mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“A Hatred That Will Not Fade”: Why Republicans Are Still Losing Their Minds Over Bill Clinton’s Sex Life

Donald Trump is very, very excited to talk about Bill Clinton’s sexual history, and he’s not alone. Stroll around the conservative media universe, from Breitbart to Drudge to Limbaugh, and you’d almost think Clinton was still president and the most urgent task faced by the right was discrediting him. And judging from the people sending angry missives my way via email and social media (not a representative sample of anything, but still suggestive), the outright rage against both Bill and Hillary Clinton burns as bright as it ever did.

It’s too early to say whether this will turn out to be a momentary issue, filling up a week or two of the primary campaign and then disappearing. But I doubt it, because that anger is real. The conservatives who were around during the 1990s don’t loathe Bill Clinton any less than they ever did, and the prospect of his wife becoming president is bringing all those feelings to the fore.

For the purposes of this article, I won’t be assessing the veracity of anyone’s accusations against Bill Clinton, which is perhaps a worthy topic of discussion but one for another day. I’m interested in what the issue tells us about where we are now and where we might be going. This was touched off by Donald Trump when he responded to Hillary Clinton saying he has a penchant for sexism by firing back that she can’t talk because her husband mistreated women. Though Trump didn’t seem to care much about Clinton’s sex life 20 years ago, this was like firing a starting gun, with old accusations remade and old feelings renewed.

To understand this, it’s important to remember how conservatives felt about Bill Clinton when he was president. It wasn’t just that they disliked him personally and disagreed with his policies. Many political opponents also found Clinton infuriating, exasperating, maddening. With that easy charm and that ready smile and that silver tongue, they thought he was as phony as could be. It wasn’t just that they found him dishonest, or that he always played it close to the ethical line. It was that again and again, he got away with it. Every time they thought they had him in their clutches, he’d manage to slip free.

The Monica Lewinsky affair, culminating in impeachment, was the apotheosis of this pattern, the ne plus ultra Clinton scandal. Republicans were sure they had him — for Pete’s sake, he had an affair with a 20-something intern right there in the White House! Surely the public would finally see the true nature of his villainy and turn away from him in disgust once and for all. But even then, Clinton escaped — and not only that, Republicans were the ones who ended up condemned by the public, and Clinton left office two years later with boffo approval ratings. It was enough to make you lose your mind.

And so many of them did, even those who didn’t travel through the fever swamps where no conspiracy theory about Clinton was too outlandish to believe (there were prominent political figures who sincerely thought that Clinton ran a vast drug-smuggling operation as governor of Arkansas and had murdered dozens of his political opponents and allies). When Clinton waltzed out of office, all they were left with was their frustration, disappointment, and a hatred that would not fade.

The frustration wouldn’t dissipate as long as Hillary Clinton, whom they always hated nearly as much, could one day become president. Now they have a new story to tell: Not only was Bill Clinton a serial abuser of women, but Hillary Clinton was no victim at all, but rather an active participant in his reign of terror, enabling and covering up his crimes.

This is an appealing story for conservatives with long memories, for multiple reasons. It’s not because their concern for women is so profound, and it’s not because they’ve made a careful strategic assessment that this issue is likely to significantly wound Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid (it probably won’t). What raising this issue does is allow them to fight that old battle again, to say that when they were mocked for their Clinton Derangement Syndrome, they were right all along and Bill Clinton was worse than everyone thought. And unlike things like Hillary’s emails or Benghazi, it allows them to wage a frontal assault on both Clintons at the same time.

The media environment today is far different than it was when opponents helped build what Hillary so famously referred to as the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The start-up costs for such a conspiracy have been reduced to almost nothing, and accusations that 20 years ago had to be carefully nurtured if they were to spread will today move through the ecosystem in a matter of minutes. But at the same time, the unity of focus that characterized the right in those days is more difficult to sustain when so many people have the ability to move the agenda in one direction or another.

