Archive for January, 2011.
::: Oy. Sarah Palin: Media Boycott Will Keep Me From Being ‘Blamed’ For Egypt Uprising At a speech in Reno on Saturday, Sarah Palin said she thinks a recently discussed media boycott of her is good–because then she won’t get “blamed” for the uprising in Egypt. According to a report by The Daily Beast, Palin made a clear reference to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s widely circulated pledge not to write anything about her for the whole of February. Milbank wrote that, since Palin did not hold political office and had become “more like Ann Coulter,” he would try to ease his “obsession” with writing about her, or mentioning her in any media appearance, for a month. Speaking at a meeting of the Safari Club, a hunting organization, Palin apparently said that was fine with her. The boycott, she said, “sounds good, because there’s a lot of chaos in Cairo, and I can’t wait to not get blamed for it–at least for a month.” Not that she deserves any credit, but would it really be the worst thing in the world if she got “blamed” for “inciting” the Egyptians who are protesting for democratic reforms in their country? Maybe she doesn’t get the distinction between democracy with a small ‘d’ and the Democratic Party? Actually, to be fair to Palin, I was talking to Barb about this earlier, and she did have a good point. Maybe we ought to go easy on her…after all, you can’t see Egypt from Wasilla.
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Sarah Palin: Don’t blame me if Egypt goes democratic
It looks like the GOP has a hostage-taking situation of its own — Fox says a new Rasmussen poll her fan base is threatening to bolt the GOP if she doesn’t win the nomination: Nearly half of the Republican Primary voters who support Sarah Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for a third-party candidate if she does not win the GOP presidential nomination. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters who favor Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote third-party if she isn’t nominated. That includes 22% who say it is Very Likely. Rasmussen also says that one-third of GOP primary voters say Palin is the nominee they’d least like to see at the top of the GOP ticket. So at the same time that Palin backers are threatening to bolt if she isn’t the nominee, a huge chunk of the party is saying they really don’t want Palin as their nominee. These are the kind of results that keep GOP insiders awake at night, dreaming up ways to get Palin to stay on the sidelines for 2012. But even though they might not want her to run, as Nate Silver pointed out , the decision by Mike Pence to forego the 2012 presidential race was great news for Palin — Pence appealed to social, religious, and economic conservatives and would have presented a real threat to Palin. Of course, this is a Rasmussen poll, and in surveys of the public at large, their methodology biases their results in favor of Republicans. But this isn’t a survey of the public at large, it’s of GOP primary voters, so it’s not clear whether or how their methodology biases results. Whatever the case, even if these numbers are off by 10 or 15 percent, it’s still a big problem for the GOP.
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Nearly half of Palin’s GOP backers may vote third-party if she isn’t nominated
” Students Sound Off ,” is an ongoing student blogger contest aimed at providing students a loud and clear voice in the education debate presented by HuffPost Education and Get Schooled . As the fifth post in the series, high school sophomore Sarah King answers the question: If you were given the chance, how would you help kids at your school graduate? It isn’t fair to generalize or judge my peers who wouldn’t be considered “successful” in high school (and keep in mind, successful is a very relative term), because there are an immense number of kids whose strengths lie in other areas than a textbook or math exam. I’m tired of everybody blaming apathy for not graduating. Thus, I’m going to propose a notion, an abstract concept really, to help kids graduate, namely, compassion. Read More…
Students Sound Off: Sophomore Sarah King Says Compassion Turns A Class Into A Team
Sarah Palin spoke about Second Amendment rights while addressing members of the Safari Club, an international hunting organization, on Saturday night in Reno, Nev., the Reno Gazette Journal reports . The former Alaska governor’s remarks on the contentious issue came in a 40-minute speech delivered to roughly 2,000 guests dressed in formal attire, according to the local outlet. Tickets for the event reportedly cost $100. The Daily Beast reports : Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin’s Safari Club Speech Addresses Second Amendment Rights, Tucson Tragedy
Economic conservatism: it’s an ideology circumscribed by a stark moral philosophy. People should be free to make their own way in the world without interference, and should stand or fall on their own merits. Success should not be punished, and failure should not be rewarded. Doing either generates a moral hazard that will lead to excessive risk, and will remove the incentive to succeed–an incentive upon with our economy depends to survive. It turns out, however, that this philosophy is not universally applied. Establishment conservatives, for instance, still want to reward the banks who nearly sunk our country’s economy through less regulation and dispensing with any requirements on bonuses for their executives, who played with fire and got burnt. Social conservatives tend to have an even fiercer moral code by which they judge the sinners who have fallen short: those sinners have a moral obligation to live with the consequences of their decision and not have a way out that lets them escape from the punishment they so richly deserve. But as with the economic conservatives giving the banksters a free pass, social conservatives can be very forgiving too–depending on who you are. Before the students of Washington University in Saint Louis engaged in massive protests and forced the cancellation of her appearance, the governing body in charge of student programming was about to spend the sum of $20,000 to bring Bristol Palin to speak about two things she knows absolutely nothing about: abstinence and college. This discussion was set to occur during Sexual Responsibility Week, an event at the school designed to promote an open discussion about sex and sexuality in a college setting. (The panel at which Bristol was to appear also featured a representative from the Catholic Student Center, so it’s not as if a pro-abstinence voice would have been needed for balance.) The entire point of promoting abstinence, is as a method of avoiding all the messy complications that go hand-in-hand with sexual activity: emotional distress, risk of disease, and pregnancy, to name some of the most obvious possibilities. For many teenagers, the consequences of a pregnancy can be detrimental: teen mothers face much more difficult paths to advancing their education and careers because of the time involved in having to raise a child, often without the help of a second parent. This would have been the likely fate of most Alaskan teen mothers who had chosen to have a child. But because Bristol happened to be the daughter of a half-term governor and a right-wing media icon, she never faced any such consequences. Instead, she became a standard-bearer for a fruitless standard she herself has failed so noticeably to live up to. Her accident was not punished with moral stigma, consternation and loss of opportunity, but was rather rewarded with acceptance, forgiveness, and–perhaps most importantly–five-figure speaking fees and an appearance on a popular reality-television show. And not because of anything that she herself had done, but because she was Sarah Palin’s daughter and got pregnant, forcing a circling of the wagons to defend poor Sarah’s reputation. The experience of Bristol in this regard is so rare and so beyond the norm for anyone else in her situation that there is little insight she could offer to anyone, much less the students at Washington University who are trying to balance their emotional and romantic desires with their focus on academic achievement. If the goal of abstinence education is to prevent negative consequences, it is inherently useless to invite someone to speak on the issue who has received exactly the opposite. Now, if Washington University had originally decided to allot this $20,000 to a recent student of the university who had to drop out to take care of a child resulting from an accidental pregnancy and was now working two low-paying jobs to try to make ends meet and provide for her child, sacrificing her career ambitions in the process, that would be worth listening to. But someone whose accidental pregnancy was a launching pad for her career ambitions, rather than an inhibition to them, does not deserve a place at the table when discussing the consequences of teen pregnancy.
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Bristol Palin, the wingnut welfare queen
The city of Memphis, Tenn. and the suburban county that encompasses it are locked in a battle over whether to consolidate their schools into one large system. Read More…
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Sarah Garland: Memphis Merger Fight Revives Old Desegregation Debate
It’s good to be home. Just shy of three months after the last edition of the Polling and Political Wrap graced the front page of Daily Kos, the Wrap makes its debut for 2012. The reason for the hiatus was inherently logical: the confetti was still being swept up from the (mostly awful) 2012 cycle, and there simply was not a lot of data to justify the Wrap. To an extent, that is still true. Who wants to blow their polling budgets on a raft of surveys a mere 21 months before voters go to the polls? There is still a pretty considerable dearth of data, which is why (for the time being) the Wrap will be a once-a-week item, to be found here on Sundays. So, given the polling that has been conducted thus far in the cycle, are there any conclusions that can be drawn about the 2012 cycle? Indeed, there are. But first, the standard disclaimer: Trying to draw conclusions about the status of elections with data 21 months out is like trying to predict the Super Bowl based on the first two drives of the game. There is a chance you might be seeing a trend that will carry itself throughout the duration of the contest. It is equally likely, in fact it is probably MORE likely, that the predictive value is limited to the “worth keeping an eye on” category. Therefore, in this inaugural edition of the Wrap for the 2012 cycle, let’s depart from the traditional format. Let’s look inside the data to find a few thematic points worth keeping an eye on as the cycle progresses. Obama’s 2012 GOP opponent is still a TOTAL unknown. The early polling on the Republican presidential sweepstakes is remarkably consistent. What it tells us, thus far, is that there is not a legitimate frontrunner in the mix. Different pollsters since the curtain closed on the 2010 cycle have had Mitt Romney (NBC), Mike Huckabee (ABC), or Sarah Palin (Quinnipiac) in the lead. Romney has led more polls than his rivals, but all of them have been marked by narrow leads that lack much probative value. What’s more: since none of the prospective candidates breaks out of the teens in most cases, that means it will not take much for a current backmarker to move into a position of prominence. In other words, don’t dismiss the idea of a John Thune, a Mitch Daniels, or a Haley Barbour moving into the lead. They would not need to travel far to move into the lead. Obama is in a better position now than he has been in over a year. Another consistent finding in the early polling data is the fact that President Barack Obama has seen a modest, but consistent, uptick in his job approval and favorability numbers since the 2010 elections. As often is the case, it is probably best to get a visual verification of that trend from our friends at Pollster : This has manifested itself in better 2012 trial heat numbers, as well. Our polling partners at PPP have been easily the most prolific pollsters in the game for the 2012 cycle. Their recent polling shows that President Obama stacks up surprisingly well in the early numbers, especially in the all-important smattering of states carried by Obama in 2008 and the GOP in 2004. Indeed, the only states that were clear longshots for the President in the early polling were Texas and West Virginia. Those are two states that, it is safe to say, did not figure heavily into the President’s 2012 electoral math. However, those leads might be exaggerated by a common effect early in the election cycle, which is the reluctance of GOP partisans to commit to supporting potential nominees other than their first choice. We saw this in a December NBC poll , where Obama led a trio of potential challengers (Romney, Thune, and Palin) by margins ranging from 7-23 points. However, when paired against a “generic Republican”, the margin slid down to three points. Furthermore, while the President’s approval numbers have rebounded, it would be a stretch to call them “good.” His Pollster average (49/44) is pretty similar to where George W. Bush was in 2004. Which would seem to indicate that, if the President’s approval numbers stay in the same neighborhood, we can expect a toss-up election (unless the nominee’s last name is Palin). The 2010 electorate looks more like aberration than trend. It is almost unprecedented in contemporary American political history to see two consecutive cycles so diametrically opposed as 2008 and 2010 were. This begs a natural question–will the real American electorate please rise? There are some early indicators that the 2010 elections were more of an aberration than a trend. The most critical acknowledgement of that is in a levelling of the “enthusiasm gap” that contributed to the massive Democratic losses of the 2010 cycle. As PPP noted last month, a slightly higher percentage of Democrats in their recent national polling indicated enthusiasm about the 2012 election than did the GOP (85% to 82%). That marks a stark reversal of the 2010 cycle, when the GOP routinely outpaced the Democrats on this metric, and often by wide margins. This has manifested itself in some interesting swings in the generic polling of Congressional preferences (district polling, prior to redistricting, would be pretty useless at this point). Even GOP friendly Rasmussen sees some movement . Our own State of the Nation tracking poll (conducted by PPP) put the GOP lead at two points. Republicans carried the total House vote in 2010 by a little over six percentage points. Democratic control of the Senate is a big sidebar story for 2012. While Democrats lost control of the House in 2010, a potentially bigger story was the fact that they also shed a half-dozen seats in the Senate. The reason why those GOP pick-ups were significant is that they came in the cycle before the one Senate Republicans were already salivating over. You see, to understand the climate for Senate races, one not only needs to know the current political climate, they need to remember what the climate had been six years earlier. And, in 2006, the Democrats cleaned up on the Senate level, threading the needle and picking up every close race in their successful bid to control the Senate. Which was great news in 2006. In 2012, however, that means that virtually all of the competitive seats are going to come from the Democratic side. Any Republicans that might prove politically vulnerable were washed away six years ago. For the Democrats, this means that all that remains is the hopes that someone retires, or gets teabagged in the primary and replaced with an unelectable candidate. Of course, the 2010 cycle provided precedent for the latter scenario. As it stands now, however, the only perilous retirement has come from our side (Conrad in North Dakota). And the incumbents who seem most vulnerable all lie on the Democratic side of the aisle. Early numbers (except for in Nebraska) show that while there is cause for concern, there is not yet cause for panic. A GOP poll by Wilson Research out of Michigan shows freshman Democrat Debbie Stabenow with single digit leads over her likeliest GOP foes: former Congressman Peter Hoekstra (47-41) and Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (46-41). Meanwhile, in Missouri , a GOP-sponsored poll from SurveyUSA gives incumbent Claire McCaskill a four-point edge over Congressman Sam Graves (48-44), and claimed that he polled best against the Democrat (which means we should assume that state treasurer Sarah Steelman was further back). Meanwhile, newly elected Senator Joe Manchin seems to be in decent shape in West Virginia, despite the growing hostility to Democrats in that once-blue state. Only GOP Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito comes close to the incumbent, and even she trails by nine points (50-41). Other, earlier, polling covered here at DK showed that New Jersey freshman Democrat Robert Menendez was in solid shape, and in fact was safer politically than longtime Utah Republican Orrin Hatch. The early conclusion, therefore, is that while Democrats seem highly unlikely to pad their majority in 2012, there is at least some chance that they can preserve it. Only two seats seem like real longshot holds at this point (ND-Open and NE-Nelson), and while there are a number of others in real peril (MT-Tester perhaps the most vulnerable), they all at least have avenues to victory. The House picture is muddy, and will be for a while. Generic House polling, as indicated earlier, is showing a slight rebound for Democrats in the wake of their 51-45 defeat last November nationally. However, any predictive value in that data is minimized by the simple fact that we haven’t a clue about how 98% of the House will look politically until the redistricting process is complete. Republican gains in the 2010 cycle might have been profound at the federal level, but they were even more so at the state legislative level. This means that the GOP will definitely have more hands on the levers of power as it relates to redistricting during the coming year. Of course, they did in 2001-02, as well. Therefore, presumptions of electoral doom might be a bit overstated. That said, hopes for more legitimate redistricting in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania are sure to go out the window as a result of last Fall’s election results. And, certainly, there is cause for concern with the new Census data. As Nate Silver pointed out back in December, seventeen of the twenty CDs in America with the highest population are held by Republicans. What this means, as a practical matter, is that they will have to contract in order to create population equity among districts. Which means that they will be shedding Republican voters into neighboring districts, at least some of which will be Dem-or-swing districts. Of course, this level of speculation is all for naught until someone starts producing maps. One invaluable resource for Democrats wanting to understand that process is the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee . * * * * * * * * * * * * * And with that, we can consider ourselves caught up on the 2012 election cycle thus far. Starting next Sunday, the Wrap will return to its more general format of encapsulating the polling and campaign news of the week. Here’s hoping you will make this a regular stop in your weekly search for political news
Polling and Political Wrap, 1/30/11
Tuesday night, President Obama performed his Constitutionally-mandated duty and reported to Congress on the state of the union, and as it turns out, the state of our union is strong (or so the President would have us believe ). Though the speech drew high marks from those who watched it , and tears from the House Speaker , some people had problems with it. Rep. Paul Ryan, giving the GOP’s official response, found himself at a loss for words , and Rep. Michele Bachmann , giving the unofficial Tea Party response, was clearly just lost . Meanwhile, Sarah Palin was so confused by the President’s words that she ended up advocating for more socialism in her response.
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Sunday Talk - Big Fish to Fry
Jimmy McMillan, who captured the political spotlight with his unsuccessful bid for New York governor during the 2010 midterm election season, professed his love for Sarah Palin in an interview with AOL News published Saturday. McMillan is the founder and leader of “The Rent Is Too Damn High” political party. He has mounted multiple failed campaigns for mayor of New York City and was kicked-off the ballot when he tried to run against Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senate in 2000, according to the Village Voice . McMillan recently announced that he is running for president in 2012. Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Jimmy McMillan: Sarah Palin, ‘I Love You’
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger During the State of the Union address earlier this week, President Barack Obama spoke at length about clean energy, with nary a mention of climate change. This is the new environment in which America’s energy policy is being made. Just two years ago, Democrats were rallying to combat climate change, one of the most worrying challenges the country faces. But now, Obama has apparently given up his plan to openly fight climate change during his presidency. It’s hard to imagine how, even in a second term, he would choose to re-fight the lost battle to create a cap-and-trade system. The Obama Administration has instead resorted to a sort of insurgent strategy. Instead of waging an all-out battle against energy interests, the U.S. government will try to chip away at the edges of the industry’s power and rally citizens’ allegiances to a new flag, that of “clean energy.” Climate bill’s absence is smothering clean energy Since Washington hasn’t succeeded at tackling climate change head on, Obama’s new strategy is to attack the problem obliquely by promoting innovation in clean energy and setting goals for the use of technologies like electric cars. But can clean energy efforts and innovations thrive in the absence of a wholesale climate policy? When a climate bill was still a possibility, clean energy entrepreneurs were promising substantial investments in the sector, if only Congress could give them a framework. And as Monica Potts explains at The American Prospect , in the absence of a climate bill, clean energy has flagged: What’s been problematic about the president’s approach up to now is that, despite his efforts to pump funding into the clean-energy sector, as he did with about $90 billion of the stimulus, renewable energy hasn’t taken off. Obama had a line in his speech that summed up why this is so: “Now, clean-energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean-energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling.” Short on influence It’s possible that clean energy investors will take the President’s new promise as incentive enough to push forward. But, they will also have to consider the influence of the newly empowered Republicans. Mother Jones ‘ Kate Sheppard isn’t convinced that the president’s new tactic will stick: “There are plenty of people–and most of them happen to be Republicans–who don’t think that policies to support clean energy are worthwhile and who will oppose any attempt to move away from them,” she wrote. “Meanwhile, this latest iteration of the Obama climate and energy plan includes few of the driving forces that would actually make renewables cost-competitive in the near future and allow renewables to compete (the big one being, of course, a price on carbon pollution).” When “clean” energy includes coal Another weak point in the President’s new strategy is his reliance on the vague idea of clean energy, which becomes dirtier the more it is used. As Sheppard writes, “Environmental groups weren’t all that excited about the inclusion of “clean coal” and nuclear in that mix, but that’s pretty broadly expected as the price one must pay to draw broader support for a clean energy standard.” Another key source of clean energy is natural gas. In Washington, it’s become a given that natural gas, which releases less carbon when burned than coal or oil, will help the country transition away from its high-carbon diet and be phased out as energy sources like solar and wind become more viable. (The natural gas industry, of course, doesn’t see its role as transitional. It’s playing for keeps.) And while some places are rightly celebrating the freedom that natural gas gives them from coal– as Care2’s Beth Buczynski reports , Penn State is investing $35 million to convert its coal-fired power plant to natural gas over the next three years–other places are bearing the environmental toll of this new, clean fuel. In North Carolina, for instance, hydrofracking, the controversial technique that natural gas companies have been using to extract the gas from shale, is not even legal, but already environmental groups are having to fight efforts from energy companies to buy up potentially gas-rich properties, Public News Service reports . A poverty of political capital The president’s new strategy on clean energy will surely succeed at turning current energy economy slowly towards a new path. In the absence of any overarching strategy to fix the country’s energy problems, it’s going to have to be good enough. But ultimately, this sort of tactic, born out of a poverty of political capital, cannot move fast enough to keep energy companies from scouring the earth for more profits doing what they’ve been doing. That means that there will be more scenes like the one in Kern County, California, where companies are dredging up the last resources of oils from the tar sands. In Orion Magazine , Jeremy Miller writes : The land also reveals the Frankensteinian scars and machinery necessary to keep up that level of production. Gas flares glow on hillsides. Nodding donkeys lever over thousands of wells, some of which are spaced fewer than a hundred feet apart. Between the wells and imposing cogeneration power plants–which supply energy and steam to the senescent fields–run wild tangles of pipe. These are the conduits of an elaborate industrial life-support system, breathing in steam and carrying away oil. Will the president’s new strategy prevent the creation of more landscapes like this one? It seems overly optimistic to hope so. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium . It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter . And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit , The Pulse , and The Diaspora . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets. Read More… More on Climate Bill
The Media Consortium: Weekly Mulch: Can Clean Energy Curb Climate Change? Probably Not.
