Posts Tagged John McCain

John McCain Threatens Revenge on Democrats if They Humiliate Republicans on Govt Shutdown

John McCain Threatens Revenge on Democrats if They Humiliate Republicans on Govt Shutdown

By: Sarah Jones
Sunday, October 13th, 2013

John McCain


As he made a discombobulated, shaky case for why Democrats were somehow responsible for Republicans’ failure of leadership, and fretted about Al-Qaeda coming after us while we were shutdown, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) huffed on CBS’ Face the Nation that Democrats better stop humiliating Republicans. He tried to sound scary from beneath the pin of GOP defeat, “Democrats better understand something, what goes around comes around!” So there. NEENER NEENER.

 “Al-Qaeda is not in shutdown!” Senator McCain, King of Fear-Mongering, intoned on Face the Nation. You’d almost think he was working for Democrats; however, he tried to lay our vulnerability and inability to defend ourselves at Democrats’ feet for being unwilling to let Republicans abuse the country. Mean old Dems.

John McCain has a warning for you!

“Democrats better understand something, what goes around comes around! And if they try to humiliate Republicans, things change in American politics, and I know what it’s like to be in the majority and the minority and it won’t be forgotten. Now is the time to be magnanimous!”

So there you have the best spin Republicans can put on their twin manufactured crises of shutdown and default. Democrats had better cave or else Republicans won’t be nice when they are in power.

Oh. So scary.

To clarify, are Republicans being “magnanimous” now? Because it’s been five years of Republicans calling Obama a terrorist, asking for his birth certificate, and shouting about impeaching him because of his skin color. They’ve crapped all over his nominations and stalled his entire agenda. In McCain’s chamber, Republicans as the minority have set records for filibustering. In the House, they have set the record for pretend votes to repeal ObamaCare. So, this is “magnanimous”, eh?

Democrats better watch out! When Republicans are in charge, they aren’t going to be magnanimous to Democrats. No more “you’re either with us or against us” or “you’re a terrorist if you don’t vote to invade Iraq” niceness.

John McCain and Republicans are banking on the public falling for this ruse that Republicans are the generous, magnanimous party and they are further banking on the idea that Democrats will buy into the very LIBERAL IDEA that negotiations are a function of reciprocity.

But Republicans do not function under the value of reciprocity. They function under the paradigm of power over or power under, which means every new power struggle (as they see it, or “negotiation” as Democrats see it) is an opportunity to take more control. Republicans are all about taking control even if it wasn’t given to them by the voters. They don’t give nice points for good behavior. They reward callous ruthlessness and then they crow about survival of the fittest, so Democrats have nothing to fear.

Also, Republicans are doing a fine job of humiliating themselves and they don’t seem to require any help. Democrats aren’t trying to humiliate Republicans when they ask Republicans to stop threatening the country, and only a party of defiant juveniles would see being asked to do their jobs that way.

There is no way to negotiate Republicans into playing fair or treating talks as a form of compromise where both sides give. These are not the old school Republicans. These are the Republicans born of their party’s refusal to admit their failures post-Bush. They make no sense, and they have no values. They can’t afford to have values because they haven’t the spine to admit that they sold out under Bush and still haven’t taken back “fiscal conservatism” or “keeping the country safe”.

Since the Republican Party can’t get its act together and is on the verge of a major meltdown between the House and Senate, they’re begging Democrats for mercy. Because they are Republicans, they don’t do this nicely or offer concessions in order to entice mercy. Instead they threaten if they don’t get mercy, everyone will pay next time around. This from the party that is currently threatening to destroy the global economy.

Yeah, Republicans already played that card, so Democrats have nothing to fear. To make matters worse for Republicans, Democrats are in the right, as they are defending the country against a Constitutional crisis manufactured by the “law and order” party of old.

John McCain was basically crying “Uncle” Republican style– that’s where you still point your finger at the other guy and cry that he’s done you wrong while you beg him to help you, because insulting people is always a win when you’re demanding that they not humiliate you.

