Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Al Franken, the better “carpetbagger”

July 1, 2009

The Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously upheld Al Franken’s election in last November’s U.S. Senate race. After eight months of what, in all fairness, were probably lawsuits that any candidate would have pursued, Norm Coleman can finally throw in the towel and return to…probably not Minnesota.

Anybody who’s ever bothered to listen to Coleman will probably find it strange that a Minnesota senator would have a thick Brooklyn accent. Indeed, Coleman was a carpetbagger, and in more ways than one. He is also the former Democratic mayor of St. Paul, who conveniently decided to become a Republican in 1996.

Coleman was about as bad as any Republican is expected to be. He was a lackey for the Bush administration from the moment the former president convinced him to run against then-Sen. Paul Wellstone. He only defected from the administration’s Iraq policy in 2007, when Bush’s approval ratings had hit rock-bottom and he was gearing up for a re-election battle. He supported Bush on stem-cell research, gay marriage, and even switched his position on the ANWR to appease party leadership. Perhaps most comical was his statement on marijuana, for which he was an advocate as a college student:

“The health problems that may occur from this highly addictive drug include short-term memory loss, anxiety, respiratory illness and a risk of lung cancer that far exceeds that of tobacco products.” Interestingly, no study has ever determined the last allegation, in fact, quite the opposite has been suggested by medical experts.

It was fitting that Coleman won election after the popular liberal icon died in a plane crash – it was simply the tip of the iceberg of a career defined by opportunism. Is Al Franken the most qualified Minnesotan to occupy that senate seat? Probably not, although Ben Stein seems to think so. However, Franken will nevertheless be a welcome change to the years of endless political calculation by Coleman.

Nevertheless, the media is overblowing the importance of the “60 seats” the Democrats now have after Arlen Specter’s defection and Franken’s election. There is no such thing as a filibuster-proof majority unless a party leader can rest assured that he has 60 votes on ANY given issue. This is certainly not the case if you look at the Senate caucus. As expected, there are a variety of competing domestic interests. They affect tax policy, agriculture, energy, the environment etc. Then there are Democrats who are simply too conservative – they come from conservative areas and feel politically obligated to defect from the party line on certain issues, especially relating to social policy – gun control, gay rights, etc. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, for instance, is easily more conservative than several Republicans (although the number of moderate Republicans is down to about two now).

Although there are a lot of votes that are practically party-line, the vast majority will include a few defections from each side.

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Wisconsin is better than South Carolina

June 24, 2009

We had one of the worst senators in U.S. history. But he wasn’t rewarded with re-election seven times.

Our governor may be unpopular, but at least we know where he is.

Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, said he had conducted an extra-marital affair with a woman in Argentina, ending a mystery over his week-long disappearance that had infuriated lawmakers and seemed to put his rising political career in jeopardy. He apologized for the affair and the deception surrounding his trip in a rambling, nationally televised news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Sanford, 49, admitted that he had been in Buenos Aires since Thursday, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail as his staff had told reporters.

South Carolina vs. Argentina…can you really blame him?

Mark Sanford is probably mourning his dead presidential aspirations while celebrating his guaranteed offer to be a political analyst on Fox News.

Paul Ryan leads bumbling critique of Obamacare

June 24, 2009

Every time you hear Paul Ryan speak you’re reminded that there is a very slim chance that the man is genuinely interested in pursuing whatever goal he is discussing, and that there’s a very good chance that he’s  interested pursuing higher office. The most clear symptom would be his tendency to make contradictory statements, which is practically required of any American politician who gets beyond regional success.

Here is Ryan back in May on Obama’s health care plan:

“The way I see it it’s kind of like my daughter’s lemonade stand competing against McDonald’s. It’s having the referee, the government, also be a player in the same game, and actuarially speaking, it’s almost impossible to make that a fair game.”

Silly president, trying to compete with private insurers, what a waste of time and money! Now here’s Ryan’s most recent statement on his website:

“With the public plan, it is literally impossible for the private sector to fairly compete against it. The private sector has to pay taxes. The private sector has to account for its employees and benefits. The private sector pays whatever rates it negotiates with providers. The public plan dictates payments lower than what the private sector can get, doesn’t pay taxes, and literally doesn’t have to account for its payroll and benefit costs. It is a stacked deck.”

Poor insurance companies, the government’s playing on steroids!

Jim Sensebrenner – a civil rights activist?

June 23, 2009

There is no man who “throws down” harder for far right causes than Rep. Jim Sensebrenner (R-WI). Former chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Sensenbrenner was the lead advocate against any reasonable reform on immigration.

Mr. Sensenbrenner is so loath to risk dealing with illegal immigrants that when his Cadillacs need cleaning, he prefers do-it-yourself car washes that require tokens. “They don’t have Montezuma’s picture on the front of them,” Mr. Sensenbrenner says of the tokens.

Love the plural on Cadillac. This man is a Republican through and through. Suburban, rich, and enormously proud of it.

So where in Sensenbrenner’s GOP-paved journey did he pick up the cause of southern blacks? He was the lead Republican sponsor of its renewal back in 1982, when even Ronald Reagan opposed it. And just today, he expressed outrage at the Supreme Court’s decision to side with a local governing unit in Texas, which did not believe it should be subject to the restrictions of the Voting Rights Act, which specifies that southern voting districts need federal approval before they make any changes in election law.

“There is an extensive record that shows that discrimination still continues, yet the Supreme Court has unfortunately taken away this important protection for minorities to have their votes fairly cast and fairly counted,” Sensebrenner said.

He even used the words “discrimination” and “minority” in his statement, both of which are anathema in Republican talking points.

NOTE: The Supreme Court decision did not overturn the Voting Rights Act, as evidenced by the liberal wing in the majority opinion. It simply ruled that this particular group in Texas could be “bailed out” and treated as, uh, non-southern.

Quote of the day

June 18, 2009

Via Political Wire:

“House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn’t know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it.”

Don’t worry, John Boehner will explain everything: