Friday, October 4, 2013

The Republi-CON " Obama is Unwilling to Negotiate" Myth

The White House "went on a widely covered "charm offensive" back in the spring. The president held multiple dinners with Senate Republicans. He invited over key House Republicans. The meetings were so frequent that the participants were nicknamed 'the diner's club.'

Nothing came of those meetings. Republicans still weren't willing to talk on taxes. And so the White House grimly accepted that they couldn't move the dial on spending. The CR, they note, funds the government at the GOP's number of $988 billion. It is, itself, a compromise, and one they don't like. But they made it, because they couldn't pass anything else through Congress. And then the Republicans decided to shut down the government because they couldn't pass a delay or defunding of Obamacare through Congress.

As the White House sees it, Speaker John Boehner has begun playing politics as game of Calvinball, in which Republicans invent new rules on the fly and then demand the media and the Democrats accept them as reality and find a way to work around them."

Read the Washington Post, How the White House sees the shutdown (and debt ceiling!) fight, which notes that "[t]o the White House, the shutdown/debt ceiling fight is quite simple, and quite radical: Republicans are trying to create a new, deeply undemocratic pathway through which a minority party that lost the last election can enact an agenda that would never pass the normal legislative process. It's nothing less than an effort to use the threat of a financial crisis to nullify the results of the last election."

The Republi-CON Media CONplex

UPDATE VIII:  "There's a direct connection between the shutdown and hyperbolic, partisan journalistic outlets driven more by profits than the search for truth."
Read The Atlantic, How the Broken Media Helped Break the Government

UPDATE VII:  "The theme of Ted Cruz’s filibuster this week was 'Make D.C. Listen.' But Cruz himself doesn’t listen; he talks. And talks. And talks. It’s no wonder the Texas senator can’t hear what the public is actually saying. . .

A poll this month from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 69 percent of Americans, including many who disapprove of the law, want Congress to 'make the law work as well as possible.' Only 23 percent of Americans say Congress should try to 'make the law fail.'

The Republican Party, however, has focused like a laser on making the law fail. Congressional Republicans have withheld crucial implementation funds and sent letters to everyone from the National Football League to local health groups warning them against helping with the rollout. Republican governors have, for the most part, refused to set up health-care exchanges or participate in the Medicaid expansion authorized by the law.

And now Republicans in Congress are considering shutting down the entire government or defaulting on the national debt in order to prevent Obamacare’s implementation. They’ve gone from trying to make Obamacare fail to threatening to make the country fail. . .

In return for a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling, House Republicans are demanding a yearlong delay of Obamacare, adoption of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s tax-reform plan, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, more offshore oil drilling, more drilling on federally protected lands, looser regulations around ash coal, a suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon emissions, more power over the regulatory process in general, reform of the federal employee retirement program, changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, more power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget, repeal of the Social Services block grant, expanded means-testing for Medicare benefits, repeal of the public health trust fund and more.

Yes, that’s right: 'and more.'

If this policy grab bag sounds familiar, it’s because Republicans have proposed it all before. It was, more or less, Mitt Romney’s agenda during the 2012 presidential campaign. The voters rejected it -- another message, it seems, that Republicans in Washington somehow failed to hear. . .

This is the strange world much of the Republican Party now inhabits. The 'voice of the people' is the one they hear when they whisper into one another’s ears. And they have just enough power to force the rest of the country to listen to it, too."

Read Bloomberg, Ted Cruz Republicans Listen Only to Themselves.  

UPDATE VI:  "[T]he conservative movement is, among other things, an elaborate moneymaking venture by which the wealth of the rabid and gullible conservative rank and file is redistributed to already rich celebrities. . .

From miracle health cures, to get-rich-quick schemes, to overpriced precious metals and seed banks, talk radio hosts and conservative news outlets are making a killing by trading their platform and credibility for the hard-earned cash of their unsuspecting listeners."

Read Salon, Secrets of the right: Selling garbage to your fans.

The article notes that the Republi-CON Media CONplex includes WND, "the birther website that . . . delivers some exciting offers that strain credulity, then break it, kill it, and cremate it."

UPDATE V:  "The Republican National Committee is finally acknowledging what dissidents on the right have warned about for years: 'We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people," a new report on reforming the GOP states, "but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.'

This isn't a problem that the national party can solve on its own. Conservative principles and Republican policy ideas mostly reach the rank and file via mass media. But Fox News, most talk-radio hosts, most right-leaning websites, and even donor-driven organizations with communications shops, like the Heritage Foundation, aren't just 'preaching to the choir' out of stubbornness.

It's their business strategy."

Read The Atlantic, The GOP Can't Reach Beyond Its Base Without Confronting Its Hucksters.  

UPDATE IV:  The Hedgehog News modus operandi, lying and screaming.  Read the Washington Post, Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly: Relevance via screaming?

UPDATE III:  As I've said before, so many lies, so little time. (In fairness, Republi-cons don't consider it lying, to them it is "created reality.")

Four months ago, The Daily Caller ran an explosive, Drudge-leading story with a dynamite, Drudge-worthy hed: 'Women: Sen. Bob Menendez paid us for sex in the Dominican Republic' . . .

[The 'escort' who was allegedly] paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was instead paid to make up the claims in a tape recording and has never met or seen the senator before, according to court documents and two people briefed on her claim."

Read Slate, The Daily Caller's Call Girl's Total Recall.  

UPDATE II:  Even Hedgehog News has limits.

"No more Fox News contributor Dick Morris. His contract to spout republic-damaging nonsense on Fox airwaves has expired, and the network isn’t renewing it.

Taken together with the news that Sarah Palin will no longer be contributing, the Morris development is strong evidence that Fox News has glimpsed the underside of allowing charlatans to brand its coverage. Palin was a roboto-contributor, who responded to everything with a little crack on the lamestream media and a reference President Obama’s socialist heart."

Read the Washington Post, Fox News drops Dick Morris: Hooray.

The article ironically notes that "[v]ast arrogance and loose, poorly substantiated facts: a great combination for a cable-news contributor in these modern times."

Remind you of anyone locally?

UPDATE:  The wacko-sphere, from Rusty to Hedgehog News "and friends can still crush their own, as Obama noted. But that only drives the Republican Party further to the fringes. Virtually everything the broadcast bullies are against -- sensible gun measures, immigration reform, raising taxes on the rich -- are favored by a majority of Americans.

It makes sense, then, that the logical next step for these folks is to retreat into an actual bubble of brick and mortar -- their own city. Glenn Beck has announced plans to build 'Independence, U.S.A.,' a sort of new urbanism for paranoids. In that world, at least, all the fantasies of the far right are always true."

Read The New York Times, Right Flight.

"The conservative media movement exists primarily as a moneymaking venture. As Rick Perlstein explained in the Baffler, some of the largest conservative media organs are essentially massive email lists of suckers rented to snake oil salesmen. The con isn’t limited to a couple of newsletters and websites: The most prominent conservative organizations in the nation are primarily dedicated to separating conservatives from their money. . .

The problem this presents for the movement, beyond the threat of eventually bankrupting the people who give it power, is that the business of money-making, for consultants and media personalities and Herman Cains, is at this point getting in the way of the business of advancing conservative causes. The groups exert massive influence, and they only ever push the Republican Party to get more extreme. Apocalyptic hysteria is much more effective at getting people to open their wallets than reasonable commentary. There are a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on keeping lots of conservatives terrified and ill-informed. The groups that exist to raise funds raise more funds when they endorse the crazier candidate."

Read Salon, The conservative movement is still an elaborate moneymaking venture