If there’s one thing Republicans know how to do, it’s get out of hot water by getting in deeper.
Currently Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the revelation that “leading Hollywood Republican” David Stein is actually David Cole, a Jewish Holocaust denier. Yes, you read that right. The Guardian explains that in the 90s, gas chamber denying Cole was “a vilified guest on chat shows hosted by Phil Donahue, Montel Williams and Morton Downey, among others, and was depicted as a neo-Nazi on news shows such as 60 Minutes and 48 Hours.”
Stein/Cole was the “head” of the “Republican Party Animal”, a Hollywood political/social group for conservatives. The Guardian reports that Stein/Cole, who maintains his Holocaust cynicism today, is friends with conservative media figures “with blogs, newspaper columns and syndicated radio shows.” Rory Carroll writing for the Guardian opined:
They put a lid on the story. Not a word has been published or broadcast. ‘When people found out it was, “Oh my God, get the fuck away from him.’
So peeved that Stein/Cole was ruining their already tattered reputation, Republicans say he smeared the name of “Republican Party Animals”.
How do you smear the Holocaust denier and prove that you, a Republican, are not a bigot? Oh, I don’t know. Probably by asking how they were supposed to know that the “Jewish guy with the nasally voice was a complete liar and a fraud”.
Neoconservative Eric Golub wrote that phrase for the very right wing Washington Times, after complaining that the media will now call conservatives names again, “The media now has another baseball bat with which to beat conservatives over the head. They presume that anything negative said about conservatives is true and silence is taken as acquiescence.”
You are an employee of the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation based in The Woodlands, TX, and work in The Woodlands office which also happens to be Anadarko’s world headquarters. I happen to live and work in The Woodlands as well.
Today, I was made aware by an employee who is also a good friend of mine that you used Anadarko email to send an image (see above) to not only that employee but fourteen others. Anadarko is a big company employing over 4,000 people all over the world. How many of them do you think are gay? It’s a fair guess that some are, and not only are you an idiot for using company email to spread that image, but you are encouraging a hostile workplace environment, that I am sure your boss - CEO James T. Hackett - would not want to have to explain to shareholders.
I also heard that you cried in sadness all day long after Election Day last November. With you promoting this kind of hateful crap, it’s fair to assume that you did not vote for President Obama. I take great glee in your sadness, you hateful bitch.
Republicans need to win just six seats to gain control of the U.S. Senate in next year’s election, but the AP reports that the GOP is struggling mightily to recruit candidates.
The 2014 elections represent a big chance for Republicans as Democrats will be defending 21 seats to Republicans’ 14. In addition, retirement announcements by several senior Democrats — in Iowa, Michigan, and Montana — have given the GOP a chance to not face an incumbent.
But so far there’s been a combination of lack of interest from prospective Republican candidates and a lack of consensus in the party on who might be the best candidate.
Glenn Thrush and Reid Epstein report on one of the reasons that gun legislation failed in the Senate yesterday:
In the end,  moderates and conservatives in the upper chamber said they simply couldn’t deal with a flurry of progressive issues at once — from gay marriage to immigration to guns….One senator told a White House official that it was “Guns, gays and immigration — it’s too much. I can be with you on one or two of them, but not all three.”
Some are taking this to suggest that voting against the gun bill gives conservatives a little more room to maneuver on immigration. So the silver lining here is that all the no votes on guns might mean a few more yes votes on immigration. Ed Kilgore is skeptical:
I wouldn’t put much reliance on the idea that the demise of Manchin-Toomey is a blessing in disguise for progressives or for those still pining for a “bipartisan breeze” in Washington. For one thing, to continue the propitiation metaphor, the “base” is a jealous god, which views every act of ideological “betrayal” as sufficient to justify primary excommunication or primary challenges. For another, this fresh demonstration that “the base” has the power to compel party discipline on guns (only three Republicans joined former Club for Growth president Pat Toomey in the end) will make the desire to impose it on other subjects seem much more practicable.
A two-year budget bill advanced by Ohio’s state House of Representatives on Tuesday would defund Planned Parenthood, redirect that state money to Christian-run “crisis pregnancy centers,” and impose a fine of up to $5,000 on teachers who provide certain kinds of sex education instruction to their students.
The sex education amendment to the budget bill, introduced by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R), encourages schools to teach abstinence-only education and bans sexual education that condones “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity.” The amendment also prohibits teachers from distributing contraceptive materials and bans public schools from using the services of any individual or organization who “endorses student nonabstinence from sexual activity as an appropriate or acceptable behavior, or if that individual or organization promotes, endorses, advocates, or condones gateway sexual activity.”
Instructors who violate the law could be sued in court for up to $5,000.
State Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern told the Toledo Blade that Republicans are “bent on outlawing sexuality and reverting to the Dark Ages.”
Republicans in the Pennsylvania House on Monday pushed out of committee a bill that would prevent most coverage for abortions under the health exchange in Pennsylvania being set up as part of the federal health care overhaul.
The Health Committee voted 15-9 in favor of the proposal that provides exceptions only for victims of rape and incest or when the mother’s life is in peril. One Democrat voted for it.
A Democratic sponsored amendment that would have added an exception for the mother’s health was defeated along party lines.
