Long Read: Heritage Devoured by Weasels from Within

Could not happen to a more deserving parasite, of course. This putz Michael Needham, once again, strutting his stuff as a comer in the Wingnut Wurlitzer Sweeps. This time it’s a TNR profile by Julia Ioffe, “… Think Republicans have been making fools of themselves? Blame Michael Needham“:

… Needham is the 31-year-old CEO of Heritage Action, the relatively new activist branch of the Heritage Foundation, the storied Washington think tank that was one of the leaders of the conservative war of ideas ever since it provided the blueprint for Ronald Reagan’s first term. Although DeMint is Heritage’s president, it was Needham who had designed much of the defund Obamacare strategy. Beginning in 2010, when Heritage Action was founded, Needham pushed the GOP to use Congress’s power of the purse to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act. He formed a grassroots army, which he used to keep congressional Republicans in line. “They make six hundred phone calls and have a member of Congress in the fetal position,” says one GOP congressional staffer.

After months of furious lobbying, Needham sold, at most, 20 members of the House on his plan of attack. In the end, this was enough to cement the party line—and lead the GOP to a spectacular, deafening loss.

Sorting through the wreckage, Washington conservatives can barely contain their anger at Needham for his ideological inflexibility and aggressive, zero-sum tactics. “Their strategic sense isn’t very strong,” griped a prominent Republican lobbyist. “They’ve repeatedly been wrong about how to handle this.” Says a senior House Republican aide, “Mike Needham played a large role in defeating ideas that would have worked out better.”

But the wrath is not solely reserved for Needham; his employer now inspires plenty of disgust among conservatives, too. Increasingly in Washington, “Heritage” has come to denote not the foundation or the think tank, but Heritage Action, Needham’s sharp-elbowed operation. Instead of fleshing out conservative positions, says one Republican Senate staffer, “now they’re running around trying to get Republicans voted out of office. It’s a purely ideological crusade that’s utterly divorced from the research side.” (“If Nancy Pelosi could write an anonymous check to Heritage Action,” adds the House aide bitterly, “she would.”)…

Like all good revolutionaries, Michael Needham had a sterling upbringing, the kind that allows a young man to pursue ideological purity free from worry about consequence or reality. Needham’s mother is a former Saks Fifth Avenue executive; his father runs a boutique investment bank. The future Tea Party rabble-rouser grew up on the Upper East Side. He attended Collegiate, a prestigious New York prep school, then Williams. As a political science major and, eventually, the editor of the college newspaper, Needham loved to provoke his liberal classmates, arguing that Social Security was unnecessary and that the minimum wage hurt the working poor. “It’s amazing how little reflection he’s given to his privilege,” says a classmate. “It was all kind of a game to him. It was an experiment in winning.”…

…When DeMint was finally hired, Heritage veterans understood that they had lost their last chance to stop the Heritage Action china-busting revolution. “At the end of the day, that was really an affirmative decision to double down on the political model,” says the scholar. “The battle was over.”

DeMint was known nationally as a warrior for purity, spending more of his time seeking out like-minded candidates for the U.S. Senate rather than passing legislation. But, at Heritage, DeMint found kindred spirits in Saunders and Needham, who created a Heritage Action scorecard to grade Republican members of Congress on their ideological mettle. (The standard is so high that, at this writing, the House Republican caucus gets a paltry 66 percent rating.)

DeMint also shared another bond with the two men: unlike the Heritage ruling class of yore, none of them had Ph.D.s. All three, however, had MBAs. Their preference for incentivizing behavior on the Hill with scorecards and primary challenges was “a very MBA approach to politics,” the former scholar noted ruefully. “There’s really no room there for deliberation or argument.”…

The biggest casualty of the takeover has been Feulner’s crown jewel: Heritage’s legendary relationships on the Hill. On issue after issue, Needham’s ideological flame-throwing has made Heritage Action enemies in even the most conservative corners of Congress. Says the House GOP aide, “People on the Hill are very much rubbed the wrong way by a former Giuliani staffer who is around thirty years old, running around and determining whether they’re conservative or not.”

