“I told you so” moments are pretty sweet — and thanks to Sarah Palin, now I’ve got one. Ten months to the day after her speech at the Republican National Convention, I would like for this woman to eat her words:
I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.
Back then, she got a pass on the whole “for that reason alone” thing, mostly because she hadn’t done anything yet. John McCain had stunned the political establishment by naming her as his VP on the Friday morning after the DNC, and by Saturday afternoon the chattering classes were further rocked by the revelations of her daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. News started to bubble up over the next few days as the press tried to find out who this newly-announced VP nominee actually was, but certainly not with any help from the nominee herself: By Wednesday, Sept. 3rd, when Palin strode to center stage at the Republican National Convention, flanked by her sparkling extended American famiy, she still had not made herself available for any interviews or presented herself to be vetted in any way, shape or form.
Back then we didn’t know that John McCain hadn’t vetted her, either. We didn’t know about Troopergate. We didn’t know that she was completely unfamiliar with the Bush Doctrine, or the Supreme Court, newspapers. We didn’t know where she got her snazzy new wardrobe, nor how much it cost, nor who paid.
Back then we hadn’t seen Palin Meet The Press or Face The Nation, but we assumed she would, eventually. (She didn’t.) Back then we assumed she’d be interviewed by all the nightly news anchors, and cablers, in their role as Fourth Estate, kicking the tires on candidates on behalf of the voting American people. She made it to the evening news, eventually, after the McCain campaign tried to stage-manage her into the most limited access possible, in the hopes that she’d somehow avoid making huge gaffes. (She didn’t.) She finally made it to NBC Nightly News over a month and a half after her RNC speech, weakly promising to release her medical records really, really soon. (She didn’t.) Did she promise at one point to have a nice chatty sit-down with Sean Hannity? Oh, well, that she did.
It was before she was expertly skewered by SNL, before people learned what aerial wolf hunting was, and before she tried to speak during John McCain’s concession moment. It was before the turkey-video fiasco (which effectively turned me vegetarian); before all the behind-the-scenes articles came out; before she casually posed in spandex with her arm resting even more casually on an American flag.
It was ten months ago to this day. That night, she swaggered onstage in front of the friendliest crowd ever, warmed up by Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee, and blasted the media for daring to want to know who she was, what she’d done and what she stood for. Well, now we know. And it turns out that ten months ago, she was full of it.So, Sarah Palin, you owe the media an apology. And ten months later, permit me to say: I told you so.
“When you have a majority of Americans, seventy-something percent, saying we shouldn’t torture, then I’m not sure it helps for the Vice President to go out and continue to espouse that position,” he said. “But look, he’s free to talk. He’s a former Vice President of the United States. I just don’t see where it helps.”
And then he got acerbic: Cheney, he says, “believes that waterboarding doesn’t fall under the Geneva Conventions and that it’s not a form of torture. But you know, it goes back to the Spanish Inquisition.”
Originally posted at The Atlantic
The political picture can hardly look better for Republicans right now. After all, everything that ever happens is good for Republicans, and since more stuff keeps happening, this must be the best political position Republicans have ever experienced. However, if they want to speed up the process of regaining political power a little bit, here are eight sure-fire ideas:
- Raise the voting age to 35: According to exit polls, Barack Obama and John McCain tied among voters who were 35 and over. So, if they simply raise the voting age, they will immediately become competitive. That way, they won’t be foiled by those meddling kids anymore.
- Give everyone $50,000: According to the same exit polls, Barack Obama and John McCain were even among voters making more than $50,000 a year. So, if they simply gave away enough money so that everyone had at least $50K, then they would instantly become competitive again. Given that about 50,000,000 voters made less than $50K in 2008, this plan would cost, at most, only $2.5 trillion.
- Give everyone a gun: If handing out $50K to everyone is either too expensive or simply distasteful to Republicans, they could also hand out a gun to everyone in the United States. This would only cost a few billion dollars, and John McCain won gun-owners by 25%.
- Declare everyone to be legally married: John McCain also won the married vote. So, if Republicans simply declared that everyone was married (except homosexuals, of course), then they would be back in business. The details on exactly to whom everyone would become married can be worked out later. Maybe they could use a lottery system.
- Spend every hour of every day freaking everyone out about terrorism: John McCain narrowly won voters who were either “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about another terrorist attack on the United States. Also, when voters were asked about their top issue, McCain only won the 9% of voters who cited “terrorism.” So, Republicans should stop campaigning altogether, and just spend all of their money funding Stephen Colbert’s Doom Bunker.
