Category Archives: Republicans

Nice to see Tom Davis backing away from nullification

I’ve always seen Tom Davis as a (mostly) reasonable man, and have been distressed to see his drift into extremism over the last couple of years.

So I’m pleased to see him take a deliberate step away from the antebellum notion of Nullification:

Davis,TomCOLUMBIA, SC — A Republican lawmaker says he plans to take the “nullification” out of the Obamacare nullification bill before the state Senate….

“The conversation really has gotten off the rails a little bit,” Davis said Wednesday, after holding three public hearings across the state that drew hundreds. “Everybody talks about nullification. This isn’t nullification. We can’t nullify.”…

Amen to that, senator. No, we can’t. That’s been pretty clear ever since 1865, if not sooner.

But it’s a bit disingenuous for Tom to act like other people have somehow gone “off the rails” with all this nullification talk:

  • I remember his presence at this Ron Paul press conference at which nullification was spoken of approvingly.
  • Then there was his speech at a… Nullification Rally… at which he praised John C. Calhoun as “a great man who has been maligned far too long.” And by the way, Tom himself called it a “nullification rally” when he thanked someone for putting up video of his speech.

So… Tom no longer wants to nullify Obamacare. However, he does want to sabotage it, to do all he can to make it fail. Which is not the most positive attitude I’ve ever heard of with regard to respecting laws legitimately passed by the Congress.

But this is progress…

U.S. House passes bipartisan budget deal without childish theatrics. No really; I’m not making this up…

See, you can read about it in black and white:

The House passed an 2-year bipartisan budget deal Thursday evening, possibly signaling a truce in the spending showdowns that have paralyzed Washington for the past three years.

Approval of the budget was the House’s final action of 2013. Earlier Thursday, lawmakers agreed unanimously to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets military pay and policy, and to extend current agricultural policy after negotiators failed to complete a new Farm Bill….

The budget deal appeared to mark a significant shift by House Republicans away from the uncompromising confrontation of recent years fueled by tea party-aligned politicians and outside conservative advocacy groups. After multiple standoffs and threatened defaults and one actual shutdown, polls show that the Republican brand has been badly damaged among voters, and even some of the most conservative Republicans said they were ready for a breather.

If the Senate approves the budget bill next week, as expected, members of the House and Senate appropriations committees would then work over the holidays to prepare funding bills for individual government agencies, which are likely to be combined into a single omnibus bill. …

Doesn’t that sound almost like the way grownups would legislate? This is not being hailed as the long-sought “grand bargain” or anything, but it’s something remarkable anyway, given the material we’re working with here. Which is to say, the membership of the House.

Here’s a press release from Joe Wilson about it:

Wilson Statement on the Passage of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement  

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) released the following statement after the House passed a bipartisan budget resolution.  This legislation provides two years of budget certainty for the federal government. In years past, the federal government has operated under continuing resolutions.

 

“When I was elected to Congress, I promised to help make a difference. The status quo is not working,” Congressman Joe Wilson said. “Government overspending while racking up trillion-dollar deficits is irresponsible, especially when we know that our children and grandchildren will be faced with the burden.

 

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan was able to reduce spending from its current levels to help pay down our debt without raising taxes.  For years, House Republicans have spent the better part of December in battles with Washington Democrats in hopes of not raising taxes so that the American people could keep more of their hard-earned paychecks.

 

“Additionally, President Obama’s sequester, which targets the military, has already limited our Armed Forces’ abilities to protect themselves and defend our freedoms.  Military installations across South Carolina and the Savannah River Site have faced challenges, which undermine our national security.  I have warned against the horrible impacts sequestration would impose and have done my best to advocate for those who are suffering within South Carolina’s Second Congressional District.  I am very pleased that Chairman Ryan was successful in finding common-sense reforms to replace sequestration that will not place families at risk.

 

“The road ahead will be difficult as budget debates continue for years to come.  However, we must remain hopeful that we can achieve spending reductions while promoting limited-government solutions that create jobs and spur economic growth.”

Yeah, I know — “President Obama’s sequester.” I didn’t say the partisans up there had stopped with the silly talk. But let’s focus on the action rather than the words here.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham says he will not vote for the deal when it reaches the Senate:

Graham to Oppose Budget Agreement

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he would vote against the budget agreement when it comes to the Senate floor.

 

“After careful review of the agreement, I believe it will do disproportionate harm to our military retirees,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  “Our men and women in uniform have served admirably during some of our nation’s most troubling times.  They deserve more from us in their retirement than this agreement provides.”

 

Graham noted the budget deal contains a one percent reduction in cost of living benefits for some military retirees.  The provision could significantly impact military retiree benefits.  For example:

 

·         A 42-year old who retires as an enlisted E-7 could lose a minimum of $72,000.

·         A 42-year old Lt. Colonel could lose a minimum of $109,000.

Source: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

 

“I support comprehensive, not piecemeal, pay and benefit reform to deal with rising military personnel costs,” said Graham.

 

“I truly appreciate Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray for their work trying to write a budget that provides relief to the Department of Defense,” concluded Graham.  “But this agreement doesn’t do enough to protect those who have spent their lives protecting our nation.”

 

#####

This is actually fairly consistent for Graham, who since the start has found the sequester appalling because of what it did to the military.

But isn’t it intriguing that in this moment when even Tea Party types are disciplining themselves to pass compromise legislation, trying to make up for the damage they’ve done to the GOP, Lindsey Graham is the guy standing up and saying, “No?”

 

The Fix cites Graham in describing GOP senators’ woes

This is from The Fix blog at The Washington Post:

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) surprised the political world Monday when he filed at the last minute to challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), complicating the senator’s reelection bid just when it looked to be virtually problem-free….

Stockman is far from an A-list challenger. He has a knack for controversial statements and a dearth of campaign funds. But among a Texas GOP electorate in which Cornyn is no hero, he shouldn’t be counted out.

Nor should underdog tea party-aligned challengers to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.),Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), or Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have drawn higher-caliber opponents….

That’s probably about the way to put it with Alexander. It’s not exactly that he’s in trouble, so much as you can’t count his many challengers out — especially if one of the stronger ones gets him into a runoff.

When I hear that Lamar Alexander — whom I covered in his successful gubernatorial election way back in 1978 — is in trouble, it tells me Republicans in Tennessee have gone nuts while I wasn’t watching them.

He’s one of the dwindling number of sensible people in Washington.

Duncan praises Mandela, runs into buzzsaw of criticism

Rep. Jeff Duncan posted the following on his Facebook page last night:

Every so often God places upon the Earth an individual with the power to change humanity’s destiny for the better. One of those very special people was Nelson Mandela. His compassion, grace, and mercy created ripples across every corner of the globe. His fight for equality and justice for all mankind helped to further ingrain on our souls the truth that we are all born with the right to be free. Nelson Mandela set an example that we would be wise to follow for all time, and tonight the world is collectively mourning this loss.

Here are some of the responses he received:

Brent Heaton This may be the politically correct thing to do but I must disagree with this one. He was no example to be followed.

Roxie Todd Kincannon I agree with Margaret Thatcher. Mandela was a communist sympathizer and a terrorist. You can’t pal around with the likes of Fidel Castro and Muammar al-Gaddafi unless share their beliefs. You know the old saying about birds of a feather.

Chris Corley What? He took a first world nation and turned into a third world country. That is quite an accomplishment. Maybe Obama is the second coming of Ol’ Nelson?

Larry R Smith Jeff I am absolutely disappointed in you; What are you trying to do win the Black vote in Pickens County. Nelson was a racist, murder, terrorist, and a devote Marxist. Have you not read any of the books about this man? There is plenty of info out there about him.

David Merck I would not follow Mandela’s example in a million years!

Cheyenne Hoyle McLendon Who are you people ??!!…other than haters….Hitler ?

Danny Cooper Yeah I’m a hater! I hate: Progressives, Socialist, Communists, Marxists, Racists, & Liberals. That’s all I can think of for now, but if I come up with more I’ll add them later.

Larry R Smith Shame on you Jeff!!!!!

Samuel Lawrence The Truth About Nelson Mandela…
The ugly truth about the world’s favourite terrorist-turned-politician, Nelson Mandela, has been buried deep beneath the media-created myth of the man, who for decades has been given such a whitewashing by the liberal/Socialist media that the real Mandela disappeared from the world’s eyes, and in his place appeared a messiah, a saviour, a demigod, whose only resemblance to the real Mandela was the outer shell. The man who emerged from prison and became president of South Africa was at heart the same man who had gone into prison so many years before, a Communist revolutionary, much older but just as committed to the ideology and the revolution as he had been when the prison gates slammed shut on him. Yet by the time he emerged from prison, the worldwide liberal/leftist media had repackaged him, presenting him to the world as a wise, big-hearted, moderate, decent man, who had been unjustly imprisoned for his stand against apartheid, and who would, when he became president of South Africa, govern this complex and diverse country with wisdom and magnanimity, creating a wonderful earthly paradise where all would live happily ever after. 
http://www.biblebasedministries.co.uk/…/lest-we-forget…/

And so forth…

SC GOP has nothing to fear from Obamacare

On a previous post, Burl brought our attention to an item on Daily Kos, under a picture of Nikki Haley:

Even in South Carolina, a state hostile to Obamacare expansion, hundreds of thousands of people are benefiting just from greater awareness of existing government programs for which they do qualify. And while most of those beneficiaries are children, those children have families who would appreciate access to similar services, if only Republicans would get out of the way.

But South Carolina is solidly Red, right? Romney won the state by 11 points, right? So it doesn’t matter! Except that in raw totals, Romney won by around 204,000 votes. And Republicans assume (perhaps rightly) that every Obamacare beneficiary will become much more favorable toward the government. And if you start thinking government can help you, Republicans don’t stand a chance….

That’s why Republicans continue to fight tooth and nail against Obamacare, from seeking its repeal to sabotaging its rollout. It’s an existential crisis. The more people benefit, the harder it will be for them to argue that government is irreparably broken and must be drowned in Grover Norquist’s bathtub.

Yeah, well…

I don’t think that’s right. That sounds like a liberal thinking wishfully.

Nationally, maybe Republicans worry about that. And it’s the kind of thing the Mark Sanfords of the world — the serious, more theoretical, pre-Tea Party libertarians who think in terms of a historical, apocalyptic dialectic in which democracy is doomed once people figure out they can vote themselves benefits — also fret over.

But as long as the following two conditions remain, the SC GOP as a whole has nothing to fear:

  • The GOP continues to attract most white voters in the state.
  • White voters outnumber black voters.

That’s because of a couple of characteristics commonly found among white South Carolinians: For centuries, the surest way to get their blood boiling has been to suggest that someone out there (i.e., the federal government) is messing in their business, trampling on their prerogatives. (How else do you think so many thousands who did not own slaves were persuaded to fight in the Confederate cause?) Add to that a deep resentment — that is certainly not confined to SC whites, but is a characteristic many of them share — at the idea that some undeserving someone is getting something, and they, the deserving salt-of-the-earth people, are paying for it.

Now someone’s going to get bent all out of shape and say I’m calling good, conservative Republican folk racists. But I’m not. Review my words. In fact, I’ll assert that even if more whites than blacks benefit from new health benefits, these attitudes remain the same.

What I’m describing are a couple of widely held political impulses, neither of which is inherently racist (even though those issues have gotten tangled up in race through our history). Both attitudes can be strongly defended, even though, with my communitarian leanings, I tend to portray them negatively.

The urge to self-determination is a natural impulse of the human soul. “State’s rights” may have gotten a bad rap historically because of its association with segregation, but the idea itself — that as many governmental decisions as possible should be made on the most local levels — is a sound one, closely related to subsidiarity, which I extol.

And there’s nothing wrong with not wanting one’s tax money wasted. If benefits are indeed going to “undeserving” recipients, then it’s only human to resent it.

The way race comes into my calculation arises simply from the fact that generally speaking, those two attitudes are more often found to motivate white voters than black voters.

Am I wrong about that? I don’t think so. Near as I can tell, whether these factors are openly acknowledged or not, both parties tend to operate on the assumption that these things are true…

We don’t need outsiders calling our governor a ‘clown’

crew

Back in the first few years that I was back here in SC — I want to say it was about the time of the Lost Trust scandal in 1990; in any case, it was a time when we were struggling with some huge problem in Columbia — The Charlotte Observer ran a short, dismissive, truly snotty editorial asking what was up with South Carolina, and comparing us to the Three Stooges.

That was it. There was no serious analysis of the problem, and no recommendation (that I recall) on how to make it better. Just a setup for comparing South Carolina to the Stooges. Ha-ha.

Something crystallized for me in that moment. I had been a longtime admirer of the Observer before I came to work here. But since my return here in 1987, I had noticed that its coverage of my home state had a certain tone to it — a scornful fascination based in a concept of SC as the other; as a vastly inferior other that existed to make folks in that corner of NC feel good about themselves.

I fully realized what had bothered me as soon as I read that editorial. I felt that the Observer couldn’t care less whether things got better in SC, as long as we provided our betters with entertainment. (If I’m correct on the timing, this was at the time that I was conceiving of the year-long Power Failure project analyzing what was really wrong with SC, and offering a specific path to fixing the problems. So I had a markedly different attitude: I cared.)

Anyway, I was reminded of that Three Stooges moment when Celeste Headlee brought my attention to CREW’s second list of the nation’s worst governors. (CREW, by the way, is the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government.)

For those of you interested in such things, of the 18 governors on the list, only two — Andrew Cuomo and Steven Beshear — are Democrats (Scott Walker makes the list for being anti-union, and accepting contributions from people who are also anti-union — really; those are his “sins”). But I’m less concerned with the fact that CREW doesn’t live up to its self-professed partisan impartiality than the fact that, by publishing a list such as this one, the organization gives the lie to the “responsibility” part of its name.

Of course, our own governor makes the list. And that would be OK, if CREW had some helpful criticism. Here’s what it has to say about Gov. Haley. I won’t bother repeating it since there’s no news in it. She’s been roundly criticized for these things in this space. But I stand today to defend her.

My beef is with the overall way that this list is presented. Someone thought it would be cute to give the list a circus theme. The 18 governors are divided into three groups — the “Ringmasters,” the “Clowns,” and the “Sideshows.”

Nikki Haley is listed among the six “Clowns.”

I’m mystified as to the reasoning behind this equal division into three groups. What, our governor is a “Clown,” but Rick Perry makes “Ringmaster”? Really? If someone forced you to pick one of them as a “Clown,” how could you pick her over him?

Beyond that, there is no evidence provided of her clownishness. I didn’t see anything funny in any of the things said about her. It is simply not a defensible metaphor.

Let me say unequivocally that Nikki Haley is not a clown. She’s a perfectly serious, earnest young woman who governs as well as she can, according to her lights.

She does not deserve to be called a clown.

And if CREW really cared about responsibility in government, it would desist from this kind of immature, dismissive, unhelpful nonsense. This is the kind of destructive thing the political parties do — denigrate and demean and utterly dismiss all with whom they disagree, making it impossible for people wearing different labels to work together toward the common good.

On its About Us page, CREW moans,

Many Americans have given up on our political system, writing off our elected leaders…

Well, you know why? Because (at least in part) of dismissive junk such as this.

If you have something constructive to say, say it. If you have any specific, serious advice to offer the people of South Carolina, we’re all ears — really. Not all of us have “We Don’t CARE How You Did It Up North” bumper stickers on our vehicles (although, admittedly, some of us do). Let’s hear your prescription.

But if you have nothing more helpful to offer than to call our governor a “clown,” then just shut up about it.

Tim Scott, twice refusing to endorse senior colleague Graham

The State‘s new Buzz blog (I’m trying to remember whether this is the paper’s first serious attempt at a state and national political blog since I got laid off, but perhaps such reflections are ignoble of me) brought my attention to the above clip. Their account (like I’m gonna retype if it I don’t have to) of it:

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott passed twice on saying whether he would endorse his fellow S.C. senator, Republican Lindsey Graham, in an interview on CNN’s Crossfire Wednesday.

When CNN’s Van Jones asked Scott whether he would support Graham, Scott said, “You know, as you three have heard recently, I am up for re — up for reelection myself. I’m going to make sure that Tim Scott gets out…I’m going to allow for all the other folks on the ballot to represent themselves very well, and I’m going to continue to work hard for my re-election.”

“No endorsement for Lindsey Graham tonight?” Jones asked again.

Scott replied, “I’m certainly going to work really hard for Tim Scott re-election — gotta win first.”…

I sort of doubt that Sen. Graham’s going to be sitting up nights trying to think of favors he can do for Sen. Scott in the foreseeable future.

I was particularly struck by the way he stopped himself from saying “re-election,” then went ahead and said it anyway. The question seems to have had him pretty flustered…

tim scott

Another primary opponent for Graham: Bill Connor

Bill Connor is still playing it rather coy with his Facebook peeps:

Friends, I have a major announcement to make on Monday, but this weekend I plan to focus on military obligations (spending time with my Citadel teaching team) and spending the other time with my family. I appreciate that many calls and texts, and e-mails and will be in touch with everyone next week. In the meantime, I will make a special request for your prayers for my family. “The Lord is my Shepherd” and I follow Him.

But The State reports that he’s actually already filed:

Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor, who lost the 2010 Republican runoff for lieutenant governor to Ken Ard, has filed to run against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in next June’s Republican primary, according to federal election documents.

Connor becomes the fourth Republican to oppose Graham in the primary, joining state Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg, Easley businessman Richard Cash and Charleston public-relations executive Nancy Mace…

When I saw him a couple of weeks back, Lindsey Graham indicated that as far as he was concerned, he loved having three opponents.

But four could be one too many. Also, i think he has a little more reason to worry about Bill Connor than about the others who have previously jumped into the ring.

Bill Connor

Bill Connor

He’s a somewhat more traditional conservative than his opponents — more the values-voter, God-and-Country type than the SC-should-print-its-own-money-again sort. Or at least, in the statements I’ve seen so far. He’s paid some dues in the party, currently serving as the 6th-District chairman. He’s got a solid military record, having served in a combat role in Afghanistan. He’s run a statewide primary race before (losing the lieutenant governor nomination to Ken Ard). And he’s just gone out and had new portraits taken of his family. (I still remember how deeply impressed John Courson was when Mark Sanford sent out family portraits as Christmas cards before running for governor: “Fine-looking family — Kennedyesque… Kennedyesque!” You have to imagine it in Courson’s distinctive voice and accent.)

Lt. Col. Connor could be a more likely vote-getter. That doesn’t mean the incumbent’s in trouble. But it does make things a little more interesting.

Hmm… Does Graham WANT Christie to campaign for him?

Graham, consoling the family after Lee Bandy's funeral.

Graham, consoling the family after Lee Bandy’s funeral.

This morning, the national buzz is all about Chris Christie having positioned himself so well for the presidency in 2016. The talk is so far along that I couldn’t resist joking:

rigmarole

But the very qualities that make Christie attractive as a general-election candidate (Republicans are fairly swooning over his getting 51 percent of the Latino vote) get him in trouble with the national GOP base. Most of it is silly, symbolic stuff, such as his making nice with President Obama (you know, the guy who was rushing billions in aid toward his state) after the hurricane. But you know how the base (in each of the parties) can be about the silly, symbolic stuff.

In fact, the reservations harbored by many of the people who, had they been in Virginia, would have voted for Ken Cuccinelli are such that I find myself wondering about this:

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) re-election bid will evidently get a lift from one of the most popular governors in the country and a top 2016 contender….

According to the Times, Christie informed Republicans in South Carolina he intends to go to bat for Graham, who is facing a GOP primary next year.

poll released last week showed Graham’s approval rating taking a big hit in South Carolina, including a steep drop among GOP voters. …

Yeahhh… that’s the thing. The GOP voters who are mad at Graham are likely to be the ones least charmed by Christie.

So, I ask — is Christie coming here a plus or a minus for Graham? Thoughts?

Graham to block all Obama nominees over Benghazi

This morning, Lindsey Graham Tweeted:

We now know #Benghazi was the result of a pre-planned terrorist attack by high-level al-Qaeda operatives. It was never a protest of a video.

And I responded:

But haven’t we known that for a year — like, from the first week….?

I still don’t get the intensity and duration of Sen. Graham’s umbrage toward the administration over the horrible events at Benghazi 13 months ago. Particularly since I don’t recall the cover-up; I distinctly remember reading that administration officials were saying it was a terrorist attack within hours after first reports came in.

And now — this indiscriminate use of the Senate’s advice-and-consent power, and of one senator’s ability to gum up the works, seems contrary to Graham’s own principles:

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday he will hold up “every appointment” in the Senate until more questions are answered on Benghazi.

“I’m going to block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors [of the attack in Benghazi] are being made available to the Congress,” Graham said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.” “I’m tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books.”…

Is he not the guy who goes around saying that elections have consequences, and that the president’s wishes regarding nominees should be respected, barring strong, specific reasons to the contrary? So how can he block all nominations, regardless of the respective merits in each case, in order to try to force the administration to do something unrelated? Whatever happened to the spirit of the Gang of 14?

This escalation is said to have been brought on by a “60 Minutes” segment last night. I can see how the senator might be incensed to see CBS reporting things that the administration refuses to provide to Congress.

But this blanket blocking of nominees seems disproportionate to me…

Graham: Mace partnership with Folks ‘might come up’

Lindsey Graham pays respects to Mary Bandy and other members of the family on Saturday.

Lindsey Graham pays respects to Mary Bandy and other members of the family on Saturday.

I’m writing this as a tribute to Lee Bandy, because if he’d been there and heard this, funeral or not, he’d have jumped on it.

As Aaron Sheinin related in an earlier post, Lee would wait until people like me got done with the wonkish, nerdy political stuff, and ask questions about the horse race — such as the one that irritated John McCain so much

Anyway, I mentioned standing in line with Lindsey Graham for a considerable time at the reception after Lee’s funeral, and we talked about a number of things, including the horse race stuff that was always Bandy’s meat.

I mentioned his three primary opponents, and he expressed his great satisfaction that he has three opponents. That number, he said, seems just about right for his purposes.

He seemed to marvel particularly at the great gift of having Lee Bright running against him. He said he doesn’t have to do much more than mention how it just might put a crimp in business in South Carolina if we were to abandon the U.S. dollar.

