Tag Archives: Republicans
In case you somehow missed this unbelievably racist super bowl ad, take a look:
I have no words.
The three figures above (serving as a simple economic model showing tradeoffs between production of two goods) illustrate the fundamental empirical flaw in Rep. Eric Cantor’s political philosophy: that there is a unit-for-unit tradeoff between liberty (L on the y-axis) and security (S on the x-axis) as in Figure 1.
Figure 2, with a bowed-out “production possibilities frontier” or “PPF” is a much more accurate representation on the tradeoff between liberty and security. Indeed, it is possible for a society to gain significant security while giving up a minimal amount of liberty. Banning lead in gasoline and paint, for example, does not significantly restrict liberty, yet offers a great deal of additional “security” to society. The curve is bowed-out, though, to reflect the diminishing marginal returns of sacrificing liberty for security.
Figure 3 combines the PPFs shown in the previous two charts and highlights the surplus loss that our society would experience if Congress adopts Cantor’s policy ideas. Cantor’s policies fall along the straight line; shifting out in any direction would increase society’s utility.
Cantor’s inability to understand that even a relatively extensive regulatory regime can give society significant security with minimal loss of liberty is tragic. If Congress follows his incorrect observations, we will find ourselves with inefficient policies from which we could actually gain additional security without any loss in liberty through different policy choices.
“When people find people like me at that young vulnerable age, who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is, they make you believe that no one will believe you.” – Sen. Scott Brown (R-MS)
Talking about his upcoming book with 60 Minutes, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown reveals that he was sexually abused repeatedly by a camp counselor in his youth. Though the abuses occurred at age 10, this is the first time the senator has spoken about the experience — to the public and to his family. Considering the slew of outrageous legislation pouring out of Congress these days, I’m generally loathe to say anything nice about a Republican. But it takes some serious courage to talk about sexual abuse. As an excellent Feministing post points out, Brown’s personal story helps create a “cultural space” for survivors, especially men, to come out themselves.
More than anything, though, this highlights the critical need for appropriate, well-funded support systems and outlets to assist victims of sexual abuse. Guess what that means? It means investing in local and state community health structures and sex education that does not denigrate sexuality — that’s the larger lesson that needs to be learned.
In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama will likely call for increased bipartisanship in Congress. He obviously needs to reach out to the other side, given the GOP’s majority in the House, but his message will likely serve as a complement to a larger narrative against partisanship altogether. While Americans have questioned the country’s system of political parties since the country’s founding, it seems that recent months have seen an increase in calls for nonparisanship by groups like No Labels. Unfortunately, these calls are misguided, albeit well intentioned.
Those calling for “no labels” seem ignorant to the amount of information that voters have on candidates when casting their ballots: often little more than party affiliation. That said, party affiliation is a remarkable indicator of policy positions and serves as a reliable heuristic for the low-information voter. Like it or not, only a tiny fraction of the electorate is well-informed and our system is designed to allow most people to worry about activities other than politics (such as earning money, as John Locke would argue). American parties also lack the power and cohesion seen elsewhere in the world; parties in parliamentary systems, such as in the United Kingdom, could not imagine the lack of party discipline in the American system.
So, cheers for partisanship (and even bipartisanship as long as the Democrats need GOP votes to pass legislation). And clap for the Democrats during the State of the Union tonight.
Obama: handing out tax cuts or possibly back massages.
I have spent over ten hours (in a horrible 2 hour commute every day) this week listening to NPR be entirely transfixed by the emerging deal made by President Obama, his beleaguered Democratic forces, and the empowered, minority Republican Party over the future of “The Bush Tax Cuts.” When the deal was announced earlier this week Republicans cheered while Democrats cried out with a million voices in pain.
HuffPo plashed apocryphal headlines across its page, FireDogLake breathed fire, and Bernie Sanders started threatening a filibuster. All the while the Democratic Party opinion leaders missed something important - most Democrats (especially those that supported the President) support the Tax Deal. It seems we are once again ceding fact to the hot heads at the edge of both the Republican and Democratic Parties.
In the end this deal is a good deal. (Read Here For Details) The hyperbole surrounding its conception and its contents are over blown and I want to explain why.
The deal is actually really good from a Democratic perspective. Both Jonathan Cohn and the NYT point out that this deal is LOADED with economy stimulating tax policies, unemployment insurance extensions, and other goodies. These economic stimulants will affect 156 million Americans and create/save 2.2 million jobs (thank you CAP) Go figure we spent all last week salivating for a deficit reduction plan and this week the Republican Party approved $450 billion dollars in additional spending. Only in America.
When deciding between the deal where everyone loses and I get a whole bunch of stuff (All I Want For Christmas Is Earned Income Tax Credits)… I usually pick the latter.
Yes, the high-end income tax cut extension and estate tax giveaways are ugly. Democrats should not like them and should be angry they exist. Get over it. On balance this deal affects more middle-to-low income Americans thank high-income Americans is a good deal for the economy.
This is also a deal that punts this issue to 2012. Usually I am all “PLEASE GOD DON’T” when Democrats punt issues down the line, but I trust the full force of the Obama Campaign to eradicate these tax cuts during an election season when the economy is on the mend and Democrats are not JUST coming off of a nasty midterm slaughter at the polls.
The NYT reported that this deal was forged between VP Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell in some tax deal bunker in the Capitol (Biden’s office). Liberals are angry that they were excluded from the table and did not have a say.
Yup, that is the whaaaaaaaaaaaambulance you hear.
In an era where the Republicans have just enough power to cause serious headaches this deal was completely necessary. It paves the way for lame duck legislating of DADT and the Dream Act, which would not have seen the light of day in the Senate without a Tax Cut Deal. Additionally, the tax cuts were not made permanent, which means there is still time to get their messaging right, which it hasn’t been for the last several months, and win this battle in 2012.
Importantly, this deal clarified for all involved (Democratic Party, Republican Party, the Media, bloggers, Sarah Palin, that caribou she shot) that the only thing the Republican Party really cares about are the rich. According to their spin they “won” because they got two policy priorities, the high-end tax cuts and estate-tax deal, that really only help people who own and have an intimate knowledge of monocles and/or top hats (not a reference to Mr. Peanut).
I have argued this before. Obama has always been and always will be a pragmatist. He ran on “hope” because we really needed it after eight years of Bush-grown, country-sized rot. Yet, nothing about his rather progressive (please… try to argue with that) agenda has said he is an idealist. He will compromise to get the win that creates the most good. In this tax deal his win brings good to millions of Americans, opens the door for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, provides time for the passage of the START treaty, and hopefully see the DREAM ACT passed.
All in all… I would say that is a pretty good deal.
Today is April 15. Not only is it my dog Buddy Chou’s birthday, but it is also Tax Day. It’s the day we forfeit our hard earned salaries for the better of our country. In return, we all get representation in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Well, most of us do. Residents of the District of Columbia do not get this right. That’s correct; DCers pay thousands of dollars in taxes each year but still get no representation in Congress. That is literally taxation without representation. TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Hold up. Isn’t that what people in the 1700s had a huge problem with? They were paying their government yet did not get a vote in anything or anywhere. So, they fixed it. Yay! However, this concern still lingers in Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from Washington, D.C., has taken it up as her job to get D.C. residents their right to a representative. “Defenders of the Constitution” believe residents of D.C. do not deserve this right because seats in Congress are reserved to representatives of states. Technically, Washington, D.C. is not a state. Is that a fair argument? I’m not buying it. They are paying taxes. They live in America. They deserve the right to have representation in Congress. Are residents of D.C. any less Americans than, say, Californians? Definitely not. (more…)
Many of you are familiar with the essential tie in the NY-20 congressional race yesterday. But a quick recap for those who aren’t: Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed by Gov. Patterson to replace Hillary Clinton as the junior senator from New York. And so, a special election was called, with Republican James Tedisco, the State Assembly minority leader, running against Democrat businessman Scott Murphy. Although Gillibrand is a Democrat, the district is heavily Republican, leaning R+2 – R+3 (aka it’s between 2 to 3 points more Republican than the average congressional district). Aaaaaaanyway… the quote of the day:
Everyone said, ‘Oh, that’s a Republican district.’ Well if it’s so Republican, how come Democrats are still winning there?
–Michael Steele, RNC Chair
See, when you don’t even understand why your party is falling apart, or that it’s falling apart at all, then how can you possibly fix it?
There has been long speculation that Sen Arlen Specter (R-PA) may leave the Republican party due to a likely primary challenge from the right from ultra-conservative Club for Growth President Pat Toomey (who would get destroyed in a general election). Mathmatically, it doesn’t make sense for Specter to continue as a Republican. With his vote for the stimulus package and likely vote for EFCA, the Democrats in Pennsylvania love him, but the Republicans will never give him the nomination again. And so it seemed that the only way for Specter to remain in the Senate is to leave the Republican party. (It’s important to note here that in Pennsylvania you cannot run for one party’s nomination and then, if you lose, run in the general election as an independent, a la Joe Lieberman).
This has all been speculation, until today. Earlier, Specter made some interesting comments about possibly running as an independent in 2010. The Hill reports:
He said in an interview with The Hill that the role of the Republican Party in Washington is too vital for him to switch to the Democratic side.
â€œIâ€™m staying a Republican because I think I have a more important role to play there,â€ he said. â€œI think the United States very desperately needs a two-party system. … And Iâ€™m afraid that weâ€™re becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party.â€
At the same time, Specter said he is open to the possibility of running as an Independent with the understanding that he would caucus with Republicans, just as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) did with Democrats in 2006.
Though he left that option on the table, he suggested it would be a last resort.
This position is noticeably different from before, when he wouldn’t even entertain the notion of not running as a Republican.
So, what do you all think? Should he run as a Republican, Independent, or a Democrat? Or maybe not run at all? And if he runs as an independent, with whom should he caucus?
Senator David Vitter (R-LA) made headlines in 2007 when he admitted to hiring prostitutes from the infamous “D.C. Madam.”Â Vitter is now back in the news–this time for a incident involving a missed flight at Washington’s Dulles International Airport.Â According to Roll Call newspaper, Vitter was running late to catch a United Airlines flight back to Louisiana.Â When he arrived at the gate, the agent had already finished boarding the flight and had closed the jetway door.Â Roll Call’s anonymous source tells the newspaper that Vitter attempted to board the flight anyway.Â He allegedly opened the jetway door (which set off an alarm) and yelled at the gate agent.Â When the agent left to call security, Vitter disappeared.Â The TSA is investigating the incident.