A Tea Party coup attempt

The Rude Pundit takes a look at the GOP shutdown of the government and says:

What the GOP has done, first through the ludicrous overuse of the filibuster and now through the shutdown and the threat of breaking the debt ceiling if they do not get a law overturned, is to use perfectly legal means to achieve their goals. It is, however, a contortion of the Constitution and the rules of Congress that’d make a circus performer say, “How the fuck did you get your head all the way up your own ass?” The ultimate goal of the effort is to undo the will of the people of the United States by forcing the President to accept the GOP agenda.

So let’s just call this what it is: it’s an attempted coup.

The Tea Party, having cowed the leadership of the Republican Party, are attempting to stage a creeping coup by using the Constitution against the nation. It’s so breathtakingly ballsy it’s almost admirable. … It’s even something the GOP laid out in a plan, the Williamsburg Accord. We just didn’t pay attention. The nation is currently being wrecked by a tyranny of the minority, and, unfortunately, it’s up to the cowards leading the Republican Party to stop it.

In the meantime, the lead coward in the Republican Party, tan-master and Speaker of the House John Boehner, says this:

“We’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” he said. “I told the president, there’s no way we’re going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”

The Tea Party doesn’t like a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the president of the United States and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. So it’s followers have decided to destroy America. That’s what a terrorist wants to do.

Presidents have said this before. We do not negotiate with terrorists.


The sequester: Blame the Republicans

The sequester — brought about by a Republican Party unwilling to raise taxes on the rich and willing to demand drastic cuts in social services — is officially underway.

Government services are being cut, government workers are facing furloughs and the still vulnerable national economy has run into a new landmine. This is important because it affects every one of us.

The Washington Post put together an elaborate graphic on the sequester’s impact on individual states, and make no mistake about it, your state is being hit.

The sequestration state impact chart is here.

In Kentucky alone, this means teachers are going to lose their jobs, the water and air are going to get dirtier, Head Start programs for early education are going to close, job-search assistance will be reduced, funding for Fort Campbell will be slashed, public health programs are going to be cut, victims of domestic violence won’t be able to get help, the elderly who get food assistance won’t be fed and children won’t be vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases that can be prevented.

I single out Kentucky because it gave the country Mitch McConnell, who is in charge of Senate Republicans, and Sen. Rand Paul, a Tea Bagger poster boy whose sole purpose is to run though the corridors of the U.S. Capitol with scissors in his hand yelling “I’m gonna cut you.”

And if you want to know why this is bad for the country, read this:

Deep reductions in domestic and defense spending are set to begin Friday in a process known as sequestration, which will make progress toward the tea party’s goal of shrinking the government. What unfolds over the following months will be a high-stakes test of whether significant cuts in spending will help or hurt the economy — and the Republican Party’s brand.

The cuts, worth $1.2 trillion over 10 years, are slated to become reality after a period when the tea party — a movement, represented by a group of Republicans elected in 2010, whose goal is to radically cut the government — has struggled to have a lasting impact on Washington. …

… But many Republicans say the sequester is the moment when the tea party can claim it has made its mark. Although Democratic and Republican leaders are pointing fingers, the tea party and its allies are happily accepting credit for the cuts.

“This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a tea party Republican elected in 2010.

The Tea Party — which is just a made up name for Republicans who don’t want to admit they supported George W. Bush (the Dumber) for eight years — wants this and is happy it is happening. The GOP — which collapsed the economy during the reign of the Dumber — now has its biggest victory of the Obama presidency.

When the economy gets hit (and the longer the cuts lasts, the harder it will get hit) here’s what’s going to happen. Republicans will blame Obama for the sequester.

In the words of Tea Bagger Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), “You lie!” This is the GOP’s fault. You’ll do yourself a favor by remembering that in the 2014 national elections.

Show me the money! (The Tea Bagger edition)

Apparently, there was big news in Washington Thursday:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a leading conservative voice in the Senate, will resign his seat in January to become the next president of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, a sudden move with far-reaching implications.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of South Carolina in the United States Senate for the past eight years, but now it’s time for me to pass the torch to someone else and take on a new role in the fight for America’s future,” DeMint said in a statement Thursday morning. …

The coverage implies that this is significant because it essentially removes the leading Tea Bagger from Congress and puts him in a think tank that will have a major influence on how conservative political policies are formed and carried out.

OK, that sounds ominous. DeMint is somewhat responsible for people like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio getting elected to the Senate, and he wants more Pauls and Rubios in Congress.

But forgive me if I think there’s something more basic here that merits closer attention. I checked out DeMint’s Senate financial disclosure form online:

demintThat’s from 2010. Notice something interesting here? The chart shows the average net worth of a U.S. senator. This chart includes DeMint’s net worth. You don’t see anything on DeMint in this chart, right? That’s because DeMint is poor by Senate standards. His financial record is reflected here, but it’s so close to zero, it doesn’t even register on the chart.

