas has many links to Christianity. The state Board of Education has managed to insert fundamentalist Christianity into the textbooks that then infiltrate the United States, and the Board’s new leader doesn’t believe in science. The woman assigned to head the state’s Board of Education is a home schooler who doesn’t believe in science. Mary Lou Bruner, a woman running for the Board of Education, thinks that the Middle East is forcing Islam content into the textbooks by buying the books. She also has some other bizarre claims, including her accusation that President Obama is a gay prostitute. With a Masters of Education degree from East Texas State University, Bruner has worked as a teacher and counselor in Texas public schools for 36 years. Last November, the board approved about 90 social studies textbooks deemed inaccurate, biased, and politicized.

Almost a year ago, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a mental health bill on advice from Scientology lobbying. SB 359 would permit hospitals to detail potentially dangerous for several hours in order that they be evaluated. Scientology does not believe in mental illness and purports that the 9/11 attacks were spearheaded by Osama Bin Laden’s psychiatrist.

While engaged in child molesting, other crimes, demolition of the economy, sexism, and falsehoods through their attempts to put fundamentalist Christians into a secular government, Republicans move forward in their attempts to destroy women’s lives. South Dakota plans to be the third state after Arizona and Arkansas that forces doctors to lie about the pseudoscience that a pill will reverse abortions in progress. The theory is based on a physician’s anecdotal case report who tested something on about six patients who said they regretted swallowing the abortion pill. Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, said that doctors offering to undo medical abortions are “essentially testing an unproven, experimental protocol on pregnant women.” Now legislators with no medical training are forcing doctors to do just that in at least three states.

Cecile Richards, director of Planned Parenthood, said, “A woman voting for Ted Cruz is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.” I would say that her statement holds true for the vast majority of Republicans now running for office.

March 2, 2015

Send in the Clowns to CPAC

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference last week started with speaker Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) saying that the GOP needs to support and elect “principled, positive, and proven” conservative candidates instead of rewarding “the guy who can shout “freedom” the loudest.  In other words, stop sending in the clowns. Nobody took his advice.

Some CPAC messages: waterboarding works, the Muslim Brotherhood controls one-third of all mosques in the U.S., and the nation is currently experiencing Islam’s “third great jihad.”

tomi lahrenSouth Dakota TV host Tomi Lahren, 22, explained that women like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren can be classified as male because they get attention through their words and wisdom. Then she said she wasn’t apologizing for being white and she’s rich because she grew up in South Dakota. She concluded, “Let’s look at the top three Democrats for 2016. You’ve got Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden? Old, rich, white, and if the pantsuit fits, male too?” She also doesn’t want the government near her body, so that would make her pro-choice if she thought about it. This may be a rising GOP star!

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson said, “Bring your Bible to the Oval Office, and your woman, ’cause the hippies are coming to get you.” No one seems to know what he meant although the rest of the speech concerned the possibility of Republicans getting sexually transmitted diseases.

Heritage Foundation vice-president Jennifer Marshall said that the three legs of the conservative stool are marriage, small government and a stable economy because “the sexual revolution has made relationships between men and women much more challenging.” Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute followed up by saying that poverty can be erased “by having stable, two-parent households.” Poverty might be eradicated by just having “stable” households.

Donald Trump still questions the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate, and Rick Santorum gave a birtherism “joke”: “The president’s popularity is so bad around the world today that I heard this report from a source that the Kenyan government is actually developing proof that Barack Obama was born in America.” Both men were greeted with silence.

Trump also said he would be the best commander-in-chief because he has the best skills to negotiate with terrorists. Trying to follow the GOP mantra of non-negotiation, however, he said he would “hit [ISIL] really hard,” maybe with “some boots on the ground for a period of time until you get rid of the cancer.” Then he would put lots of sanctions on Iran despite Iran’s opposition to ISIL. As for the national debt, the man who has personally filed bankruptcy declared:

“I understand debt, I understand business better than anybody that’s ever run, in my opinion, for office. Nobody’s had the success, in a business sense that I’ve had. I know how to get rid of debt… and I would do it quickly.”

