Some new guy elected RNC Chairman


MSNBO:

Reince Priebus elected new RNC chairman

The new chairman of the Republican National Committee is Reince Priebus.

Priebus won the post after seven rounds of voting at the RNC’s winter meeting, besting four other candidates – including outgoing chairman Michael Steele.

Okay, campers! Time for a pop quiz:

Who the fuck is this guy?

(this is an open thread)


Beating a dead horse

An example of violent conservative imagery

 


Gallup:

Most Doubt Political Rhetoric a Major Factor in Ariz. Shootings

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds Americans dubious that the heated language used in politics today was a major factor that influenced the alleged gunman in last week’s shootings in Tucson, Ariz. Twenty percent say such rhetoric was a major factor in the shootings, while 22% cite it as a minor factor; 42% say it was not a factor at all. Democrats are more likely than independents or Republicans to believe political debate played a role.

[...]

The poll was conducted Jan. 11, three days after Jared Loughner allegedly shot and killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., and seriously injured numerous others including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Some of the early news coverage of the shootings discussed whether the increasingly inflammatory language used in political debate today could have motivated the shooter to attack the Democratic member of Congress. That theory was put forth by the sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., who argued that conservative thought leaders like Sarah Palin use language that may encourage their supporters to commit acts of violence against their opponents.

Most Americans reject that theory, with 53% agreeing that commentators who allege conservative rhetoric was responsible were mostly attempting to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad. Roughly one in three, 35%, say the commentators were making a legitimate point about how dangerous the language used by conservatives can be.

If the connection between violent rhetoric and violence is so obvious, why aren’t more people blaming Sarah Palin and other conservative leaders for what happened in Arizona?

One reason is the lack of a causal connection. Regardless of what one might think of right wing rhetoric, there is no evidence that Jared Loughner was familiar with it, let alone influenced by it.

But another reason might be that for at least fifty years we have been hearing that the high rates of violence in this country are caused by violent cartoons, television shows, Rock and Roll, Hip-Hop/Rap and video games.

Something Not Unlike Research

There are well-conducted studies — notably by the social psychologist Brad Bushman and his colleagues — that show that, for example, exposing a child to a violent videogame, leads to an increased likelihood of aggressive behaviors. Craig Anderson, Bushman, and their colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of this research and concluded that

The evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.

Which suggests that if we had a large increase in the consumption of violent videogames, we’d see a large increase in violence, right? However, we don’t seem to see this. The Figure to the right (below) plots the rates of assaults in the US as reported in the Bureau of Justice Statistics Victimization Survey. When the survey started, there were no such things as violent videogames. But the rates of assaults have steadily decreased. Just for fun, I put in the date when the first version of Grand Theft Auto was released. If anything, the decline in assaults seems to have accelerated during the violent videogame era.



Sometimes you hear that “correlation is not causation.” But we have here is a “negative correlation.” The fact is that despite the rhetoric coming from the right wing in this country political violence is pretty rare in the United States. And despite all the violent imagery in our culture, murder and other violent crimes have been declining since 1993.

This is not to say that violent political rhetoric is a good thing or even harmless. But the problem in this most recent case is that the media and the progressive blogosphere jumped the gun and went off half-cocked. They assumed that they had found a smoking gun but when the evidence began to emerge it revealed that the shooting in Tucson was not a political assassination attempt but something that is unfortunately far more common – a mentally ill spree killer.

As a result, continuing to focus on the issue of violent political rhetoric comes across to the public as trying to politicize a tragedy.

It’s time to stop beating a dead horse.



Football vs. Politics


I was ruminating on some of the comments we typically get when we don’t join in the latest Palinpalooza Wankfestivus. Then a football analogy occurred to me.

Both football and politics are popular spectator sports. The actual players make lots of money and have little in common with their loyal fans. They both use violent imagery, but football has far more actual violence.

Both football and politics are team sports, but football fans are allowed to be objective without having their loyalty questioned. If you say that the other team’s quarterback is a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame nobody accuses you of wanting the other team to win.

