Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

The Koch Tea Party Picks the Republican Candidate…Romney Considers Changing Parties

Mark Blumenthal of the Huffington Post has an interesting article out today that compiles several of the recent Republican presidential polls.  You can read all about the polls and Blumenthal’s insights here.  There are two take home messages.

1) Romney has no chance of becoming president, and

2) The tea party believes that God is going to muck our stalls.

The first is the easiest.  Clearly the Republican electorate at this point is largely made up of people who say they are fighting to reduce spending and the debt when in fact everything they have been doing has increased the debt.  That’s really not their fault since it’s pretty clear there is a massive reality disconnect with the tea party.  In any case, the tea party lobbyists founded and funded by the Koch brothers and other Washington lobbyists like Dick Armey have gotten their minions duly whipped up against poor Mitt.  While the tea party has been writing off Jon Huntsman for violating Reagan’s 11th commandment (and the 12th commandment, which appears to be something like “Thou Shall not be Mormon”), the tea party has in itself been attacking Romney every which way, shape, and form.   With all this “anyone but Romney” attitude in the tea party, he only had a chance if the tea party savior (or the week) didn’t get into the race.  Now with Perry around, even if Perry flames out and leaves the party to Romney (the last man with money standing, and heir-apparent when that meant something to the Republican party), he is such damaged goods that all the Democrats would have to do is remind the tea party why they hated him so much.  Case closed.

The God thing is an extension of the fact that, outside of the Koch tea party funding, the tea party is really just this decade’s version of the religious right.  That’s “right” as in “not left,” not to be confused with “right” as in “not wrong.”  In fact, virtually everything the tea party says it believes in is actually not really true…and not what they fight for at all.  A large proportion of the tea party is still made up of bigots who think President Obama was born in Kenya or was somehow unnaturally born.  A large proportion of the tea party still thinks the health care law had “death panels” and was a “government takeover,” neither of which are true.  A large proportion of the tea party thinks that somehow the biggest capitalist economy on the planet suddenly became socialist on January 20, 2009.  A large proportion of the tea party thinks that changing tea bags for TEA bags somehow transforms a faulty understanding of history into being overtaxed (the Boston Tea Party was in protest of tax breaks given to the largest corporation at the time, and we’re actually being taxed less now than at any time in the last several decades…oh, and Obama’s stimulus and budgets have given tax breaks to small businesses and the middle class).  In short, the tea party claims to be fighting for what it is not, and claims as true things that are patently false.

Reality hasn’t taken a kicking like this since Robin Williams did Mrs. Doubtfire (Reality…What a Concept!).

Meanwhile, the tea party continues to claim they are trying to reduce the debt, while actually fighting to increase the debt.  The tea party continues to claim they want lower taxes, while actually meaning they want lower taxes on the richest 1% and the most profitable corporations – and have been fighting to increase the tax burden on the poor and middle class.

Oh, and key Republican/Koch tea party candidates believe that God created the East Coast Earthquake and Hurricane because the government is too big (but apparently God did not create the drought that has left Texas a near dust bowl because that would mean He is angry at Rick Perry, right).  The tea party seems to believe if they deny reality enough God will just fix every mess us humans make of His planet because apparently God has nothing better to do than follow us around with a really big shovel cleaning up our manure.  Frankly, that seems rather an unlikely scenario, i.e., that a Creator would put up with the kind of crap the tea party has been dumping.  But for some reason the tea party feels they can lie and punish those most in need while creating false idols of the richest 1% and God will just sit back like a fearful cuckold.

Someone is in for a mighty big surprise when they knock on the pearly gates.

August 30, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jon Huntsman Breaks Reagan’s 11th Commandment – But Then, So are All the Other Republican Candidates

For the first time since he declared his candidacy, Jon Huntsman is making the news.  Huntsman has decided that being the only sane candidate in the Republican field isn’t enough (since he barely registers in polls of Republican voters).  So he has shifted his campaign into being “assertively sane.”  And to do this he has taken to critiquing his fellow Republicans.  For example, after Gov. Perry joined with fellow tea party extremist Michele Bachmann in declaring that the science of climate change is a hoax, Huntsman countered by tweeting:

”To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.  Call me crazy.”

OMG…did he really say that?