 John McCain Threatens Revenge on Democrats if They Humiliate Republicans on Govt Shutdown.


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Jon Stewart Slams John McCain On Syria – Business Insider

Jon Stewart Shreds John McCain For Playing iPhone Poker During The Senate’s Syria Hearing


Jon Stewart McCain Syria

Comedy Central

On his second day back at “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart skewered Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for playing poker on his iPhone during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria Tuesday.

“McCain! You’ve been hawking Syria for a year!” Stewart said. “And now you can’t be bothered because you’re a river card away from crushing ‘stashman_42?'”

“You know what, senator? Go. There’s a rascal scooter and a bucket of quarters with your name on it over at the Golden Nugget. You can play all the video poker you want, 99 cent prime rib. Instead of playing pretend poker in the actual Senate, go to an actual casino and pretend you know what the government should do.”

McCain laughed off the controversy, but it quickly become a topic of some controversy.

He joked that the “worst part” about the game was that he lost “thousands of dollars” — a joke that didn’t quite land with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, who thought he was playing with actual money. 

“You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s this. A joke always lands better if you repeat it a second time,” Stewart quipped.


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Jon Stewart Slams John McCain On Syria – Business Insider.


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Charles Krauthammer: How fractured is the GOP? – The Washington Post

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer

Opinion Writer

How fractured is the GOP?

By Charles Krauthammer

A combination of early presidential maneuvering and internal policy debate is feeding yet another iteration of that media perennial: the great Republican crackup. This time it’s tea party insurgents vs. get-along establishment fogies fighting principally over two things: (a) national security and (b) Obamacare.

(a) National security

Gov. Chris Christie recently challenged Sen. Rand Paul over his opposition to the National Security Agency (NSA) metadata program. Paul has also tangled with Sen. John McCain and other internationalists over drone warfare, democracy promotion and, more generally, intervention abroad.

So what else is new? The return of the most venerable strain of conservative foreign policy — isolationism — was utterly predictable. Isolationists dominated the party until Pearl Harbor and then acquiesced to an activist internationalism during the Cold War because of a fierce detestation of communism.

With communism gone, the conservative coalition should have fractured long ago. This was delayed by Sept. 11 and the rise of radical Islam. But now, 12 years into that era — after Afghanistan and Iraq, after drone wars and the NSA revelations — the natural tension between isolationist and internationalist tendencies has resurfaced.

In fact, both parties are internally split on domestic surveillance, as reflected in the very close recent House vote on curbing the NSA. This is not civil war. It’s a healthy debate that helps recalibrate the delicate line between safety and security as conditions (threat level and surveillance technology, for example) change.

The more fundamental GOP divide is over foreign aid and other manifestations of our role as the world’s leading power. The Paulites, pining for the splendid isolation of the 19th century, want to leave the world alone on the assumption that it will then leave us alone.

Which rests on the further assumption that international stability — open sea lanes, free commerce, relative tranquillity — comes naturally, like the air we breathe. If only that were true. Unfortunately, stability is not a matter of grace. It comes about only by Great Power exertion.

In the 19th century, that meant the British navy, behind whose protection the United States thrived. Today, alas, Britannia rules no waves. World order is maintained by American power and American will. Take that away and you don’t get tranquillity. You get chaos.

That’s the Christie-McCain position. They figure that the country doesn’t need two parties of retreat. Paul’s views, more measured and moderate than his fringy father’s, are still in the minority among conservatives, but gathering strength. Which is why Christie’s stroke — defending and thus seizing the party’s more traditional internationalist consensus — was a signal moment in the run-up to the 2016 campaign. The battle lines are drawn.

(b) Obamacare

The other battle is about defunding Obamacare. Led by Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, the GOP insurgents are threatening to shut down the government on Oct. 1 if the stopgap funding bill contains money for Obamacare.

