They already got a hearing

I’m all for this fair and balanced hearing conservatives are holding:

Republican Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will convene a hearing tomorrow, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”
The lead witness is the Most Reverend William E. Lori, Roman Catholic Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. Judging from Lori and the rest of the witness list, it’s obvious that Issa has posed what he considers to be a rhetorical question and lined up nine like-minded rhetoricians to answer it anyway. None of the religious groups supportive of the Obama administration will be heard from.

Because of this:

Today’s New York Times/CBS poll asks: “Do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female patients?”
This is Obama’s new accommodation policy, which the Blunt amendment would roll back completely and go considerably further in the process. Sixty six percent support this federal requirement; only 26 percent oppose it.
CBS’s polling team sends over a partisan breakdown of the answers, and it’s even more striking:
* Even Republicans support this policy, 50-44.
* Independents support it by 64-26.
* Moderates support it by 68-22.
* Women support it by 72-20.
* Catholics support it by 67-25.
* And even Catholics who attend church every week or almost every week support it by 48-43.

Two things: is Darrell Issa the most overrated attack dog in history? This is the idiot we were all supposed to be afraid of, because of his mighty powers and political skills. And, second thing, it’s pretty amazing how far the punditry are from public opinion.

Maybe everyone will come down with a stomach flu when the anti-contraceptive bill comes up in Congress.






112 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    They need something to get their supporters to the polls this November. And at the rate they’re going they’re about close to out of options as far as culture issues are concerned. In other words, they’re running out of gas. And they know it.

  2. 2
    General Stuck says:

    This is the idiot we were all supposed to be afraid of, because of his mighty powers and political skills.

    And not a single presidential semen stained blue dress. Big FAIL, Sherlock.

  3. 3
    beltane says:

    Why should be not be surprised that only 26% of Americans oppose Obama’s compromise. If not for massive assistance from the media, the Republican party would be dead by now.

  4. 4
    shortstop says:

    Heh, thanks for the jab at Walker.

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Yeah, according to the local trolls here and over at Powder Blue Satan, all hell was supposed to break loose in January 2011 as Darrell Issa, investigator extraordinaire, was going to expose the miles-deep corruption of the Kenyan Muslim Socia1ist Atheist Administration for all to see. To rip off the mask of propriety and reveal unspeakable horrors that would cause the masses to rise in indignation.

    Well, it’s been 13 months, and my popcorn is getting stale. Where the fuck is this big show we’re supposed to be seeing?

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The big Issa show got cancelled due to poor ratings, and the GOP Clown Primary was brought in as a mid-season replacement.

    I have my doubts about it being renewed next season, though.

  7. 7
    Ripley says:

    “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

    Was this hearing named by Hannah Montana?

  8. 8
    Peter says:

    I remember after the 2010 elections, when everyone was sure that Issa would have congress clogged up with Clinton-era investigations. What happened, Issa? We haven’t heard a peep from him for a year, and then this is the best he can do?

  9. 9
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    Darrell’s gonna get right on that, he just has to finish stealing first.

    This may take a while, folks.

  10. 10
    kay says:

    @shortstop:

    I think this is a mistake:

    Lord help us if we fail,” he said. “I’m not planning on it, but if we were to fail, I think this sets aside any courageous act in American politics for at least a decade if not a generation.”
    A featured speaker at the 39th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Walker asked his dinner audience of roughly 1,000 to help him in his election fight with manpower and money, even instructing them how to text-message their contributions.
    He portrayed his recall battle as having far-reaching national implications – beyond the Wisconsin governor’s office, beyond any impact it might have on the November elections.

    I think people hate that their governor and their state is some sort of proxy for a national issue and battle, and rightfully so. I think it’s a really bad idea when governors do what he’s doing. He’s a governor. His every word should be about that state.

    Kasich has backed way the hell off the “leading the movement” garbage, because he’s tanking. Wisconsin isn’t a wingnut state. Normal voters there aren’t going to want him leading the conservative movement.

  11. 11
    Benjamin Franklin says:

    ‘Blue Flu’? Kind of…..

    I think it had more to do with the prospect of having to change his underwear whilst meeting the Anti-Christ, in the flesh.

  12. 12
    shortstop says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That reminds me. I wonder how Joe Arpaio’s sooper sekrit investigation squad amassing blockbuster info about the illegitimacy of Obama’s presidency is coming along. Maybe they took a time out to watch the whitey tape a few thousand times.

  13. 13

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    While I knew he could never be more than an annoyance, I honestly expected him to go through with his threats and be the biggest annoyance he physically could. Subpoena after subpoena, with a ginned up impeachment likely. I don’t know why they haven’t done this. I don’t see any reason not to, from their perspective. They’ve certainly long since passed the ‘How can we make assholes of ourselves?’ Rubicon.

  14. 14
    bemused says:

    Funny how stomach flu works. Walker feels well enough to meet Obama on the tarmac but not to tour the plant.

  15. 15
    jibeaux says:

    There’s got to be a Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition joke in there somewhere….

    and it’s funny/sad in a bittersweet kind of way because it sounds like the testimony of Lori is going to be from some high-ranking woman in the Catholic church.

  16. 16
    Mark S. says:

    Women support it by 72-20.

    Jesus, what genius thought this was a political winner?

  17. 17
    Ash Can says:

    @kay: I LOLed when I saw that “stomach flu” bit. I guess it took Scott Walker this long to figure out that showing his sorry mug alongside President Obama in front of a bunch of Wisconsin factory workers probably wouldn’t exactly yield the world’s most complimentary photo-ops or sound bites for him.

  18. 18
    kindness says:

    Wait! You did not mention the required statement that Issa was once convicted for auto theft. He was. You really should mention it just for proper form and background.

  19. 19

    @Mark S.:
    No one. This is pure Obama Derangement Syndrome. They’ve stopped calculating and are blindly attacking.

  20. 20
    Raenelle says:

    I’m not god, so like all those who aren’t god, my opinions have little no substance. With that caveat, though, I’m telling you–this is Terry Schiavo all over again; or the impeachment of Clinton for a blow job. The pundits and the Republicans are all gas-bagging their religious quibbles, and the public is just yawning, or shaking their heads at the idiocy and hypocrisy of the gasbags.

  21. 21
    jibeaux says:

    Even Republicans support this policy, 50-44.
    Independents support it by 64-26.
    Moderates support it by 68-22.
    Women support it by 72-20.
    Catholics support it by 67-25.
    And even Catholics who attend church every week or almost every week support it by 48-43.

    You and your silly polling, Issa has nine men in clerical collars so obviously he wins.

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I don’t know why they haven’t done this. I don’t see any reason not to, from their perspective.

    Probably waaaay too much actual work involved in doing so. They can’t manage enough energy to do cut and pastes of investigation targets on subpoenas.

    Either that, or it’s just too uncomfortable to reach over the hooker’s head in your lap to reach the keyboard.

  23. 23
    shortstop says:

    @kay: I don’t think it will help him, but I’m not sure it will hurt much, either. I think there’s only some crossover between the cases of the two governors. Kasich is pure toxin to a majority of Ohioans, if I recall the polls correctly, but Wisconsin is almost evenly split on Walker’s performance. It’s a purely polarized state right now.

    Walker seems to be playing to a national audience, and probably gauging correctly that it won’t change his numbers much within WI. He may be thinking that if he doesn’t survive a recall (and unfortunately, I think he will make it through), at least he’ll have national cred as the symbolic victim of barbaric Democrat lashings-out.

  24. 24
    wrb says:

    Sort of off topic but right on the topic of separation of church of state…

    I was just reading Harold Bloom’s “The American Religion.”

    His thesis is a mess but the chapters on Mormonism, which he thinks hasn’t been taken seriously enough, are eyebrow-raising. No silly religion of magic underwear and tablets in hat, this. There is a lot there but a few tidbits:

    In his view it is an anti-democratic theology and the purpose and plan is to rule. It isn’t about private relationship to the sacred. It is about power.

    In his view a faithful Mormon cannot honor separation of church and state.

    He contends that large portions the teachings of Joseph Smith and later prophets have not been revealed outside the innermost circles of the church.

    Smith and later leaders have been designated “King of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    Mormons cannot be serious about their supposed renunciation of polygamy because under their theology it is essential to the ultimate purpose of the Mormon man: attainment of godhood.

    Lively stuff. It will be interesting to see how much comes out.

    Blessed be King Willard I, our Lord.

  25. 25
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Are there Democrats on this committee and do they get to invite witnesses? Maybe they could invite a conservative Imam to testify so we can see headlines like “Catholic Bishops and Al Queada agree: Women Should Not Control their Reproductive Organs”.

  26. 26
    shortstop says:

    @Mark S.: People who don’t think about women very much.

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    and my popcorn is getting stale

    If you had gone with microwave popcorn, you wouldn’t have this problem. Ready in a minute and 25 seconds. Always hot and fresh when needed.

  28. 28
    Mark S. says:

    Politifact rates the statement “Most Americans support the Catholic Bishops” as mostly true.

  29. 29
    Michael Scott says:

    Remember — Issa’s the Useful Idiot who bankrolled the California gubernatorial recall of Gray Davis, only to have the GOP Powers That Be back Der Gropinator over him in the recall election. “Fool me once . . . “

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    @Peter:

    I remember after the 2010 elections, when everyone was sure that Issa would have congress clogged up with Clinton-era investigations. What happened, Issa?

    Did you guys totally miss “Operation Fast and Furious”? They’ve spent the last year trying to brow-beat Eric Holder into a resignation by pounding the table, accusing him of being behind the whole thing straight back to 2006, and castigating him for not providing every loose piece of paper in the ATB office.

    That shit has been wall-to-wall on FOX for months now, and Issa only came up for air recently when his Silicon Valley constituency told him not to vote for SOPA.

    There have been investigations and he has been busy digging up dirt. But it has all been rather bland and toothless. Certainly not interesting enough to occupy anyone not already joined at the hip with the GOP. And like Kay said, its election season and “American Wacko: A Nation Votes for NotRomney” is sucking up all the oxygen.

  31. 31
    shortstop says:

    @Zifnab:

    “American Wacko: A Nation Votes for NotRomney”

    Nice.