So those who want nothing more than to keep everyone’s attention on Bill Clinton’s sexual history won’t have an easy task before them. And just as before, their hatred, their mania, and their sheer desperation will probably turn them into their own worst enemies. And the Clintons will escape yet again.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Week, January 8, 2015

January 10, 2016 Posted by | Bill and Hillary Clinton, Conservative Media, Conservatives | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Paul ‘Rage’ LePage, Maine’s National Embarrassment”: GOP Governor Under Fire Following Racially Charged Comments

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), already facing possible impeachment in an abuse-of-power scandal, is no stranger to controversies involving race. Early on in his term, for example, the Republican governor got in a dispute with the Maine NAACP over his decision to skip events honoring Martin Luther King. In reference to the civil-rights group, LePage said, “Tell them to kiss my butt.”

Two years later, according to Republican attendees to a LePage gathering, the far-right governor complained that President Obama doesn’t emphasize his biracial heritage because the president “hates white people.” He later denied having made the comments.

This week, however, LePage went just a little further still. The Portland Press Herald reported on comments the governor made at a town-hall meeting on Wednesday night.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, which was rebroadcast Thursday night, LePage responded to a question about how he was tackling substance abuse in Maine. He began talking about how much of the heroin is coming into Maine from out-of-state drug dealers.

“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty … these types of guys … they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” LePage told a large crowd. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

By way of a defense, as Rachel noted on the show last night, the governor’s spokesperson said in a statement to reporters, “The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant.”

Look, I feel bad for anyone who has to defend Paul LePage’s rhetoric; it must be an unpleasant and incredibly difficult job.

But if the governor’s office expects to be taken seriously, pretending LePage wasn’t making comments about race only makes matters worse.

On camera, and in front of a large group of people, the governor said “D-Money” is coming into his state from elsewhere – Maine’s population is over 95% white – selling heroin, and impregnating “young, white” girls.

Are we really supposed to believe LePage’s unscripted comments had nothing to do with race?

The governor’s rhetoric, not surprisingly, generated national attention quite quickly, and last night, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign issued a statement condemning the remarks.

“Governor LePage’s comments tonight are not only offensive and hurtful but they try to cover up the very real epidemic of drug abuse facing people in his state and across the country,” Hillary for America’s Marlon Marshall said. “LePage’s racist rants sadly distract from efforts to address one of our nation’s most pressing problems…. Sadly, Governor LePage’s comments aren’t too dissimilar from the divisive, misleading and hateful rhetoric we’re seeing from Republicans across the country these days.”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, January 8, 2015

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Maine, Paul LePage, Racism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Satisfying The ‘Most Intense, Extreme Part’ Of The Republican Party”: Many GOP Voters On Board With Impeaching Hillary Clinton

It was just two weeks ago that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) raised the prospect of impeaching Hillary Clinton, even though she hasn’t been elected. The far-right congressman is apparently so concerned about her email server management that he believes she would, literally on her inauguration day, be “subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Soon after, the Alabama Republican talked to MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki about his intentions, and Brooks seemed quite sincere about impeaching Clinton, despite the fact that she hasn’t, in reality, even been accused of breaking any laws.

And while this is obviously just one unhappy congressman, Public Policy Polling asked North Carolina Republicans for their thoughts on the matter.

 If Hillary Clinton is elected President, would you support or oppose impeaching her the day she takes office?

 * Support impeaching Hillary Clinton the day she takes office: 66%

 * Oppose impeaching Hillary Clinton the day she takes office: 24%

 * Not sure: 10%

Obviously, the only fair conclusion is that one-third of the GOP voters in North Carolina are Republicans In Name Only.

For her part, Clinton has apparently heard about the impeachment idea. When she sat down with Rachel late last week, and the subject came up, the former Secretary of State said, “Isn’t that pathetic? It’s just laughable, it’s so totally ridiculous.”

Clinton added the rhetoric is likely intended to satisfy “the most intense, extreme part” of the Republican base.

If the PPP survey is correct, it may very well be working.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 30, 2015

November 2, 2015 Posted by | GOP Voters, Hillary Clinton, Mo Brooks | , , , | 4 Comments

“Dated And Bizarre Attitudes”: Maine’s LePage; ‘That’s Like Giving My Wife My Checkbook’

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is already facing an abuse-of-power scandal that may lead to his impeachment, which might lead a typical governor to take steps to bolster his or her statewide support.