Shortly after this summer’s farm bill debacle (Heritage Action pushed members to rid the bill of its food-stamp half, then still sent out a “no” alert on the revised bill, hanging out to dry members from agricultural districts), the outrage was such that the Heritage Foundation was bannedfrom the weekly lunches of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a conservative caucus of House Republicans. This was particularly ironic as the RSC and Heritage were once interwoven: In the 1970s, Feulner had been the RSC’s first executive director. “It really speaks volumes about a betrayal of trust,” says the Republican strategist. The House GOP aide puts it more starkly: “There are over two hundred thirty bridges to be burned in the House. Over two hundred of them are burned, and they maybe have about thirty more left.”…

Read the whole thing; there’s one last Needham corkscrew in the final paragraphs. Were I in charge of the world, I’d lock Michael Needham and Ted Cruz in a small windowless room together. And send Jim DeMint in later to clean up the resulting mess.

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84 replies
  1. 1
    efgoldman says:

    I’d lock Michael Needham and Ted Cruz in a small windowless room together.

    Oh, I wouldn’t. I’d leave them both right where they are, or even promote their visibility if I could. Together they can do more harm to the TeaHadi and GOBP undertaking than Nancy Smash ever dreamed of doing.

  2. 2

    Sounds more like a scapegoat than a boy genius to me.

  3. 3
    El Caganer says:

    Is there some down side to this?

  4. 4
    Yatsuno says:

    When your opponent is making a mistake, let him.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    “They make six hundred phone calls and have a member of Congress in the fetal position,” says one GOP congressional staffer.

    Curious coincidence that an anagram for Heritage Action is Rage Each Into It.

  6. 6
    StringOnAStick says:

    There’s about 30 bridges yet to be burned in the House? I’d say this Needham fellow needs to complete his mission.

  7. 7
    Kyle says:

    arguing that Social Security was unnecessary and that the minimum wage hurt the working poor.

    He left unstudied the rectal-cranial inversion and reduced incentive to perform productive work, as opposed to self-serving political masturbation, caused by a spoiled-brat privileged upbringing and massive trust fund.

    All these hard-right young Republicans reek of the kind of rich-snot arrogance that could have benefited from a severe beatdown or three on the playground during their childhood.

  8. 8
    PurpleGirl says:

    Shoot; based on the, albeit sketchy details about Michael Needham’s background and where he was raised, I knew his mother. She was a volunteer with the educational non-profit I worked for. She was also on the Board of Trustees. She worked with high school students preparing them to take SATs and such exams and also planning to go to college. One of the reasons she did this was that her own children had reached that point and she wanted to learn more about the college application process. I guess she didn’t completely trust her son’s prep school. Wow. One year she and her husband helped us get 10 full Intel-made computer stations.

    Please note, I did not know him so I make no other conclusion than that he’s Rethuglican.

  9. 9
    Ruckus says:

    @Kyle:
    Do you think they would have learned from said beatdown? I skeptical.

  10. 10
    Origuy says:

    . “People in the building kind of woke up and realized, Wow! We were a totally different organization,” says the former veteran staffer. “How did that happen?”

    A microcosm of the entire Republican Party.

  11. 11
    Poopyman says:

    @Kyle: I believe the British term applies completely here: twit.

  12. 12
    I am not a kook (Supreme Thought Leader) says:

    I think I love this Needham guy. More power to Mikey! Republicans, listen to him! He’s your only hope!

  13. 13
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Pretty funny that people who gave Needleman all his power are the ones whining about how no one ever admits their mistakes.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    Send in Dick Armey, He’ll clean up the place. And produce better news stories. I started skimming the link, but didn’t see anything about big shots waving guns around in attempted palace coups, so gave up.

    Needham will need to step up his game to get Heritage into the right wing Hall of Fame of looney toon organizations. He ain’t no Dick Armey, and I see no evidence that he can’ run a dick army into the ground like Dick Armey can either.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    Those 30 or so remaining bridges will be burned in January when the debt ceiling needs to be raised, and Heritage will again demand that Ocare be taken hostage. Shits going to get really ugly in a few months…

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    All three, however, had MBAs.

    The mark of douchebaggery and a sure sign that they’ve never read, let alone comprehended, The Wealth of Nations.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I’m tired, and on first read that looked like “stoned Washington think tank.”

  18. 18
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Punchy: 2014 is going to be an election about whether to reopen the government and continue with a federal government at all. I hope we win, but that’s really what is going tob be at stake.