  32. 32
    DFS says:

    It’s worth noting that Darrell Issa pulled off what might be the biggest political trip-over-your-own-dick stunt of the modern age. He bankrolled the recall of Gray Davis in California with massive amounts of his personal fortune, assuming that he would then replace Davis himself. Then he got to sit on the sidelines watching Schwarzenegger waltz into the governor’s mansion.

    So yeah. Not the world’s smoothest operator.

    EDIT: And number 28 beat me to it. But really, it bears repeating, this guy is not so incredibly bright.

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @kay: Walker’s a funny little fella. During his phone call with “David Koch”, he was bragging about how he likes to go on Morning Joe and “mix it up” with Mika Brezcinski, the most bare-knuckled brawler of a journalist this side of Robert Novak’s corpse At CPAC he bragged about standing up to Obama and lecturing him on union thuggery. Now he’s got a convenient case of the stomach flu? I used to get that strain of flu a lot, in junior high.

    aslo, too, it looks like Mitch McConnell has put dead eels under the pillows of the invertebrates from Maine;
    Snowe, Collins Want More Details On Obama's Birth Control Rule

    I’m more surprised that Yertle the Shell-less Turtle didn’t grab the life preserver out of this they offered him than that those two nothings fell right back into line.

  34. 34
    burnspbesq says:

    B-b-b-Benny and the Jets. Alas for them, the great majority of Catholics have chosen to examine their consciences, as God has instructed and empowered them to do, and have concluded that Church teaching on matters of reproductive health and family planning is, in technical theological terms, 100 percent fucking nuts.

  35. 35
    Felinious Wench says:

    Will they wear their beanies? MUST have the beanies.

    Jesus fucking Christ, what a waste of taxpayer dollars.

  36. 36
    slag says:

    Even Republicans support this policy, 50-44.

    The new math has confused me. Is 44% a majority or a minority? Has this number been Politifact checked?

  37. 37
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    ‘Stomach flu’? Well, at least Walker’s admitting that he’s shitting himself.

  38. 38
    Svensker says:

    @wrb:

    Bloom’s an interesting guy but I would take his reading on Christian and quasi-Christian religions with a grain of salt. He’s got a big imagination and lots of theory, but he doesn’t seem to “get” Christians on a practical level. I can’t say whether he “gets” Mormons, since I don’t, but outsiders of any system often misunderstand em-pha-ses.

  39. 39
    Martin says:

    Two things: is Darrell Issa the most overrated attack dog in history? This is the idiot we were all supposed to be afraid of, because of his mighty powers and political skills.

    I think the Obama administration walked in the door with the understanding that they’d be hauled before Congress if they even put a staple in the wrong place. That might be the biggest lesson they learned from Clinton. They’ve been overcautious because of that, but I suspect there’s just not much for Issa to dig into – particularly when most of Obama’s actions – auto bailouts, wall street bailouts, gun walking inevitably lead back to the Bush administration as well. Issa’s probably just as afraid of busting the Bush admin as Obama is of getting busted, so there’s caution on both sides here. If we get a 2nd term we’ll get more things clear of Bush, and that’ll give Congress more to dig into.

    Remember, the first Clinton term was almost exclusively attacks on Clinton from before he got into office. The 2nd term is when it was on his time in office.

  40. 40
    shortstop says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    “mix it up” with Mika Brezcinski, the most bare-knuckled brawler of a journalist this side of Robert Novak’s corpse

    I just don’t tell you often enough how happy you make me.

  41. 41
    Hill Dweller says:

    Issa tried to manufacture a controversy with the Solyndra hearings, but after the administration turned over nearly 200,000 documents and Sec. Chu verbally smacked them around, it never gained any traction.

    The Koch bros then dumped millions into a horribly misleading set of ads, but that didn’t help either.

    They’ve got nothin’.

  42. 42
    Rafer Janders says:

    “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

    I see they’re helpfully titling the hearing with a Cavuto* question mark.

    *Named after Fox “reporter” Neil Cavuto, who’d specialize in adding question marks to potentially inflammatory subject headings to inoculate himself against the charge that he was being deliberately misleading because, after all, he wasn’t actually saying it, he was just asking the question: i.e. “Will Obama Kidnap Your Children?”

  43. 43
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    I don’t know why they haven’t done this.

    @Frankensteinbeck: I do. It’s being held in reserve for Obama’s second term, WHICH THEY ALL KNOW IS INEVITABLE.

    Gridlocking the legislative machinery works very well for Republicans.

  44. 44
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Now he’s got a convenient case of the stomach flu?

    Looks suspiciously like a sick-out, one of the oldest tools in the public employee union toolkit.

  45. 45
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Hey, this reminds me!

    You guys might want to let the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops know how you feel.

  46. 46

    @Zifnab:
    So he’s done his damnedest, and is too incompetent to run a meaningless campaign of nuisance and distraction. God damn if that isn’t modern conservatism in a nutshell.

  47. 47
    Culture of Truth says:

    Were I a Democrat on the committee I would call a container of semen testify at these hearings.

