Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Cantor's Young Guns PAC Takes Aim At Extremists-- Republican Extremists


Eric Cantor can't seem to get anything right this election cycle (other than knowing with great certainty that Steve Israel will never allow the DCCC to fund a campaign against him). He may have been forced to stop targeting House Republican incumbents for political extinction but now his illegally coordinated Young Guns operation, the YG Action Fund, a SuperPAC, is fighting to protect moderate Republican Senator Dick Lugar from surging right-wing extremist Richard Mourlock.

Last week it was reported that Cantor's operatives had sent out the mailer (above) calling on Democrats and independents to vote in the Republican primary in order to save Lugar's hide. Republican voters are sick of him and the only chance he has would be for independents and Dems to realize how much worse Mourdock and the morlocks would be. Club for Growth, one of the extreme right groups working to retire Lugar, is furious at Cantor:
“Regrettably, Eric Cantor’s actions confirm the worst of what grassroots conservatives dislike about a Washington Republican leadership that is more interested in protecting its own than in promoting conservative principles and candidates.”

But there's something even worse in Cantor's messaging about Lugar vs the Mourlocks. As Jonathan Allen reported yesterday, Cantor is hitting Mourdock for "among other things, wanting to eliminate the Department of Education-- a position that many of Cantor’s House Republican colleagues share. And that Democrats routinely use to beat House Republicans over the head with.
For starters, there’s the whole crew that voted to adopt the 1995 Newt Gingrich budget that assumed the elimination of the departments of Energy, Commerce and … Education. That includes current Speaker John Boehner, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was chairman of the House Budget Committee that year.

While Boehner, Camp and Rogers have never had to worry about that vote coming back to haunt them – they’re in very safe districts – the Young Guns’ argument could easily be turned on House GOP candidates in tougher districts, including Jesse Kelly who is running to succeed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), who voted for the 1995 budget, Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Allen West (R-Fla.) and others.

We spoke to some of our Blue America candidates who have been campaigning the most vigorously on education matters. Carol Shea-Porter is running against a fringe teabgger as radical and extreme as Mourdock and she picked right up on Cantor's tactic.
"A Republican Super PAC run by those close to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is attacking a Republican candidate's call to abolish the Department of Education as too 'extreme.' The Young Guns Super PAC is run by Eric Cantor's ex-aides, and takes its very name 'Young Guns' from the self-described 'young gun' House Majority Leader Cantor. The Super PAC has been actively trying to defeat one of the Republican primary candidates and they give this as a main reason. The Young Guns Super PAC believes as I do-- that Congressman Frank Guinta's call to abolish the Department of Education is too 'extreme.' Clearly, even Eric Cantor's crowd knows that those who want to abolish the Department of Education, including Congressman Frank Guinta, are too extreme and should be defeated."

Monday in the CA-25 candidates' forum, for which anti-education extremist Buck McKeon didn't even bother showing up, progressive Lee Rogers spent a lot of his time talking about the need for freeing up teachers to spend more quality time teaching children. This morning, still fired up from the debate he had this to say about McKeon and education policy:
Education is the foundation of our country's economy. It is the great equalizer that allows one to migrate up the social ladder. Extreme positions like ending the Department of Education are not tolerated by mainstream voters. It is such a short-sighted position. Rep. McKeon is on the Education and Labor Committee and has personally profited from actions on the committee. He traded stock in private colleges and voted to make them more profitable. This, while students are drowning in debt. We have more debt in student loans than on credit cards, over $1 trillion. I'm still paying off my student loans and I know what it's like to be bombarded by for-profit lenders preying on our students. No thank you, Buck!

Guinta, Mourdock and McKeon are all on the same page. Carol Shea-Porter and Lee Rogers are on a very different page and both are committed to strengthening, not weakening, public education. As Paul Krugman pointed out in his column Monday, the Republicans are not just waging a war on women, they're also waging a war on the young.
Let’s start with some advice Mitt Romney gave to college students during an appearance last week. After denouncing President Obama’s “divisiveness,” the candidate told his audience, “Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”

The first thing you notice here is, of course, the Romney touch-- the distinctive lack of empathy for those who weren’t born into affluent families, who can’t rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance their ambitions. But the rest of the remark is just as bad in its own way.

I mean, “get the education”? And pay for it how? Tuition at public colleges and universities has soared, in part thanks to sharp reductions in state aid. Mr. Romney isn’t proposing anything that would fix that; he is, however, a strong supporter of the Ryan budget plan, which would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell grants.

So how, exactly, are young people from cash-strapped families supposed to “get the education”? Back in March Mr. Romney had the answer: Find the college “that has a little lower price where you can get a good education.” Good luck with that. But I guess it’s divisive to point out that Mr. Romney’s prescriptions are useless for Americans who weren’t born with his advantages.

...What should we do to help America’s young? Basically, the opposite of what Mr. Romney and his friends want. We should be expanding student aid, not slashing it. And we should reverse the de facto austerity policies that are holding back the U.S. economy-- the unprecedented cutbacks at the state and local level, which have been hitting education especially hard.

Yes, such a policy reversal would cost money. But refusing to spend that money is foolish and shortsighted even in purely fiscal terms. Remember, the young aren’t just America’s future; they’re the future of the tax base, too.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste; wasting the minds of a whole generation is even more terrible. Let’s stop doing it.

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At 6:11 AM, Anonymous me said...

Yeah, I just loved that "borrow money from your parents and start a business" line.

The implied follow-on is, of course, "That's what my kids would do."

Holee-shit, that guy is as clueless as they come.

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in March Mr. Romney had the answer: Find the college “that has a little lower price where you can get a good education.”

I was accepted to the Cooper Union in New York City, a school whose total tuition is $0.00. I also found places in Brooklyn and Queens that went for about $400 per month (this was in the middle of the 1990s).

I wasn't able to attend because my parents wouldn't let me live in the places that I could afford, and they weren't able to provide the money to find better places to live.

It is impossible to find a college that costs less than the Cooper Union, especially if you want to become an engineer. If a tuition of zero is too high, what hope is there?


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