  19. 19
    Ailuridae says:

    Not sure in what sense it makes sense to call Needham and Co a boutique firm. Quibbles on the side of the point of this post but still

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.....8;_Company

  20. 20
    Mike in NC says:

    I read where there are about 5000 or so of these Heritage Action assholes trying to rig elections in a country of 330 million people. Keep fucking that chicken, wingnuts.

  21. 21
    jl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: But, hey, a lot of them sprung for an Adam Smith tie, which they wear proudly. Give some credit where credit is due.

  22. 22
    Higgs Boson's Mate (Crystal Set) says:

    Heritage nursed a viper to its bosom and now is surprised that it bit them. Same with the Republicans and the TP. What did conservatives think would be the consequences of enabling and encouraging some of the most thoroughgoing assholes in the country? I have no sympathy at all for Heritage or the Rs.

  23. 23
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Guys like him are why I’m ultimately more optimistic than pessimistic at the mid-long term political future. The far right is scary and teeth-gnashy, but they’ve got the common touch of Marie Antoinette and the self-preservation instinct of G.G. Allin.

  24. 24
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Kyle:

    I don’t know about physical beatdowns per se, but I think there’s a case to be made that people who don’t have some sort of humbling or embarrassing experiences as children grow up to be asshole adults.

  25. 25
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Gin & Tonic: on first read that looked like “stoned Washington think tank.”

    If only. Think how much easier to get along with it would make them.

  26. 26

    It’s amazing watching all the conservative pigeons come home to roost at once.

  27. 27
    PurpleGirl says:

    @PurpleGirl: Yup, the guy is who I suspected he was. (Thanks Ailuridae for the Wiki article on his Daddy’s firm.) His mother was nice but aloof with the office staff.

    I much preferred Mary Harriman Fisk as a person. Mary Fisk was an organization founder, member of the Board of Trustees, and long time volunteer. Until her death at 79, Mary was still volunteering 5 days a week, 4 hours a day working with Spanish-speaking children on their reading skills. (But then Mary Fisk came from old money and a very different background.)

  28. 28
    Aimai says:

    Didnt heritage action threaten to “key vote the filibuster” vote recently? I remember scratching my head over some stupid move like that. Cant remember whether it wasvthat or yet another dead end house vote but i remember thinking at the time that it was just bizarre.

  29. 29
    amk says:

    One thing that is clear is that wingers do 24×7 politicking under the radar in many thinktanks and astroturfing, instead of just during the elections like the left does. That would explain many red state leges and governorships and gerrymandered house red seats.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    If Heritage is taken down by MBAism, I’m willing to be risk damnation due to excessive giggling.

  31. 31
    xenos says:

    Williams gets some well-connected wingnuts because the school traditionally send a lot of bushy-tailed young grads to Wall Street. I don’t even think it had a young republican club back in the Reagan years, just a drinking club of reactionaries who spent more time golfing than studying.

    This Needham guy sounds like Cruz – someone with a lot of talant who desperately needed to be outside his bubble of privilege and to understand the human world around him, but who was raised to hate and disdain pretty much everybody on the planet. Could not happen to a nicer think tank or political party.

  32. 32

    @amk:
    The existence of a clown car does not demonstrate an interest in mass transit.

  33. 33
    jl says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Thanks, That is a deep saying, and I will remember it. Will surely come in handy soon in describing our national politics, which is in danger of being taken over by lunatics.

  34. 34
    👾 Martin says:

    Mom is happy. Patriots won, despite spotting Denver 24 points.

  35. 35
    JGabriel says:

    Julia Ioffe @ New Republic (via Anne Laurie @ Top):

    The [Heritage Scorecard] standard is so high that, at this writing, the House Republican caucus gets a paltry 66 percent rating.

    High? That’s an interesting way to spell bonkers.

  36. 36
    fuckwit says:

    @scav: MBAism takes down everything. It’s damn near taken down this whole country, and possibly might take with it all of humanity across the globe, thanks to climate change. It’s fitting and proper that it take down the people who are trying to take us all down, and it might save us all if it destroys them before they can destroy us.

    Oh, and just remember, our first– and hopefully last– President who actually had an MBA was George W. Bush. Nuff said.

  37. 37
    scav says:

    arguing that Social Security was unnecessary and that the minimum wage hurt the working poor.

    Campaigners are objecting to a warped economic model in which a supermarket earns just over £1 from a bag of cashews sold for £2.50 while the factory worker who sits all day cracking shells with a pernicious toxic residue makes 3p.

