Open Thread: Michele, Farewell?


(Steve Sack via GoComics.com)
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Dave Weigel breaks down the new Gallup poll:

… The most-covered non-Perry candidates, Bachmann and Huntsman, both lost support. Bachmann lost around a fifth of her support after she won Ames. But I doubt the media has much to do with this. There is a Tea Party conservative vote, and Perry has swooped in to take it from Bachmann. He grabs 33% of it; she has 12%. He gets 34% of weekly churchgoers; she has 9%. He even leads Bachmann in the Midwest, where she trails Ron Paul, too. The best thing Perry has going for him — the problem Romney was always going to have — is his Southern base. He leads Romney by the margin of error in every region of the country except for the South, where he leads 39-12.
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So, call it: The Bachmann surge is over…

Perry/Romney/Perry 2012 — It’s not just a campaign, it’s a cage match!

Yeaaaah, I don’t think it’s that easy, either, much as it would please the robber-baron faction of the GOP. The theory is that Perry’s own personal come-out-of-nowhere Texas-Miracle-ness was sponsored by the self-styled “conservative elite” to distract the teahadist mouthbreathers (and the Media Village idiots) after St. Michele of the Heartland proved a little too popular with her fellow Dominionists. But for all the pro-forma submit-to-your-menfolk rhetoric, I suspect that Bachmann may decide her own personal hotline to Jesus outranks her loyalty to a bunch of guys in tailored suits. Rick Perry is willing to bang bibles with the Dominionists because their agenda dovetails, at the moment, with the greater glory of Rick Perry. Michele Bachmann is a believer, and that’s hard to fake and harder to dissuade.

Then again, maybe I’m just desperate to avoid 14 months of non-stop WILLARD!



Send in the Clowns

It’s the end game in Tripoli.

From the Guardian’s live feed on events there:

10.45pm: Libyan rebels are now within two miles of the centre of Tripoli, AP reports…

…and this:

11.04pm: Al Jazeera is reporting that two of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam and Al-Saadi, have been arrested and another son, Muhammad, has surrendered.

And so on.  All, as commenter Jenny points out in the last thread, without a single US casualty.

Which means that there are some folks who have some ‘splainin’ to do.  Republican folks.  Would-be presidents.  E.g:

Romney (to Hugh Hewitt, March 21, 2011):

America has been feared sometimes, has been respected, but today, that America is seen as being weak.

We’re following the French into Libya.

I appreciate the fact that others are participating in this effort, but I think we look to America to be the leader of the world. You know, the cause of liberty can endure the mistakes that are inevitable consequences of human fallibility. But liberty’s standard can’t prevail if it’s not proudly, decisively and consistently held aloft.

Bachmann, March 30, 2011:

The Minnesota Republican, who’s weighing a run for president in 2012, said had she been in the Oval Office and faced with the choice of intervening militarily in Libya, “I would not have gone in.”

Bachmann, April 16, 2011 (warning:  Politico link):

Michele Bachmann laced into President Barack Obama at a South Carolina tea party rally Saturday, saying his decision to take military action in Libya was “foolish” and that he’s “not on our side anymore.”

Pawlenty, March 29, 2011:

President Obama’s “timid” response to the crisis in Libya made it more difficult to remove Moammar Kadafi from power, former Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty charged Tuesday.

Pawlenty, who became the first top-flight Republican to form a presidential exploratory committee last week, said that he supported the U.S. airstrikes against the Libyan dictator, but would have acted sooner when rebel forces had “substantial momentum.”

“Now we’re in this position of having the president of the United States saying Kadafi must go, but we’re not going to necessarily make him go. And that’s untenable,” he said.

(I know that he’s out now — but Pawlenty was still a semi-seriously-taken candidate at the time.)

Rick Santorum (I know, I know…but just for giggles) winning the flip-flop award on March 20, 2011 (warning, another Politico link):

Flip: Santorum led the way among GOP presidential hopefuls in calling for airstrikes on Libya. He invoked Ronald Reagan’s 1986 bombing campaign against military targets in Libya, ordered as retaliation for an attack on a West Berlin nightclub that killed two American servicemen masterminded by the Libyan secret service.

“If you want to be Reaganesque, it seems the path is pretty clear,” he told an Iowa radio station earlier this month.

Flop:  But in a Sunday phone interview from his backyard in Pennsylvania, Santorum said that action made more sense 12 days ago because it looked like “a little nudge and a push” from the United States could tip the scale for the rebels. He’s upset that the U.S. has not been insistent on regime change and faulted the administration for making the comment that it was time for Qadhafi to give up power without continuing to insist on that over the weekend….