Not that anybody really cares, but the Tea Party Express and its video partner are finally going to release video of what this was supposed to have looked like: Michele Bachmann stares off-camera during the Tea Party Express response to the SOTU According to Kevin Diaz of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, TeaPartyHD, the internet video partner of the Tea Party Express, will release its recording of Bachmann’s response featuring the Minnesota congresswoman staring straight into the camera. The reason she looks into the lens? It was the TeaPartyHD camera that had the teleprompter from which Bachmann read her response. (Insert your Sarah Palin / Marco Rubio teleprompter joke here.) Bachmann or her staff should have realized there was a problem from the moment they saw two cameras in the room, but if the Tea Party Express were competent in the slightest, it never would have gotten to the point it did. Of course, given that the Tea Party Express is basically a sham of an organization whose greatest political victories include nominating Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, and Christine O’Donnell, it’s not really all that big a surprise that they didn’t think through the problem that having two cameras was going to create. Rachel Maddow did a great segment last night on how big a fraud the Tea Party Express is — it’s worth watching the whole thing at AMERICAblog . She not only lays out how the organization exists primarily to funnel money from unsuspecting tea party supporters into the pockets of political consultants, but she also blasts CNN for forging a partnership with what amounts to a scam operation. As Maddow points out, in addition to being the only network to broadcast the Tea Party Express response to the SOTU live, CNN is co-sponsoring a presidential debate with the group and last year agreed to cover the tea party by “embedding” a reporter on the Tea Party Express bus tour. That pretty much puts CNN in the same position as Fox when Fox hyped the tax day tea parties of 2009, though even then Fox wasn’t tapping a single tea party group as the “official” voice of teapartiers. There’s nothing wrong with covering teapartiers, but as Maddow argued, there really is something unseemly about news organizations forming partnership with a single tea party PAC. The Tea Party Express is getting Bachmann straightened out…now it’s time for CNN to straighten itself out.
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Tea Party Express hopes to "straighten out" Bachmann…but what about CNN?
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich provided a candid assessment of some of the potential GOP presidential candidates that he could face in the 2012 primary cycle if he, as he is increasingly expected to, announces a run for the White House. During an interview with the Columbus Dispatch , he appeared to give the upper hand to a trio of former governors: Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Alaska’s Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. “Romney’s the front-runner in fundraising, Palin is the front-runner in celebrity status and Huckabee is the front-runner in polling data,” he told the Dispatch . “All three of them should feel pretty good about where they’re positioned right now.” Read More… More on Newt Gingrich
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Newt Gingrich Assesses His Potential 2012 Presidential Primary Competition
Kate Walsh helped Bristol Palin abstain… from talking about abstinence. When the ‘Private Practice’ star heard that Palin was set to give a speech about abstaining from sex at Washington University in St. Louis, she sent out a tweet in support of students who had been protesting the planned talk all week: Welcome to the Idiocracy! RT @elliekirsh: @katewalsh please join students at Wash.U. to boycott Bristol Palin’s speech on abstinence. What does she know about college or abstaining? Read More… More on Bristol Palin
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Kate Walsh Vs. Bristol Palin On Sex Talk
Tracy Morgan is in hot water again for a controversial joke, this time due to some salacious remarks about former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin. During “Inside The NBA” on TNT before the Heat-Knicks game, Kenny Smith announced that Morgan was the only person who could settle an argument he and Charles Barkley have “all the time.” Tina Fey or Sarah Palin? After a few laughs and the observation that Morgan “can’t get fired,” Charles Barkley encouraged Morgan, saying, “Sarah Palin’s good looking isn’t she?” Read More… More on Video
Tracy Morgan: Sarah Palin Is ‘Good Masturbation Material’ (VIDEO)
The field of potential Republican candidates for 2012 narrows : U.S. Rep. Mike Pence shut the door today on a run for the presidency, but left wide open the likelihood that he’ll seek a different office: Governor of Indiana. “In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana,” Pence, R-Columbus, said of himself and wife Karen in a letter being sent to supporters. “We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.” That only leaves Angle, Bachmann, Barbour, Bolton, Cain, Daniels, DeMint, Gingrich, Giuliani, Huckabee, Huntsman, Johnson, Palin, Pawlenty, Romney, Santorum, and Thune … and whoever else comes out of the woodwork in the next few months … Popcorn futures are skyrocketing.
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Mike Pence nixes White House run in 2012
So Sarah Palin went on Greta Van Susteren’s show last night and one of the “questions” was about what she thought of President Obama’s reference to America’s “Sputnik moment” during his State of the Union address. Just about everyone knows that the phrase “Sputnik moment” refers to America’s response to the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite and how it galvanized the nation to make the scientific and technological advantages that allowed us to go to the moon and beyond, but not Sarah Palin. To Palin, the Sputnik moment was a bad thing for America and the fact that President Obama “would aspire Americans to celebrate” it represents a “WTF moment.” Why? Because, she says, Sputnik “resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.” Of course, the collapse of the Soviet Union had nothing to do with to do with more than just Sputnik (and does Palin really think its collapse was a bad thing?), but the point of President Obama’s speech wasn’t that we should emulate the Soviet Union — it was that we should emulate our own history and our own response to Sputnik. Palin obviously didn’t understand that, which makes for a truly remarkable 45 seconds of television — quite possibly the stupidest 45 seconds of babbling by a potential presidential candidate in American history: Transcript: GRETA: Governor, last night there was a lot of discussion about the Sputnik Moment the President wants us to have. Do you agree with him? Is this our moment? PALIN: That was another one of those WTF moments, when he has so often repeated, the Sputnik Moment, that he would aspire Americans to celebrate, he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory and that race to space, yeah, they won, but they also incured so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union so I listen to that Sputnik Moment talk over and over again and I think, no we don’t need one of those.
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Palin completely misunderstands what "Sputnik Moment" means
Student outrage over Student Union Treasury’s decision to fund a panel featuring Bristol Palin for $20,000 was not assuaged by Wednesday’s SU Senate meeting. Students were jammed against the walls of the filled room as senators and discontented students voiced anger, suggestions and occasionally support for the panel. Freshmen Gabriel Hassler and Michael Harding waved a sign that read “Can I get paid for an accident too?” Read More… More on Bristol Palin
Wash U Students Not Happy About Bristol Palin Panel
During an interview as surprising as a cold winter night in Alaska, Sarah Palin took issue with Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. But TV stations in Anchorage still hire weather casters and Fox News still interviews Palin, who had some particularly harsh words on Wednesday. “That was a tough speech to have to sit through and kinda’ try to stomach, because the president is so off base in his ideas on how it is that he believes government is going to create jobs,” said the former vice presidential candidate. “Obviously government growth won’t create any jobs, it’s the private sector that can create the jobs.” Read More… More on State of the Union
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Palin Responds To Obama’s State Of The Union Speech: ‘A Lot Of WTF Moments’ (VIDEO)
PHOENIX — A Phoenix radio station has offered a job to Bristol Palin. Mix 96.9 host Mathew Blades says Sarah Palin’s eldest daughter met with the station’s management Friday and that they offered her a gig co-hosting with him on his morning show. Read More… More on Bristol Palin
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Bristol Palin Meets With Phoenix Radio Station About Job
Politico: The first presidential primary debate has been set for May 2, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced Monday. The debate, co-hosted by POLITICO and NBC News, will be held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley. POLITICO Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will moderate the debate, which will be aired on MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo and streamed live on POLITICO.com. Of course, the big question is which candidates will participate. For reference, during the first GOP primary debate of the 2008 nomination contest, also held in early May at the Reagan Library with NBC and Politico co-moderating. In that debate, the GOP field included Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney as well as lower profile candidates like Sam Brownback, Games Gilmore, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson. Fred Thompson was the lone GOP candidate who hadn’t yet announced. Of the 2012 top tier prospects (Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich), none have committed. Huckabee, however, has already made it clear he will definitely skip it, whether or not he decides to run. Romney would seem to be a lock to attend given how clear he’s been about his plans to run. Likewise, Gingrich has said he’ll decide in the spring if he’s running. If he decides to make the bid, he’ll also be a lock to attend. That leaves Palin, and unless she announces that she will not be running for President in 2012, she’ll be in the lede of every story about the debate whether or not she attends. The debate also probably sets up a timeline for lower tier candidates like Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Herman Cain, Mike Pence, Gary Johnson, and John Thune to declare their plans. It’s easy to see how a Huckabee or Palin could sit on the sidelines and still enter the race, but it’s hard to see how a lower tier candiate could afford the luxury of passing up this debate. That means unless one of the lower tier candidates has a secret plan on how to win, the whole GOP field should be pretty well set by May 2 with the exceptions of the Foxers, Huckabee and Palin.
First GOP 2012 primary debate scheduled for May 2
In no surprise, Mitt Romney (36%) captured the first party-sanctioned straw poll in New Hampshire, followed by Ron Paul (11), Tim Pawlenty (8) and Sarah Palin (at 7, not a likely winner here in Romney’s backyard.) As Tom Jensen/PPP tweets, Straw poll results in NH relatively similar to the scientific polls in the state so far. For an example, the WMUR/University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll back in April 2010 had Romney at 41 followed by everyone else in the teens or less. And PPP again , looking at where Palin’s relative numbers were in NH: In New Hampshire our most recent poll found her in a tie for third place at 10% with Newt Gingrich, 30 points behind Mitt Romney. A Magellan Strategies poll last week found her with a similarly larger deficit, in second place at 16%, 23 points behind Romney. What is perhaps more interesting is the finger collectively stuck in John Sununu’s eye with the election of Jack Kimball over Sununu’s choice , Juliana Bergeron. Mr. Sununu said Ms. Bergeron was a proven leader and fundraiser who could unite all of the party’s factions. In a strongly worded speech before the vote, Mr. Sununu said he was worried about divisions within the party and warned that its leaders must not alienate more moderate members and independents, who make up about 40 percent of the state’s voters. “We don’t want to be seen as a party that’s a sliver of a party,” he said. “We want to be seen as a party that welcomes all views.” Fat chance of that. The tea party isn’t into inclusiveness. And the person who’s got to be feeling the most uncomfortable about it is Romney, he of the next door Romneycare history. Jensen, again, writing a few days ago : This month’s numbers are indicative of an ongoing problem for Romney: conservative voters just don’t like him nearly as much as they do the rest of the leading Republican contenders. And WMUR notes that the tea party non-Romney vote nearly matched Romney’s, with Ron Paul finishing second. It’s going to be an interesting time as Romney tries to pivot once again to please his conservative audience, and pretend he’s steadfast in his chameleon-like views. He remains the front-runner in NH (independents get to vote, so it’s not just hard core Teapublicans). He’ll badly need a big win NH after losing Iowa, but the must-win Granite state just got a little chillier for him.
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NH: Romney wins straw poll, teabagger wins GOP state party chair
A new year, a new governor, a new war on women and their doctors in Kansas : Filling a request from Gov. Sam Brownback, a coalition of Kansas House conservatives filed legislation on Wednesday to tighten state regulations on abortion. The bill would change Kansas law to require parental consent for teenagers to get abortions and increase reporting requirements by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It also would give the attorney general and county prosecutors’ access to state health reports on abortions performed in the state. Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, said that the bill also contained late-term abortion provisions vetoed over the past three years by Democratic Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson. It’s not as if Kansas is currently a safe haven for women seeking to exercise their right to obtain a legal medical procedure. Kansas already requires parental notice for minors. It already requires a 24-hour waiting period. It already requires that doctors encourage their patients to undergo completely unnecessary ultrasounds. It already requires that doctors lie to their patients about the so-called link between breast cancer and abortion. (Hint: there is none.) It already protects medical providers who refuse to provide abortion services or information to patients. But that’s not enough for the virulent forced birthers in Kansas, like Gov. Brownback and State Rep. Kinzer. [Kinzer] said the legislation was aimed at preventing another doctor from coming to Kansas to begin providing late-term abortions following the May 2009 killing of Wichita’s Dr. George Tiller. Kinzer also said the law would bring Kansas in line with the federal ban on a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion. “Certainly, I think legislative inaction, at this point in time, really opens up that opportunity,” Kinzer said. “We think it’s important to act proactively to make sure that the same loopholes and lack of enforcement that allowed Kansas to become a late-term abortion destination spot don’t exist in our laws going forward.” Of course, the reason that Kansas became a “late-term abortion destination spot” is that Dr. George Tiller was one of only three doctors in the entire country who performed the extremely rare procedure. Until he was gunned down in his church, that is. And of course all of this legislation is completely pointless because: Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Sarah Gillooly said since Tiller’s death no abortions were being provided in Kansas after the 22nd week of pregnancy. “I think it’s a shame that politicians are spending taxpayer time and money to regulate a procedure that doesn’t even occur in our state,” Gillooly said. She said after Tiller’s murder by an anti-abortion activist and efforts by former Republican Attorney General Phill Kline to prosecute abortion providers that the climate in Kansas is not conducive for abortion providers to relocate to the state. “I think it’s totally unfounded fear. What physician would want to provide that care in the state?” Gillooly said. But when it comes to the war on women and their doctors, no legislation is too costly, too invasive, too restrictive, or too unconstitutional for the people who claim to want to protect life because only the lives of fetuses matter. The lives of women and their doctors? Not so much.
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Kansas forced birthers at it again
There seems to be a big push afoot to convince Rep. Mike Pence, the Republican from Indiana, to leave Congress and run for president. Politico quotes prominent conservatives who feel the current list of GOP candidates is rather weak. The pro-Pence crowd consists of a group of traditional conservatives who, while sympathizing with her, don’t view Sarah Palin as a serious presidential candidate. They doubt Mike Huckabee will run again or can broaden his appeal. And they believe the rest of the field features has-beens or candidates insufficiently pure on cultural issues. … “There’s a void out there,” said Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman who now runs the Club for Growth. “And I think that Pence is a guy who could potentially fill that void. Who else is an across-the-board conservative who’s really good on the stump and has a record that is unimpeachable in terms of standing up for conservative principles? He’s the only guy.” So these guys turn to Congressman Pence as someone conservatives can rally around. Pence himself doesn’t know what he wants to do and is rumored to be interested in running for governor. Before conservatives get too giddy about Pence, I’d like to remind them that Congressman Pence has one major problem: he’s a congressman. You see, Iowa might not be too pleased to learn that Mike Pence voted against farmers . He even voted against ethanol. Military-loving South Carolina might not be too pleased to learn that Mike Pence voted against expanding the G.I. Bill as well as funds for base expansion in you-know-where. Republicans in Louisiana might not like the fact that he voted against ending Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium . Cultural conservatives might not be too pleased learn that Mike Pence voted to fund $130 million for the National Endowment of the Arts. Originalist Constitutionalists might be a bit offended that Mike Pence voted for extending statehood to liberal Democratic Washington, D.C.. All this in just five minutes worth of googling. A well-funded oppo staff could certainly find more. And that is why it is exceeding rare to get a brand new president from Congress. The year 2008 was especially rare in the number of Senators it attracted–good reason for everyone to agree to stay away from the voting records in too detailed a way. Mike Pence is a blank sheet of canvas just waiting to be painted and then tagged with graffiti. Not just by us Democrats but also by his three major opponents for the GOP nomination, none of whom has a congressional record. Mike Pence had better hope that the GOP Congress delivers on all its promises to conservatives with polls of Congress being what they are. What with him being in the leadership and all. There’s some tough votes coming up. Yep. Tough. Votes. Politics ain’t beanbag.
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Mike Pence has a problem
Last year, Democratic officials announced the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held the week of September 3. What they still have not settled yet is where the convention will take place. Four cities are reported to be in contention: Charlotte, NC; Cleveland, OH; Minneapolis, MN; and St. Louis, MO. Each city has its strengths and weaknesses as a convention city. By that, I mean things like hotels, entertainment, transportation, etc. I don’t want to start civic pride wars over that. I would like to weigh the politics of the choice, however. When Howard Dean chose Denver, CO, in early 2007 as the site for the Democratic National Convention, it was not the consensus choice of the political elite. At that time, the Washington powerbrokers would have much preferred a brief Acela ride to New York City. For many of them it would have been no trip at all. But Dean was focused on a 50-state strategy and that meant planting the Democratic flag in the Mountain West. By all accounts, the 2008 convention was a big success. Not only did it showcase a future president, but it could have been the nail in the coffin for John McCain’s chances to win Colorado. President Obama carried Colorado by almost 10 points. Even in the most recent election, Colorado was one of the few Democratic bright spots in a Republican year. We beat the Tea Party in Colorado and in nearby Nevada. The choice of where to place the convention must take into account how it will impact Democratic political fortunes. Well, now that President Obama is in charge of the convention, it is only natural that the choice will be made relative to his political fortunes. So what are we looking at here? Minneapolis The Twin Cities hosted the Republican Convention in 2008 and by all accounts it was a good convention, thanks to the electrifying effect Sarah Palin had on the GOP base. But that move did little for McCain’s fortunes in Minnesota. President Obama carried the state comfortably by 10 points, so it seems somewhat unlikely that President Obama will pick Minneapolis again. However, 2010 illustrated that the upper Midwest, and the Midwest generally, is the problem region for this president. It could make sense to go to Minneapolis, allowing staff and political advisors to get some face time with campaigners in Wisconsin. Get ‘em fired up and ready to go…again. On the other hand, without a compelling Republican challenger, President Obama may feel some leeway to do what he did last time: expand the playing field. St. Louis Which brings us to St. Louis. For me, Missouri will always be remembered as “the one that got away.” I remember watching the election results all night as Missouri tottered between Obama and McCain. In the end, Obama lost Missouri by a point, or just under 4,000 votes out of 2.8 million cast. I always feel like we could have turned that vote out and made Obama’s 2008 sweep of the Midwest complete. So if there is any argument for Missouri, it is this: We wont let her get away this time. We’re gonna show her, as they say. Senator Claire McCaskill has been particularly vocal in her advocacy for St. Louis, naturally. A convention offers a lot of opportunity to get some intimate contact with local voters and it is just a hop from Obama High Command in Chicago. Still, Senator McCaskill is “worried” about competition from the South. Charlotte And that brings us to the understood frontrunner, Charlotte. I’ll admit to being biased towards Charlotte. I remember the city fondly from the road trip days of my youth. But politically as well, Charlotte makes sense. President Obama did something no Democrat has done in one seems like ages: He won North Carolina. Strengthening his position there puts him on offense in a state he has won before and that Republicans need if they are going to get back to a more G.W. Bush-like map. On the downside, playing in Charlotte could be a waste of time considering how solidly conservative the region is and that there is no spillover effect in neighboring South Carolina and Tennessee. But Charlotte as a choice most certainly would be as bold an in-you-face move as the president has on this list. He’d be telling the GOP: I’m in the South. Feel me? Cleveland Probably the least talked-about contender on the list should be the No. 1 contender. Democrats suffered a nuclear disaster in Ohio in 2010. The GOP swept the statewide races and kicked out five Democratic representatives to boot. If there is anywhere the party needs some repair to regain its footing, it is pivotal Ohio. Obama won Ohio by five points in 2008, and he seems to be in decent shape there right now. But I can’t think of a good reason to skip over Cleveland, except this one: The president intends to campaign there early and often in 2012 to build up a big lead in the state so he can campaign elsewhere in the fall. All of the four cities are excellent. There are a couple of others that I think should have been on the list: Phoenix, AZ, and Tampa, FL. Both cities would offer a real opportunity for Democrats to expand outreach and sew up the ever-expanding Latino vote. And Phoenix would make it clear to conservatives that we intend to stand and fight for the West. Of course, conventions being what they are, the TV will be the same no matter where the convention is held.
