Archive for May, 2012

Gotta catch em, Paul!
May 9, 2012

The guy who sang the theme song to the Pokemon anime remakes it into a Ron Paul anthem about catching electoral delegates. Yes, this is real, and 100% irony-free.

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The Tea Party claims another scalp
May 9, 2012

Indiana’s Dick Lugar (there’s a name), 36-year US Senate vet, absolutely unloads on the Republican party after being destroyed by a Tea Partier in a primary:

…(my opponent’s) embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate. In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party. His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is merely to campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook. He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it.

This is not conducive to problem solving and governance. And he will find that unless he modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator. Worse, he will help delay solutions that are totally beyond the capacity of partisan majorities to achieve.

…And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues. They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise. If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years.

…Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc. Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements. Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.

Lugar was a solid legislator, someone who’d rather build bridges than burn them, as the current incarnation of the GOP seems hell bent on doing whenever and wherever possible. He wasn’t a blustering demagogue, content to use his position only for self-aggrandizing speechifying; he was a lawmaker who actually tried to (and often did) make laws. And to his credit, when the mob of yahoos that vote in these Republican primaries came braying for his head on a pike, he didn’t kowtow or apologize for a second:

Ultimately, the re-election of an incumbent to Congress usually comes down to whether voters agree with the positions the incumbent has taken. I knew that I had cast recent votes that would be unpopular with some Republicans and that would be targeted by outside groups.

These included my votes for the TARP program, for government support of the auto industry, for the START Treaty, and for the confirmations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. I also advanced several propositions that were considered heretical by some, including the thought that Congressional earmarks saved no money and turned spending power over to unelected bureaucrats and that the country should explore options for immigration reform.

It was apparent that these positions would be attacked in a Republican primary. But I believe that they were the right votes for the country, and I stand by them without regrets, as I have throughout the campaign.

This is the type of shockingly honest talk that only comes from a politician when they know the game is up, that there’s nothing left to lose. But compare Lugar’s words and refusal to kiss the Tea Party’s ring to another veteran senator, John McCain, who, when primaried two years ago (also by a teabagging tool) shamelessly caved in the face of such pressure. He became as obstinate, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and reality-challenged as one needs to be to appease the churlish rabble that dominates these primaries in conservative states. It worked; McCain kept his senate seat.

Lugar kept his integrity.