Meanwhile, In Congress

As numerous wingnut-led state legislatures pass anti-women bills, our national GOP has bigger fish to fry:

With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives.

The fight over the law, which would expand financing for and broaden the reach of domestic violence programs, will be joined Thursday when Senate Democratic women plan to march to the Senate floor to demand quick action on its extension. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has suggested he will push for a vote by the end of March.

Democrats, confident they have the political upper hand with women, insist that Republican opposition falls into a larger picture of insensitivity toward women that has progressed from abortion fights to contraception to preventive health care coverage — and now to domestic violence.

“I am furious,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington. “We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”

What is in this bill that is so offensive to Republicans? This:

The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.

The horror of it all. Almost as depressing as the opposition from conservatives is that Democrats didn’t see it coming:

The third reauthorization effort of the legislation started off in November the way the previous efforts had, with a bipartisan bill and little controversy. The measure, authored by Senators Crapo and Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, attracted 58 co-sponsors, including Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Ms. Murkowski, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois and Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts.

But Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, found multiple reasons to oppose the bill when it came up for a formal consideration last month.

The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure. After his alternative version was voted down on party lines, the original passed without a Republican vote.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, one of two women on the judiciary panel, said the partisan opposition came as a “real surprise,” but she put it into a broader picture.

“This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from discussions on Roe v. Wade, to partial birth abortion, to contraception, to preventive services for women. This seems to be one more thing.”

What the hell has Feinstein been doing the last four years? How on earth could this come as a surprise? How little attention must one pay to not see this coming?






153 replies
  1. 1
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Motto: Oppose every dang thing.

  2. 2
    fasteddie9318 says:

    If you people would just stop fighting Republican efforts to prevent homos from being domestic in the first place, then there would be no homo domestic violence! Hello? Anybody home out there?

  3. 3
    Tonal Crow says:

    You forgot the NYT linky for the blockquotes.

  4. 4
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure.

    Paisano I am not sure how this “too much good will be done” message is going to fly

  5. 5
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Ya know, every time a politician SAYS that something is a shock or a surprise, that doesn’t NECESSARILY mean that she or he is actually shocked or surprised. There’s rhetorical power in that kind of statement: “I never thought they’d go this far.”

    Sounds like she’s trying to say that Republicans are amping up the anti-woman extremism in an election year. Say the Republicans have always been anti-woman extremists and it’s going to fall on deaf ears unless your audience is already committed to that view. Say that they’re going off the rails at this particular moment to placate their extremist base and you just might win someone over.

  6. 6
    Daaling says:

    Nice moves by the Dems. Now that we got the GOPers on the ropes with the contraception thing deliver the knock out punch when they start fighting against violence against women legislation. Makes no difference whether any bills are past. They will lose in the arena of public opinion.

  7. 7
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure.

    Mind you, the victims they’re thinking of are the 1% paying 15% taxes…

  8. 8
    redshirt says:

    Comity in the senate, dawgs.

  9. 9
    Soonergrunt says:

    I think Feinstein was about as surprised about Republican opposition to VAWA as she was that the sun came up this morning.

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:

    How on earth could this come as a surprise?

    I cannot stand DF, but maybe it was not a surprise. By being “surprised” she is just emphasising just how much of a 180 the other side has done on the issue, even though at this point it is nearly impossible to be surprise that the Republicans would do a 180 on something. To put it anouther way by getting it reported that the Dems are surprised the underlying message is that the Repulicans are untrustworthy and do not live up to what they say.

  11. 11
    shortstop says:

    creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims

    Because only white Anglo women with a certain amount of scratch — not minorities, immigrants or low-income people–can be victims of domestic abuse.

  12. 12
    jwb says:

    I don’t really get the sense that Feinstein was all that surprised about this particular item. I think we’ve all been surprised that the GOP has decided that it wants to contest this election on the ground of women’s rights. And as I survey the crazy over the past month, I have to say that the GOP seems to have been laying the groundwork for a coordinated campaign. It’s not going the way that they had planned (I doubt they really planned to lead with contraception), and it seems like it is happening sooner than they wanted and before they had all their ducks in a row, but it’s hard to have this much legislation coming out without having been working on it for a good long while.

  13. 13
    Tractarian says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    This. Feinstein was surprised at the GOP opposition in the same way that Captain Renault was shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment.

    Hopefully the American electorate will be as gullible as John Cole!

  14. 14
    Trentrunner says:

    The Republican message to Women of America:

    We will beat you, fuck you, and then you will have our child.

    That about do it?

  15. 15
    Mudge says:

    Being surprised means that Feinstein has not instantly polarized the situation by saying “this is no surprise from these assholes”.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    Cole does not understand the MO of DiFi. That is clear.

  17. 17
    Jamie says:

    It’s not really surprising but it is depressing

  18. 18
    TooManyJens says:

    @shortstop: Yeah, what the fuck does that quote even mean? There are no victims in underserved populations?

  19. 19
    Fanshawe says:

    This reminds me of one of the principled libertarian arguments against the Civil Rights Acts: that various interest groups would soon lobby to have new groups protected. Because lord knows that the worst thing for this republic would be having too many people protected from discrimination.

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    If the Republicans are this bad in March, I expect that by the convention we will be hearing explicit calls in support of violence against women. Really, anyone who is not a rapist, wife beater, or child abuser has no business voting for these people. Their “values” are of the type that should never be seen outside of a maximum security prison.

  21. 21
    Bulworth says:

    The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,”

    Fixd

  22. 22
    dmbeaster says:

    I think the basic analysis that DF’s “surprise” was feigned is probably true.

    However, contrast that remark with a more pointed one, such as “to no one’s surprise, the GOP war on women continues.” DF’s remark, even if not really motivated by surprise, is still weak tea.

    You aren’t providing much leadership on an issue when you act surprised that the other side acts predictably. Indeed, the premise of “surprise” is the assumption that they are not that indecent. Why project that message – just call them skunks and make that rather than “surprise” the focus.

  23. 23
    shortstop says:

    @TooManyJens: Yes, and it’s even worse. I read too fast and missed this gem: they consider adding same-sex couples to be “diluting” the fight against domestic violence. Because, you know, a household with two women or two men is not a normal home where normal things like beating your partner can take place.

  24. 24
    redshirt says:

    OT: Must say, I love that hook – “Meanwhile….”

    Always want to say “at stately Wayne Manor” but anything works really.

  25. 25
    dmsilev says:

    @Tractarian:

    I’ve actually been pretty impressed with DC Dems lately. It’s not the first time that they set a trap, and the GOP walked right into it.

    It helps that even if the Democrats opened every press conference with the video clip of Admiral Akbar shouting “It’s a trap!”, the Republicans would *still* walk right into it.

    I mean, what has happened to the GOP? They used to be good at creating and exploiting wedge issues in pursuit of evil, but now they’ve lost their mojo or something.

  26. 26
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    As one of her constituents, let me tell you that DiFi has been–as far as I can tell–pretty much worthless for the nation and for CA especially. I can understand the need to keep a Democrat in one of the CA seats this year, but damn I just wish she would retire. But I’ll still vote for her in November.