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Four choices for the Democratic Convention 2012
“What might have been” is a favorite game of political junkies, particularly election junkies - stories of races past, narrow victories or losses that wound up redefining politics in a particular state or region for years to come. To find the latest (and greatest?) what-might-have-been in the Lone Star State, the second-largest state in the nation, we have to go back to 1998. Then-Governor George W. Bush, having won a surprising victory over well-liked Democrat Ann Richards in 1994, was gearing up for a crushing reelection victory to solidify his bona fides for a 2000 presidential run. The state Democratic Party was licking its wounds from Bush’s victory in 1994 and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s victory in 1993 (taking the old seat of Democratic Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen). The Dems were far from dead, however, at least at the time. They held several important statewide offices, including those of Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, and Comptroller John Sharp. All three men had won reelection even in the Republican wipeout of 1994, as had Attorney General Dan Morales and Treasurer Martha Whitehead. And the Democrats enjoyed a majority in the State Legislature to boot, along with a majority of the state’s Congressional delegation. Bush looked too strong to beat, but the Democrats decided to take a shot anyway. Bullock wouldn’t run for Governor (he got along well with Bush, and in fact endorsed him in his presidential run), or anything at all (he was also 69 years old and would die of cancer within a year). So the Democrats nominated Mauro for the office. Sharp was perhaps the strongest statewide candidate, but wary of Bush’s strength, he took a step down and ran for the vacant office of Lieutenant Governor. For his open office, the Democrats found a gem of a candidate: Paul W. Hobby, the 38-year-old son of one of Texas’ most beloved politicians, longtime Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby. Aside from an almost certain loss in the gubernatorial race, it all looked great on paper, especially as resistance started to build nationwide to Newt Gingrich’s impeachment of popular Democratic President Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, Bush’s reelection campaign, headed by Karl Rove, slaughtered Mauro at the polls, receiving 69% of the vote. The landslide was so overwhelming that another Rove client, an Agriculture Commissioner named Rick Perry, rode Bush’s coattails to pull out a very, very narrow victory over Sharp for Lieutenant Governor, 50% to 48%. Paul Hobby’s race was even closer; he lost his bid for Comptroller by one-half of a point. Dan Morales retired, and was replaced as Attorney General by Republican John Cornyn. If Bush’s coattails at the top of the ticket had been even slightly shorter, John Sharp and Paul Hobby would almost certainly have won. Instead, Sharp, Morales, Mauro and the late Bob Bullock shared the distinction of being the last Democrats elected statewide in Texas. The 1998 election would come to define the next decade-plus of politics not just in Texas, but nationally. Rick Perry would ascend to the governorship in 2001, while John Cornyn would become a U.S. Senator two years later. Meanwhile, Bush’s landslide reelection vaulted him to the top of the 2000 Republican presidential field and paved the way for his ascendance to the Presidency. 1998 was the beginning of the end for the Texas Democratic Party; it was also their last, best chance to keep the statewide bench alive. It’s hard not to think about what might have been if things had gone slightly differently. At the very least, John Sharp, had he performed just slightly better in 1998, would have become Governor in 2001 when George Bush was elected President. As an incumbent, he might actually have won reelection in 2002 - Democrats like Brad Henry in Oklahoma and Phil Bredesen in Tennessee were able to win that year. Given the strong performance of Democrats statewide in 2006, there’s a chance John Sharp could still be Governor today. It’s also likely that as Governor, Sharp could have prevented the infamous mid-decade redistricting that cost the Democratic Party six U.S. House seats (and cost Texas dearly in terms of influence; three of the defeated Democrats, Jim Turner, Martin Frost and Charlie Stenholm, all would have become committee chairs upon the Democratic victory in 2006). If only. Texas Democrats started to claw their way back, nearly winning a majority in the State House in 2008 before losing 23 seats in the 2010 avalanche. Statewide, though, Democrats haven’t even come very close to victories (the closest was Sharp’s bid for Lieutenant Governor in 2002, which he lost by 6 points). Usually the breakdown is something like this: A bad candidate in a bad year loses by 20-odd points. A good candidate in a bad year, or a bad candidate in a good year, loses by 15 points (like Bill White last year, who lost by 13, or Rick Noriega in 2008, who lost by 12). A good candidate in a good year could probably break single digits. So where do things go from here? For one thing, the demographics of the state are changing rapidly, and will continue to do so…and that’s going to change voting patterns, eventually. It’s projected that by 2020 - just ten years from now - the Hispanic population will outnumber the white population in Texas. (In fact, there are already more blacks and Hispanics than whites in Texas). Texas Hispanics frequently don’t vote in numbers proportional to their share of the population, which is one part of the reason that Republicans still dominate in Texas (witness the 2010 victory of white Republican Blake Farenthold in a Democratic, majority-Hispanic district, TX-27; only about 100,000 votes were cast total in that election, less than half the number of votes cast in some other Texas districts). Still, the larger Texas’ Hispanic population gets, the better off the Democrats will be long-term. At the local level, the Dems have probably got nowhere to go but up. Republicans have supermajorities in the state House and Senate, which is probably not sustainable, and they should lose some seats in 2012 just because of how big their majorities are. Statewide, the next big prize is the 2012 U.S. Senate race, an open-seat battle to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Public Policy Polling was in the field last weekend in Texas, and they have some fairly unsurprising numbers. They tested four Republicans (Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, and Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones), along with three Democrats (former Rep, Chet Edwards, John Sharp, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. For brevity’s sake I’ve only included the numbers for Edwards and Sharp (the two stronger Democrats) against Dewhurst and Williams (the strongest and weakest Republicans, respectively), but you can click through for all the matchups. Public Policy Polling . 1/14-16. Registered voters. MoE 3.3%. David Dewhurst (R) 50 Chet Edwards (D) 31 David Dewhurst (R) 49 John Sharp (D) 31 Michael Williams (R) 42 Chet Edwards (D) 31 Michael Williams (R) 42 John Sharp (D) 30 None of the candidates are well-known at all, except Dewhurst. Sharp’s favorables are the best among Democrats, Dewhurst’s the best among Republicans. Dewhurst is well-known, has plenty of money, and is relatively well-liked. If he wins the primary, he’s almost assured victory. Will he win the primary? The Tea Party loves Michael Williams (a radical Jim DeMint type), and they love Solicitor General Ted Cruz, so I’d pick one of those as the likeliest candidates to catch lightning in a bottle and upset Dewhurst. If that happens, a Democrat like Sharp or Edwards might, maybe, maybe have a shot at making this race competitive. Williams’ leads are relatively thin for Texas - only 11-12 points - he’s considered an extremist, and he’s a pretty bad fundraiser. Sharp’s the only Dem in at the moment. You could do worse - he is, as noted above, the last Democrat to actually win statewide, and he’s got money of his own. Interestingly, the Democrat currently pulling the best numbers statewide in Texas is actually Barack Obama : Mike Huckabee (R) 55 Barack Obama (D) 39 Mitt Romney (R) 49 Barack Obama (D) 42 Newt Gingrich (R) 48 Barack Obama (D) 43 Sarah Palin (R) 47 Barack Obama (D) 46 Rick Perry (R) 45 Barack Obama (D) 45 Those are pretty good numbers. No Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton has come within single digits in Texas (he nearly won the state in 1992). Yet there Obama is…and not just against Palin, but against Romney, widely considered the most “electable” Republican. It’s odd that right at the moment when Texas Democrats appear to be at lowest ebb, there’s actually the potential for Barack Obama to contest the state (all it takes is an improving economy and a Palin nomination). So it’s been a rough 12 years for Texas Democrats, ever since the near-misses of 1998. Things are about as bad right now as they’ve ever been. Is this where the revival begins? It might be. If the Presidential race is genuinely competitive for the first time in two decades, it’s likely to be a pretty decent year for Democratic candidates for the Texas House and in U.S. House races, even if the Senate seat remains out of reach. Let’s hope these numbers hold, and that the state’s changing demographics coupled with an increasingly unpleasant collection of Republican presidential candidates can breathe some life into the Texas Democratic Party.
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Can Democrats rebuild in Texas?
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Lisa Derrick: Sarah Palin Goes Steampunk
Black and white is easy; nuance is hard. Which is why it’s much easier to just lump media outlets and personalities into simple boxes: left v. right, or partisan v. objective, for example. So if you want to play that game, it’s easy to dismiss Keith Olbermann, who broadcast his final episode of Countdown on MSNBC Friday . It’s simple to dash off a hack piece (like this one in the Daily Beast , which revealed its simple-minded bona fides by invoking the right’s favorite jab at Olbermann: he used to work in–gasp!–sports) that lumps Olbermann in with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, as if they all do the same thing just because they are all loud and aggressive. I know nuance is less popular, but I feel compelled to try and give Olbermann his due. Read More… More on Bill O'Reilly
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Mitchell Bard: A Tribute to Olbermann: Why He Is Different from the Pundits at Fox News
In a perfect world, we would not know her name. Her political ambitions would take her no further than the City Hall of her state’s meth capital . Her hyperpartisanship would be limited to smearing the mayor for being insufficiently Christian and asking “rhetorical” questions of the local librarian about banning books she doesn’t like. But in this imperfect world, Sarah Palin is a household name, and her every utterance, no matter how petty or nonsensical or just plain wrong, commands widespread media coverage. Some have suggested that if we ignore her, she will go away. In December, New York Times columnist Charles Blow vowed not to write about Palin “until she does something truly newsworthy, like declare herself a candidate for the presidency.” Ross Douthat recently urged the media to stop covering Palin, but even he could not resist writing about her again , only days later. On Friday, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called upon members of the media to join him in his pledge not to speak or write about Palin for the entire month of February. Palin clearly isn’t going away: “I am not going to sit down. I’m not going to shut up,” she told Hannity on Monday. But if we treat her a little less like a major political figure and a little more like Ann Coulter — a calculating individual who says shocking things to attract media attention — it won’t matter. This, of course, is the real problem. It isn’t how many times her name is mentioned on cable news or in the columns of Very Serious People like Milbank. The problem is how those Very Serious People cover her every nonsensical utterance as if it were a legitimately debatable point within our political discourse, as if her accusation that the president wants to establish “death panels” to kill grandmothers is a valid counterpoint to healthcare reform. The problem isn’t how many times Blow or Milbank or Douthat have written about her, or how many times Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity have mentioned her name on TV. The problem is the media’s addiction to false equivalence, to balance every point with a contrary one, regardless of its validity. It isn’t surprising that many Republicans want the media to ignore her. Last week, former Bush speechwriter David Frum said , “She should stop talking — now.” William Kristol, who has been one of her staunchest supporters, was critical of how she has responded to the Tucson shooting, and advised her to instead “deal with things that are at a sort of presidential level.” She even managed to earn the criticism of another of her staunchest supporters, Jonah Goldberg, when she declared herself a victim of blood libel, although the next day, he ” decided to ratchet down ” his criticism of her. Palin is an embarrassment to the Republican Party, but it is not an embarrassment Republicans should be allowed to outrun or to forget. This is a party that has proudly embraced ignorance, bigotry, corporatism, and empty slogans, and Palin is the result of their efforts to appeal to the ugliest fears and instincts of their base. The Republican Party created Palin; she is the perfect and pure representation of its policies. What is surprising is those on the left who would so gladly participate in the cover-up of the Republican Party’s dirtiest laundry. As painful as it is to listen to her speak or to read article after article about her incoherence and ugliness, ignoring Palin is the last thing the left should do. As Josh Marshall correctly wrote , in defending his blog’s coverage of Palin: This is actually a real blind spot for liberals in general — the idea that things that are crazy or tawdry or just outrageous are really best ignored. Don’t give them more attention. You’re just giving them what they want. Or maybe it’s not so practical and utilitarian. Maybe, they say, it’s just beneath us. Focus on the important stuff. Ignoring the ugliness doesn’t make it go away. Just ask President Senator John Kerry, who believed that responding to the Swift Boat accusations was beneath the dignity of a presidential campaign, until it was too late. The smears had been repeated so often, and his silence had become so deafening, that the lies became fact. Palin is no different. To ignore her is to give her free range of our political discourse, to allow her virulent hyperbole and lies to go unchecked. It is a mistake to think that the blogosphere, or one or two columnists from the New York Times and the Washington Post , have the power to make her go away by simply ignoring her. As she has made clear since 2008, she isn’t going anywhere. Last September , she was the keynote speaker at the Iowa Republican’s annual fundraiser — the Ronald Reagan Dinner, of course — a move widely interpreted as a “a shot across the bow for the increasing number of people who are said to be considering their own bid for the Republican nomination in 2012.” That was the same day she said , when asked in an Fox News interview whether she might run for president, “of course I would give it a shot.” RealClearPolitics recently reported that Palin’s aides have been “quietly gauging her level of support for a potential presidential campaign” and that “her political action committee has indeed been taking discreet steps in Iowa that would help her build a credible campaign here if she decided to launch one.” It matters not that poll after poll shows she cannot win the Republican nomination, let alone the presidency. Since 2008, Palin’s “unfavorable” numbers have skyrocketed 46 points . For two years, headline after headline after headline has declared that her numbers have reached an all-time low. In just the two months since the midterms, the percentage of Americans who view her unfavorably has increased by seven points . Among women — the very constituency to whom she was supposed to appeal — her numbers are even worse. Ever increasing numbers of Americans, including Republicans, think she is unqualified and unlikeable. It is not a stretch to say that nearly every time she opens her mouth, more Americans decide they don’t like her. That is something for the left to encourage, not ignore. No matter what we think of her, no matter what the polls say, no matter how many Republicans plead with her to fade away from the public spotlight, she isn’t going anywhere. Nor should we on the left want to ignore her. She is a monster created by the Republican Party and the rancid, failed policies and values it has been trying to sell to the American people for the past three decades. Instead of hoping she will go away, we should seize every opportunity she presents to remind the country of what exactly the Republican Party believes: that all of our economic problems can be solved with tax cuts for the rich; that the best way to ensure energy independence is to drill, baby, drill; that criticizing an unjust war is unpatriotic, but chanting “nigger, nigger, nigger” on the radio is a First Amendment right ; that the government should regulate uteruses, but stay out of the private lives of corporations. These are the Republican Party’s values, and she is the perfect and pure embodiment of those values. We cannot ignore Sarah Palin any more than we can ignore the Republican Party.
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Why we can’t say goodbye to Sarah Palin
On the heels of a highly productive lame duck session of Congress and a nearly-universally lauded speech at last week’s Tucson memorial, President Obama’s approval ratings are on the rise . Meanwhile, Sarah Palin’s favorability ratings are in a freefall , and a growing number of Republicans are calling for her to sit down and shut up — something she has no intention of doing. Amid this changing electoral landscape , Rudy Giuliani sees an opportunity for heroism , and Michele Bachmann smells the tea brewing . But they’d better hurry… time may be running out .
Sunday Talk - Catch a Rising Star
With some regularity, this column excoriates the mainstream news media for all sorts of continued idiocy in the way it conducts its business. But every once in a while, we have to applaud them when they get something right. This week, Dana Milbank of The Washington Post deserves mentioning, for pledging to stay Palin-free for the month of February. Details on this in a moment. It’s rare for members of the media to perform such self-examination (and self-criticism). Especially when examining their own culpability in creating a situation. Much like vapid celebrities who are “famous for being famous” (the Paris Hiltons and Kardashians of the world), Sarah Palin is without a doubt the most famous Republican in the land — and has been ever since John McCain announced her selection as running mate in 2008. Why this continues to be so is kind of mystifying. Palin isn’t even in public office anymore, and yet the entire media world waits with bated breath for any tweet or Facebook posting from Mama Grizzly Central — and then treats it as a major, major story immediately upon receipt. Think about it — what other political figure in your memory has had their election “picks” tracked by major national newspapers during an election cycle (an election which Palin wasn’t even directly participating in any way other than casting a ballot, it bears mentioning)? None that I can name. What other out-of-work politician is elevated to the same level as the president during a national event, as Palin was with her speech on the Arizona tragedy? Again, none that I can name. Sarah Palin is not responsible for this. The media is. Because they just can’t get enough of her, whether they love her or hate her. Dana Milbank examines this , with a slightly snarky spin: Read More… More on Health Care
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Chris Weigant: Friday Talking Points  — A Palin-Free Month?
