Nel's New Day

April 12, 2013

Lawmakers Represent GOP Positions

The primary GOP strategies of 2013 were made obvious during this last week by three high-profile Republican legislators: (1) attack when caught in planning slimy attacks on opponents; (2) outrageously pander and lie to minorities; and (3) disagree with anything that President Obama suggests even if was originally the GOP position.

Item #1: The first fool of the week is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who, with his 37 percent popularity rating, is fighting for re-election in 2014. Caught on tape approving his campaigners’ suggestions to destroy potential opponent Ashley Judd, McConnell immediately called the FBI, an odd reaction for someone who wants “small government.”

On February 2, McConnell met with staff in Louisville (KY) and told them, “I assume most of you have played the, the game Whac-A-Mole? This is the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign…when anybody sticks their head up, do them out.”

Campaigners took McConnell at this word. They began their discussion with her progressive positions and then moved on to find ways to show that she is mentally unfit for McConnell’s position:

“She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.”

McConnell went into full-blown hysteria when Mother Jones released the tape of this meeting. He didn’t negate their underhanded tactics; he just tried to guess who had made the recording. First it was the “far-left” organization called ProgressKY and then “the liberal media.” He had the room swept for bugs and declared that the episode was “Nixonian,” ignoring the fact that Watergate was caused by a Republican, before he used the incident for raising funds.

Campaign manager Jesse Benton described the matter as “an ongoing criminal investigation” and described the taping as “Gestapo king of scare tactics” on Mike Huckabee’s radio show. “Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent,” she said.

McConnell should have stuck to his accusation that ProgressKY, a fundraising group, was responsible for the recording of the meeting. Shawn Reilly, head of the PAC, is cooperating with the FBI in witnessing the recording. And Benton was wrong about a “recording device” in McConnell’s “office.” The taping was done in the hallway outside the office.

After McConnell asked for the FBI to investigate the taping, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked both the FBI and the Senate ethics committee and the FBI to determine whether there was a violation of the law. “Using taxpayer-funded resources to pay staffers to dig up dirt on political opponents isn’t just an ethics violation, it’s a federal crime,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. Another ethics question is whether someone from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPAC led the group just five days before their hit piece on Judd.

Item #2: Rand Paul, riding high after his win at CPAC for top conservative presidential candidate, has started with reaching out to black voters at Howard University. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t an overwhelming success.

Words cannot describe the painful visual delivery of his presentation as he touted the strong Republican support for minorities—before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. While doing so, he queried his audience to see if they knew that Republicans had overcome slavery and started the NAACP, information that his college-educated black audience well knew. They even had to correct him when he referred to Sen. Edward William Brooke III, “the first [elected] black U.S. senator” as “Edwin Brooks.”

He told his audience that the GOP lost their votes because Democrats began offering “unlimited federal assistance,” while Republicans offered something “less tangible–the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets,” a repeat of Mitt Romney’s statement that the Democrats won in the last election because they gave the 47-percenters “stuff.”

Worse was his attempt to persuade the audience that declaring voter ID laws discriminatory is “demeaning” to the history of segregation. Paul hadn’t done his NAACP homework on this one: the organization’s president, Benjamin Jealous, said that voter ID laws are “pushing more voters out of the ballot box than any point since Jim Crow.”

The saddest part of Paul’s misguided attempt to woo black voters was his lie about his earlier position on the Civil Rights Act. “I’ve never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act,” he stated. A member of the audience pointed out, “This [opposition] was on tape.” Early in Paul’s campaign for Senate in 2010 was that he disagreed with the Act’s ban on discrimination in private businesses such as restaurants. He later switched his position during the campaign, most likely because it didn’t play well, but his statement about never wavering is completely wrong.

Item #3: Rep. Greg Walden’s (R-OR) position to President Obama’s support of incorporating the “chained CPI” into Social Security’s COLA has caused him—and the GOP—a lot of trouble. Following the typical GOP caucus response of “disagree with anything this Democratic president says,” Walden, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee that determines next year’s House campaigns, said that reducing this vital source of income was “a shocking attack on seniors” and “trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors.” In fact, it’s just what the GOP wants: cut benefits to senior citizens.

In the past, Republicans have rejected their own proposals–cap-and-trade, Dream Act, EITC, payroll tax cut, etc.—whenever President Obama agreed with them. But disagreeing with the chained CPI seemed to go too far. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said, “I’ve made it clear that I disagree with what Chairman Walden said.”

Press secretary Jay Carney dived into the fray, saying that this proposal comes from GOP leaders:

“This is a Republican proposal. And cynical attempts to make it otherwise by some represent, I think, dissonance within the Republican Party, and we’ve seen plenty of condemnation from conservatives and Republicans of that sort of flagrantly ridiculous and cynical attempt to disown a proposal that emanated from Republican leaders.”

From the other side, the far-right Club for Growth announced it will find a farther-right candidate for the 2014 primary because of Walden’s statements. Walden’s district covers two-thirds of eastern Oregon, and he knows it well, having represented it for 14 years. With a disproportionate percentage of seniors, the area, relying on farming and ranching, was one of the hardest hit by Bush’s recession. Typical of many rural areas, they hate outside agitators.

Good luck to the Washington, D.C. pressure group! The best thing that could happen to Democrats in this district is a far-right candidate in the general election who doesn’t want benefits for seniors.

As for finding someone more conservative, you can check out his record. He got 0 percent from FAIR on immigration, CAF on energy independence, ARA in senior benefits, and AU in separation of church and state; 13 percent from the AFL-CIO and ACLU; 20 percent from the National Educational Association; 30 percent from NARAL; and 96 percent from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

I’m guessing that all three of these legislators will stay in Congress, but I don’t give Rand much of a chance for becoming president.

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