But there’s nothing about the far-right Mainer that’s typical.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) compared public campaign financing [last week] to handing his checkbook over to his wife to spend money, reported website and podcast mainebeacon.com.

 An initiative on the November ballot in Maine would allow candidates who were being far outspent by their opponents to “re-qualify for additional public financing,” according to the report.

At a town-hall gathering, LePage added, in reference to public financing, “That’s like giving my wife my checkbook. I’m telling you, it’s giving your wife your checkbook. Go spend.”

The comments were captured on video and were not well received.

“The governor’s attitude toward women, toward relationships and toward money are so dated as to be bizarre,” Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women’s Lobby, said.

Making matters just a little worse, LePage also announced last week that he’s appointed a creationist to serve as Maine’s acting commissioner of the Department of Education.

[Dr. William Beardsley, the former president of Bangor-based Husson University] expressed unequivocal support for teaching creationism during his unsuccessful 2010 bid to become the Republican nominee for governor.

According to The Bangor Daily News, Beardsley articulated his position in response to a simple debate question from Maine Public Broadcasting’s Jennifer Rooks.

“Do you believe in creationism, and do you think it should be taught in Maine public schools?” she asked candidates. “I would teach creationism,” Beardsley replied.

Because LePage appointed Beardsley as an acting commissioner, Beardsley bypasses the legislature’s confirmation process. He can serve for six months, at which point the governor would have to either formally nominate him or appoint someone else.

The editorial page of the Portland Press Herald responded, LePage gets to put a buddy in charge of one of the most important departments of state government, and Beardsley doesn’t even have to sit in front of a legislative committee to answer a lot of stupid questions, like ‘What did you mean in 2010 when you said that you would teach ‘creationism’ in public school?’”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 27, 2015

October 28, 2015 Posted by | Maine, Paul LePage, Public Campaign Financing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Maine’s GOP Governor Faces Intensifying Scandal”: Paul ‘Rage LePage’ Playing The Role Of A Mobster

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is caught up in a scandal that’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

To briefly recap, a Maine charter school hired state House Speaker Mark Eves (D) for a top position, but LePage, a fierce opponent of Democratic legislators, threatened the school – either fire Eves or the governor would cut off the school’s state funding. In effect, LePage played the role of a mobster saying, “It’s a nice school you have there; it’d be a shame if something happened to it.”

The school, left with no options, reluctantly acquiesced. The problem, of course, is that governors are not supposed to use state resources to punish people they don’t like. By most measures, it’s an abuse of power that constitutes an impeachable offense.

Yesterday, the school’s chairman spoke to state investigators who said the governor did precisely what he’s accused of doing. The Bangor Daily News reported:

The chairman of the Good Will-Hinckley board of directors told lawmakers on a government watchdog panel Thursday that Gov. Paul LePage’s threat to withhold state funding because of the school’s hiring of Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves placed the school’s existence in jeopardy. […]

 [The] testimony confirmed much of what has been uncovered by the media and the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability: That by threatening the funding, LePage, his staff and acting Education Commissioner Tom Desjardin were directly responsible for Good Will-Hinckley’s board canceling a $120,000 per year employment contract with Eves.

Soon after, the Portland Press Herald reported that the state’s Government Oversight Committee voted to subpoena two of LePage’s senior aides – his legal counsel and the governor’s senior education adviser – as part of the same investigation.

It’s entirely possible that the end result of the probe will be the Republican’s impeachment – a topic mentioned explicitly in the Press Herald article.

Remember, the Tea Party governor hasn’t actually denied the allegations, and neither have LePage’s allies. The Maine Republican did argue in July, however, that when he threatened the school it was comparable to LePage intervening in a domestic-violence dispute.

“It’s just like one time when I stepped in … when a man was beating his wife,” the governor said. “Should have I stepped in? Legally, No. But I did. And I’m not embarrassed about doing it.”

I still haven’t the foggiest idea what that’s supposed to mean in this context.

For what it’s worth, the bizarre governor’s public support is woefully low, but it has not yet collapsed. The latest statewide poll in Maine, released this morning, shows LePage with a 32% approval rating.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 16, 2015

October 19, 2015 Posted by | Maine, Paul LePage, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

%d bloggers like this: