Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of the Republicon party:

Oddly enough, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was not only in over her head on the national stage, she’s also struggling in Alaska.

A couple of weeks before the Alaska legislature began this year’s session, a bipartisan group of state senators on a retreat a few hours from here invited Gov. Sarah Palin to join them. Accompanied by a retinue of advisers, she took a seat at one end of a conference table and listened passively as Gary Stevens, the president of the Alaska Senate, a former college history professor and a low-key Republican with a reputation for congeniality, expressed delight at her presence.

Would the governor, a smiling Stevens asked, like to share some of her plans and proposals for the coming legislative session?

Palin looked around the room and paused, according to several senators present. “I feel like you guys are always trying to put me on the spot,” she said finally, as the room became silent.

Asking her to do her job is putting her “on the spot.” And the Con base adores this woman. I don’t have to say any more, now, do I?

Let’s see if things are any better in Utah:

Last night, Utah’s local ABC station received leaked portions of an interview with state senator Chris Buttars (R), which will be highlighted in an upcoming documentary on Proposition 8. Buttars is an outspoken opponent of gay rights; in the latest interview, he compares gays to alcoholics and Muslim terrorists, and warns that gay people are “probably the greatest threat to America.” Some excerpts from the interview:

– To me, homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion. And you say that around here now and everybody goes nuts! But I don’t care.

– They say, I’m born that way. There’s some truth to that, in that some people are born with an attraction to alcohol.

– They’re mean! They want to talk about being nice — they’re the meanest buggers I ever seen. It’s just like the Moslems. Moslems are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side.

– I believe that you will destroy the foundation of American society, because I believe the cornerstone of it is a man and a woman, the family. … And I believe that they’re, internally, they’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of. Yep, the radical gay movement.

Nope. Still white-hot stupid. National stage?

During the debate over the stimulus, President Obama accused his critics of wanting to “do nothing” about the economic crisis. Republicans complained that it wasn’t true. “I know of no Republican in the Congress of the United States who wants to do nothing,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said. But with the focus now shifting to the credit and housing crises, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) (who led the opposition to the stimulus) is advocating a radical prescription of “allowing private markets to run their course” and let banks fail…

Dear, oh dear. That’s a stupid two-fer. But at least they’re the party of fiscal responsibility and iron-clad integrity, right?

Huff Post:

Rep. Cantor played a key role in getting bipartisan approval for the controversial $700 billion bank bailout bill in September, although since then he has been a vocal opponent of the surprising way the money is being spent: buying up stock in banks.

Still, it is one of those strange quirks in politics that $267 million of the money is going straight to a privately owned bank where Cantor’s wife, Diana, is the managing director at a subsidiary. It’s a job she apparently started early last year, after years in finance.

Cantor’s people maintain that his wife and he did not even know that her employer was applying for a federal taxpayer bailout.

I guess he forgot to tell her all about it. I guess all that advice from Gingrich is paying off.

Utterly corrupt or jaw-droppingly clueless. I can’t decide which is worse. Of course, they could be both

But hey, they’ll get to campaign on their opposition to the stimulus. Sure to be popular with the base, right?

We talked a week ago about the tax-cut provisions of the economic stimulus package, and how it turns out that President Obama proposed and passed one of the largest tax cuts in American history — $282 billion over two years — without Republican support.

I’m glad to see some others are picking up on this. Yesterday, Marc Ambinder noted:

Don’t know if anybody has yet noticed in the Republican Party but President Obama was presented last week a major talking point for 2012.

He’ll sign today one of the largest tax cuts in history.

In spite of the White House pointing this out to journalists, it is funny how little remarked-upon this is.

It’s hard imagine we won’t hear about this four years from now. And if that’s not boxing a future Republican candidate in ahead of time, I don’t know what is.

Chris Hayes had a similar observation.

On the politics side of the ledger, Ben Smith notes Obama’s emphasis on the tax cuts in the bill. I’m not necessarily a fan, though politically it’s true that every single Republican member of congress can now be accused of “Voting against the biggest tax cut in history” come next election.” Clearly, this hasn’t escaped the White House’s notice.

I believe the te
chnical term here is “up shit creek without a paddle.” Which is probably why they’re swimming for all they’re worth just about now:

Last week, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) slammed President Obama’s recovery and reinvestment plan. “Hold on to your wallets folks because with the passage of this trillion-dollar baby the Democrats will be poised to spend as much as $3 trillion in your tax dollars,” Bond said. Unfortunately, this bill stimulates the debt, it stimulates the growth of government, but it doesn’t stimulate jobs,” Bond insisted.

However, today Bond is touring Missouri to tout the very stimulus plan he railed against. In a press release, Bond boasted about an amendment he included in the bill to provide more funding for affordable housing — and that will create jobs


Bond is not alone in trying to reap the political benefits both from voting against the bill and from bringing much needed funding to his district:

– Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who complained that the “federal government is spending money they don’t have,” told Rachel Maddow he would nevertheless accept funds for Minnesota: “Our view is, if you buy the pizza, it’s OK if you have a slice.”

– Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also campaigned ardently against the bill, said he would nevertheless gladly accept its funds for his state. “You don’t want to be crazy here,” he said.

– Rep. John Mica (R-FL) gushed over the bill, which he, too, voted against. “I applaud President Obama’s recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America’s future,” he said in a press release.

– Rep. Don Young (R-AK) boasted that he “won a victory for…Alaska small business owners” in the recovery bill he refused to vote for.

No wonder RNC Chairman Michael Steele declared recently, “You have absolutely no reason — none — to trust our word or our actions at this point.”

No kidding.

Happy Hour Discurso

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