Governors don’t know enough about foreign affairs to be president, said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), trying to flaunt his personal knowledge. His strategy to defeat ISIL: defeat them “on the ground by a Sunni military force with air support from the United States.” Although a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he claims that the president doesn’t have a military strategy “because he doesn’t want to upset Iran.” ISIL and Iran are actually enemies, and Iran has already gone after ISIL targets. The president has already launched a military offensive against ISIL targets, as Rubio suggests. Rubio wants “a sustained air campaign,” increased  “efforts to equip and capacitate non-jihadists in Syria,” arming and supporting “forces in Iraq confronting it,” and work with “with nations in the region threatened by the Islamic State to participate in real efforts to defeat it”—everything that President Obama is already doing.

Triangulation in politics: exploiting public disapproval of both major parties by separating from both. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) approach: GOP congressional leaders have sold out to Democrats on immigration, and people should support him because he’ll be farther right than all those Washington “politicians.” He wants everyone to stand up to the Republicans.

Sarah Palin inadvertently skewered leading GOP candidates for president when she said:

“It’s said that old men declare wars, and then they send the young ones to fight ‘em. So it’s the duty of he who sends them to actually make sure that we can win those wars. And it’s our duty to elect an honorable commander-in-chief who is willing to make the same sacrifices he sends others away to make.”

That lets out those who didn’t serve, some of whom actually dodged the draft: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and perhaps a few others.

The biggest reaction from the media, however, came from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s comparison of Wisconsin protesters and ISIL: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.” Non-violent Wisconsin protesters didn’t hold hostages, behead people, or burn them alive; they just marched, chanted, held signs, and sang. Walker, however, equates U.S. citizens peacefully exercising their constitutional rights with violent terrorists killing people and blowing up the infrastructure.

joan walker

Walker’s spokesperson tried to cover for him by saying that he wasn’t comparing the protesters to ISIL, but Walker made the situation worse when he said, “That’s the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there’s any parallel between the two.” In other words, he admitted he has no experience with terrorism. Even Jim Geraghty wrote in the highly conservative National Review that “Walker doesn’t quite understand the complexity of the challenge from ISIS and its allied groups.”

Walker's protesters These are some of Walker’s ISIL look-alikes in Wisconsin. More images are available here.

tractorISIS

Walker’s CPAC comment followed his claim a week earlier that “the most significant foreign policy decision of my lifetime” was then-President Ronald Reagan’s move to break up the union for the air traffic controllers by firing about 11,000 of them during a 1981 strike. He explained that this event proved to countries throughout the world that “we weren’t to be messed with.” Walker, 47, missed two wars in Iraq, START treaties, Nixon in China, ending the Vietnam War, the Camp David Accords, negotiation of the Northern Ireland peace process, Osama bin Laden’s death, the Iranian hostage crisis, wars in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran/Contra, and much more.  Foes around the world also didn’t stop “messing” with the United States after 11,000 people lost their jobs. Walker’s naïve statements show his approach toward foreign affairs.

http://www.alternet.org/world/guess-what-scott-walker-and-isis-have-common   Walker and ISIL militants have something in common: their hatred for unions. Walker may also not know that Reagan supported unions in other parts of the world.

Mark Salter, a top adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign added this comment to an article about Walker on Salter’s Facebook page:

“I want to like him but Scott Walker is kind of a dumb ass.”

Matt Taibbi called Scott Walker, “God’s Gift to the Democratic Party.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) came out the winner of the CPAC with over one-fourth of the votes. Koch-supported Walker got 21.4 percent among the 17 GOP contenders, and Cruz, with 11.5 percent, was third. Fourth and fifth were Ben Carson (11.4 percent) and Jeb Bush (8.3 percent). Some of his votes probably came from the people he bussed in from downtown Washington, D.C. The remainder of the wannabes got under 5 percent. Paul had a position that everyone can agree with: “It’s time for a new president.” That’s because of term limits for U.S. president. Of the 3,007 CPAC voters, 42 percent were students.

A report from Pew Research Center released last week shows that “majorities say the Democratic Party is open and tolerant, cares about the middle class and is not ‘too extreme.’ By contrast, most Americans see the G.O.P. lacking in tolerance and empathy for the middle class, and half view it as too extreme.”