  48. 48
    shortstop says:

    @Rafer Janders: In Cavuto’s defense, a phrase I never thought I’d catch myself uttering, academics have been doing this for years.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    hitchhiker says:

    @Zifnab:

    Did you guys totally miss “Operation Fast and Furious”? They’ve spent the last year trying to brow-beat Eric Holder into a resignation by pounding the table, accusing him of being behind the whole thing straight back to 2006, and castigating him for not providing every loose piece of paper in the ATB office.

    That shit has been wall-to-wall on FOX for months now

    Yup. My R friends just cannot understand why the whole country is not up in arms about this . . . I have to keep telling them as gently as possible that it’s a fantasy scandal. They don’t believe me because FOX has nothing else to say.

  51. 51
    wrb says:

    Bloom’s an interesting guy but I would take his reading on Christian and quasi-Christian religions with a grain of salt. He’s got a big imagination and lots of theory, but he doesn’t seem to “get” Christians on a practical level.

    Which is why I said his overall thesis is a mess. His reading of Mormonism is intriguing and plausible and the “facts” he offers are troubling, but I withhold judgement to some degree because my tribes seem somewhat opaque to him. He conflates Emerson and Whitman’s small “g” god, immanent in nature, with they guy who wrote every word in the bible and is about to rapture everyone but in the meantime will send you money, despite the believers in each having been sworn enemies through our history.

    The clever boots thought he could mask his agenda (which agenda I have no trouble with)- which is to shiv the fundies and Mormons who make up the Reagan/Bush right. So he claims to be making a non-political esthetic appreciation, when he’s actually seething with political animosity.

  52. 52
    shortstop says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: If it makes folks feel better, aaiight. But the USCCB doesn’t by definition care what anyone, including its own laity, thinks. The bishops run the church, the laity doesn’t. The sooner the laity accepts that and stops pretending to itself that it’s in a religious democracy instead of a total top-down hierarchy, the better equipped it’ll be to have some honest analysis about its options going forward. This business of people comforting themselves with impotent murmurs of “The people are the real church and someday the hierarchy will see that” is just enabling.

  53. 53
    slag says:

    @Rafer Janders: You gotta admit, though, lines between Church and State are being crossed–and have been for years. Only it’s the State that’s been impinged on by the crossing and not the Church.

    A friend called me yesterday to talk about social justice issues (yes, these kinds of things are what my friends and I talk about), and she was considering writing an article about how faith-based groups are the ones doing the community organizing in our area while the secular orgs are lying low and fighting it out for what little grant money remains available to them. None of the groups she was talking about were Catholic, mind you, but I still went on a tirade about how I don’t want anything else to do with these “faith-based” groups, and as far as I’m concerned, they can all go pound sand in Jerusalem somewhere. By the end of our conversation, I had a convert to my side. Score one for secular missionary work!

  54. 54
    Comrade Dread says:

    I admit I’m not enough of a political nerd that I’m into CSPAN, but has it always been the case that the House and Senate convene “show trial” type hearings if the President is of the opposite party?

    I don’t recall Pelosi and company doing this sort of blatantly obvious partisan stuff, but I admit, I wasn’t really paying attention to the day to day actions of subcommittees, so I might have missed it.

  55. 55
    artem1s says:

    @Zifnab:

    There have been investigations and he has been busy digging up dirt. But it has all been rather bland and toothless.

    yep, this. the GOP has done an excellent job at training the 27% to ignore boring facts and complicated explanations. They are only going to tune in when the issue involves naughty lady bits or teh gay sex or, you know, Vince Foster being murdered. so there’s that problem that Issa has to contend with. It hasn’t been all Ken Starr and Monica all the time so no fun at all! and yes, he did get hosed in CA over the Davis recall. It’s really hard to mount a full on attack when you are having to watch your back all the time and are terrified your own troops are going to frag you.

  56. 56
    SenyorDave says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The conclusion I’ve reached is that shitbags like Collins and Snowe are only persuaded when the issue personally affects them. These two women both know the only issue for the GOP is political, but they will ultimately cave.

    I think it would be their just deserts if it affected there family directly at some point.

    The Democrats should push this whole birth control issue like crazy in teh general election. And at some point Obama should speak directly to this, and make sure that he draws a line in the sand. Let the GOP side with the Catholic Church over the American people. The people disagreeing with his policy would never have voted for him anyway.

  57. 57
    kay says:

    @Martin:

    I’m dying to find out if Romney has any kind of primary organization in this county. He’s doing poorly against Santorum (polling) in Ohio and I have been told like 50 times how organized the Romney campaign is, but I won’t believe it until I see it.

    In 2008, both Obama and Clinton had (paid) people here for the primary. The two camps were canvassing. It was quite the production.

    I have to find a local, activist Republican who will confide in me :)

  58. 58
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @shortstop: This isn’t because it’ll change their minds; it’s because they might be less likely to pull this shit if people who feel they have too much power were as vocal as those who feel they have too little.

    We can whine and bitch about how these self-righteous fucks think they can run our fucking lives, or we can tell them that they are twisted, insane, evil little men who have no fucking right to ever pull anything like this shit.

    The right has been using rage as a weapon for years. These fuckers need to be shown what it feels like.

