Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Last Call: A Plate Of Crow For Thee

Yep, Mark Sanford not only won by 9 points, he A) won with 25% turnout, very high for a special election (which should have favored his opponent), B) he won despite having craploads of baggage (which definitely should have favored Elizabeth Colbert Busch), and C) he won despite the NRCC pulling campaign backing and money from the race.

I've got a lot of crow to eat.

The only explanation I've got is that the trespassing charge that Jenny Sanford made public last month, which should have cost him the race, instead was a massive, massive backfire.

Also, let's remember that this district is R+11.  "Because screw the Democrats" is always a viable campaign slogan, and tonight, the voters of SC-1 proved that you can pretty much be the most awful Republican ever, but Republicans will still vote for you to piss off liberals.

On the other hand, the first thing the newly elected Congressman Sanford has to do is go to court to deal with that trespassing charge as a sitting member of Congress.  Good luck with that, Mark.  I may have been wrong about this election -- staggeringly so, I admit -- but now things get interesting.

Chris Bag O' Insurance?

A lot of people see New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie's news today that he recently had lap band surgery for weight loss as proof he's running for President in 2016. 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a huge announcement to the The New York Post—but not the one everyone has been expecting. The paper reported on Tuesday that the famously rotund Christie underwent "lap-band" stomach surgery three months ago, in a desperate effort to lose weight. The procedure, which involves placing a restrictive tube around the top of the stomach to  limit the amount of food a person can take in at one sitting, is considered less risky than the more invasive gastric bypass surgery. Christie didn't reveal what his weight was before or after the surgery, but sources say he's already lost 40 pounds.

Naturally, the first instinct from political pundits is to assume that Christie's dramatic decision is about more than just getting fit. The obvious spin is that this is the first salvo of Christie's 2016 presidential campaign. (The second might be another announcement that he's co-hosting the Today show in a couple weeks.) It doesn't take a strategic genius like Karl Rove to tell you that being overweight would have been a huge liability in a national campaign, but if the summer of 2015 rolls around and he's suddenly looking fit and trim, he might look like a front runner.

Personally, I think that's less of the issue as it is his health.  He's got kids, and he wants to live to see them grow up, I'm sure.  Here's my real question, not why he did it, but did his insurance cover it?  Christie has signed on for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, sure.  But does he think his surgery was medically necessary, and should insurance be required to help cover it when it is?

Given the obesity epidemic in the US -- and yes, I consider myself part of it -- I would like to hear Gov. Christie's thoughts on his procedure and if he thinks his New Jersey constituents should qualify for similar procedures.  That's the far more important question to me.

The BS Behind Benghazi

The right is predicting that the "Benghazi cover-up" scandal will be so bad that it will somehow force President Obama to resign and that it will be the end of Hillary Clinton's 2016 run before it starts.  There's only a couple of problems with this latest fantasy:  first of all, the new "facts" don't hold any water.  Jon Bernstein:

If you’re not inside the conservative information feedback loop, you might not be aware that within that loop the Benghazi “scandal” is still going at 100 percent strength. Months after the actual incident, which was back in September. Even though no one has ever made clear exactly what terrible secret was the subject of the supposed cover-up; even though a succession of “revelations” have all turned out to be nonsense (here’s one from just last week). Doesn’t matter; discredited accusations are just forgotten and new ones are substituted.

This week it’s a new round of claims that whistleblowers were suppressed. Over in the House, Darrell Issa’s committee is going to get a hearing out of it. No, there’s no particular reason that it makes any sense…there’s still no core story that this cover-up was (supposedly) covering up for. But there do appear to be plenty of Usual Suspect conservative movement lawyers and flacks involved.

And second, as Bernstein mentions, the lawyers that the whistleblowers have retained are direct from the GOP Dirty Tricks Department.  BooMan:

Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing run a law firm together. They are also married. They are also soldiers in the dirty wars we have between the two major parties. When Scooter Libby was indicted, diGenova and Toensing demanded a pardon. In fact, they had been brawling on Libby's side for years. Toensing even authored an amici curiae brief with the US Court of Appeals in Washington, seeking to overturn the ruling that forced Matthew Cooper and Judy Miller to testify in the Libby case.

Back in 1998, Howard Kurtz reported that diGenova and Toensing had made 300 television appearances in the month after news of the l'affaire Lewinsky broke on Drudge Report. That's an average of five appearances each, every day for a month. 

The fact that these two scuzzballs are involved is a dead giveaway that the Benghazi story is nothing more than maximum poutrage from the right, and the mission here is where there is no scandal, one must be created.  Darrel Issa has made it clear his target is Hillary Clinton, so prepare to hear the right shout BENGHAZI for the next several years, even as President Obama comes through this unscathed.

Not that it will do them any good, other than become the reason as to why they'll lose again and again.  But it will become the latest piece of Republican code-switching, just like ACORN was four years ago.


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