The former senator speculated that Obama might have only agreed to go along with the military option under pressure from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“He’s not decisive,” Santorum said of Obama. “He’s being the military for the [United Nations]. The French were the first ones out there. He’s following the lead.”

Backflip:  He expressed fear that rebels inside Libya may not be friendly to the United States.

“Maybe folks have better intel, but I’m not confident I know what the makeup of the rebels are,” he said. “From everything I’ve seen reported, we don’t know that.”

Ooops: And he raised the specter that Qadhafi could survive because of Obama’s early indecisiveness, which would mean potential retaliation against the U.S.

“Under any score, I don’t know how you could play this worse than this president has,” he said…

Except, just to reprise the thought with which we began:

TRIPOLI, Libya — Rebels surged into the Libyan capital Sunday night, meeting little resistance from troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and setting off raucous street celebrations by residents hailing the end of his 42 years in power.

And so on.  All, as commenter Jenny points out in the last thread, without a single US casualty.

You can, and many have and will, argue hard about the merits of US action in Libya, or inaction in Syria.* But if you are a Republican — or an actually sane American, for that matter — who believes in both a robust and effective foreign policy, there is not a single clown seeking your vote on the GOP side who would seem to merit your trust.

That community organizer in the White House, though?  Unlike the all-hat-no-cattle types we are increasingly seeing over there, he may take his time, but he does seem to get his man.

Should make for interesting cognitive dissonance over on the dark side. Recall that Qaddafi outlasted Reagan and both Bushes.  Then consider that the chief alternative to crediting Obama’s administration for the crucial support that has enabled the Libyans to come to the point of ending that miserable reign is to praise — wait for it — the French…

…and you have what some might call a jalapeño suppository up your philosophical fundament.

Wouldn’t you say?

*That said, I’m betting Assad is getting a little nervous, just now.  Obama has finally called for his exit, and, as has been demonstrated again, this President may grind slowly, but he seems to do so with a certain…how to say it?…emphasis.

Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirshner, Two acrobats – sculpture, 1932-33.



Balloon Jobs – I pull to the left, I heave to the right…

Friday afternoon seems like a decent time for our (semi) regular job thread…

If you are looking for work, looking for talented people, or just have ideas as to how the aforementioned might contact each other, you know what to do.

Our first two threads are here and here in case anyone wants to go back and check if someone responded to their message. If you posted before, feel free to post again. As my great uncle Rupert (the pretender to the Perrott Baronetcy of Plumstead) used to say to me when I was just a young girl, “No one ever got their end in without asking. Several times, if necessary, eh what?” No matter how many times I kicked that man in the groin, he always tried on his next visit. Still, he came to a sticky end, so that all worked out alright.

Oh, and if I was asked, I would say that this is an open-ish thread. Don’t stomp on the job talk, my little loves, but feel free to chat amongst yourselves. ETA: Oh, and don’t feed the you-know-whats.

You might also like to go and visit the lovely Mr Clark at Slacktivist and see what’s happening on his jobs thread. Go for the jobs, stay for the glurge. Great post, even better word… “Glurge”. Like “moist”, only more so.

Speaking of work, this is an opportune moment to explain why I haven’t been posting as much. I have a job. Well, at least a volunteer one. I am, get this, traveling with Michele Bachmann’s campaign entourage. Read more



Who will protect the children?

So I am in Iowa for a visit with in-laws.

On Monday, I’m going to the State Fair and there will youngsters is our party. I had assumed that the most inappropriate thing they might see would be in one of the livestock pavilions, but then I saw this report from the foreign press:

Bachman-at-the-fair

The article goes on to state:

Driving away on a golf cart with her husband Marcus beside her, Mrs Bachmann stopped to buy a foot-long corn dog – a chicken and beef sausage in deep-fried batter. After applying mustard and allowing Mr Bachmann to take the first bite, she chomped into it with gusto.

The image is one of the creepiest political photos I’ve seen in a long time and so is Harnden’s description of the moment.

Kids have to grow up fast in our Galtian wonderland and it seems that an image to haunt their future is just around every corner–even at the State Fair.

And with that,how about an Open Thread.

Cheers



The Front Runner in Words and Pictures

Just because it gives Joe Scar and Stu Rothenberg an aura for their next migraines doesn’t mean that Michele Bachmann wasn’t the first clown out of the car yesterday, and that she’ll probably be the recipient of a hell of a lot of money in the next few months. Bachmann will be the official front-runner for a very long time: the next contest is Iowa next February.

