Shocking?

According to a recent report in the Palm Beach Post:

A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.

Republican leaders said in proposing the law that it was meant to save money and fight voter fraud. But a former GOP chairman and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both of whom have been ousted from the party, now say that fraud concerns were advanced only as subterfuge for the law’s main purpose: GOP victory.

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants.

“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”

No, it is not at all shocking.

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten,
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

Hmmmm…..

Does the United States have a party duopoly which governs a managed democratic political system? It does, and Ross Douthat of the New York Times recently provided ad hoc evidence supporting that judgment:

Paul Ryan is not a moderate, not a centrist, and certainly not a perfectly neutral non-ideological number-crunching budget wonk. He is a conservative whose fiscal blueprints and budgets are drawn up with conservative goals uppermost in mind. He’s a Reaganite pro-life hawkish supply-sider who wants limited government and the lowest possible tax burden. Out of all the running mates available, Mitt Romney chose one of the most explicitly ideological options.

But moderates — and maybe, just maybe, the occasional liberal as well — should appreciate Ryan all the same, because he’s almost single-handedly responsible for saving the Republican Party from some of its own worst impulses.

Failing political parties tend to develop toxic internal cultures, and the post-2008 Republican Party was no exception. Reeling from two consecutive electoral repudiations, Republicans looked poised to spend President Obama’s first term alternating between do-nothingism and delusion. They would demagogue every Democratic proposal, decline to offer any alternative on any issue, and seal themselves inside a fantasy world where tax cuts always pay for themselves and budgets can be balanced by cutting funding for NPR.

Some of this came to pass. But from the earliest days of the Obama presidency, Ryan was pushing his fellow Republicans toward a different course. When conservatives praise the Wisconsin congressman for his courage, this willingness to ask more of his own party is a big part of what they have in mind.

Briefly put, Paul Ryan might appeal to moderates, centrists and a few liberals because he is a serious man on a mission. His mission? To impose vicious and predatory, foolish and reactionary policies on a country that would be best served if it repudiated men like Ryan and, for that matter, Obama. Ryan adds gravitas to the GOP clown car, and for this he deserves praise.

Douthat is also a reactionary, and it should surprise no one that he wants the Republican Party to take the lead in the imposition of political and economic reaction on the United States. It is also noteworthy that Douthat does not call for the political defeat of the Democratic Party. Both parties must share the burdens in the movement of the United States to the right.

Mitt Romney picks Paul Ryan to be his running mate

Is it shocking that Romney picked a Koch Kreature such as Rep. Paul Ryan for this job? No!

Quote of the day

Channeling the spirit of the psychoanalytic Marxist Wilhelm Reich, David Rosen wrote:

Are hypocrites born or made? Is false consciousness a social disease? These are among the unasked questions haunting the 2012 Republican presidential race.

The four surviving candidates are hypocrites. Mitt Romney is the guy-next-door everyman with a quarter-billion-dollars in his pocket; Rick Santorum is the blue-collar everyman who has learned to work the corporate con for self-serving ends; Ron Paul is the white everyman standing before a giant Confederate flag proclaiming that the South was right seceding from the Union; and then there is Newt Gingrich, the shameless everyman who sheds his past like a snake loses its old skin.

Gingrich is the most hypocritical presidential candidate in modern history. But the significance of his hypocrisy can only be fully appreciated in terms of his surprising Jan. 21st primary victory in South Carolina. Approximately 40 percent of registered Republicans willingly accepting his fiction. This is the politics of false consciousness.

What happens in Florida on Jan. 31st will be illuminating. It may well cut the Republican primary field being cut to two plus one; Santorum may exit while Paul hangs on like Ralph Nader did in 2000.

Rodney Howard-Browne blesses Newt’s campaign

The logo of Revival Ministries International; ...

Sarah Posner reported that:

Today Newt Gingrich made an appearance at River Church in Tampa, Florida, pastored by Rodney Howard Browne. Slate’s Dave Weigel tweeted that in introducing Gingrich, Browne prayed that America “will not allow the killing of unborn babies, and the takeover of Islam” and “the Constitution that we have, and your word, and Jesus is the only way we can be delivered from this plight.”

Howard-Browne is a charismatic revivalist who preaches the Prosperity Gospel. His sect is called Revival Ministries International.

Gingrich, on the other hand, belongs to a well-known church to which many Republican politicians belong, the Opportunistic Pettifoging Mudslingers. I’m sure Howard-Browne and Gingrich have found common ground on which to stand.

Democrats on the Super Committee offer to cut Medicare benefits

It was big money, too. They did it before, and they’ll do it again till they make cuts the Republicans will accept. As Jon Walker noted, “No wonder young people upset about income inequality are occupying the streets instead of rallying to elect Democrats. Americans need something better than just austerity lite.”

Idle hands are the devil's workshop

A bad day for the Republican Party…

…is a good day for democracy in America! Attaturk summarized the carnage at FireDogLake:

  • Ohio voters reject Issue 2, thus conserving collective bargaining rights of public sector unions in Ohio and thereby embarrassing Governor Kasich.
  • Mississippi’s voters soundly defeated Amendment 26, the so-called the personhood initiative.
  • Maine voters voted overwhelmingly for Question 1, thus restoring same-day election registration in Maine.
  • Arizona voters opted to recall State Senator Russell Pearce, a Republican and the author of Arizona SB 1070, the notorious Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.
  • Iowa voters elected Democrat Liz Mathis to the State Senate, a result which retained a 26-24 pro Democrat split in the Senate and which undermined Iowa’s Republican Governor’s ability to pursue his arch-conservative agenda.

Do they have any shame?

No, not at all! ThinkProgress found that:

As states continue to cope with budget shortfalls, the same pattern repeats itself over and over again. Republicans refuse to raise revenues — opposing tax hikes on the ultra-wealthy or ending wasteful tax loopholes for corporations — thus forcing budgets to be closed by targeting the most vulnerable: students, middle class families, the elderly, the unemployed, etc.

California is no different, as GOP legislators in Sacramento refused to budge on tax increases, which forced savings in Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D-CA) new budget to be found solely through draconian cuts. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, cuts to higher education alone will force a nearly 18 percent bump in tuition for UC students. Yearly budget cuts have more than doubled the price of public college in California since 2005.

But as California Republicans rail against “welfare” and wasteful government spending, an investigation by ThinkProgress has found that many of the state’s leading GOP legislators are themselves millionaire recipients of taxpayer money….

Orrin Hatch — clown

Orrin Hatch, Utah's longest serving senator, i...

Orrin Hatch

As Michael McAuliff reports:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted against beginning debate on a measure that would have the Senate declare the rich should share the pain of debt reduction Thursday, a day after arguing that it’s the poor and middle class who need to do more.

“I hear how they’re so caring for the poor and so forth,” Hatch said in remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, in reference to Democrats. “‘The poor need jobs!’ And they also need to share some of the responsibility.”

Quote of the day

Michael Lind writes:

In contradiction to the hostility to Darwinism shared by many of its constituents, the American right is evolving rapidly before our eyes. The project of creating an American version of Burkean conservatism has collapsed. What has replaced it is best described as triple fundamentalism — a synthesis of Biblical fundamentalism, constitutional fundamentalism and market fundamentalism.

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