The Watering Hole: January 24 – Damage Control

Newt has them in a frenzy it seems. The GOP establishment is bringing out their heavyweights to try and do damage control. After Chris Christie calling Newt Gingrich an embarrassment on “Meet the Press”, now Tim Pawlenty has come out with a similar message:

“This is somebody who has had so many incredibly unfortunate and questionable activities while he was speaker, post-speaker, that he’s not somebody that I think can carry the banner for the Republican Party and the conservative movement forward as a nominee or as a future president,”

To the rescue of Gingrich comes, of all people,  She Who Shall Not be Named. Calling Chris Christie a “rookie” and accused him of “lack of self-discipline”.


Gingrich tends to autodestruct, Romney could try the “No Drama” approach that your President does so irritatingly well, so why does the uproar come so early in the game?

There’s an unCivil War within the GOP raging. And for once it is not along the lines of evangelical purism against liberalism, it is along the lines of fiscal purism. The rebels couldn’t care less whether Gingrich had married three wives and a goat, or Romney entered marriage as a virgin, they care about The Deficit, The Debt and Big Government.

You do not have to follow the link to the article, if you (understandably) don’t want to give them any views on their website, but it was an article in that made this clear to me:

There is general philosophical agreement among both Republicans and conservatives about all of this. Where the fault line lies is in exactly how far we are willing to go to do something about it. Many people who got into politics as good conservatives, and still think themselves good conservatives constrained by the limits of practical possibility, are at a loss when it comes to meaningful ways to tame Leviathan. For reasons, some good (the need to use political power to protect national security, preserve control of the courts and restrain regulatory overreach), some less so, they have thrown in the towel on the central issue of the day. That is who we speak of as the “Establishment.” Others – not always with a sense of proportion or possibility, but driven by the urgency of the cause – seek dramatic confrontations to prevent the menace of excessive spending from passing the tipping point where we can no longer save room for the private sector. They are the Outsiders, the ones challenging the system and its fundamental assumptions. The analogy of a Tea Party is an apt one: the Founding Fathers had much in common with the Tories of their day, but disagreed on a fundamental question, not of principle, but of practical politics: whether revolution was needed to protect their traditional rights as Englishmen from being eradicated by the growing encroachments of the British Crown. As it was then, the gulf between the two is the defining issue of today’s Republican Party and conservative movement. (whole article if you want to here)

The cause for fiscal purity is made with precision in that article and Gingrich obviously knows how to tap into that feeling. He could even spin being kicked out as a Speaker into a story about having been a “Maverick” all along (rings familiar eh?). Romney may still come out on top of it, but at what price remains to be seen. Santorum won’t be in the picture very long for the very reasons I have stated, the race is not about religious purity anymore. Paul, yeah well, he can prepare for his run in 2016.

My projected scenarios, being a European Elitist I am by nature an insufferable know-it-all, would be:

Romney wins. He is at best a lukewarm candidate and will not fire up the GOP base at all, but the “Anybody but Obama” crowd will have to be reckoned with. The prospects of President Romney won’t give Democrats a good reason to go vote, even grudgingly, for Obama. Voter turnout will be low on both sides and this could lead to a closer race than comfortable for Obama. But Obama wins.

Gingrich wins the nomination. Obama wins.

Gingrich wins more primaries, but autodestructs and leaves Romney fatally hurt at the roadside, so a brokered convention will pick a third candidate. Unlikely, Gingrich’s candidacy will be propped up for some months and left to lose. If only, because any Republican insider worth his/her salt, especially the younger ones, will wait out another stretch (hey, it is only four more years) and run then. Obama wins.

How will the Republican internal struggle end? Depends on who has more money on their hands. The Koch Brothers and their associates or the establishment’s funders.

This is our Open Thread. Let’s discuss, or let’s vent, or let’s turn this into a caption contest, or, or, or. It’s your thread folks, use it.


166 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: January 24 – Damage Control

      • Thanks again. We have server crashes here at work all the time. I better do some filing. Is it the sun spots, I wonder..

        • Could be sun spots.

          I would comment that I think we dismiss Newt at our own peril. There have been too many times that he’s self-destructed in this campaign alone, and yet here he is. He’s intelligent; experienced as a politician (and liar); and he seems to be remarkably resilient. He does well in debates. I don’t know that it’s a slam dunk that he loses the general if he wins the primary.

          • He had several opportunities to slam Romney last night and didn’t. Either he only feeds off of the audience’s hate or he realizes what he is doing to the process.

            And then there is the fact of the money. He simply doesn’t have enough in the bank to get al the way until June. And the way he is ticking off the Republican Establishment, I hardly think that he’s gong to get too much money from them…

            • I do think he feeds off the crowd; he’s more adept at winging it in that regard than talking-point-reciters such as Romney. There could also be a political calculus involved that last nights debate isn’t the right timing for him to go for the throat. Or he could just be having an off day.

              And I’m certainly not defending Newt. I don’t want him in our political process any more than any of the rest of us do. I’m just trying to explore the meta aspect of this.

              As far as money, you’re right. Newt may not be able to make it through the primary season. Although, the media seems more than happy to give the candidates free TV time with these endless debates. To that end, I read an interesting article the other day that this primary race is actually a national narrative being played out on a state-by-state basis. One premise is that the local-only media buys aren’t having as much impact as the national media exposure. If that’s true, then Newt may be able to keep rolling through the primaries.

              In the general, I know the right-wing establishment aren’t all that enthused by Newt. The question becomes which one do they hate more: Obama or Newt. Given what we’ve seen the last few years, I think the irrational, right-wing hatred of Obama would win out and Newt would have his money. A lot could also depend upon his choice for VP. That could give him inroads to establishment money.

            • LL, if I go by the two factions within GOP narrative, I see money for Gingrich coming in. If he, that is, sticks to the fiscal purity story. His child labor and privatized SS accounts for young people stories must have sounded like music to the Norquist crowd. There’s money to be had for him there.

          • Maybe you’re right. I am currently thinking that Newt would fire up the Democratic base to vote against him. As it is has a comfortable Obama lead when he’s matched against Gingrich, but what can happen to comfortable leads, Romney can tell. I would think Obama’s intelligence matches Gingrich’s, but when it comes to ruthlessness.. I don’t know. In foreign politics Obama showed some decisiveness (short of ruthless) that he is lacking in domestic affairs. Never mind the outcome, it will be interesting for sure.

            • Newt could fire up the Democratic base, if the Democratic base stops pouting about Obama. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.

              Interesting perspective that Obama’s foreign policy stands in stark contrast to his domestic policy. Perhaps because he has more unopposed power in that regard?

              There’s an article in the New Yorker, which I’ve not yet fully read that may shed some light on his domestic policy battles and disappointments.

              The Obama Memos
              The making of a post-post-partisan Presidency.

            • Interesting perspective that Obama’s foreign policy stands in stark contrast to his domestic policy. Perhaps because he has more unopposed power in that regard?

              I fully agree and am mad as hell. Think what he could have done domestically without obstruction from a huge part of his own party.

        • Out of replies below…

          I think you might be right about the money, after all Republicans do fall in line. But I don’t think the independents will vote for Newt in the general. But there is a contingent of voters that don’t know anything about Newt or his problems, they were just babies when Newt was in the House.

          And Obama has accomplished quite a lot in spite of all the opposition he has received from both parties. Think of what Obama could do with a Democratic Congress though.

          • And Obama has accomplished quite a lot in spite of all the opposition he has received from both parties. Think of what Obama could do with a Democratic Congress though.

            That’s what we thought almst four years ago. You gave him a Democratic Congress. Full of incumbents. Fill it with the likes of Elizabeth Warren and then something will be achieved.

            • “obama is a Muslim” “he cannot be president” as nausem.. Is this elderly woman with a cane (or crutch?) a plant? Are people that totally ignorant? Well, yes, and totally full of hate.
              THEN that s.o.b. would NOT address it.

  1. I know this was brought up yesterday, but it bears bringing up again today. This is the level of “discourse” we’re dealing with in this country. It’s sickening. Warning: The link has a photo.

    Pol’s cat killed; “Liberal” scrawled on body

    n Arkansas political campaign manager was shocked to discover his family pet with one side of its head bashed in — and the word “liberal” scribbled across the corpse in paint.
    Jacob Burris has served as Ken Aden’s campaign manager since October 2011. Aden, a Democrat, is currently running for Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District.

    “To kill a child’s pet is just unconscionable,” Aden said in an official statement. “As a former combat soldier, I’ve seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. Whoever did this is definitely part of the worst of humanity.”

    Of course I hate to presume guilt before the facts are all in for the crime committed, but as a matter of political discussion this has “Tea Party” written all over it.

    • A person who would do such a thing is not that different than a person who would shoot a Congressperson in the head.

      • what is so disturbing to me is that that nutcase who killedseveral people and injured Rep. Giffords and others is safe away in Federal prison AT OUR EXPENSE.

          • I do, but it might be conceived as as looney as he is. However, since he is supposedly “insane” he won’t go to trial. I am one of many that would like to see him on trial. Gee, I might get a jury duty notice. I did get notice once for federal court here………..and this is where he would be tried.