    Because the devil you know, and all that . . .

  27. 27
    Alex says:

    And how come Feinstein is using the phrase “partial-birth abortion”? That’s a huge no-no from a Democrat.

  28. 28
    jl says:

    Selective very weak tea on a number of liberal issues is a DiFi MO too. She speaks very carefully. She likes to find a way to get things done (or not get things done) in quiet rooms, IMHO. Most of what she says publicly is careful boilerplate.

  29. 29
    Cat Lady says:

    Next up – a law that defines as “yes” anything that a woman says “no” to.

  30. 30
    Satanicpanic says:

    Regardless of whether DiFi was surprised or “surpised” I’m bummed she’s running for re-election. She should make way for Kamala Harris.

  31. 31
    Catsy says:

    @Trentrunner:

    The Republican message to Women of America:
    __
    We will beat you, rape you, and then you will have our child.
    __
    That about do it?

    Adjusted slightly for clarity.

  32. 32
    jibeaux says:

    A gender gap that looks like the Gate of Hercules, and they’re on record as opposed to stopping violence against women.

    Because if you include more women in the protection, then fewer women are protected.

    Righty-o. Nineteenth Amendment Hammer Of Justice, please smash down come November.

  33. 33
    RP says:

    As someone said yesterday, the GOP’s slogan this year is “F**K YOU, AMERICA!”

  34. 34
    Suffern ACE says:

    I think she means “I didn’t expect this from Grassley.” Having been around in the 1980s, I remember this issue was controversial then-the idea that there should be women’s shelters and the government should pay for them. And I mean both parts of that. (The shelters weren’t needed and they promote divorce. And if women are being abused, it’s because men are being forced to work for women in the workplace.- I mean if Pat Robertson was preaching that on his TV show when I was a teenager, and I was hearing that from the fundamentalists I knew at the time, I’m not going to pretend that it has always been bi-partisan and non-controversial.)

  35. 35
    Tractarian says:

    @dmbeaster:

    You aren’t providing much leadership on an issue when you act surprised that the other side acts predictably. Indeed, the premise of “surprise” is the assumption that they are not that indecent. Why project that message – just call them skunks and make that rather than “surprise” the focus.

    True, but this kind of DC kabuki goes on all the time. The idea is that, if you are a Democrat and you put forward a bill and say, “Of course, my Republican colleagues will oppose this” then your bill will be known as a Democratic Bill. On the other hand, if you say, “Here’s a bill that we all can agree on!” then you’ve established that at least you think its a moderate bill capable of bipartisan support.

    In the linked NYT article, Jeff Sessions explains this strategy nicely:

    “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”

    It’s pretty amazing that the GOP “couldn’t support” the anodyne VAWA amendments, but he gets the gist of what’s going on here. The Dems could have slipped in an amendment granting eleventy billion dollars to Planned Parenthood, and the headlines tomorrow would still be what you see in the NYT today:

    The Violence Against Women Act once enjoyed broad bipartisan support but now faces fierce opposition from Republicans.

    For the Dems, it’s mission accomplished.

  36. 36
    ruemara says:

    This is about as surprising as water being wet and DiFi knows it. But the public and the media can only stand to not blame Democrats if they remain in the stance of a stunned innocent. That’s all. I can only hope JC is being the tremulous ingenue at her first orgy in jest.

  37. 37
    kindness says:

    DiFi might as well be a Republican. I’ve voted for her many times but held my nose and voted most of them. If the Republican Party still allowed moderates Diane probably would have switched years ago.

  38. 38

    Grassley is worth paying close attention to. Not because of the substance of what he says, but because he’s a great indicator of GOP strategy due to his complete lack of any principles or beliefs whatsoever:

    In August, 2009, Grassley called for health care reform “through an individual mandate,” on the grounds that ”Republicans believe in individual responsibility.” In June of that year, he told Fox that even though some might view them “as an infringement upon individual freedom,” there wasn’t “anything wrong” with a health insurance mandate. Then, of course, the concept of health insurance mandates was embraced by Pres. Obama. Grassley then said it violates the Constitution.

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @shortstop:

    Because, you know, a household with two women or two men is not a normal home where normal things like beating your partner can take place.

    I think it’s more that those people don’t deserve the protection of the state anyway. If they deserve to be protected from each other, people will start suggesting they deserve to be protected from the rest of us, and where will the Republican hate machine be then?

  40. 40
    AxelFoley says:

    Meanwhile, In Congress

    Why’d this make me think of the old Superfriends cartoon when changing the scene back to Superfriends HQ, Ted Knight would say, “Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice..”

    LOL

  41. 41
    RareSanity says:

    Senator Feinstein’s “surprise”, was a dodge to free her from any responsibility for actually having to fight for important legislation.

    The fact that she was “caught off guard”, by the GOP reticence, excuses the fact that she probably said nothing even resembling, “Are you nucking futz?”, during the committee meeting. She was so surprised, she was speechless, didn’t have time to collect her thoughts for a rebuttal.

    She’ll be ready the next time they try something like this though. Remember, she fights everyday for the issues that are important to average Americans…

    Bullshit…fucking coward…

  42. 42
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    “What the hell has Feinstein been doing the last four years?”

    Let me translate this John What she really meant was “I had no idea the Republicans were this dumb to fall for this”

  43. 43
    flukebucket says:

    Sorry to go off topic but how in the hell did Cole miss this?

    Fergit hell!

    There are a couple of folks in there that make Jesco White look like a physics professor.

  44. 44
    AA+ Bonds says:

    This is demographic suicide for them in an environment of high unemployment and thus greater marriage instability; they have to realize that

    Phyllis Schafly has correctly identified that need for government assistance forces people leftward; she seems to believe, though, that we are still in an economic situation where merely pointing that out does the trick for the right, when the truth is that almost no one in America believes that anyone on the right has a plan to restore stability – poll after damning poll shows this

    It’s whistling in the dark

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    @flukebucket:

    Yikes. That’s filmed by Pelosi’s daughter, yes? Is it part of a longer film?

  46. 46
    jibeaux says:

    @reflectionephemeral: Huh. I assume that puts him on Rmoney’s veep shortlist….

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @dmsilev:

    I mean, what has happened to the GOP? They used to be good at creating and exploiting wedge issues in pursuit of evil, but now they’ve lost their mojo or something.

    They’ve gotten predictable. The Democrats can first figure out what a reasonable, popular centrist position would be and then bring up the issue. The Republicans can then either agree with the Democrats, thus pissing off the extremist base, or launch a freakout that will please the base but piss off the rest of us. As long as the Democrats maintain the initiative so they can stake out a popular position to start with, they’re the ones creating the wedge issues.

  48. 48
    Amir Khalid says:

    @beltane:
    It shouldn’t surprise you at all. I can even see how the argument will go. It’s going to be all about a good Christian man’s duty toward his wimminz. I’ve heard conservative imams and scholars declare it a husband’s duty to physically chastise a wayward wife, if she won’t listen to his advice. I know that some of your American Christianists likewise see a wife’s proper role as submission to the will of her husband, to be enforced by any appropriate means. And the same goes for sisters and daughters, of course.