Now let’s say the other team has a great quarterback and two great wide receivers but no running game. But your team decides to commit to stopping the run, daring their quarterback to throw the ball. So you scream at your team’s coach, “Are you insane? You’re playing to their strength!

Do you think the other fans would consider you a traitor? Not likely.

Not only that, but if the instant replay clearly shows that the other team’s wide receiver caught the ball with both feet in bounds, nobody expects you to insist otherwise. When your team’s players screw up you’re allowed to curse and boo them.

Politics is different. You are expected to insist that your team’s players and strategies are better than the other team’s, whether they really are or not. You are required to claim the other team’s players are all talentless losers. You’re also obligated to protest every call that goes against your team, no matter what really happened. And you never, ever admit that your team deserved to lose.

Worst of all, you’re supposed to keep buying season tickets even if your team keeps losing, year after year.


Still not getting it


Paul Krugman:

Aha. I almost forgot to mention this, but one of the surprises of last night is that Harry Reid, supposedly a completely hopeless case, is still Senator.

How did that happen? Reid did something Democrats almost never do: instead of apologizing for his party, he ran against a person with a habit of making crazy statements by hitting hard, again and again, with ads calling her a crazy person. It was very rude and uncivil. And it worked.

Good thing for Dirty Harry his opponent was crazy. If Angle had been your garden-variety wingnut he’d be looking for work as a lobbyist right now.

Here’s a better strategery:

1. Accomplish something worthwhile for the country

2. Run on it.

My plan works no matter who your opponent is.

Just a thought.



Aftermath


This post is quite possibly the best thing Anglachel has ever written:

The course for the next generation was set back in 2008, when the Stevensonian elite subverted their own party’s electoral process (Be a Democrat for a Day!) so that they could feel morally superior voting for a black man. Obama himself has said quite clearly that no one would bother to vote for him if he was white. This says much of his political calculation, but even more of his supporters. They were truly the Joshua Generation, unwilling to do more than their political predecessors and envious that they could not be cultural heroes like the economic giants of FDR’s era or the moral giants of MLK’s. And, having aimed so low and compromised so much so they could pretend to stand up to the “racists”, they now get to live with that legacy. Unfortunately, so do the rest of us.

That was a world historic moment, one of the “Moments of Madness” in which a political sea change can occur, and it was thrown away on an empty gesture. The electoral season of today was determined by the outcomes of 2008. The sight today of the puerile Tea Party name-calling the infantile Obamacans over an election that, regardless of the winner, will not alter the socio-economic conditions of our new Gilded Age, is, for me, grimly amusing. You would think, given the hysteria and hoohaw, the marches on Washington (all mocking shadows of marches past), that something monumental was being decided today. The contest today is bubbles on the horse piss.


While the media keeps trying to distract us (Look over there! It’s Sarah Palin!) the Malefactors of Great Wealth are engaged in a orgy of loot and pillage.

Neither political party seems to have the slightest interest in stopping them. Some Democrats and Republicans talk a good game about cleaning up our political process, but when push comes to shove they are paper tigers.

The blogosphere once had the potential to be a place where non-elites could evade the media filters and engage in grassroots organizing, but now the loudest voices have been co-opted by the MOGW.

Real change will not come to this country because of a political messiah, regardless of whether that person is Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, or some new leader of a cult of personality. The elites aren’t gonna give it to us either.

This is a democracy, goddammit. Change will come when “we the people” get our shit together and make it happen. As long as the rest of us keep fighting amongst ourselves the rich will just keep getting richer at our expense.

We sure as hell ain’t gonna get nowhere voting for the lesser of two evils.



My Voting Strategy – Hard Liquor


Life was so much easier when I was a yellow-dog Democrat. I could just check off all the names with a “D” next to them and head on down to the ballot propositions.

But I’m not a yellow-dog anymore. To quote one of our commenters here at TC, “I rode that damn donkey for over twenty years and then the fucker turned around and bit me in the ass.”

I live in Big Smoggy where politics is a Franz Kafka novel adapted for the screen by Stanley Kubrick. We have four major cities and at least five regional identities (SoCal, SF Bay Area, Central Valley, Mojave, and NorCal.) Not to mention a bunch of laws that guarantee gridlock in Sacramento.

