GOP Minority Outreach Update

Republicans are certainly doing a bang-up job recruiting the black vote in red states like Mississippi ahead of 2016, you know.  Get them to talk about a common subject like education funding, and they’ll find a way to relate to the average black voter.

State Rep. Gene Alday, R-Walls, doesn’t believe any more funding is needed. “I don’t see any schools hurting,” he said.

But then he went on to say that Mississippi “has a lot of bad school districts. The people are electing superintendents that don’t know anything about education.”

The former mayor of Walls (population 1,248) went on to say, “I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.”

He had to go to the emergency room for pain, he said. “I liked to died. I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots.”

Feel the outreach, baby!  Man, I just want to go vote for these guys right now.

Why, I can’t imagine why the party of Lincoln has an image problem among black voters.

Take The Money And Run

This is usually Richard Mayhew’s bailiwick, but I wanted to point out a couple of things in the latest Obamacare sign-up numbers.

Signups for ObamaCare are surging in southern states, with increases of nearly 100 percent in some states compared to last year, federal health officials said Wednesday.

Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi have each seen 80 percent more signups compared to last year, Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said.

The same states are also reporting the fastest rate of growth in the final two weeks of the current enrollment period, which ends Feb. 15. Each of the states has reported 5 percent more signups over the last two weeks compared to last year.

The trend is particularly significant given that the Republican governors in each of the states have made little or no effort to promote signups, leaving the outreach to state and national healthcare advocacy groups. State leaders, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have been some of the law’s harshest critics.

Real simply, I think word is spreading. I think word of mouth is spreading really positively as neighbors tell neighbors how easy it’s been to get coverage this year,” Slavitt told reporters in a briefing Wednesday.

And these new signups on federal exchange red states with no Medicaid expansion are exactly the folks who are going to get screwed should King v Burwell go south in June.  They are the most likely to be able to get subsidies because of low income (providing they don’t fall into the gap left by refusal to expand Medicaid), and the ones least likely to be able to afford insurance without them, should Scalia and company have their way.

In other words, Jindal and Abbott and Phil Bryant and Nikki Haley are going to have a bunch of rather angry constituents on their hands.  The conventional wisdom is that red state governors are somehow going to be the ones pushing for a post-King fix should it come to that.

I doubt they will.  They’ll simply blame Obama and walk away from the mess.  It’s not like voters give a damn enough to punish these clowns.  It’s possible that there may be a critical mass demanding Congress fix subsidies, but even best case scenario on that is Boehner and McConnell going “OK, so what do you want to give us in order to fix this?” and that’s without a full Tea Party revolt at the idea of “fixing” Obamacare.

It’s just depressing to believe that we’re seriously talking about the likely possibility of the Supreme Court wrecking the lives of millions over a goddamn typo, and it’s just obscene to consider the aftermath of a situation.

Something Something About Diplomacy, Nice Doggies, And Rocks

The Obama administration has been holding its tongue over Republicans inviting Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without informing the White House so far, but it looks like that period of silence has more or less ended with a bang.

The Obama administration, after days of mounting tension, signaled on Wednesday how angry it is with Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted Republican leaders’ invitation to address Congress on Iran without consulting the White House.

The outrage the episode has incited within President Obama’s inner circle became clear in unusually sharp criticism by a senior administration official who said that the Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer, who helped orchestrate the invitation, had repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu’s political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the United States.

The official who made the comments to The New York Times would not be named, and the White House declined to comment. The remarks were the latest fallout after Mr. Dermer, without the White House’s knowledge, worked with House Speaker John A. Boehner to arrange the speech, which is scheduled for March.

If there is a head around here that’s going to roll, it’s going to be Ambassador Dermer’s.

Mr. Dermer, an American-born former Republican political operative who is so close to Mr. Netanyahu that he is often called “Bibi’s brain,” became Israel’s envoy to the United States in 2013. White House officials were at first wary that Mr. Dermer would politicize relations between Washington and Jerusalem, but over time cultivated a working relationship with him after concluding that there were advantages in his closeness to Mr. Netanyahu.

The last week has borne out their initial concerns.

Mr. Dermer relayed the invitation to Mr. Netanyahu from Mr. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, without notifying top officials in Washington or Jerusalem. American and Israeli officials said that Mr. Dermer, in the course of a lengthy meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry just before Mr. Netanyahu’s speech was announced, never mentioned it.

Let’s not forget that Dermer was one of Frank Luntz’s boys back in the GOP’s “Contract With America” days of Speaker Newt Gingrich.  He’s a GOP operative through and through, and he decided that his loyalties to the Republican machine trumped all.

