Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last Call For Bob Dole, Bob Dole, Bob Dole

Cry not for Robert J. Dole, who says (correctly) that neither he nor Reagan would make it in today's TeaGOP, talking to FOX on Sunday.

WALLACE: What do you think of your party, the Republicans today?
DOLE: I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says “closed for repairs” until New Year’s Day next year — and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.
WALLACE: You describe the GOP of your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans. Could people like you, even Ronald Reagan — could you make it in today’s Republican Party.
DOLE: I doubt it. Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, cause he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.

As Steve M. reminds us, you can thank Bob Dole for the permanent GOP filibuster in the Senate.

It was on Election Night 1992, not very far into the evening, that the Senate minority leader, Bob Dole, hinted at the way his party planned to conduct itself in the months ahead: it would filibuster any significant legislation the new Democratic President proposed, forcing him to obtain 60 votes for Senate passage.

This was a form of scorched-earth partisan warfare unprecedented in modern political life. Congress is supposed to operate by majority vote. It is true that the filibuster has a long and disreputable Senate history and that, over the years, it has been used more by Democrats than by Republicans. But only after 1992 did it become the centerpiece of opposition conduct toward an elected President. What the Republicans did in the Senate in 1993 amounted to an unreported constitutional usurpation. It should have been denounced as such at the time, but it wasn't. The punditocracy chose not to notice.

In any case, it worked. Little that the President proposed became law in the two years that he operated with Democratic majorities. There was no health care reform, no economic stimulus package.

Sound familiar?   Bob Dole made the 60 vote threshold for Democrats permanent.  He's the reason why health care reform died 20 years ago and the reason we didn't get single-payer and the public option now.

So no, I don't feel like shedding a single tear for Bob Dole's lament.  He helped create the Tea Party beast that now slouches towards Washington.

Suffering From Moral Decay

The goalposts for President Obama got moved in a big way Sunday by Sen. Rand Paul, all but calling for Obama's resignation by claiming that POTUS is in danger of "losing the moral authority" to remain in office.

Paul, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” said that the IRS and other recent controversies “really takes away from the president's moral authority to lead the nation.”

“Nobody questions his legal authority, but I think he's really losing the moral authority to lead this nation,” Paul added.

“And he really needs to put a stop to this. I don't care whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, nobody likes to see the opposite party punishing you for your political beliefs.”

And of course the arbiter of the President's moral authority is Rand Paul, as he spouts weasel words to suggest that maybe the President shouldn't be President anymore...

“I think there needs to be a speedy resolution to this,” Paul said. “And I think the president is in danger of losing his moral authority to lead the nation if we don't get to a resolution.”

Not an impeachable offense of course.  But he should resign anyway.  We'll see how many of Rand's cohorts in the Senate follow this message and hop in Rand Paul's quasi-"I'm not racist but..." clown car.

Winning The Battles, Losing The War

Liberalism and the Democrats are losing, folks.  You have to look no further than formerly "purple" state of North Carolina, my home for nearly 30 years, where I grew up, went to school and college, now that it has been completely taken over by the Republicans, the final Southern state to fall to the darkness.  Make no mistake:  the GOP plan in North Carolina is the GOP plan for America. The GOP has achieved complete victory in the Old North State:

Those victories were capped last year when Republican Pat McCrory was elected governor, giving the party control of all levers of state government for the first time since 1870.

The victories were aided by the strong financial support of Art Pope, a multimillionaire who spent heavily in support of the state’s GOP candidates. The Institute for Southern Studies, a North Carolina-based research organization, said Pope’s advocacy network spent $2.2 million on 22 legislative races, winning 18. Overall, conservative organizations largely supported by Pope accounted for three-fourths of the outside money spent in North Carolina legislative races in 2010, according to the institute.

One of McCrory’s first acts after being elected governor was to install Pope, a former legislator, as the state budget chief. (The governor’s office declined to make Pope available for an interview.) And now, GOP lawmakers are moving swiftly to enact a long list of legislation they say is largely aimed at limiting government debt and snapping the state’s economy out of a years-long malaise.

Art Pope bought my home state.  He is now in control of the budget for the 10th most populous state in the Union, and the state is growing fast, challenging Michigan for 9th and Georgia for 8th.   The goal is simple:  massive austerity and the race to the bottom.

Legislators have slashed jobless benefits. They have also repealed a tax credit that supplemented the wages of low-income people, while moving to eliminate the estate tax. They have voted against expanding Medicaid to comply with the 2010 federal health-care law. The expansion would have added 500,000 poor North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls.

“Before considering Medicaid expansion, we must reform the current system to make sure people currently enrolled receive the services they need and more taxpayer dollars are not put at risk,” McCrory said in a written statement after signing a bill blocking the expansion.

Lawmakers are also considering proposals to reduce and flatten income tax rates while expanding the sales tax, perhaps to even include groceries and prescription drugs — which some advocates see as a first step toward eliminating the state income tax.

“North Carolina is a high-income-tax state, and we’re suffering the consequences,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berge (R). “Our unemployment rate is the fifth worst in the country, and our high tax rates are hindering economic growth and pushing jobs to our neighbors.”

And so eliminating the state's estate, corporate, and income taxes will drop the burden on the poorest, those who spend their paychecks every two weeks to buy food, clothing, and shelter.  The plan is to crush them with consumption taxes until they demand relief -- and the GOP will provide it by getting rid of state programs for the poor.

The plan of course is to drive those poor to other states, as it always is with the GOP race to the bottom.  Not our problem if they leave, not our burden to support.  So get ready, North Carolina.  You voted them into power.

You're going to get what you deserve for a while.
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