Okay, that was a bit melodramatic.  But clearly Huntsman is staking out the “I’m the sane one” vote.  Unfortunately for Huntsman there may not be any sane voters in the Republican primaries.

But Huntsman has taken this a step further.   He appeared on ABC’s “This Week” program this morning and, in reference to a question about Gov. Perry’s denial of science statements (both the denial of climate change and the denial of evolution), Huntsman replied he thinks the worsening trend of the Republican party being “the anti-science party” is a “huge problem.”  In fact, he added:

“I can’t remember a time in our history where we actually were willing to shun science and become a – a party that – that was antithetical to science.”

Huntsman’s critique of Rick Perry didn’t stop there.  He also worked in a subtle jibe about Perry’s threats to have Texas secede from the United States.  Notwithstanding the inherent hypocrisy of threatening secession from the US, then running for President of the US, Perry went on to threaten Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (a Bush appointee) with the potential for “treason.”  Such rhetoric is common in politics, especially with the tea party crowd, but Perry even suggested the possibility of bodily harm to Bernanke just because Perry disagrees – “we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” Huntsman, of course, thought that Perry was being rather cowboyish and “not Presidential” in his suggestions that mob rule would be an acceptable method of discussing economic policy.

Huntsman went on to say that he “wouldn’t necessarily trust” any of his opponents to handle the economy.  Ouch.

In fact, Huntsman added:  “I have to say that there was zero leadership on display in terms of my opponents . . . “

Needless to say, Huntsman is getting a bit of flack from those Republicans who hypocritically wave the Reagan idolatry flag while pushing the party so far right that the Gipper himself would be dumped off his own pedestal.  But Huntsman is not alone in critiquing his colleagues (in fact, the whole “don’t critique your colleagues” is a myth anyway since they all do it all the time).  The hubbub the last week has been about how all the Bush people (Karl Rove and the rest of the Bush legacy team) have been trash-talking Rick Perry.  It’s hard to know whether this is due to some childish rivalry between the two Texas Governors or if it is because the Bush team knows a lot more about Perry than the rest of us.  The latter seems probable given that Rove created Perry (I saw an article some where about “Rove creating a monster”).

Frankly, I encourage all that trash talking.  It’s helps bring the candidates out of the talking points they have rehearsed so as to sound unrehearsed when they give them.  And it allows us voters to see the real candidates.  So far for Rick Perry we have seen that he is a major hypocrite, tends toward arrogant and violent methods to achieve his goals, but is quite adept at seducing his crowd of followers.  For Jon Huntsman we find that he is perhaps too cerebral for the Republican party (especially the tea party wing, who may not like him anyway because of that Mormon thing), isn’t flashy enough to get noticed, and at least lately seemingly understanding that he needs to set himself up as the rational alternative to the nutties on the tea party side of the party and the squishiness of the Romney (and ex-Pawlenty) side of the party.

This could get interesting.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Howard Dean Thinks GW Bush’s people will “Take Perry Out” – Are you kidding me? And what does this have to do with Michele Bachmann?

Former DNC Chair and Vermont Governor Howard Dean has been quoted in a recent article in The Hill as saying:

“The Bush people don’t fool around, as you know,” Dean said Tuesday night on MSNBC. “You can say a lot of things about Bush’s presidency and his failures as president, but one thing nobody should say [anything] bad about [is] his political team. They know what they’re doing, and they are ruthless, and they are going to take Perry out.”

First off, I disagree vociferously with Dean’s terminology. We really need to get away from this violence-tainted rhetoric.

Secondly, I’m not sure how much “Bush’s people” really care about the current election, though I suppose they will if they are supporting a particular candidate.  Rove (who is also quoted in the article) is one of those fake pundit types on Fox who know they must say something flamboyant to keep getting paid, so I usually ignore him.  But for some reason Rove and other “Bush people” have been breaking Reagan’s 11th commandment (i.e., Thou shalt not saying anything bad about fellow Republicans) and criticizing Perry, supposedly in an illustration of “a longstanding rift between the camps of the two Texas politicians.”

In any case, regarding this portion of Dean’s comments at the end of the article:

“He is now in competition with Bachmann and not with Romney. That’s a losing strategy for Perry, because they are going to split the right with the far-right vote, and I think this is great news for Mitt Romney.”