We’ll see how this shakes out, but the crosshairs are definitely on Dermer’s career right now should the White House decide to persona non grata his ass.  That however would be a major escalation on our part.

It may very well be warranted.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: American Family Association (Sort of) Ditches Bryan Fischer

Hat tip, commentor Howard Beale IV. Per Mediaite:

Rachel Maddow… broke news that the American Family Association has officially fired notorious evangelist Bryan Fischer after a controversy involving the RNC and Israel. Fischer is notorious for having some––well, let’s not sugarcoat it––crazy views on gays, “homofascists,” more crazy views on gays, and… yeah, basically a lot of gay stuff…

At issue this time is an RNC trip to Israel that was apparently being paid for by the American Family Association, of which Fischer is the director of issues analysis.

Or, rather, he was. Until today…

Update- 11:11 pm EST: For the sake of clarification, Fischer has been fired as a spokesperson and director of issues analysis, but is still a radio show host for the AFA.

Background on “The GOP’s Favorite Hate-Monger” here:

Fischer’s radio show has become an obligatory stop for Republican presidential candidates, prominent Republican politicians and top social conservative activists.

As the AFA’s leading talk show host, whose voice is heard on affiliates in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Fischer frequently hosts likely presidential candidates who are looking to make inroads among Religious Right voters. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and businessman Herman Cain have all appeared on Fischer’s radio show. In addition, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour were both guests on Fischer’s show while they were weighing runs for the presidency…

Last year at the Values Voter Summit, which was co-sponsored by AFA Action, Fischer shared a stage with Huckabee, Bachmann, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

Many GOP members of Congress have also been guests on Fischer’s radio show, including: Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, of Mississippi and Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas. Among the major conservative activists who have appeared on Focal Point are Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David Barton of WallBuilders, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express. …

Of course the Talibangelical Reicht Religious Right will no doubt cry out against the martyrdom of another victim of the PC police, but at least a few of the much-courted low information voters might notice the noise enough to look at what they’ve been passively supporting.

Here’s the relevant clip from Maddow’s show [warning: continuing autoplay]:

Open Thread: After the Pigpile

My personal takeaway, after reviewing the reports on yesterday’s Iowa Freedumb Freedom Summit, is that Palin — wittingly or not — has officially reached the Distracting Shiny Object stage of her political career. You can say many bad things about Citizens United, the group that paid for this dog & pony show, but they’re experts in the dark arts of political showmanship; Caribou Barbie stood in the spotlight flapping her arms to attract all the potentially dangerous lamestream media mockery, while the actual candidates field-tested their spiels and ran their patter past a discerning portion of the Repub in-every-sense base. Pay no attention to the (money) man behind the curtain!

Mr. Pierce, in Esquire, on “King for A Day“:

… The event itself was a measure of how politics in the country have changed over the past 25 years. It was organized by Congressman Steve King, defender of conventional light-bulbs, flush toilets, and the southern border, and it was run by Citizens United, the brainchild of David Bossie who, in 1991, was nothing more than a low-rent ratfcker chasing Bill Clinton’s penis all over Arkansas but who now is the overlord of a large and lucrative propaganda operation, an independent base of considerable power beyond the reach and influence of the Republican party, which is why Bossie could provide a platform for presidential wannabes on which they were free to rail against the “Republican establishment.”…

That was forty-five years ago. This crowd can cherish a grudge like it was their sickly first-born, as my Irish granny used to say.

The NYTimesprim take:

… The daylong forum, billed as an informal kickoff to the 2016 campaign, was attended by about 1,200 people, many of whom ardently oppose the centrist views that tend to prevail in a general election.

The speakers, some of them experienced presidential campaigners, came to test and tweak their messages, to seek second chances and to introduce themselves to voters whose passion for conservative causes makes them more likely to attend a caucus and launch a candidate out of a field of contenders…

Dave Weigel, at Bloomberg Politics:

Now that it’s in the books, the “unofficial kickoff of 2016” will shape how the overcrowded Republican field campaigns. Some commentators bracketed the event with stories about the absent candidates, like Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Yahoo News’s Jon Ward contrasted the most frenzied applause lines from Des Moines with the speech Bush had just given to the National Automobile Dealers Association, calling for a “hopeful, optimistic message” in 2016. Politico’s Roger Simon, who reported from the event, fretted about the GOP’s “seriousness deficit” and a “clown van” that would allow fringe candidates to shape the Republican conversation. Read more