Monday, October 23, 2017

Unless One Starts Openly Wearing Nazi Insignia, How Do You Keep Score Of Which GOP Candidate Is More Right-Wing?


Earlier today we talked about the increasingly out of control Republican Civil War. It ties together the deterioration of the adherence of the GOP base to GOP congressional leaders, the toxicity of Ryan and McConnell, the neo-fascist jihad launched by the Mercers and their boy Bannon against the Republican establishment and Trump's reverse Midas touch in Republican politics. We looked at a random North Carolina congressional race, a proxy war between Bannon and Rove that has Ryan peeing in his panties. Now let's turn to the same dynamics in Mississippi and a whole other cockamamie Senate race shaping up in Tennessee.

Jeremy Peters covered the incipient mayhem shaping up in Mississippi for the NY Times. Last cycle far right crackpot, neo-Nazi state Senator Chris McDaniel was cheated out of a sure win against GOP basket case Thad Cochran. He's back this year, with a vengeance... and Steve Bannon, who, Peters writes, "is hoping to make Mississippi the next domino to fall in an insurgency that would remake the Senate-- and the Republican Party."
If Mr. McDaniel runs, as expected, he will face Senator Roger Wicker in a primary in June-- the first election next year in which Republican Senate candidates would square off. The race could offer an early answer to a question that is vital to the party’s future: Does the effort to replace sitting Republicans with populist conservatives in the mold of Mr. Trump have a credible chance of maturing into a national movement?

Its backers are already plotting a course across the South and then westward to states like Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. In all of those states, the insurgents have a rallying cry in Mr. Trump’s name and a villain in the Washington’s Republican leadership, especially in the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

“We sensed the anger in ’13 and ’14,” Mr. McDaniel said in an interview at his law practice in downtown Laurel. “That anger,” he added, “reached its apex, it seemed, with Trump’s election. But now that McConnell and his merry band of yes men like Wicker have stood in the way of Trump, that anger has escalated again.”

“I’ve never seen this type of environment,” he concluded.

...On policy, Mr. McDaniel and Mr. Wicker are not very far apart. They have both been supportive of Mr. Trump’s more controversial acts, like the travel ban on foreigners from predominantly Muslim countries. Both hold consistently conservative positions on gun rights and abortion. The biggest difference between the two is the matter of incumbency, which Mr. McDaniel hopes to turn into an unsurmountable liability for Mr. Wicker.

Mr. Bannon and the wealthy conservatives underwriting his campaigns believe that Mississippi offers a strikingly similar environment to Alabama, where Senator Luther Strange lost in a primary last month to Roy S. Moore, a former judge who built a large following as a champion of culturally conservative causes. The parallels are enticing: an incumbent close to Mr. McConnell, a well-known challenger with a political constituency of his own and a Republican base that feels betrayed because the party has yet to pass any major conservative legislation since taking control of both Congress and the White House.

...While some of Mr. Wicker’s colleagues have hedged their support for the president or are drawing attention to areas in which they disagree with him, Mr. Wicker is going all in. His Facebook page is full of photos that show him standing with Mr. Trump. Some do not even show Mr. Wicker-- just the president. He also trumpets his “Trump Scorecard” of agreement with the president at 95.9 percent, ahead of conservative stalwarts like Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah.

But Mr. Trump may not end up being the most important person in the race whose name is not on the ballot. That could be Mr. McConnell, who has become the focal point for Republican grass-roots ire.

“If Mitch McConnell sends a lot of money down here for Roger Wicker just like he did with Luther Strange, I think it will backfire,” said Michael Bostic, a retired electrician and local Tea Party activist who said he believes Republicans have been giving lip service to campaign promises like repealing the Affordable Care Act. “I’ve tried to believe Republicans most of my life. But when they blatantly lie to you, that just doesn’t cut it.”

Mr. Bostic went to courthouses across the state to inspect voting records looking for evidence of fraud after Mr. McDaniel’s 2014 loss, and he said he believed that Mr. McConnell and his allies in party leadership had rigged that election.

“People are mad,” Mr. Bostic said.

Laura Van Overschelde, a local Tea Party leader, put it this way: “People are pretty hot under the collar. You can imagine the animus that still exists four years later.”

Mr. Cochran’s allies in the state and national party helped defeat Mr. McDaniel by using tactics that infuriated Tea Party groups. They encouraged African-Americans and other Democrats to vote in the primary. They went to great lengths to deny that Mr. Cochran was in an inappropriate relationship with an aide, Kay Webber, even as his wife, Rose, was in a nursing home with dementia. (Mr. Cochran married Ms. Webber not long after his wife’s death.)

After a Tea Party leader was charged with conspiring to photograph Rose Cochran in her nursing home, he committed suicide, triggering still more recriminations.

Mr. McDaniel refused to concede the race and fought the outcome for months in court.

“Remember Mississippi” became a Twitter hashtag and a slogan circulated on conservative email lists, and it is now the name of the “super PAC” supporting Mr. McDaniel, which recently received a $50,000 donation from Robert Mercer, the New York hedge fund investor who finances much of Mr. Bannon’s political activity.

If Mr. McDaniel runs, all of that bitterness is likely to return.

Beyond Mississippi, Mr. Bannon sees races in other states that he believes he and his coalition of conservative donors and activists can reshape next year. And in those states, Mr. Bannon said, he sees two common elements that work to the advantage of insurgent challengers: rural, deeply conservative populations and small, inexpensive media markets.