- Make church attendance mandatory: John McCain also comfortably defeated Barack Obama among people who attend church once a month or more. As such, it seems that Republicans would have done well to make attending church at least once a month mandatory. (And yes, I mean “church” attendance. If people all start going to mosques, synagogues, or some other heretical place of worship, the political situation will actually deteriorate for Republicans.)
- Give everyone free health care: If all else fails, Republicans should simply give everyone free, high-quality health care. After all, John McCain handily won among voters who are unconcerned about health care costs. So, the obvious path back to power for Republicans is to make sure that no one is worried about health care costs.
- All of the above: To really hammer home their political advantage, Republicans could give everyone $50K, a gun, free health care, make church attendance mandatory, force everyone to get married, raise the voting age to 35, and require all media outlets to only and ever talk about threats of terrorist attacks. There is no way anything bad could ever come from disenfranchising young people, freaking them out, giving them all lots of money, guns and doctors, and then forcing them to do stuff they don’t enjoy.
Other ideas that come to mind include red-state secession, repealing universal suffrage (McCain handily won white men, after all), converting everyone to Protestantism (this might be done via a Supreme Court ruling soon anyway), and abolishing all cities (McCain would have won if there were no cities). What ideas did I miss?
Dear Republican Leaders: The Republican Party has become the party dedicated to sabotaging the American future. Check out the sermon I just delivered about the Republican Party on CNN when being interviewed by D.L. Hughley — and/or read on.
You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now you have the nerve to criticize the “architect” America just hired — President Obama — to rebuild from the ashes. You do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess you created.
I used to be one of you. As recently as 2000 I worked to get Senator McCain elected in that year’s primary. (McCain and Gen. Tommy Franks wrote glowing endorsements regarding my book about military service, AWOL.). I have a file of handwritten thank you notes from Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I and II. In the 1970s and early 80s I hung out with Jack Kemp and bought into his “supply side” myth and even wrote a book he endorsed pushing his ideas.) There’s more, but take it from me; my parents (evangelical leaders Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and I were about as tight with — and useful to — the Republican Party as anyone. We played a big part creating the Religious Right.
In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme I explore in my book Crazy For God). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America’s “moral decline.” Soon after McCain lost in 2000 I re-registered as an independent in disgust with W. Bush. But I still respected many Republicans. Not today.
How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. Today no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today’s wholly negative Republican Party. And can you picture the gentlemanly and always polite Ronald Reagan, endorsing a radio hate-jock slob who crudely mocked a man with Parkinson’s and who now says he wants an American president to fail?!
With people like Limbaugh as the loudmouth image of the Republican Party — you need no enemies. But something far more serious has happened than an image problem: the Republican Party has become the party of obstruction at just the time when all Americans should be pulling together for the good of our country. Instead, Republicans are today’s fifth column sabotaging American renewal.
President Obama has been in office barely 45 days and the Republican Party has the nerve to blame him for the economic and military cataclysm he inherited. I say economic and military cataclysm because without the needless war in Iraq you all backed we would not be in the economic mess we’re in today. If that money had been spent here at home on renovating our infrastructure, taking us toward a green economy, putting our health-care system in order we’d be a very different situation.
As the father of a Marine who served in George W. Bush’s misbegotten wars let me say this: if President Obama’s strategy to repair our economy, infrastructure and healthcare fails that will put our troops at far greater risk because the world will become a far more dangerous place. So for all you flag-waving Republicans who are trying to undermine the President at home — if you succeed more of our troops will be killed abroad.
When your new leader Rush Limbaugh calls for President Obama to fail he’s calling for more flag-draped coffins. Limbaugh is the new “Hanoi Jane.”
For the party that created our crisis’s of misbegotten war, mismanaged economy, the lack of regulation of our banking industry, handing our country to rich crooks… to obstruct the one person who is trying to repair the damage is obscene.
Just imagine where America would be today if the 14 to 20 million voters — “the rube base” who slavishly follow the likes of Limbaugh — had not voted as a block year after year thus empowering the Republican fiasco. We would have a regulated banking industry and would have avoided our current financial crisis; some 4000 of our killed military men and women would be alive; over to 35,000 wounded Americans would be whole; we would have been leaders in the environmental movement; we would be in the middle of a green technology boom fueling a huge expansion of our economy and stopping our dependence on foreign oil, and our health-care system would be reformed.