By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao touched on energy issues in the bilateral summit between the two countries this week. “I believe that as the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouses gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate change by building on the progress at Copenhagen and Cancun, and showing the way to a clean energy future. And President Hu indicated that he agrees with me on this issue,” President Obama said during a Wednesday press conference . But can the United States step up as a leader on clean energy? The proliferation of politicians whom The Nation ’s Mark Hertsgaard calls “climate cranks” suggests otherwise. The biggest consumers In international climate negotiations, the United State and China are the two key players, and if the world as a whole is to move forward on combating climate change, agreement between Presidents Obama and Hu would be a huge breakthrough. Mother Jones ‘ Kate Sheppard notes that Hu also said the United States and China would work together on climate changes, but, she writes , “I can imagine, though, that the conversation on this subject wasn’t entirely as chummy as the remarks would imply, however. The US last month lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization about China’s subsidies for clean energy , arguing that the country is unfairly stacking the deck in favor of their products.” At AlterNet, Tina Gerhardt and Lucia Green-Weiskel explain the background to those tensions and to the U.S.’s protectionist bent on clean energy projects. They write, “Energy Secretary Chu recently framed the new relationship between the U.S. and China as a ‘Sputnik Moment.’ Referencing the first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, which demonstrated its technological advantage and led to the Cold War-era space race, Chu warned that the U.S. risks falling behind China in the clean technology race.” Stumbling blocks China’s motivations for growing its clean energy sector may not be leafy green; new energy sources feed the country’s rapidly growing economy. But at least the country is committed to green energy sources, unlike our climate change-denying Congress. As Mark Hertsgaard argues at The Nation , this brand of American has become so pernicious, it’s time to stop adhering to the protocol that dubs them “climate deniers” and start calling them “climate cranks.” He explains : True skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method, but an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts, if they are sound. The cranks are impervious to facts, at least facts that contradict their wacky worldview. When virtually every national science academy in the developed world, including our own, and every major scientific organization (e.g., the American Geophysical Union, the American Physics Society) has affirmed that climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank continues to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot. Climate cranks attack Unfortunately, climate cranks continue to interfere with both climate scientists and forward-thinking energy policy. At Change.org, Nikki Gloudeman writes about the ongoing saga of climate scientist Michael Mann, one of the climatologists embroiled in the Climategate brouhaha, who is still being attacked by climate-denying groups for his work. Gloudeman reports that although Mann has been investigated and found innocent of any misdeeds several times over, a group with a bias against climate change, the American Tradition Institute, is trying to obtain access to his work. And in New Mexico, the state’s new conservative governor, Susana Martinez, “has attempted to subvert her own state constitution in order to stop [a] plan to begin reducing her state’s carbon emissions,” reports Dahr Jamail for Truthout . The plan, executed through state rules, would have reduced the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3%, from 2010 levels, each year. The rules should have been made public, but Gov. Martinez kept them from being published, according to Truthout’s report. A local group, New Energy Economy, is fighting to implement them. Bright spots In some states, however, the clean energy economy is moving forward. As Care2’s Beth Buczynski reports , Clean Edge, a clean-tech advisory group, has identified the top ten states for clean energy leadership. They include California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. “Rankings were derived from over 80 metrics including total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid vehicles on the road, and clean-energy venture and patent activity,” Buczynski reports. And, as David Roberts writes at Grist , there is important work to be done at the local and regional level to both prepare for and prevent climate change. His preferred term for this challenge is “ruggedizing”–strengthening a community’s ability to respond to challenges brought on by climate change, such as flooding, droughts, or food shortages. The solutions to these problem, Roberts writes, often have the welcome side effect of decreasing carbon emissions, as well: For instance, the residents of Brisbane are discovering that when disaster strikes, it’s not very handy to have everyone spread out all over the place and utterly dependent on cars to get anywhere. It’s more resilient to have people closer together, more able to walk or take shared transportation. It just so happens that also reduces vehicle emissions. The advantage of this type of work–building the clean energy economy, ruggedizing communities–is that leaders don’t necessarily have to agree on the reality of climate change to move forward. But these are only partial solutions, and to address climate change on an international scale, the cranks will need to be quieted. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium . It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter . And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit , The Pulse , and The Diaspora . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets. Read More… More on China
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The Media Consortium: Weekly Mulch: Why is the U.S. Losing the Clean Energy Race to China? Blame the Climate Cranks
Ben Smith: Piers Morgan just tweeted a preview an interview to air Monday, in which “Rudy Giuliani says he’s ‘more likely’ to run for [the] Presidency if Sarah Palin does.” “My one chance, if I have a chance, is that I’m considered a moderate,” Giuliani said. He also criticized the “blood libel” line: “I mean it’s a bad word to use, a bad connotation, going back to the whole history of anti-Semitism. This wasn’t at that level.’” From this, it doesn’t sound like Giuliani thinks he’s got a realistic shot at winning the nomination. As Ben notes, serious presidential candidates don’t base their decision to run on what other potential candidates do. But Giuliani is designating himself as the go-to guy for attacking Sarah Palin, a role Republicans are clearly desperate to fill. The only thing is that within the context of a GOP primary, it’s hard to see how criticism of Palin from Giuliani will have a major impact on her support. Perhaps criticism from someone with credibility in the religious right — someone like Mike Huckabee — could hurt Palin’s chances, but attacks from Giuliani seem likely to only steel the resolve of Palin’s hard core base and reinforce her narrative as the “rogue” one.
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Giuliani: I’m ready to answer the 911 call to stop Palin
Last year, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the state legislature decided to save a relatively paltry sum of public money by refusing to pay for life-saving transplants for 98 patients (two of whom have died in the interim). After months of unrelenting bad publicity, Brewer has relented . In the executive summary of her budget proposal for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, Brewer has proposed setting up a $151 million “ uncompensated-care pool to pay health-care providers for ‘life-saving’ procedures” like the transplants. That’s the good news, though the fund has not yet been created and there are still nearly 100 people on the transplant list and it very well could be too small to cover the need. What’s more, the new uncompensated-care pool doesn’t come without strings . The governor’s plan calls for removing 280,000 mostly childless adults from Medicaid. That would slash $541.5 million in general-fund spending next year, according to the summary. Cutting 5,200 “seriously mentally ill individuals” from Medicaid would lower spending by $79.8 million. The governor proposed $10.3 million in prescription-drug funding to offset the eliminated coverage…. The pool won’t be big enough to guarantee transplants because taking people out of Medicaid will create a surge in hospital patients who can’t afford to pay, according to Sarah Muench, a spokeswoman for Representative Anna Tovar. The Democrat from Tolleson opposed the transplant cuts. “All of those people will be making use of that fund,” Muench said in a telephone interview. “The likelihood of receiving transplants is very low.” Only Jan Brewer would come up with the idea of cutting 5,200 seriously mentally ill patients off of care within two weeks of a madman’s bloody rampage in her own state. Removing more than a quarter of a million of the state’s residents from Medicaid will likely require a waiver from the administration, which might not be granted. Meanwhile, as TP points out , “she has also proposed a slew of new corporate income tax breaks that will only further widen the state’s budget deficit.”
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Brewer backs down on transplant funding, proposes drastic reductions in Medicaid
Public Policy Polling . 1/14-16. Registered voters. MoE 3.9%. ( crosstabs ) Obama 49 Huckabee 45 Obama 48 Romney 43 Obama 55 Palin 38 Obama 51 Gingrich 39 Obama 51 Bachmann 33 We’ve got a long way to go before anybody casts votes that matter, but as PPP’s Tom Jensen notes, President Obama’s numbers are better than they have been for a long time (his lead over Romney is largest since December 2009) but he still leads Huckabee and Romney by less than he beat McCain in 2008. Also notable is that President Obama has unified support from both liberals and Democrats while the GOP field has less solid support from their base. Obama carries 93% of liberals against Huckabee, 89% against Romney, 94% against Palin, 93% against Gingrich, and 90% against Bachmann. He carries 86% of Democrats against Huckabee, 89% against Palin, 88% against Gingrich, 86% against Romney, and 85% against Bachmann. By contrast, Huckabee carries 80% of conservatives and Republicans, Romney carries 75% and 78%, respectively, Palin carries 73% and 69%, Gingrich carries 73% and 72%, and Bachmann carries 64% and 61%. In addition, moderates overwhelmingly support President Obama, of whom he wins between 62% (against Romney) and 73% (against Palin). Among independents, Obama leads all candidates except Romney. Still, while these are good numbers, there’s not going to be an election for nearly two years, and as we saw in 2010, numbers can change quickly. Ultimately, the state of the economy will have a much bigger impact on the resolution of the 2012 race than any polling from early 2011.
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PPP: Obama leading 2012 rivals
First, the good news : High-level Iowa meets for Bachmann Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is meeting with top Iowa Republicans Friday morning during her trip to Des Moines, POLITICO has learned. Second, the great news : Palin Putting Out Presidential Feelers in Iowa DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has tasked her aides with quietly gauging her level of support for a potential presidential campaign by making inquiries to a select pool of likely allies and grassroots activists in Iowa, RealClearPolitics has learned. And, finally, dare we dream ? Just imagine the soaring tag-team rhetoric that would come from that dynamic duo: “I knew that we’d be buddies when I met her when she said, ‘Drill here, drill now.’ And then I replied, ‘Drill, baby, drill’ and then we both said, ‘You betcha!’” — Sarah Palin, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, recalling a previous meeting with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) And no, I didn’t make that quote up. It’s real.
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Dream ticket? Palin, Bachmann eyeing Iowa
According to polling , Mike Huckabee is in the top tier of the GOP’s field for 2012, but with the first GOP primary debate in just four months, he’s taking none of the steps you’d expect to see from someone serious about running for President. In fact, it seems increasingly like he plans to sit 2012 out. Jonathan Martin reports on one piece of evidence pointing towards Huckabee on the sidelines: Huck adviser to be Hill CoS Mike Huckabee and his top advisers insist that he’s thinking seriously about running for president, but he’s doing little to put together the sort of organization needed to mount a campaign. The latest evidence: Chip Saltsman, his campaign manager in 2008 and one of his closest confidantes, has accepted a job as Chief of Staff for freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.). In an interview, Saltsman said his taking the job should not be read as an indication about Huckabee’s intentions. “I have a Notre Dame clause in my contract,” he quipped. “So I can leave if a presidential comes a calling.” And Ben Smith hits another : Huckabee on cruise to Alaska in June Mike Huckabee told me a few weeks ago that if he gets into the race, it’ll likely be quite late. And his plan to headline “the best Christian-based Alaskan cruise for the 2011 season” sure suggests he’s not planning to spend the summer stumping. Both Jonathan and Ben point out that Huckabee has said that if he’s going to run, he won’t announce his plans until late in the game. My hunch is that means the only way he’ll run is if Palin falters and nobody fills the void with the religious right. Clearly, however, he’s not interested in working hard for the nomination. It’s even possible that he’s got absolutely zero interest in running, but is still leaving the door open to maintain interest in his weekend show on Fox. Whatever the case, Huckabee’s lack of intensity seems to be outdone only by Fred Thompson.
If Huckabee’s serious about 2012, he’s keeping it quiet
Great news for the GOP! Former Govs. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Mass.) make up the top tier of the 2012 Republican presidential field, according to a new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News. Huckabee took 21 percent of the vote while Palin received 19 percent and Romney 17 percent among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. No other potential candidate made it into double digits, although former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took 8 percent. The rest of the field received 3 percent or less support. As Dave Weigel notes, the new NBC/WSJ poll finds essentially the same thing , with Palin and Mitt swapping spots but Huckabee still leading the field and Newt creeping into double-digits with 10 percent support. So the top tier of the GOP field is comprised of Mike Huckabee, who is the the second-laziest Presidential candidate ever (leading only Fred Thompson), Sarah Palin, who could be the the most politically toxic Presidential candidate ever, and Mitt Romney, who imposed an individual health insurance mandate as part of RomneyCare in Massachusetts (and let’s not forget his attendance at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser). And then leading the second tier is a Newt Gingrich, who lied about having an affair with an aide while impeaching President Clinton for lying about having an affair with an aide, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who wisely has ruled out a presidential bid given that he’s got a shorter resume than Sarah Palin. With such a crowded field of outstanding candidates it’s no wonder that PPP found that just 47% of Republicans are content with the top of their field. Only 35% say they want a fresh face, however, so even though less than half of Republicans are happy with their leading candidates, the GOP might end up getting stuck with them.
WaPo/ABC: Huckabee, Palin, and Romney in double-digits
ABC News / Washington POst 1/13-16/11; 425 Republicans, 5.5% margin of error Mode: Live telephone interviews Read More… More on Pollster
US-2012 Primary: 21% Huckabee, 19% Palin, 17% Romney, 9% Gingrich (ABC/Post 1/13-16)
Many people take their ability to think for granted. For some people, thinking seems to happen automatically. Others struggle to understand a concept. Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell often seem defiantly proud of their ability to demonstrate that ignorance is bliss. A tiny percentage of the earth’s population focuses its attention on topics like neural networks, the chemical or electrical functions of a synapse, or how to recreate a particular thought process. While overt displays of intelligence can scare some people away, real and/or artificial intelligence are constant sources of fascination. For a child learning to talk (or a stroke patient who is relearning how to walk), the way the brain functions remains a total mystery. But for people who have enjoyed years of intelligent life, losing their cognitive abilities, discovering that their brains do not function properly, or descending into dementia of the Alzheimer’s type can be terrifying. Read More… More on Craigslist
George Heymont: Finding Artistic Inspiration in People With Asperger’s Syndrome
Displaying a frothy mix of optimism and pragmatism, former Senator Rick Santorum is feeling good about his chances in the 2012 Iowa caucus: He insists that before he planned his first trip to Iowa for a speech at Dubuque University in 2009, running for president had barely crossed his mind … The reception in Iowa was more than Santorum had hoped for, and since then, he’s traveled to the state more times than any other rumored 2012 hopeful. “I haven’t been discouraged since,” he said. This despite his obvious disadvantage in both name recognition — versus a Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin, or a Romney — and in his ability to raise money. But Santorum may have an ace in the hole : Tom Beaumont reports that the college student running the Draft Santorum website is the brother of the Iowa secretary of state Matt Schultz — though Schultz denies he’s involved in his brother’s effort: However, Santorum campaigned for Schultz last summer and made the rounds with him at the Iowa State Fair in August. What might be the byproduct of this connection between Santorum and Schultz? Time will tell.
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Rick Santorum feeling good about Iowa
Juneau, Alaska — House Democrats say they are hopeful that a large-diameter natural gas pipeline is not just a pipe dream anymore and that real progress can be made this legislative session on the major project. The leaders of the minority caucus met with reporters on Tuesday morning to talk about what they see as significant issues in the 90-day session that began Tuesday with formal ceremonies in the House followed by a similar event in the Senate. The gas line that is being developed under the controversial Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), envisions a 48-inch diameter pipeline from the North Slope into Canada or Valdez, depending on where potential customers would rather ship. A “Y line” would take the main gas line into Canada with a spur into Valdez. The Legislature chose a joint venture of Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. as the state’s preferred project, and agreed to subsidize the effort with up to $500 million for pre-construction studies and engineering work. A second project is being pushed by a partnership between BP and ConocoPhillips and is moving ahead without state assistance. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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AlaskaDispatch.com: Alaska Democrats weary of changing Palin’s oil tax
That headline is right out of pollster Peter McInturff’s analysis : The GOP’s short honeymoon Republicans have now been in control of the House for less than two weeks, but the survey suggests an abbreviated honeymoon for the GOP. Just 25 percent say that the Republicans in Congress will bring “the right kind of change” to the country. That’s compared with 42 percent who said that after Democrats took over the House in 2007, and 37 percent who said that after Republicans gained control in 1995. In addition, a majority (55 percent) believe congressional Republicans will be too inflexible in dealing with President Obama, while an equal number (55 percent) say Obama will strike the right balance. On House Republicans’ goal to repeal Obama’s health care law — an effort that cleared the chamber on Wednesday — 45 percent support eliminating the law and 46 percent oppose the GOP effort. And attitudes about the Republican Party have declined, with 34 percent viewing the GOP positively and 40 percent negatively — down from its 38-37 percent favorable/unfavorable rating last month. By comparison, the Democratic Party’s fav/unfav in the current poll is 39-35 percent, up from its 37-41 percents score from last month. “I think this has been a pretty short Republican honeymoon,” McInturff says. Obama is at 53, and the poll supports Chris Bowers’ analysis here , in that improving optimism drive the process. And here are a few other tidbits: In other poll findings: — 40 percent believe the U.S. economy will improve in the next 12 months, up eight points from December; — 53 percent think the United States will be better off five years from now, which is up 16 points from last August; — only 24 percent say that extreme political rhetoric contributed to the shootings in Arizona, while 71 percent say it was an isolated incident caused by a disturbed person; — and Palin’s favorable/unfavorable rating stands at 27-49 percent, with her favorable score tying its lowest-ever point in the survey. In any case, Obama is doing very well, poll-wise. For example: “I think that this increase in his job approval is very important,” says McInturff, the GOP pollster. “At the same time, these kind of rises have been transitory,” he adds, referring to former President Clinton’s immediate — but later fleeting — bump in approval after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The poll also finds that 40 percent of respondents label Obama as a political moderate, compared with 45 percent who see him as a liberal and 11 percent who view him as a conservative. That moderate number is the highest for Obama in the NBC/WSJ poll, even higher than it was before his inauguration. As to how long the good vibes will last - well, it’s the economy and jobs, not health care repeal. The Republicans can’t seem to grasp that those factors drive their numbers as well - except in their case, down. As Jay Bookman adds: Overall, [poll numbers] indicate that [Obama] still has a lot more political strength than his opponents want to believe, particularly as he and congressional Republicans head toward an apparent showdown in the next couple of months over the debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown. The full poll is here in .pdf, MoE +/- 3.1%
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NBC/WSJ Poll: Short Republican honeymoon
Remember seeing headlines last year about how PPP’s annual survey about the media revealed Fox News Channel was the most trusted name in news? Well, what a difference a year makes. According to PPP’s latest survey , Fox is now the most distrusted name in news. And there’s a new leader in trustworthiness: PBS, which wasn’t in last year’s survey. Here’s the toplines from PPP’s survey of 632 voters, conducted Jan 14 to 16 with a margin of error of 3.9%: Fox’s trustworthiness rating has fallen by a net margin of sixteen points while NBC has increased by 9. ABC and CBS gained a net of 7 points. So what’s behind the shift? It not survey: although this year’s poll had slightly more liberal respondents (18%) than last year’s poll (14%), it also had more conservatives (40%) than last year’s survey (39%). Those shifts alone cannot explain Fox’s fall from grace. What seems to be going on is that while Fox continues to be trusted by conservatives, moderates and liberals have soured on the channel. Last year, 48% of moderates and 66% of liberals distrusted FNC. This year, 60% of moderates and 82% of liberals distrust the network, so Fox’s declining trustworthiness rating reflects shifting attitudes among moderates and liberals. Given that Fox tailors its programming for conservatives, Fox may not care if nobody other than GOP or tea party types trust them, especially with the 2012 GOP primary on the horizon. But outside of Fox’s world, it’s good news that other than conservatives, Americans overwhelmingly distrust Fox’s programming. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity might rule the right wing noise machine, but this poll is a reminder that the right wing noise machine doesn’t rule the rest of America.
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PBS most trusted name in news, Fox most distrusted
Public Policy Polling (D) 1/14-16/11; 400 likely Republican primary voters, 4.9% margin of error Mode: Automated phone Read More… More on Pollster
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TX-2012 Primary: 24% Huckabee, 17% Gingrich, 17% Palin, 10% Paul, 10% Romney (PPP 1/14-16)
CNN / Opinion Research Corporation 1/14-16/11; 1,014 adults, 3% margin of error Mode: Live telephone interviews Read More… More on Pollster
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US-Palin Rating: 38% Favorable, 56% Unfavorable (CNN 1/14-16)
The latest poll on the economy from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps makes one thing very clear: The voters have a clear and dramatic message for the new Republicans in Congress and the President on the eve of his State of the Union Address: focus on jobs and the economy and show how America is going to be economically successful again. This is not a nuanced poll. If Democrats did not get the message in 2010, voters are ready to send a message again, according to the first Democracy Corps-Campaign for America’s Future survey of 2011. The media pundits and Washington conventional wisdom say deficit reduction and cutting government spending are the top priorities for the nation; yet, the Republican Congress has prioritized health care repeal and Social Security cuts (which are on the table for the first time.) They could not have it more wrong. It is jobs, stupid. Of course it’s jobs. When you’ve been unemployed for a year and a half and are about to be foreclosed on, the deficit is hardly at the top of your priority list. That might be a little difficult for The Village to grasp, but certainly politicians who have to talk to constituents on at least a monthly basis should grasp that basic fact. The polling memo continues [pdf]: Democrats have improved their position modestly from 2010 when they lost by 8 points. In a named Congressional ballot today, Democrats trail the Republicans by 3 points (44 to 47 per- cent). Democrats only trail by 4 points among Independents. The two national and congressional parties are at rough parity in public image. But Republicans are about to confront the gap between the mandate they claim and the voters’ priorities. This presents an opportunity for Democrats to define themselves, the choice ahead, and more importantly, to finally show what they believe about the economy and how they plan to achieve growth – above all, how to create jobs now and in the future. Right now, Democrats are basically invisible on the economy and jobs. Republicans are more trusted by 4 points on the economy and the parties are at parity on creating jobs. Democrats are also down 10 points on taxes and 14 points on the budget deficit. We all know the unemployment rate will exceed 9 percent for some time to come, and will probably remain above 8 percent up to the election. There is no more important fact. In this survey, 17 percent report being unemployed in the past year; 41 percent counting themselves or someone in their immediate family – one half of white non-college men. But a focus on jobs isn’t the only crystal clear picture emerging from the polling: Republicans say that Social Security is no longer the “third rail’ in politics, but they could not be listening to voters. They have no mandate for cutting Social Security – and the voters have no appetite for it. A large majority of 56 percent opposes the [deficit] commission’s recommendation to raise the retirement age to 69 by 2075. An almost identically large majority oppose the proposal to reduce future benefits of those now entering the labor force. Young people are even more opposed to these proposals than the elderly – in case the Republicans plan to take up inter- generational warfare…. But there are key swing groups where Democrats face continuing problems…. White seniors continue to pose problems for Democrats. Barack Obama loses white seniors by 8 points (40 to 48) to Sarah Palin and by 25 points to Mitt Romney (35 to 60 percent). The congressional margin is slimmer, but Democrats are losing white seniors by 16 points (40 to 56 percent). That could have something to do with the incessant and unanswered accusation from Republicans in the 2010 election that Democrats cut Medicare. Imagine the ads if Social Security is cut on the Democrats’ watch. Obama and congressional Dems have a pretty clear path before them–make policy choices that will gain the support of the American people or the markets.