This is nuts. The president will never sign a bill defunding the singular achievement of his presidency. Especially when he has control of the Senate. Especially when, though a narrow 51 percent majority of Americans disapproves of Obamacare, only 36 percent favors repeal. President Obama so knows he’ll win any shutdown showdown that he’s practically goading the Republicans into trying.

Never make a threat on which you are not prepared to deliver. Every fiscal showdown has redounded against the Republicans. The first, in 1995, effectively marked the end of the Gingrich revolution. The latest, last December, led to a last-minute Republican cave that humiliated the GOP and did nothing to stop the tax hike it so strongly opposed.

Those who fancy themselves tea party patriots fighting a sold-out cocktail-swilling establishment are demanding yet another cliff dive as a show of principle and manliness.

But there’s no principle at stake here. This is about tactics. If I thought this would work, I would support it. But I don’t fancy suicide. It has a tendency to be fatal.

As for manliness, the real question here is sanity. Nothing could better revive the fortunes of a failing, flailing, fading Democratic administration than a government shutdown where the president is portrayed as standing up to the GOP on honoring our debts and paying our soldiers in the field.

How many times must we learn the lesson? You can’t govern from one house of Congress. You need to win back the Senate and then the presidency. Shutting down the government is the worst possible way to get there. Indeed, it’s Obama’s fondest hope for a Democratic recovery.

 Charles Krauthammer: How fractured is the GOP? – The Washington Post.


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Apple Could Pay For Moore by Tina Dupuy


Apple Could Pay For Moore

Investigators say due to some creative Ireland-based tax gimmicks, Apple has managed to keep $75 billion away from the IRS’s reach just in the years 2009-2012.

Even Senator John McCain conceded, “Apple claims to be the largest U.S. corporate taxpayer, but by sheer size and scale, it is also among America’s largest tax avoiders.”


132076 600 Apple Could Pay For Moore cartoons

Steve Sack / Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Apple is not alone. They’re in very posh company. Senator Carl Levin, who called Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, to Capitol Hill this week, cited a study by Citizens for Tax Justice that 30 multi-national companies pay zero dollars in federal taxes.

And in case you missed it, Senator Harry Reid, who was widely panned during the election for saying Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for a decade, was right! Through some resourceful faith-based loopholes Romney has effectively laundered money through the Mormon Church. There was a very good reason Romney didn’t release his tax returns. They made him look like a tax cheat. Mainly because he is.

What could our country possibly do with all the money innovative accountants ship away? You may have heard about a tornado that hit the suburb of Moore, Oklahoma this week. It leveled a swath of the town causing an estimated $1 billion in damages. The two Senators from Oklahoma both voted no on Hurricane Sandy relief for the North East. Senator Jim Inhofe says tornado aid is “totally different” from aid to another wind-based natural disaster. Senator Tom Coburn, who is usually pro-government-aid when tragedy strikes his own state (like the ice storm of ’07) is asking for off-sets in the federal budget to pay for Moore’s losses. Basically he wants to cut services to the rest of the country so tornado victims can rebuild.

Apparently government aid in the richest country on Earth is a zero-sum game: if one person gets help, someone else gets denied.

And speaking of being the (still) richest country in the world, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives our infrastructure (roads, bridges, levees, dams, sewage system, ports etc.) a D plus. They estimate we need a $3.6 trillion investment in our public infrastructure. And that’s without a Category 3 hurricane hitting our most populated city.

During the Apple hearing, Senator Rand Paul called for Congress to apologize to the company for dragging them to Capitol Hill: “Apple has 600,000 jobs they’ve created—American jobs—and we want to drag them before this committee to chastise them.”

But Paul actually made the most inadvertently salient point: “I am offended by the spectacle of dragging in here executives from an American company that is not doing anything illegal.”

Right. Everything they did was legal. Everything Mattel did to pay no federal taxes from 2008-2010 is legal. General Electric; legal. Verizon Communications, Boeing, Con-Way, Ryder System, Duke Way, El Paso, PG&E Corporation and the rest of the 30 multi-nationals all took advantage of legal tax advantages. Mitt Romney, who came within a mere five million votes of being the President of the United States, did nothing illegal to avoid paying taxes. It’s just unpatriotic. And unethical. But because of their lobbying lawmakers to make loopholes, it’s legal.