  59. 59
    Nemesis says:

    Walker has the blue flu.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Neil Cavuto is one of those guys whose head would look much better on a pike than it does on his shoulders.

  61. 61
    Culture of Truth says:

    Did you guys totally miss “Operation Fast and Furious”?

    I do vaguely recall being very angry about it, but it went by so fast…

  62. 62
    Egg Berry says:

    Sixty six percent support this federal requirement

    So it’s a plurality?

  63. 63
    TheStone says:

    I always wondered why the Rs picked Issa to be their “hearings man.” He’s the richest rep in Congress, with a net worth of around half a billion dollars. That would seem to undermine his credibility as tribune of the people, whether or not you believe such undermining to be justifiable. This is especially so given the R’s promises to reveal the corrupt connex b/w the Obama WH and the big money boys. He’s also got quite a legal history involving auto theft, fraud, perjury and illegal possession of firearms. Not the guy that I would want my party throwing out there as the corruption bloodhound. But then again, it is the G.O.P. and hypocrisy has never registered on their radars, at least not when they are its perpetrators.

  64. 64
    Yutsano says:

    @Egg Berry: We won’t know for sure until Politifact weighs in.

  65. 65
    Elizabelle says:

    @bemused:

    I don’t know about your tarmacs, but ours here are covered with restrooms. Toilets as far as the eye can see.

    Unlike an enclosed building with dozens of employees.

    I think Gov. Walker seeks the opportunity to sicken President Obama physically, in addition to rhetorically and morally.

  66. 66
    shortstop says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: I don’t object to it in principle. But it’ll be comical to see them getting on “public panels” of elderly white clerics and telling sympathetic middle-aged Catholic male pundits that “the torrent of abuse we’ve taken via our web comment form proves without a doubt that TEH CHURCH IS UNDER ATTACK!” They won’t learn a goddamn thing from it and they won’t be any less likely to try to run our lives — that is the nature of how they perceive their jobs.

    @SenyorDave:

    The conclusion I’ve reached is that shitbags like Collins and Snowe are only persuaded when the issue personally affects them.

    This. I’ve been rolling my eyes at those two since it became obvious that they’ll cross the aisle (sometimes) for issues affecting women, but not for anything harming non-female people who are poor, brown, gay, etc. They are strictly self-interested.

  67. 67
    Buggy Ding Dong says:

    The Social Security debate of 2005 all over again.

    One side of the party walks out on the limb, the other half gets to sawing.

  68. 68
    pragmatism says:

    issa is my rep. i call his offices once a month to express my displeasure. his staff is mildly exasperated with me. i enjoy speaking with my neighbors about what issa is doing for his district (not much). most of them pivot to what he is doing to stop the kenusurper. such are the times. he is not only an overrated attack dog, he is an overrated human being.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @kay:

    I’m dying to find out if Romney has any kind of primary organization in this county.

    I don’t think he does. Well, let me clarify that: I think he has more of a traditional organization than Santorum or Noot do, but it’s a joke compared to Obamas.

    One of the problems the GOP got into after 2000 was that they relied on Protestant churches to substitute for much of their ground game. It was cheap and pre-organized, and so long as the GOP pushed the right buttons it was self-motivated. But Romney isn’t going to get that free assist. Santorum might, but being Catholic it also might not be what he expects. And even if that does materialize for him, Bush still did have an effective political ground game of paid staff that he built up from his early war chest under Rove. I don’t think Romney has anything as good because he doesn’t have Rove and he doesn’t have donations to the campaign – they’re mostly to SuperPACs which are just buying ads, and every week this goes on money gets diverted to the wrong places. And because Romney’s favorability is so low, I can’t imagine he’s able to recruit supporters to help him out on this.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s, which was unbelievably good in 2008 in part because people liked him has only gotten better.

  70. 70
    28 Percent says:

    The Bishops have apparently already got a campaign planned in which they double down on the whinging – Bishops plan aggressive expansion of birth-control battle.

    From the looks of it, they thought the contraception argument would be a solid opening move to pressure a cowed White House to back off on cutting off funding for religious services providers that don’t comply with federal standards. Turns out, this brouhaha all comes down to keeping taxpayer funds flowing to church coffers. Stay classy, guys.

  71. 71
    jimmiraybob says:

    Darrell Issa, car thief and petty criminal? That Darrell Issa?

    So, the Bishops, representing the Vatican state, championed by a car thief and petty criminal vs. an American president and our Democracy. Sweet. Let me now when the Vatican’s army starts their move.

    I should mention that there were quite a few Founding Fathers that recognized the dangers of the Roman Catholic State. It’s always chalked up to religious bigotry but they legitimately did worry about a divided loyalty between the emerging American system and an organized religious-secular totalitarian power headed by a foreign sovereign hostile to the very notion that a people could declare themselves a sovereign authority to govern their own affairs.

  72. 72
    Svensker says:

    @wrb:

    Yup.

  73. 73
    Amir Khalid says:

    This “hearing” is just an excuse to put some one-sided Obama-bashing on the Congressional record, that’s all. I doubt anyone will even even be aware of it who isn’t a junkie for political news.