    Just in time for Thanksgiving, learning about cashews, especially in light of the football-throwing golden twit.

    whee.

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:

    Julia Ioffe @ New Republic (via Anne Laurie @ Top):

    DeMint also shared another bond with the two men: unlike the Heritage ruling class of yore, none of them had Ph.D.s. All three, however, had MBAs.

    Masters of Bullshit & Assholery?

  39. 39
    handsmile says:

    @amk:

    Are you familiar with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? If so, then you already know a significant reason behind the electoral success and legislative agendas of “many red state leges and governorships and gerrymandered house red seats.”

    If not, here’s some background:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....ge_Council
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04.....wanted=all

    You might also google “Health Care Freedom Act,” ALEC’s latest gambit which I find very ominous given its formidable power at the state and local levels of government.

    Princelings like Michael Needham or ratings-bait like Palin are just sideshow entertainment. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain.

  40. 40
    fuckwit says:

    Also, keep fucking that chicken.

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:

    Julia Ioffe @ New Republic (via Anne Laurie @ Top):

    Says the House GOP aide, “People on the Hill are very much rubbed the wrong way by a former Giuliani staffer who is around thirty years old, running around and determining whether they’re conservative or not.”

    Given the ugliness it starts from, a Conservative Purity Spiral is a remarkably beautiful thing to observe. Irony is kind of like that, sometimes.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    @scav:

    “Just in time for Thanksgiving, learning about cashews,”

    thanks for the link. I was wondering why cashews suddenly turned up everywhere and in everything. I feel like avoiding them now.

    And whatever happened to hazelnuts? Never see them by themselves or in regular nut mixes anymore. Seems like they have disappeared, unless you go looking for way overpriced little bags in specialty and organic food stores. I figure they are all gobbled up into Nutella, breakfast of fat champions, these days?

  43. 43
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Says the House GOP aide, “People on the Hill are very much rubbed the wrong way by a former Giuliani staffer who is around thirty years old, running around and determining whether they’re conservative or not.”

    Sounds like somebody wants those kids offa his lawn.

    Needham sounds like a mini Cruz or Rand. The rich kids who aren’t soulless husks are crashing dinner parties with songs for Manning or donating to trendy left causes and the ones who are but think they aren’t go to Haiti to be patronizing to some poor people for a couple of months. And all of them don’t want to be associated with the Republican Party.

  44. 44
    fuckwit says:

    @handsmile: Good point. We’re not out of the woods yet. Not even close.

  45. 45
    JGabriel says:

    @Kyle:

    All these hard-right young Republicans reek of the kind of rich-snot arrogance that could have benefited from a severe beatdown or three on the playground during their childhood.

    Nah, they got the beatdowns. This is their revenge.

    I’m not against beating hard-right young Republicans violently about their heads with a vintage cast iron skillet as a matter of principle, but let’s not pretend it’s for their benefit.

    The real justification is just the sheer joy of it, and none other is needed.

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    “soulless husks”

    Not sure that description fits the likes of Needham and DeMint, but I guess we should try to be charitable, it being near Christmas and all.

  47. 47
    Valdivia says:

    Love the fact that Heritage is being undone by MBAs. The sweet sweet taste of that.

  48. 48
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I think it’s being stretched in terms of being not part of the dominant group for an extended period of time–but not like changing schools constantly, that just teaches kids to be afraid of making human connections and acting fake. I mean like where something about you–your race, your religion, your language–isn’t the dominant one. Although it might be a bit too much to be the only one or constantly belittled or called out for that. But some sort of happy medium. I think it makes you see situations differently and be more aware of, well, privilege.

    However, a child who is beaten and whose spirit is crushed by a parent at home is not only at risk of a shortened and frustrated life, they’re also at risk for becoming utterly anti-social, or, if not a criminal, of identifying with the oppressor and seeking a position of power from which to dominate others for the rest of their life.

    I just wanted to put that out there because there’s a nuance here. Getting frustrated because you don’t get your way all the time builds character. Getting beaten daily for being “defiant” does not. Getting harassed and humiliated daily even by adults at school because of your race/color/ethnicity does not. (It just turns you into an angry person who also, ironically, lacks skills and confidence.)