Want to see who the richest people in the Senate were in 2010?

richestThese people are America’s 1%. Some of them are America’s 0.1%. DeMint ranks 98th in terms of wealth in the Senate. In layman’s terms, he’s at the bottom of the 99% bucket. Buried in the Washington Post story linked to above is the fact that this is all about looking to cash in and join the 1%.

According to a Washington Post analysis of congressional wealth, DeMint is among the poorest members of Congress. His estimated wealth in 2010 was $40,501. He could stand to receive a significant bump in pay in his new position. Feulner’s total 2010 compensation package from Heritage was more than $1 million, tax records show.

Ed Feulner was the head of the Heritage Foundation. DeMint is taking his job. That’s not just “a significant bump.” DeMint hopes to enter Scrooge McDuck territory here.


But why would DeMint choose to do this now? Well, another Tea Bagger found a financial windfall this week, and I’ll bet this had DeMint ready to dive off his financial cliff:

From its formation in 2004, it always seemed more than a bit incongruous that the tea party political group FreedomWorks chose as its chairman one of the erstwhile top power players from the halls of Congress.

Nothing Dick Armey did in eight years changed that perception, including the way he exited Washington-based FreedomWorks — with an $8 million payout, according to the Associated Press, the kind of platinum parachute available only to the canniest and coziest of the capital’s inside players.

As one liberal on Twitter taunted those who would contribute to the purportedly grass-roots organization: “You should totally raid Junior’s college fund to donate money to @FreedomWorks because its leaders need new Jags.”

So Jim DeMint is leading the Tea Party from Congress, actually getting people elected (and contributing to the congressional stalemate by upping the quotient of crazy from the right) and gets no financial gain out of the deal. Meanwhile, Dick Armey, the guy who’s telling us that the Tea Party is a group of patriotic Americans concerned about the rise of socialism in America and aren’t being led by anyone, actually heads another group of fire-breathing Tea Baggers, quits on bad terms and gets $8 million when he walks away.

Don’t you think that must have really pissed DeMint off?

And here are the conditions Armey imposed in his departure:

As I resign from all board positions and duties, please see below a list of dispositions on outstanding issues: I expect to be fully compensated through the expiration date (December 31, 2012) of my current consulting contract with FreedomWorks. Henceforth FreedomWorks shall be prohibited from using my name, image, or signature in any way or for any purpose without my written permission or in the event of my death, without my heirs written permission.

Effective immediately I expect that Freedom Works shall remove my name, image, and signature from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter. I expect to receive via email at [redacted] by the close of business, December 4, 2012, all user names, passwords, security questions, and security answers for all accounts, web sites and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter, created in my name.

Effective immediately FreedomWorks is prohibited from using my booklet or any updated versions of my booklet “Hitting the Ground Running” without my written permission which I innovated while still in congress and trusted to Max Pappas to update for new member orientation. I request that FreedomWorks deliver the copy of my official congressional portrait to my home in Texas.

This has to be the greatest, “Screw you. Give me my money and make sure no one knows I had anything to do with you.”

Jim DeMint reads this and asks, “Why am I here in the Senate scrimping on pennies?”

It’s very simple. When something like this happens in Washington, and people say how shocking and unexpected it is, just follow the money, and everything makes perfect sense.

A bogus book burning

I’m not sure how I feel about this (from Crooks and Liars):

The debate pits education and community service on one side and rabid anti-tax rhetoric on the other. It’s unfortunate that we’ve come to a point where we have to trick people to support what instinctively should be a no brainer.

But Troy, Mich., keeps its library. The fake book burning campaign shows how much anger there is at the Tea Party. And it also shows that people have gotten to the point where they believe that the Tea Baggers will support the most insane ideas you could imagine.

I guess that’s a good thing.

Dick Lugar loses to Lord of the Rings villain

Dick Lugar, U.S. Senator from Indiana.

Richard Lugar, soon-to-be former U.S. senator from Indiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Richard Lugar, the five term Republican senator from Indiana, just lost his primary race against Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock.

Lugar is and was and always has been a conservative. He’s also one of the most knowledgeable people in the country on foreign affairs. Years ago, when George Bush the Smarter was running for president after serving under Saint Ronnie of the Morning in America, I was absolutely shocked when Papa Bush announced he had chosen as his running mate the senator from Indiana and it wasn’t Lugar. That was the stupidest move of the elder’s presidency, but years later, I realized that he was setting the stage for George the Dumber. After all, if the GOP was willing to place Dan “Deer in the Headlights” Quayle a heartbeat away from the presidency, what was to stop them from giving W the heartbeat? Lugar would have been a far better, more respected vice presidential selection. I will always believe that if George the Smarter had selected the senior senator from Indiana in the first place, he would have been a two-term president.