  49. 49
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @dmsilev:

    I mean, what has happened to the GOP? They used to be good at creating and exploiting wedge issues in pursuit of evil, but now they’ve lost their mojo or something.

    Everyone got poor and their message to single women with children is to forfeit government aid and go live in sleeping bags in the basement of their church or something

    It’s a practical outcome of how they’re wrong about what government has to do to maintain our society – only government can coordinate that aid, which makes those receiving it wary of anti-government rhetoric

    So the wedge issues lose their wedginess

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @beltane:

    Their “values” are of the type that should never be seen outside of a maximum security prison.

    Or a certain central European country in the 1930’s.

    I won’t mention any names.

  51. 51
    wrb says:

    @beltane:

    I expect that by the convention we will be hearing explicit calls in support of violence against women. Really, anyone who is not a rapist, wife beater, or child abuser has no business voting for these people.

    They only think it is justified against bad women. “Good” women are fine with that.

  52. 52
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I know that some of your American Christianists likewise see a wife’s proper role as submission to the will of her husband, to be enforced by any appropriate means.

    This also includes if he is gay or a child molester; the woman is told that maintaining the household is God’s task set before her in the Epistles

    @wrb:

    “Good” women are fine with that.

    We can go ahead and call them female misogynists – keeping an eye out for them is a must for any man or woman in the contemporary workplace

    They tend to act vindictively toward women on the individual level as well, so if you see any Fluke-bashing on a coworker’s Facebook or anything, just know where you or your female office friends will stand

  53. 53
    zombie debs says:

    So this is pretty infuriating. I live in a pretty blue state, so i don’t think theres that much use in calling up my congresscritters though. i’ve been pretty rabidly anti-republican for a while, but this one is distinctly personal.

    I am old enough that I remember what the resources were like for domestic violence victims before the passage of VAWA. because I grew up in a rural community, to a house filled to the brim with domestic violence. i watched it throughout my entire adolescence, and i was the victim of it for the majority of that time as well. I left home in the mid-90s, and due largely to that legacy, I spent a number of years homeless in the nearest big city. my mother left eventually too, and after years of careful planning, in the middle of the night.

    and now, shelters are very visible to me, and they exist largely as a result of the VAWA. they sure as hell were not around when I needed them. I spent a great deal of time mired in the justice system to some degree or another, as a direct result of that lack of resources. sure, there were shelters before the VAWA, but they were not nearly as widespread. as crumb-like as the budgets are for these resources, they are absolutely fucking vital, and they have, if you’ll pardon the expression, extremely good ROI in terms of social good per dollar spent.

    So to say that it is risky to extend those same protections that i sure as shit could have used, (and that, if available, maybe would have kept me from eat from dumpsters as frequently as i did) to other groups who i am damn sure could use it, is a personal motherfucking insult.

    i literally cannot see straight, i am so mad.

  54. 54
    Calouste says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    In theory, there is a difference between conservative Muslims and conservative Christianists. In practice, the differences are only on eating pork and whether the pilgrimage should be to Mecca or whichever shithole Limbaugh was born in. Of course, technically there is also a difference on full face covering for women, but I’m sure the Christianists are trying to work out how to introduce that.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @dmsilev:

    I mean, what has happened to the GOP?

    It make me wonder if having Nancy Pelosi not only make history as the first female Speaker of the House, but a highly effective one at that, has shaken loose and dislodged some demons inside the psychology of the male GOP leadership re: powerful women, demons that they would have been better advised not to reveal to the outside world.

  57. 57
    Tractarian says:

    @RareSanity:

    Senator Feinstein’s “surprise”, was a dodge to free her from any responsibility for actually having to fight for important legislation.

    Really? You think Feinstein intentionally courted Republican opposition because she, herself, doesn’t really want to “fight” for the legislation? And if the GOP opposed it, then she could just let it drop?

    Sounds like you’re coming from the same place as @kindness. (Possibly a mental institution, probably in Berkeley.)

  58. 58
    scav says:

    For a quick change of mind-bending conundrum OT, Newt and his jar of algae at the gas station moments, consider this: US military combines green and mean to fly drones on biofuels. Sorry if this have been covered already, my brain’s spent most of the last week in tiny tiny bits, cowering in a corner and hiding.

  59. 59
    dmsilev says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: That’s a possibility. Another one, and this is truly frightening, is that maybe George W. Bush really was the brains of the party and with him gone, they don’t know what to do.

  60. 60
    NCSteve says:

    John, John, John. When a member of Congress says “I am surprised by the response of the gentleman from Bumfutz” un a full committee meeting with the CSPAN cameras rolling, what he/she actually means is “Heh! I knew you were going to say that, you predictable putz and I intend to see that you and your party suffer for it! Bwahahaha!”

  61. 61
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: Probably true, but also sad. I just find strong, independent *equal* women more fun to be around, as a dude. My wonderful wife did not vow obedience lo these four decades ago when we took our vows, and I’ve certainly not expected any. And we raised our daughters the same way.

  62. 62
    Brachiator says:

    @RareSanity:

    Senator Feinstein’s “surprise”, was a dodge to free her from any responsibility for actually having to fight for important legislation.

    She’s clearly surprised because the Republicans co-sponsored the bill and in all previous meetings between Congress critters and staffers, every indication was that the legislation would be passed.

    What’s so hard to understand here?

    And what is fight for legislation mean here?

    If the senior Republican on a key committee opposes the legislation, what is Feinstein supposed to do? Send a particularly snarky email?

  63. 63
    flukebucket says:

    @trollhattan:

    Is it part of a longer film?

    I sure hope so. That captures the beauty and charm of the South that I know and love so well :-)

    And anybody who tries to tell you that those folks are atypical is full of shit. I have lived in the south all of my life and those people are my people. It is not easy being a white male over 50 and an Obama supporter around here but I do the damn best I can.

    I saw that it was filmed by a Pelosi but I didn’t check to see if she was the daughter of SMASH. I hope she is.

  64. 64
    beltane says:

    @wrb: These “good” women are present at every crime against humanity, cheerleading the butchery and mass rapes committed by their menfolk. Such women are truly beneath contempt and deserve to be treated as the malignancies they are.

  65. 65
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Calouste:

    I think the main difference is that Muslims are all required to practice certain positive behaviors while the leading fundamentalist/New Evangelical theology of the Christian right reiterates over and over that attending religious services or treating other people well or following God’s law means nothing in the eyes of God; that sin is something to be accepted in oneself and in others if they have been “saved”; and that Christians are guaranteed God’s kingdom through a single personal conversation with God and nothing they can do from that point on will remove them from the elect

    It is a perverse pseudo-Christianity that demands no practice, only preaching and conversion

    It allows them to give in to their most sadistic impulses and glorify the blasphemy and depravity of others whom they believe to be soldiers in their war; at the very least Al Qaeda probably still frowns on alcohol and directs its members to clean themselves after toilet with their left hands

  66. 66
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @Calouste:

    As I’ve said before: We’re in a two-front war to see if we get to keep the Enlightenment or not.

    At present, the domestic front appears to be the one doing more substantive damage.

  67. 67
    burnspbesq says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    She should make way for Kamala Harris.