With that in mind, and since Republicans think it’s a scandal that Michelle Obama accompanies her husband on out-of-country trips and goes barefoot in the White House, incidents like the following (via) need a little more attention:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican presidential candidate, was 30 minutes late to speak at her scheduled Iowa State Fair soapbox event and spoke for three of the 20 allotted minutes.

She said she was going to shake hands but left the makeshift stage quickly when 17-year-old civil rights advocate Gabe Aderhold of Edina, Minn., loudly questioned her husband Marcus about his counseling techniques to “pray the gay away.”

I hope incidents like this start to happen every time Bachmann is in front of the general public. And if they do, perhaps serious candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will be asked about their unpopular anti-homosexual agenda.

Update: Confirming the irrelevance of Ames, TPaw just pulled the ripcord.



Stealing Bachmann’s ‘Righteous’ Thunder

It looked like there might be a push among some of the more tire-swing-craving Media Villagers to brand Michele Bachmann as the mirror-world Obama — the charismactic ‘outsider’ bringing a long-ignored underclass (religious Dominionists) to the polls with her sincere energy & inspirational personal story. (True, this falls somewhere on the IRL scale between ‘silly‘ and ‘insanely wrong‘, but there’s 15 months worth of political sportscasting yet to fill the dead air, knowhutimean?) But “news” details over the last couple days may indicate that Bachmann moved too fast too furious for the Republican wing of the Permanent Party apparatus. Dave Weigel, at Slate, on the Politico ‘scoop’ that Rick Perry will announce his candidacy Saturday, the same day as the Iowa straw poll:

… After just a few hours [in Iowa] I’ve met numerous Republican voters who are leaning towards a candidate like Michele Bachmann but want to know more about Perry. There’s a write-in option on the Ames straw poll, which we’ll all now be watching to see how well he does. And the news of a possible, hard-won Bachmann victory is immediately blunted, so she has to establish her credibility again.

So, is Rick Perry’s Christianism-intensive maybe-might-be candidacy nothing more than a Texas jackalope intended to distract the godly Heartlanders(tm)? Some people say!

That still leaves the issue of yanking Bachmann off the GOP stage without resorting to a too-public violation of the Eleventh Commandment. Assuming she’s sincere in her professed convictions, she can’t just be written a large check (er, promised a secure sinecure within the Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer), because her brand of Dominionist is supposed to be above such worldly distractions. Therefore, she must be seen to self-destruct. Extracts from Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker article, The Transformation of Michele Bachmann sketch the first potential outlines of such “self”-destruction:

… The only senior member of the team not making the trip was Ed Rollins, Bachmann’s campaign manager. Rollins is famous in Washington for two things: managing Ronald Reagan’s successful reëlection campaign against Walter Mondale in 1984, and developing poisonous relationships with most of his high-profile employers since then. They have included George H. W. Bush (“the worst campaigner to actually get elected President,” according to Rollins), Ross Perot (“a paranoid lunatic on an ego trip”), and Arianna Huffington (“the most ruthless, unscrupulous, and ambitious person I’d met in thirty years in national politics”). More recently, he has managed the campaign of Mike Huckabee, appeared frequently on CNN, and worked in corporate public relations.

Translation: Ed Rollins, of brief “paying off preachers” (1993) notoriety, is a short-tempered loudmouth who hasn’t been involved with a winning campaign since disco was relevant. How long till Rollins can be goaded into saying something… intemperate… while being recorded?

… Soon, however, the mood in the cabin darkened. O’Donnell, the speech coach, had the Drudge Report open on a laptop. There was an unobjectionable picture of Bachmann onstage, backed by an enormous American flag, but below the image was the headline “CONFUSES JOHN WAYNE WITH JOHN WAYNE GACY.” In her interview with Fox, Bachmann had said that she was from Waterloo, “just like John Wayne.” John Wayne, the star of so many John Ford movies, was actually born in Winterset, Iowa. John Wayne Gacy, who killed thirty-three young men, lived in Waterloo.
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Why would Drudge, an ardent conservative, publicize that gaffe? O’Donnell thought he knew the answer. “Matt Rhoades and Drudge are best friends,” he said, speaking of Mitt Romney’s campaign manager. Bachmann concurred. “You never see anything about Romney on Drudge—ever,” she said.

