Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Adultery)

What a wholesome politician:

Oh, yeah. What was it he did a couple of days ago?

Anything else we need to know?

Aides to McAllister confirmed to The Post that the staff member, who had recently joined the staff at the time of the romantic encounter, has been dropped from the congressman’s payroll.

According to Legistorm, a congressional staff salary database, the staffer in the video worked part-time and earned less than $22,000 a year. She is one of the only members of McAllister’s staff who is not a holdover from the staff hired by former congressman Rodney Alexander (R), who resigned last year and now serves as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

So, family-values Republican Christian protector of the unborn smooches with a staffer who is not Mrs. family-values Republican Christian protector of the unborn. The said non-Mrs. loses her job. The horny family-values guy will keep his.

And the Republicans don’t understand why they have a problem with women voters?

Anyone want to add anything else? Hit Girl?

 

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Paul Krugman and “Equivalences”

In light of the Supreme Court ruling that people with lots of money can spend as much as they want to get the people they want elected, Paul Krugman takes a look at “Equivalencies”:

There are definitely times when it seems that our winner-take-all society is also a whiner-take-all society; it’s really amazing how quick billionaires are to portray themselves as victims because some people say nasty things about them.

One remarkable aspect of this whining is that the nasty things aren’t really all that nasty. Saying that the Koch brothers are using their wealth to promote a political agenda that will make them even wealthier is a substantive claim, not character assassination; it’s not at all the same as, say, suggesting that Hillary Clinton is a murderer. Yet the Kochs and Perkinses act as if this kind of thing were utterly vile, an attack on their liberty.

The other remarkable thing is the instant escalation of hurt feelings into a Godwin’s Law violation. You see, liberals criticize the Kochs; that makes them just like Hitler and Stalin, who murdered their opponents.

But wait, there’s more. What I’ve been hearing from Koch defenders is that people like me have no standing to ridicule billionaires. You see, I sometimes say sarcastic things about the arguments of people who disagree with me, and even question their motives when they say things I consider obviously wrong. And that’s just like comparing such people to Hitler.

The thing is, I don’t think the crybaby thing is an act, put on for strategic purposes. I think it’s real. Billionaires really are feeling vulnerable despite their wealth and power, or perhaps because of it. And the apparatchiks serving the .01 percent are deeply insecure, culturally and intellectually, so that ridicule cuts deep.

It’s kind of sad, really – but also more than a bit scary: When great power goes along with fragile egos, seriously bad things can happen.

Stupid is as stupid does: McConnell filibusters his own bill

Don’t dare someone to do something they’re willing to do. Just a suggestion:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced legislation to raise the debt ceiling on Thursday, apparently with the intent of showing that even Democrats would not support such a bill.

However, McConnell’s plan backfired after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called for a vote on the legislation, which would have given the president the authority to raise the federal debt ceiling on his own. The top Senate Republican was forced to filibuster his own bill.

“What we have here is a case of Republicans here in the Senate once again not taking ‘yes’ for an answer,” Reid said, after McConnell announced his filibuster. “This morning the Republican leader asked consent to have a vote on this proposal, just now I told everyone we were willing to have that vote — up or down vote. Now the Republican leader objects to his own idea. So I guess we have a filibuster of his own bill, so I object.”

And this is why the filibuster procedure has to be changed.

GOP asks rest of the world: What happened?

A few note on the total disconnect from reality by the GOP in this election.

First, CBS News reported this:

Mitt Romney‘s campaign got its first hint something was wrong on the afternoon of Election Day, when state campaign workers on the ground began reporting huge turnout in areas favorable to President Obama: northeastern Ohio, northern Virginia, central Florida and Miami-Dade.

Then came the early exit polls that also were favorable to the president.

But it wasn’t until the polls closed that concern turned into alarm. They expected North Carolina to be called early. It wasn’t. They expected Pennsylvania to be up in the air all night; it went early for the President.

After Ohio went for Mr. Obama, it was over, but senior advisers say no one could process it.

“We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory,” said one senior adviser. “I don’t think there was one person who saw this coming.”

OK, let’s stop here for a minute. I’ve posted Nate Silver‘s poll-based forecasts from the 538 Blog since July and on Election Day morning (links, here, here and here). And other statisticians, like Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium, were looking at the same numbers Silver was using and coming to the same conclusion. So a bunch of people saw this coming and gave relatively high odds on an Obama victory. And when they released their findings, the right went nuts, saying it was part of a left-wing media conspiracy that used skewed results to give the impression that Obama had the election all sewn up. But the “REAL NUMBERS” that the GOP had were showing a Romney landslide.

Really, how can they have been so blind? Paul Krugman says:

I suspect that it comes down to two things: self-definition in terms of always being the people with the power, and the right-wing information bubble, which left them completely unaware of information they didn’t want to hear.

Yeah. They didn’t want to hear what skewed poll numbers, based on probability and statistics, were saying. So they decided to seek out the skills of the “unskewers” to validate their version of reality. And you saw how that worked. Here’s what one of the GOP-supporting unskewers said after the vote:

Dean Chambers, the man behind “unskewed polls,” a site that attempted to re-weight polls that Chambers thought oversampled Democrats, admitted to his model’s shortcomings on Wednesday.

“Most of the polls I ‘unskewed’ were based on samples that generally included about five or six or seven percent more Democrats than Republicans, and I doubted and questioned the results of those polls, and then ‘unskewed’ them based on my belief that a nearly equal percentage of Democrats and Republicans would turn out in the actual election this year,” Chambers wrote on The Examiner website. “I was wrong on that assumption and those who predicted a turnout model of five or six percent in favor of Democrats were right. Likewise, the polling numbers they produced going on that assumption turned out to be right and my ‘unskewed’ numbers were off the mark.”

Ya think!!??

Of course, we now have to go through the spectacle of a political party trying to figure out how its presidential campaign derailed so badly:

Top Republican officials, stunned by the extent of their election losses Tuesday night, have begun an exhaustive review to figure out what went so wrong and how to fix it.

Party leaders already had planned to poll voters in battleground states starting Tuesday night in anticipation of a Mitt Romney victory — to immediately begin laying the groundwork for midterm congressional elections and a Romney 2016 reelection bid.

But as they watched one state after another go to President Obama and Senate seats fall away, party leaders quickly expanded and retooled their efforts. They’re planning a series of voter-based polls and focus groups, meetings with constituency group leaders, and in-depth discussions with their volunteers, donors and staff members to find ways to broaden their appeal.

The Rude Pundit has a suggestion:

You are going to get advice from everywhere, all over, left, right, crazy. So the Rude Pundit’s not going to attempt to say much here because you’re not going to listen. It comes down to this: Stop being jerks, and, as Joe Biden said, get out of the way. Stop being jerks to women, to immigrants, to gays, to union members. Just…well, just fucking stop.

Now, you have to ask yourself, will they listen?

Uh, no.

And I’ll close with this little dose of skewed reality from a YouTube commenter:

You KNOW your party is pathetic when a friend asks: “Hey, did that guy who talked utter nonsense about rape get elected?”

And YOU have to reply: “Which one?”

Something I have in common with Mitt Romney

We both think the Brits are going to screw up the Olympics. Fortunately for me, I’m not running for president and going on a global tour to show the world what a great guy I am.

Mitt Romney struggled Friday to stem political fallout at home after insulting Britain’s handling of the London Games. The stumble at least briefly pitted the Republican presidential candidate against America’s strongest ally while limiting his ability to capitalize on more troubling U.S. economic news.

At the same time, President Barack Obama used his office to try to take advantage of the Republican’s missteps abroad, praising Britain for its Olympics preparations one day and sending money to Israel the next – just as Romney prepared to visit that nation.

The confluence of events – just as the world focused on London’s opening ceremonies – confounded Republicans and tickled Democrats. People in both parties wondered aloud how the former Massachusetts governor could have complicated the opening leg of a three-nation tour carefully crafted to highlight his diplomatic strengths and personal Olympic experience.

“You have to shake your head,” GOP strategist Karl Rove said Friday on Fox News.