    Let Harris build a track record of actual accomplishments as AG that matches the rhetoric, then we’ll talk.

  68. 68
    rea says:

    @shortstop: “Because, you know, a household with two women or two men is not a normal home where normal things like beating your partner can take place.”

    Most domestic violence laws cover anyone living together–not just married or even sleeping together. If you live with your brother, and get in a fight with him, that’s domestic violence. If the brothers down at the monestary get into a fistfight, that’s domestic violence, too.

  69. 69
    rageahol says:

    @burnspbesq: and what, exactly, has DiFi accomplished since 11/28/78?

  70. 70
    Catsy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Or a certain central European country in the 1930’s.
    __
    I won’t mention any names.

    This analogy with the 27%ers seems more apt with each passing year. Honestly, I think this country is in the process of doing a cultural gut check about how far down the rabbit hole we’re willing to let an extremist minority take an agenda built on lies, subversion of democracy and hatred/resentment of the Other.

    There was a point in this process where a certain central European country could’ve collectively stepped back from that precipice and stopped it from going any further. They failed to do so.

    We can’t.

  71. 71
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @flukebucket:

    Not just the South. Places like Pennsyltucky (that space between Pittsburgh and Philly) or any other place with an “appalachian state of mind” will do.

    Namely, a large chunk of rurl ‘Murka.

    Like here in Misery.

  72. 72
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The ideal anti-kite anti-music Taliban Caliphate would probably force itself to accept large Christian populations who controlled their own countries to maintain its theological consistency

    If the Christian right ascended globally, they would likely take all Muslim children from their parents and exterminate the adults, and then start in on the conversos who flubbed lines in their weird soft-rock anthems

  73. 73

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    It make me wonder if having Nancy Pelosi not only make history as the first female Speaker of the House, but a highly effective one at that, has shaken loose and dislodged some demons inside the psychology of the male GOP leadership re: powerful women, demons that they would have been better advised not to reveal to the outside world.

    I think that’s part of it, but they’ve also completely abandoned rational thought on all issues in favor of oppositionism and a series of resentments. The Grassley quotes I listed above– in which an individual mandate went from a sound, decades-old GOP idea to tyranny in the span of weeks– are as good example of any of the GOP’s approach to the world. Consider also the payroll tax, or the debt, or the debt ceiling, or the EITC, or more or less anything else.

    This is just the expected result of the confluence of the GOP giving in whole-hog to its resentments and opposition for opposition’s sake.

    Let’s not forget that opposition for opposition’s sake works pretty well, when you look at reality vs. polling on the stimulus, health insurance reform, whether we’ve increased taxes under Obama, etc.

  74. 74
    redshirt says:

    @Catsy: Yeah. I’ve long pondered the question of how the German people could allow themselves to be taken up in the anger/hatred of the NAZI’s, and seemingly willingly so. I had a fundamental disconnect, because I don’t think Germans are in any way more inherently evil than anyone else, and yet, there you have NAZI Germany.

    I understand it perfectly now, as I’ve watched it unfold here in the Dear Old US of A over the past 30 years.

    They’re just missing the really charismatic Leader. Thank FSM their very ideology ensures they’ll just get dumber and dumber.

  75. 75
    kindness says:

    @Tractarian: Not sure what you mean but I assume it isn’t nice. Listen up buddy, DiFi is the suck of Democrats. She likes wars, likes cozying up to tax breaks for the rich, goes out of her way to ship more Northern Cal water south and does not represent my interests very will.

    Mental institution indeed. Welcome to California politics 101.

  76. 76
    beltane says:

    @AA+ Bonds: American evangelicalism is essentially libertarian in nature. These people are “saved” and being saved means that no laws, neither secular nor religious, should have to apply to them. Salvation to them means the right to lie, cheat, rape, steal, fornicate, and kill with impunity.

    This is the only major religion I am aware of that makes absolutely no personal demands on its adherents other than that they are required to hate their enemies. They don’t have to give up certain foods or certain activities, they don’t have to fast, and they don’t have to observe any proscribed rituals in their personal lives. All they have to do is throw stones in a vile parody of the Gospels. Traditional Christianity was far from perfect, but this debased, bastardized American version of it is nothing short of a plague upon our society.

  77. 77
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    @burnspbesq: THIS.

  78. 78
    Napoleon says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    Not just the South. Places like Pennsyltucky (that space between Pittsburgh and Philly) or any other place with an “appalachian state of mind” will do.

    I am reading the below book and while I have been aware of the general thesis that the “state” of the US of A is made up of several differant actual nations I have never seen it fleshed out so well. It is worth a read to understand the US.

    http://www.amazon.com/American.....0670022969

  79. 79
    Maude says:

    @rea:
    In NJ, there has to be a personal relationship to get a restraining order. A victim can get that order quickly.

  80. 80
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @dmsilev:

    maybe George W. Bush really was the brains of the party and with him gone, they don’t know what to do.

    I think you are on to something here.

  81. 81
    Napoleon says:

    @redshirt:

    because I don’t think Germans are in any way more inherently evil than anyone else,

    Before the Nazi’s Germany was the absolutely best place to be Jewish. They had finally came (so it appeared) to be accepted in a country as citizens like any other. Also the nation was basically as democratic as GB of that era.

  82. 82
    shortstop says:

    @rea: Don’t tell me. Tell Chuck Freaking Grassley.

  83. 83
    TooManyJens says:

    The measure, authored by Senators Crapo and Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, attracted 58 co-sponsors, including Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Ms. Murkowski, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois and Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts.

    And Mark Kirk is still recovering from a stroke and won’t be able to vote for the bill when it comes to the floor, so we effectively have to get to 61.

    Or the Republicans could just not be evil and let it go to a vote without filibustering, but… yeah. 61.

  84. 84
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @dmsilev:

    Another one, and this is truly frightening, is that maybe George W. Bush really was the brains of the party and with him gone, they don’t know what to do.

    You’re probably joking, but in hindsight GWB’s main strength seems to have been keeping the true nutjobs within his caucus in line. With GWB retired, the proverbial valve has blown.

    One of my worries w.r.t. a President Romney is that I don’t think he’s nearly strong enough to keep the true-crazies in check.

  85. 85
    shortstop says:

    Dianne Feinstein has a lot of flaws, and someday she’ll retire and CA will have another, hopefully more liberal Democrat in her place, but people who think she was really surprised or that she did this “so she won’t have to fight for it” are really not getting it. Tractarian has it exactly right.

  86. 86
    trollhattan says:

    @flukebucket:

    First became familiar with Alexandra (Li’l Smash!) from “Journeys with George” a documentary on the 2000 Bush campaign. I’m wondering whether the clip you linked is from “Right America…” (which I’ve not seen)?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1372293/

    Honestly, even here in California it’s no much of a drive to find similar folks, but they generally dial it back some compared to the ones in the clip.

  87. 87
    rlrr says:

    @Calouste:

    the differences are only on eating pork and whether the pilgrimage should be to Mecca or whichever shithole Limbaugh was born in.

    Or the various cheap “Holy Land” type amusement parks. One can do a pilgrimage without having to interact with any icky foreigners.