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Democracy Corps poll: Path for Dems on economy, Social Security clear
Roy Sekoff appeared on “The Joy Behar Show” Tuesday to discuss Sarah Palin’s defense of her controversial use of the term “blood libel” in her response to the tragedy in Arizona. Sekoff explained that many Republicans and especially Palin “are geniuses at playing the victim. So why don’t we just give them the victim card and move on already?” As for her use of “blood libel” terminology, Sekoff poised an important question: “Why does the party of the angry white man insist on using these terms that are about minorities?” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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HuffPost TV: Roy Sekoff On Joy Behar: Palin ‘A Genius At Playing The Victim’
Shocker : Coming down with an infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea should be a giveaway that you’ve been intimate with someone, but more than 10% of young adults who get the diagnosis won’t admit to sexual activity, according to a study published in Pediatrics. And, according to public health officials, that’s a major problem. How can we teach teens and young adults about safe sex if they won’t even admit they’re having any? Wait a minute. Kids who claim they’re saving themselves for marriage are still getting sexually transmitted diseases? How is that possible? Maybe it’s because, according to a 2004 report on chastity pledges, 88 percent of teens who promise not to have sex before marriage actually do have sex before marriage. And then there’s this: Yet the teenagers who had taken pledges were less likely to know they had an infection, raising the risk of their transmitting it to other people, said Dr. Bearman and Hannah Brückner of Yale University, the other author of the report. Dr. Bearman said that telling teenagers ”to ‘just say no,’ without understanding risk or how to protect oneself from risk, turns out to create greater risk” of sexually transmitted diseases. In other words, kids who claim to be saving themselves for marriage are just as likely to have sex and more likely to have stupid sex that leads to diseases and unwanted pregnancies. But thank god we’ve got America’s favorite born-again virgin, Bristol Palin, making ads that tell those teens they don’t even need to bother learning about how to protect themselves, as long as they promise to remain celibate. Because obviously, that’s working so well. Just ask those 10 percent of teens who, despite their promises of purity, now have to live with an STD.
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Abstaining teens still getting STDs
Last night the former half-term governor from Wasilla, continuing her jihad to convince America that she was the twenty-first victim of the horrific shooting in Arizona, followed up her “blood libel” video with an interview by fellow Fox News denizen, Sean Hannity. As expected, Hannity tossed up softballs and Sarah Palin played the victim, equating criticism of her with censorship, warning that attempts to “shut her up” would “destroy our republic,” and of course insisting that she has always condemned violence. And to prove Palin hates violence, Hannity helpfully played a video: … noting that it was from a rally in Tucson “in March of 2010.” What Hannity didn’t mention was that it was a rally in Tucson on March 26, 2010, the day after Gabrielle Giffords appeared on MSNBC to say: Oops. Intern heads should roll over this. Because it allows us to once again highlight the self-evident point that Giffords made that day: GIFFORDS: I mean, this is a situation where — I mean, people don’t — they really need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things, for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. When people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action. … and that Palin is trying to run away from now. Because while it is true that Palin has denounced violent actions, she continues to pretend that words — her words in particular — have no consequences. Unless of course those words are about Sarah Palin, in which case: … … journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. Criticize Sarah Palin and it will “destroy our Republic.” Everyone else is fair game.
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Palin’s interview with Hannity and an unfortunate choice
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, defending herself against criticism following the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, said Monday that she used the term “blood libel” to describe comments made by those who falsely tried to link conservatives to the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Speaking out for the first time since she used the term in a video, Palin said on Fox’s Sean Hannity show that the term referred to those “falsely accused of having blood on their hands.” Some Jewish groups strongly protested her use of the term, which historically was used to accuse Jews of using blood of Christians in religious rituals. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin: ‘Blood Libel’ ‘Exactly What Was Going On’
(AP) WASHINGTON — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, defending herself against criticism following the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, said Monday that she used the term “blood libel” to describe comments made by those who falsely tried to link conservatives to the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Speaking out for the first time since she used the term in a video, Palin said on Fox’s Sean Hannity show that the term referred to those “falsely accused of having blood on their hands.” Some Jewish groups strongly protested her use of the term, which historically was used to accuse Jews of using blood of Christians in religious rituals. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin: Crosshairs Used By Democrats, Critics ‘Not Going To Shut Me Up’
So to prove that she can do more than just Tweet, update her Facebook wall, and post webcam testimonials about blood libel, Sarah Palin is about to subject herself to the rigors of an actual interview from the media. Of course, it’s true she’s getting paid for it. And it’s also true the guy who is interviewing her — Sean Hannity — gets paid by the same boss. But hey, at least she’s going to give herself the opportunity to prove to America that she can indeed manage to get through the softballiest of interviews without faceplanting. I might just watch it — I’m curious how many questions like these Hannity will ask: Once it became clear that you were the twenty-first victim of the Tucson shooting, how did it make you feel? As you say, liberals have muzzled you, and your only way of communicating with the public is now through Facebook, Twitter, vimeo, Fox News Channel, and every other media organization known to mankind. How are you handling the oppressive weight of liberal censorship? Is there anything you’d like to say to the people who are spreading the blood libel about you? Why do you think President Obama hates America so much? Do you sometimes wish he would move back to Kenya, where he belongs? What do you think it says about liberal blood-lust that they mistook the surveyor’s mark on your target map for the crosshairs of a gunsight? Then again, maybe I’ll watch Rachel instead. Why bother watching Hannity and Palin? I’m sure if anything important happens, Sarah’s ghost-tweeter will let us know.
Hannity to massage Palin’s ego on live TV
Conservatives are outraged — outraged! — that the traditional media has spent the last week blaming them and their violent rhetoric for the shooting in Arizona. Just one problem: it’s not true. According to the New York Times : Last week, the reaction came from conservative politicians who bridled at suggestions in the media that Jared L. Loughner may have been influenced by right-wing rhetoric and talk radio when he killed six people and gravely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords in a rampage on Jan. 8 in Tucson. In her video address on Wednesday, Sarah Palin said that journalists and pundits should not manufacture “a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.” The question left unanswered: which journalists and pundits? The Times goes on to report that contrary to the claims of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and of course Sarah “blood libel” Palin: While there was plenty of debate in newspapers, and on radio and television about the effects of a toxic politic environment, most of the direct accusations against conservative talk radio and pundits were leveled by people online, not members of the mainstream media. O’Reilly blasted the New York Times for its editorial that stated, “[I]t is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger.” But he didn’t mention this part of the editorial: “It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members.” Limbaugh also claimed that he was being blamed for the shooting, but the Times reports that his name was only mentioned twice on cable news shows. Even the blogosphere couldn’t be bothered to blame Limbaugh for the shooting. So while conservatives are busy whining about “blood libel” and “an ongoing pogrom” and ” a lynch mob against Glenn Beck, against Sarah Palin, against Rush Limbaugh ,” turns out they are, as per usual, completely full of shit.
NYT: No widespread blame of the right for Arizona shooting
In his first interview since undergoing major heart surgery last July, former Vice President Dick Cheney addresses a wide range of topics, including the Arizona shooting and the resulting political fallout, his latest views on Barack Obama’s presidency, his offer to George W. Bush to step down as vice president, and his upcoming health decisions. Read the full release from NBC News along with key quotes below. * * * * Read More… More on Dick Cheney
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Dick Cheney’s NBC Interview: Addresses Obama, Palin ‘Target Map,’ Arizona Shootings, And More
Snort : “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. Today is a day to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King dedicated himself to justice and the struggles of an imperfect world. In the face of fierce opposition, he stood up for the oppressed, and he ultimately sacrificed all for equality and freedom. His was a remarkable life of love and service for all mankind. His work must continue. With Dr. King’s faith in God and his unwavering hope in a brighter, stronger future, let us recommit today to continuing his work for a more peaceful and just nation. Yes, today is a day for reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his fight for justice. Tonight, though? Well, tonight is for pallin’ around with Sean Hannity on Fox “News,” presumably to defend her use of gunsights on members of Congress defend her use of the term “blood libel” make sure that in the aftermath of the tragedy in Arizona, and on the day we honor a slain civil rights leader, America is focused on what really matters: Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin: Today is about MLK. Tonight is about me.
Sarah Palin was right: Loughner’s alleged crime could have been committed by any individual, and the “blame”, if it exists, belongs to him alone. But what can the science of mental functioning contribute to this understanding? Read More… More on Jared Lee Loughner
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Dr. Leo Rangell: Cool
In the immediate aftermath of last Saturday’s horrific shooting in Tucson, critics were quick to assign blame to the violent rhetoric and imagery employed by Sarah Palin and her Tea Party compatriots . But to hear Palin tell it in a video posted on Facebook Wednesday morning, not only is the charge bloody ridiculous , it’s also bloody libelous . In her view, she was not a cause of the shooting; rather, she is a victim . Meanwhile, later that same day , President Obama delivered what was arguably the best memorial speech given by a President in the past 30 years, and all conservatives got was a stupid t-shirt .
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Sunday Talk - The Power of Words
According to “A Course in Miracles,” all minds are joined. While it appears to the physical eye that I am here and you are over there, on the level of mind there is no place where you stop and I start. We are all affected by everyone else’s thoughts, just as a butterfly flapping its wings near the South Pole affects the wind currents at the North Pole. When any wave moves, the entire ocean shifts. So it’s basically irrelevant whether Jared Loughner specifically related to the hate speech around him in some linear, causal way. Thoughts can go viral, as we have seen throughout history when group pathologies overcame the better angels of a people (Hitler’s Germany was an example). And as it is written in The Course, “all thought creates form on some level.” If enough hate-thought and hate-speech is present, it’s almost inevitable that some hate-filled manifestation will emerge somewhere within that field of consciousness. Jared Loughner was swimming in the thought-forms and images of hate, as almost all of us are these days. And to an obviously deranged mind, violent thought forms are like gasoline to an already smoldering fire. I heard a not-yet-declared 2012 Presidential candidate on television, refusing to condemn the use of gun imagery in political dialogue. “After all,” he said, “we have free speech.” Darn right, Sir. And something else we should have is a dose of healthy shame. Maybe it shouldn’t be illegal to talk about one’s political opponents as though they’re enemy combatants. But it should be unthinkable. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Marianne Williamson: Arizona Shooting: Words Have Meaning
Special Sarah Palin edition. Hint: don’t expect rocket science from her fanatics. See their work product below the fold.
Saturday hate mail-a-palooza
By the end of a long day of critique, Palin’s “protective cloak” is at best in tatters. Perhaps that’s the ultimate fate for a media figure’s attempt to live as a character rather than an honest person. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Colin Delany: The Irony Inherent in Sarah Palin’s Social Media Image Machine
There’s nothing like the soothing feel of cold hard cash to relieve the sting of humiliation: Palin to deliver address at gun convention Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will deliver a keynote address to a gun convention later this month. Palin (R) will speak to the Safari International Club (SCI) in Reno, Nev. on Saturday, Jan. 29, according to the group’s website. The organization bills itself as “the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide.” The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee’s speech is expected to touch on “her past hunting experiences and how politics affects the current state of hunting and fishing.” Palin typically receives six figures for appearances like this, so while she might be destroying her political future, at least she’s getting well-paid to do it. Registrations for the event, which are sold out , range from $55 to $1,500. Palin will be joined by luminaries including Larry the Cable Guy and an Elvis impersonator.
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Palin to keynote gun convention
When Sarah Palin shot back at critics who proposed that her severe — and perhaps violence-suggesting — rhetoric and campaigning helped inspire Jared Lee Loughner’s massacre in Tuscon, she accused those critics of blood libel — and started an entirely new firestorm in the process. Palin’s invoking of blood libel, which in its proper use refers to a centuries old lie that was used to justify mass anti-semitism and Jewish persecution , immediately drew angry responses from politicians and Jewish groups, but also brings back to the forefront her own religious affiliation — and its not infrequent brushes with anti-semitism. Palin, who makes no secret of her devout Christian evangelism, is a member of Wasilla Bible Church, which subscribes to the Pentecostal Assembly of God. It is a small community church, but one that has been the host to a number of controversial speakers — with Palin both in the audience and openly participating. Read More… More on Blood Libel
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Sarah Palin’s Jewish Problem
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Jeff Danziger: Sarah Speaks
Roy Sekoff appeared on “The Ed Show” Thursday to discuss the Tea Party’s response to the tragic shootings in Tucson last weekend. When host Ed Schultz referenced a statement from Tucson’s Tea Party leader, which suggested Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords should have been more prepared for the attack by bringing security to her event, Sekoff replied, “The one-word response is wince.” “What we’ve seen from the Tea Party and Sarah Palin is that they excel at playing the victim,” Sekoff said. “The danger there is that since they feel so victimized, they’re just going to get louder, and they’re going to ratchet it out, and they’re going to make more outrageous comments like we’ve seen right there.” Read More… More on Tea Party
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HuffPost TV: Roy Sekoff On GOP Dilemma: Tea Party Delivers Both ‘The Energy And The Crazy’ (VIDEO)
Thank God almighty, she’s free at last! (And she’s getting paid for it too.) Palin to Do TV Interview Monday Sarah Palin is scheduled to sit for her first extended interview since the Tucson shooting rampage on Monday night, on the Fox News Channel. An executive at Fox News Channel said that Ms. Palin would appear on the program of the conservative host Sean Hannity, and that the interview was scheduled to run through several commercial breaks. The announcement came on Thursday, another day when Ms. Palin was figuring prominently in the discussion surrounding the Tucson shooting rampage, for her video statement about the shootings that she released Wednesday morning to stinging reviews from liberals and even some Republicans. Ms. Palin is a paid Fox contributor, but she has been laying low on the network in the wake of the shooting. Her agreement to sit for an interview comes as even some Republicans have urged her to put herself out there for questions amid the criticism she is facing. As you are no doubt aware, Palin delivered her web video yesterday from the comfort of her home television studio in Alaska where she is hiding from “those who embrace evil” and “mock” America by “seeking to muzzle” her voice. Their “shrill cries,” she said, are spreading a “blood libel” about her rhetorical stylings. Some say Hannity will ask Palin a series of tough questions, such as: • Once it became clear that you were the twenty-first victim of the Tucson shooting, how did it make you feel? • As you say, liberals have muzzled you, and your only way of communicating with the public is now through Facebook, Twitter, vimeo, Fox News Channel, and every other media organization known to mankind. How are you handling the oppressive weight of liberal censorship? • Is there anything you’d like to say to the people who are spreading the blood libel about you? • Why do you think President Obama hates America so much? Do you sometimes wish he would move back to Kenya, where he belongs? • What do you think it says about liberal blood-lust that they mistook the surveyor’s mark on your target map for the crosshairs of a gunsight? The interview will be rebroadcast at midnight ET on Fox News Channel. Nobody can force you to watch it, but if you don’t, you’ll be muzzling the former half-term governor of Alaska.
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Hannity to free Palin from liberal muzzle on Monday
A culture of not only paranoia, but also of persecution itself, contradicts the possibility of a healthy political discourse. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Noah Baron: The Libel of "Blood Libel"
Sarah Palin will give her first interview since the Arizona shootings–and her controversial “blood libel” video –to Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Palin will appear on “Hannity” on Monday, Jan. 17. The New York Times first reported the news. The Times said that the interview is scheduled to span over several commercial breaks. Palin has been a locus for criticism in the wake of the shootings, as people centered on her infamous crosshairs map, and then on the video she released on Tuesday which contained the “blood libel” statement. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin Appearing On Sean Hannity’s Fox News Show Monday (VIDEO)
Nothing could illustrate the difference between “what is” and “what should be” as the two speeches yesterday, one by Sarah Palin illustrating the partisan small-minded approach and the other Obama’s universally respected and well-received compassionate call for a more civil tone. Palin made Obama seem bigger and more statesman-like, and for that, she has done us all a service. The trouble is that there’s a small group of ultra-conservatives who get outsized media coverage and for whom Palin speaks. And it isn’t the violent rhetoric, bad as that is, that’s most dangerous (there is no direct link to this troubled mass murderer.) It’s the “Obama is illegitimate, and so is the federal government” strain of ultra-conservatism. That anyone in this day and age, after governors in his birthplace of Hawaii have said otherwise, can still think that Obama was not born in the U.S. attests to the distance the fringe has to go to reach the center of politics in this country. That anyone can claim with a straight face that he’s a socialist or a closet Muslim or any of the other slurs that routinely make the rounds speaks to the problem that is inappropriate political rhetoric, one that seeks to delegitimize the president of the United States. Palin speaks to that fringe group, and while she’s got their undying loyalty, she’s lost everyone else. Why does that matter? Because as long as the media obsessively covers every one of her pugnacious tweets, the Dark Side is part of the national conversation. Her ability to inject herself into that conversation (as if yesterday was “all about her”) is on display, but that’s hardly the stuff of leadership. And until I see Palin change, I don’t see things getting much better – except for one thing. As the economy improves, the mood of the public will improve with it. You can already see that in Obama’s poll numbers . And the economy (not Obama, not Palin) remains the most important factor in politics.
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President Obama & Palin: On a civil tone
Using word cloud’s from wordle.net , here’s an interesting visual comparison of President Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial service and the web video delivered by Sarah Palin from her home television studio. First, President Obama’s word cloud: Next, Sarah Palin’s word cloud: The word clouds show the contrast between their two approaches. They both recognized Saturday’s shooting for the tragedy that it was, but the clear emphasis of President Obama’s word choice was on focusing on the victims and that which unites us as a nation, whereas Palin focused on her grievances and what drives our country apart.
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A word cloud comparison of President Obama’s and Sarah Palin’s messages
Much will be written today, comparing last night’s moving speech by President Obama to Sarah Palin’s eight-minute exercise in narcissism , so to save you time, here’s a succinct and spot-on take by Lloyd Grove: The prematurely retired Alaska governor had to serve up her remarks, really a litany of complaints against her critics and political adversaries, while seated in front of a non-working stone fireplace, apparently at her home in Wasilla—a claustrophobic setting framed by an outsize American flag. The president got to deliver his affecting half-hour of heartfelt reflection and soulful inspiration—repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations—to an arena at the University of Arizona filled to the rafters with 14,000 mourners, notably members of his Cabinet and the Supreme Court, the governor of Arizona, the astronaut-husband of wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords, the heroes who risked their own lives to save others, the doctors and nurses who tended the injured and bleeding, and the friends and families of the six people, including a 9-year-old girl, who were killed by a gun-wielding maniac Saturday morning at a shopping center. “At the end of the day, after listening to the president, we’ll know why he’s president and she never will be,” said Robert Shrum.
