Thursday, November 13, 2014

Last Call For That Word Does Not Mean What You Think It Does

National Journal's Josh Kraushaar is convinced that Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, and the rest of the incoming GOP Senate class are going to govern as pragmatists.

This year's congressional majorities were built on the victories of center-right candidates, not the bomb-throwers who disrupted their party's leadership over the past two years. Of the 16 House Republicans who picked up seats for the party, 11 of them represent districts President Obama carried in 2012. And the freshman Senate class may be filled with conservatives, but ones who have expressed willingness to work across party lines.

The next generation's pragmatism is no accident. Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and aided by outside groups, worked assiduously to intervene in primaries, ensuring that far-right candidates like Chris McDaniel and Milton Wolf didn't win nominations. 
The biggest bellwethers in determining how unified the new Republican-controlled Senate will be are four newly elected conservative stalwarts: Sens.-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Dan Sullivan of Alaska. Three were endorsed by the antitax Club for Growth, while a fourth was a Sarah Palin favorite. But all of them had strong support from the establishment, too, and Republican leaders expect they will be team players in the new Senate.

Martin "BooMan" Longman is convinced that Josh Kraushaar is out of his freakin' mind.

Silly me, but I thought the "trope" about Cory Gardner was that he knew how to put a moderate sheen on an extreme anti-contraception record. He didn't say stupid things like Sharron Angle or Ken Buck, but his left-right alignment isn't any different. Thom Tillis presided over the most radical state legislature in North Carolina in living memory. Joni Ernst spent much of time talking about how she was going to come to Washington and start cutting the balls off the place. What these folks did was win where their radical predecessors had lost, and they gave lip service here and there to finding solutions, but all that happy talk was accompanied by completely uncompromising paranoia and lunacy regarding the president.

Let's remember that Joni Ernst has gone on record saying if elected she will work to abolish the Department of Education and the EPA.  The tax plan Thom Tillis and the NC GOP put together benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle-class  Cory Gardner backed Colorado's abortion-ending personhood measure. Dan Sullivan campaigned on being responsible for Alaska's "stand your ground" law (and he wasn't, he lied).

And all the incoming GOP Senators have vowed to take health care away from millions of Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act.

And in the House, Steve M. points out that the same old battles over health care and stupid show trials prove there was never going to be a "more moderate GOP interested in governance."

Congressional Republicans seized Wednesday on controversial comments made by a former health-care consultant to the Obama administration, with one leading House conservative suggesting that hearings could be called in response as part of the GOP effort to dismantle the law in the next Congress and turn public opinion ahead of the 2016 election.

"We may want to have hearings on this," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an influential voice among GOP hardliners and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in an interview at the Capitol. "We shouldn't be surprised they were misleading us."

But you're supposed to believe these clowns are going to "work with President Obama to govern."

Okay, Josh.

Stimulus/Response Theory, Immigration Edition

The Stimulus:

President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

The Response:

Now things get very, very interesting, but right now it looks like Obama has won this round convincingly and that there's nothing they can do about it.  We'll see what the GOP does between now and next week, but if McConnell is folding on this, then that GOP civil war I keep hinting at will surely burst open like a rotten melon.  Greg Sargent agrees.

Because this combines a fight over “amnesty” with one over alleged executive overreach, it will probably put the conservative media into five-alarm overdrive. Virtually every Republican official in the country will speak out against it. Ted Cruz will rampage throughout the Conservative Entertainment Complex warning of a Constitutional crisis. 
If this reaches such incendiary levels, how far will GOP leaders feel compelled to go in fighting it? McConnell is already pledging that “there is no possibility of a government shutdown.” But if there is any area where conservatives will continue to demand maximum confrontation, you’d think it’s here. If so, they will demand a Total War posture against Obama’s efforts to defer the deportations of millions.

So either McConnell has no real power over his caucus either, just like John Boehner, and we're headed into complete GOP anarchy, or the Tea Party never had any power and executive immigration action will happen regardless of what Republicans do.  Those really are the only two eventual outcomes at this point...

...Unless the Democrats panic and collapse, and somehow force President Obama to roll back his own executive orders.  That's always a possibility.

GOP Voter Suppression Worked

Welcome to the new Jim Crow era, folks.  Disenfranchisement of millions of voters is now a reality nationwide. WaPo's Catherine Rampell:

The days of Jim Crow are officially over, but poll-tax equivalents are newly thriving, through restrictive voter registration and ID requirements, shorter poll hours and various other restrictions and red tape that cost Americans time and money if they wish to cast a ballot. As one study by a Harvard Law School researcher found, the price for obtaining a legally recognized voter identification card can range from $75 to $175, when you include the costs associated with documentation, travel and waiting time. (For context, the actual poll tax that the Supreme Court struck down in 1966 was just $1.50, or about $11 in today’s dollars.)

A hundred bucks just to vote?  But doesn't the state pay for it?  Sure, if you can go through the hardship process to prove you can't afford it, which of course takes months.  The new poll taxes are certainly real enough to keep millions from voting, and that could have affected the 2014 elections:

In the meantime, some ­back-of-the-envelope calculations from Wendy Weiser — director of the Democracy Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice — should at least give us pause: Right now, it looks like the margin of victory in some of the most competitive races around the country was as big as the likely “margin of disenfranchisement,” as Weiser puts it. That is, more people were newly denied the right to vote than actually cast deciding ballots.

Let that sink in.  More people were disenfranchised this year due to new Voter ID laws than the margin of victory for Senate and/or Governor's races in some states.

Take, for example, Kansas. 
In the state’s nail-biting gubernatorial race, Republican incumbent Sam Brownback bested his Democratic challenger, Paul Davis, by a mere 33,000 votes out of nearly 850,000 cast. Now, compare that with the estimated effects of Kansas’s new restrictions on voting. 
We know that more than 21,000 people tried to register but failed because they lacked the necessary “documentary proof of citizenship” required by a new Kansas law. The state’s separate, strict voter ID law also had an effect: Applying findings from a recent Government Accountability Office reportthat examined how the voter ID law affected the state’s turnout in 2012, Weiser estimates that it probably reduced turnout this time around by about 17,000 votes.

38,000 votes disenfranchised.  Davis beat Brownback by 33,000 votes.

Weiser finds similarly troubling results for close races in other states with restrictive voting laws, including North Carolina (where the U.S. Senate race was decided by about 47,000 votes, or 1.6 percentage points, in favor of the Republican candidate) and Florida (where the governor’s race was decided by about 66,000 votes, or 1.1 points, also in favor of the Republican).

Yes, 2014 turnout was low in blue states with no voter suppression laws.  That doesn't mean that voter suppression laws in red states didn't have an effect in turnout in those states and the races in them.

And even more voter suppression laws go into effect for 2016.

Won't that be fun?


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