    Also, interesting tidbit–some psychologists say that NPD stems from a parent who is alternately over indulgent (spoiling) and rejecting/cold. A parent who doesn’t know how to give genuine affection and replaces it with objects, for example. Overpraising but also criticizing any individual expression that doesn’t fit the mold. This does describe some upper class parents. (On a lower economic scale it might be the parent who both allows the child to engage in anti-social behavior, even encourages it, yet also beats and verbally degrades the child if he or she embarrasses or inconveniences the parent.)

  49. 49
    xenos says:

    @JGabriel: These kids never got beatdowns. That is a different sort of reactionary loser. Needham is the 1% to the 1%, and probably another 1% on top of that. Needham probably had a bodyguard take him to nursery school each morning, and a nanny with a black belt to take him home. Otherwise some dirty punk from one of the lesser 1%er tranches might beat him up a little.

  50. 50
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jl: I was talking about MOTU wannabe Needham and his fanatical devotion to the cause… kind of speaks to some sort of lack in his interior life, does it not?

    I wouldn’t describe DeMint that way… always just struck me as more of a grifter, asshole, bully who rode high on the spite vote.

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @xenos: Exactly. His whole self-worth is tied up in being wealthy, the straight line to an identity paradox because it is both something he didn’t do and couldn’t possibly merit and yet he will lose himself without that bottom line figure. Some scions lose beaucoup bucks playing in finance trying to “prove” their economic worth. He figured out a better way, being the handservant to Fortune, both preserving his status (kick out the ladder that lets upstarts approach me; remove that taxation of inherited wealth that would topple me) and giving him a role and identity by being part of something greater than himself. Just by being the biggest fanatic he invokes fear, obedience, attention, respect… and he gets paid for doing it (shweeeeet).

    Of course he’s a complete moron on the long game… there is no long game… this is his psychosexual drama and he’s playing it out on a big stage. The question is not why, but why wouldn’t he?

  52. 52
    Yatsuno says:

    @Valdivia: Luckily irony is not dead. Turns out she’s tougher than we thought.

    (Hi!)

  53. 53
    mdblanche says:

    @JGabriel: I assumed it must have been a reference to drugs.

  54. 54
    Ruckus says:

    @JGabriel:
    I use, Must Be Asshole, but yours works as well.

  55. 55
    fuckwit says:

    @Another Holocene Human: It’s a very deep topic and I think you’re oversimplifying and perhaps tangling a few different things together.

    Ultimately what’s needed by kids to become healthy is to feel in control of their world– challenged by it, not indulged by it, but capable of meeting those challenges, able to build up a pattern of fighting and winning. The fighting is necessary, and so is the winning. Frustration can only “build character” if it’s a fair fight.

    The tangly part is that there are the power dynamics within the family– which is most of what a very young child experiences until they start socializing at school age– and then the power dynamics within that child’s place in larger society as they socialize. So, yeah, a rich and privileged kid can grow up feeling weak and unfairly oppressed if their parents (or siblings, or other relatives) are abusive assholes. An underprivileged kid can grow up feeling strong and empowered if they have exceptionally supportive parents and family. And all kinds of combinations thereof. And then there are significant personality effects determined by birth order. And genetics are a factor, efffecting personality but also more rare but major things like susceptibility to alcholism, schizophrenia, depression, or other mental illness.

    So I dunno. I can’t analyze this Needham character any farther than observing that he’s a douchebag.

  56. 56
    max says:

    @fuckwit: I can’t analyze this Needham character any farther than observing that he’s a douchebag.

    The entitled son of the nouveau riche. Nothing else to say about him and to him, except Keep Up the Good Work Dude!

    What I was actually going to say (at 1:57 am) was, ‘Stuffin’ Martha’s Muffin.’

    max
    [‘No reason, really.’]

  57. 57
    Petorado says:

    Lost in all the Needhamisms in that article is that the electeds he’s counseling are in Washington to work on behalf of their constituents — the people in the districts back home that both voted for and against them. Yet these Congressfolks serve their higher master at Heritage Action instead. Obviously not enough accountability moments in the world.

    It would be great for Republican voters to be given the Heritage Action conservative litmus test as well. A lot of the “get government out of our Medicare” conservatives would be shocked, shocked to see just how socialist they are in the eyes of the far right people they align themselves with.

  58. 58
    scav says:

    @jl: Continuing with the OT nut theme as the featured nuts are poisonous to the core. After a quick google, Looks like hazelnuts were were / are wrestling with a fungus but that’s getting better with the devt of some resistant trees. Additionally, there’s a big market for them in China. One Source about Oregon and another on the blight.

