When Moderates Run for Cover

It is too seldom noted when and by whom the run to incivility was begun.  Geoffrey Kabaservice does us all a favor.

It was Mr. Gingrich who pioneered the political dysfunction we still live with. His inflammatory rhetoric provided a model for the grandstanding guerrilla warfare of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. And his actions — particularly his move to shut down the government in 1995 and 1996 — undermined popular trust and ushered in the present political era of confrontation and obstruction.

But here’s the catch: Mr. Gingrich, of Georgia, rose to party leadership because he was the preferred candidate of the moderates themselves.

And for a commentator really swinging for the fence-poles you can’t top Charles Pierce, now writing at Esquire.

In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress — or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress — a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party’s 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning. …

…The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius…

Newt Toots

From HuffPo:  Newt Dumbfounded by Obama Victory

 “The president won an extraordinary victory. And the fact is we owe him the respect of trying to understand what they did and how they did it.” He added, “But if you had said to me three weeks ago, Mitt Romney would get fewer votes than John McCain and it looks like he’ll be 2 million fewer, I would have been dumbfounded.”

* AND

Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, an adviser to former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Latino outreach, said Sunday the candidate’s failure with those voters was due to hardliners in the Republican party who were “scaring the heck out of them.”

The Hispanics I know were scared of the Republican party,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in a blunt assessment of Romney’s loss. “I think it has to do with our incredibly ridiculous primary process where we force people to say outrageous things, they get nominated, and they have to come back.”

 AND Karen Hughes

“And if another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue,” she wrote. “The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like the suggestion of ‘legitimate rape.'”

Loud Mouth Braggart Watch

I for one can’t watch the Repugnant Debates.  I have to depend on others to give me the details textually so I can skip and skim. Newtie, as usual, slung his tongue around without much relation to the facts of his own life, or that of others.

In Monday night’s debate, Gingrich characterized the end of his Congressional career after the 1998 midterms as wholly volitional, making his exit sound like a self-sacrificing blaze of glory rather than the acrimonious firestorm it was.

With Gingrich, the distance between reality and rhetoric isn’t shrinking but growing, and the incongruities mount. He has lately fallen in love with his rants against “the elites,” and casts himself as their most determined foe, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a definition of elite that doesn’t include him.

Frank Bruni in the NY Times

I’m with Bruni is his caution to those Dems who think Newt would be the easiest for Obama to wallop.  Sanity would suggest so, however the American people gave W Bush a second term despite knowing what he had given us in the first four years.

In a country which celebrates loud-mouthed braggarts it isn’t a given that one wouldn’t be elected in a kind of American Idol p0erversion of the thoughtful consideration of men and matters the forefathers imagined.

The lead editorial in the NY Times reminds us, as does Bruni, that the Gingrich contempt for the “elites” must surely be self contempt.

Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina turned on an almost comically broad deception, an inversion of the truth in which the insider whose personal wealth and political experience are entirely creations of Washington becomes the anti-establishment candidate. That it worked speaks poorly of voters who let themselves be manipulated by the lowest form of campaigning, appealing to their anger and prejudices.

Gingrich Rides the Horses of Animus And Vituperation to South Carolina Victory

Well, the good people of South Carolina have hung a flapping, hysterical albatross around the the Republican Party and the country at large, even if Newt Gingrich bombs with the rest of us.  His victory in the GOP primaries today, ensures that his brand of vituperative nastiness will be hoisted  like a shining trophy for the infatuated to find their own, screaming reflections in.

Charles Blow, who wrote before the shameful win, has much to say about the man

Republicans are willing to forgive his flaws and his past because he connects with a silent slice of their core convictions — their deep-seated, long-simmering issues with an “elite” media bias, minority “privilege” and Obama’s “otherness.”

He’s the street fighter with a history of poisonous politics who not only goes there but dwells there. He makes his nest among the thorns of open animus and coded language.

Gingrich went on to say, “I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.” Points scored. The crowd ate it up.

As for the president, Gingrich this week at a campaign stop called the president’s decision to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline “stunningly stupid.” Even more points. The crowd jumped to its feet and pumped fists.

 

I’d say that the disgruntled whispers I hear among some folks that they won’t vote for Obama because they are soooo disapointed might try getting regruntled, less they leave us the rest of us facing the north end of this horse moving south….

