Monday, February 09, 2009

Another Battle For The Soul Of The Republican Party


Overwhelmingly, Americans say NO!

Although Arlen Specter (R-PA) penned an OpEd for the Washington Post today explaining why he supports the Stimulus bill, most of what the media calls "moderate" Republicans-- the mainstream conservatives who don't march in lockstep with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter-- are too frightened by the thugs on the far right to stand up for what's best for the country. According to this morning's CQPolitics they "are more worried about the pressures from their right, where the Republican Study Committee is taking names and conservatives are raising the prospect of primary challenges, than about potential fallout from opposing a popular president."

How popular? Despite the media barrage of misinformation, a just released Gallup poll shows that the public is behind President Obama on this... by huge numbers. When Republican members of Congress-- particularly those from districts not in the old slave-holding states, consider how to vote, they need to remember that "the American public gives President Barack Obama a strong 67% approval rating for the way in which he is handling the government's efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, while the Democrats and, in particular, the Republicans in Congress receive much lower approval ratings of 48% and 31%, respectively." 31% points towards having to look for anew career after next November.
No Republican voted for the Obama-backed economic stimulus package (HR 1) when the House passed it on Jan. 28, and the outlook is not much different for an upcoming omnibus fiscal 2009 spending package, the fiscal 2010 budget and a new financial bailout plan.

GOP leaders say they are less worried about defections now than they were during the departed Bush administration. And they see moderate Republicans as offering a good chance of unseating Democrats in marginal districts.

Having failed so far to draw moderate Republicans into the fold on major economic initiatives, and facing possible defections by fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats, Obama pivoted last week away from offering carrots like White House invitations or opportunities to offer amendments. During a Feb. 5 speech to House Democrats at their retreat in Williamsburg, Va., the president reverted to campaign-style rhetoric.

Charlie Dent, a conservative in a Democratic-leaning district in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley (PA-15) that gave Obama 56% of its vote over McCain, says he isn't worried. He should be. Last year he won with his smallest margin ever and his campaign had to stoop to running the most sickeningly vicious and sexist campaign anywhere in America to beat back a challenge by a woman running for the first time, Sam Bennett. His district has been hit hard by unemployment and the mortgage crisis that have resulted from Republican policies he has rubber stamped every step of the way. Next year, with Specter at the top of the ticket, Dent is likely to look like an odd duck, an obstructionist in a moderate district that wants to see Obama-- and America-- succeed. "Failure to act," wrote Specter, "would be devastating not just for Wall Street and Main Street but for much of the rest of the world, which is looking to our country for leadership in this crisis" and he claims the bill "preserves the job-creating and tax relief goals of President Obama's stimulus plan while cutting less-essential provisions-- many of them worthy in themselves-- that are better left to the regular appropriations process."

Republican Party strategists are banking on failure. Their biggest fear is not that the Stimulus Bill will fail, but that it will succeed. Many have said that if Obama turns the economy around-- and if he is successful in reforming healthcare and turns back the anti-worker tide that has hampered unions-- the Republican Party will, in many ways, cease to exist as a national party and be relegated to representing bigots and kooks in the most backward parts of the Deep South and Mormon West. Already more enlightened parts of the South-- Virginia, Florida, North Carolina-- have drifted out of the reactionary orbit, supporting Obama in November and turning 2 Senate seats and half a dozen House seats from red to blue.

In the more backward areas, where Rush Limbaugh's word goes as Republican gospel-- although outside of these poorly educated, backward areas Limbaugh is so toxic that he is more reviled than Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, each of who has had his character assassinated by the media for the better part of a year.
Republicans who have turned to Rush Limbaugh to lead the fight against President Obama may have backed the wrong horse. According to one recent poll, Limbaugh turns out to be one of the most unpopular political figures in the country.

An October 24, 2008, poll conducted by the Democratic research firm Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner has Rush Limbaugh enjoying a public-approval rating of just 21 percent among likely voters, while 58 percent have “cold” feelings toward the right-wing radio-talk-show host. Limbaugh’s cold rating was higher than that of all the political figures the firm polled.

But extremists and obstructionists from the Deep South-- the Limbaughists-- exercise complete control over the GOP caucus and they are determined to damage President Obama's initiatives and force the mainstream conservatives like Dent to come along for the ride. Radical right fanatics like Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) are calling the shots now in the Republican House caucus. "The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC)-- which includes more than 100 of the 178 House Republicans-- has called for enforcing party unity on big issues and has hinted at retribution against defectors.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a former RSC chairman, fired a warning shot of sorts by ousting moderate Judy Biggert of Illinois from the top GOP slot on the Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. Hensarling denied that his move was part of an RSC campaign to nudge moderates aside. “I just wanted one of the subcommittees. That’s all,” he said.

But another senior GOP lawmaker said, “The change shows who is running things in our caucus. It’s not the centrists.”

