Monday Evening Open Thread

(Ted Rall’s blog)
Things are tough all over:

527 group waned after Gingrich campaign imploded in June
The Newt Gingrich money machine that raised $52 million in just four years to promote his ideas and image, American Solutions for Winning the Future, has quietly gone belly up.
Gingrich set up the 527 group in 2007, but it began to lose fundraising steam almost as soon as the former House Speaker launched his presidential bid in May, Joe Gaylord, the group’s chairman told iWatch News. It closed its doors early last month, an apparent casualty of Gingrich’s beleaguered presidential drive…
Some GOP strategists and lobbyists familiar with the group say that the Gingrich “brand” was tarnished by his lackluster presidential drive, an effort that didn’t seem to help his 527’s fortunes. Gingrich’s bid was battered in June by the departures of top staff who complained about the campaign’s lack of direction and Gingrich’s lack of focus. Among those who exited were campaign manager Rob Johnson, his long-time spokesman Rick Tyler, and a few fundraisers.

Today in Assholes


Arango’s excuse for posting pics of himself on gay/bi hookup phone ap Grindr—including one of him bent over, cheeks spread, senatorial asshole winking at the camera—isn’t as catchy as “hiking the Appalachian Trail” or “lifting your luggage.” Those two were pure poetry. But Arango’s excuse is delightful in its own way: Arango wasn’t looking to hookup with dudes, he was just documenting his weight loss regimen. (“Why, Senator Arango! Your asshole is looking so slim these days! You simply must share your workout routine with me!”)

Puerto Rican Senator Roberto Arango is, of course, a Republican who opposes gay marriage,  helped pass a ban on adoption rights for gay couples, and who intimated that his opponent was gay in a recent election.

Monday Morning Open Thread

Maureen Dowd, self-appointed Queen Bee Mean Girl of the Villagers’ lunchroom, is the perfect reviewer for Darth Cheney’s new book:

Vice’s new memoir, “In My Time,” veers unpleasantly between spin, insisting he was always right, and score-settling, insisting that anyone who opposed him was wrong.
His knife-in-her-teeth daughter, Elizabeth Cheney, helped write the book. The second most famous Liz & Dick combo do such an excellent job of cherry-picking the facts, it makes the cherry-picking on the Iraq war intelligence seem picayune…
Vice gleefully predicted that his memoir would have “heads exploding all over Washington.” But his book is a bore. He doesn’t even mention how in high school he used to hold the water buckets to douse the fiery batons of his girlfriend Lynne, champion twirler.
At least Rummy’s memoir showed some temperament. And George Tenet’s was the primal scream of a bootlicker caught out.
Cheney takes himself so seriously, flogging his cherished self-image as a rugged outdoorsman from Wyoming (even though he shot his Texas hunting partner in the face) and a vice president who was the only thing standing between America and its enemies.
He acts like he is America. But America didn’t like Dick Cheney.

Say what you will about Joe Biden, at least he has an ethos a pulse.

Brooks & Dumb: Serious As A Case of Shingles

(Drew Sheneman via
… which won’t kill you, but might make you wish you were dead. For purposes of relief via moxicautery, a couple counter-irritants. Jonathan Chait at TNR wonders “Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Candidate?”:

… Yes, it’s really time for somebody to start persuading moderate or mainstream Republicans that Rick Perry is dangerously unsuited to the presidency. If only Brooks knew of anybody who would be good at making a case like that…
Wait. Maybe this is a job for conservatives who don’t have to put themselves before the voters. Like perhaps some kind of public intellectual. If only there was some kind of moderate conservative columnist, perhaps with a national reach at a newspaper like the New York Times.
Hey — I’ve got it. Brooks surely knows Ross Douthat. Maybe he can ask him to write that column!


