Friday, December 26, 2008

Earning Cred, Republican Style

So, suppose you're a Republican running for arguably the most powerful internal position in the GOP: Chair of the Republican National Committee. You're running for the job to be the person in charge of the GOP's new strategy to take back Washington. How do you go about raising your profile among GOP bigwigs over the holiday season?

Well, if you're former Huckabee campaign guru Chip Saltsman, you put out some swag bags complete with holiday tuneage.

RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro,” first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.

Saltsman, a personal friend of conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, sent a 41-track CD along with a note to national committee members.
“I look forward to working together in the New Year,” Saltsman wrote. “Please enjoy the enclosed CD by my friend Paul Shanklin of the Rush Limbaugh Show.”

The CD, called “We Hate the USA,” lampoons liberals with such songs as “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish banner.”

Several of the track titles, including “Barack the Magic Negro,” are written in bold font.

The song, which debuted on Limbaugh’s show in late March 2007, latches onto an opinion column in the Los Angeles Times of the same title. That column, penned by cultural critic David Ehrenstein, argued that Obama could serve as a balm to whites who felt guilty about past treatment of African Americans.

Limbaugh first highlighted the column the day it ran, according to a contemporary report by Media Matters, the liberal watchdog agency. Media Matters reported Limbaugh repeated the phrase more than two dozen times the day the column ran.

The following month, Shanklin debuted his version of the song, sung to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” and performed in Shanklin’s impression of Al Sharpton.

“See, real black men, like Snoop Dogg, or me, or Farrakhan, have talked the talk, and walked the walk, not come in late and won,” one verse in the song says.

The GOP. Because being a racist asshole never goes out of style, and that's what passes as a positive among the party elite.

As I've said time and time again, if you think the campaign season was the worst the GOP could possibly get, wait until the wing of the party that honestly believes they lost because they were way too soft on the President-Elect finishes purging the moderates from the party, and galvanizes every racist, bigoted, homophobic, hate-filled impulse into a party platform and long-term strategy to "take the country back for real America and God."

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

What Digby Said

And lo, Digby said:
In case anyone's wondering why Bush retracted the pardon of his contributor's son, it's not because he had an attack of conscience or even because it looks bad politically to pardon a mortgage scammer.

It's sadly because the pardon would have made it harder for the Republicans to tank Eric Holder's nomination on the basis of the Marc Rich pardon. One of their most substantial hissy fits was that that Holder signed off on it when it hadn't gone through proper channels (something that was not unprecedented then either.) It turns out that this Bush pardon was granted under similar circumstances.

Remember, Rove is orchestrating the Holder strategy and he's made clear that the Rich pardon is going to be at the center of it.
This has been What Digby Said.

Four Years Down The Road

A lot has been made of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's shot in the GOP primaries in 2012, but if even Rick Moran over at Right Wing Nuthouse thinks Jindal's a loser, then he's in real trouble. Jindal reflects the basic problems with the GOP according to Moran.

Sizing up Jindal at this point is probably an exercise in futility since he will no doubt grow and change as his term in office continues. But what we know of him now is not very encouraging to me. I could never vote for someone who believes that creationism/intelligent design should be taught in schools – even if it is done in concert with the teaching of evolution with the goal of “letting the kids decide” which “theory” they wish to believe.

This kind of anti-intellectualism that promotes ID as science on a par with Darwinism is just plain loony. Imagine in Cosmology if we taught the “Steady State” theory of the origins of the Universe alongside the “Big Bang” and expansion theories, allowing students to decide which theory is “true.” The question answers itself. One theory is clearly wrong and the other is clearly correct.

If parents want to home school their kids and teach them ID or send them to private religious schools where Darwin is a dirty word, fine. They will grow up sweeping the floors of Japanese, Swedish, or Chinese bio-tech factories rather than owning them. You can deny the efficacy of evolution all you want but since modern biology is based on it (and not on ID/creationism) it stands to reason that the coming revolution in bio-technology will proceed without your children being involved. This nonsense has already affected the numbers of students entering graduate level life sciences which a recent Rand study showed will necessitate US bio-tech firms looking overseas for engineers and biologists within the next decade.

But this debate is only a symptom of what ails the GOP. Much of the base appears to be battling modernity itself. Declaring categorically – and without even a scintilla of the requisite knowledge to do so – that Climate Change is a “hoax” bespeaks an ignorance that causes most voters to blanche in horror at the prospect of electing a Republican. Scientists who advocate the theory of catastrophic climate change may indeed be wrong. They may be close minded and not open to opposing views. But “hoaxers?”

This is not the first time that eminent scientists have gotten it wrong and refused to consider evidence the the contrary. The theory of plate tectonics – the continents sitting on plates, floating on magma, that rub against each other and migrate great distances over time – was belittled for a 100 years. But no one accused proponents of the Continental Drift theory of perpetrating a scientific hoax to advance that theory at the expense of plate tectonics.

And of course he's right. The GOP is at war with itself over science and religion. There's a deeply ingrained, fanatical section of the GOP that is Luddite to the core, that rejects science as the tool of evil, believing it to be what the elitist secular Liberals use to yoke the necks of the proud, self-sufficient, God-fearing American family.

We're talking about a group of people that honestly believe all the nasty things going on in the world are the result of the final coming battle, and that faith in God and only faith in God can save us. Anything else, including the whole exercise of intellectualism in any capacity, takes away from faith and is therefore inherently evil.

It's part preying on the fears of the small-minded and part being scared into religious fanaticism. People are scared because they are being scared on purpose by these clowns, and the worse the economy gets, the easier it's going to be to convince these folks that the real problem is not Bush and the GOP ripping the American people off, but lack of God's law being imposed on all Americans.

Moran belongs to the sect of the GOP that thinks it is smarter then that, but in the end, those are just the guys with the whip hand. Can you imagine a President that doesn't believe in evolution?

Oh Look, More Headaches

As if 2008 didn't have enough problems, here comes reports that the Pakistan Army is being directed to the Indian border region near Kashmir to defend against "anticipated Indian incursions".
The troops were deployed from Pakistan's western border with Afghanistan, where forces have been battling Taliban and al Qaeda militants in North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan's armed forces have been on high alert in anticipation of a possible conflict with India following last month's terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which killed 160 people.

India believes the 10 men who carried out the attacks were trained at a terrorist camp in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir.

A senior official said the troops had been moved from areas where there are no active military operations, and emphasized that troop levels have not been depleted in areas where soldiers are battling militants, such as the Swat Valley and the Peshawar area in the North West region.

In addition to the move, leave for all military personnel has been restricted and all troops were called back to active duty, the senior official said.

Asked for a reaction to the development, Husain Haqqani. Pakistani ambassador to the United States, said, "Pakistan does not seek war, but we need to be vigilant against threats of war emanating from the other side of our eastern border."

Pakistan is clearly making a show of expecting to be attacked soon. Two bitter rivals, both nuclear powers mind you, getting into a border scuffle is not the kind of thing you want to see. Somebody needs to step up and defuse the situation, but what can honestly be done?

A fourth Pakistan-India war could be imminent.


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