The governor’s job is too important to be used for a billionaire’s ego trip. I’m gonna have to hold my nose and vote for Jerry Brown, warts and all. Please don’t flame me. Believe me, I’m not happy about it either.

I can feel good about my next pick – Gavin Newsom for Lt. Governor. The same goes for Kamala Harris for the Attorney General job.

Is it just me or does “Carly Fiorina” look like “California” spelled by a dyslexic? Anyway, I’m not voting for her. I’m not voting for Barbara Boxer either. I may go Green or maybe I’ll write in my good friend Krusty. Still trying to decide which one.

As I’ve said before I have a Blue Dog DINOcrat as my Representative. I’m not voting for him or the real Republican who is running against him. I’m writing in Ronald McDonald again. If Ronald wins he owes me free french fries for life.

I’m going with Democrats Anna Caballero and Cathleen Galgiani for the state senate and state assembly. I’m voting HELL YES on Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative.

That’s it for my votes. There’s some other stuff on the ballot but I’m not gonna go into it since most of you will be even less interested in it than I am right now.

As far as across the rest of the 56 states, it’s pretty much accepted that the Democrats are gonna lose on Tuesday, the only question is how bad. The House is gone, which means no more “Speaker Pelosi.”

I can’t say I’m sad to see her go. Nancy Pelosi is proof that women can be just as corrupt as men. She lost my support when she declared that “impeachment is off the table.”

I hope the Democrats hold on to the Senate. Not that it’s gonna make a big difference in the laws that get passed during the next two years, but I don’t want Obama and the Democrats to be able to say it was all the Republicans fault.

I’ll be rooting for Sharron Angle because Dirty Harry Reid has got to go. She’s the lesser of two evils. I want to see Christine O’Donnell pull out a victory just to watch all the misogynist fauxgressive heads explode.

I hope Sestak wins in Pennsylvania. He’s a good Joe, and he beat that party-hopping piece of shit Arlen Specter. I want to see Frank Caprio win in Rhode Island and anybody but Charlie Crist win in Florida. Fuck that double-dealing DINOcrat in the White House.

I want to see Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski out of principle. She lost fair and square in the primary and is just trying to hang on to power. It was wrong when Joe Lieberman did it too. But either way, the winner will be voting against us on everything that really counts.

I don’t buy this “ZOMG, we’re all gonna die if the Tea Party wins!” meme that’s going around. The nation survived George Bush, and it will survive this too.

I dare Obama and the DINOcrats to touch Social Security. It’s still the third rail of American politics. Maybe if they do that will finally trigger the voter uprising we need to clean out that cesspool on the Potomac.

Liberals are getting coal in their stockings this Christmas. In sports they would say we’re in a rebuilding phase. We need to regroup and start getting prepared for future elections. Barring a miracle 2012 is already lost for us. We need to focus on 2014 and 2016, when people will have again grown tired of the Republicans.

2008 should have been a sea change in American politics. Movement conservatism was on the ropes, politically discredited. We had our best chance since 1932 to move the country in a different direction. Instead we got more of same.

That is why I will not ever forget what happened two years ago. That’s why I won’t stop talking about it either.


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.



Gawker still doesn’t get it


As I’m sure you all know by now, the website Gawker published the salacious details of an alleged no-sex one night stand some guy claimed to have had with Christine O’Donnell. This was too much even for Andy Sullivan, and NOW as well as most feminist bloggers condemned the article.

So did Gawker apologize? Not hardly.

What’s missing from most of the criticism is this essential bit of context: Christine O’Donnell is seeking federal office based in part on her self-generated, and carefully tended, image as a sexually chaste woman. She lies about who she is; she tells that lie in service of an attempt to impose her private sexual values on her fellow citizens; and she’s running for Senate. We thought information documenting that lie—that O’Donnell does not live a chaste life as she defines the word, and in fact hops into bed, naked and drunk, with men that she’s just met—was of interest to our readers.