    • They keep calling liberals a ‘cancer’, ‘a ‘disease’ – ‘open season on all liberals – no limit’.

      Eliminiationist rhetoric from right-wing proto-fascists like Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, Coulter, Hannity ….. and this is the result.

      “ter·ror·ism   /ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm/ Show Spelled[ter-uh-riz-uhm] Show IPA
      1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
      2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. “

        • What they say and hiow they say it is straight out of the Nazi play book. That Arkansas family just had their own personal ‘kristalnacht’.

  2. Buzzfeed Politics focuses on Mitt and Newt’s long back-and-forth:

    ‘Gingrich offered proof that he didn’t lobby: He’s hired a lobbying expert. Actually, that proves the opposite. … [T]he reason you bring in an expert on the complicated law isn’t to avoid influence-peddling. It’s to avoid having to register.”

  3. Would someone, anyone, please ask Mr. Worth250Mil Mittens how many jobs he’s created in the last two years? Aside from the millions in political advertising that the networks have banked…
    And press him for a comment on how many MORE jobs he’d personally create if his tax plan that cuts his tax liability in half were to be foisted on the American public..?

  4. In two years, Mitt Rmoney made more money than the median salary will generate in 900 years – on a tax rate of just 13%.

  5. Good analysis EV. That Gingrich can position himself as anything other than an insider is breathtaking chutzpah. That no one calls him on it or on anything (John King – your career is over – if Dana “Really? I look like Joe Camel?” Bash lopped the end of your willy off – Newt Gingrich ripped off the rest and stuffed it in your mouth).

    So the juxtaposition of yesterday’s post and commentary on the debate and the Arkansas cat-killer was apt: Algae – Pond Life …. scum.

    One thought I saw about the schism in the Grand Old Pond Life Party yesterday was the Gingrich-Romney split was less about religion (as EV points out and the Family Value Voters of North Carolina affirmed) but may be more of a restart of the ‘War of Northern Aggression’. Romney plays the part of the carpet-bagging establishment Northerner, while Newt passes out the muskets yelling ‘Yee hah, got your pillow cases boys! Let’s ride!’

  6. Boehner on Obama: “We just come from two different planets…”

    Obama was born in Hawaii. What constellation are you from, Boney?

  7. A tax rate of just 14%.

    If you’re really, really rich, that’s all you have to pay in taxes so the issue isn’t Rmoney, it’s the tax code itself. I think if Obama wants to win this election, he needs to embrace radical tax reform. Go BIG in the SOTU speech tonight. Force the GOP to refuse it, as he has forced them to refuse the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance. Good policy. Good politics.

    The president and the Democrats should not be piling on Romney because he’s rich. They should be piling on the tax code because it is so insane.

    This is the moment when the transformation away from the old politics happens/ The real moment of transformation will be the re-election of a reasonable president in an unreasonable time. But tonight is the rally moment.

    Seize it.

    • Can we ship you into Obama’s head through some sort of ‘Being Barack Obama’ portal, BMM? So you can give your speech and not the pap I expect to avoid hearing by not watching tonight?

      I’ll start looking around the office here and opening the odd little doors I find in hope of finding my way in …. will let you know.

    • Romney supposedly gave $7M to charity in his tax returns – perhaps each year, I dunno.

      Note to media – the Mor(m)on Church and charity and two different things …. charities don’t buy ad time in controversial ballot measures such as California prop 8 ….. the Mor(m)on Church is a political organization – makes Freemasonry look like a Cub Scout Pack.

      • Mitt gave money to an organization that pays no taxes on what they accumulate. And uses it to influence elections? Sounds like influence peddling to me.

  8. Proposal for a thread today – “What *should* President Obama say in the SOTU Address tonight?”

    • No need to speculate. Mittens already knows and reports, with no apparent sense of irony:

      Mitt Romney, hitting President Obama ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address, says Obama will use more “divisive rhetoric.”

      “It’s shameful for a president to use the State of the Union to divide our nation,” Romney added.

      President Obama says “we can’t wait,” Romney said, to which he said, “yes we can.”

      • If ‘pay your fair fucking share of taxes, rich boy” is divisive, then Obama should ‘bring it on’…

      • He should fire up Elizabeth Warren’s off the cuff remarks about wealth and class warfare …. mmm baby …

    • War with Cuba AND Iran! Raise taxes on the poor and the brownies to pay for it and cut taxes to zero on the rich to accelerate job creation! Deport all Muslims AND all atheists! White purity! Injuns on reservations!! Oh, wait … ///

      (trying to think like a wingnut, to come up with something for Boner to enjoy, something that’s not “pathetic.”)

