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politics

Extremists in the GOP

Harmony in Blue White and Red

Paul Krugman:

To be sure, it was enjoyable watching Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican of California, warn that by passing health reform, Democrats “will finally lay the cornerstone of their socialist utopia on the backs of the American people.” Gosh, that sounds uncomfortable. And it’s been a hoot watching Mitt Romney squirm as he tries to distance himself from a plan that, as he knows full well, is nearly identical to the reform he himself pushed through as governor of Massachusetts. His best shot was declaring that enacting reform was an “unconscionable abuse of power,” a “historic usurpation of the legislative process” — presumably because the legislative process isn’t supposed to include things like “votes” in which the majority prevails.

A side observation: one Republican talking point has been that Democrats had no right to pass a bill facing overwhelming public disapproval. As it happens, the Constitution says nothing about opinion polls trumping the right and duty of elected officials to make decisions based on what they perceive as the merits. But in any case, the message from the polls is much more ambiguous than opponents of reform claim: While many Americans disapprove of Obamacare, a significant number do so because they feel that it doesn’t go far enough. And a Gallup poll taken after health reform’s enactment showed the public, by a modest but significant margin, seeming pleased that it passed.

[Click to continue reading Paul Krugman – Going to Extreme – NYTimes.com]

I do hope nobody actually gets hurt in this days of pseudo-rage, and Rethuglican threats. Other than that, I’ve enjoyed the spectacle as well. Fun when the GOP doesn’t get its way, elections matter, remember?

When do we get to do pointed sticks?

From the Kansas City Star Editorial Board:

Even some elected officials have stepped over the line of reasonable debate. GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, of California, noted: “When you use totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy…I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it.”

[Click to continue reading Tea party’s lunatic fringe is alarming | Midwest Voices]

Greg Sargent on Mitt Romney supporting what he now opposes:

Here’s the key exchange:

MODERATOR: “You seem to have backed away from mandates on a national basis.”

ROMNEY: “No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.”

To be clear, the individual mandate wasn’t the lightening rod for the right back then that it is these days. Romney appears to have merely been trying to appear consistent on the issue. But now that Obamacare has elevated the issue into an important one on the right, Romney is depicting the Federal mandate as a frightening abuse of power.

All this said, in a way the details of Romney’s position, or positions, aren’t really the point. Rather, the real problem for Romney here is that every time he goes on TV to bash Obamacare, he’s going to be asked to explain why he’s slamming a provision he signed into law himself.

[Click to continue reading Did Romney Endorse Federal Mandate? | The Plum Line]

The Gallup poll mentioned:

Nearly half of Americans give a thumbs-up to Congress’ passage of a healthcare reform bill last weekend, with 49% calling it “a good thing.” Republicans and Democrats have polar opposite reactions, with independents evenly split.

[Click to continue reading By Slim Margin, Americans Support Healthcare Bill’s Passage ]

Categories
politics

Right Wing Credibility Gone Fishin

Another crazy Obama smear circulating the frothosphere1.

Sometimes A Fish(erman) needs a Bicycle

After Robert Montgomery wrote in an ESPNOutdoors.com column that the federal government had a strategy in the works that “could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters,” it was only a matter of time before the conservative media took the bait — hook, line, and sinker. Easily made puns aside, the story was tailor-made for “conservative journalism.” After all, Montgomery had no evidence for his claims.

Another week, another wild, right-wing-media-driven conspiracy theory centered on the Obama administration.

Conservative blogs led the charge in advancing the dubious story, posting their own spin under headlines like “Obama: The Will Of The People Be Damned – I’LL Decide Who Can Go Fishing” in the case of RedState.com and “Obama’s war on fishing?!?!?!” from the queen of right-wing blogging and bellyaching, Michelle Malkin. It mattered little that the story was complete bunk — unsupported by a shred of proof.

It wasn’t long before Fox News’ Glenn Beck, a regular purveyor of ridiculous Obama-centric conspiracy theories, took up the yarn. In classic Beck fashion, the crew-cut host told his audience, “I told you a year ago this would happen. I’m not some prophet by any stretch of the imaginations. … People are losing their rights. Who’s more important: the fish or you?”

Beck aside, no smear of the Obama White House would be complete without an assist from Rush Limbaugh, the granddaddy of the conservative media. On back-to-back shows, El Rushbo laid it on thick, one day saying that “fishing is about to become a privilege controlled by Barack Obama,” and the next, speaking as if he were Obama: “[Y]ou can’t touch me. … I can stop you from going fishing wherever you want. … I can do whatever I want to do.”

In perhaps the strangest turn of events surrounding the story, FoxNews.com ended up debunking Fox News, with the conservative outlet’s reporter Joshua Rhett Miller writing that government documents didn’t contain “language pertaining to a potential ban on recreational fishing, as some reports had previously asserted.” Of course, some of those “reports” included the Fox Nation website, Fox Business Network, and the previously mentioned Beck.

Ultimately, an ESPNOutdoors.com editor acknowledged “errors” in the handling of the piece and its lack of “balance,” but you can expect this one, like so many others, to end up in some chain email from your Fox News-loving uncle in the coming weeks.

[Click to continue reading Gone fishin’: Right-wing media hook another dubious Obama conspiracy theory | Media Matters for America]

Sable And Fisheads

Laughable if it wasn’t so serious a topic, and such a perfect illustration of how facts are silly things to the Republican right.

Footnotes:
  1. I just made this word up – I think – referring to the frothing-at-the-mouth conservative sector of the country. The Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh brigade, in all of their paranoid glory []