Much of the criticism leveled against us is based on the premise that we think hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women whenever one wants is “slutty,” and that therefore our publication of Anonymous’ story was intended to diminish O’Donnell on those terms. Any reader of this site ought to rather quickly gather that we are in fact avid supporters of hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women that one has just met.

Our problem with O’Donnell—and the reason that the information we published about her is relevant—is that she has repeatedly described herself and her beliefs in terms that suggest that there is something wrong with hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with a man or woman whom one has just met. So that fact that she behaves that way, while publicly condemning similar behavior, in the context of an attempt to win a seat in the United States Senate, is a story we thought people might like to know about. We also thought it would get us lots of clicks and money and attention. But we thought it would get us clicks and money and attention because it was exposing her lies.

Well then, since “exposing lies” justifies their publishing the lurid allegations about O’Donnell’s alleged sexual history, I guess candidates no longer have any right to privacy whatsoever. Everything is fair game.

Jeebus, can you imagine the can of worms that would be? But somehow I doubt we’ll ever see an unmarried male candidate slut-shamed for what was (even if true) legal and consensual sexual behavior.

Whoever this putz Dustin Dominiak is, I hope he never gets laid again in his entire life. It would serve him right.

One last note: Before anyone complains about me posting another defense of a evil wingnut racist homophobe anti-abortion Tea Partier, I ain’t happy about it either.

If these fucking so-called progressives would stop being sexist assholes, I wouldn’t have to defend people like Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin.

I don’t care if the Republicans do it too or did it first.

IT’S WRONG.



My Voting Strategy: How many times do we have to have this conversation?

Yesterday my room mate and I met our new neighbor across the hall. She is an extremely kind woman whose cat had just died, and we baked her cookies to extend our condolences. She invited us in for hot chocolate and gave us some of her cats old toys, and we had a very pleasant visit. She was a solid white lady, probably in her seventies and recently widowed. We had a smoke together and she told me about her family back in Chicago. My grandma just died recently and hanging around with her lifted my spirits a great deal.

She also had a book by Bill O’Reilly on her coffee table. Fox news was blaring in plain site on her TV, there was a magnet on her refrigerator that said “God Loves You,” and she had a book about the rapture in her shelf. Yup, white older female, Christian and well within the Tea Party Demographic. I tried for a few seconds to give a shit, and found that I couldn’t.

See, I get people like Beverly-that is her name. I grew up around her. Salt of the Earth folk. Well in my case, salt of the earth stoners, alcoholics and nutcases but I am still proud god dammit. My father’s family came from a small train station town called Urichsville, Ohio. My grandpa beat pipes with hammers and went fishin’ out on Lake Tappan and my dad learned how to play the guitar on a rock overhang next to the lake. He had three brothers and to this day my uncles are still guitar strummin’ hillbilly white trash and don’t you forget it.  They even have a band to prove it. It’s  called “Bad Idea,” because when they formed it my dad said, “This is a bad idea.” They sing a variety of songs but this is their favorite tune to jam to:

 

My dad left Urichsville to be an accountant and went to Kent State. He wasn’t handsome or charming but at least he was good with numbers. He traded all that for a yuppy house in the suburbs, plastic surgery and a second wife with a boob job and his conservatism is based on economic rather than social policy, but it comes from a humble place.

My mom has had a hard life and she relies on her faith and friends for support, most of which I have known my whole life. They are good if not misguided people and I do not begrudge them their political and religious differences from me, because in their eyes I am accepted as well.

These people work hard and they are bombarded daily with media that is patriarchal, monotheistic and right wing. The MSM has probably been selling the “this country is center-right” lie since the age of movement conservatism and they do this while selling the issues from a left vs. right perspective that is framed from the “center right.”

To be frank, most people in this country are neither liberal nor conservative, and the number of registered independents proves my point. Every time I get into a discussion of politics with someone, they tell me, “I just want to support whatever works.” That is what we all want, regardless of ideology. Politics should be about making people’s lives better, but most of the time it is turned into a game and it’s purpose is to fill the pockets of the elites. The silliest of Americans understand that.