Here’s London Mayor Boris Johnson, a conservative, giving Romney a hard time:

And here’s British PM David Cameron, a conservative, pissing on Romney’s Olympics:

Just to make sure you caught it:

“Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

There’s a buzz going around, where people are saying Romney really wants to lose the election, and Fox News wants him to lose as well. By losing, Romney gets to be the GOP guy to go to in the future, gets all kinds of business deals and still gets to spew out weird messages without having anyone in the “lame stream media” point out that what just came out of his mouth contradicts what came out of his mouth an hour ago. (Horses are my passion. I’m not going to watch my horse in the Olympics.)

And Fox gets to have Obama around for a whipping boy for four more years, a true ratings grabber, instead of having to tow the Romney line, a real snooze.

That’s all a little too 11-dimensional Machiavellian chess for me.

We’ll have to see whom he chooses as his running mate to determine how much he really wants to lose.

The welfare states: Chances are, they’re red

From Talking Points Memo:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he will not implement “Obamacare” provisions such as the Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchanges. The decision could mean that Texas ultimately loses an opportunity to cover half of its uninsured residents and relinquishes to the federal government more control over its health care system. …

Perry joins other GOP governors — including Florida’s Rick Scott, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker — in refusing to implement the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court upheld the law but said the federal government may not cut off a state’s Medicaid funds if they turn down the expansion. If a state refuses to set up the insurance market exchanges, the federal government does it for them.

You know this is all just a show, right? Perry, Walker, Scott and Haley all know that if they opt out, the rest of the country will pick up the cost. That’s what Red States do. They take an anti-federal government tone, then they suck up every federal dollar they can get. They are leeches.

This chart is “mostly true” according to PolitiFact. When it first came out in 2008, it was accurate. But the first obvious flaw is that New Mexico is listed as a Red State. It was in 2004. That changed in 2008.

But the overall message is clear: Too many Blue States are putting in more and getting back less because the Red States get more from the government than the tax dollars they contribute. So Red States really don’t want what they’re asking for, because the minute they get it, the Blue States will finally be able to stop bailing them out.

And by the way, what is happening in health care in places like South Carolina?

Shirley Johnson gets her medical care at Palmetto Health Baptist hospital’s emergency room in Columbia, South Carolina. She goes when her back gives out or when a benign tumor near her ribcage swells and throbs. She goes for headaches, heartburn, and spider bites, leaving the hospital a sheaf of unpaid bills.

“I owe so much money,” said Johnson. “The last time I went just for my toe. It cost $1,000.”

Johnson, as a 49-year-old with no dependents, isn’t eligible for Medicaid, the joint state-federal health program for the poor, which covers about 20 percent of the state’s residents. And in two years, when President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul allows the expansion of Medicaid to cover 17 million more Americans, she may still be left behind.

Governor Nikki Haley, a Tea Party-backed Republican, was among the first state leaders to oppose expanding Medicaid after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can’t make states do so. Caught between poverty and pressure to curb government’s power, South Carolina illustrates the forces at play in the nation’s capitals amid the broadest changes to the health care system since 1965.

How much does it cost to buy a Cheesehead?

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

The residents of 49 states had no stake in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election that incumbent Scott Walker won last week. As noted everywhere, the recall came about because Walker and the state GOP in their bid to emasculate the public service unions, went out of their way to offend everyone in the state who, you know, provided a public service: cops, firefighters, teachers.

The GOP convinced people that the problem wasn’t that they were being sold out for corporate interests, but that teachers were living high on the hog. (Meanwhile the state and the country are getting dumber by the minute, but that’s a different story.)

But c’mon. There are some blatant disparities in logic that are being shoved down out throats.

For example, consider this:

With more than a year’s head start, the campaign for successful incumbent Gov. Scott Walker spent more than $47 million, according to McCabe. The losing Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, spent $19 million.

But were seeing commentary that says money isn’t the only reason Barrett lost:

The biggest challenge to the Barrett campaign may have been the nature of the recall itself. On the exit poll, just 27 percent of the voters judged recall elections appropriate for any reason, but 60 percent said they are appropriate only for official misconduct and 10 percent said recalls are never appropriate. Walker won those in the middle category by more than a two-to-one margin.

And this:

Recalling a politician who didn’t abuse his office is crazy. Every day already feels like Election Day in America; if we’re going to start calling a vote every time a politician looks vulnerable or unveils policies that offend a particular interest group, every day actually will be Election Day in America.

Really?