But frankly, it’s deplorable.

And here’s why: Because these giant corporations are getting a free pass by the very premise they create jobs. They’re in essence piling their tax burden onto their workers. When sycophantic Senators like Rand Paul genuflect to corporations as “job creators” what they really mean is “taxable income creators.”

So the people who work for a living give a chunk of their paychecks to the government to pay for things corporations need to conduct business (courts to protect; Congress to rig). Workers get to fund the country for the privilege of having a job.

And the (actual) privileged, whose money makes a living gets to outsource their tax obligations as a thank you from lawmakers.

This has led us to two current record highs in America: Corporate profits and Americans on food stamps.

Is there an app for that?

 Apple Could Pay For Moore by Tina Dupuy.


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Republicans: Obama Must Take Action in Syria So We Can Criticize Action He Took in Syria : The New Yorker

APRIL 29, 2013




WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A growing chorus of Republican lawmakers are demanding that President Obama take some action in Syria so that they can attack whatever action he took in Syria.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) laid out the situation in stark terms: “The time for President Obama to do something in Syria that we can eviscerate him for is long overdue.”

Arguing that there are a variety of options available to Mr. Obama for dealing with Syria, Sen. Graham said, “The President needs to choose one of those options so that we can immediately identify it as a catastrophic choice and demand that he be impeached.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) used an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to express impatience with Mr. Obama’s “steadfast refusal to give us something new to rake him over the coals for.”

“The American people have grown weary of my nonstop criticism of the President’s handling of Libya,” he said. “They are ready to hear me incessantly berate him for his handling of a different country.”

At the end of his television appearance, Sen. McCain seemed to draw a line in the sand, making a direct challenge to Mr. Obama: “Mr. President, we are sick and tired of attacking you for your inaction. The time has come for us to attack you for your action.”

 Republicans: Obama Must Take Action in Syria So We Can Criticize Action He Took in Syria : The New Yorker.


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Sarah Palin: Feds ‘stockpiling bullets’ to use against us – Kevin Cirilli –

Sarah Palin: Feds ‘stockpiling bullets’ to use against us

Sarah Palin is shown. | AP Photo

Palin said on she wants lawmakers to ‘stop the hysterics.’ | AP Photo


By KEVIN CIRILLI | 2/27/13 9:26 AM EST

Sarah Palin says America will eventually default on its debt and claims that the federal government is “stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest” to prepare.

“If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion dollar annual deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us. We’re finished. We’re going to default eventually and that’s why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest,” Palin wrote in a Facebook message Tuesday.

The former GOP governor of Alaska was referring to the sequester, the automatic $1.2 trillion cuts in federal funding that take effect Friday unless lawmakers reach a deal.

 “D.C.: Cut the Drama. Do Your Job. Americans are sick and tired of yet another ginned-up crisis. D.C. needs to grow up, get to work, and live within its means,” wrote Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential running mate of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

She continued: “The real economic Armageddon looming before us is our runaway debt, not the sequester, which the President advocated for and signed into law and is now running around denouncing because he never had any genuine intention of reining in his reckless spending.”

Palin wrote that she wants lawmakers to “stop the hysterics.”

“If we ARE serious about putting our fiscal house in order, then let’s stop the hysterics, tighten our belts, and take our medicine.”

Read more:

Sarah Palin: Feds ‘stockpiling bullets’ to use against us – Kevin Cirilli –


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Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Gary Ackerman’s Important Good-Bye


Gary Ackerman’s Important Good-Bye


Thursday, at the end of a meeting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Benghazi Consulate Attack Report, retiring Representative Gary Ackerman, a 15-term legislative veteran from New York, delivered what can only be dubbed a jeremiad. In it, he called out the Republican Party for governing via pretty much everything Yoda warned against in The Phantom Menace. He lamented the partisanship and political games that had come to even dominate issues of national security in Washington–something always considered verboten until the past decade or so. “The train had veered off the track,” as he put it.