And the invaluable Doghouse Riley, if only for the brillance of “With Luck, The Capitalists Will Innovate A New Knot To Hang Themselves With“:

IF there was anything to American Exceptionalism–other than the fact that we dominate a hemisphere, and came out of two European global wars physically unscathed and economically better off than when we went in–wouldn’t it show up in our politics? Wouldn’t we have the wisest counsel, the fullest debate, the most trenchant commentary?
Would we have David Brooks at the New York Times?…
I’d just like to point out, yet again, how the “moderation” in Brooks’ “moderate conservatism” works.
Brooks is going to say essentially what I said the other day about Mitt Romney: that he now finds himself unable to jab his leading rival because the same clinical insanity that infects the public persona of Rick Perry infects 80% of the Republican electorate. Brooks, of course, substitutes “small government conservative” for “certifiably batshit”. It is the Times
[T]he thing I find curious is how “moderates” like Brooks, and “fiscal ‘conservatives'” like Mitch Daniels, act like the moderate conservative Reaganite in the White House is wearing an OSU sweatshirt in Ann Arbor. Look at what Brooks finally (in the last two paragraphs) gets around to saying about Perry: he’s slimy, he’s a panderer, if he’s a borderline crook we need to redefine our borders. He leaves out (despite his economist credentials) the massive sucking sound at the center of the Texas Miracle. What th’ hell’s so bad about Obama by comparison? Health care?
Is he gonna say that? (Is Daniels?) Not and risk the franchise; you can’t be The Moderate Republican Liberals Love if they’ve thrown you out of the Republican party. Brooks “watches” (the polls) as “moderate ‘conservatism'” “disappears” from the Republican electorate. We hear barely a peep. That is, barely a third-hand sideswipe at Rush Limbaugh, or Sarah Palin, or the Teabaggers both he and Douthat had kinda sorta identified as the problem with the Party, circa 2007. Go back and read ’em in early 2009, as they start looking for a door to hide behind, realize it’s no good, and so proclaim that the Teabaggers are really themselves. Just less refined.
Th’ fuck’s wrong with these people?
There may be more damning indictments of Republican “intellectualism” than the fact that these guys have spent the last thirty years inventing excuses for utter crackpotism, first with the idea of eternally harvesting its votes, now in the hopes that the ‘conservative’ welfare spigot will stay on, but you have to google “William F. Buckley” and “Civil Rights Movement” to find ’em.

John Lewis is concerned, but I’m well past “troubled”

Great piece by John Lewis on voting:

Since January, a majority of state legislatures have passed or considered election-law changes that, taken together, constitute the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act — also known as the Motor Voter Act — made it easier to register to vote, while the 2002 Help America Vote Act responded to the irregularities of the 2000 presidential race with improved election standards. Despite decades of progress, this year’s Republican-backed wave of voting restrictions has demonstrated that the fundamental right to vote is still subject to partisan manipulation. The most common new requirement, that citizens obtain and display unexpired government-issued photo identification before entering the voting booth, was advanced in 35 states and passed by Republican legislatures in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri and nine other states — despite the fact that as many as 25 percent of African-Americans lack acceptable identification.

Having fought for voting rights as a student, I am especially troubled that these laws disproportionately affect young voters. Students at state universities in Wisconsin cannot vote using their current IDs (because the new law requires the cards to have signatures, which those do not). South Carolina prohibits the use of student IDs altogether. Texas also rejects student IDs, but allows voting by those who have a license to carry a concealed handgun. These schemes are clearly crafted to affect not just how we vote, but who votes.

John Lewis, a Democrat, is a congressman from Georgia.

If we make it difficult for poor and young people to vote, or, in the case of “provisional” (second-class) ballots, make it difficult to have their votes counted, fewer poor and young people are going to vote and fewer poor and young people are going to have their votes counted.

One wrongfully disenfranchised voter is one too many, but in our country, in our cash-choked system, where moneyed interests already have a hugely outsize political voice relative to their actual numbers fewer poor and young people voting is a flat-out disaster.

So what’s it going to take before this becomes a top-tier issue for ordinary middle class democracy enthusiasts who may not (yet) be directly affected by these laws?

An attempt by conservatives to have portions of the Voting Rights Act declared unconstitutional? The same Voting Rights Act sections that were defended (successfully) by a majority in Congress as recently as 2006?

You got it. Last week, in Arizona.