I’m not sure I agree with him on this.  Ultimately Perry is in competition with Romney. On this we can agree.  But Bachmann is a temporary distraction.  It is in Perry’s best interests to push Bachmann off into the “unelectable” category as early in the process as possible.  Once she is marginalized he can gather up the tea party vote while still having a chance of capturing some of the establishment vote (though his recent comments suggest he may end up losing the Independent vote). Then he can focus on Romney alone (this presumes none of the other candidates is a late bloomer).  The tea party hates Mitt Romney.  They will quickly jump to the savior of the week (currently Perry) once it is clear that Bachmann is an also-ran (which is becoming clear already as her Palinesque standoffness contrasts sharply with Perry’s ability to gladhand).  That means Perry.

And Perry knows this.

August 18, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Tea Party | , , , , , | Leave a comment

PGH Quick Take – Tim is Out!

Tim Pawlenty has officially withdrawn from the race for the Republican nomination.  As I noted in my Tim is In! post, Pawlenty had to pretty much win the Iowa straw poll to have a chance.  And he didn’t.  In fact, he came in so far back in third place as to make people forget that Newt Gingrich barely even registered in voter’s minds.

So this morning, Pawlenty announced his withdrawal on the “This Week” program on ABC.  And as the Washington Post notes online this morning, the Democrats were quick to put Pawlenty’s loss in perspective:

Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the Democratic National Committee said, said the poll results were an example of how out of touch the GOP is with the rest of the country.

“A former two-term Governor of a neighboring state, a social conservative, a person who on paper should be everything Republicans should consider in a candidate for president, was run out of the race because he wasn’t extreme enough,” Woodhouse said in a statement.

Woodhouse went further in explaining how extreme the Republican party has become as hostage to the tea party:

“In the past 72 hours we’ve seen all the GOP candidates swear allegiance to the Tea Party in a debate, the national front runner refer to ‘corporations as people,’ the two most extreme candidates in the field – Tea Party favorites – come out on top of the Iowa Straw poll and someone once considered among the leading candidates for the nomination drop out of the race because he was not extreme or vitriolic enough for the Tea Party which now owns and operates the GOP,” Woodhouse said. “But, while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil while proposing to end Medicare, slash Social Security and pile additional burdens on the middle class might win plaudits with the Tea Party, it’s not remotely what the American people are looking for.”

So with Pawlenty out, the path forward is paved on the choice between three people.  Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate (the “next in line”).  Michele Bachmann is the ultra-right wing tea party candidate (complete with hypocrisy of chastising the stimulus law and chiding government subsidies while begging for stimulus funds and taking government subsidies).  And Rick Perry, who is trying to be both establishment and tea party, and probably ending up being the worst of both.

And we still have 6 months before the first primary voting.  Fun.

August 14, 2011 Posted by | Iowa straw poll, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , | Leave a comment

And the Iowa Tea Party Republican Straw Poll Winner is…Barack Obama

Yes, Barack Obama won the Republican straw poll in Iowa tonight.  A stunning show of support for a sitting Democratic President in a Republican-only poll of various supporters of straws.

Huh?

Technically, the straw poll was won by Michele Bachmann with 29% of the vote, with perennial candidate Ron Paul nipping at her high heels with 28% and Tim Pawlenty ensuring that he will not be taken as a serious candidate based on his 14% of the straw poll vote.  Ex-Pennsylvania something-or-other Rick Santorum got 10% and anti-Islam bigot Herman Cain came in with 9%.  Anyone else on the ballot really doesn’t matter.  Of course, only Romney and Perry matter anyway, but neither was there.

But in the end it was President Obama that won the poll.  Given that Iowa decided to cast all of their votes toward tea party people known for 1) factual inaccuracy, 2) bigotry, 3) extreme right wing social hypocrisy, and 4) more than a wee bit of early onset (figurative) insanity, things are looking up for Obama to get reelected.

Of course, the real Iowa caucuses aren’t for six months so there is a chance that things could change dramatically by then.  And then there is the New Hampshire primary, where people tend to be more Independent and less extreme.  Following that and another skewed right state of South Carolina (where walking the Appalachian trail and “we had sex” rumors have become the talk of the town).  And then the real states get to vote.  So perhaps the GOP will decide they want to win the election before then, but clearly they aren’t there yet.