Pat Bagley / The Sale Lake Tribune

Most recently, during this whole affair, the “train” in the equation has been represented by those wild and crazy guys of U.S. foreign policy, John McCain and Lindsey Graham–who’ve turned anger into a lifestyle choice. Ostensibly, at one point, their madness had to do with UN Ambassador Susan Rice, because she went on a Sunday talk show right after the Benghazi attack and repeated talking points provided by none other than the Central Intelligence Agency.

But these obviously well-informed gentlemen just couldn’t handle the truth. “She got the talking points from the Administration!” they croaked. “She’s unqualified,” they screeched! “We have more questions!” they burbled.

And they got their white whale. Rice, due to the very behavior Ackerman was decrying today, removed her own name from consideration for the position last week, announcing “I didn’t want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized, very distracting and very disruptive because there are so many things we need to get done as a country…”

So, were McCain and Graham playing political games, as Ackerman would say, or was their racism involved in the McCain/Graham jihad against Rice, or was it something else? There’s no doubt some of the oldest and most pernicious stereotypes hurled at African Americans in the U.S. were used against her, as her intelligence and work ethic were questioned. By none other than John McCain, mind you, who graduated 894th out of 899 students at the Naval Academy—also known as “getting in because you have the same last name as your Admiral father and grandfather.” I mean, there are proably potted plants in Annapolis that gave McCain a run for his money in class ranking.

In any case, those on the Right screamed that it couldn’t have been racism—I mean Graham and McCain both supported Condoleezza Rice for crying out loud! Why yes, yes they did.

So here’s a funny story–in the sense where “funny” means “tragic.” Condi Rice, also known as the Heckuva Job Brownie of National Security Advisors, also went on Sunday shows. In her case, it was to lie the United States into a war in Iraq, dissembling with verve about not wanting the “smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

As Ackerman noted today, these very Republicans were not so keen to investigate that particular travesty (some might even call it, what’s that term again—oh yeah, a war crime), even though not 4, but 4,000 U.S. troops are dead because of it (Ackerman was being too kind, it’s almost 4,500). This of course doesn’t even count the toll in suffering and death that has been visited upon Iraq.

The first Rice accomplished all this after being installed by George W. Bush in 2001, so she could immediately start receiving dozens of warnings about an imminent Al Qaeda attack, and studiously ignore them, while paying extra special attention to 1987’s most dangerous enemy, Russia (feel the Romnesia).

But that Rice was still worthy of support from McCain and Graham, the Laurel and Hardy of Shorja Market rug shopping. You see, she may have promoted a war based lies and fearmongering, but so were the dynamic duo, who to this day still won’t admit that war was a wonderful idea–you know like remaking Red Dawn or nominating Sara Palin to be vice president.

And that brings us back to Ackerman, and the important words this longtime Washington denizen spoke today. Ackerman was clear that we need two functioning parties for our democracy to work—and right now, as far as I’m concerned, the Republican Party comes closer every day to representing some kind of Neo-Confederate Cult, where if the South can’t rise again, their 19th Century sensibilities should give it the old college try.

What happened in Benghazi was a terrible tragedy. But you know what was even worse? Iraq. And 9/11. And frankly, Newtown, Connecticut. It would be nice if the Republican Party still had enough statesman to care half as much about preventing the next one of those massacres as they do for scoring political points in Washington.

 Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » Gary Ackerman’s Important Good-Bye.


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Kathleen Parker: Susan Rice and the Senate’s blame game – The Washington Post

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

Opinion Writer

Susan Rice and the Senate’s blame game

By Kathleen Parker, Published: December 4

A variety of insults have been deployed in opposition to Susan Rice’s likely nomination for secretary of state: She is not qualified; she’s too aggressive; she “misled” the public following the lethal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. 

