Thursday, February 05, 2009

Some Daily Political Headliners

There are some crazy stuff happening this week in the world of politics, with much of this having to do with the "bipartisanship" between the congressional Republicans and the Obama administration. So let us get into the fun of today's Daily Political Headliners:

GOP Rep. calls for Taliban-like insurgency; I am not making this up. From The Huffington Post;

In an interview with National Journal's Hotline, Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas suggested his party could follow the model of the Taliban in its legislative battles.

"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."

Sessions said the "Taliban" approach was a reaction to a lack of bipartisan outreach from House Democrats.

So does this mean that Representative Pete Sessions is now against America if he is calling for the Taliban should be taking over the House leadership? Or maybe the Republican Party should embrace terrorism--car bombs and IEDs' set to blow up Democratic congressmen? Assassinate cabinet officials? Or how about sending a couple commercial airlines into the White House? Is this what the Republicans want? Because this is what the face of terrorism is right now.

Then again, this isn't the most idiotic and stupid statement that Pete Sessions has made. According to this February 2, 2009 Politico story, Sessions started this insurgency craze by telling Republicans, at their party retreat in Hot Springs, Virginia, that the GOP needed "to get over the idea that they’re participating in legislation and ought to start thinking of themselves as 'an insurgency' instead." According to two people who attended Sessions' briefing, Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers said that Sessions' insurgency remark "was the most offensive-minded proposal he’s seen during his 28 years in the House."

Of course, the stupidity comments on insurgencies doesn't even stop with Pete Sessions. According to this January 21, 2009 Wall Street Journal story [Hat tip Washington Monthly], Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina liked GOP opposition to President Obama's stimulus package as "freedom fighters. From the WSJ:

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters," Mr. DeMint said. "What I'm looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism."

So now we've got one GOP House representative claiming the party should be operating a Taliban-like insurgency, and one GOP senator claiming that same party should be operating as freedom fighters. I'm sorry, but these guys are stark, raving, lunatics!

GOP's fight against "honeybee insurance:" I found this Los Angeles Times' columnist Michael Hiltzik story, also through The Washington Monthly, where it appears that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is attempting to kill the economic stimulus package by zeroing in on a small provision that the GOP is calling "honeybee insurance." According to LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik;

That brings us to McConnell and his problem with "honeybee insurance." It turns out that the Senate minority leader took his cue from Neil Cavuto of Fox News, who has been carrying on about the topic for more than a week. Their campaign was joined Tuesday by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who stood on the floor of the chamber challenging "any member to come and explain what that provision was."

I'm no senator, but I'm pleased to inform Vitter that it is, in fact, a disaster insurance program for all livestock producers. Beekeepers obviously would be minor beneficiaries next to, say, cattle ranchers, so it's a tad bit dishonest to label the whole program "honeybee insurance."

The provision simply continues a program enacted by Congress last year, overriding a veto by President Bush. In other words, the Senate voted on it twice in 2008 -- once to enact and once to override. Connoisseurs of political comedy will see the punch line coming: McConnell and Vitter voted yea both times.

So it turns out that McConnell isn't really against honeybees. He's only using them to pretend that he's got a principled objection to a stimulus plan aimed at pulling the country out of the most severe recession in decades.

The honeybees, and the rest of us, are merely collateral damage.

This is just amazing! McConnell and the Republicans are so opposed to this stimulus plan that they are pulling stories from Neil Cavuto of Fox News to present their own misguided arguments in order to kill the stimulus plan. And they still get it completely wrong where the program is not about honeybee insurance, but rather "a disaster insurance program for all livestock producers." It may be a pork program, but the Republicans have decided to cherry-pick the smallest details of this stimulus plan and over-hype those details, concluding that the stimulus plan is a bad bill. And the GOP are getting these cherry-picked stories from Fox News? I thought it was the other way around, where Fox News was the mouthpiece for the Republican Party.