I mentioned something about Nancy Mace’s longtime partnership (just ended) with Will Folks in FITSnews, and the senator said yeah, that association might come up in the campaign.

“You mean, you might bring it up?” I asked.

Not exactly, he said. Just… it might come up.

Yeah, I guess it might…

Actually, I’m not entirely sure that would be a bad thing for Nancy with the voters she (and Bright, and Richard Cash) is going after. There are probably a lot of Will’s loyal readers in that demographic. Others, however, may be put off by the fact that news stories about the site tend to say something like this in the lede: “a website whose editor, Will Folks, said GOP Gov. Nikki Haley had an affair with him, a claim Haley denied.” Because a lot of those same voters they want love the governor, and consider that whole thing to be some kind of liberal media conspiracy to hurt their Nikki.

So, for Nancy Mace, her association with Will could be a wash…

John McCain didn’t like the heat in Lee Bandy’s kitchen

On a previous post, I quoted Aaron Sheinin telling a story about how, after “Brad and Cindi and Mike and Warren finished their wonk nerd questions” in editorial board interviews, Lee Bandy would weigh in with something that made the guest politico squirm.

Today, fellow alumnus Bill Castronuovo reminded me, over on Facebook, of video I shot of Lee making John McCain very uncomfortable in our boardroom in August 2007.

You don’t see Lee (hey, I had enough trouble keeping a camera trained on the candidate while taking notes and presiding over the meeting; two cameras were impossible), but that’s his voice you hear asking the question that brings out McCain’s dark side. Since the mike is facing away from Lee, you might have trouble hearing the question. I can’t make out parts of it myself, what with McCain talking over Lee before he could get it all out. But here’s the audible part:

What went wrong with your campaign? You were sailing along… you had a wide lead over everybody else… now you have to fight for your political life.

As you see, the senator did not like the question a bit.

To set the stage: McCain was considered practically down and out in this stage of the campaign for the GOP nomination. A few months before, he had been the unquestioned front-runner. But things seemed to have fallen apart for him. A few weeks earlier, I had posted this report (also with video), headlined “McCain goes to the mattresses.” In the video, McCain staffer B.J. Boling (one of his few remaining at this low point) said they were going from a huge production to “an insurgency-type campaign.”

In the end, it worked. McCain managed to win in SC, and go on to win the nomination. But at this point in the campaign, the candidate was in no mood to take questions about how badly he was doing from that pesky Lee Bandy…

Joe Wilson couldn’t bring himself to be part of the solution

Lindsey Graham was pictured on the front of the WSJ this morning (at least, the iPad version), presumably because he was part of the solution. Joe Wilson was not.

Lindsey Graham was pictured on the front of the WSJ this morning (at least, the iPad version), presumably because he was part of the solution. Joe Wilson was not.

This release came in last night from Joe Wilson:

16169_200233014414_5107578_nPrior to and during the government shutdown, I voted in favor of multiple pieces of legislation to keep the government functioning and protect our fragile economy from default. I am disappointed that I could not support tonight’s legislation because it did not reflect my core beliefs of limited government and expanded freedom.  Congress has a long road ahead of us in the coming months and I remain committed to fighting for a better future for all of the constituents I have the privilege of representing in South Carolina’s Second Congressional District.

In other words, he happily voted for a number of purely symbolic pieces of legislation that had zero chance of becoming law, and which helped to precipitate this crisis which nearly threw the global economy down the stairs. But when he had the chance to vote for something that would end the crisis and move forward, he “could not support” it.

He just wanted to make sure you knew that…

Lee Bright attacking Lindsey Graham for making sense

… which is pretty much his whole campaign strategy, near as I can tell.

Anyway, here’s the release from the challenger:

Becoming Obama’s Top Spokesman on ObamaCare, Shutdown

Lindsey Graham went on Fox News yesterday to continue undercutting Ted Cruz and other conservatives on their strategy to defund and delay ObamaCare, and force the President’s hand on the budget. Graham stated that stopping ObamaCare was “unrealistic” and “a bridge too far”.

Lee Bright, the upstate Senator challenging Graham in the 2014 Primary, quickly responded, saying, “Lindsey Graham’s time in Washington is a career too far. He is so astonishingly out of touch with American conservatives, and he obviously has no idea how the leadership of Ted Cruz is playing outside the beltway. He and John McCain are the best friends of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda, and it’s time we bring Graham home, and leave McCain to surrender to the Democrats by himself.”

Bright went on to add that “Lindsey Graham really doesn’t understand what a train wreck and an abomination that ObamaCare really is. If he did, he wouldn’t have been on the wrong side of the cloture vote, wouldn’t have taken his office phone off the hook, and wouldn’t have advocated for preferential treatment for himself and his staff. His behavior is just shameful, and yet, I feel like every time he speaks he’s airing an attack ad against his own campaign.”

Bright predicted that there would be continued outrage and backlash against Graham as his Fox News quotes penetrate the internet and talk radio, saying, “Graham may be below 30% in the next re-elect poll. He may be so blinded by the beltway group-think that he believes South Carolina Republicans are like New York or Massachusetts Republicans, but he’s about to find out this is not the case.”

In criticizing Graham for distancing himself from Cruz and Lee, Bright is ignoring this:

Two prominent advocates of the GOP’s strategy to defund Obamacare in a government funding bill, Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, have seen their favorability numbers drop in separate new polls.

Lee’s favorability in his home state of Utah is down 10 points since June, according to a new poll from Brigham Young University. Overall, voters see Lee unfavorably, 51 percent to 40 percent. Broken down by degree, 40 percent had a “very unfavorable” view of Lee, and 11 percent had a “somewhat unfavorable” view of him.

In June, the same poll found almost the mirror image, with 50 percent of voters viewing him favorably and 41 percent viewing him unfavorably….

