Monday, October 07, 2013

Deranged Southern Racism Is Tearing The Country Apart Again


The battle to break the racist, neo-Confederate dominance of Congress is more likely to be won north of Gettysburg than south of it. Ari Berman, author of Herding Donkeys:
After the 1994 elections, white Southern Republicans accounted for sixty-two members of the 230-member House GOP majority. Today, white Southern Republicans account for ninety-seven members out of the 233-member House GOP majority. That’s a pretty remarkable shift and one that is not likely to end any time soon. “In all but one election since 1976, the proportion of Southerners in the House Republican caucus has gone up,” says Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.

Of the fifty-four members of the congressional Tea Party Caucus-- which is most vociferously telling John Boehner not to compromise-- 33 are from Southern states. Of the eighty members of the so-called House GOP “suicide caucus” who urged Boehner to defund Obamacare, “half of these districts are concentrated in the South,” writes Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. As long as ultraconservative Southerners from lily-white districts hold the balance of power in the Congress, we shouldn’t be surprised that obstruction and dysfunction is the result.
Democrats aren't going to fix Republican extortion and terrorism by winning backward and uneducated, hate-filled districts like the northwestern Georgia hellhole described by Trip Gabriel in Saturday's NY Times. GA-14 has a PVI of R+26, one of the worst in America and Obama only scored 25% of the vote there. Rome, Dallas and Dalton are the three main population centers and Tom Graves won reelection last year with 73% of the vote against Democrat Daniel Grant. Grant's best showing was in Chattooga County, where he took 34% of the vote. In every other county Graves scored 70% or better (86% in Pickens County). I'm sure you remember this clip; it's worth looking at again and reminding yourself what exactly is driving the GOP mania to wreck America:

Of the dozen reddest districts in the country, the only two that didn't secede from the union are in Utah. The rest are a collection of Klan-infested, willfully unhealthy, willfully uneducated red garbage dumps in Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama. Obama didn't hit 30% in any of them last year. In one, TX-13, he didn't hit 20%! These are not the districts that are going to thwart what Charles Krauthammer dubbed the suicide caucus.

But the suicide caucus can be stopped-- in mainstream, patriotic states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey… states that fought the southern racists once before and beat them… and need too do it again in 2014. These are all districts that Obama won in 2008 and/or 2012 that have Republican congressmen. These aren't members of the suicice caucus… but each and every one of them is empowering the suicide caucus and the southern racists who literally seek to destroy the union again. Replacing each of these 40 swing district Republicans would drive the GOP out of power and, hopefully, make them really reassess who and what they are and what they would like their party to be in then real world. The districts are listed from most blue to least blue. Bolded districts are the ones Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz refuse to battle over.
CA-31- Gary Miller- D+5
CA-21- David Valadao- D+2
• NJ-02- Frank LoBiondo- D+1
NY-10- Chris Gibson- D+1
CO-06- Mike Coffman- D+1
IL-13- Rodney Davis- even
IA-03- Tom Latham- even
NV-03- Joe Heck- even
NJ-03- Jon Runyan- R+1
NY-02- Peter King- R+1
PA-08- Michael Fitzpatrick- R+1
• MI-06- Fred Upton- R+1
CA-10- Jeff Denham- R+1
• WA-08- Dave Reichert- R+1
FL-13- Bill Young- R+1
• FL-27- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen- R+2
WI-08- Reid Ribble- R+2
WI-07- Sean Duffy- R+2
• PA-06- Jim Gerlach- R+2
• MN-03- Erik Paulsen- R+2
• PA-07- Pat Meehan- R+2
VA-02- Scott Rigell- R+2
• MN-02- John Kline- R+2
• PA-15- Charlie Dent- R+2
• MI-08- Mike Rogers- R+2
• WA-03- Jaime Hererra Buetler- R+2
NY-11- Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm- R+2
• VA-10- Frank Wolf- R+2
MI-07- Tim Walberg- R+3
NY-23-Tom Reed- R+3
• CA-25- Buck McKeon- R+3
• WI-01- Paul Ryan- R+3
• MI-11- Kerry Bentivolio- R+4
• IL-06- Peter Roskam- R+4
• PA-16- Joe Pitts- R+4
• CA-49- Darrell Issa- R+4
• IL-16- Adam Kinzinger- R+4
• MI-03- Justin Amash- R+4
NE-02- Terry Lee- R+4
• MI-04- Dave Camp- R+4
The DCCC is wasting its time trying to elect conservative hacks in far more difficult districts that Obama didn't win in either race and where Steve Israel will waste millions of dollars next year, the same way he wasted millions of dollars last year. His archetypal race is over OH-06, a red district with a PVI of R+8, where he recruited Jennifer Garrison, "the Sarah Palin of Ohio," who is anti-Choice, hysterically homophobic, anti-union, anti-environment, and pro-NRA. Polling shows she has no chance to win, but Israel will spend God-knows-what to try stocking the Democratic caucus up with more conservatives. Is Nancy Pelosi so asleep at the wheel that she doesn't think to ask Israel why he's running after a deep red district where Obama only got 43%, while ignoring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's district entirely, where Obama won 53% last year?

Late this evening, the Washington Post hot the Republican extortionists over the head with this blistering editorial.
What have House House Republicans managed to accomplish in a week of government shutdown?

Damage the livelihood of millions of Americans? Check. Government secretaries, food-truck operators, cleaners who work in motels near national parks: They’re all hurting.

Waste billions of taxpayer dollars? Check. It costs a lot to shut agencies, Web sites and parks, and it will cost a lot to reopen them. Meanwhile, the House has voted to pay the salaries, eventually, of hundreds of thousands of employees whom it has ordered not to work. That’s an odd way to manage an enterprise.

Interfere with key government operations? Check. The National Transportation Safety Board can’t investigate an accident last weekend on Metro’s Red Line that claimed the life of a worker. That could make future accidents more likely. On the other side of the world, U.S. allies from Tokyo to Singapore are wondering whether they can rely on a nation whose president has to go AWOL from a key summit meeting in their region.

Rattle the markets, slow an economy in recovery, interrupt potentially lifesaving research at the National Institutes of Health? Check, check and check.

Derail the hated Obamacare? Ch...-- oh, no, wait a minute. That was the GOP’s ostensible purpose for this travesty of misgovernment, but the online insurance markets created by that law opened on schedule last week and continue to operate. In fact, the Republicans managed only to distract attention from the computer glitches that would have gobbled up all the news attention if the government weren’t shut.

In a revealing moment Sunday on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos replayed a clip from last year in whichHouse Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) explained the foolishness of the tactic that he is now, a year later, pursuing. “It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected,” Mr. Boehner said then. “Obamacare is the law of the land. If we were to put Obamacare into the CR [continuing resolution] and send it over to the Senate, we were risking shutting down the government. That is not our goal.”

Cowed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and bullied by the most conservative members of his caucus, Mr. Boehner has done exactly what he said made no sense. Now he doesn’t know how to get out of the predicament. A shutdown is bad; a default on the debt, which looms 10 days from now, could be catastrophic. The speaker is demanding that President Obama negotiate, while setting “red lines” for those hypothetical talks (“Very simple. We’re not raising taxes.”). It’s not an impressive strategy.

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