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Some scions lose beaucoup bucks playing in finance trying to “prove” their economic worth.

    Donald Trump, for example.

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    Ioffe calls Heritage “the storied Washington think tank that was one of the leaders of the conservative war of ideas.” She quotes some staffer referring to the Foundation as “the research side” as opposed to the ideological side. She has a Republican strategist refer to its work as the relatively apolitical “gold standard of conservative, forward-looking thought.” She even uses the word “scholarship” with no visible irony.

    From her article a naive reader might never guess the “ideas” and “research” and “thought” and “scholarship” came from the likes of Coors, Scaife, Forbes, Meese, Bennett, Decter, Gingrich, Addington, etc. — all more or less vicious sociopaths whose work has come damnably close to destroying us as a nation.

    More incoherence: In one paragraph Ioffe has Mickey Edwards explaining how wonderfully non-partisan Heritage was at its founding (“Going out there and trying to defeat people who don’t agree with us never occurred to us”); and then in the very next passage she tells us why “Feulner and Weyrich decided to found Heritage: to influence the vote” — and this in reaction to Congress defeating Nixon’s big-government plan to build an SST with public funds.

    It was funny to read about the “veteran Heritage staffer” who witnessed Needham and Chapman assuming parity with “people who had spent thirty years in the field and had Ph.D.s.” I’m guessing the veteran staffer drew the wrong conclusion there.

    More generally the bit about warfare between Heritage MBAs and doctorates was hilarious. Ioffe alludes to Richwine but neglects to mention his Ph. D.!

    As for Needham: the question is whether he is able to learn from his mistakes:

    “One of the hallmarks of that millennial profile is an inability to acknowledge mistakes,” the staffer said, sounding equal parts bemused and exasperated. “Everything is right and nothing was a mistake, and they can spin it any way they want.”

    We can hope.

    As for whether Heritage will learn from its mistakes, their spokesman is quoted thus:

    I am happy to report that from its beginning, Heritage’s mission has been to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish. That was the case under Ed Feulner and, happily, continues to be the case under Jim DeMint.

    So there’s that.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cervantes: Cites? Links?

  62. 62
    piratedan says:

    well we can hope that these guys will continue to fall prey to those who grift the right relentlessly, namely the media and the pollsters and everybody in advertising who’ll say anything for a buck, truthiness isn’t required.

    An agenda of:

    Women should be making sammitches and babies
    people of color should work for us indefinitely, you know, like feudal serfs
    also too, worship our God(s) (Mammon is optional, Jeebus is not)
    Education is for your betters, not for you
    A living wage is what we tell you it is
    Amurika, fuck yeah!

    The sad thing is that these fuckers do have power and money and while I don’t mind the latter, the former fucks with all of us.

  63. 63
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not following your questions. What links or cites do you need?

    Plus I’m 40000 feet above the Pacific at the moment so I may or may not be able to help.

  64. 64
    Origuy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Cervantes’ quotes come from the New Republic article in the OP.

    When I read this: “Going out there and trying to defeat people who don’t agree with us never occurred to us” I thought it was a typo and was supposed to read “people who do agree with us” given the current purity obsession of the Right.

  65. 65
    aarrgghh says:

    when a movement becomes bankrupt and realizes it can no longer rationally justify its own existence, it can either fold up its tent or it can simply pursue power for its own sake.

    once the choice to become a political zombie is made, the only strategy that remains is “attack! attack! attack!”

  66. 66
    fuckwit says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: George W. Bush, for another. And I suspect one might add Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as well. On a roll. Mark Zuckerberg.. and the Winkelvii! Bill Gates. Chris Wallace, Luke Russert, Bill Kristol.

  67. 67
    fuckwit says:

    Oh yeah, LOSE money trying to prove their awesomeness isn’t merely inherited privilege? Pretty much Trump and Shrub. The other examples doubled down on their privilege and won, and I’d suspect that’s more the norm anyway.

    Getting incoherent, must sleep now.

    Still, the chickens, they must keep fucking them.

  68. 68
    TriassicSands says:

    (The standard is so high that, at this writing, the House Republican caucus gets a paltry 66 percent rating.)

    That’s pretty amazing.