Hoosier Republicans are going to say they ousted Lugar because he really hasn’t lived in Indiana since he first went to the Senate 35 years ago. Somehow, that hadn’t bothered them for the past 34 years.

In reality, they ousted him because he wasn’t conservative enough. (You have to be kidding me.) But I think I figured out that when they voted for Mourdock, they actually thought they were voting for their idea of the perfect Tea Party conservative:

Mourdock … Mordor. It’s easy to be confused by the two names when you’re in the Tea Party.

Hoosier senator?

English: Official photo of Senator Dick Lugar ...

Image via Wikipedia

Dick Lugar has been a senator from Indiana for about 35 years. Back when President George Bush the Smarter announced he was picking a Hoosier senator as his running mate, the general consensus among people with brains was that of course he was picking the senior senator from Indiana, a well known expert on foreign policy and a strong moderate voice in the Republican Party.

Then we found out that Bush instead chose Dan “Mr. Potatoe Head” Quayle, who, when we look back on it now, was the omen for the shift to the dumbocracy in the GOP. Quayle was a lightweight, not very bright, but appealed to “the base.” Had anything happened to Bush and Quayle rose to the presidency, the results would have paralleled the presidency we experienced eight years after the Bush I presidency. Quayle, when you really think about it, was George Bush the Dumber, but the main difference was Quayle’s wife was the conservative equivalent of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Anyway, that’s history. Here’s current events (from TPM):

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) has just been thrown a curveball in his re-election race: The Marion County (Indianapolis) Election Board has ruled in a party-line 2-1 decision that both he and his wife are no longer eligible to vote where he is currently registered.

The Indianapolis Star reports that the decision, with two Democrats voting to disqualify and the Republican voting against, was in fact made at the recommendation of the board’s staff attorney. The attorney’s recommendation found that while Lugar is not disqualified from running for office (that matter was already addressed by the state Election Board, who dismissed a challenge to Lugar’s eligibility — more on that below), he has nevertheless abandoned his residency at the home he sold way back in 1977 but continued to vote from. …

Lugar’s opponents this year have attacked him over the fact that he lives mainly in northern Virginia, and has not owned a home in Indiana itself since 1977, the year after he was first elected to the Senate. His campaign has said that he is not wealthy enough to maintain two homes, and also wished to have his family with him in Washington.

At the same time, Lugar has continued to be registered to vote at the same address, of the home he moved out of in 1977.

I don’t follow Indiana politics very closely, even though the state is within walking distance of my home address (in my Sarah Palinesque moments, I can see Indiana from the roof of my house in Louisville). But Lugar sure seems ripe for a Tea Party takedown. A once considered moderate Republican moving more to the right to appeal to an ultraconservative base can probably be wiped out by a Tea Party crazy who only has to run ads saying Dick Lugar hasn’t lived in Indiana in 35 years.

This is pretty much campaign strategy 101 for anyone in a pretty consistent Republican state with enough money.

Though it is worth pointing out that the Hoosiers selected the Nazi, Socialist, Communist, Kenyan, Muslim usurper over Cranky McLoser in the last presidential election by a margin of less than 1%. (If you look at a map of the Indiana election results, you see Obama won the counties in the state’s Northwest, near Chicago, the area around Indianapolis, and the counties north of Louisville. Territorially, that’s not a big part of the state, but those are the main population centers, which means those areas had to go big for Obama while the vote was close in the rest of the state. It will be interesting to see which way Indiana goes in 2012.)

The GOP 2012 presidential race: Like they have a choice?

And as the search continues, The Onion (that satirical news outlet that the Republican base constantly confuses for reality) has this piece that could be fodder for future misguided rants:

WASHINGTON—Saying the now critically endangered species of politician is at high risk for complete extinction within the next 10 years, Beltway-area conservationists announced plans Monday for a new captive breeding program designed to save moderate Republicans.

According to members of the Initiative to Protect the Political Middle (IPPM), centrist Republicans, who once freely roamed the nation calling for both economic deregulation and a return to Reagan-era tax rates on the wealthy, are in dire need of protection, having lost large portions of their natural terrain to the highly territorial Evangelical and Tea Party breeds.

“Our new program is designed to isolate the few remaining specimens of moderate Republicans, mate them in captivity, and then safely release these rare and precious creatures back into the electorate,” said IPPM’s Cynthia Rollins, who traces the decline of the species to changes in the political climate and rampant, predatory fanaticism. “Within our safe, enclosed habitats, these middle-of-the-road Republican Party members can freely support increased funding for public education and even gay rights without being threatened by the far-right subgenus.”

Selective breeding. Sound like one of those Democratic plots to make us all believe in evolution.