The Tea Party has it’s origins in populism and since then it has been astroturfed by crazy right wingers. They are running candidates that make me want to hide under my bed and cry. But Americans just want solutions to problems, and the Teabaggers may be telling some of them what they want to hear. They could care less about the kooky religahoon xion flag waving social conservatism even if it’s weird even for them. Loony conservatives in the Republican Party have been saying for years that they want to control women’s uterus’, teach creationism in public schools and put queers on death row but it has never happened (mostly). We have checks and balances in our political system that prevents extremism from being legislated.

Christine O’Donnell makes me whimper, but I want a witchhunt on her platform, not her panini. If I child shows up at my doorstep dressed as Sharon Angle on Halloween I am going to run away screaming but calling a woman a b*tch is unacceptable unless it is meant as a term of endearment. And Sarah Palin makes my left eye twitch sometimes when she says some of the things she says, but putting her on the cover of mother jones as a scantily clad she-monster is taking it a step or two too far. Come on, guys.

That being said, I will never vote for a Tea Party member or a Republican. I am a liberal and I vote for candidates who have earned my vote. The founding fathers did not write the constitution and form the first Democratic Republic in history so I could waste my vote and my free speech on Charlie Crist or Marco Rubio. Are you kidding me with this? And I did not file my tax returns last year so I could vote for Kendrick Meeks, who put a government patent on my uterus when he voted for “HCR” and Stupakistan. Hell no.

Alex Sink seems vote worthy and there are some amendments I have my eye on, but for now I say “none of the above.” America is at a crossroads. We have to decide, in times like this, whether we stick by our principles and only vote for candidates who have earned our vote or we reward those who do not have our best interests at heart and have demonstrated it repeatedly with our tax dollars and our trust.

I’ve made my decision. I might just be plain white trash but liberal is my game. What’s yours?

Bill-Bashing

This is what a Democrat looks like


Scary-smart Anglachel:

Which leads me to that last little snark of Mr. Marshall’s. Since I’ve got at least ten years on the guy and my background is political science (specifically, political theory – the study of systems, idea and ideologies), I figure I have both experience and subject matter knowledge on him, though I’m smart enough not to try to make a living analyzing politics. My memory is long and my knowledge of political events a hell of a lot clearer than WKJM, who has been part of the myth machine for several years now. What I recall about the1994 mid-terms was that Bill and Hillary had been put through the meat grinder over their whole-hearted but losing attempt to enact health care reform, they were reviled by the press (those hicks who trashed our lovely little place!), the Democratic party was in the last throws of losing the southern Dixiecrats, and Reaganism was still the norm. He enjoyed none of the advantages that Obama enjoys in terms of party and media support, and had much more respected opponents. The Democrats themselves were dealing with scandals in the House, and Newt was rolling out the Contract With America.

WKJ’s quote “Clinton was considered toxic politically in broad swathes of the country” begs the question of just who thought he was toxic. The majority of voters didn’t, but they weren’t voting for Bill. They were voting for their Congress Critters, just as they are today. The media certainly wasted no effort to inform me how horrible Clinton was as a president, which is how it earned the moniker the “so-called Liberal media”. Stevensonian cultural elites sat on their hands and refused to aggressively counter the Right-wing Noise Machine, all of which is documented in Somerby’s Incomparable Archives. In short, those of us who actually were, you know, there at the time and not invested in CDS understand the very different environments and opportunities. Not agreeing with Clinton or thinking that health care was handled badly is very different than thinking he was “toxic”.

[...]

Yes, Obama came in to office with a hellacious mess on his hands – and a majority in both houses and an electorate screaming for change. He had the political opportunity of a lifetime to transform the fundamental terms of political engagement, just as both FDR and Reagan did. He could have taken on the banks. He could have charged ahead for substantive health care reform. He could have pounded the shit out the failed policies of the Reagan Revolution and pinned the blame for everything on them, and the country would have lapped it up exactly the way they responded to FDR. But he didn’t and now he will play (at best) catch up for the remaining two years.