March 10, 2014

CPAC Reviewed

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:35 PM
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Ukraine got almost eclipsed last week in the media by the Conservative Political Action Conference, an amazing feat considering that only 2,500 people attend the annual event in Washington. The press does show the GOP lack of understanding, lack of regard for humanity, and just downright craziness. Because the conference has been so entertaining—in a very noir fashion—I can’t resist writing about it.

In an effort to shine a negative light on free school lunches, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told a heart-wrenching tale of a little boy who would rather his folks fix him a school lunch in a brown paperback rather than get a free hot lunch. The  speech went viral and got a fact check from Washington Post, receiving Four Pinocchios—the highest number possible for a falsehood. Ryan credited Eloise Anderson, who serves in the cabinet of his “buddy, Governor Scott Walker,“ as the person who met this little boy.

Anderson told the story at a congressional hearing last summer, claiming that she had spoken to him. When pressed for the truth, Anderson said that she hadn’t actually met the boy but was referring to a television interview with Maurice Mazyck, who repeated the story that occurred over 25 years ago which may have come from Laura Schroff’s The Invisible Thread. Both Anderson and Ryan got four Pinocchios because “politicians need to check the facts in any prepared remarks.” The question is whether Ryan will learn his lesson faster than Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who continued to plagiarize after he got caught.

cayden-pay-it-forward-5A better school lunch story comes from Howell (MI) where an eight-year-old boy started raising money because he didn’t want his classmate to have his lunch taken away and replaced with a cheese sandwich. That’s what my state representative calls a “scarlet sandwich” like The Scarlet Letter.

Cayden and his mother collected cans and bottles to fund lunches, and friends and neighbors helped them raise $64, enough for other 100 lunches. After a radio station broadcast the story, they had enough money for 5,000 lunches the next week. Almost 30 percent of students in the county where Cayden lives are on free or reduced-price lunch, better than in my county where almost two-thirds of the kids eligible for the school lunch program because of poverty. Detroit’s ABC affiliate picked Cayden as its “Detroit 2020 Person of the Week.”

And he’s doing all this while conservatives at CPAC were blowing hot air about how poor people don’t deserve any help. The richest country in the world is now at the place where eight-year-olds have to go out to raise money to help his friends.

Right-wing talk show host Michael Medved said, “There has never been a state in this country that has ever banned gay marriage.” He claimed that this was a “liberal lie.” Try telling that to same-sex couples in the 33 states that deny them marriage licenses. Thirty of the states have banned marriage equality through state constitutional amendments and the other three by statute.

Thanks to John Hudak, Fellow of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute for this photo of the room for the minority outreach panel, “How do we grow our ranks in areas where we traditionally underperform?” The seats stayed empty, according to Mediate, until people rolled in for the next session with NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.

CPAC-2014-minority-panel-empty-room

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose personal hopes for presidential candidate were revived with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s debacle, compared the Obama administration’s opposition to George Wallace trying to keep black students out of which schools. Jindal also advocates a policy of “health for handshakes” because that’s what his folks did when he was born.

Donald Trump mentioned the “late, great Jimmy Carter,” forgetting that the 39th president of the United States is still helping people all over the world.

A panel on “Why Conservatism is Right for Women” pushed the point that the “real” GOP War against Women is the insistence of people on the left to point out the GOP positions and statements. If the media didn’t print what GOP members said, no one would notice.

Conservative author Kate Obenshain asked GOP members to lay off their dumb comments: “We cannot have any stupid comments this year. Please think before you make pithy, obnoxious comments.” She added, “White men stay behind, let the women talk about this issue.” Letting GOP women talk might not even be a good idea. At CPAC, Ann Coulter said about unwed mothers, “Shaming is good.” 

Possibly the strangest part of CPAC was Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) waving a musket rifle in the air on-stage. Actually, he was make a NRA presentation to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) who is retiring with a 100-percent approval for his voting record on giving guns to everyone with no restrictions. The strange part was not the gun but what McConnell said today about the Tea Party, those people at CPAC. “I think we are going to crush them everywhere. I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer summed up the speeches: “Based on today’s speeches, I am not sure we will be able to tell the difference between CPAC and the SNL spoof of CPAC.”

A bit about CPAC:

 

  • While claiming to be grassroots, the American Conservative Union, parent of CPAC, is supported by guns, big oil, cigarettes, and the Koch brothers.
  • Among the CPAC sponsors was Facebook. They may have used all their money to go there because they’re not scheduled to be at Netroots Nation in July.  
  • Casual encounter ads on CraigsList greatly increase for the CPAC with many attendees searching for man-on-man relationships in a wild variety of weekend love fests. Read this for the graphic language.