After Obama was elected, you Republican leaders had a unique last chance to send a patriotic message of unity to the world — and to all Americans. You could have backed our president’s economic recovery plan. Since we all know that half of our problem is one of lost confidence and perception, nothing would have done more to calm the markets and project resolve and confidence than if you had been big enough to take Obama’s offered hand and had work with him — even if you disagreed ideologically. You had the chance to put our country first. You utterly failed to rise to the occasion.
The worsening economic situation is your fault and your fault alone. The Republicans created this mess through 8 years of backing the worst president in our history and now, because you put partisan ideology ahead of the good of our country, you have blown your last chance to redeem yourselves. You deserve the banishment to the political wilderness that awaits all traitors.
DEPARTMENT OF POTS AND KETTLES…. For all the recent Republican talk about wasteful spending and unnecessary earmarks, the GOP is more than pulling its own weight when it comes to the very practice they claim to hate.
Drinking water and wastewater projects, mosquito-trapping research and beaver management and control, are just a few of the pet priorities — known as earmarks, that catapulted Senator Thad Cochran, Republican of Mississippi, to the top of the charts for earmarks in the $410 omnibus spending bill, according to a spreadsheet released on Monday by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington advocacy group.
Angry debate is expected throughout this week in Congress over the roughly 9,000 earmarks in the 2009 spending bill that critics complain represent the worst kind of pork barrel spending. And the signal by the White House that President Obama will sign the bill, despite his own campaign promises to end earmarks, has only fueled the fury, particularly among some Republicans, like Senator John McCain of Arizona.
But while Mr. McCain, a former nominee for president, has been among the loudest critics of the earmarks in the bill, the spreadsheet released by Taxpayers for Common Sense shows that six Republican senators are among the top 10 earmarkers, with Mr. Cochran, the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee in the lead. [emphasis added]
Given the makeup of the Senate, I’d expect to see four of the top 10 as Republicans, since the GOP caucus is 41% of the overall body. That six of the top 10 earmarks are Republicans suggests the minority party is especially ambitious when it comes to these spending measures. (Indeed, “red” states do surprisingly well in the omnibus bill.)
It’s one of the reasons I find Republican hyperventilating over the earmarks more than a little disingenuous. McCain was ranting on the floor yesterday, blaming President Obama for earmarks McCain’s fellow senators stuffed into the bill. Perhaps, before McCain castigates the White House, he can spend some time talking to his own Republican colleagues about their notion of fiscal responsibility.
He can start with his fellow Arizonan, Sen. Jon Kyl (R). It was Kyl who complained bitterly about spending in the stimulus package, which he described as “billions of dollars of earmarks and pork.” It’s the same Kyl who requested $118 million in earmarks in the omnibus bill.
Asked about the hypocrisy, Kyl told Fox News over the weekend, “I would suggest that they’re not earmarks under the definition, because we have a specific definition.”
Of course he does. How convenient.
Now it’s fair to say that i am a left leaning individual, and as insane as i think the current selection of Republicans are, their lack of political strength is just as much of a concern for the health of a democracy. A healthy democracy needs a credible, honest, loyal opposition to keep some sort of balance. I think that Obama and Democrats are what this country really does need right now, and would be scared witless if McCain had got in, but as we know, absolute power….
Americans identifying themselves as Democrats outnumber those who say they are Republicans by 10 percentage points, the largest gap in party identification in 24 years.
The gap has widened significantly since President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004, when it was a mere 3 percentage points. But by the time Mr. Bush left office in January, less than a quarter of Americans approved of his performance.
These days, 38 percent of Americans say they are Democrats, 28 percent call themselves Republicans, and another 29 percent identify as independents, according to an average of national polls conducted last year by The New York Times and CBS News.
Whether President Obama is able expand that gap to favor his party will probably depend mostly on Americans under the age of 30 who have yet to form strong partisan ties.
Ronald Reagan’s presidency underscores the power of a popular incumbent to win over young voters. When he was elected in 1980, only 20 percent of young Americans identified as Republicans. By 1989, the number had grown to 37 percent, a significant factor in the expansion of the Republican Party during those years.
The year-by-year trends are based on party identifications from all national surveys conducted by The New York Times and CBS News and averaged by year.
As someone on HP commented….
Republicans obviously don’t see it yet, but with Der Fuhrer Flush Rimbowl, Winkie McYupyup Palin, Self-hater Piyush Jindal, and Joe The Unlicensed Tax Dodging Plumber as the front-and-center faces of their party, it’s going to get much, much worse for them before it gets better.
