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“The GOP Didn’t Deserve To Win”: Congressional Republicans’ Behavior Over The Last Four Years Deserved No Reward

Voters on Tuesday gave Republicans control of the Senate. But the GOP did not earn this victory.

That’s not because Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), deserved to win in the GOP’s stead, and it’s not because this country can do without a sensibly conservative party. It is because the GOP has not been a sensibly conservative party. Congressional Republicans’ behavior over the last four years deserved no reward.

This is the party that repeatedly used the country’s full faith and credit as a bargaining chip during successive, manufactured budget crises.

This is the party that still cannot bring itself to admit that climate change is a risk that deserves a serious response.

This is the party that scuttled even modest immigration reform because elements of the GOP base will label seemingly any viable bill “amnesty.”

This is the party whose leaders resist bringing broadly popular bills up for an up-or-down vote because its right fringe is in constant preparation to stage a revolt.

This is the party so in thrall to comical anti-government activists that it treated simple lightbulb efficiency standards as severe attacks on personal liberty.

This is the party that voted dozens of times to dismantle Affordable Care Act — but never united behind a credible, or even a non-credible, alternative, despite promising for years to offer one.

This is the party that took its fixation with Obamacare so far that it shut down the government in a bizarre political tantrum.

This is the party that has styled its refusal to compromise as a virtue rather than as a pernicious insult to responsible leadership.

Unsurprisingly, exit polls showed little regard for the GOP. It is a measure of midterm voters’ dissatisfaction with the state of the country, President Obama and feckless Democratic candidates that they held their noses and empowered Republicans. The results also fit into a broader trend of red states becoming redder. Yet Republicans — and Democrats — might also take the message that reckless, shortsighted, counterproductive behavior makes for good politics — better, in fact, than having actual results to run on. If fully internalized, that lesson would shut down Congress most of the time.

With President Obama still in office, it is up to Republican leaders to conclude that voters outside the hardcore GOP base did not demand more pettiness in this year’s midterm elections. Among other things, they will have to reign in hectoring partisans such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the architect of the shutdown who, on CNN Tuesday night, argued that Washington can compromise over the next two years — if you define compromise as doing exactly what Republicans want.

And if GOP leaders fail at that, it will be up to voters to give them what they really deserve.


By: Stephen Stromberg, PostPartisan, The Washington Post, November 5, 2014

November 6, 2014 Posted by | GOP, Midterm Elections, Senate | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Last Night’s Consolation Prize”: Seeing Karl Rove Earn His Nickname ‘Turd Blossom’

How bad was last night? It was so bad that, for me, the only emotional consolation prize was the small and admittedly puerile pleasure of seeing Karl Rove squirm, again on an election night. It had nothing to do with who won or who lost, but it was the only media moment that made me smile, a piece of spinach caught in the teeth of wall-to-wall Republican gloating.

I say this even as I acknowledge that Rove’s discomfiture paled next to that of 2012, when he infamously insisted on Fox News that Romney had won Ohio, despite the network’s calling it for Obama. Rove’s intransigence forced Megyn Kelly to walk with camera in tow to Fox’s “brain room” for confirmation, where she shot the ham-headed GOP op down on national TV.

Kelly was there again last night when Rove, who should have been doing a victory dance, instead invited the viewer to imagine him bending over for a rectal exam.

As the scale of the GOP victory started to register, Chris Wallace asked Rove what it felt like to lose a midterm election badly, because Rove had experienced George W. Bush’s midterm massacre in 2006, when the Republicans lost thirty House seats, six Senate seats, and both chambers of Congress. How did Bush’s Brain think Obama felt after being hit by this wave?

Every president is “idiosyncratic,” Rove started off and then, looking pained, he added, “It’s like going to a proctologist without an anesthesiologist.”

“Thanks for the metaphor,” Wallace said, wincing, as Megyn said something like “Eeeew!”

Actually, it was the second time Rove, whom W. had long ago dubbed “Turd Blossom,” has publicly likened presidential politics to proctology. In a 2012 Wall Street Journal column, he called getting vetted for the vice-presidential slot on Romney’s ticket (in the wake of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin four years earlier) “a political proctology exam.”

Yes, I’m not proud of it, but seeing “the Architect” being embarrassed on TV was my desperate little crumb of solace.

There are of course more substantial, electoral forms of solace—Arkansas, Alaska, Nebraska and South Dakota voted to raise the minimum wage; Scott Brown lost, Tom Wolf won. And The Nation’s Zoe Carpenter details them here.

But for the moment, I see the glass 90 percent empty. Nunn and Orman didn’t come close, the “hairless serpentine” in Florida topped Charlie Crist. Scott Walker and even Sam Brownback survived. The Dems’ would-be Southern firewall, Kay Hagan, went under after a solid year of street demonstrations against her opponent. Voter suppression, which a couple of late court decisions limited for this election, will only get worse next time, when the delayed laws take effect, and the media will largely ignore the issue, again. How much of the vote yesterday was lost to voter ID, missing voter registrations and malfunctioning machines we’ll probably never know.