Republicans oppose Obama stimulus plan for more tax cuts: This Talking Points Memo story is really no big surprise for what the Republican Party stands for;

President Obama talks about seeking bipartisan accord ... and he reaches out to GOP senators ... but how many Republicans are even open to the need for fixing the economy through government spending?

As The Washington Independent's Dave Weigel points out, that question seems to have been answered in a Senate vote last night. When Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) offered an alternative stimulus plan that would replace all government spending in the stimulus with a series of tax cuts, 36 Republican senators voted for it.

To emphasize the point, that means all but four GOPers were perfectly happy with scrapping the core assumption of the president's plan. Here, then, are the four Republican senators whom Obama has the best shot at working with: Susan Collins (ME), George Voinovich (OH), Arlen Specter (PA), and Olympia Snowe (ME).

So the Republicans in the Senate have decided that tax cuts are a better economic stimulus plan than the current stimulus plan that President Obama has submitted to Congress. Excuse me, but didn't we already have a huge tax cut plan, proposed by President George W. Bush about eight years ago? And how those tax cuts, along with the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have driven this country into over $10 trillion into debt?

As for the four senators who voted against scraping the Obama stimulus plan for a tax cut plan, all four senators are centrist senators residing in blue, Democratic states. If may be possible to swing their votes in favor of the economic stimulus package, if enough of their Democratic constituents demand that they vote in favor of the stimulus package. As for the rest of the Senate Republicans, they are probably sitting in strong red states, so they are going to vote as right-wing crazy as they want to be.

Joe the Plumber becomes Joe the Political Analyst; I haven't really said much about Joe the Plumber on my blog here. Joe the Plumber is really Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who was videotaped questioning Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's tax policies on his plumbing business. During the third presidential debate, Republican presidential candidate John McCain made repeated references to Wurzelbacher as "Joe the Plumber." The name stuck. Since then, Joe the Plumber has made numerous media appearances and has campaigned for John McCain. Wurzelbacher then decided to ditch his plumbing business to become a war correspondent for Pajama's Media TV. Reporting from the war front, where Israel invaded the Gaza strip in an attempt to stop Hamas rocket attacks, Joe the War Correspondent said that journalists should not be allowed anywhere near a war zone.

Well, now it appears that Wurzelbacher has taken off his war correspondent's jacket and is becoming a political analyst. From the February 2, 2009 story:

Fresh off his stint as a war correspondent in Gaza, Joe the Plumber is now doing political strategy with Republicans.

When GOP congressional aides gather Tuesday morning for a meeting of the Conservative Working Group, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher – more commonly known as Joe the Plumber — will be their featured guest. This group is an organization of conservative Capitol Hill staffers who meet regularly to chart GOP strategy for the week.

Wurzelbacher, who became a household name during the presidential election, will be focusing his talk on the proposed stimulus package. He's apparently not a fan of the economic rescue package, according to members of the group.

If nothing else, GOP aides are using the appearance to get staffers to attend the 9 a.m meeting.

“In case you weren’t planning to attend CWG tomorrow morning, you might want to reconsider because Joe the Plumber will be joining us!” Kimberly Wallner, an aide to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, wrote in a message to her e-mail list this afternoon.

So it is now Joe the Political Analyst?

I'm not sure I understand the Republican Party's love for this guy. Does the GOP really believe that Wurzelbacher is the epitome of what an average American should be? I'll admit that this guy's claim to fame was that he questioned Obama's tax policies during a rally. But then the Republican spin-miesters decided to use Wurzelbacher as their mascot for attacking Obama's economic policies--and they still failed to get Republican John McCain elected into the White House in spite of using Joe the Plumber. In the end, Wurzelbacher decided to use the Republican Party for his own fifteen minutes of fame--first by campaigning for John McCain, and then by taking his fame to playing war correspondent for a conservative media site. And now the GOP is so obsessed with Joe the Plumber that they've brought him to Washington DC to become their political analyst? What kind of political advise and analysis can this "plumber" give to these GOP idiots?

The craziness continues.

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