 

Hard to believe, but some people are even too extreme for CPAC. Family Research Council leader Jerry Boykin wasn’t invited so he gave his own speech. After he was finished, an open mike mistakenly picked up his comments: “The Jews are the problem, the Jews are the cause of all the problems in the world.” An unknown person answered, “I know, I know, that’s why we’re trying to fix everything.”

For people who want to check the veracity of GOP statements, Media Matters has started Mythopedia and encourages tips. The online database has about 400 entries but may evolve in a Wikipedia-style site.

At CPAC, GOP presidential wannabes compete with each other in the straw poll. Rand Paul won for the second consecutive year, this time with 31 percent of the vote. Conservatives and libertarians agree with Paul that businesses should be able to discriminate to anyone they wish–minorities, pregnant women, etc. Other issues, however, caused divides at CPAC.

One major division was whether the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a hero or a coward. Libertarians think that the constitution means absolute privacy while conservatives think that he is helping “to dismantle the defenses of this nation in a time of maximum danger,” as former Virginia governor James Gilmore said.

Even more disunity occurred at the panel to determine whether “libertarians and social conservatives” can unite. Referring to the Christian right’s anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, anti-pot messages undermining the GOP’s election chances, a member asked, “Will conservatives ever ease up on social issues, or do we have to wait for our generation to do it?” An attendee responded, via Twitter, “It’s unfortunate that this conference has been hijacked by libertarians. Libertarians are not conservatives. They should hold their own conference.” Oops.

Polls show that the next generation may make a significant change. More millennials, born after 1980, view themselves as liberal than conservative. About 32 percent call themselves liberal compared to the 25 percent who identify as conservative. Almost half of them say that they grow more liberal as they become older, and 57 percent of them say that their views on social issues become more progressive with time. Almost 70 percent support marriage equality, and millennials are twice as likely to view same-sex couples raising children as positive rather than negative. Over half of them favor a “bigger government providing more services” rather than a smaller government. Now if we can just get them to vote!

March 30, 2013

CPAC Tidbits for the Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 6:02 PM
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CPAC was finished a few weeks ago, but the stories from the conservative convention have become legend, showing the warped attitudes of conservatives toward the real world. Keep in mind that these are people who believe that the voters didn’t oppose their policies, just their “packaging.” We can probably expect quotes from the politicians to appear during the upcoming election–only 30 months from now!

Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) and Torture: “If the choice was to hear 70 political speeches or to go waterboarding, well, I’d have to think about that.” [I guess it’s a joke.]

Charles Butler and Single-Parent Families: The conservative talk show host blamed women with an agenda “on the booty call” in the session, “Fatherless America: The Headwaters of Poverty, Crime & Social Dysfunction.” He claimed that the problem comes from all women who are tricking men into have children they don’t want.

Pamela Geller and CPAC’s Refusal to Give Her a Speaking Slot: The professional Islamophobe claimed that Grover Norquist was in league with the Muslim Brotherhood, both determined to spread Shariah law throughout the United States. She did get to moderate a panel.

Orly Taitz and the Birther Issue: The Birther Queen attended Geller’s panel about Islam where she repeatedly interrupted the speaker demanding answers to her questions about why Geller’s panel was not addressing her urgent issue of President Obama’s birth certificate. Security guards escorted Taitz out of the room.

Sarah Palin and the Big Gulp: In blue jeans, the former vice-presidential candidate sucked on a huge soda to ridicule Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to start curbing the nation’s obesity problem. Palin has demonstrated food issues for a long time; there was her ridicule of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative with her “s’mores” routine. Even Republicans are disgusted with Palin: Former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd said CPAC “totally diminished its credibility” by inviting Sarah Palin to its annual conference.

Wayne LaPierre and His Guns:  The NRA CEO claimed that government wants to keep records of gun ownership so the Chinese can hack them or the list could be handed over to Mexican government. The Second Amendment isn’t just an American right, according to LaPierre, it’s the right that protects all other rights: “If you aren’t free to protect yourself when the government puts its thumb on that freedom, then you’re not free at all.” In his work to ensure that mentally-ill people have the right to own guns, one wonders if he is afraid he will make that list because of the number of people who call him crazy.