Upon closer examination, however, the real reason may be less complicated. She’s not a member of the most elite club in America, the U.S. Senate. Also, she appears to be President Obama’s first choice.

As anyone with a television knows, Rice has come under fire by the new, revised Tres Amigos — Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, plus Susan Collins of Maine. All have expressed concerns about Rice’s role in delivering the administration’s explanation following the Benghazi attack, which initially was blamed on street protests over an anti-Muhammad video but later was confirmed as a terrorist attack.

While Collins, who previously supported Rice, says she still has unanswered questions, McCain — whose understanding of qualified women candidates is legendary — has promised to block Rice’s nomination. Graham, who most certainly will be “primaried” in the next election by South Carolinians who doubt his commitment to hard-right lunacy, followed suit, as did Ayotte.

Off somewhere letting her hair grow, Hillary Clinton knitted her brow and noted that Rice has been an excellent U.N. ambassador. Which is to say, she didn’t exactly go to the mat for her female colleague, who had the audacity to support Obama for president rather than the former first lady.

In Ganglandia, it’s the New Kids vs. the Clinton Machine. How dare Rice, once a Clinton administration appointee, defect?

Clinton, a McCain buddy from their years together in the Senate, reportedly prefers another Senate pal, John Kerry, as her successor. So does McCain & Co. So, needless to say, does Kerry, whose chiseled jaw alone constitutes a diplomatic arsenal. There’s clearly no profit in Clinton, a likely presidential candidate in 2016, alienating allies and devaluing her own currency for Rice.

Even so, the opposition’s arguments are weak, chief among them that Rice isn’t qualified. This from McCain, whose vetting history includes about 80 minutes of conversation with Sarah Palin before selecting her as his running mate in 2008. McCain’s opinion about Rice’s qualifications is only slightly less compelling than his thoughts on Playtex vs. Spanx.

For the record, Rice is a graduate of Stanford University and a Rhodes scholar, who served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Even this is troubling to Collins, who said that the Benghazi attack “in many ways echoes the attacks on [U.S. embassies in Africa] in 1998 when Susan Rice was head of the African region.”

Everybody brave enough to enter the public arena gets a few free passes when they utter something short of brilliant, but most of the criticisms aimed at Rice seem ungrounded in reality. To blame Rice for representing the administration’s position as provided to her at the time is missing the target, which is properly the White House.

Does Rice have an aggressive personality, as some have said? And does this pose a risk in nominating her? Yes and yes. She notoriously once flipped the bird to diplomat Richard Holbrooke during a State Department meeting.

Such an impulsive act is no recommendation, but is it emblematic or merely anecdotal? Aggression — and even occasional rudeness — is rarely considered a flaw in men. And even aggressive men learn to temper their impulses as circumstances warrant. Thank goodness Rice didn’t tell Holbrooke to go do that which one cannot do to oneself, as Dick Cheney once suggested to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. Or, heaven forbid, insist that we invade another country based on bad intelligence, as another Rice, who became secretary of state, once did.

The investigation into what transpired in Benghazi — bad things sometimes happen in dangerous places — is certainly appropriate. The administration’s incoherent handling of information deserves scrutiny. But Rice, barring something we don’t know, clearly has the qualifications for secretary of state.

And thoughtful Republicans might reconsider the image of white men ganging up on a highly qualified black woman as they ponder the reasons for their collapsing tent. The road to redemption ain’t thataway.

 Kathleen Parker: Susan Rice and the Senate’s blame game – The Washington Post.


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Republicans Blast Susan Rice for Misleading Public: “That’s Our Job” : The New Yorker

The Borowitz Report


NOVEMBER 27, 2012





WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A trio of Republican senators today blasted U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for misleading the American public, which, in the words of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R., S.C.), “has traditionally been our job.” “Ambassador Rice has been engaged in nonstop lies and double-talk,” said Sen. Graham, one of three Republican senators who had a closed-door meeting with Rice. “If she really wants to do those things so badly, she should run for the U.S. Senate like the rest of us.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) agreed with Sen. Graham’s assessment, saying of the meeting, “I heard Susan Rice spew nothing but half-truths, distortions, and complete fabrications. It felt like I was watching Fox News, except that she’s black.”