    In other news, which seems every bit as important as these hearings, Holy Shit* has been endorsed by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.

    (* beltane came up with this nickname, which is so much better than Mr Frothy.)

  74. 74
    rikryah says:

    56.kay – February 15, 2012 | 1:33 pm · Link
    @Martin:
    I’m dying to find out if Romney has any kind of primary organization in this county. He’s doing poorly against Santorum (polling) in Ohio and I have been told like 50 times how organized the Romney campaign is, but I won’t believe it until I see it.
    In 2008, both Obama and Clinton had (paid) people here for the primary. The two camps were canvassing. It was quite the production.
    I have to find a local, activist Republican who will confide in me :)

    KAY,

    this was on Sully’s site yesterday:

    Romney’s Unimpressive Ground Game
    Nate Silver sizes it up:

    [Romney] is by far the best-funded candidate, and should have the wherewithal to build the best turnout operation. It is not clear, however, how much emphasis Mr. Romney has placed on this part of his campaign. When I visited the various campaign headquarters in New Hampshire, Mr. Romney’s office was the busiest and the best run (although Ron Paul’s was reasonably close). Still, Mr. Romney’s office in Manchester was the only one he had in the state. In contrast, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards each had 16 field offices in New Hampshire in advance of the 2008 primaries there.

    And if one field office can keep you covered in a state like New Hampshire, where pretty much everything is within a 90-minute drive of Manchester, the same does not hold true in a larger state like Michigan (Mr. Romney’s Web site lists only one campaign office in the state).

    http://andrewsullivan.thedaily.....-game.html

  75. 75
    AuldBlackJack says:

    Sixty six percent support this federal requirement; only 26 percent oppose it.

    There must be a rounding error with the second number. Everyone knows that number should be 27%.

  76. 76
    the fake fake al says:

    Fast and Furious is on going.

    Issa has skeletons in his closet (see his wiki page); maybe the admin has reminded him of that. But he got that chairmenship as a reward for recalling Grey Davis not because he is the second coming Ken Star.

    Love this from Wiki about the committee:

    This Committee was very active during President Bill Clinton’s term; it issued 1,052 subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton Administration and the Democratic Party between 1997 and 2002, at a cost of more than $35 million. Under this period, subpoenas could only be issued by the Committee chair, a rule change during the Clinton administration to facilitate investigations without delays caused by objections from minority members. By contrast, in the period between 1998 and 2007, chairman Thomas M. Davis and the Republican majority had permitted three subpoenas to the Bush administration.

    Maybe Issa is waiting for Obama’s second term.

  77. 77
    kay says:

    @rikryah:

    Thanks so much. I’ll read it.

  78. 78
    kay says:

    @Martin:

    One of the problems the GOP got into after 2000 was that they relied on Protestant churches to substitute for much of their ground game.

    This was absolutely true for Bush. Bush was way more reliant on fundamentalist churches than anyone will admit.

  79. 79
    shortstop says:

    @pragmatism:

    issa is my rep.

    I’m sorry. But I commend you for fighting the good fight with his staffers and your neighbors.

    Every time Jan Schakowsky comes on my teevee — which is fairly often lately — and every time I see her quoted in print or online, I say a little thank you to the universe for my representation. I literally never have to contact her office to ask that she vote my way; she always does. I do call and email to say thanks, though.

    Having her as my rep frees up a lot of time I use to bug Mark Kirk (frequently), Dick Durbin (less frequently) and other people’s House members.

  80. 80
    McWaffle says:

    @wrb:

    Sounds like a job for WikiLeaks, who, if I’m not mistaken, were the ones to reveal Xenu to the world against similar religious prohibitions. I guess that’d require a whistleblower though.

  81. 81
    Anoniminous says:

    @kay:

    From what I’m seeing in New Mexico Romney is all Top/Down. He depends on government and party officials at the state and local levels to mobilize for him; his election campaign doesn’t have peeps on the ground.

    Santorum, by contrast, is almost 100% Bottom/Up&amp with little in the way of a direct national organization but lots – or, perhaps, just enough – of local activity mobilized by Focus on the Family and other, non-party, evangelical/conservative groups, using these grassroots structures to GOTV is how Frothy took Colorado.

    ETA: or what Martin and others said.

    (Note to self: read thread THEN comment!)

  82. 82
    kay says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Santorum, by contrast, is almost 100% Bottom/Up&amp with little in the way of a direct national organization but lots – or, perhaps, just enough – of local activity mobilized by Focus on the Family and other, non-party, evangelical/conservative groups

    Then he’ll win here. Bush had one slightly frightening pep rally, put on by county GOP’ers, I wasn’t there but I heard it was scary-devoted and Dear Leaderish from a reluctant attendee, and then he had this army of officially-not-the-Republican-Party religious people.

  83. 83
    Anoniminous says:

    Santorum will do well in Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Ohio, and Wisconsin using Bottom/Up tactics. How well he does across the south depends on how many votes Gingrich snags, last I saw Newt was leading in Georgia, for instance – which must be glossed by the fact that is his home state.

    My feeling is conditions are ripe for a faction-fight to break out in the GOP between the Corporate and Insider Wings and the Fundie/Conservatives.