Scott Terry and Slavery:  Although CPAC was not responsible for everyone who purchased a ticket, it did encourage these people in their craziness. This North Carolina white segregationist and self-identifiied descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis stated from the audience that slaves should have been grateful for food and shelter. At a session called “Trump the Race Card: Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You’re Not One?”, Terry maintained that white people have been “systematically disenfranchised by federal legislation” and would be fine with a society in which black people were permanently subservient to whites.

Wearing a Rick Santorum sticker, he said, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public” after a woman in the audience challenged his statements. Several in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

Dinesh D’Souza and More Slavery: This outsted Christian college president, filmmaker, and author said, “One problem with liberalism is the notion that slavery involved the theft of labor from African Americans.” He has expanded his wacko theory that the president’s worldview is shaped by Kenyan anti-colonial sentiment against Great Britain to all liberals. [Of course, Newt Gingrich agreed with D’Souza at one time.] Let us not confuse this anti-colonial worldview of the U.S.’s founding fathers who stated in the Declaration of Independence that King George “plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” D’Souza showed a trailer from his upcoming film that indicates slavery was merely an entrepreneurial exercise on the part of the slave-traders.

Angela Logosmasini and Cloth Grocery Bags:  This senior fellow from Competitive Enterprise Institute explained to her audience that these bags can kill people and that they need to save plastics which are under assault. In a panel discussion, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Plastic Water Bottles, Fracking, Genetically Modified Food & Big Gulp Sodas,” Logosmasini explained how plastic grocery bags saves lives.

Katie Kieffer and Contraception: The columnist at Townhall.com claimed that Obamacare is sexist because it provides free birth control. In a panel, apparently in opposition to Barbara Walters TV show The View, that was called “The Right View…and the REAL Issues,” Kieffer reinforced Butler’s “booty call” comments. “Obamacare is sexist because it puts guys off the hook,” Kieffer explained. “All he has to do is say, oh, that’s not my fault; you should have been using Obama’s free birth control.”

Newt Gingrich and His Candles: The former establishment GOP presidential candidate bashed the “Old Guard” to ally himself with the Tea Party, who he calls the “pioneers of the future.” According to Gingrich, “Republican establishment is just plain wrong.” Holding up a candle, he explained that the GOP establishment is “trapped in the age of candles” and the Obama administration is trying to redistribute the candle wealth. [I don’t know what he means either.] He said that the GOP should invent the light bulb and complimented Sen. Paul Rand (KY) and Gov. Scott Walker (WI). In a bizarre switch, he praised Citizenville, the new book from former San Francisco (Democrat) mayor and liberal Gavin Newsome. In conclusion the man who wants “tax cuts for the rich” is pleased with the new pope who will challenge conservatives on the poor.

Michele Bachmann and the List of Lies: The Minnesota representative threw lots of red meat to the hungry audience, but it was all pink slime from a self-published book that had no sourcing for its claims. Accusing President Obama of spending $1.4 billion for perks in running the White House, including walking the dog, she failed to recognize that the Bush White House cost $1.6 billion to operate in 2008. She also ignored the fact that $1.1 of that was for Secret Service and the chopper fleet. If Bachmann is right, the president has saved the country $200 billion, not counting for inflation. The Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler “There really aren’t enough Pinocchios for such misleading use of statistics in a major speech.” [The White House groundskeeper has walked every president’s dog since Nixon because he likes dogs!]

Ann Coulter and the Shotgun Approach: Sandra Fluke doesn’t need to worry about sex because she has a bad haircut, former President Bill Clinton is a “forcible rapist,” CPAC cut out 300 pounds this year (in a covert reference to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie), and on and on. Or Coulter says. The major complaint, however, from not only the CPAC speakers but also House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is that closing the White House tours is saving $2 million.

Daily Kos has a chart that helps identify differences among the radical conservatives. Very well worth looking at!

March 19, 2013

Portman Heats Up Marriage Equality Discussion

When potential GOP vice-presidential candidate and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) came out of the closet last week to support marriage equality because his son is gay, the reactions went from lukewarm to downright hot—against him. 