      • Instead of cleaning toilets, the children of the poor can follow all of the white folks around their golf carts with cocktails shakers at the ready….

        Did you hear? Cuba has an Al Qaeda base on it – at least 200 ‘very bad dudes’ …. must be training for an attack ….

  9. A couple days ago, Obama previewed his State of The Union speech”:

    Bill Galston of TNR wants the president to talk more about opportunity than inequality:

    “The plight of hard-working, hard-pressed Americans—those struggling to remain in the middle class and those struggling get there—must be front and center. And the president must address it in the right way. A December 16 Gallup survey found that while 82 percent of Americans believe that it’s extremely or very important to expand the economy and 70 percent believe that it’s extremely or very important to increase equality of opportunity for people to get ahead, only 46 percent believe that about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor. While 72 percent of Democrats want government to emphasize measures to reduce inequality, only 43 percent of independents agree. And 52 percent of Americans say that “the fact that some people in the United States are rich and others are poor” is acceptable, actually up from 45 percent in 1998.”

  10. I’m hoping the President uses the State of The Union address to point out that he is not going to sit around waiting for the recalcitrant Republicans to compromise on something, anything, someday.
    A Call to move forward with the things he has the power to do.. Let it happen, Cap’n!.

    • Well he called out John Roberts to his face and did nothing about CU ….. I don’t hold much store by anything that will be said tonight.

    • That often seems the case for right-wingers. They never are in favor of anything. It’s always a matter what they’re against.

  11. How do we know that Mitt released his real tax return? Did anyone actually see it?

    Let’s start a “Returner” movement that mimics the “Birther” movement.

  12. We knew “Herb” wouldn’t/couldn’t stay away for very long..
    note his casual attire!

    Cain slated for tea party response to State of the Union

    • I wonder what be the first reaction of one a survivor of one of these Arizonan sod busters will be when his plow comes across one of those mines. I would guess his surviving spouse and her twelve kids would vote Republicanism for the rest of their natural lives. No custody problems, no redistribution of estate and the wife would not have to sleep with the bastard after that.

  13. I’ve been thinking about that snoozefest of a debate last night. I think that the only person that I would trust to host a political debate would be Jon Stewart (maybe Stephen Colbert).

    • I really, really, miss the days when the League of Women voters were the hosts and the debates were shown by every network. The whole idea of a network holding exclusive debates, and playing them for ratings, is just plain wrong. The fact that they are using “news” anchors who are beholden to corporate interests makes them even worse. These debates are worse than useless when the “moderators” aren’t free to say “that’s simply not true” when a candidate starts spewing their crap.

        • It was also the day when, largely due to the efforts of the press/media, politicians were expected to have a certain amount of factual basis for their utterances. Now? They are allowed to live in a world where facts, like Newt being forced to resign in disgrace, are not immutable.

          • We will have a lot more factual reporting once the Ministry of Truth is up and running.

            • We are already there. Three of the biggest that leap to mind are: “The invasion of Iraq was vital to national security, Bush made it possible to kill Bin Laden, and Newt is a faithful family man and honored elder statesman”. There are countless other examples going back even before “Bush wins Florida”.

              I think that George Orwell would be horrified that his cautionary tale has been used as an instruction manual.

    • Auto tune is of Satan! Although, it is funny when it goes out of sync during a live performance and reveals that one’s favorite “recording artist” can’t sing a note. Actually, “recording artists” are of Satan! Seriously, if one can’t be called a singer, musician, composer, or band leader then one has no business in the music business even if one has a striking figure and is willing to gyrate in a ridiculous costume.

  14. Virtually all the polls show Newt leading Mittens by as much as 11%. I am getting pretty sick of all the data that supports a contention that the Reichwhiners are barking mad.

    • This reminds me. Why didn’t Jeb Bush heed the establishment’s urgent call for a Romney endorsement in Florida? Does he hedge his bets, because he doesn’t want to be associated with a loser?(God knows he has enough of those in his own family). Or does he simply not care, because he needs another some years to outlive his brother’s legacy and couldn’t care less who is President until he can try and get there?

      • “Does he hedge his bets, because he doesn’t want to be associated with a loser?”

        — Yes.

      • Judging by the outrage whenever anyone mentions Bushco I’m led to conclude that the GOP establishment doesn’t want anyone to put the name Bush back in the news. I would also guess that the Bush family is content to fade from view rather than see Georgy boy tried, convicted, and sentenced for war crimes.