Cruz was the focus of another poll out Thursday from Gallup, which found since June, more Americans know Cruz but they think less of him.

In the poll, 62 percent of Americans knew the Republican enough to form an opinion, compared with 42 percent in June, but his unfavorability has gone up 18 points in the same time frame.

Cruz has gone from being viewed favorably, 24 percent to 18 percent, in June to being viewed 26 percent favorably and 36 percent unfavorably in the latest poll.

Of course, Lee doesn’t care about what the people of Utah, in the aggregate, think of him any more than Bright cares about what the South Carolinians overall think of him. They only care about what a plurality of GOP primary voters think. So they’re paying more attention to polls such as this one.

Amazing racial comments in House 93 special election

Wow.

First, I want to apologize to y’all for not reporting this sooner. But apparently everyone else missed it, aside from the Orangeburg T&D.

I’ve been going back through emails I had set aside to look at later, when I found this one I should have looked at much sooner. It’s 11 days old:

House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford Calls on GOP House Candidate to Apologize for Bigoted Remark

 

Columbia, SC – House Democratic Leader Representative Todd Rutherford called on Republican candidate for House District 93, Charlie Stoudemire, to apologize today for his incendiary and insensitive comments that were recently caught on tape. Representative Rutherford released the following statement:

 

“I wish we could get through one election in South Carolina without a Republican making a bigoted remark. Mr. Stoudemire got his facts wrong during his rant and insulted the millions of hard working South Carolinians fighting to find or keep their jobs while Nikki Haley and other Republicans stacks the deck against them. On October 29th voters will have a choice between a proven problem solver in Democrat Russell Ott who will support growing jobs from within, or extremist Charlie Stoudemire who wants to pull South Carolina back into the dark ages. I call on Mr. Stoudemire to immediately apologize for his remarks and SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore to do the same.”

VIDEO: District 93 Candidate Charlie Stoudemire’s commenthttp://thetandd.com/district-house-candidate-charlie-stoudemire/youtube_44ac72b0-27e9-11e3-ad55-0019bb2963f4.html

Transcript of GOP House candidate Charlie Stoudemire: “…Now the Democratic Party doesn’t want to do that. Why? Because as long as they’re sitting at home waiting on that paycheck, they’re going to vote Democrat. They put a chain around their leg, no worse chain than the chain when they were slaves. Okay? They put a chain around, and they’re holding them to the Democratic Party by giving them that paycheck.”
####

Suddenly, Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks sound like they came from Mr. Sensitivity.

According to the T&D, Mr. Stoudemire was given a chance to walk that back a bit — a chance most politicians would leap at. Not Mr. Stoudemire:

In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Stoudemire said, “I’m sorry that they (Democratic Party) are offended by that, but that’s what entitlements do.”

Stoudemire said if he’s elected, he will support and create “programs that will cut those chains and make them less dependent on the government.”

Stoudemire said there are individuals who are mentally or physically not able to work and it’s one’s “Christian duty” to provide for those in need.

However, Stoudemire also said that there are individuals who “can do better but don’t do better” and are depending solely on income from government subsidies.

“I’m not talking about wiping out food stamps,” Stoudemire said.

He said “entitlements” take away a person’s initiative to better themselves.

“When you give, it binds that person to the person who’s giving,” Stoudemire said.

He said Monday that this is “enslavement.”…

So now you have both sides.

Mr. Stoudemire, a Republican, is seeking to replace Rep. Harry Ott, who is quitting the Legislature. He will face Rep. Ott’s son, Democrat Russell Ott. The vote is on Oct. 29.

Oh, and by the way, for anyone who wants to be obtuse and object to my headline and say that was not a “racial” comment — well, I’m not going to bother to explain to you who the “they” is who used to be “slaves” and is now “sitting at home waiting on that paycheck.” I’m gonna let you work it out.

No, Mr. Sanford, it’s YOU who chose to do this to us

I’m sure you’ve all seen coverage of our fellow South Carolinian Chris Cox, who took it upon himself to do yardwork at the Lincoln Memorial.

God bless him for his gesture, especially since he seems to have done so out of a generosity of heart, rather than as implied criticism of anyone:

He said he does not have a political position on the shutdown. “I’m not here to point fingers,” he said. “I only want to inspire people to come out and make a difference.”

“The building behind me serves as a moral compass, not only for our country but for the world.”

“And over my dead body are we going to find trash pouring out of these trash cans,” he said. “At the end of the day we are the stewards of these buildings that are memorials.”

“I want to encourage my friends and fellow Americans to go to their parks, and show up with a trash bag and a rake,” he said. “Show up with a good attitude and firm handshake for the U.S. Park Service.”…

With an attitude like that, I can even forgive him for seeming to be a super-visible example of a certain sort of neighbor. You know, the guy who gets up eagerly on Saturday morning and spends the whole day ostentatiously laboring over his lawn, and acting like he likes it, in an obvious attempt to make other husbands in the neighborhood look bad for wanting to take a nap like a sane person.

I don’t think Chris Cox is like that at all, and I appreciate him.

What I don’t appreciate is what Mark Sanford said in praising him:

“I’m impressed, Chris embodies what it means to be not just a South Carolinian, but an American,” added Sanford. “He saw a job that wasn’t getting done and decided to take care of it. We are not a nanny state, and when government in this case chooses not to do something it’s in keeping with the American tradition to ask, “What can I do to fix the problem?” Chris’s example is one we could all learn from in Washington, and accordingly, I applaud him.”

Let’s review the pertinent part of that. Going right by the nonsensical bleating about a “nanny state,” let’s focus on “when government in this case chooses not to do something.”

Let’s run that again, because it completely blows my mind: “when government in this case chooses not to do something.”