  69. 69
    Glocksman says:

    @TriassicSands:
    What’s even more amazing is that the 1938 Reichstag only scored a 71% rating.
    Apparently they lost points because of the whole Volkswagen/Kraft durch Freude thing and the failure to eradicate the Bismarck era social welfare reforms.

  70. 70
    Napoleon says:

    Is it just me or is it really unclear if the author just spoke with one former insider there and in general has a really limited number of sources. Not that I have a hard time believing the basic thrust of the article.

  71. 71
    aimai says:

    @Cervantes: I laughed out loud at the “millenials don’t admit mistakes” thing when every fucking day on the floor of the Senate you see, among others, Mitch Mcconnell and the entire Republican hierarchy (from Bush and Cheney down to the lowliest blogger) refusing to take responsibility for any of their own actions, let alone their obvious mistakes. Talk about projection! Shameless self promotion followed by abdication of responsibility for mistakes has been the hallmark of the Republican party for as long as I’ve been watching them which goes back at least to Nixon, in my case.

  72. 72
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    I like how the founding myth of the Heritage Foundation was outrage over the failure of the American super sonic transport to get funding from Congress. The Concord could only run with heavy subsidies from the French and English governments and ended up beat out by the 747 on long range flights that super sonic transports were supposed to exceed in. So Heritage is about both advocating for corporate welfare and being willfully ignorant of practical experience long before Needleman came along.

  73. 73
    Sherparick says:

    DeMint comes by his lunacy directly from John C. Calhoun, with a fanatical conviction that it is God ordained. This Needham character appears to be the living, breathing embodiment of Jonathan Schwartz’s quote about the influence of Ayn Rand’s and J.R.R. Tolkein’s :

    “Two novels can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other involves orcs.”

    Watched the payoff episode of “Boardwalk Empire” last night. Speaking of shows with nuanced psychology, perhaps it is just me, but “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones” appear to be slipping into the other series plots. I think the operative quote for both series is the quote from Theon’s unnamed nemisis, “If you think this ends well, you have not been paying attention.”

  74. 74
    WereBear says:

    @Sherparick: It’s basically classic Greek Tragedy; Game of Thrones indulges in a lot more innocence-crushing because it’s a whole culture, not a sub-culture.

    Something like Boardwalk Empire, which concentrates on a gangster subculture, has everyone trapped into making deadly mistakes. It increases their ability to make them because they are surrounded by poor choices.

    In GOT, you just have to stand there.

  75. 75
    ruemara says:

    @jl: sadly, nutella has very little actual hazelnuts in it.

  76. 76
    slippy says:

    Washington conservatives can barely contain their anger at Needham for his ideological inflexibility and aggressive, zero-sum tactics

    I just came to respond to that single sentence. These stupid bastards stepped kids like Needham in their asshole-flavored no-compromise tea, and now they’re complaining that he learned their asshole posture from them. Fuck these people in the ear. They are getting exactly what they asked for.

  77. 77
    Jeffro says:

    @Glocksman: le win!

  78. 78
    satby says:

    @Sherparick: dude! That quote is from John Rodger’s Kung Fu Monkey; he’s also the originator of the “Crazification Factor”.
    Propers must be paid.

  79. 79
    stickler says:

    @jl: I dunno why the hazelnuts aren’t on the shelves, but I can tell you that lots of hazelnut orchards in Oregon were converted to wine grapes in the last decade. Hazelnut prices can’t compete with Pinot Noir.

  80. 80
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Origuy: My bad. That’s what late night reading does to one sometimes.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @stickler:

    Many hazelnut orchards were converted to subdivisions as well, over the last 70 or so years.

  82. 82
    Tone in DC says:

    @slippy:

    These stupid bastards stepped kids like Needham in their asshole-flavored no-compromise tea, and now they’re complaining that he learned their asshole posture from them. Fuck these people in the ear. They are getting exactly what they asked for.

    Damn straight. Fuck ’em in the ear with a rusty rake.

  83. 83
    kindness says:

    ‘The resulting mess’…

    You mean the Sanitorum?

  84. 84
    It's Not The Fall, It's The Landing says:

    @JGabriel: The skillet-to-the-head thing *sounds* satisfying, but if you want to do some real damage, use a baseball bat to take out one of the knees first. That prevents the entitled GOP brat from running away. Once he’s on the ground and unable to get up, then you can really go to work and administer a proper beating.

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