  88. 88
    Ash Can says:

    The bad news: By the time of the general election in November, news stories like this will have been so pervasive that we political junkies will be in toxic shock over them.

    The good news: At that point, even the lowest-information voters will be aware of them.

  89. 89
    kerFuFFler says:

    @flukebucket:

    About that link…..just wow…

  90. 90
    jonas says:

    @TooManyJens: Shorter Senator Grassley: “This bill benefits primarily poor people who can’t defend themselves. We can’t have that.”

  91. 91
    Schlemizel says:

    @Trentrunner:
    no, you forgot

    AND THEN YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN TO TAKE CARE OF IT YOU SLUT!

  92. 92
    rikyrah says:

    GOP WAR ON WOMEN.

    it’s all part of an entire narrative that continues to be written on a daily basis.

    everytime you come to an apolitical woman who doesn’t want to ‘ believe’ that the GOP are anti-women, they keep on coming up with ‘isolated incidents’.

    as I’ve said before.

    When ISOLATED INCIDENTS

    are neither

    ISOLATED

    nor

    INCIDENTAL

    they form a PATTERN

    accept what the PATTERN tells you and proceed accordingly.

    the GOP is giving us THE PATTERN.

  93. 93
    rlrr says:

    [Ted Knight]
    Meanwhile, In Congress
    [/Ted Knight]

  94. 94
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cat Lady:
    That was the Onion headline
    “GOP rules woman Senators NO votes mean YES”

  95. 95
    Hewer of Wood, Drawer of Water says:

    @flukebucket: The toothless guy responding repeatedly “But it could” after acknowledging that voting Republican has never helped him – that’s the very definition of insane. Holy crap that was scary.

    And yes, Alexandra Pelosi is Nancy’s daughter (per Wikipedia)

  96. 96
    Tony J says:

    @dmsilev:

    I mean, what has happened to the GOP? They used to be good at creating and exploiting wedge issues in pursuit of evil, but now they’ve lost their mojo or something.

    They spent 50 years refining the GOP brand into something that could accomodate the Greedy, the Godly and the Great White Hopeless under one roof, and fed the electorally significant factions of this amalgam decades of ahistorical propaganda to keep the machine lubricated and running smooth. That kind of full-tilt embrace of the crazy burns through natural talent faster than it can be replaced, and the crazy leaks out into the recruiting pool at an exponential rate, until the only people you can safely put up for office are hard-core ideologues acceptable to the Base.

    Shorter – The Congressional GOP is chock-full of nuts, and they call the shots these days.

  97. 97
    Roger Moore says:

    @reflectionephemeral:

    The Grassley quotes I listed above—in which an individual mandate went from a sound, decades-old GOP idea to tyranny in the span of weeks—are as good example of any of the GOP’s approach to the world.

    Maybe so, but not the way you are implying. What it really says is that they’re dishonest in the way they oppose things they don’t like. Rather than coming out and saying they hate the idea of legislation doing X, Y, or Z, they come out with a set of what they see as poison pills that the Democrats will have to adopt in order to get their support. If the Democrats ever call their bluff by actually accepting the Republican ideas, they just move the goalposts by claiming they never really liked those ideas in the first place. It doesn’t prove that they’re crazy and inconsistent, just that they can’t be trusted to maintain a consistent viewpoint on what they want to eat for lunch today, much less what legislation they’d support.

  98. 98
    RareSanity says:

    @Tractarian:

    To answer your question, any Democrat, that find themselves “surprised” the the GOP opposes something that has broad Democratic support, has obviously been asleep at the switch for the past two years. Democrats should always assume that if something appears to be going to smoothly, it’s because the Republicans haven’t started trying to obstruct, up to that point in time. But rest assured, they will attempt to obstruct any piece of legislation, that could give any appearance of a political victory to Democrats at a time of their choosing.

    On a personal note, and in response to your last sentence, fuck you.

    @Brachiator:

    My initial comment may have been a bit strong, but the fact that a senior Democrat like Diane Feinstein, is surprised that Republicans would pull an asshole move, is infuriating at this point in time. I’ll go as far as to say that it is inexcusable.

    How is a seasoned politician, observing the behavior of their opposition for at least the past two years, surprised by this?

    By “fighting”, I mean, when a reporter asks what happened, show some gumption in your answer. Say something like, “I am disgusted by the fact that not only is the Republican party playing political games with funding for domestic violence programs, but in addition to that, they have shown themselves to be completely devoid of any character or ethics by flat out lying about their intentions to support legislation. The American people want to know why their Congress is so dysfunctional, I say to them, how is the people’s business supposed to carried out, when someone can look someone in the face and lie about their intentions, while shaking your hand?”

    Act like you expected this to happen, because you should have.

  99. 99
    Jay says:

    By opposing this, most of the GOP has shown itself to be not only anti – woman, but also soft on crime. I know Dems and Liberal activists have the first part, the anti – woman part, down, but when are people going to stand up and also start dropping the phrase, “soft on crime?” The GOP has won more than a few recent elections with those three words, even if they’re nowhere near the truth, so this President can’t move on weed legalization, mandatory minimums or what have you because he thinks he’ll be swept out of office on the lie that he’s a wuss. Here, we have a real, doggone case of the “law and order” party wussing out on crime. Democrats ought to talk as though that’s what’s actually happening.

  100. 100
    Suffern ACE says:

    And soon the national discussion moves to porn per Wonkette. In as much as Santorum can move the public discussion.

  101. 101
    goblue72 says:

    I lived in the Bay Area for 7 years. I share CA progressives frustrations with DiFi. If Harvey Milk and Moscone hadn’t been shot, there would be no DiFi.

    That said – she plays her role. And she’s a powerful Dem on the Hill. Much more so than Boxer. And her appeal is crosses over to more conservative voters. So when she nods her head that the GOP have gone too far, folks pay attention in a way than when Barbara Lee does.

  102. 102
    shortstop says:

    @Schlemizel: Thank dog they’re still in business. The competition from GOP press releases is getting stiff.

  103. 103
    japa21 says:

    I first read the quote to say “undeserved population” and thought he meant to say undeserving population. Of course maybe that is what he meant to say and it just got transcribed wrong. After all, for some of the people that this is being expanded to cover, the GOP does believe them to be undeserving of any protections, even those guaranteed by the Constitution.

  104. 104
    Catsy says:

    @RareSanity:

    the fact that a senior Democrat like Diane Feinstein, is surprised that Republicans would pull an asshole move

    No, just stop right there. Everything that flows from this flawed premise–including your outrage at this quote–is similarly flawed.

    You presume–wrongly, I think–that Feinstein’s quote was a sincere expression of surprise.

    I think the alternative articulated by dozens of others over the course of the thread is far more likely: that this is a rhetorical gimmick used to suggest that the actions of the other party are so out of line that they ought to be surprising.

    It could certainly have been phrased better or more effectively. But everyone taking her statement at literal face value and slamming her for it is way off the mark.

  105. 105
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Ash Can:

    The worse news: everyone will be talking about them with the Republicans’ language, because they keep winning the fucking language war. Even when they lose, they fucking win nonstop.