In Utah, he is plotting a challenge to Senator Orrin G. Hatch, another McConnell ally. Or if Mr. Hatch retires, as many expect, Mr. Bannon will take on the candidate that the party leadership endorses to replace him, which could be Mitt Romney.

In Wyoming, Mr. Bannon is pushing Erik Prince, the founder of the military contractor Blackwater, to run against Senator John Barrasso, a member of Mr. McConnell’s leadership team. In Nebraska, Mr. Bannon is interviewing candidates to run against Senator Deb Fischer. Bannon-backed challengers to Senators Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona have already jumped in.

Mr. Bannon was also encouraged by Senator Bob Corker’s retirement in Tennessee, and the emergence of Representative Marsha Blackburn, a conservative firebrand, as the favorite to succeed him.
Marsha Blackburn is already claiming Farmer Fincher is the Pelosi candidate in Tennessee's madhouse GOP primary

OK, Marsha Blackburn is certifiably insane and as far right as you can be without running around with a Hitler mustache and a white sheet and hood. So she'll take the Senate seat Corker is abandoning, right? Well... probably but there's another kink in all this insanity, the real driving force behind all this packaging anyway-- personal ambition-- although this time it doesn't quite fit into the Bannon vs McConnell narrative. Who remembers the reprehensible Farmer Fincher? His miserable career ended when he was caught taking bribes in a payday lender scheme. Just about 4 years ago, I wrote that "it was hard to watch Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher, a Methodist gospel singer aside from the congressman for the 8th district (Jackson, Germantown, Dyersburg and the whole western part of the state minus Memphis), voting to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program for the neediest American families. Why was Fincher harder to watch than any of the 217 House Republicans who backed this travesty (all but 15 of them)? Well, there's a special little place in hell for the gospel-singin' Fincher from Frog Jump. Fincher, it turns out, has gobbled up nearly $9 million in farm subsidies from Uncle Sam over the last decade, mostly for his cotton crop. Congressman Fincher also received a $13,650 grant to help buy grain hauling and storage equipment from the state Department of Agriculture in 2009 as part of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. Yes, teabagger Stephen Fincher is a welfare queen. And a hypocrite. A pious hypocrite eager to starve poor families who can't get jobs because of economic policies his party used to crash the economy. And it gets worse, according to Forbes magazine. Remember when we were talking about how so many wealthy congressmembers on the House Agriculture Committee were all gung-ho to shave billions of dollars off the food stamps program? That's Fincher's committee. (No conflict of interest there, right?)
Armed with an array of proverbs and quotes from the Holy Bible, Congressman Fincher is pressing his fight to dramatically curtail the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-- better known to most Americans as food stamps-- relied upon by 47 million Americans for some or all of their daily sustenance.


Because the Bible tells him so.

Appearing this past weekend at a gathering at a Memphis Holiday Inn, Fincher explained his position on food stamps by stating, “The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other, but not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.”
Fincher retired from Congress soon after his scandals started breaking... but he's back to try to claim, absurdly, that open Senate seat.

Fincher, who never went to college, says he’s running to help push Señor Trumopanzee’s agenda and shake up a "do-nothing Congress.... We’re going to get in this race, and we’re going to get in it to win it, and go up there and try to get something done. Let’s stand up with the president on his policies. From what people are telling us, they’re just tired of the status quo career politician, and it’s time we-- to take an old saying from the farm-- plow and turn over Congress and put some new growth up there. I think that’s what people want, so that’s what we’re going to try to do."

Aside from Farmer Fincher and the Bannon-backed Blackburn, another far right sociopath has jumped into the race: Andy Ogles, former head of the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity Tennessee franchise.
Fincher mostly refrained from speaking about Blackburn during his trip. But he pounced on an opening earlier this week after 60 Minutes and the Washington Post reported on a former Drug Enforcement Administration whistleblower who accused Blackburn and other members of Congress of passing a law that led to lax scrutiny over opioid distribution, handcuffing the federal government’s ability to fight the national opioid crisis.

Fincher said it illustrates that politicians in Washington, D.C., are “out of touch.”

"This is an issue that shows Tennesseans want someone to stand up against special interests,” Fincher said. “We’re losing lives. Our jails, little towns and communities are broken. People, they go to Washington, and have stayed up there too long and are out of touch with what’s really happening all over this great state.”

Fincher, who was in Congress at the time, was among the House members who unanimously approved the legislation without objection.

On Sunday, a Blackburn campaign spokeswoman criticized Fincher and said the race now has a "clear contrast."

"Now we have a clear contrast between a supporter of President Trump who will drain the swamp in Washington, versus Nancy Pelosi's favorite Republican who champions corporate welfare," Blackburn spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said by email.
Republicans routinely use boogeyman Nancy Pelosi against any Democrat who runs for anything. This was the first time I've ever heard one use her against another Republican in a GOP primary! It is widely thought that if the Republicans rip each other to shreds, popular former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen could walk away with the seat... if he decides to run. How funny would that be... to see the deranged Republicans hoist on their own petard that way?

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At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is like asking which was more of a Nazi: hitler, Himmler, goering, Goebbels or eichman. It's a distinction without a difference.

At this point if they get elected, they're a Nazi. Their voters are all Nazis. And there are never 'good' Nazis.


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