Are you not entertained?

This is how I hoped the GOP debate would turn out tonight:

And as I look at the bodies left on the floor, all I can think is Donald Trump delivered. His quick evisceration of Rand Paul at the very beginning was priceless:

PAUL: …but I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.

TRUMP: Well, I’ve given him plenty of money.

Were we not entertained?

(Just to make this clear, nothing Trump says is grounded in reality. This is all about theater. Does anyone really think the base is watching this to learn more about policy?)

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Louisiana Republicans blame Obama for … Katrina

You can never overestimate where the level of stupidity of an uninformed population will take you:

According to a Public Policy Polling survey, 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans say President Obama is more to blame for the botched executive branch response to Hurricane Katrina while just 28 percent blamed George W. Bush. A plurality of 44 percent said they were unsure who was more responsible, even though Hurricane Katrina occurred over three years before Obama entered the presidency when he was still a freshman Senator.

Here’s the poll:

louisiana

So, 73 percent of Louisiana Republicans don’t know that George Bush (the Dumber) was president when Hurricane Katrina wiped out their state but either “know or suspect” President Obama didn’t respond fast enough to the disaster.

This really isn’t a multiple choice question.

And as we dig deeper into the numbers, we see that 8 percent of Louisiana Republicans want Sen. Ted Cruz (R – O, Canada) as their presidential nominee, but the plurality is pushing for Kentucky’s Rand Paul to take the White House. Good luck with that.

It’s almost unfair to throw a trick question like “Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?” into a political poll, but, given the response here, it is essential for people to see the total disconnection from reality of the followers of one of the major political parties and understand whom they want to run the country after 2016.

Mitch McConnell stinks! Ask his campaign manager.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, is fighting off a Tea Party threat in his primary race, and a threat from a Democratic Party that smells blood in the 2014 election.

And, it turns out, he faces a threat within his own campaign organization:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) campaign manager said he’s begrudgingly working in his current capacity to help the presidential prospects of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), according to an explosive phone recording that surfaced Thursday.

In the recording, obtained by Economic Policy Journal, Jesse Benton — who ran Paul’s successful 2010 campaign before joining McConnell’s team — told conservative activist Dennis Fusaro that he has an ulterior motive in working the GOP leader’s 2014 campaign.

“Between you an me, I’m sorta holding my nose for two years,” Benton said in the recording, “’cause what we’re doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in ’16.”

The call was recorded by Fusaro on January 9.

Wow!

McConnell doesn’t even have unity within his own campaign. Of course, there’s lots of backtracking and clarifications going on. Benton is shocked and dismayed that someone would actually let people know what he really thinks of Mitch. But McConnell took on Benton because he knew the Tea Party crazies were out to get him.

Bottom line is that Benton is saying Rand Paul is the guy who now runs Republican politics in Kentucky.

If the U.S. Senate minority leader doesn’t have control of his state’s party, he surely can’t keep control in the Senate for long.

 

Paul vs. Christie: Let’s get ready to rumble!!!

Wasn’t the Chris Christie/Rand Paul catfight last week a thing of beauty? Let’s take a trip down memory lane:

Of course, Blitzer is going to let the person in Washington have the most air time, because that’s what he does. But although my home is in Kentucky, I’ve got to side with Christie on this one.

Rand Paul talks about government spending, and Kentucky gets more money from the federal government than it puts in. Chris Christie talks about government spending, and New Jersey (another state I’ve had a home in) gets less money than it puts in.

If Paul is going to be a champion of fiscal rectitude, he should cut spending in his back yard. But he doesn’t want to do that. He wants to cut spending that goes to other states.

And let’s not ignore the point that Rand Paul’s economic policies hurt the people of Kentucky. When he talks about spending cuts, he talking about cuts to education, infrastructure and government services. Kentucky is not a rich state, and part of the reason it gets more in federal spending than it gives is because businesses in the commonwealth don’t generate high enough individual wages to lead to a balance in taxes to government spending. New Jersey, with a higher quality of education, better infrastructure and more responsible government services, does.

So what do their arguments boil down to?

Chris Christie is saying Rand Paul is a hypocrite (which he is).

Rand Paul is saying Chris Christie is fat (which he is).

Anyway, both guys are running for president. A bunch of misguided political pundits say this catfight is good for both of them? I don’t understand that logic. If you’re on the defense this early in the 2016 election process, people will be fed up with you by the end of 2014.

But scratch away, guys.

 

Stupid is as stupid does: Rand Paul’s appeal to minorities

Rand Paul doesn’t understand why Republicans can’t get a bigger share of the minority vote. Maybe this is the reason?

A close aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) who co-wrote the senator’s 2011 book spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist, raising questions about whether Paul will be able to transcend the same fringe-figure associations that dogged his father’s political career. Paul hired Jack Hunter, 39, to help write his book The Tea Party Goes to Washington during his 2010 Senate run. Hunter joined Paul’s office as his social media director in August 2012.