The third senator, John McCain (R., Ariz.), said that he found Ambassador Rice’s story profoundly disappointing: “Considering that the C.I.A. was involved, I thought there’d be more sex.”

 Republicans Blast Susan Rice for Misleading Public: “That’s Our Job” : The New Yorker.


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Republicans should look to their roots – The Washington Post

Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum

Opinion Writer

Republicans should look to their roots

By Anne Applebaum, Published: November 15

A Texan friend of mine heard Karl Rove a couple of days ago talking angrily about President Obama winning by “suppressing the vote.” Not long after that, she read that Sean Hannity wants to create a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. She wrote to me that she was compiling a list: “ways in which the Republicans are now stealing Democrats’ language.”

She was right to find it amusing. But, if you step back, it’s also tragic. The Republican Party doesn’t need to steal Democrats’ language, let alone Democrats’ ideas. Like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” all the Republican leadership needs to do is click its collective heels together and start looking for answers much closer to home.


If Republican leaders really want to appeal to Hispanic voters, for example, they don’t need clever Spanish-language marketing or better slogans. Nor do they need to steal political positions from across the aisle. Instead, they could resurrect the only sensible comprehensive immigration reform bill not passed into law — a bill largely written by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was a grand compromise: It attempted to win support from immigrants’ rights groups, which tend to be on the left of the political spectrum, and business leaders who employ immigrants, who tend to be on the right. It created not only a sensible path to citizenship for illegal immigrants but also a “guest worker” status for people who want to work for short periods, and it enhanced border security. The Bush White Housesupported the bill, which was defeated by congressional Republicans.

Maybe it’s time for those same Republicans to take seriously something that several observers have noted recently: For millions of people on the lower end of the pay scale, health-care expenditures take a bigger chunk of income than do taxes. For Republicans, this problem ought not to come as a surprise, since their elected representatives have been discussing it for two decades. As The Post’s Ezra Klein (among others) has beautifully documented, the Heritage Foundation came up with the idea of individual mandates in 1989; Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) wrote a bill — with 19 Republican co-sponsors — proposing comprehensive health-care reform in 1993. In the mid-2000s, Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) told me he reckoned that bipartisan agreement on the basic elements of health-care reform already existed in the Senate: All that was needed, he told me, was the political willpower to make it happen.

Republican leaders might also consider the writings of conservative columnists and think tanks more carefully. For many years, The Post’s Charles Krauthammer has advocated a hefty gasoline tax offset by an equivalent payroll tax cut. Steve Hayward at the American Enterprise Institute has been arguing for years that “conservation” is a word with the same roots as “conservative.”

The conservative movement is a broad church, and its worshipers include even a few sympathetic foreigners. Republicans could certainly do worse than to consult their counterparts across the Atlantic.

The British Conservative Party spent 12 years out of office after the 1997 elections that brought the Labor Party and Tony Blair to power. After two attempts to win by running well to the right of Blair, David Cameron led a group of Tory “modernizers” into power by, among other things, embracing “conservative” notions of conservation and budgetary austerity — and by deciding that the state should have no role in dictating private morality: Intolerance, one once told me, is “unconservative.” One Tory minister, Iain Duncan-Smith, spent his years in the political wilderness creating a think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, dedicated to the study of long-term poverty and welfare reform. He’s now in a position to put some of its proposals into practice. So is his colleague Michael Gove, another Tory modernizer, who spent his years out of power thinking about education and is now hard at work reforming British schools.

The British Conservatives didn’t merely hire new speechwriters to carry out this change, or ape their opponents in the Labor Party. They simply looked to their history and to their roots. There is no reason the Republican Party can’t do the same: There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home . . .

 Republicans should look to their roots – The Washington Post.


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Chastisement 2014

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