Saturday, February 06, 2010

Will Teabagger Mayhem And Palin Interference Hand Democrats A Kentucky Senate Seat?


Unless you go out and speak with hordes of teabaggers at their own events, you might want to romanticize their movement into something more than pure racism and Know Nothing bigotry. You'd be making a mistake-- and that has largely been borne out this weekend in Nashville, starting with Tom Tancredo's xenophobic opening address (see above). The "Tea Party Movement" is mostly an unfocused ad hoc coalition of the paranoid, the racist, the angry, the extremely stoopid and brainwashed... people angry Obama won the presidency. On the teabagger-oriented video below, you'll hear Texas arch-reactionary Ron Paul carefully trying to distance himself from the excesses that really do define teabaggery, while hoping to exploit those same passions for his own "movement" (or career trajectory). He seems to be laboring under the delusion that the teabaggers are actually protesting deficits, flawed foreign policy, inflation and the monetary system rather than "anchor babies," "illegals," and poor Blacks achieving some kind of societal equality with poor whites.

In the end, Paul pretty much admits the teabaggers are a hodgepodge of fringe kooks with few unifying principles other than diffused anger at Washington. He says he prefers to talk with conservative college students. I bet he does! That's why Sarah Palin is getting the big $120,000 check from the teabagger organizers tonight and he isn't. She's not as cerebral and idealistic as Paul and her training on the national stage has taught her not to come off as blatantly racist and bigoted as Tancredo. Remember, until you scratch a bit below the surface, many teabaggers want to come off as quasi-respectable, just the way Germany's bourgeoisie did in the early 1930s when they were voting for Hitler's right-wing party. Today's Guardian points out perceptively that the "amid such a ragbag of phobias, paranoia and principles, one unifying force was support for the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who will speak to the convention at its close tonight."

Ironically, Kentucky's mini-GOP civil war pits Paul's son, Rand-- with the high profile backing of Palin-- against Trey Grayson, the handpicked candidate of the boss of Kentucky's Republican Party Machine, Mitch "Miss" McConnell. Palin's candidate in NY-23, some kook named Hoffman, lost a solidly red seat for the GOP. In Massachusetts Scott Brown wisely kept her at arm's length-- as did the successful Republican gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey late last year. Rand Paul, on the other hand, is running on her skirttails. Kentucky is... well, Kentucky.
She has thrown her support behind Rand Paul, a favorite of anti-establishment conservatives such as and Gun Owners of America, who is running for Senate in Kentucky.
Palin waded into the race despite it being widely known among political insiders that McConnell backs Rand’s opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.
GOP strategists in Washington believe Grayson has a much better chance of winning the general election but Palin has channeled conservatives' frustration over “go-along-to-get-along” Republicans in Washington.
Palin’s not-so-subtle challenge to McConnell’s political authority shows the overall difficulty GOP leaders have in taming the resurgent conservative base, which has made Palin and the Tea Party newly powerful political forces.
McConnell has not endorsed Grayson formally but he has worked for the candidate behind the scenes. He contributed $10,000 to Grayson through a leadership PAC and hosted a fundraiser for the candidate in New York.
Paul, a career doctor, has made clear [not really-- he flips back and forth constantly] that he is running against the GOP establishment. He said in a CNN interview Friday that he could win the May 18 primary without the help of party leaders in Washington. Earlier, he declined to promise that he would vote for McConnell to remain Senate leader if elected.
Palin, who will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural Tea Party Convention this weekend, said her support for Paul is designed to shake up Washington. 
“While there are issues we disagree on, he and I are both in agreement that it’s time to shake up the status quo in Washington and stand for common-sense ideas,” Palin said in her statement of support.
“It shows that Sarah Palin is independent and not deferential to party leaders in DC,” said Brian Darling of the Heritage Foundation. “You have a split, you really have a Republican Party that is divided and it shows in the Kentucky race where you have the Senate leaders supporting one of the candidates and Sarah Palin another.”
“It’s going to be a high profile battle between two leaders of the Republican Party,” he said.

...McConnell has to be careful not to take on Paul directly because it could antagonize the portion of the party base that views him coolly, even skeptically.
“A big chunk of the Republican Party doesn’t care too much for Mitch MConnell, they think he’s too much the insider and too much the earmark man,” said Al Cross, a political pundit and director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky.

The emergence of the Tea Party and the hostility of its members toward the GOP establishment gives party leaders cause for concern because it reflects growing estrangement with the party base... It’s questionable whether Tea Party conservatives could develop enough strength and unity to upset the leadership hierarchy in Washington, but they certainly threaten to play havoc in primaries.
One DC insider said that Palin may regret her support for Paul because the candidate has taken stands that could prove controversial among Republican primary voters, such as opposing the war in Iraq. Paul has drawn criticism for saying that detainees from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp should be returned to their home countries. He has since recalibrated his position to say that Guantanamo should stay open for the short term and that suspected terrorists should stand trial before military tribunals and kept off U.S. soil.
“I don’t think Governor Palin knows very much about Rand Paul,” said a senior Republican aide who supports Grayson. “I can’t believe she thinks it would help her to support someone with the views he has.”
Kentucky political experts say boosting Paul may ultimately cost Republicans the seat in November.
“McConnell truly sees the prospect that the tea baggers could veer his party further to the right, far enough to the right to turn off moderates trending his way,” said Cross, using a derisive term for Tea Party activists.
“The Democrats best chance of winning the seat is for Rand Paul to be the nominee,” he said.

UPDATE: Palin's $120,000 Speech To Her Drooling Fanclub

Palin reading the joke Matthew Skelly wrote for her about Obama using a TelePromTer for set speeches from cards, and making a mockery out of the fake "Q&A" session by having the answers written on her palm, was only part of what made her performance so very sad last night. I was immediately reminded of the ending of Charles Pierce's book, Idiot America, which is, after all, in essence, a book about how someone with as little to offer as Sarah Palin could capture the imagination of 600 angry misfits and be broadcast on three national television networks. Writing about the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, he talks about ideas that would never occur to the self proclaimed "constitutionalists" gathered in Nashville, more widely known as teabaggers:
But we were supposed to keep things where they belonged, so their essential value would be enhanced and not diluted. Religion would remain transcendent, and not alloyed cheaply with politics. The entrepreneurial spirit used to sell goods would be different in kind from the one used to sell ideas. Our cranks, flourishing out there in the dying light, would somehow bring us around to a truth even they couldn't see.

We need our cranks more than ever, but we need them in their proper places. We've chained our imagination because we've decided it should function as truth. We've shackled it with the language of political power and the vocabulary of salesmanship.

Laugh all you want though; it's us who created this political Frankenstein that makes a mockery of the uniqueness and greatness of the United States.

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At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

I'm trying to imagine a lower bar than having Bachmann and Blackburn back out of an event that Tancredo kicks off.

Here at about 4:40- 6:00 is a spectacular piece of Markos from the Daily Kos shooting down Tancredo, who is a buffoon, on Veteran Health Care, .

Remember Tancredo's 23 year old Korean assistant who hate crimed a black woman with a Karate chop in DC because he was DRUNK and she was BLACK?
Markos demolishes it...a new classic.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Cleaner clip on same here at Think Progress...Epstein, was the Jewish-Korean hate crime assistant.


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