 

The Republicagarchy

Mitt Romney:

An Associated Press examination of financial records of Mitt Romney shows that the Republican presidential candidate has offshore-based investments worth between $7 million and $32 million.

Newt Gingrich’s second wife says he asked her for an “open marriage” to continue his affair with the woman who became his current wife.
Gingrich blasted John King for asking him about his serial infidelities during the South Carolina debate:
“I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”
Of course the obvious and proper response is: “And I am appalled that it would be necessary to ask such a question of a man who is running for President.”
The room Republican room erupted in cheers for Gingrich and cat-calls for King.  These would be the same people, and the same candidate, who were appalled (still disgusted) that Bill Clinton allowed a woman to smoke his joint.  This is the kind of “level playing field” these folks dream of:  All my bads are good.  All your bads are criminal.”
Zelen
As a fresh-faced congressman, Rick Santorum made a name for himself as a reformer. But an examination of his political career shows he emerged a savvy member of the Washington establishment he once denounced, Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports.

The Tea Party Frauds

Timothy Egan takes a look at the fire breathing Tea Partiers and finds them as duplicitous/confused as the people they claim to hate…

 

…polls in key primary states show that people who describe themselves as Tea Party members support Mitt Romney,Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Each of the front-runners, in obvious ways, represents what the Tea Party hates. Romney, as is well known, is the founding father of Obamacare — the law requiring people to get health insurance, pioneered by him in Massachusetts. He supported the huge bailout of Wall Street, which passed all that downside capitalistic risk on to the rest of us. Hooray for the socialist from Bain Capital!

After 30 years at the fetid waters of power, Gingrich, of course, is the ultimate Washington insider, and he took $1.6 million from government-sponsored Freddie Mac, which Tea Partiers blame for the housing collapse.

And Santorum, during his 16 years in Congress, never met an earmark he could not support, from a bilingual health care studies program at a college in his home state to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. Critics of big spending say he has requested more than $1 billion in earmarks during his time at the trough.

GOP Mobs Attack Each Other

If politics is a circus, surely the GOP big-tent houses the freak show.  After the brawl in Ioway in which the Not-Connected-To Romney PAC bashed Newtie with the truth about his life, the favor is being repaid in New Hampshire.  This fine little trailer from Not-Connected-to-Gingrich PAC is going hammer and tongs after Romney with, of all things, the smell of capitalism burning in the forge of revenge…

[if embed video doesn’t work click here http://youtu.be/_evS-T-c35M ]

 

A little more about this juiciness…

Huntsman went after his fellow Mormon with a line of Romney’s saying how excellent it was to fire people:

In Concord, N.H., Jon M. Huntsman Jr. seized on a comment by Mr. Romney earlier Monday that he liked “to fire people,” saying that the quip reveals a difference between Mr. Romney and himself.

“It seems that Governor Romney believes in putting politics first; Governor Romney enjoys firing people — I enjoy creating jobs,” Mr. Huntsman said. “It may be that he’s slightly out of touch with the economic reality playing out in America right now, and that’s a dangerous place to be.”

Then there is the almost as exciting spectacle of Ron Paul calling Newtie out as the chicken-hawk that he is, constantly war mongering while unashamedly avoiding the fight in Vietnam, when he was young and able…

Super Pacs Kick GOP Candidates Where it Hurts

Actually, for a despicable, anti-democratic ruling from the ditto Supreme Court, the case known as Citizens United, which stripped almost all efforts to curb political contributions by non citizens (e.g. corporations), has had a wonderful first set of victims:  the GOP pols who overwhelmingly thought it was a great idea.

Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucus with the help of an ominous new trend in politics called the “Tony Soprano strategy“: Let your unnamed friends pummel your enemies while you keep your hands clean.

The Iowa race was a national showcase for the power of a relatively new type of political action committee, known as super PACs, independent groups that are allowed unlimited donations from corporations and individuals.

Such groups are going to continue to reshape the Republican race this year because federal election rules don’t require them to reveal their donors until Jan. 31 – the day of the Florida primary and after voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have cast ballots.

…  Hard-hitting TV ads funded by the group sank the campaign of onetime Iowa front-runner Newt Gingrich with a $4.1 million onslaught of TV ads in the final weeks before the caucuses. The former House speaker finished a distant fourth Tuesday, with half as many votes as Romney.

It couldn’t have happened to a nastier guy….