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A comparison of the President and the Palin in 172 words
After her video disparaging critics as guilty of a “blood libel,” Sarah Palin should be shunned and will be shunned. As of today, she is done as a presidential candidate. Read More… More on Barack Obama
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Mark Green: Her Candidacy Is Over — Palin’s "Brainwashing" and "Joe Welch" Moment
This day began with ugliness — let’s end it with positive news: And from ABC News : The three lawmakers who witnessed the moment were House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. “We had been telling her that she was inspiring the country with her courage and that we couldn’t wait to take her out to pizza and a weekend away,” Gillibrand said later, through a spokeswoman. “Then after she heard our voices and the encouragement of Mark and her parents, she struggled briefly and opened her eyes for the very first time. It was a miracle to witness.”
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President Obama: ‘Gabby opened her eyes for the first time’
It would be hard to think of a more moving and dignified speech, particularly when set against the foil of Sarah Palin’s self-absorbed effusions. Read More… More on Gabrielle Giffords
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Jacob Heilbrunn: Obama’s Ennobling Speech
On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow reports about 26,000 showed up to remember the victims of Saturday’s shooting and hear President Obama’s address to the nation. On CNN, Anderson Cooper tracks President Obama shaking hands with members of the audience. And on Fox, Charles Krauthammer initially complains about the cheers from the crowd at the beginning of the speech, but quickly recognizes that his speech was inspirational — ultimately calling it a “brilliant” speech. Your thoughts? Update: One theme that I’ve heard on both MSNBC and Fox is that while some may have founding cheering from students initially disconcerting, by the time the speech reached it’s emotional crescendo — when President Obama said ” Gabby opened her eyes for the first time ” — the reaction fo the crowd become an uplifting, inspirational component of the address. Update: MSNBC’s Luke Russert : Republican and Democrat, not a dry eye in the arena. Leave it to presidential historians to rank that speech, I bet it’ll be high. Update: Based on comments just now from Chris Wallace and Brit Hume, Fox’s party line seems to be emerging — it was a great speech, but it won’t matter because next week John Boehner is repealing health care. Plus, sometimes the cheering students made us feel a bit uncomfortable. But the President still handled it well. Charles Krauthammer, however, cautions against minimizing the importance of the speech, saying it will have a lasting impact, arguing President Obama was very effective and established himself not just as head of party and head of government but also as head of state. Update: On CNN, Paul Begala said he felt the most powerful part of the speech was when President Obama spoke not as President, but as a father. And Anderson Cooper breaks the Palin ice, playing her grotesque “blood libel” quote. Begala called it political narcissism in the extreme, saying he’d watched it twice today and read it three times and it didn’t get better with each rendition. As Dave Weigel tweeted , “Didn’t think it was possible for Palin’s speech/video to seem even smaller, but there you go.” Update: National Review’s Jim Geraghty tweets : Obama has never been more presidential than he was tonight. Update: CNN producer Steve Brusk: Sen. Gillibrand was in room when Rep. Giffords opened her eyes, tells @DanaBashCNN “it was like witnessing a miracle”.
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President Obama at Tucson memorial service
I actually agree with the Sarah Palin who said that words aren’t solely responsible for acts of violence. But when she so often contradicts herself, it’s difficult to tell whether Sarah Palin agrees with Sarah Palin. Read More… More on Blood Libel
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Bob Cesca: Sarah Palin Fumbles and Flails Into an Otherwise Solemn Day
Sarah, you can’t have it both ways. It’s either “individual responsibility” meaning that we only punish those who commit the crimes, or collective guilt, so you can punish Americans for the wrongs to which they have no connection. Read More… More on Jersey Shore
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Dean Obeidallah: The Palin Standard
The rap on Sarah Palin as governor in Alaska was always that in Sarah’s world, everything was about Sarah. When the then-governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate fumbled her way through an interview with CBS ’s Katie Couric, seemingly unable to answer the question of “what newspapers and magazines (do) you regularly read,” some old friends and ex-employees of Palin joked that the problem was that Palin had the political sense to avoid the honest answer. The honest answer for Palin, they said, was this: “I only read newspaper and magazine stories with my name in them.” Somehow, this was always a little hard to believe. There had to be more to Palin than that. After all, she had, much to her credit, kick-started her career as an Alaska politician with an effort to create transparency in state government. She couldn’t possibly be as self-centered and self-involved as was claimed by some of those who knew her, or had known her, best. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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AlaskaDispatch.com: Palin’s Response to the Tucson Tragedy Is ‘All About Sarah’
As a Jewess, I think it’s an absolute shandeh that so many schmucks are talking such drek about you, Sarah Palin. You have every right to make statements about us chosen people because you practically are a chosen person yourself. Read More… More on Arizona Politics
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Katie Halper: Top 10 Reasons to Stop the Blood Libel Schmear Campaign against Honorary Jew Sarah Palin
“When you hunt a moose, blood libel to pour out of it,” Sarah Palin told reporters at a press conference in her hometown today. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Andy Borowitz: Palin Attempts to Prove She Can Use ‘Blood Libel’ in a Sentence
While it would be impossible to top the self-centered offensiveness of today’s Sarah Palin video — where she used the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords to peddle her message of victimhood — Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) gave it his best shot, but could only manage a trifecta of stupidity. First, his thoughts on the public comments by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik on today’s political climate: I hope the sheriff tones his rhetoric down. Well, sure. Sheriff Dupnik needs to tone down his rhetoric of calling on people to tone down their rhetoric. Gohmert than turned around and started peddling conspiracy theories of obstruction by the FBI: It may be that if the things that we’re reading — that he’s [Jared Loughner] a liberal, hates the flag, supports Marx, that type of thing, turn out to be true, then it may be embarrassing to some of the current administration’s constituents, and, heaven help us, we wouldn’t want to embarrass any of the president’s constituents. This after four days of complaints by Republicans about people laying blame or attaching political motivations to Loughner’s actions. And he finished the day with the announcement that he is: … drafting a measure to allow members of Congress to carry guns in the District of Columbia, including in the Capitol and on the House floor. … which is going to be a real problem since : Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s intentions. Quite a day, Louie.
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Louie Gohmert hits the trifecta: violent rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and guns
So in her web video supposedly designed to defend the open discussion of ideas no matter how objectionable they might be…Sarah Palin disabled public comments on the video she posted on Vimeo. Note that Palin released her ‘heartfelt’ video at exactly 4:00AM Alaska time…just the right moment to take the news cycle by storm, and make today be about her. Also too, and perhaps more telling, Palin didn’t even have the courage to take questions from Fox about her message. Instead, she hid behind a TelePrompter , secure in the knowledge that she would not have to respond to a single question about her speech. Now that’s political courage, eh?
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Palin disables comments on her video about open discourse
As Barb pointed out earlier , Sarah Palin’s web video on the Arizona shootings contained a clear warning: criticism of conservative rhetoric will result in violence. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn . Given that Palin read her commentary from a TelePrompter , her words were no simple slip of the tongue. Moreover, she issued a similar threat on Monday: Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. In both of these statements, Palin outlined a simple scenario of cause and effect: if she or people like her are accused of inciting violence, the result will be violence. Her language was unambiguous. The only question is whether you call it a threat or a warning.
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Palin: Criticism of conservatives will result in violence
Condemnations by Jewish organization, over Sarah Palin’s self-serving use of the term “blood libel” to defend herself after the criticism she has received in the wake of the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, are mounting : Jewish Funds for Justice: We are deeply disturbed by Fox News commentator Sarah Palin’s decision to characterize as a “blood libel” the criticism directed at her following the terrorist attack in Tucson. The term “blood libel” is not a synonym for “false accusation.” It refers to a specific falsehood perpetuated by Christians about Jews for centuries, a falsehood that motivated a good deal of anti-Jewish violence and discrimination. Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out-of-line. Ms. Palin clearly took some time to reflect before putting out her statement today. Despite that time, her primary conclusion was that she is the victim and Rep. Giffords is the perpetrator. As a powerful rhetorical advocate for personal responsibility, Ms. Palin has failed to live up to her own standards with this statement. National Jewish Democratic Council Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a “blood libel” against her and others. This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries — and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today. J Street: The country’s attention is rightfully focused on the memorial service for the victims of Saturday’s shooting. Our prayers continue to be with those who are still fighting to recover and the families of the victims. The last thing the country needs now is for the rhetoric in the wake of this tragedy to return to where it was before. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the only Republican member of Congress who is Jewish, had this to say:
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Jewish groups condemn Palin’s use of term ‘blood libel’
One of the enduring right-wing obsessions the last two years has been Obama’s use of teleprompters. Just do a Google search and countless results. Sure, it’s idiotic — every president and major public figure uses teleprompters. But reality and wingnuttery don’t mix, and it’s now an article of faith among wingnuts that teleprompters are mock-worthy and a sign of incompetence. That’s why Sarah Palin delivered this gem at a Tea Party conference: “This is about the people, and it’s bigger than any one king or queen of a tea party, and it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter,” she said. That was just one of several digs at President Obama. Palin knew her crowd, and she knew that line would get some hootin’ and holerin’. Teleprompters are BAD! Obama uses them! Snicker! But wait, what’s that reflected on her glasses, in her recently released video making the Arizona tragedy all about herself?
Gasp! Sarah Palin used a TELEPROMPTER?
Should we have expected anything else? Four days after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that left six dead and fourteen wounded, and on the day that Congress and the President will honor the victims of this tragedy, Sarah Palin just happens to choose today to assure America that she is among the victims. In a carefully orchestrated video, complete with a large American flag that apparently flutters next to her fireplace, Palin quickly gets her sympathy for the victims and their families out of the way so she can get to the real reason for her message — to attack the debate that has arisen about the role violent rhetoric so commonly used among elected Republicans, their media surrogates, and of course Palin herself, may have played in last Saturday’s tragedy. And while Palin’s message can be criticized on so many levels, its self-centered, self-serving offensiveness is best encapsulated in this one sentence: But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible. First, the obvious. Blood libel? Is it possible that Palin doesn’t know that the term — an accusation of killing Christian children to use their blood — has been used throughout history to justify the persecution of Jews? Of course she does. But never mind its bloody and oppressive historical significance, it’s a great sound bite. And such a great hook to attack the “lamestream” media. Second, the violence they purport to condemn? Subtle. And finally, this phrase really jumps out: … that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence … Didn’t Palin just spend nearly eight minutes insisting that rhetoric has nothing to do with violence and that mere words don’t make an evil man act? Apparently they do if the words are critical of Sarah Palin.
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Sarah ‘blood libel’ Palin makes day to honor the victims all about her
Tim Pawlenty thinks Sarah Palin shouldn’t have used gunsight crosshairs imagery and says he would never have done anything like it: “It would not have been my style to put the cross hairs on there,” he said Tuesday on “Good Morning America,” referring to a map like the one posted last year on SarahPAC’s website showing gunsights on the congressional districts represented by Giffords and a select group of lawmakers who supported health care reform. “But then again, there’s no evidence to suggest that had anything to do with this mentally unstable person’s rage and senseless acts.” “I wouldn’t have done it,” the two-term governor told The New York Times on Monday when asked about the map. Pawlenty also told CBS News that politicians need to rise above delivering red meat just because they can. But as Benjamin Sarlin reminds us , Tim Pawlenty is no stranger to violent rhetoric. Remember CPAC 2010 ? One of Pawlenty’s biggest applause lines came when he advised the conservative activists listening to take a piece of advice from Tiger Woods wife, Elin Nordegren, who he said had “had enough” with her husband’s philandering. “I think we should take a page out of her playbook, and take a 9 iron and smash a window out of big government in this country,” Pawlenty said. So I guess you could say Pawlenty deplores violent imagery in politics…when it’s used by his political opponents. But when it comes to himself, he thinks it’s no big deal…especially when the audience thinks it’s a great applause line.
Tim Pawlenty’s hypocritical criticism of Sarah Palin
Bill Maher has returned from a holiday hiatus and given us a sneak peek into his newest slew of hilarity. Take a look at our exclusive footage below, which includes commentary on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” the war on Christmas, Congress’s Lame Duck session, Julian Assange and Boehner’s tears, among other timely events worth his two cents. WATCH: Read More… More on Bill Maher
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Bill Maher: Exclusive Footage From New Season (VIDEO)
Per TPM , Rep. Virginia Foxx follows Limbaugh in disregarding truth: “His beliefs are the liberal of the liberals [sic]. There is no evidence whatsoever that this man was influenced by Sarah Palin or anybody in the Republican Party. This man is not a conservative; he’s a fan of communism - that’s the opposite of conservatism.” Foxx bases her lie on the fact that the shooter listed The Communist Manifesto among his favorite books. How about the fact that We The Living , which was Ayn Rand’s first published novel, was also among his list of favorites ? To Republicans, it doesn’t matter what the truth is: the guy read books. They only care about ideological warfare. These are the kinds of folks we are dealing with. Just as the media will accept silence from her colleagues about Limbaugh’s lies , I don’t expect them to question Foxx’s lies either. Republicans wont say anything against Limbaugh or Foxx. Not because they are afraid of public reaction, but because they agree.
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Rep. Virginia Foxx says Loughner was "liberal of liberals"
It’s going to be a long, long year of addled speculation and rampant prognosticating over the 2012 elections. And this latest round of hypothetical state matchups from Public Policy Polling seems specifically designed to test my patience: Barack Obama would easily win New Jersey again if he had to stand for reelection today, even if Republicans put forth Chris Christie as their candidate. Obama leads Christie by a 17 point margin in a hypothetical contest , the same amount Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich trail by. Mitt Romney does the best of the leading Republican contenders in the state, trailing Obama by 15, and Sarah Palin has one of her worst performances in any state we’ve polled to date, lagging the President by a whooping 30 points. So if you were wondering what could happen if something that is absolutely not going to happen somehow happens, THE RESULTS ARE IN, and President Obama handily beats someone he won’t be running against for president. NOW YOU KNOW. But what if Chris Christie, in addition to running for president, also does other things he won’t be doing, like sprouting pegasus wings or teaching himself to poop gold ingots, by magic? I daresay that gap could close! Our pollsters, sadly, lack the surfeit of imagination truly needed to fill us with wonder. Read More… More on Barack Obama
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This Day In Entirely Unnecessary Polling
As politicians of both parties fall all over themselves denying blame for the shooting of Congresswomen Giffords and decrying the toxic political environment, one denial rings louder than any other. From Tea Party leader Sarah Palin’s insistent “I hate violence” to Tea Party cheerleader Glenn Beck’s “peace is always the answer”. America’s newest political party is rolling out a protest of responsibility not seen since President Clinton did not have sex with that woman Miss Lewinsky. Does the Tea Party doth protest too much? Or is it rightfully defending itself against politically motivated slander? Surprisingly, I find myself arguing the latter. The blame for this heinous act lies squarely with the voices in Jared Lee Loughner’s head, not the ones pontificating over talk radio. And repugnant as I find Sarah and her cosmic boyfriend, they are not responsible for the violent actions of a single crazy person. They are, however, responsible for the destructive actions of thousands of other people - (some crazy some not). No matter how vigorously they promote the woe-is-us narrative (as expressed by Tucson Tea Party Co-founder Trent Humphries “Every time anything happens, we’re going to get blamed” ), the Tea Party is responsible for ripping this country apart. And if the Tea Party has its way, violence and destruction far beyond the horrific acts of this weekend are on the horizon. Read More… More on Glenn Beck
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Erica Payne: Don’t Blame the Tea Party (at least not for this…)
In the aftermath of the Tucson massacre, Politico’s Glenn Thrush and Carol E. Lee write one of the most inane responses imaginable: Of all the unfulfilled campaign promises President Barack Obama made in 2008, the one that bothers the president most isn’t any squandered policy priority – it’s his failure to re-civilize what he views as an increasingly savage partisan climate. His failure? The president who reached out to the Republicans on the stimulus, who allowed Republicans and centrist Democrats to define the health care debate and then received not a single Republican vote, who continually compromises even before negotiations have begun? It was Republicans who talked secession, who lied about death panels, who openly called him a liar while he was speaking the truth before Congress, and who ran for office talking Second Amendment remedies. Yet Obama has often expressed anger - broadly in public, far more pointedly in private - against conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to Sarah Palin for whipping up anger against him and other Democrats. And few people around Obama were upset at the barrage of criticism unleashed against Republicans on Sunday for standing by while conservatives like Palin used gun-related imagery to score political points against Giffords and others. And Obama is supposed to sit idly by while right wing demagogues spew vile filth on a daily basis? He and the people around him were supposed to be upset that there was criticism because Palin’s violent imagery came to be? Could Thrush and Lee possibly have it more backward? And then, of course, they circle the drain with discussion of Obama’s ability to emote in public. Better for them that they learn to write intelligently and coherently in public. Fairly or not to conservatives, the mass murder in Tucson has ignited a larger debate about the rhetoric in American political life and the implications of a discourse in which partisans – not all of them Republicans — routinely employ the vocabulary of hunting, warfare and slaughter to describe quotidian political conflict. Once again the false equivalency. To give but one example, users of this blog receive exactly one warning before being banned for expressions of violence. Right wing radio and right wing blogs express violence openly, without apology. As for bipartisanship, when have the Republicans ever demonstrated a willingness to compromise with this president? Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has openly stated that his goal is to limit Obama to one term . And Speaker John Boehner? President Obama : Look, here’s my expectation — and I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That’s something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower. Boehner : U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday that any move to increase the United States’ $14.3 trillion debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts. “The American people will not stand for such an increase unless it is accompanied by meaningful action by the President and Congress to cut spending and end the job-killing spending binge in Washington,” Boehner said in a prepared statement. If Thrush and Lee had any integrity, they would identify the problem as it is. This president’s efforts to work with Republicans have only succeeded in damaging his policies. Because Republicans only work with him when they get their way. And to suggest that criticism of extreme right wing rhetoric is the problem, and not the extreme rhetoric itself, is as dishonest a framing as it is possible to make.
Politico gets it exactly backward in calling for a more civil tone
Palin may be taking hits after the tragic Tuscon shooting, but that’s no reason her original and highly entertaining reality show shouldn’t be put back on the air. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Bonnie Fuller: Sarah Palin’s Alaska Should NOT Be Cancelled — It’s Great TV & Brilliant Marketing!
Stay classy, Tea Party: Tea Party Express raising money in aftermath of Arizona shooting The Tea Party Express, a California-based conservative political action committee, sent out a letter to supporters Monday requesting donations in reaction to Saturday’s shooting at a political event in Tucson, Arizona that claimed six lives. “It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs,” the letter reads. “You know what the truth is? The truth is that the shooter,Â Jared Loughner is the one responsible for this atrocity. But liberals are trying to place the blame on society for embracing the tea party movement.” The letter makes the case that the Tea Party movement has nothing to do with the alleged gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner. The weekend shooting sparked accusations from liberal groups and pundits that he was motivated by the rhetoric from Tea Party members, although authorities say Loughner acted alone and was not part of a larger movement. The letter actually goes so far as to suggest that a 2008 post written by Markos was somehow equivalent to Sarah Palin’s use of the gunsight imagery and her exhortations to “RELOAD” in the conservative battle against Democrats. Instead of linking to the actual post , the letter links to a photoshopped version , which ads an image of Rep. Giffords and a bullseye, neither of which were in the original post. Even without that dishonest sleight-of-hand, the notion that a three year old post from Markos is equivalent to Sarah Palin’s ongoing use of violent imagery is laughable. It’d be a different story if Markos was one the most important politicians in the Democratic Party and if he made habit of regularly using the images that were photoshopped into his post, but neither of those two things are the case. So not only is the tea party trying to capitalize on tragedy, they aren’t even telling the truth while doing it.
