Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Michele Bachmann passed batshit insane a long time ago, and yet somehow she keeps getting crazier:

Last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), solidifying her well-deserved reputation for madness, insisted she will refuse to cooperate with the 2010 census. This happens to be illegal, but the Minnesota Republican has an elaborate conspiracy theory to bolster her position.

Today, Bachmann appeared on Fox News to defend this, and came up with a new argument: “If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps.”

Bachmann added, “I’m not saying that that’s what the administration is planning to do, but I am saying that private personal information that was given to the Census Bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up, in a violation of their constitutional rights, and put the Japanese in internment camps.”

When Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who’d been bashing ACORN with Bachmann to this point, noted that members of Congress probably shouldn’t deliberately ignore federal law, Bachmann added, “I’m just not comfortable with the way this census is being handled,” in part because Americans are “compelled” to answer the census.

Well, yes, Michele, they are – and have been for centuries now. This is a fact a lawmaker may want to try to wrap their head around. It shouldn’t be that hard, considering your head’s already rather twisty.

Speaking of twisty, the GOP’s apparently planning an all-out assault on Nancy Pelosi over her “CIA lied to me” remarks:

The pollster for the House GOP leadership has conducted a poll to determine the effectiveness of one of the GOP’s leading attacks on Nancy Pelosi — that she wasn’t being truthful when she claimed the CIA lied to her about torture.
The poll, which I obtained from a source, found that it may be working. People believe that the CIA didn’t mislead Pelosi by a wide margin, 49%-27%.

The poll — which was conducted by longtime House GOP pollster David Winston — is interesting because it suggests that Republicans remain committed to this line of attack and are eager to gauge whether it’s effective in hopes of keeping it going.

It doesn’t look like the poll asked the all-important follow-up question: “Do you give a shit?” I wish them all the best with that pathetic line of attack.

In other “pathetic lines of attack” news, Cons are still on about Sotomayor’s supposed activist-judge qualities, so much so they’re making up their minds against her before her confirmation hearings:

Yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) “became at least the third Republican” to announce that he will vote against Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

Mr. President, judges do not make law, and under no circumstance should they be under the impression that they do. Judge Sotomayor sees judges as lawmakers — as both umpire and player. […]

I wonder how Alexander Hamilton would respond. I think he would wholly disagree with that interpretation. Unfortunately, Judge Sotomayor’s writings and statements lead me to believe she is a proponent — a clear proponent — of an activist judiciary. I cannot support her nomination. I will vote “no” when it comes before the full Senate.

Sammy earns full suck-up-to-the-rabidly-stupid-base points, but he and his fellow already-decideds have just opened themselves up to yet more hypocrisy. To wit:

During the confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito in 2006, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) lamented to the judge that there were “those who have already decided to vote against your nomination and are looking for some reason to do so.”

This genius statement was, of course, made before any Dem had announced any intention not to vote for Alito. And so I’m sure we can rely on him to chide his fellow Republicans for jumping to conclusions, right?


Why am I hearing crickets?

Also in hypocrisy news, it turns out that Cons’ love for the CBO only goes so far:

Back in January, the Congressional Budget Office issued a preliminary assessment of the administration’s stimulus package. It was only a partial look at an out-of-date proposal, but it bolstered Republicans’ criticism, so the GOP ran with the misleading numbers. Soon after, a more complete CBO report was issued, it bolstered the Democrats’ case, and all of a sudden, Republicans’ love and respect for the CBO disappeared.

We’re seeing the exact same scenario play out again.
Last week, the Congressional Budget Office scored an incomplete Democratic health care proposal, issuing an unhelpful analysis with little practical value. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) not only accepted the CBO numbers as gospel, but called the analysis “the turning point in the healthcare debate.”

This week, the CBO ran the numbers on the Democratic cap-and-trade, and in the process, discredited the Republican talking points on the proposal. Cantor’s fickle love for the CBO, predictably, faded quickly.

“Today, now we are reading the reports that have come out this week that CBO has now reduced its cost estimate to say that it is only $160 that families will be impacted by the cap and trade bill. I think that now CBO has now entered the realm of losing its credibility.”

Um, congressman? If you believe the CBO when it tells you what you want to hear, and reject it when it delivers bad news, it’s not the Congressional Budget Office that’s “losing credibility.”

Not that Cantor had any left to lose, o’ course.

Finally, we have a hint that the Cons in Congress are preaching to a very small choir indeed:

Okay, so it may be too early to call this a trend. But it’s increasingly obvious that the GOP Congressional leadership is at risk of being at odds with even Republican rank and file voters on key issues.

Case in point: Cap-and-trade. New poll numbers from The Washington Post show that there’s strong support across the board for a cap-and-trade approach to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. While this approach is currently opposed by Republican leaders, a surprising 60% of liberal and moderate Republicans favor it.

Health care? Check. This week’s New York Times poll found that even 50% of Republicans back a public insurance option as part of health care reform, a position strongly opposed by GOP leaders.

Even Republican strategists acknowledge this problem. David Hill, who has polled for Republican candidates for years, wrote yesterday that on health care, there is a “dangerous gap between the opinions of Republicans in Congress and Republican followers.”

But, of course, that just means that 50-60% of Republican followers aren’t real Americans, right? It couldn’t possibly mean that the Cons in Congress are representing only Looneyville, rather than a broad Republican base.

It’ll be interesting to see just how many voters they end up with there at the end. I have a feeling we won’t need very many numbers to represent the total…

Happy Hour Discurso
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