Committee chairman Matt Baker, R-Bradford, said the health exception would represent a substantial change from the state’s longstanding public policy that does not permit public funding of abortions under most circumstances.
He said the health exception amendment was too vague, as doctors’ “good faith clinical judgment” can be a subjective matter.
“I do not believe health care should include killing babies,” Baker said, drawing applause from some of his fellow GOP lawmakers. He argued the exchange will be supported with public money.
After several days of debating how to restore their party’s brand, Republican leaders left a party confab in Los Angeles last week in agreement that they can no longer be “the party of no.” But they were less clear on what to say “yes” to.
“To win, we need to be the party of solutions,” says Nebraska GOP chairman JL Spray. Now that Republicans have pointed out problems on issues like immigration, student loans, and the budget, he adds: “Let’s start fixing some things.”
While GOP officials at the party’s spring meeting in Hollywood had plenty of ideas for changing their public rhetoric, however, positive new policy ideas were in shorter supply.
The gathering’s purpose, said RNC officials who recently released a much-publicized autopsy of the 2012 election, was largely to begin reshaping negative perceptions of the GOP. At the meeting, the Republican National Committee’s 168 members sat through upbeat sessions with titles like “How to say what we mean and show that we care,” and “Winning the Women’s vote.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said in a radio interview on Tuesday that he finds it “discouraging” that the Republican Party is attempting to reach out to “so-called Hispanic voters.”
According to Think Progress, Huelskamp was explaining his resistance to the bipartisan immigration reform bill currently being written in the Senate to conservative radio host Steve Deache when he made the remarks.
“If you’re going to talk about giving a pathway to citizenship before you seal the border. They made a mistake in ‘86. I’m not going to repeat that,” Huelskamp said, referring to the Immigration Reform and Control Act enacted under former President Ronald Reagan.
“That’s not going to go through the House,” he cotinued. “What is interesting and very distracting and very discouraging is, Steve, after the election, the general discussion from Republicans in Washington was, we’ve got to do everything we can to win votes from the so-called Hispanic voter. And I say so-called because there’s all kinds of varieties of beliefs within that immigrant community. And the idea that suddenly, instead of voting 70 percent for the Democrats, somehow they’re going to start voting for Republican? No. What Republicans need to do is get off their rear ends and go out, outside of Washington, and talk about what they’re for!”
President Barack Obama’s new budget proposal, released Wednesday, would raise $16 billion in revenue over 10 years by getting rid of one of the ways millionaires and billionaires pay lower taxes than their secretaries. It’s called the carried interest tax break, and it allows the wealthy to pay a lower rate on some of their income. But ending the carried interest exception will be tough, and not just because a budget compromise with Republicans is unlikely: Previous proposed legislation to kill the tax break was riddled with loopholes.
The carried interest tax break works by letting private equity and hedge fund managers treat some of the income they earn from managing clients’ portfolios as if they had invested it themselves. That allows folks like Mitt Romney to pay a 20 percent investment income tax rate on their money management fees, instead of the normal 39.6 percent tax rate on earned income. This special rich person perk costs the government some $1.3 billion a year. That’s one reason why Obama and many Democrats slam the tax break as unfair and have targeted it for repeal.
“There continues to be no rationale whatsoever for people to pay at a vastly lower tax rate when they are managing other people’s money,” Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), who has introduced all of the carried interest legislation in past years, said in an email. “This is an issue of fairness that we should address as we seek a balanced approach to deficit reduction that involves both additional revenues and spending cuts.”
But getting rid of the tax break may not be such an easy task, given the tortuous history of the movement to deep-six it. The fight against carried interest is Levin’s baby. He first introduced a bill to ax the loophole in 2007, and has introduced two more versions since then, all of which have stalled.
As recently as two months ago, the Republican Party has been declaring that Obama needs to show he’s “serious” about deficit reduction by embracing “entitlement reform.” When pressed for what sort of ideas they’d need to see Obama embrace, two items have continued to make repeated appearances: so-called “Chained-CPI” for Social Security and means-testing for Medicare. While Obama has resisted pushing such “reforms” outright, to the approval of progressive Democrats, they have been the subject of his negotiations with Speaker Boehner as far back as the debt ceiling talks in 2011.
Now, less than six months after winning reelection on a platform of protecting such programs while raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, Obama has actually put such proposals on paper as a real budget offer to Republicans. And I think we all knew what was going to come next…
Remember those warnings about how instead of welcoming President Obama’s adoption of Chained CPI, Republicans would continue to deny him a budget deal and attack him for proposing to cut Social Security?
Well Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) — who also happens to be chairman of the House GOP’s re-election committee — just showed how it’s done, saying Obama’s budget “lays out a shocking attack on seniors.”
“I’ll tell you when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country,” he said on CNN Wednesday afternoon.
Needless to say, if the NRCC chairman is fronting this line of attack, we’ll probably see it pop up contested districts around the country next year.
So that’s the sum total of this latest effort of “bipartisanship”: A budget that will go nowhere and do nothing but serve as a club that the GOP will relish in taking to the heads of Democrats in next year’s midterms, while only further disheartening progressive Democrats who believed this past election a vindication of their message to the American people. Nice job breaking it, hero.