From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag. Prior to his radio career, while in his 20s, Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.”… The League of the South maintains that it is not racist and does not discriminate in terms of membership….

Here’s how bad this is. Jennifer Rubin, whom I disagree with 99.9% of the time, has been tearing Rand Paul apart over this:

Paul has cemented his image as someone flying blind, without a firm grasp of the issues or competent staff. Worse still, his advertised moves to reassure conservatives have been so ham-handed as instead to highlight his extreme views. Frankly, the question is no longer if he’s ready for prime time, but whether he is a competent U.S. senator. On that, the jury is out. But suffice it to say that if he had voiced in the primary the views he has recently propounded, he would likely not have been the party’s Senate nominee.

UPDATE: In a follow-up Free Beacon story, Hunter claims that Rand Paul was well aware of his views when he was hired. If that’s so, this story will hang over Paul’s head indefinitely until he can explain why Hunter’s views were not disqualifying for a Senate office, especially one trying to reach out to Hispanics and African Americans.

One thing she doesn’t quite get. If he had voiced in the primary the views he has recently propounded, he still would have been the Republican’s Senate nominee. I live in Kentucky. For Republicans in the state, these views aren’t anywhere near crazy enough to disqualify him. He’d win again if he ran today. Honestly, if he was in a primary against Mitch McConnell, he’d probably win.

 

Pollster looks at Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race

The latest polling figures out of Kentucky:

A new Public Policy Polling survey of Kentucky finds Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes tied in a hypothetical match up at 45%. McConnell’s early positive advertising has done nothing to improve his prospects for reelection and in fact this is the actually the weakest position PPP has found him in yet. In April we found him leading Grimes by 4 points and in December he had a 7 point advantage over her.
Key findings from the survey include:
-McConnell continues to be unpopular with 44% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. His numbers are even worse with independents, only 41% of whom think he’s doing a good job while 53% give him poor marks. Grimes, on the other hand, has a positive 34/24 favorability rating.
-There are strong indications within the poll results that McConnell’s record on key issues will give him trouble getting reelected. 50% of voters say they’re less likely to cast their ballots for him because of his support for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, compared to only 23% who consider that a positive. And 48% say McConnell’s opposition to increasing the minimum wage makes them less likely to vote for him, while
just 27% say more likely.

I’d like to say this is encouraging, but …

Kentuckians elected Rand Paul to the Senate. Here the map of his 2010 race.

390px-Robertson_fix_Kentucky_Senatorial_Election_Results_by_County,_2010.svgThat’s a lot of red.

Once you set the bar that low, it doesn’t take much for a Republican to clear it. All McConnell has to say is “Kenyan usurper,” and he’ll lock up 47% of the vote at the start, not matter how much people in the state hate him.

And McConnell knows how to fight dirty. That’s worth another 5 percentage points right there. This poll seems very dubious.

Rand Paul visits a school full of colored people

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Sen. Rand Paul  (R-Ky.). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past week, Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky, went to Howard University in Washington to talk to students at the predominantly black university about civil rights.

Hilarity ensued.

Here’s one of the things the sopping teabagger did to endear himself to the students, according to ABC News:

He asked the group if they knew that the founders of the NAACP were Republicans. The crowd seemed taken aback with one student even yelling, “We know our history.”

Of course students at a predominantly black university would know that when the NAACP was founded at the beginning of the 20th century, the leaders would be black Republicans. The Civil War had just ended just a few decades earlier and the Republican Party under Abraham Lincoln ended slavery. Democrats didn’t even welcome blacks into the party until the 1920s, according to FaceCheck.org. Black people supported the Republican Party up until the FDR’s New Deal, but even then, the GOP was getting at least 30% of the black vote well into the 1950s. When Richard Nixon ran against John Kennedy in 1960, he got 32% of the African American vote.

But to go back more than 100 years to a time when the GOP was a completely different entity and pretend that nothing has changed either shows a total disconnect with reality, or a cynical attempt at distorting the present with a completely different past.

Paul, who spoke against the Civil Rights act during his 2010 Senate campaign, asked:

“How did the party that elected the first black U.S. senator, the party that elected the first 20 African American congressmen become a party that now loses 95 percent of the black vote?” Paul asked the Howard students. “How did the Republican Party, the party of the Great Emancipator, lose the trust and faith of an entire race? From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, for a century, most black Americans voted Republican. How did we lose that vote?”

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe by doing things like this, and like this, and like this, and this and this? And that’s just things Republicans have done in the past six months.

Not to mention stuff like this and this and this during the past presidential campaign.

So why does Rand Paul even end up at Howard?

The absurdist cynic in me thinks he got on the Metro’s Green Line and missed his stop.

The realist cynic in me knows he’s running for president and has to tick off the “speak to hostile black people in their environment” box to bolster his right-wing-bravery cred before primary season kicks in.