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Tea party group fundraises off of Giffords shootings
The Tea Party Express, one of the movement’s largest national groups, blasted out an email plea Monday afternoon asking their supporters to send money to defend them from liberals who are allegedly “assigning blame” to them and Sarah Palin for the shootings in Arizona over the weekend. “It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs,” the email read, according to Talking Points Memo. “Well guess what: to those liberals in the news media and on the political Left who think you can silence us, you are wrong! Your efforts to try and smear us and shut us up will fail.” In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, numerous politicians — Democrat and Republican — called for less “vitriolic” political rhetoric. Some pointed to Sarah Palin’s list of 20 targeted legislators, which included Gabrielle Giffords’ district as a target behind crosshairs, as evidence of the increasingly violent tone of the public debate. Read More… More on Tea Party
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Tea Party Express Raises Cash Over Arizona Shooting ‘Smears’
There’s a well-known line from Edmund Burke: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” In the wake of the Tucson shootings, it now has a corollary: All it takes for evil to triumph is for lesser men to turn away and claim plausible deniability. As with all such tragedies, we immediately enter into a mode of national reflection. Who’s to blame? What’s to blame? Was this an isolated incident? A symptom of our overheated political rhetoric? Will we reevaluate our gun-control laws? Will the tone of our political discourse ever change? Who’s to blame is one delusional psycho loner with a private and twisted worldview. He’s Whitman. Chapman. Hinckley. McVeigh. Harris. Klebold. Cho. These people grow in society like cancer cells. They can be treated. Isolated. Medicated. Counseled. Arrested. Incarcerated. But, as with the disease itself, despite any chemotherapy, a lone cell can slip through the cracks and metastasize. Unfortunately, in this country, once someone snaps, they have easy access to weapons of mass destruction for taking out social revenge. One sick bastard with a knife can’t do as much damage as one sick bastard with a 9mm automatic. As for our rhetoric, until it becomes known exactly what was in the mind of the shooter, we won’t know whether or not it was a factor. This time. But it doesn’t require an investigation to know that anger and hate speech have become a factor in our lives. “Going negative” has not only become a prerequisite in political campaigns, it’s now SOP for the policy campaigns between campaigns. The screamers at the health care town halls. The gun toters at the president’s rallies. The “patriots” who spat on members of Congress. The birthers and deathers. Palin’s crosshairs. Angle’s 2nd Amendment remedies. Joe “you lie” Wilson. They’ve all been weapons in a war to demonize and de-legitimize this president and his policies that’s been going on for two years, due to the fact that there is a particular segment of the population that went absolutely batshit when we elected a black guy president. “Socialist!” “Fascist!” “Death panels!” “Government takeover of health care!” “The job-killing health care bill!” Read More… More on Politics
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Ian Gurvitz: Put Hate Speech in the Crosshairs
Below is the video and transcript of my interview with Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. If people on the right and Sarah Palin and so forth are responsible for all of this and this vitriolic rhetoric is so pitched, how come this isn’t happening every day? Why is it the vast exception to the rule? There’s no logic in any of the assertions they’re making. None. Read More… More on Tea Party
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Chris Matthews: Hardball: Tea Party Under Fire Over Arizona Tragedy
Digby found this timeline of violent rhetoric and political violence that is absolutely chilling. It’s a compilation of “insurrectionist violence (or the promotion of such violence) that have occurred” since June, 2008 when the Supreme Court ruled in Heller , endorsing the “National Rifle Association’s ‘individual right’ interpretation of the Second Amendment, and affirmed, “that one of the purposes of the right is to ‘assure the existence of a “citizens’ militia” as a safeguard against tyranny.’” There really couldn’t be a clearer demonstration that both sides do not have an equal share of the blame, and that non-stop anti-government fear-baiting works to foment violence. Here’s a few weeks in the spring of 2009. March 11, 2009 —NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference and announces that “ Our Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules .” March 21-22, 2009 —Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “ armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country .” April 4, 2009 —Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “ the Obama gun ban that’s on its way ” and “ didn’t like our rights being infringed upon .” Perkovic also commented that Poplawski carried out the shooting because “ if anyone tried to take his firearms, he was gonna’ stand by what his forefathers told him to do .” April 7, 2009 —The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis releases an assessment of right wing extremism in the United States. The Department notes that “ the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment .” Recalling the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh, the Department speculates, “ The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks .” April 15, 2009 —Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, is arrested by FBI agents after he openly states on Twitter that he is going to turn the upcoming Oklahoma City “Tea Party” into a bloodbath. Two months earlier, Hayden had written online, “ The only thing that is keeping the New World Order from destroying this nation is the presence of over 100,000,000 guns in civilian hands. When guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns. Since we are already criminals in the eyes of the New World Order, and they intend to enslave us all, and to kill those of us who will NOT submit to their slavery, I say to IGNORE gun “laws” and keep your guns (AND ammo) handy .” There’s a reason that the DHS didn’t release an assessement of left wing extremism in the United States. Digby highlights another several days, just last summer, “which culminated a week later with this shoot out with police .” July 2, 2010 — The Wyoming Department of Revenue suspends sales tax collections at the state’s gun shows because of ” increasing animosity ” toward field tax agents. Dan Noble, director of the department’s Excise Tax Division, cites one particular incident at a gun show that “crossed the line” and says, ” We tend to have more trouble at gun shows than any place … I have 10 field reps throughout the state, and every one of them has experienced some animosity … I don’t want to put my people at risk .” July 3, 2010 — Joyce Kaufman, a conservative radio hosts on WFTL in Florida, tells a crowd of supporters at a Fort Lauderdale Tea Party event, “ I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendments rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will. This is the standoff. When I say I’ll put my microphone down on November 2nd if we haven’t achieved substantial victory, I mean it. Because if at that point I’m going to up into the hills of Kentucky, I’m going to go out into the Midwest, I’m going to go up in the Vermont and New Hampshire outreaches and I’m going to gather together men and women who understand that some things are worth fighting for and some things are worth dying for .” July 6, 2010 — Herb Titus, a lawyer for Gun Owners of America , tells Religion Dispatches , ” If you have a people that has basically been disarmed by the civil government, then there really isn’t any effectual means available to the people to restore law and liberty and that’s really the purpose of the right to keep and bear arms—is to defend yourself against a tyrant .” Titus goes on to cite the ” totalitarian threat ” posed by ” Obamacare ” and ” what Sarah Palin said about the death panels .” They’re still at it, and if anything, are doubling down on the paranoia, and the threat from the “hard left” to their very existence. Anyone hoping that the Arizona massacre would make the eliminationists and insurrectionists have second thoughts doesn’t understand the depth of their pathology.
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Anti-goverment hyperbole and gun violence: A timeline
Now that Sarah Palin has decided to communicate through Glenn Beck’s radio show, we get to hear pearls of wisdom like this : “But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down.” — Glenn Beck, giving advice to Sarah Palin in the aftermath of the Arizona shootings. If Palin needs security, she should get it, but it’s pretty remarkable that Glenn Beck believes the fate of the Republic hangs in the balance. We do not presently face an existential crisis nor will we anytime soon, and the fact that Glenn Beck says that we are on the cusp of such a crisis is emblematic of his strange combination of cynicism and delusion. That Fox and Clear Channel give him a platform from which to spew his paranoid nonsense on a daily basis is wildly irresponsible.
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Beck says America’s fate depends on Palin hiring security
First posted at thenation.com In the wake of Saturday’s horrific shooting in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other victims, long overdue attention is being paid to Republican Party heroine Sarah Palin’s brazen use of violent language and symbols. It’s hard to recall a national political figure since George Wallace who played so fast and loose with images of gunplay, demonization and death. For me, it was last March when I wondered if “going rogue” meant going off the deep end. This was when Palin strayed from the realm of politics and directed a particularly toxic stream of consciousness into the world of sports. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Dave Zirin: It’s Not a Game: Sarah Palin and the Madness of March
Remember how liberals are anti-abortion, spew Paulist rhetoric on the gold standard, hate government, and stash guns and ammo so they can fight back against an evil government? They’re not? Well, that’s why conservatives are desperate to create a climate of false equivalencies, where “both sides do it”. And the media, of course, is always happy to play along. So on one side, we have this: Not to mention this stuff, from Gabby Gifford’s opponent in 2010: That’s all about peace and love and not violence! Unlike those LIBERALS. But of course, liberals don’t fetishize guns and violence, and don’t talk about locking and loading before going out to do political battle, and don’t use pictures of themselves shooting up human silhouette targets (unless you’re Joe Manchin, and then you’re shooting up the cap and trade bill). So when trying to come up with false equivalencies, wingnuts didn’t have a lot to work with. So this is what they scraped up: First of all, this piece I wrote in 2008 with a broad look at potential primary targets. Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district. If we can field enough serious challengers, and if we repeat the Donna Edwards and Joe Lieberman stories a few more times, well then, our elected officials might have no choice but to be more responsive. Because if we show them that their AT&T lobbyist buddies can’t save their jobs, they’ll pay more attention to those who can. Yup. Pass the smelling salts! Because a call to target districts for primary challenges is JUST LIKE saying, like CNN contributor Erik Erikson : “At what point do the people … march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?” See? One is call to electoral action. The other one is a call to violence. So just the same! Of course, this example was so lame, that some resourceful wingnut bloggers took to photoshopping in target graphics on that piece, to try and make it look more incendiary than it actually was. If reality doesn’t conform, right wingers will do what they always do — change it to suit their agenda. The other “example” is, of course, BoyBlue’s “Giffords is dead to me” piece. In fact, by Sunday, the wingers had convinced themselves that BoyBlue was the shooter . Really bizarre. Of course, as John Judis wrote : Bai’s examples are ridiculous. Palin’s crosshairs, aimed at Giffords’s district, certainly conjure up a rifle or bomb sight. But the metaphor on Daily Kos—that Giffords after a vote is “dead to me”—is straight out of family wills. It is what a parent says to a prodigal child. The metaphor has nothing to do with killing. No shit. Not to mention that BoyBlue has a heart , unlike the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, and the rest of the lot happy to use eliminationist rhetoric when it suits their agenda, but then run from responsibility when the chickens come home to roost. BoyBlue took down his original Giffords piece, which has led to the creation of yet another right-wing fantasy — that I spent the weekend “scrubbing” the site. Neither I, nor anyone working for this site, has deleted a single bit of material. I’m not sure why they’ve convinced themselves otherwise, but there you have it. Bottom line, there’s a movement fixated on guns and ammo and the Second Amendment and locking and loading and violence as a solution to their problems. Liberals don’t talk about “Second Amendment remedies”. And while many liberals own guns, they don’t use them to validate themselves as men and Americans. As Judis writes: Now, it may turn out that Loughner was inspired by some nutty far-left blog that advocated killing Democratic Blue Dogs, of which Giffords was one. But if you look broadly at today’s political discourse, as Bai purports to do, what you find is that gun, warrior, murder, mayhem, and generally Armageddon-like, apocalyptic rhetoric is virtually monopolized by right-wing organizations, talk-show hosts, and politicians. That is not saying that the right always monopolizes the rhetoric of violence. Certainly it has in the South, but in different eras, the left rather than the right has had the franchise in the far west and the north. Think, for instance, of the late ‘60s. But in the last two years, there is no contest. Here at Daily Kos, there’s not much tolerance for violent rhetoric. Our rules are clear: Do not make threats or calls for violence. Threatening to beat up or kill someone, or suggesting that people should kill themselves, or saying that poison should be put in somebody’s crème brûlée, or making similar remarks, even as a joke, is prohibited and can lead to banning. This does not mean that all forms of cartoon violence, literary references, metaphors and the like are barred. Admin Moderation: A single warning. Second offense: Banning. We take real calls for violence seriously, but really, it might be the least common cause for banning on this site. I could probably count them on one hand in the almost-nine years this site has been around. Fact is, one side is obsessed with using violence as a solution to their political frustrations, and the other side is not. There is no equivalency. Not even close.
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Manufacturing false equivalencies in the wake of the Giffords assassination attempt
Sarah Palin says she abhors violence and she picked a hell of a way to get her message out: emailing Glenn Beck. Sarah Palin reached out to Glenn Beck over the weekend, and Beck read some of their email exchange on his radio show this morning. … Beck expressed concern about Palin’s safety, and urged her to hire the same Los Angeles-based security firm that he uses. … “I hate violence,” Palin wrote back. “I hate war.” Great. She hates violence. And she hates war, which I guess is good, but just who exactly is talking about war here? Other than Palin, I haven’t seen anybody suggest this has anything to do with war. Still, at least she’s against war, right? But this being Palin, she can’t live good enough alone. There’s a wrinkle: “Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence.” Got it? It’s not her fault that “our children won’t have peace.” It’s not Sharron Angle’s fault that “second amendment remedies” are coming. It’s not Glenn Beck’s fault. It’s your fault, because you’re telling her to be civil.
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Palin: No peace if she’s accused of inciting violence
In the two days since the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the debate has been raging over the culpability of the violent rhetoric that is so commonplace in today’s political climate. Which of course has led to the rapid-fire peddling of false equivalencies by the right, where now, saying a congressional district is being targeted is the same as actually putting crosshairs on a district and saying it’s time to “RELOAD.” And while there are many examples of the violent language employed by the right: “Second Amendment remedies,” “resorting to the bullet box,” calls to be “armed and dangerous,” to name just a few, it’s more than that. And it’s why Republicans are so eager to say, “both sides do it,” to the point of equating an anonymous diarist on Daily Kos with Sarah Palin. Because since the election of Barack Obama, the right, both elected Republicans and their minions in the media, have pounded the non-stop drumbeat that Obama/Democrats/liberals want to destroy the country, they want to kill your grandmother, they’re shredding the Constitution, they’re terrorist sympathizers, they’re going to take away your guns, that they’re enemies of humanity, that the government is the enemy … And that, as much as the obvious examples of violent rhetoric, can appeal to the extremist, the mentally unstable, or the “lone nut,” to act. And last Saturday, one of them did.
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Violent rhetoric and the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords
Jared Lee Loughner’s motives are obscure, but it’s hard to disentangle the shooting of a Congresswoman, and the killing of a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl, and four other people from the political culture that it occurred in, an environment of exaggerated divisions, the demonization of opponents as socialists or traitors, and a lot of gun rhetoric, gun imagery, and … guns. Almost certainly, history will tie the two together no matter what we learn about Loughner in the coming weeks. Political madness is a recurring strain American history in which, on some level, we all take part: “I shouted out/Who killed the Kennedys?/When after all/It was you and me.” So, this is a collective problem. Pinning blame won’t really work, because we end up back in the workings of Loughner’s mind, which we don’t understand right now, and may never. We’re probably not going to find some triggering phrase in all the millions of nasty political words spoken in the past couple of years, either. See Ken Silber’s reasoned take on rhetoric. Clearly, for instance, Sarah Palin was not inciting violence with her “rifle sights” (or “surveyor’s symbol”) graphic, crass and obnoxious as it was. Sharron Angle, with her “Second Amendment remedies” quote, came right up to that line, however. But it’s doubtful Loughner was paying much attention to a Nevada Senate race. But we can identify some trends that created an atmosphere of exaggerated rhetoric and imagery that portrays political opponents as at best illegitimate and at worst, enemies of America, that suggests tyranny and/or subversion are sources of our current political predicament, demanding some kind of armed response. In a culture where some have viewed spraying gunfire at innocent people as a ticket to immortality, it’s not a healthy trend. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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John McQuaid: On Political Madness
It’s not Sarah Palin and her rhetoric that make crazy people do crazy things. It’s making her crazy rhetoric matter that does. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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John Wellington Ennis: It’s Not Sarah Palin’s Fault
Perhaps I was too quick to point a finger, a knee-jerk reaction to yesterday’ shooting in Tucson. However, I cannot help but think had Sarah Palin not put the crosshairs of a gun sight on her website over those in districts who challenged her politics, districts that included yesterday’s victim, Gabrielle Gifford, or had she not said “Don’t retreat, reload,” there wouldn’t be a national discussion on whether or not Palin’s responsible to any degree for the tragedy that occurred. Perhaps, also, I was too quick to point a finger at those pundits who are given a voice on the airwaves advocating opinions without fact, even suggesting harm to those who challenge their sensibilities, but had they not called for violence, had they not fabricated mistruths, then there wouldn’t be this conversation about them being culpable in any way. Yes, there will always be senseless killings by those who are unbalanced, but had Ms. Palin and those many angry Opinionmeisters not created an environment implying justification to take out those who disagree with their ideals, then we wouldn’t be having this debate. People who are given a platform should be more responsible in their message. It won’t be as dramatic or as entertaining, but it appears we’ve had enough drama for quite some time. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Carol Hoenig: Too Quick to Point a Finger?
The spin coming out of Palin-land: Palin’s team, in particular, sought to put distance between the former Alaska governor and the case, insisting that an oft-cited “crosshairs” logo used on a Palin PAC website over Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ district was not in any way intended to look like gun sights. The images on the map bore a resemblence to a surveyor’s symbol, a Palin spokeswoman said Sunday, but Palin herself referred to it as a “‘bullseye’ icon” immediately after the election. And it wasn’t just Palin’s bullseye reference: when she unveiled the target list, she told her followers not to retreat, but to “RELOAD.” (Her caps.) A surveyor’s symbol? You’ve got to be kidding. If you believe that, then you’d believe Sharron Angle’s talk of “Second Amendment remedies” were in reference to caribou-hunting.
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Palin aide claims crosshairs weren’t gunsights
Last Saturday morning 20 people were shot in a Tucson Safeway parking lot by a 22-year-old who stated on YouTube he “won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver.” Fifteen minutes after the news broke, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tweeted , “The price of gold today is at $1,368.90 an ounce.” Coincidence? Yes. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Tina Dupuy: At Least Stand By Your Free Speech
WASHINGTON — Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) defended Sarah Palin Sunday, saying that it is irresponsible for the media to be bringing up her much-discussed image of political targets from the 2010 election in the aftermath of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others in Arizona. In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Alexander objected to a question about the crosshairs map from host Candy Crowley, saying she was tying Palin to the tragedy: CROWLEY: Let’s — let’s cut that connection then, and let me just ask you as a question separate and of itself, is it over the line politically these days, given the kind of climate we’re in, to be talking about or graphically showing a politician in the crosshairs or talking about taking them out? Read More… More on Gabrielle Giffords
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Sen. Lamar Alexander: Irresponsible For The Media To Mention Palin’s Crosshairs Map (VIDEO)
Click for Full Size There’s certainly a lot of imagery to look at regarding the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Â The most troubling image I saw, however, occurred in the interview Giffords gave to MSNBC back in March after her office wa s vandalized following the health care vote. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Michael Shaw: Reading the Pictures: The Giffords Shooting and the Palin Graphic: Almost Predictable
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who represents a district adjacent to Gabrielle Giffords’s, said that Saturday’s shooting is a consequence of the vitriolic rhetoric that has arisen over the past few years among extreme elements of the Tea Party. “The climate has gotten so toxic in our political discourse, setting up for this kind of reaction for too long. It’s unfortunate to say that. I hate to say that,” Grijalva said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “If you’re an opponent, you’re a deadly enemy,” Grijalva said of the mindset among Arizona extremists. “Anybody who contributed to feeding this monster had better step back and realize they’re threatening our form of government.” Grijalva said that Tea Party leader Sarah Palin should reflect on the rhetoric that she has employed. “She — as I mentioned, people contributing to this toxic climate — Ms. Palin needs to look at her own behavior, and if she wants to help the public discourse, the best thing she could do is to keep quiet.” Read More… More on Gabrielle Giffords
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Grijalva: Palin Needs To Look At Her Own Behavior
One would hope that there would be a few days given over to mourning for the dead and public good wishes for the full recovery of the injured in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting this morning. But since we live in a Twitter and Facebook and Instant Messaging world, such hope no longer gets a chance. Efforts to set the narrative are already fully under way. Those whose violent, eliminationist rhetoric has polluted the air waves and other media for the past couple of decades, ramping itself up a little more each year, especially with the arrival of an African American in the White House, are, of course, denying that the shootings of a Congresswoman, a judge, a child and bystanders on a street corner in Arizona have anything to do with their savage words. No surprise. One thing they’re good at is refusing to accept any responsibility for the consequences of this murderous talk, whether it’s Timothy McVeigh blowing up a federal building or Scott Roeder assassinating a doctor. There needs to be a proper counter to this denial. President Obama could help us in this regard. Former civil rights attorney and president of The Sierra Club Foundation Guy Saperstein offers an introduction for the President to take when he fully addresses what happened in Tucson: My fellow Americans. It is easy to condemn violence, but condemning violence is not enough. We need to try to understand violence and what provokes it. This tragedy in Arizona should not be viewed as a random, isolated, or even an unpredictable, act. It is the inevitable consequence of a culture of violence and the rhetoric of violence. When political opponents are demonized and political disagreement is discussed in terms more appropriate to war, unstable individuals like [the Arizona shooter] are encouraged to act in violent ways. When political opponents, like Sarah Palin, use gunsights and “targets” to identify politicians they disagree with, they must be held morally responsible for the violence such over-heated rhetoric causes. What we’re going to be saturated with for the next week or so are the inevitable false equivalencies. We’ll hear, for instance, how there are “nuts on both sides.” Undeniably true. But there is no ubiquitous liberal - much less, left-wing - network of talk-radio stations spouting Two Minutes’ Hate 24/7. The collective voice of the right wing on radio and the Internet with its coded and uncoded calls to violence, of “2nd Amendment remedies,” of cross hairs superimposed on states and on individuals simply has no visible counterpart on the left. When the right discusses the violent left, it must seek overseas examples or something from decades ago in America’s past. Michael Savage bleating on Savage Nation radio, says: “Only vigilance and resistance to this baby dictator, Barack Hussein Obama, can prevent the Khmer Rouge from appearing in this country.” Erick Ericksson at Red State says : “At what point do the people … march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?” No matter how it tries, the right cannot divorce itself from the pustulence of its violent rhetoric no matter how many times its practitioners say “not me, not me” after people are murdered for taking these vile imprecations to heart. A few crocodile tears from Glenn Beck won’t cut it.