Until the GOP decides whether they want to be the party of responsible adults (no signs of that yet) or the party of “I am not a witch” and Koch-funded “the poor should pay for tax breaks for the rich to hide more of  their money from taxation,” the country has a choice between President Obama or the nut house.

The jury is still out on which choice we will make.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, Iowa straw poll | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Winner of the Iowa Debates? – Rick Perry

For those of you living in a hole somewhere without media access (yes, both of you), last night was the Republican debate in Iowa, just two days ahead of the all not-important Iowa Straw Poll.  And the debate winner is…

…Rick Perry.

Yes, I know Rick Perry wasn’t even in Iowa yesterday.  But the Perry campaign showed that he is fully willing to stick a finger in the collective eyes of his fellow Republicans by pre-announcing his announcement for his candidacy for President.  So while Bachmann and Pawlenty played “whose the bigger Obama basher in Minnesota,” interspersed with “you’re an inconsequential Congresswoman vs. you’re a inconsequential meanie,” everyone watching was really sizing up the field against Perry.

And to stick the other finger in the other collective eyes of his fellow Republicans, Perry’s official announcement will take place on Saturday – the very day that Iowans go to their straw polling places to prevaricate over their preferred potential president’s proposed possibilities.   Perry’s purpose, presumably, is to provoke a private uprising of people who will write his name into the straw poll ballot.  Wouldn’t that be a hoot – a guy who is in South Carolina announcing his candidacy, then hopping a plane to New Hampshire to press some palms, actually makes a strong showing in the Iowa straw poll that he isn’t even in.  Thus kicking the presumed winner Michele Bachmann in her private tea party parts.  And possibly stealing some second place points from Mitt Romney, who has cleverly made a public show of not campaigning in Iowa while privately trying to get all his supporters to show up at the polls.

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, who surprised everyone by winning the 2008 Iowa caucuses, thinks Rick Perry made a “tactical blunder” and showed “bad form” by pre-announcing on the day of the debate his intent to announce on the day of the straw poll.  Apparently the Huck believes Iowans will remember being upstaged on their big days.  PGH disagrees, and would argue that while people in general have short-attention spans, the tea party-type people who dominate the Iowa straw pollers have shown a tendency to hop from one “savior” to another (remember Palin, er, Trump, er, Bachmann, er, Cain, er, Perry, er,?).

In any case, I’ll have more on the debate last night…and preview Saturday’s straw poll…and try to answer the question that Perry-watching pundits are pondering – is he the new front runner, or his he the Fred Thompson of 2012?

August 12, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Republican, Rick Perry, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Straw Man (Poll) of La Iowa – What does it mean? (Part 1)

This is an exciting week in the world of Republican politics before it matters.   Yes, folks, this week are two of the most important meaningless events of the budding election season.  You got it…

…the Ames straw poll…and the Republican debate!

Okay, first the debate.  On Thursday the “major” Republican candidates will take the stage to not debate at all.  The goal of the debate is not to debate but to bash President Obama.  After all, this is the Republican party.  Given the events of the last week I would expect each and every participant to spend his or her time blaming the tea party downgrade on President Obama…following the script laid out by the tea party lobby.  A script so bizarre that it actually had one pundit blaming Obama for starting a recession in 2007 and the collapse of the economy in 2008…before he was even elected.

If there is anything of value to this debate it is in its potential to eliminate Tim Pawlenty from the race.  Poor Timmy has been working hard for about three years to get noticed, only to be overshadowed by the sudden candidacy of his fellow Minnesotan, Michele Bachmann.  Bachmann is actually expected to win the straw poll (more on that in a second), which would be a kick in the knees to Timmy.  But even she might be kicked to the curb if she doesn’t totally blow the field out of the water (er, drought).  Since Texas Governor Perry is supposedly ready to jump into the race (or not), Bachmann may be related to the same bin as Tim who.

Oh, Romney will pretty much ignore everyone else and just bash Obama.

One more thing about Pawlenty.  He’s put himself between a very large rock and a very hard place with his wimpish retreat in the last debate from his pre-debate puffery.  So if Pawlenty decides to ignore the Obama-bashing script and instead takes a few direct shots to the faces of Romney and Bachmann (figuratively, not literally), then the debate could make him a star.  Or a goat.  If he again wimps out of his “safe behind the Fox desk” criticisms of fellow candidates, then he’s a goner anyway.  Frankly, Pawlenty is in a lose-lose situation of his own making.