        • I always think of him as “Hugo” Bart Simpson’s secret brother. They should just have left him locked in the attic. George, that is.

  15. The daughter of Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps announced via Twitter that members plan to picket Joe Paterno’s funeral on Wednesday. The WBC people better gameplan on how to “pick up the blitz.”

      • Sometimes I wonder if they are “of the earth”. I would feel a lot better about being a human being if they were actually a weird alien experiment gone wrong. An alien origin would also explain why their baleful stares aren’t ever broken by blinking but that could just be the inbreeding. Oh yeah, I said it. There’s not a doubt in my mind that several of ol’ Fred’s biological children were born of his daughters.

  16. Something kind of odd is going on with the SOTU — or isn’t going on. The White House always leaks talking points or parts of the speech and last year you could find the entire speech online before it was given.

    This year no one is talking or spilling. Hmmm….

    • He is planning one of his wowser speeches. It would take a lot of the impact away if there were bickering about it in advance. I expect the same level as “a more perfect union”.

    • The not so funny part is that FAUX”News” has already declared it’s a “campaign speech”. Of course since their worshipers won’t watch it, read a transcript, or hear an honest appraisal there is a sizable minority who will simply believe that.

      • Oh yeah. The Reichwhiners will also probably say that he gave Iran the go-ahead for producing nuclear weapons to blow Israel off the map and that President Obama admitted he’s a communist/fascist bent on destroying America just for kicks.

    • I was just about to post this too. Great minds. 🙂

      One thing I was also going to add, is they say this could lead to some spectacular Aurora displays over the next two nights.

      • That would be a grand sight! (unfortunately I don’t live in a spot to take advantage of such viewings)

        • A combination of too close to the city and not far enough north?

          The city part gives you no choice but to get away from the city. The not far enough north part means you should drive north as you get out of the city. 😉

          But seriously, sometimes on these extra large solar events, the Aurora can be visible much further south than normal.

          • ZXBE I am @ 33 degrees. Very rural but too far. I think Ebb might be a couple of degrees north. Still too far from the frozen northland where you are.

        • When we lived near Rochester, NY it was in a very small farm town with no light pollution. My dad took me out to see the stars on many occasions and one winter we saw a spectacular view of the Aurora Borealis–it reminded me of the ribbon candy Boy Scouts sold around Christmas.

          The only other time I saw them was on a polar route from Gatwick to San Francisco, somewhere out over the north Atlantic. That one was gorgeous but all white.

    • linkee no workee – I’ll take your word for it…. there used to be a index based on the amount of money that if Bill Gates saw lying on the ground it would be worth him taking time out of his day to pick up…. it was a large denomination note if I recall.,..

      here it is

          • He’ll say “The state of our union is strong” and then I’ll say “You lie”

            It’s a f***ing mess,

            From the Huffpo drinking game:

            Historical References

            Take a sip

            Obama quotes Abraham Lincoln or Harry Truman.

            Take a swig

            Obama quotes Ronald Reagan or Teddy Roosevelt.

            Pound a shot

            Obama quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower or Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

            Finish the bottle

            Obama quotes Bill Ayers or Herman Cain.

    • Mine would be Sleepy Fingers Davis. It actually fits, to an extent, because there’s something severed in the link between my mind and fingers. I played guitar for over 15 years and only learned one song (Rocky Mountain Way by Joe Walsh.) well enough to put a stamp on it. And I can’t even come close to actually playing the ones I come up with so I’m forced to just hum, whistle, or sing until my friend, Terry, can figure out what I’m trying to get across.

      Alas, the boys in the band might object to me changing my given nickname of Long-haired Bald Guy. It was decided some years ago that, should I ever overcome my stage fright and we agree we’re ready to go public, we’ll be billed as Long-haired Bald Guy and Blind Eye Surgeons.

      • It’s just as well, LHBG. We can’t have 2 Sleepy Fingers, can we? 😉

        (After all, how would you type?)

  17. I don’t wanna shock anyone but the First Lady will have lesbians sitting with her tonight.

    Lesbians, I tell ya.

  18. I don’t like Mitt Romney. Have I said that before? He’s smarmy.

    Newt’s just an angry attack muffin. (heard on Stephanie Miller)

  19. Sorry I missed the speech and your brilliant blogging.

    This makes me ill:

    Marine to serve no time in Haditha, Iraq killings case

    A Marine sergeant who led a squad that killed 24 unarmed Iraqis avoided serving any time Tuesday for his role in one of the darkest chapters of the Iraq war, winning leniency through a plea deal that carried no real punishment beyond a reduction in rank.

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