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Some words the President might choose…
Is the target map that Sarah Palin published, showing Gabrielle Giffords’ congressional district under the cross hairs of a gun, relevant to press coverage of the shootings today in Arizona? The New York Times and the Washington Post disagree. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Robert Naiman: Is Palin’s "Crosshairs" Map Relevant? Giffords Thought So
In an eerie flashback to March 2010, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford discusses rhetoric and violence in the aftermath of the vote on heath care reform. Her office had been just been vandalized. When asked if she was afraid she said that she was not, but said that the “rhetoric is incredibly heated.” She went on to say, “We are on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.” Read More…
Veronica Conway: Giffords Discussed Palin Rhetoric in March 2010
In Arizona — and the nation — do we have the courage and wisdom to deal with our gun laws? To stop the hatred from finding its all-too-easy expression through the barrel of the gun? Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Jeff Biggers: Lock and Load and Lost in Tucson Today: What’s the Matter with My Arizona?
In the minutes following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and members of her staff, the website operated by Sarah Palin that illustrated Gifford’s 8th district with gun crosshairs drawn on a map was scrubbed from the internet. The site, TakeBackThe20.com, was operating normally at 1:07 CST when I connected to obtain an image of the crosshairs map: View image Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Rob Warmowski: Following Giffords Shooting, Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs Website Quickly Scrubbed From Internet
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, last March, appearing on MSNBC to discuss vandalism at her Tucson district office after the health care vote and Sarah Palin’s use of the crosshairs of a gun sight to target her: Excerpt: Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action. Here’s Sarah Palin’s target list: As you can see, Giffords was one of of just two members to win re-election from that list. (Rep. Nick Rahall was the other.)
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Flashback: Giffords on being on Palin’s crosshairs target list
Sarah Palin has posted a statement on Facebook in response to the Arizona shooting involving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Palin writes : My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. Read More… More on Gabrielle Giffords
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Sarah Palin Statement On Arizona Shooting Involving Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger For the environmental community, this coming year offers a chance to regroup, rethink and regrow. Two years ago, it seemed possible that politicians would make progress on climate change issues–that a Democratic Congress would pass a cap-and-trade bill, that a Democratic president would lead the international community toward agreement on emissions standards. And so for two years environmentalists cultivated plans that ultimately came to naught. What comes next? What comes now? It’s clear that looking to Washington for environmental leadership is futile. But looking elsewhere might lead to more fertile ground. Our new leaders On Wednesday, the 112th Congress began, and Republicans took over the House. They are not going to tackle environmental legislation. This past election launched a host of climate deniers into office, and even members of Congress inclined to more reasonable environmental views, like Rep. Fred Upton, now chair of the House Energy and Commerce committee, have tacked towards the right . Whereas once Upton recognized the need for action on climate change and reducing carbon emissions, recently he has been pushing back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s impending carbon regulations and questioning whether carbon emissions are a problem at all. “It’s worth remembering that Upton was once considered among the most moderate members of the GOP on the issue,” writes Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones . “No longer.” Good riddance The climate bill is really, truly, dead, and it’s not coming back. But as Dave Roberts and Thomas Pitilli illustrate in Grist’s graphic account of the bill’s demise recalls, by the time it reached the Senate, the bill was already riddled with compromises. And so perhaps it’s not such bad news that there’s space now to rethink how progressives should approach environmental and energy issues. “It’s refreshing to shake the Etch-a-Sketch. You get to draw a new picture. The energy debate needs a new picture,” policy analyst Jason Grumet said last month, as Grist reports. Already, in The Washington Monthly , Jeffrey Leonard, the CEO of the Global Environmental Fund, is pitching an idea that played no part in the discussions of the past two years. He writes : If President Obama wants to set us on a path to a sustainable energy future–and a green one, too–he should propose a very simple solution to the current mess: eliminate all energy subsidies. Yes, eliminate them all–for oil, coal, gas, nuclear, ethanol, even for wind and solar. … Because wind, solar, and other green energy sources get only the tiniest sliver of the overall subsidy pie, they’ll have a competitive advantage in the long term if all subsidies, including the huge ones for fossil fuels, are eliminated. No impact? No sweat Federal policies aren’t the only part of the picture that can be re-drawn. Even as Congress failed to act on climate change, an ever-increasing number of Americans decided to make changes to decrease their impact on the environment. Colin Beavan committed more dramatically than most: his No Impact Man project required that he switch to a zero-waste life style. This year, he partnered with Yes! Magazine for No Impact Week, which asks participants to engage in an 8-day “carbon cleanse,” in which they try out low-impact living. Yes! is publishing the chronicles of participants’ ups and downs with the experiment: Deb Seymour found it empowering to give up her right to shop; Grace Porter missed her bus stop and had to walk two miles to school; Aran Seaman found a local site where he could compost food scraps. The long view Perhaps, for some of the participants, No Impact Week will continue on after eight days. After Seaman participated last year, he gave up his car in favor of biking and public transportation. On the surface, giving up a convenience like that can seem like a sacrifice. But it needn’t be. Janisse Ray writes in Orion Magazine about her decision to give up plane travel for environmental reasons. Instead, she now travels long distances by train, and that comes with its own pleasures: Through the long night the train rocks down the rails, stopping in Charleston, Rocky Mount, Richmond, and other marvelous southern places. People get on and off. Across the aisle a woman is traveling with two children I learn are her son, aged twelve, and her granddaughter, ten months. In South Carolina we pick up a woman come from burying her father. He had wanted to go home, she says. She drinks periodically from a small bottle of wine buried in the pocket of her black overcoat. The train is not crowded, and I have two seats to myself. Our true leaders Ultimately, though, sweeping environmental changes will require leadership and societal changes. American politicians may have abdicated that responsibility for now, but others are still fighting. In In These Times , Robert Hirschfield writes of Subhas Dutta , who’s building a green movement in India. “The environmental issue is the issue of today. The political parties, all of them, have let us down,” Dutta says. “We want to be part of the decision-making process on the state and national levels. The struggle for the environment has to be fought politically.” One person who understood that was Judy Bonds, the anti-mountaintop removal mining activist, who died this week of cancer. Grist , Change.org , and Mother Jones all have remembrances; at Change.org, Phil Aroneanu shared “a beautiful elegy to Judy from her friend and colleague Vernon Haltom:” I can’t count the number of times someone told me they got involved because they heard Judy speak, either at their university, at a rally, or in a documentary. Years ago she envisioned a “thousand hillbilly march” in Washington, DC. In 2010, that dream became a reality as thousands marched on the White House for Appalachia Rising….While we grieve, let’s remember what she said, “Fight harder.” This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium . It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter . And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit , The Pulse , and The Diaspora . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets. Read More… More on U.S. Senate
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The Media Consortium: Weekly Mulch: With D.C. in GOP Hands, Environmentalists Must ‘Fight Harder’
Confused, hateful, or both? Sarah Palin is charging that President Barack Obama is “hell-bent on weakening America” by pushing to raise the national debt ceiling. “What I believe that Obama is doing right now — he is hell-bent on weakening America,” the possible 2012 Republican contender said Friday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” She accused the president of “purposefully” trying to harm the country and acknowledged that her stinging comments might “get some people all wee-weed up again.” Palin noted that in 2006 then-Sen. Obama had “said it is a sign of failed leadership to support raising the debt ceiling, and now he is doing exactly that.” “[H]e understood that debt weakened America, domestically and internationally, and yet now he supports increasing debt,” she added. If the need to raise the debt limit really is a plot by President Obama to weaken America, then he’s got some pretty surprising co-conspirators, including Charles Krauthammer (”you can’t not pass it, it is catastrophic”) Dana Perino (”political and economic disaster”), Andy Card (”we cannot have the U.S. government fail to honor its obligations to the rest of the world in this debt”), and George Will (”it’s suicidal”). Each of those conservatives knows that if Republicans were to block a debt limit increase, they would be plunging America into to the middle of another financial and economic crisis with catastrophic results for both the GOP and the nation. That’s not a plot cooked up by President Obama — it’s reality. If Palin understands this — and I suspect she does, given her support for TARP — then her attacks on President Obama represent a cynical exploitation of the extreme right’s irrational hatred of the President of the United States. And if Palin doesn’t understand this, then she’s even more confused about reality than we could possibly have imagined.
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Palin: Debt ceiling a plot by Obama to weaken America
Sarah Palin came to the conclusion Friday that Obama’s willingness to raise the debt ceiling could only be interpreted as a sign that he was “hell bent on weakening America,” because he had before noted that such actions should be avoided. “He has told us back in March of 06, he told us that it weakens America domestically and internationally to raise debt, right, to raise the debt ceiling,” Palin told Laura Ingraham on her radio show. “And he said it is a sign of failed leadership to support raising the debt ceiling.” Palin then contended that Obama was “purposefully weakening America because he understood that debt weakens America.” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin: ‘Obama Is Hell Bent On Weakening America’ (AUDIO)
Magellan 1/4/11; 1,451 likely Republican primary voters, 2.6% margin of error Mode: Automated phone Read More… More on Pollster
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NH-2012 Primary: 39% Romney, 16% Palin, 10% Huckabee, 8% Gingrich (Magellan 1/4)
I recently interviewed Chris Barron of GOProud, a gay conservative organization that believes that the Republican Party is welcoming of gay Americans. The issue was that some prominent conservative organizations were boycotting the largest conservative conference in the country because they allowed GOProud to attend. Seems very welcoming. The interview was heated (you can see it here ). I think it is absurd to vote Republican if you’re gay . The party ran their whole campaign against gay Americans in 2004 and 2006 — and bragged about it. The GOP just overwhelmingly voted against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. And there are only a million other examples of how Republicans are against every gay rights issue. Of course a gay person can be conservative on economic issues or on foreign policy, but to say you’re going to vote for a party that hates you is beyond irrational. Well, apparently Ann Coulter doesn’t agree. She watched the interview, then tweeted . Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Cenk Uygur: Ann Coulter vs. Sarah Palin
Recent polling, both from our polling partners at PPP and elsewhere, have shown that, despite the ugliness that was the 2010 midterm cycle, President Obama is in reasonably strong shape against his potential 2012 rivals from the GOP. Many times, early trial heats of electoral contests are a poor indicator of the future, because the incumbent is often a known quantity while their passel of challengers remain undefined. According to Jensen, that isn’t true in this case: Romney, Huckabee, Palin, and Gingrich’s problem isn’t that they’re unknown. They’ve all been in the national spotlight before and they all had at least 75% name recognition on our most recent national poll. Their problem is that folks do know them- and they don’t like them. Once that bad impression’s been made it’s hard to make a different one. Jensen’s not far off. Check out the standing of Romney, Huckabee, and Palin, based on their favorability ratings (as measured by the Pollster composite averages): 2012 Republican Candidates, Fav/Unfav, Pollster Averages Sarah Palin : 37/52 Mitt Romney : 34/31 Mike Huckabee : 39/28 By way of comparison, where was Barack Obama in the Winter of 2007? He had about a three-to-one net positive ratio. The GOP triumvirate listed above? Not. Even. Close. This does provide a window of opportunity for someone outside of the current perceived front pack of GOP contenders to rise quickly. But that’s going to require both time and money, which might be in short supply if this cycle is as front-loaded as the 2008 cycle proved to be. Of course, President Obama’s numbers (while showing signs of renewed health) are more critical to understanding his re-election prospects than those of any of his potential opponents. As 2010 proved in a few different examples (including the macro example of the GOP at-large), voters are willing to elect people whom they hold in modest esteem if they are angry enough at the status quo. Therefore, while the relatively weak numbers of his potential rivals might be of some solace to the President and his team, it cannot be seen as salvation in itself.
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PPP’s Jensen: GOP 2012 frontrunners known, unloved
Merry holiday fun time and new year that hopefully isn’t as crappy as 2010!! It’s been a while, but I’m back and with absolutely no resolutions. In fact, get ready for it: another tirade on the academic job market. I’ll tell you a story that I can hardly believe myself. I have a very good friend who is a brilliant, talented teacher and needs a job. Her area of research is hot right now–sexuality studies with some LGBT flavor, a sprinkling of feminism, and some bold and juicy assertions about medieval literature. While she is not homeless or jobless, currently working two adjunct jobs to pay the bills, she has had no luck on the job market. Of course, you might say, that’s the state of things right now. No one can get a job, not the smartest, funniest, most charming, or best looking of us all. Granted, I say this while Sarah Palin makes $250,000 per episode to bludgeon mackerel and shoot elk with a high-powered rifle. But I digress. Read More… More on Careers
Erica Daigle: New Year, New MLA Dreams
Last month I introduced an NRDC report on the Florida Keys response to the Gulf oil disaster, which compiles a series of interviews with a number of local leaders. Now, I’d like to share their individual stories and the lessons they learned from last summer, beginning with Captain Pat DeQuattro of the U.S. Coast Guard. During the recent threat to the Keys, DeQuattro, as sector commander, played the role of “the federal on-scene coordinator” within the Keys’ Unified Command. As the Keys nervously anticipated a landfall of oil—which, fortunately, never materialized—DeQuattro was charged with leading exercises and readying the Keys’ contingency plan for quick implementation. “A spill of this magnitude was beyond anything that we had planned for,” says DeQuattro. Though the Keys were prepared to respond to a nearby tanker spill, the threat posed by the gushing Deepwater Horizon oil well proved uncharted territory. As a result, one adaptation DeQuattro and others immediately instituted was a “sentry program,” which employed both federal and private boats, as well as aircraft, to scout for oil spreading from the upper Gulf. DeQuattro also oversaw the quick creation of a new “shoreline countermeasures matrix”—a document that recommends how to properly defend various habitats, whether sandy beach, mangrove or coral reef—for the possible arrival of tar balls, a form of weathered oil the Keys had never anticipated. Read More… More on Gulf Oil Spill
Sarah Chasis: Florida Keys & the Gulf Oil Disaster: Stories Shared and Lessons Learned — U.S. Coast Guard Captain Pat DeQuattro
There appear to be some geographic fissures in Huckabee and Palin’s populist base. Palin draws her largest and most enthusiastic crowds in the midwestern heartland. But Huckabee seems to be preferred in the Sunbelt suburbs, particularly among college-educated, evangelical men in the managerial sector. This is especially true here in Arkansas, where the first thing out of the mouth of anyone asked about Huckabee - like the flea market concessionaires - is how much more qualified the hometown boy is than Palin. And they can be harsh. Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Mike Huckabee Faces Favorable 2012 Outlook, Though Still Faces Potential Hurdles
Patrick J. Toomey was elected to the Senate in November as part of the Republican revolution, with a big assist from Tea Party activists, an endorsement from Sarah Palin and the expectation that he would join with other antiestablishment conservatives to remake Washington. But as he prepared to take office this week, Mr. Toomey hardly sounded like a partisan rabble-rouser. Read More… More on Tea Party
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Pat Toomey Seeks Balance On Way To Senate After Winning Election With Tea Party Support
Another year, another Palin for Kathy Griffin. Griffin, who joined (and tried to undress ) Anderson Cooper for his New Year’s Eve special, spent 2010 antagonizing Sarah and Bristol Palin. And now, citing Sarah’s 16-year old daughter WIllow Palin’s homophobic Facebook slurs , Griffin said its her turn to face criticism. “I’ve already gone for Sarah, Todd and Bristol obviously,” Griffin told The Hollywood Reporter . “But I think it’s Willow’s year to go down.” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Kathy Griffin: Going After Willow Palin Next
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement helped Rep.-elect Paul Gosar (R) win a seat in Congress, and now he’s rewarding the man who introduced the pair with a plum staff position. Gosar, who unseated Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in Arizona’s 1st district, has named retired dentist Rob Robinson as his chief of staff. Robinson left his son in charge of his Wasilla, Alaska-based dental practice to move to Arizona in 2009 and become Gosar’s campaign manager, treasurer and chief adviser. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Freshman Picks Dentist With Sarah Palin Ties As Chief Of Staff
It has been around a month or so since half-term Alaska Governor and possible 2012 presidential frontrunner Sarah Palin warned of the craziest left-wing crusade this side of the “War on Christmas.” You might recall that on her little-watched cable reality show, she made S’mores, explaining that the gooey dessert was being made “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.” The idiocy in that one was so thick, that even key players in the GOP clearly want no part of it : In an odd turn of events, some conservatives have taken to defending Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative from the salvos of Palin, and suggesting that she has gone too far by seeming to mock the first lady in a recent broadcast of “Sarah’s Palin’s Alaska.” Now, there are ulterior motives here that have to be discussed. Two of the critiques of Palin’s odd homage to obesity came from men who will likely be rivals of hers for the 2012 Republican nomination: former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. However, both men have motives other than tweaking their potential campaign foe. Huckabee, for his part, had his own high-profile battle with obesity several years ago. Barbour is the Governor of the most obese state in the Union, and he offered praise for Mrs. Obama during her tour of the state last Spring. Even the Obama-hating Wall Street Journal editorial page chimed in on the matter, dinging Palin as having lost her sense of proportion (while also, predictably, clipping President Obama in the knees at the same time). From the outset, Palin has well earned a reputation for being a first-tier political cheap shot artist. This particular shot, however, might cause her considerable heartburn. By mocking attempts to limit child obesity in the name of some nebulous form of “freedom”, Palin might have actually found the outer limits of the selfishness of her constituency.
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Even GOPers won’t defend latest Palin idiocy