No, Mr. Sanford. Only in the sense that you are the government (because you insisted on running for Congress again) did government “choose not to do something.”

It was you, and your colleagues in the Congress. This is true, obvious, beyond question. Aside from the fact that, contrary to your beliefs, the government is not some alien entity “out there” separate from the people, “in this case,” the guilty parties are unquestionably you and your cohorts.

I’m flabbergasted. It’s just beyond belief that he said that…

Profile in Courage, 2013 edition: Boehner promises to do the right thing to avoid default

First, I want to applaud Speaker John Boehner for promising to do the right thing, at least with regard to a default that could devastate the world economy:

With a deadline for raising the debt limit fast-approaching, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has been telling colleagues in recent days that he will do whatever necessary to avoid defaulting on the federal debt, including relying on House Democrats to help pass an extension, according to GOP aides familiar with the conversations…

But after I’m done applauding the speaker for his courage, let’s have a moment of silence to mourn how low the “courage” bar is these days.

What that says is that the speaker of the House promises he will work with all of his willing colleagues, regardless of party, for the sake of the nation — to make sure that a terrible, needless thing does not happen to the country and the world.

That should be business as usual. Once upon a time, it would have been (in support of that statement, I submit the fact that the United States has never before defaulted in its 237-year history).

But today — and this just makes me sick — it’s extraordinary. In the U.S. House Republican caucus, it is seen as political suicide to work with Democrats, even on something of critical importance to the country.

So yay, Mr. Speaker. And here’s hoping and praying that we’ll live to see the day when this sort of behavior is once again sufficiently common that we have no reason to take note of it…

There’s no question: GOP will be to blame for shutdown

This morning on the radio, I heard reports that some Republicans in Congress are hoping they can shift blame for the likely government shutdown to the president and Senate Democrats.

Wow. Talk about your fantasies.

As you know, I love to blame both parties for everything (which drives Bud crazy).

But in this case, there is simply no question: The Republicans made this happen all by themselves. Some of the older, wiser heads in the party know this — they remember the Gingrich shutdown — and have a bad, bad feeling about now.

But the young innocents of the Tea Party charge blithely on — partly because on a certain level they really don’t care whether the government shuts down (their extreme ideology makes them feel, deep down, that that’s a consummation devoutly to be wished), but also because, in case it does turn out to be something less than a lark, it will be blamed on Democrats.

But no one whose thinking is not distorted by ideology can miss what has happened here.

First, there is the Tea partisans’ insistence on making every single raising of the debt limit some kind of showdown at the OK Corral, which meant we were doing to have a crisis this month anyway.

Then, there is this bizarre fixation on not funding a perfectly legitimate law that has stood up to every legitimate thing they could throw at it. It survived legal challenges. When they tried to run against it in an election, they lost. They have demonstrated 42 times that it is not in their power to repeal it. So now they want to defund it, or delay it — which would be patently illegitimate on its own — and have brought about an imminent shutdown of the whole government in their bid to stop the law from taking effect.

On the issue of Obamacare, they are an utterly defeated army that has turned guerrilla and has nothing left to fall back on but acts of sabotage.

What they have done is so obvious, and so obviously outrageously irresponsible, that there’s little chance that anyone outside of the more fervent parts of their base could dream of blaming anyone but them.

I just figured I might as well go ahead and say that, before the shutdown occurs…

Consensus starts to emerge: House GOP is loony

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Even Paul Krugman — who is such a bitter, contemptuous partisan that I avoided running his columns at the newspaper — thought maybe he was going overboard a bit by calling the GOP’s maneuvers on funding Obamacare and the rest of government “crazy:”

In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party.

I know, I’m being shrill. But as it grows increasingly hard to see how, in the face of Republican hysteria over health reform, we can avoid a government shutdown — and maybe the even more frightening prospect of a debt default — the time for euphemism is past…

But aside from the typically Krugmanesque assertion that the GOP was stupid before it was crazy (everyone who disagrees with Krugman is stupid — just ask him; he’ll tell you), the economist really wasn’t going out on much of a limb in this instance.

He was simply stating something that seems to be emerging as a consensus across the political spectrum. Among people who have clue, that is.

While his language is milder, Gerald Seib, writing in that wild-eyed liberal publication The Wall Street Journal, is similarly dismissive of the sanity of GOP House members’ actions:

The list of conservatives who didn’t want the House to do what it did late last week—that is, pass a bill trying to defund Obamacare, at the risk of shutting down the government—is long and distinguished: Karl Rove, Rep. Pete King, Sen. John McCain, the editorial page of this newspaper, even the House’s own Republican leadership.

But House Republicans went ahead anyway, passing a bill tying the financing of government operations starting Oct. 1 with the removal of money for implementing the new health law. The bill won’t pass the Senate, and it won’t be signed by the president, but it may lead to a partial closure of the government that many believe would be politically disastrous for the Republican Party.

Which raises again the question that animates much of the conversation in the capital: Why do House Republicans do the things they do?..

He goes on to answer himself with a primer on what most of us already understand about House Republicans. Basically, that these people’s experience of government doesn’t precede the existence of the Tea Party, and that they are elected from districts that are so safe for a Republican that a GOP member need only fear a primary challenge. Stuff, as I said, we knew already. Although he reminded me of a fact I had forgotten if I knew it: That these districts are SO grossly gerrymandered that Republican candidates in the aggregate “lost the popular vote for the House in 2012 by more than a million votes nationally, yet kept control of the House by 33 seats.” (Although I see this writer disagrees that redistricting was the culprit.)

Then there is Judd Gregg, a Republican and former senator from New Hampshire, who writes for The Hill:

Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should.