  84. 84
    rb says:

    @shortstop: In Cavuto’s defense, a phrase I never thought I’d catch myself uttering, academics have been doing this for years.

    Heh, no kidding. For a second I almost thought this was a conference I should be “attending.”

    But I like “Cavuto question mark.” Nice ring.

  85. 85
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @shortstop:

    Hey shortstop, Schakowsky is my rep too and I totally agree. I don’t I’ve ever seen her on tv and not be on the right side of an argument.

    Let’s hear it for Illinois’ Fightin’ 9th!

  86. 86
    burnspbesq says:

    @shortstop:

    The sooner the laity accepts that and stops pretending to itself that it’s in a religious democracy instead of a total top-down hierarchy, the better equipped it’ll be to have some honest analysis about its options going forward.

    When I need a lecture from you about my options, I’ll requuest one, OK?

  87. 87
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    @Michael Scott:

    Remember—Issa’s the Useful Idiot who bankrolled the California gubernatorial recall of Gray Davis, only to have the GOP Powers That Be back Der Gropinator over him in the recall election.

    Sure, but according to Politifact, it’s mostly true that Issa got the majority of votes.

    Also, any mention of Issa must include the fact that he got his start in life selling car alarms, so he’s well trained in annoying people.

  88. 88
    burnspbesq says:

    @jimmiraybob:

    I should mention that there were quite a few Founding Fathers that recognized the dangers of the Roman Catholic State.

    Bullshit. The Church of England was the rationale for the Establishment Clause. If you’ve got source material for this absurd assertion, link to it.

  89. 89

    @Martin:
    I continue to predict that CU will backfire, and is already backfiring. You’re describing the kind of result I’ve been expecting. GOP candidates will get much more money, but it will be spent in crazy directions rather than in a unified and focused campaign. Tons of it will get sucked away by grifters. It may not even be fixable, because as fast as the GOP reorganizes to fix the problems in the system, grifters will reorganize to exploit it better.

    I hope I’m right on this one.

  90. 90
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: I’d send them a link to Tim Minchin’s pope song, assuming their site ever loads.

  91. 91
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Comrade Dread: I don’t recall Pelosi and company doing this sort of blatantly obvious partisan stuff

    They most certainly did not. They did not even deign to dirty their hands investigating even the most blatantly illegal infractions.

    They got ACA passed, so I guess that makes them look like geniuses now? IDK. I think there was a healthy dose of Villagers refusing to tell on other Villagers. Prison is for the little people.

  92. 92
    wrb says:

    @burnspbesq:

    here:

    Images of the church’s tender ministrations during the counter-reformation in the Netherlands, which many early immigrants had fled:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-um9i.....+death.jpg

    The burning of the Valdois:

    ” In 1488, Charles VIII launched a full-scale crusade against them. There’s a spot west of Ailefroide, known as Baume Chapelue, where they were smoked out by the military and butchered. In 1562 they joined the growing Huguenot cause, but after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, they were finally exterminated in the eighteenth century, when 8000 troops went on the rampage, creating total desolation and “leaving neither people nor animals”.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....rtured.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians

  93. 93
    shortstop says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: Represent! Have you ever met her in person? She is tiny. I say this only because on the telly she has quite a presence.

    @burnspbesq: Heh, it’s so easy to hit a Burns nerve, what with them popping out in every direction like corkscrews.

    You constantly make us witness the hopeless internal struggles between your two consuming, and totally contradictory and irreconcilable, desires: to remain a Roman Catholic and to congratulate yourself on what you (erroneously) believe to be your unusually high level of reason and analytical skill. Tough shit if you don’t like someone else commenting on the folly — not to mention pathos — of your public displays of misplaced ego and temper every time the shortcomings of your church are brought up.

  94. 94
    wrb says:

    hmm. Don’t know why that one went into moderation. The links, for Burns

    The counter-reformation in the Netherlands, from which many of the Americans had fled:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....fdeath.jpg

    other:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....rtured.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians

  95. 95
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @28 Percent: Ding ding ding. It has always been all about money for Timmeh Dolan.

    If you have the chance to check out Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s newsletters from 2011 (I think a lot is on their website), you can find out more about what the Ad Hoc Committee has been up to since the 2010 elections.

  96. 96
    Origuy says:

    I happened to find a website of the Library of Congress called Religion and the Federal Government. In it there is a discussion about the nondenominational church services that were held in the House of Representatives until after the Civil War. The first Catholic sermon wasn’t until 1826.

    First Catholic Sermon in the House
    On January 8, 1826, Bishop John England (1786-1842) of Charleston, South Carolina, became the first Catholic clergyman to preach in the House of Representatives. The overflow audience included President John Quincy Adams, whose July 4, 1821, speech England rebutted in his sermon. Adams had claimed that the Roman Catholic Church was intolerant of other religions and therefore incompatible with republican institutions. England asserted that “we do not believe that God gave to the church any power to interfere with our civil rights, or our civil concerns.” “I would not allow to the Pope, or to any bishop of our church,” added England, “the smallest interference with the humblest vote at our most insignificant balloting box.