The most common response from the left was approval of Portman’s supporting same-sex marriage combined with questions about why he took over two years to reverse his support of DOMA. He did wait until after Mitt Romney selected his running mate—which was not Portman. A few tweets pointed out the hypocrisy of politicians supporting only issues that affect their families.

“Portman’s son came out & now he is for Gay Rights. Any GOP members with daughters so there could be support for Women’s Rights?”

“I invite every elected official to come spend a day in my house, learn reality of autism, dementia,living w/o health insurance after cancer.”

“Now all we need is a Republican senator whose kid is having sex with an undocumented, union teacher on Medicare and social security.”

Then there were the voices from journalists:

“More importantly, I think, now I want to arrange for every Republican who signed onto the Paul Ryan budget to wake up with a poor son. Because then I know all of a sudden you won’t want to cut food stamps. You won’t want to cut school nutrition. If empathy only extends to your flesh and blood, we gotta start shoving people into those families.”—Rachel Maddow on Real Time with Bill Maher

“Empathy, especially in elected officials is a good thing! But there’s also something frustratingly blinkered and limited about this form of persuasion. If it’s going to take every anti-gay politician having a gay son for gay people to be treated like the other human beings in this country, then equal rights are going to take longer to achieve than they should.—Chris Hayes

“But if Portman can turn around on one issue once he realizes how it touches his family personally, shouldn’t he take some time to think about how he might feel about other issues that don’t happen to touch him personally? Obviously the answers to complicated public policy questions don’t just directly fall out of the emotion of compassion. But what Portman is telling us here is that on this one issue, his previous position was driven by a lack of compassion and empathy. Once he looked at the issue through his son’s eyes, he realized he was wrong. Shouldn’t that lead to some broader soul-searching? Is it just a coincidence that his son is gay, and also gay rights is the one issue on which a lack of empathy was leading him astray? That, it seems to me, would be a pretty remarkable coincidence.

“The great challenge for a senator isn’t to go to Washington and represent the problems of his own family. It’s to try to obtain the intellectual and moral perspective necessary to represent the problems of the people who don’t have direct access to the corridors of power. Senators basically never have poor kids. That’s something members of Congress should think about. Especially members of Congress who know personally that realizing an issue affects their own children changes their thinking.”—Matthew Yglesias

 CPAC attendees weighed in:

“Horrible!” said Tony Mele, an 88-year-old woman from New Jersey. When told he did so because of his gay son, she responded, “That’s his fault! He gets no sympathy from me.” A pastor from Georgia, William Temple, told Portman to “quit being so selfish as to only think about his son,” and if he won’t reverse himself, “to step down and go home.” Another pastor, Rev. Robert Lancia, dismissed Portman’s point that people should follow the Golden Rule: “That doesn’t cover it.” One man, David Kern, even said Portman’s son’s choice of college turned him gay. “Well what did Sen. Portman expect when he sent his son to Yale?”

And the far-right evangelicals capped off with vitriol:

“Homosexual sex is ultimately just as destructive as cocaine use. Would you suddenly call for the legalization of cocaine if his son had announced that he was a cocaine addict? Would that be ‘loving’ and ‘compassionate’? What will happen to Rob Portman’s belief system when he discovers that his son is infected with HIV or throat cancer?”—William Murray, head of the ultra-right-wing “Government Is Not God” PAC

My favorite comes from Bryan Fischer for the so-called American Family Association:

“@ gay son: SSM: A father can still love a son who robs a bank without changing his mind about the morality of bank robbing.”

My taken on it after having had a committed relationship with the same woman for almost 44 years? Portman’s statement is like civil unions: better than nothing but still not good enough.

March 16, 2013

Nothing New from CPAC

March is Brain Injury Month with the past week, March 9-16, labeled Brain Awareness Week. During the same week, conservatives met in Maryland at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Studies of the human brain have shown that conservatives are authoritarian and resistant to change. The speeches of those who are trying to move the Republicans toward an election victory in 2014 and 2016 through greater conservative actions resemble dinosaurs’ trying to cope with a changing world.

CPAC organizers claim that the purpose of the event is to “showcase the movement’s ‘diversity.'” They’re making progress with 20 percent of the panelists being African American avoiding last year’s white nationalists from the American Conservative Union. This year, however, they refused to allow two LGBT conservative groups, GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans, to attend, showing a farther move to the right.