The self-promotional babble of a few has become the mainstream of Republican political thought. It has marginalized the influence of the party to an appalling degree.

An approach to the debt ceiling that says one will not vote for its extension unless ObamaCare is defunded is the political equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers of the gun loaded. It is the ultimate no-win strategy….

… which almost makes Krugman sound temperate. Gregg continues:

You cannot in politics take a hostage you cannot shoot. That is what the debt ceiling is. At some point, the debt ceiling will have to be increased not because it is a good idea but because it is the only idea.

Defaulting on the nation’s obligations, which is the alternative to not increasing the debt ceiling, is not an option either substantively or politically…

He goes on to write about the destruction that defaulting on our debt would wreak on the world’s economy — something about which the babbling infants in the House (half of the GOP members have been there less than three years) and their fellow loony in the Senate, Ted Cruz, care not at all.

The people who elected them, and who will vote for someone crazier in a GOP primary if these individuals don’t act with gross irresponsibility, don’t know or care what sort of harm their actions could bring about, so they don’t know or care, either. This is apparently regarded, by at least one writer at RedState, as a good thing.

Here’s how James Taranto, whose standard tone in his Best of the Web Today column at the WSJ is every bit as dismissive of the left as Krugman is of the right, characterizes Ted Cruz’s effort to support the House GOP effort to defund Obamacare. After noting the commonsense fact that there is “no realistic prospect of enacting the House resolution,” he writes:

Instead of playing possum, a group of Senate Republicans led by Texas freshman Ted Cruz propose to play Otter: “I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!“…

Taranto then casts Sarah Palin in the role of Bluto, given her op-ed at Breitbart.com in which she essentially said, “We’re just the guys to do it.”

OK, so from the left and the right, we’re seeing such modifiers as “crazy,” “futile,” stupid,” and “appalling.”

To all of those qualities, let us add disingenuousness. Here is the entire text of a release that Joe Wilson, my congressman, sent out on Friday:

Wilson: Senate and President Must Act

 

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) released the following statement after the House passed the Continuing Resolution which funds the government through December 15, 2013.

“Today, House Republicans have acted responsibly by passing a solution to keep the government’s doors open.  Because of our efforts, American families are protected from the unworkable, unaffordable healthcare law and hardworking taxpayers can rest assured that our nation will stop spending beyond its means.

 

“It’s time for the Senate and the President to act.   Time is ticking. We have ten short days until the federal government’s funding will expire. Senate Democrats should follow our lead and join us in protecting the American people, rather than placing politics over policy and threatening a government shutdown,” Congressman Joe Wilson said.

Note that only a passing reference is made to the actual point of the resolution for House Republicans: “…American families are protected from the unworkable, unaffordable healthcare law…” What an odd choice of words: “protected from.” He avoids saying what the measure does, which is deny funding to a program that is set in place by law — a law which he and his allies have demonstrated, an amazing number of times, that they are utterly incapable of repealing.

Then there is the really, truly cheesy dodge of making like it’s all on the president and the Senate whether the government is funded or not. Who are the children that Joe and the other Republicans who voted for this think will be fooled by that? Who will think, if the government shuts down, that anything other than the GOP obsession with Obamacare is to blame?

These guys are far gone. And everyone, on left and right, except them, seems to know it.

Key Republicans line up behind action in Syria — but will the latter-day Robert Taft Republicans do so?

John Boehner and Eric Cantor have both joined Nancy Pelosi in lining up behind the president’s proposal to take limited military action in Syria.

There are reports that John McCain and Lindsey Graham are doing so as well, despite all the reservations they expressed the last couple of days.

That’s important, even impressive, given the problems Congress has had lining up behind anything in recent years.

But it doesn’t answer the big questions. A big reason why Congress has been so much more feckless than usual lately is that the leadership lining up behind a plan is not the same as Congress doing so.

One of the causes of the president’s highly disturbing indecision on this issue is attributable to the fact that his party has been drifting toward what has been its comfort zone since 1975 — reflexive opposition to any sort of military action.

But the real indecision is expected on the Republican side, where pre-1941 isolationism has been gaining a strong foothold in recent years.

In that vein, the WSJ had an interesting column today headlined, “The Robert Taft Republicans Return.” As Bret Stephens wrote,

Such faux-constitutional assertions—based on the notion that only direct attacks to the homeland constitute an actionable threat to national security—would have astonished Ronald Reagan, who invaded Grenada in 1983 without consulting a single member of Congress. It would have amazed George H.W. Bush, who gave Congress five hours notice before invading Panama. And it would have flabbergasted the Republican caucus of, say, 2002, which understood it was better to take care of threats over there rather than wait for them to arrive right here.

Then again, the views of Messrs. Paul, Lee and Amash would have sat well with Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio (1889-1953), son of a president, a man of unimpeachable integrity, high principles, probing intelligence—and unfailing bad judgment.

A history lesson: In April 1939, the man known as Mr. Republican charged that “every member of the government . . . is ballyhooing the foreign situation, trying to stir up prejudice against this country or that, and at all costs take the minds of the people off their trouble at home.” By “this country or that,” Taft meant Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The invasion of Poland was four months away.

Another history lesson: After World War II, Republicans under the leadership of Sen. Arthur Vandenberg joined Democrats to support the Truman Doctrine, the creation of NATO, and the Marshall Plan. But not Robert Taft. He opposed NATO as a threat to U.S. sovereignty, a provocation to Russia, and an undue burden on the federal fisc.

“Can we afford this new project of foreign assistance?” he asked in 1949. “I am as much against Communist aggression as anyone. . . but we can’t let them scare us into bankruptcy and the surrender of all liberty, or let them determine our foreign policies.” Substitute “Islamist” for “Communist” in that sentence, and you have a Rand Paul speech…