    Emphasis mine.

  97. 97
    shortstop says:

    @Origuy: The times, they are a-changing.

  98. 98
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Haha, victory!

    Not that it means much.

  99. 99
    Xenos says:

    @wrb: Don’t forget Magdeburg. I am still pissed off about Magdeburg. Hey Burns, don’cha know the founding fathers were all pissed off about Magdeburg? When are we ever going to get an apology for it?

    Shit.

  100. 100
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Origuy: Hahahahaha, they always say simpering shit like that until the shoe is on the other foot.

    Religious liberty depends on no one religion cornering the market. Go, Muslims, go!

  101. 101
    jimmiraybob says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Bullshit. The Church of England was the rationale for the Establishment Clause. If you’ve got source material for this absurd assertion, link to it.

    Hardly enough time to do a research project but here’s a quick wiki hit:

    Some of America’s Founding Fathers held anti-clerical beliefs. For example, in 1788, John Jay urged the New York Legislature to require office-holders to renounce foreign authorities “in all matters ecclesiastical as well as civil.”.[25] Thomas Jefferson wrote, “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government,”[26] and that “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”[27]

    Seriously though, Google can be a friend.

    There was certainly Protestant religious animosity toward the Catholic church but on the other hand the Church was also seen as a political institution.

  102. 102
    jimmiraybob says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Bullshit!

    As to how the Church, or at least one leading figure, viewed our revolution, what with its citizen sovereignty and freedom of conscience and all:

    Pope Gregory XVI (1832 Encyclycal – Mirari Vos)

    To All Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Catholic World.
    Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Benediction.

    14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to say.[21] When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly “the bottomless pit”[22] is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws — in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.

    Compare and contrast.

  103. 103
    jimmiraybob says:

    Hmmm, hadn’t seen this one before:

    On August 12, 1765, the Boston Gazette published an essay again linking both churches to each other, and to tyranny. The essay argued that religious canon law – “extensive and astonishing” — was created by the “the Romish clergy for the aggrandizement of their own order.” Church law enslaved people by “reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity” and warned that only an educated populace could thwart the “direct and formal design on foot, to enslave America.” Though it was not known at the time, [John] Adams was the author.

    I’d reproduce more but I blush.

    Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/stev.....z1mUQTmUrT

  104. 104
    jimmiraybob says:

    ergo propter also too hoc

    I stand by my:

    I should mention that there were quite a few Founding Fathers that recognized the dangers of the Roman Catholic State. It’s always chalked up to religious bigotry but they legitimately did worry about a divided loyalty between the emerging American system and an organized religious-secular totalitarian power headed by a foreign sovereign hostile to the very notion that a people could declare themselves a sovereign authority to govern their own affairs.

    But I will also gladly incorporate your input to add that they were also concerned about the politics of the Church of England and similar conflicts with establishing a nation based on the right conscience, which naturally meant we would be free to choose unhindered by religious/state coercion.

    Thanks for asking.

  105. 105
    Rafer Janders says:

    @shortstop:

    Have academics been doing this for years?

  106. 106
    shortstop says:

    @Rafer Janders: Ur doin it rong.

    “The Closing Query: Have Academics Been Doing This for Years?”

    or

    “Interrogatories as Accountability Maskers: Have Academics Been Doing This for Years?”

    or even

    “A Well-Established Academic Trend: Why Do Profs Keep Ending Paper Titles with Question Marks?”

    Call on me anytime for help.

  107. 107
    wrb says:

    @Xenos:

    Don’t forget Magdeburg.

    No one ever remembers Magdeburg!

  108. 108
    jefft452 says:

    @burnspbesq: “The Church of England was the rationale for the Establishment Clause”
    Nope, but to be fair, neither was Rome
    The rationale for the Establishment Clause was that nobody in South Carolina wanted a bunch of wild-eyed fundamentalist puritans from Hartford outlawing Sunday horse racing … and nobody in Massachusetts wanted a bunch of closet papists high-church Anglicans in Williamsburg forcing them to legalize Christmas

    The past is a different country, they do things differently there

  109. 109
    jefft452 says:

    @jimmiraybob: “ergo propter also too hoc”

    ooooo
    Im so stealing that

  110. 110
    WaterGirl says:

    I’m really late to this thread, but I have to say…

    Nice dig about walker’s “stomach flu”. I was kinda hoping President Obama would make some crack about walker having the flu and how isn’t it great that he can have a sick day, thanks to the unions winning that for all of us.

  111. 111
    La Gata Gris says:

    Funny how Issa will try to put together some pathetic show-committee together about oh, boo hoo the RC church has to follow labor laws for their businesses, but ignores actual religious freedom violations in the US.

    Religious freedom violations that have gone on since the founding of the US – because you know, Native American religions, unlike white guys in funny hats, don’t deserve protections, doncha know:

    So really, these whiny ass Bishops who hate labor law should either a) sell off businesses that are not actual parts of the church and religion and b) shove a porcupine sideways up where the sun don’t shine. And ditto for Issa too

  112. 112
    jfxgillis says:

    Damn.

    One point off the Crazification Factor.

    Call it a rounding error and COUNT IT!

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