There are some other people at this debate, but they pretty much don’t matter so I won’t bother going into them.  It’s too early to bow out so I’ll have at least one more chance for most of them.

Well, this little diddy went a lot longer than expected (it’s Obama’s fault), so I’ll pick up on the straw poll in the next post.

August 9, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Republican, Rick Perry, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

And now, a note from Donald Trump

I read an interesting article by Chris Wiegard about Donald Trump, which got me to thinking:

Trump’s credo has always been (that is, after his daddy handed him a multimillion dollar ready-made business), “there’s a sucker born every minute.”*  He has shown he will say and do whatever gets him attention, which of course enhances his ability to “make the deal.”  Needless to say, this is a person on whom the tea party lavished its support and attention…based solely on Trump’s bigoted rants and false characterizations.**

*Ironically, the quote is usually attributed to P.T. Barnum, of whom Trump resembles in ways, but in reality it was a scam played on Barnum’s philosophy by others that didn’t like Barnum all that much.  Sort of like the whole tea party movement, which rewrites history to its liking and derives its most passionate beliefs from things that aren’t even real (think “born in Kenya,” “death panels,” “the government is broke,” “Sarah Palin is qualified to be President,” etc.  So the quote both proves itself and demonstrates the lack of intellectual integrity of the tea party and Donald Trump.

**Some in the tea party suggested that they were not supporting Trump because of his bigoted rants but because of Trump’s “business acumen.”  Which, of course, includes at least two major bankruptcies (coincidentally occurring as he was divorcing wives to pick up with younger “next-wives”).  Trump has perfected the “art of the dealing with other people’s money” in which he borrows tremendously from other investors to build things that then get the Trump name on them, after which Trump pockets much of any profit.  So you can easily see how the tea party (who are constantly calling for fiscal conservatism) would latch onto a free-wheeling, spendthrift, financially unstable, billionaire to represent them.

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Donald Trump, Tea Party | , , | Leave a comment

What is (Who are) Americans for Prosperity?

Someone said the following: “That’s from Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group.”

It struck me as so funny that the tea party seems to have missed the boat on why their benefactors are bene-non-facting them.

Yes, Americans for Prosperity is an advocacy group in that they advocate for the prosperity of the Koch brothers, billionaire owners of Koch Industries, a huge corporation specializing in the fossil fuel and deforestation industries.  Americans for Prosperity, like its cousin FreedomWorks run by former Republican majority leader turned super-lobbyist Dick Armey, was spun off from another free market lobbying group set up by the Koch brothers, Citizens for a Sound Economy.  [You have to love the irony of the fake names these guys come up with for their astroturf lobbying groups, since the only citizens involved in setting up all three of these groups were the two Koch brothers and other lobbyists, and the only “sound economy” they were concerned with was their own bank accounts.]

As noted, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are Koch Industries lobbying front groups whose purpose is to ensure massive tax breaks for the richest 1% (including, of course, the two billionaire Koch brothers) and the most profitable mega-corporations (including, of course, the Koch Industries conglomerate).

Which is why these lobbying organizations use the tea party to support the interests of Koch Industries and the Koch brothers.  It explains why the tea party is funded and organized by these corporate lobbying organizations and other corporate lobbying organizations going under various astroturf “tea party” names like Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express and Tea Party Nation.  Which is why the tea party turned down trillions in spending cuts because it would have meant closing some corporate tax loopholes and tax breaks that allow the most profitable corporations and the richest 1% of Americans to avoid paying taxes on most of their income (and only 15% on most of the income they can’t hide from taxation altogether).  Which is why the tea party has been working so hard to shift even more of the burden of running this country onto the middle class (while giving more tax breaks to the very rich).  The very rich, by the way, that put next to nothing back into the local economy and who have been sending jobs overseas for the last few decades (usually with more tax breaks that they helped get put into the tax code).

Yes, Americans for Prosperity is definitely an advocacy organization.  They advocate for the shifting of even more riches into the pockets of the Koch family and their lobbyist front groups.

Just curious – does the tea party even care that they are being rubed into working against their own interests?

August 3, 2011 Posted by | Koch Industries, Lobbyists, Republican, Tea Party | , , , , | 4 Comments