  106. 106

    And if that horror isn’t enough, I bring you the case of Bei Bei Shuai, a woman imprisoned in Indiana for a year for “feticide” — also known as attempted suicide while 2 mo. pregnant. An abortion would have been legal at that stage, let me add.

    Tell me this isn’t a war on women? Jesus fucking christ.

  107. 107
    Raven says:

    @RareSanity: Long time. How’s it hangin?

  108. 108
    Catsy says:

    @Jay:

    when are people going to stand up and also start dropping the phrase, “soft on crime?”

    A world of NO. Adopting GOP frames only validates them and gives them an undeserved veneer of bipartisanship, which increases their effectiveness when deployed against us and shifts thinking in their direction.

    The whole “soft on crime” line of bullshytt is why we have the War on (some) Drugs, mandatory minimum sentencing, and other purely punitive measures that do little to improve public safety, play to the GOP’s agenda, disproportionately harm minorities, and impede real solutions.

    Fuck to the no.

  109. 109
    shortstop says:

    @Suffern ACE: That reminds me. Have we taken time today on this blog to laugh our asses off at Santorum telling Puerto Ricans to speak English?

    I can’t get enough of his lecturing them that since they want to be a state (apparently he’s unaware that puertorriquenos have a difference of opinion on this), they have to start having some “compliance” with English as a primary language. No, no one knows what mythical constitutional principle or law requires English as a state’s first language. Presumably the same one that makes Netherlanders off old people for sport. All of these things are codified way inside Rih’s butt, whence he pulls them.

  110. 110
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    @rageahol: Nothing much. And that sort of proves the point, doesn’t it? The last time we sent someone with no real statewide accomplishments to the Senate we got–DiFi. CA can’t afford to send another mediocre legislator to the Senate.

    I’m not saying Harris would be a mediocre legislator. I’m saying only that I don’t know. Also too, AG in California has a long tradition of being the stepping stone to a gubernatorial run, not a senate run.

  111. 111
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    OT, though ABL will love this: Over at DK, is a picture of a bumper sticker that reads “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012”.

  112. 112
    scav says:

    Just wait until they start taking on Hysterectomies as preemptive strikes against the holy unborn.

  113. 113
    Chris says:

    @dmsilev:

    I mean, what has happened to the GOP? They used to be good at creating and exploiting wedge issues in pursuit of evil, but now they’ve lost their mojo or something.

    “Let’s wind the clocks back a year… Those, liberals and moderates, wouldn’t DARE touch any of you… I mean, what happened? Did your balls drop off? Hmm?”

    Sorry, you triggered an urge to indulge my inner nerd.

    But, the serious answer: it’s simple. America changed. They were fantastic at exploiting wedge issues to create a “silent majority” and setting it at the throats of the rest of the country. Trouble is, that was circa 1970. The silent majority’s quickly becoming the unsilent minority as the hated groups either become more accepted (gays, women outside the house) or more numerous (nonwhite people, non-Christian people).

    Like some people here are fond of pointing out – if McCain had won the same share of the white vote, but done it in 1980, he’d have won in a landslide. The country’s become less white and the GOP still hasn’t figured out how to square with that.

  114. 114
    Roger Moore says:

    @RareSanity:

    My initial comment may have been a bit strong, but the fact that a senior Democrat like Diane Feinstein, is surprised that Republicans would pull an asshole move, is infuriating at this point in time. I’ll go as far as to say that it is inexcusable.

    Again, though, as several posters here have pointed out, we don’t know that Feinstein was genuinely surprised by this, or if she’s feigning surprise because she thinks it’s an effective way of highlighting how vile the Republicans are. Think about it. Which is likely to be more effective politically?

    1) “I thought we had a deal on this perfectly innocuous, bipartisan legislation that sailed through Congress last time. Why are the Republicans proving their hatred of all women by reneging on their promises and opposing it?”

    2) “I should have known the Republicans could never support this bill after we loaded it up with a bunch of programs that will make their base flip out. I guess we’ll have to drop those useful but politically controversial parts in order to get the rest of it to pass.”

    If you said 2), go back to school and retake Politics 101.

  115. 115
    jibeaux says:

    @Southern Beale: That article says she was 8 months pregnant.

  116. 116

    @Roger Moore:

    Maybe so, but not the way you are implying. What it really says is that they’re dishonest in the way they oppose things they don’t like. Rather than coming out and saying they hate the idea of legislation doing X, Y, or Z, they come out with a set of what they see as poison pills that the Democrats will have to adopt in order to get their support. If the Democrats ever call their bluff by actually accepting the Republican ideas, they just move the goalposts by claiming they never really liked those ideas in the first place.

    Not really sure where we’re disagreeing.

    I’m saying that the entirety of the Republican Party is so unserious about policy that they’ll turn on a dime to oppose policies they’d supported for decades.

    Your point is, as I understand it, that they secretly didn’t mean what they’d said all along.

    Maybe the difference is that you think they’ve had consistent preferences all along, and were lying beforehand? Whereas my point is that the party of Medicare Part D never cared about any issues whatsoever, they simply do whatever they think the Party’s interests demand at the moment?

    Either way, seems like a pretty small (and ultimately unverifiable) disagreement.

    On the larger point, that allegiance to and membership in the Republican Party have absolutely nothing to do with public policy, I think we’re in agreement.

  117. 117
    Ash Can says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik: I’d rather have them win the language war than the electoral war.

  118. 118
    kindness says:

    What really toasts me about DiFi is that she isn’t as environmentally friendly as I am (water issues primarily) and that she was one of the big guns who pushed the Patriot Act on us. The Patriot Act has done more to wipe out much of the Bill of Rights than anything ever.

    I understand there are places for moderates. I think Barbara Boxer is a moderate to liberal. The press doesn’t. Republicans don’t. What I don’t get is why a state like California is placing a more conservative Democrat in the Senate than they really need to be doing with the way our electorate is right now.

    So….some of you think some of us here are the fdl of BJ I guess…..sorry but I am not sorry or in any way ashamed of what I feel. The Patriot Act is an abomination. It legalized George Orwell’s best books. The answer to the population boom in the south of the state isn’t to dam & drain every stream & ship it all south.

  119. 119
    redshirt says:

    OT: Check out the headline at TPM. Looks like they’re going Full Huffington.

  120. 120
  121. 121
    wrb says:

    @redshirt:

    Looks like they’re going Full Huffington.

    ftw!

  122. 122
    RareSanity says:

    @Catsy:

    So you’re saying that your presumption, of the Senator’s intent of a statement, is more valid than accepting the statement, the only way possible without being a mind reader, at face value?

    Wait…I’m not going to do this to you Catsy. I’ve never had any issue with you, so I’m not going to engage in the infamous Balloon-Juice poo flinging.

    What I’m trying to say is, whether or not the statement was intended to communicate something subtle, or it was a truthful statement, made in frustration, doesn’t matter.

    Surprised should not a word used by Congressional Democrats, when talking about the behavior of Republicans.

    It communicates passivity and a general tone of defeat. If Democrats can’t actually express confidence, security, and yes even anger, when talking about widely popular subjects that in addition, are fundamental Democratic issues, what’s the point?