OMG — Did she just suggest that Mitt Romney’s BFF Rhoades and Drudge are… like that? “Everybody knows” that Matt Drudge, uuuhmmmm, could maybe use a stint at Marcus Bachmann’s “reparative rehabilitation” clinic, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Quick, let’s ask Ed Rollins if his candidate is insinuating that Weird Willard Romney pals around with…



Still Searching for the “Real” Racists Victims

Maybe it’s just that every idiot in the media village was busy discussing Bachman’s incapacitating migraine problem (I guess ‘We can’t elect a woman president, because PMS har har har’ tested a little too paleolithic), but I’m surprised this story didn’t get more attention:

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann pointed to one program in particular Monday when talking about wasteful government spending: a multibillion dollar settlement paid to black farmers, who claim the federal government discriminated against them for decades in awarding loans and other aid.
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The issue came up after Bachmann and Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa toured flooded areas along the Missouri River. During a news conference, they fielded a question about whether farmers affected by the flooding also should be worried by proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture cuts.
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The two responded by criticizing a 1999 settlement in what is known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. Late last year, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing a new, nearly $1.2 billion settlement for people who were denied payments in the earlier one because they missed deadlines for filing.
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King has likened the Pigford settlement to “modern-day reparations” for African-Americans. He said Monday a large percentage of the settlement “was just paid out in fraudulent claims” and criticized the Obama administration’s plan to resolve separate lawsuits filed by Hispanic and female farmers.
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Bachmann seconded King’s criticism, saying, “When money is diverted to inefficient projects, like the Pigford project, where there seems to be proof-positive of fraud, we can’t afford $2 billion in potentially fraudulent claims when that money can be used to benefit the people along the Mississippi River and the Missouri River.”

Adam Serwer at the Washington Post picks apart “Bachmann’s bogus attack“:

Bachmann’s response is almost a liberal parody of how conservatives try to divide and conquer on the issue of government spending. Asked about potential cuts to hundreds of billions in agriculture subsidies, her response in effect is, “you know who doesn’t deserve government money? Black people!” The comedy doesn’t stop there, though. Bachmann’s own family farm has received $260,000 in farm subsidies over the years.
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The short story behind the Pigford settlement is that the USDA spent years handing out loans and assistance to white farmers hand over fist while ignoring black farmers who asked for help, and has agreed to help black farmers who asked for but did not receive assistance during that time. Bachmann, echoing conservative bloggers, insisted that there is “proof positive” of fraud in the Pigford settlement. Not so. Claims filing for the second Pigford settlement hasn’t even begun yet, and 31 percent of the claims in the first settlement were denied. Not only that, but the second settlement was passed with an assortment of new anti-fraud provisions. The USDA Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office will both be conducting audits of the claims as they’re being processed, and their findings will be forwarded to the Department of Justice. So if there is fraud, we’ll find out about it.
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For months, conservatives alleged that the Pigford settlement represented Obama “reparations” for black people. Of course, the settlement was supported by the decidedly non-black Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, so this doesn’t even pass the laugh test. But it’s telling that when asked about the more than a hundred billion dollars the federal government dishes out in agriculture subsidies a year, Bachmann started complaining about a $1.2 billion settlement for black farmers discriminated against by the federal government. As usual, culture warriors like Bachmann get furious about how government money is being spent only when it’s going to the “wrong” people.

I guess we need to add Pigford to the list of teahadist buzzwords. Steve King, let it never be forgotten, was the only House member willing to vote against “a House measure to erect a plaque in the Capitol Visitors Center, recognizing the history of slave labor in the construction of the Capitol,” because that would denigrate “America’s Judeo-Christian heritage“…

And speaking of bottom-feeders who in a less debased republic would be shunned like a walking papilloma virus, Andrew Breitbart also considers himself a victim:

Lawyers for conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart asked Tuesday that a federal judge throw out a defamation case that former government employee Shirley Sherrod brought against him. […]
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In the first hearing in the case Tuesday, exactly a year to the day Sherrod was ousted, lawyers for Breitbart argued that Sherrod’s case is an attempt to dampen free speech and should be dismissed. They also argued to have it dismissed under a District of Columbia statute that aims to prevent the silencing of critics through lawsuits.
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If the case is not dismissed, Breitbart and O’Connor’s lawyers argued to have it moved from the District of Columbia to California, where the two men live. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said he would consider all of the requests but did not indicate how he would rule.

Lying is a protected form of free speech now? I’d hope Sherrod gets awarded Breitbart’s every asset, but I don’t know why she’d want a trunkload of crush porn, the Stormfront mailing list, and a rat-faced houseboy who likes to tape himself playing dress-up.