The last two quotes come from people who are paid to cover the political process, and they don’t point out that back in 2003 California governor Gray Davis was just as unpopular as Scott Walker, but he lost his recall election to action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Why?

As it turned out, Schwarzenegger led all other candidates in the money race. He gave himself and borrowed $10 million and raised $11.9 million from outsiders. … [M]uch of Schwarzenegger’s money came from longtime Republican donors, many of whom will have interests in legislation and decisions made by the governor and his administration. He took money from farm interests, insurance companies, the financial services industry and manufacturers, all of which have lobbyists in Sacramento. Real estate and development interests, which are affected by state environmental regulations and various fees, accounted for 14 percent of the nearly 12 million he raised.

So Arnold Schwarzenneger unseats an unpopular Gray Davis, but Tom Barrett doesn’t unseat an unpopular Scott Walker. And the punditry says Barrett lost because unions were ineffective and because people don’t like recall elections.

It does not compute.

Scott Walker won because wealthy people gave him money. Arnold Schwarzenneger won because wealthy people gave him money. In both cases, the wealthy people were Republicans. Republicans put money in campaigns because it’s an investment. Their side wins and they get paid off. This is a basic tenet of politics. There’s a reason why the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling matters. Companies are allowed to make unlimited contributions to campaigns. Companies invest. They expect a payout for their investment.

It’s just business. Nothing personal.

And that’s what liberals continually fail to understand. They treat politics as “a cause.” They organize rallies and sign petitions and give concerts. We’ll all just gather around and sing a protest song and everything will be OK because our cause is a noble one. But our truly wealthy (and I mean Koch brothers wealthy, not movie star rich) liberals never sully themselves with funneling money to politics because “that’s beneath them.”

What’s the difference between wealthy and rich?

Here’s the point where someone on the right says the magic words George Soros.

OK, class. Take a piece of paper. On the left side, write a list of all the wealthy liberal political donors the media regularly tall us about. On the right side, write a list of all the wealthy conservative political donors the media regularly tell us about.

Zounds! My paper seems to have more ink on the right side!

And just throwing one more factoid out at you, since it’s an election year.

It is estimated that $2 billion is going to be spent in this year’s presidential election. Mitt Romney outpaced Barack Obama in fundraising in May. The challenger is raising more money than the incumbent.

It obvious where the money is coming from. So where will that money be going?

Not to people in need.

It goes to television and advertising. Television has a major stake in this election, not because there’s a desire to inform the public, but because candidates are putting millions of dollars into their corporate accounts. They have been bought.

But the question is, haven’t we all been bought, as well?

In this election circus, the sideshow is that the Walker win in Wisconsin is a blow unions and sign of public antipathy to recall elections.

But here’s a quick calculation: Scott Walker spent $47 million dollars and got 1,334,450 votes. Tom Barrett spent $19 million and got 1,162,785. So a vote for Walker comes to $35.22 and a vote for Barrett cost $16.34.

The conservative investment in Walker (and the Koch brothers contributed a nice chunk to Walker’s campaign) paid off. Do you think the results would have been the same if the money was equal?

A friend once said to me: “I always knew I could be bought. I didn’t realize it would be for so little.”

The Cheeseheads just named their price.

The Romneys and the ‘dignity of work’

The latest in the war on women from your GOP candidate for president, Mitt Romney:

“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.”

Now, contrast that with what happened when Hilary Rosen, the Democratic strategist last week said, “Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.”

Ann Romney,making her Twitter debut, responded, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” The blogosphere quickly picked up on the remarks, prompting senior Democratic officials, including Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, chief strategist David Axelrod, first lady Michelle Obama, and the president himself, to distance themselves from the comment and praise the work of motherhood.

Once again, the White House pisses me off for leaving its supporters out to dry. Yes, there is work in raising a family. We all know that. But a hell of a lot of Americans are immersed in the work of raising a family and at the same time working to bring a paycheck home every week so that family they’re raising can survive.

Hilary Rosen was right. Ann Romney never for a day had “to have the dignity of work” under the terms Mitt Romney wants the rest of us to follow. Because we are not worthy. Because our function in the world is to serve Mitt and Anne and all the little Mittsters driving their cars into the family’s garage elevator.

Don’t think for a second that Romney cares about us or our dignity. We are here to serve or be fired. Nothing more.