    My frustration is that statements like that, however intended, come from a point of weakness. I don’t want Democrats to turn into liberal versions of the Republicans…faux-macho bullies.

    I want them to communicate with America with confidence, especially when the issue, and public opinion is on their side.

    I want more Democrats like Nancy Pelosi. Not necessarily political clones (although that would also be nice), but someone that just exudes confidence with everything they say, and would never be on the record saying she was surprised.

  123. 123
    shortstop says:

    @RareSanity: Take a deep breath and put down the shovel.

  124. 124
    Ruckus says:

    What the hell has Feinstein been doing the last four years?

    1. Nothing.
    2. Very, very little.
    3. Very, very little, most of it wrong.
    4. Getting wealthier.

    Choose any of the above.

  125. 125
    Roger Moore says:

    @reflectionephemeral:

    Maybe the difference is that you think they’ve had consistent preferences all along, and were lying beforehand?

    Yes. Like any political party, they have some consistent preferences and some areas where they’re willing to do whatever seems expedient. Opposition to sociаlized medicine is one area they’ve been consistent in opposing for quite a long time. So is hatred of most minorities and desire to give free reign to the wealthy. Other issues, they may be able to compromise on if it helps them politically or lets them steer money toward their wealthy backers. I think that was the big point behind Medicare Part D; it was a huge giveaway to big business, so it was OK if a few poor and needy people got some help along the way.

    The key point is that they know many of their real priorities are unpopular, even with a majority of their backers. So they have to come up with a way of disguising their position as something acceptable. So instead of opposing healthcare reform because they see it as a big win for the other party, they disguise their opposition as a disagreement of means rather than end and simply fail to follow through on implementing their approach when the opportunity arises. It’s only when the Democrats were willing to give in and back a mandate that the Republicans had to revert to plan B and criticize the mandate as unconstitutional.

    Now it’s possible that this long term dynamic is going by the wayside today, either because the Republicans have abandoned any principle other than opposing anything the Democrats propose or because they think they can finally let their freak flag fly. I think we’ll know more when we see if the party leadership starts using the gutter language to refer to their opponents that has until now been relegated to the cesspools of talk radio, right wing blogs, and avowed hate groups.

  126. 126
    jwb says:

    @redshirt: As if one Huffpo wasn’t enough.

  127. 127
    RareSanity says:

    @Raven:

    What’s up Raven?

    Work has been nuts for me since 2012 started. Haven’t been able to get my usual Balloon Juice time in. Always good to see you around these parts though.

    @Roger Moore:

    Ok, I’m all for false dichotomies and all, but #2 is just ridiculous. LOL

    What I am saying is that, even if it was just her feigning surprise to make a point, it is just not the right word to use in this situation. Maybe she (and others) need to stop trying to be so subtle, and just talk to people, instead of trying to infer things…

    I’m not sure if I’m communicating my point well…

  128. 128
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Ash Can:

    The growing problem here is that increasingly, electoral victories for our side are negated by the language victories the GOP continues to score. Even when we win, it seems like it’s only within their frames and they get free reign to completely obstruct until electoral amnesia sets in.

  129. 129
    RareSanity says:

    @shortstop:

    I did.

    Poo flinging is such a natural state around here, sometimes it’s hard to resist. Sometimes we have to take a moment, and only direct the poo at those that deserve it, Catsy does NOT fall into that group.

  130. 130

    @redshirt:

    Check out the headline at TPM. Looks like they’re going Full Huffington.

    And that is precisely why Josh Marshall and his enterprise have become a joke.

  131. 131
    Raven says:

    @RareSanity: Not much, still watchin the tourney even after the amazing collapse of another Illini team! I like to keep up with what it is up in here but these arguments make mu fucking head hurt. Vandy-Harvard is an interesting tilt.

  132. 132
    shortstop says:

    @RareSanity:

    Maybe she (and others) need to stop trying to be so subtle, and just talk to people, instead of trying to infer things…

    What was she “inferring”? Do you mean “implying”? You don’t think this statement, which immediately followed the expression of “surprise,” was clear?

    “This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from discussions on Roe v. Wade, to partial birth abortion, to contraception, to preventive services for women. This seems to be one more thing.”

    Maybe this speech on the Senate floor will make you feel better. It doesn’t quite sound like someone who was soon to be “so surprised, she was speechless, didn’t have time to collect her thoughts for a rebuttal.”

  133. 133
    RareSanity says:

    @Raven:

    Usually they make my head hurt too. But, when you haven’t been engaged for awhile, it can lead to the other extreme…being a bit overzealous.

    Once my son goes to sleep, I plan to settle in for the evening games. Just me, the couch, the TV, the tournament, Jack Daniels and ginger ale.

  134. 134
    Catsy says:

    @RareSanity:

    So you’re saying that your presumption, of the Senator’s intent of a statement, is more valid than accepting the statement, the only way possible without being a mind reader, at face value?

    No.

    I am saying that when faced with the following two possible explanations for Feinstein’s comment:

    a) That a 20-year Senate veteran truly and genuinely–despite being personally present for the GOP’s bad faith obstructionism and descent into madness over the last four years, to say nothing of the recent escalation of the Republican war on women–was surprised, thus suggesting that she is extremely stupid or naive

    b) That she was employing rhetorical feigned surprise in order to highlight just how unobjectionable reauthorizing the VAWA ought to be and thus how truly extreme the GOP’s position really is

    –I am saying that yes, (b) is far more probably. By at least an order of magnitude. Especially if you include the rest of what she said.

    Taking people’s words at face value has its place, but you do have to take into account the whole surrounding context. And the upshot of the context here is that it is flat-out absurd to think that DiFi was sincerely surprised by this move.

    I am not inclined to disagree that there are stronger ways it could’ve been framed. The GOP is really letting the mask slip and I think we should continue to help them yank it clear off. And DiFi is far from being my favorite Democrat. I much prefer an Al Franken or Nancy SMASH.

    But she’s neither stupid nor naive, and I can assure you with a fair degree of certainty that she was not surprised.

  135. 135
    Egg Berry says:

    If you want to see some more Alexandra Pelosi, Friends of God. Explains a lot. (links to a site that has the youtube)

  136. 136
    Raven says:

    @RareSanity: NC Asheville wuz robbed.

  137. 137
    Brachiator says:

    @RareSanity:

    My initial comment may have been a bit strong, but the fact that a senior Democrat like Diane Feinstein, is surprised that Republicans would pull an asshole move, is infuriating at this point in time. I’ll go as far as to say that it is inexcusable.

    I don’t understand why some Balloon Juicers are angrier at Democrats like Feinstein for not being surprised as at Republicans for their stupid, hateful stunts.

    How is a seasoned politician, observing the behavior of their opposition for at least the past two years, surprised by this?

    Again, the point is that the Congress does a lot of business. The GOP previously indicated that they would go along with this bill. Despite what people believe from blog posts, the GOP has not uniformly or consistently opposed every piece of legislation. And they clearly sent signals previously that this bill was a done deal.

    By “fighting”, I mean, when a reporter asks what happened, show some gumption in your answer.