WKJM is not the only one who is trying to avoid talking about the reasons for party discontent by presenting a half-assed and historically inaccurate picture of the 1994 mid-term election. What he doesn’t seem to get is that because the majority of the nation doesn’t hold the Clintons in contempt the way he and the other Purchased Fellows do, every time he (and others of his ilk) make this comparison, he keeps reminding us about the way Bill never quit, never gave up, never stopped articulating his vision of what the party should be and how he was going to work to achieve that end. And that resulted in retaining the White House in 1996, and gaining back House seats in the next three elections – 1996, 1998, 2000.

There’s a bunch more.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but lately there seems to be a whole new movement of people dedicated to the revisionist-history version of bashing Bill Clinton. Some of the faces are new but some, like WKJM, are well known shills for the Democratic establishment.

They all seem to have a laundry list of reasons to hate the Big Dawg, and they throw around statistics like beads in NOLA but they have no personal anecdotes. It’s like they’re all just reciting stuff from a book. They claim that the prosperity of the Clinton years was all an illusion (the “dot-com bubble”) and blame him for our current economic mess.

I remember the Nineties, as well as the decade before and the one after. These Bill-Bashers describe a period very different from the one I lived through. They also describe a dark, evil and malign president, which is nothing like the Bill Clinton I watched in the news every day.

For one thing, he didn’t “betray” any of his constituents. He openly supported NAFTA and welfare reform when he was running. After he was elected, he still supported them. Don’t we WANT politicians to keep their promises?

The Bill-Bashers hate him for the promises he kept and ther hate him for the promises he tried but failed to keep. He gets all of the blame and none of the credit. They even hate him for the genocide in Rwanda, as if he could have single-handedly ended the crisis.

Most or all of the newer faces (and a few of the old ones) claim they don’t support Obama, but they really don’t seem to hate him. Not like they hate the Big Dawg, anyway. It’s like they would rather bash Bill than talk about the current situation.

I’m seeing a pattern, and wondering what is behind it. We know Obama is afraid of Hillary and for good reason. If she ran against him in 2012 she would beat him in a fair fight, and maybe even one that was supposed to be fixed. They can’t attack her as long as she is Secretary of State, so are they attacking Bill in an attempt to cast a stain on her?

Three years ago I would have just thought I was being too paranoid. That was before I saw Left Blogistan get covered in astroturf. Now I wonder if I’m not being paranoid enough.



Let’s have a swinger party!


(No, this isn’t that kind of post. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

From Hugh at Corrente:

Michael Kwiatkowski’s recent post on dumping Obama appeared here and at FDL’s Seminal. In it, he took shots at Jane Hamsher and the Seminal for being openly hostile to organizing a progressive alternative to the Democrats. As someone who was long at FDL, I can say those shots are accurate. When I tried to push the formation of such organizing there a couple of years ago, I was told “Can’t do that now. It’s more important to elect Obama.” Later I got hit with the line, “Go out, organize a third party, start winning elections, and then and only then, we will think about coming on board, and helping you, errr, organize.” Yes, that is completely contradictory. If I and others were successful in organizing a progressive party, why would we need FDL later? But the intention was clear, to fob off those who wanted to organize a third party and make it clear that FDL’s resources would not used to those ends. (emphasis added)

Mandos the Troll was saying something over at Ian Welsh’s place recently about “You have no power until you can win an election” or some such horseshit. He was wrong, as usual.

Requiring a third party to win elections to be considered relevant is an unfairly high threshold. It’s also a virtually impossible task, beyond a few local races.

Here in my little piece of paradise (CA-18) the last contested general election was in 2006 and there were 108,713 votes cast. That means in order to win a candidate would need at least 54,357 votes. That’s asking a lot for a start-up party.

On the other hand, back in 2008 Al Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate by a measly margin of 225 votes. Are you starting to catch my drift?

In the whole state of Minnesota a group of only 226 people could have swung the election to Norm Coleman. Now imagine you’re a group of lefties in Minneapolis with a membership of 1000 people.

Do you think the Honorable Mr. Franken will take you for granted? Not if you don’t let him he sure won’t.

All we need is a group large enough to swing elections. A group that is vocal and adamant that they will not vote for the lesser of two evils.

A Tea Party, only with liberals.

Think about it.



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