Lunatic fringe politicians, representing the bigotry and hatred wings of the GOP and appealing to the kinds of selfishness and greed that have been losing the Republicans voters everywhere, are now calling the shots. The duo of neo-fascist Republicans in South Carolina (9.5% unemployment), Senator Jim DeMint and Governor Mark Sanford, are completely out of step with America and totally dedicated to wrecking President Obama's rescue plans, although, hypocritically, they've borrowed $117,774,869.70 from the rest of America. The Republican Party has to look inward and ask itself if its first priority is to win elections in the Deep South and Mormon West or to help save America from the decade of Republican policies and the Bush agenda that have pushed millions of American families-- including plenty in the Deep South and Mormon West-- to the brink of financial ruin. Too many Republican leaders are opting for failure. One extremely corrupt Texas congressman, Pete Sessions, "suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be."
The flash of triumphalism-- fueled further by schadenfreude over the tax troubles of some of Obama's Cabinet nominees-- is not without risk. Voters hungering for a response to hard times may see the GOP's battle against the stimulus package as unsympathetic to their plight. And Obama may decide it is not worth reaching out to Republicans on future legislation.

The party is also likely to be less unified on the final vote on the stimulus package.  Rep. Michael N. Castle (Del.), one of a dwindling number of moderate Republicans in the House, said he hopes the bill will improve enough in its final version so he can vote yes.

"I'm always concerned when the Republican Party takes a negative position on something that should be moving forward," he said. "I believe there could be a good stimulus package, and hopefully we've created enough doubt that they'll work it out in the Senate."

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At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Hell no.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Tyronenorwood said...

Today our President took our case on the road. Yes I said our case. Congress forgot who they work for. They had to forget. If Congress remembered who they work for then it would have been easy to sit down together at a table, unlike your kitchen or dinning room table and come to some kind of agreement as to what should be in this bill or not and agree on it, pass it send to the Senate and they contact one other work on it some more, pass it and send it up to our President.

But, the people on the hill or in the house, who are suppose to be working for the American people, forgot that they work for the American people. They had to. They want to tell someone about "pork" you know the word that they now use to highlight hot button issues that have kept the American people fighting each other for the last two hundred years. Like information about sex education, oh my, look out Christians, you know like tax brakes for the 1%ters oh my, look out poor and middle class, you know programs that will put us on the high road to a greener environment, goodness me, look out wall street and big auto.

At what point do America stop fighting itself and start fighting back. Our president is begging for our help. He is unwavering and tireless in his request that our duly elected officials pass the recovery bill and stop playing with American lives and livelihoods.

This is the message I got from our President today, it's time for us to act. Call your Congressmen and your Senators and tell them that they work for you. They do not work for big business, they do not work for the auto companies, they do not work for the Religious right, left, center or bottom. They work for the American people. Any of the before mentioned are just lobbyist and they don't serve the American people.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last thing anyone should want is for there to be no conflict between the two parties, the day that happens, we all loose. Congress and the President work for us, but we do not all agree on this bill, so the idea that because some members of Congress don't support the bill and therefore they have forgotten the American the people is just foolish. The President is working hard, but why is that a reason to support him? Bush worked hard, Hitler worked hard, so the *uck what?

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Lyn said...

"Marching in lockstep" and "intimidated by the thugs" you use those phrases to refer to a radio commentator? No Rush Limbaugh is not unfairly or unduly influencing Republicans. He is a very popular voice of dissent that's it. Hopefully Republicans will be moved by their constituents to resist Obama's stimulus fraud. I hope Obama fails - both because he is a coon and because his spending plan is a wreck.

At 4:54 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Lyn, thanks for another example of right wing stupidity and racism. Normally I take trash like yours down but I think it's great for readers to see the kind of filth that comes from Republicans on a regular basis. But don't count on being able to post here in the future. I think we all get the point.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger tech98 said...

Texas congressman, Pete Sessions, "suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban

Let's just imagine the months of hysterical screeching on rabies radio if a Dem had praised, and claimed to be adopting, the Taliban's tactics.
These people are nuts.

At 4:36 AM, Blogger Bernie O'Hare said...

Congressman Dent ran no sexist campaign against Sam Bennett. That's a ridiculous accusation. Contrary to what I've seen asserted here, Sam Bennett did not lose because of "regressive" bloggers or a sexist campaign. She lost because she ran a terrible campaign.

During a televised debate with Dent, she falsely and irresponsibly claimed that two local banks had failed as a result of the economic crisis. After the banks contacted her, Bennett herself had to request TV broadcasters to bleep out her words and run a disclaimer.

Speaking of sexism, Bennett went through two female campaign campaigners before settling on a man who was paid more than either of the women who preceded him. She continually referred to Charlie Dent's "nice hair" but told voters her hair is even nicer.

In a debate before Jewish voters, she falsely claimed to be the author of "A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq." During an interview I did with her, she could not even name the leader of Afghanistan, where we have over 30,000 American troops. She could not name the leaders in Pakistan or any of the countries I mentioned.

Dent's margin of victory over Bennett, incidentally, is greater than his margin in his previous race. You should check your facts before spreading disinformation. Dent's margin of victory in each of his three congressional races are as follows:
2008 - won 58.57%; 2006 - won 53.57%; 2004 - won 58.61%.

Bennett did slightly better than Dent's 2004 opponent, a Philadelphia carpetbagger who does not even live in the Lehigh Valley.

Most of Bennett's support came from outside her own district because people here do know her and won't support her.

Her political career consists of two failed primary bids for A-town mayor and now, a failed bid for Congress.

It might interest you to know that she used money from her federal campaign to help retire some of the $86,803.92 she still owes to her local campaigns.

Promoting a candidate like her is mindless partisanship.

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