Even the names of CPAC’s panels show the group’s clueless hostility and ignorance:

  • Should We Shoot All the Consultants Now?
  • The Future of the Movement: Winning with Generation X/Y
  • Stop THIS: Threats, Harassment, Intimidation, Slander and Bullying from the Obama Administration
  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Plastic Water Bottles, Fracking, Genetically Modified Food, & Big Gulp Sodas
  • Is America Coming Apart?
  • The Fight for Religious Liberty: 40 years after Roe v. Wade
  • Getting Hollywood Right
  • Free at Last: When the Right to Work Came Back to the Midwest

CPAC gave Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) an opportunity to push his budget plan as one “trying to improve people’s lives.” This plan is rooted in air and fantasy; past experiences and economists’ expertise prove that cutting taxes will fail to increase revenue and build the economy.

Despite its claim to move toward the future, CPAC invited all the old faces. (Think “lean backward.”) Mitt Romney, ignored by Fox News, told his audience to “learn from my mistakes” and to look to purple- and blue-state GOP governors for guidance. His role model governors, such as Chris Christie (NJ) and Bob McDonnell (VA), weren’t even invited to CPAC because they had accepted federal funding. At least Romney didn’t mention Scott Walker (WI) who lost jobs in his state after he promoted disastrous legislation and Rick Snyder (MI) who is destroying democracy through his appointment of emergency financial managers.

Gov. Rick Perry (TX) continued to attack Romney for not being conservative enough but got boos from his audience when he mentioned the changing Hispanic demographic. He saved himself by saying that the GOP could win over this population through its economic message, not through immigration.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), tired of the “crybaby caucus,” said he wanted his party to move forward but continues his same old pattern of trying to get rid of Obamacare. “Don’t tell me Democrats are the party of the future when their presidential ticket for 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of the ‘Golden Girls,’ ” 71-year-old McConnell said in combined agism and sexism as he referred to Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden.

Rep. Steve Scalise (LA) indicated the usual GOP ignorance of climate change. To Scalise, the fact that President Obama wore a trench coat at his inauguration shows that the world has no climate warming. GOP strategist Ford O’Connell repeated the GOP conclusion regarding success in winning voters: “You’re going to have to repackage [issues] and explain to people why that impacts them.”

Rick Santorum worked at the repackaging. In lamenting the problems of the poor, he said, “Yet the suffering is greater today because our culture and our political leadership have robbed them of the why of America–our purpose.” Translation: with the conservative “why of America,” people won’t mind lack of food and health care. 

Donald Trump set the tone for the second day, calling immigration reform a “suicide mission” for Republicans because “everyone of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic.” He argued that the U.S. should open the borders to the “tremendous” and “hard-working” European immigrants. Few people heard him, however, because of the largely empty room—sort of like an empty chair at the GOP convention.

trump room

Not everyone verbalized the continuance of old, failed ideas. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told conservatives to get over their “obsession with zeros” and stop focusing only on the federal budget, arguing Republicans must take a broader view in order to succeed. Let’s remember, however, Jindal is the governor trying to move all taxes for government from the wealthy and the corporations to the poor.

Six years out of public office, Jeb Bush tried to move the party forward: “Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs because those voters feel unwanted, unloved and unwelcome in our party.” Once again, GOP love may not make up for lack of rights and equality.

Fortunately for the Democrats, Sen. Rand Paul (KY) and his policy that the party needs to move farther right won the straw vote with 25 percent. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) followed him by 23 percent. The next three places were taken by Santorum, the uninvited Christie, and Ryan. That left the remaining 17 on the ballot to share the leftover 31 percent. At 10th, Sarah Palin got 3 percent with the other four women garnering another 4 percent.

This is the field:

NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Ohio Governor John Kasich
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul
Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Texas Governor Rick Perry
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott
South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

CPAC doesn’t represent the entire Republican Party, but it is a powerful force in getting their candidates into, and sometimes winning, primaries. Once into Congress, they drive the GOP leadership crazy with their truculent intransigence. And their anti-women, anti-people of color, anti-LGBT, and anti-youth, anti-union, and anti-middle class policies make them less and less electable.

Looking at the above list, I’ll stick with the “golden girls.”

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