    This isn’t fighting. This is posturing for the public. And while this might make people feel better, it doesn’t have squat to do with getting the bill passed.

    The American people want to know why their Congress is so dysfunctional

    The funny thing is that a lot of people know, but don’t care. They just want stuff to get done.

    The crazy thing is that from reading this thread, it appears that some Balloon Juicers note the political theater, and want more political theater.

  138. 138
    RareSanity says:

    @shortstop:

    I think that any possible affect of the second statement, was completely neutralized by the first statement. I’m saying that if she was feigning surprise, to trying and make a broader statement about the ridiculousness of the situation, she should stop doing that.

    Just confidently make the statement using words. It should be be obvious by now that subtly, is not an affective rhetorical device, in this environment.

    @Catsy:

    I never said that I thought she was stupid, because I don’t. As a matter of fact, my first statement was saying that she wasn’t actually surprised, and that there was some calculation involved in the statement. I was just completely off on what that calculation was.

    I think that we’re saying the same thing, I was just being (extremely and unnecessarily) hyperbolic.

  139. 139
    Berial says:

    @flukebucket: I’ve never seen that clip before, but I live here and I can tell you, though I’ve not met any of those people personally, I think I’ve known people like them my whole life. You hear this kind of shit ALL.THE.TIME. around here. I can believe every bit of that clip.

    People getting government assistance will tell you to your face how much they hate it, but their’s is a special case and they deserve it.

    My personal favorite is talking to state workers who will tell you that state workers all suck. Again, they and their friends (and sometimes even their whole department)are ‘different’, but all the rest of the state (and federal) employees all suck.

    I cannot even comprehend the mindset and I’ve lived here my whole life.

  140. 140
    RareSanity says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t understand why some Balloon Juicers are angrier at Democrats like Feinstein for not being surprised as at Republicans for their stupid, hateful stunts.

    That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

    The story of the frog and scorpion comes to mind here. It is just as valid for me to be mad at the frog, for knowing better, and still getting his ass stung by the scorpion…as it for me to be mad at the scorpion for lying to the frog…

    I can be mad at both, but direct my anger mostly, at the one that should have known better.

  141. 141
    Brachiator says:

    @RareSanity: RE: I don’t understand why some Balloon Juicers are angrier at Democrats like Feinstein for not being surprised as at Republicans for their stupid, hateful stunts.

    That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

    No. Not at all.

    The story of the frog and scorpion comes to mind here.

    Please, no.

    This story has been exhumed and its moldy corpse paraded around in recent threads here. And trying to distort its theme to rationalize anger over Feinstein is just painful to watch.

    I can be mad at both, but direct my anger mostly, at the one that should have known better.

    I can see that you and others are stuck on this. Funny how, in any thread just minutes ago, there is a story about the Senate voting to confirm a new judge, with some, but not all Republicans disssenting.

    Again, in the real world in which Congress operates, there is a political game going on in which sometimes, maybe often, the GOP obstructs, and at other times makes deals and agrees to previous compromises.

    But here, in happy simple Balloon Juice land, some people insist on being outraged over lamely bland comments by a senator.

  142. 142
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RareSanity: Most of this political theater is not aimed at us. Pretty much everyone who reads this blog is politically engaged and aware. The vast majority of us are going to be voting for every Democrat we can see on our ballots.

    The theater is for the disengaged people who are just starting to pay some attention to politics now that it is an election year. If they voted for some Republicans in the past they don’t want to be told that they were voting for dipshits and might, as a result, be a little bit of a dipshit themselves. Tell voters (or anyone) that are stupid causes them to put a defensive wall and stop listening to what you are saying. Not very persuasive. OTOH saying that you are surprised that the GOP wouldn’t go along with this sets a tone that you would expect an ordinary, sensible person to have no problem with it and that someone must be a bit weird to oppose it. I don’t think it is a bad way to phrase things. Always try to remember who the intended audience actually is.

  143. 143
    patrick II says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Diane filed this in her “hoocoodanode” category.

  144. 144
    RareSanity says:

    @Brachiator:

    Ok, I’m not really in the mood to be lectured, especially in the condescending tone you are using, so I’ll say this…

    I am aware that Republicans are acting like assholes. I am also aware that there are certain political gymnastics that Democrats must perform, in order to actually get shit done.

    However, I am also able to process the fact that has not been a single “negotiation”, during this session of Congress, that has NOT envolved Republicans obstructing the process. So the anger I’m expressing, is not the superficial, uninformed type you are projecting on to me (bully pulpit, ram it through, etc, etc). Rather, what I am saying is whether or not I like (or want) political theater is irrelevant, political theater plays a role in wining elections, and this is an election year.

    I’m not mad because Sen. Feinstein’s comment was meant as political theater, I’m mad because her comment was terribly executed political theater.

    Why are you not better prepared for your performance in the political theater?

  145. 145
    Tim I says:

    John Cole, this was a deliberate effort by Dems to push the Republicans into opposition. It’s working brilliantly!

    Don’t criticize what you don’t understand.

  146. 146
    shortstop says:

    @RareSanity:

    I’m not mad because Sen. Feinstein’s comment was meant as political theater, I’m mad because her comment was terribly executed political theater.

    That’s what you’re mad about at 7:02 eastern. The stated source of your anger has changed significantly throughout this thread.

  147. 147
    RareSanity says:

    @shortstop:

    You seem to think that there is some inconsistency in my opinion, there is not.

    My initial comment was how ridiculous it was for her to be quoted saying that she was surprised, when it is quite obvious that she wasn’t. I did change my opinion about what may have been her motivations, or intent, in making the statement, due to the conversation in the thread. I found the alternative explanation more compelling then my own, and I ceded to it.

    My central point never changed.

  148. 148
    Origuy says:

    Given California’s new open primary system, it may be even harder to get a more liberal Democrat than DiFi. All of the candidates for Senate will be listed on the same ballot. The top two will compete in November. If there are two well-known Republicans (not including Orly Taitz), and more than two Democrats split the vote, we may end up with two Republicans to choose from in November.

  149. 149
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RareSanity: Was Captain Renault ridiculous when he was “shocked” to find gambling going on at Rick’s?

  150. 150
    AA+ Bonds says:

    DID ANYONE TRY TO STICK UP FOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN, COME HERE YOU LITTLE STINKER

  151. 151
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Are you actually in here, a thread on Balloon Juice, arguing over whether politicians feign shock over the actions of their opponents

  152. 152
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Did Veritas do this. Ctrl-F.

  153. 153
    Tractarian says:

    @RareSanity:

    I’m not mad because Sen. Feinstein’s comment was meant as political theater, I’m mad because her comment was terribly executed political theater.

    My God man, are you serious? This is the most transparent backtrack I’ve ever seen. The following quote, there for all to see, shows that you clearly didn’t understand that Feinstein was feigning surprise:

    To answer your question, any Democrat, that find themselves “surprised” the the GOP opposes something that has broad Democratic support, has obviously been asleep at the switch for the past two years.

    Listen, I’m not gonna say interpreting the motivations of politicians is a simple matter, but you gotta do better than this!

    Probably best that you not post in this thread any more.

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