But at least Megyn Kelly thinks Karl Rove is kinda gross. That’s something. Isn’t it?


By: Leslie Savan, The Nation, November 5, 2014

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Fox News, Karl Rove, Midterm Elections | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Consistently Destructive GOP”: Shame On Us! Giving Still More Power To Such A Party

Shame on us, the American People.

Giving more power to a Republican Party that has has been blatantly indifferent to the good of the nation.

Never in American history has there been a party so consistently destructive in its impact on America. Indeed, it is hard to find an instance these past six years when the Republicans have even tried to be constructive, tried to address our national problems.

Never in American history has there been a party so consistently dishonest in its communications to the people.

To know of this unprecedented betrayal of the nation, we have no need of secret tapes or conspirators coming forward to testify. It has been there undisguised, right in front of our eyes.

Yet, yesterday, tens of millions of Americans who are unhappy with “Congress” for its record-setting failure to take care of the nation’s business voted for the party that deliberately worked to make Congress fail.


Shame on us, the Democratic Party.

Once again running timidly (2002, 2010), the Democrats have failed not only themselves but the nation.

Clearly, the American people need help in seeing the monstrosity the Republican Party has become. But the Democrats — either blind to that reality, or afraid to speak of it — did not give them that help.

The Democrats should have made this election about the Republicans’ betrayal of the nation, in choosing to make the government dysfunctional rather than seeking to solve the nation’s problems. This election should have been about the veritable wrecking crew that the once-respectable Republican Party has become.

The Democrats should have helped the American people see how wantonly the GOP has trampled upon the ideals and traditions of our American democracy.

But they didn’t. And now the Republican strategy of seeking more power for themselves by creating problems they can blame on their opponents has been rewarded.

We live in a time of great darkening.

If the people at the top of the Democratic Party are incapable of rescuing our democracy from (what FDR called) “the forces of selfishness and of lust for power,” we in the grassroots will need to find a way to take up the job ourselves.

See the evil. Call it out. Press the battle.

The stakes are just too high. Are we willing to work to save our democracy from this ongoing power grab from the plutocrats whose instrument the Republican Party has become? Are we willing to work to assure that our nation acts responsibly in the face of the mounting danger of environmental catastrophe from the disruption of our climate, which the Republican Party has made it dogma to deny?

If not, then shame on us.


By: Andy Schmookler, The Huffington Post Blog, November 5, 2014

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, GOP, Midterm Elections | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Right Makes The Case Against Governing”: The Goal Isn’t To Advance The Nation’s Interests

Rush Limbaugh told listeners today that congressional Republicans may have a popular mandate after their midterm successes, but they “were not elected to govern.”

That’s not a typo. One of the nation’s most prominent Republican media voices wants to make one thing clear, right now, in the wake of a GOP triumph: there are those within the party who are eager to prove that Republicans can govern. And those people are wrong.

National Review, a leading conservative outlet, fleshed out a very similar argument this morning, warning their GOP allies of “the governing trap.”

The desire to prove Republicans can govern also makes them hostage to their opponents in the Democratic party and the media. It empowers Senator Harry Reid, whose dethroning was in large measure the point of the election. […]

A prove-you-can-govern strategy will inevitably divide the party on the same tea-party-vs.-establishment lines that Republicans have just succeeded in overcoming…. Even if Republicans passed this foolish test, it would do little for them. If voters come to believe that a Republican Congress and a Democratic president are doing a fine job of governing together, why wouldn’t they vote to continue the arrangement in 2016?

It’s a fascinating perspective.

1. Governing would require some compromise.

2. Compromising makes you a “hostage,” which is unacceptable.

3. Ergo, don’t try to govern.

The goal of this attitude isn’t to advance the nation’s interests, even incrementally. Rather, the argument – reaching levels of public cynicism that are truly awe-inspiring – is that the sole focus of a political party is to do nothing until that party has absolute power over all branches of government.

Danny Vinik had a good take on the piece, describing it as “indicative of how dysfunctional Washington has become.”

When most legislation could pass by majority vote and policymakers frequently crossed party lines, divided government could still enact new laws and programs. That is no longer the case. We’re rapidly entering an era where a party must control the White House, House and Senate – the latter with a filibuster proof majority – to move legislation. If you don’t control all three, then your best political and legislative strategy is not to compromise, but to play politics so that you can control all three in the future. The National Review editors have figured this out.

The question now becomes whether congressional Republicans find the argument persuasive.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, November 5, 2014

November 6, 2014 Posted by | Midterm Elections, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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