Dear President Obama: I know that from time to time you read Huffington Post because you’ve written for it. As a Huffington Post reader you’ll know that no one on this web site has more faithfully supported your candidacy and now your presidency than me. As a former lifelong Republican, son of a co-founder of the Religious Right; my late evangelical leader father, Francis Schaeffer, I’m in a unique position to tell you a few things about the Republicans from inside perspective. (As you know I left that movement in the mid 1980s.)
The lack of cooperation you’re getting from the Republican Party will continue. You were right to indulge in a little bit of tokenism when you had to Pastor Rick Warren pray and your inauguration. But if you think that the Republicans in Congress and the Senate are going to do more than their utmost to obstruct everything you are and what you stand for you’re dreaming.
As someone who appeared numerous times on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson, as someone for whom Jerry Falwell used to send his private jet to bring me to speak at his college, as an author who had James Dobson giveaway 150,000 copies of my one of my fundamentalist books allow me to explain something: the Republican Party is controlled by two ideological groups. First, is the Religious Right. Second, are the neoconservatives. Both groups share one thing in common: they are driven by fear and paranoia. Between them there is no Republican “center” for you to appeal to, just two versions of hate-filled extremes.
The Religious Right supply the kind of people who at McCain and Palin rallies were yelling things such as “kill him” about you. That’s the constituency to which your hand is extended when looking for compromise on your financial bailout bill.
There’s only one thing that makes sense for you now. Mr. President, you need to forget a bipartisan approach and get on with the business of governing by winning each battle. You will never be able to work with the Republicans because they hate you. Believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the norm not the exception. James Dobson and the rest are praying for you to fail. The neoconservatives are gnashing their teeth and waiting for you to “sell out Israel” or “show weakness” in Afghanistan, whatever, so they can declare you a traitor.
The problem is that when you deal with the Republican Party you’re talking to the polished characters in Washington. I wish you could see the hate e-mail’s that I have received over the last two years because I supported you, letters calling for God to kill me, telling me that I hate God because I supported you and that I am “an abortionist” and worse a “fag lover” because I’ve written that I believe that you will be a great president.
What those senators and congressmen are telling you is not what their rabid core constituents are telling them. Like Rush Limbaugh they want you to fail. Their loyalty is to a fundamentalist Christian ideology on the one hand and American exceptionalism of perpetual warfare and hatred and fear of the “other” on the other hand. Between the neoconservatives and evangelical Religious Right Republicans you have no friends.
The good news is that most Americans support you. And if you will just get in the face of the Republican Party and call their bluff you’ll be surprised how many individual ordinary American Republicans will support you, not to mention the rest of us. America is sick of the Republicans.
The Democratic Party won for a reason: the Republicans failed and have taken us all down with them! You’re doing your presidency and America no favor by extending an open hand to the perpetually knotted fist of what has become the embittered lunatic fringe of our country. They would rather go down in flames than “compromise” their ideology.
As you showed us again at your press conference of Feb 9, you are a brilliant, articulate and decent man. Your Republican opponents are not decent people but ideologues bent on destroying you. To quote the biblical adage sir, don’t cast your pearls before swine.
McCain campaigned on rural broadband as a way to stimulate the entire American economy. In fact it was a centerpiece of one of his economic plans: “Broadband access needs to be a top priority.”
But now that he’s senator, he’s against it.
MCCAIN: There’s got to be some kind of litmus as to whether it’ll really stimulate the economy and whether it will in the short-term. Some of the stimulus in this package is excellent; some of it, frankly, has nothing to do — some of the projects and others that you just mentioned, $6 billion for broadband and internet access. That will take years.
In fact, he brought it up on FOX news last week as being the epitome of wasteful and unnecessary spending, but during the election, he campaigned for it. And he once introduced legislation supporting it.
It strikes me as a classic bit of counter-cyclical spending.
As for McCain? We learned what he is in the last campaign: an appalling fraud.
John McCain ran on tax cuts to save us and he lost. Now he’s telling his supporters that he’s going to vote NO on the stimulus plan and wants them to sign a petition. You lost the election badly. Democrats have solid majorities everywhere you look, but not when it comes to the media that is supposed to inform us and not play “spin wars’ with the country.
Finally President Obama is telling it like it is:
In the past few days, I’ve heard criticisms that this [stimulus] plan is somehow wanting, and these criticisms echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place, the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care, that we can somehow deal with this in a piecemeal fashion and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.I reject those theories. And so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change