Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for president, a spokesman confirmed Thursday, a move certain to shake up the race for the Republican nomination much to the delight of conservatives looking for a candidate to embrace.
Official word of Perry’s entrance into the race came just hours before eight candidates, including Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, were to appear on stage during a nationally televised debate. […]
“Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.” —Molly Ivins
“Registering [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals. It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote. […] Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor. It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money.” -Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum
John Stossel (Fox News):“Let’s stop saying everyone should vote.”
Rush Limbaugh:“If people cannot even feed and clothe themselves, should they be allowed to vote?”
Judson Phillips (Tea Party Nation):“If you’re not a property owner, I’m sorry, but property owners have a little bit more of a vested stake in the community than not property owners do.”
Lofgren, in describing the reasons for his defection from the Republican party, describes a Republican camp that increasingly acts not like a traditional peacetime political organization, but more like an apocalyptic cult or one of the authoritarian movements from early 20th century European history.
In particular, the insane decision to turn the once-routine procedure of raising the debt ceiling (Lofgren notes it was done 87 times since WWII) into a political crisis revealed that the GOP party mainstream had sunk to the level of terrorism – holding our economic system hostage in exchange for political concessions.
This was a form of violence, and a serious escalation even from the days of George W. Bush, when the party was mostly limited in its willingness to use human beings as pawns in homicidal ploys for political power. Bush and Rove were willing to sacrifice Iraqi lives, and the lives of American servicemen, for oil and votes. But this current crew of Republicans shook canisters of kerosene over the entire American population and threatened to light a match if it didn’t get what it wanted.
As Lofgren notes, this was insurrectionary, revolutionary behavior. Only the massive scale of the gambit prevented it from being easily identified as terrorism and criminal blackmail. If in exchange for not defaulting on our debt Boehner, Hensarling, Cantor and the rest of them had asked for a billion dollars worth of gold bullion deposited in Swiss bank accounts, or the release of a dozen Baader-Meinhofs from German prisons, it could hardly have been much different from what they actually did.
I think most Americans can agree that reducing the public debt is a goal we can all share – and in the old days of thirty or forty years ago, when congress operated on a more collegial model that involved members from opposing parties getting together on weekends to achieve reasonable compromises over golf and highballs, the Rs and Ds could have found a way to press forward with reasonable deficit reduction plans without pushing us all to the edge of a cliff.
But for the new GOP, compromise of any kind defeats their central purpose, which is political totale krieg. This party’s entire reason for being is conflict and aggression. There is no underlying patriotic instinct to find middle ground with the rest of us, because the party doesn’t have a vision for society that includes anyone outside the tent.
I’ve always been queasy about piling on against the Republicans because it’s intellectually too easy; I also worry a lot that the habit pundits have of choosing sides and simply beating on the other party contributes to the extremist tone of the culture war.
But the time is coming when we are all going to be forced to literally take sides in a political conflict far more serious and extreme than we’re used to imagining. The situation is such a tinderbox now that all it will take is some prominent politician to openly acknowledge the fact of a cultural/civil war for the real craziness to begin.
Reading Lofgren’s piece, and a piece by John Judis of the New Republic, makes one realize that we came pretty close to real chaos in that debt ceiling debate. Had Obama invoked emergency powers to raise the debt limit unilaterally – and I think he had good reasons to do that – we might have had a revolt on our hands.
Here we go again, more radical rhetoric from Fox News. On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, Republican businessman and former Senate nominee, Peter Schiff claimed that the minimum wage was too high and that it affected the young and the poor in a negative way. Schiff even had the nerve to say “One Of The Most Anti-Poor People Rules Is The Minimum Wage.” A part of the transcript is below.
SCHIFF: Well, one of the most anti-poor people rules is the minimum wage. It keeps people poor. What the minimum wage does is says that if a person that has very little skills, and generally they’re young or they’re poor, you can’t hire them unless they can produce
KILMEADE: Right. SCHIFF: — $7.25 worth of value, but it’s not just that. It also has to compensate you for all the mandatory benefits and taxes and risks associated with hiring people.
SCHIFF: And people that have no skills, it’s not just worth it to hire them
KILMEADE: Peter, I want to get through, too
SCHIFF: — maybe $3 or $4 an hour, if that’s what they’re worth
As the real world looks at the extremely low minimum wage, Republicans and their conservative members want to lower it even further. Presidential nominee, Michele Bachmann, has even said she would want to completely eliminate minimum wage as part of her plan to lower unemployment. This is just another example of the disconnect between the conservative mind-set of the Republican party and reality. Whether you consider yourself liberal, progressive or an independent, you can see pretty clearly that the wealth gap in the United States is growing. If the Republicans have their way, lowering the minimum wage will just grow the gap even more.