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GOP Halloween

That’s right, the GOP has written a new page in their cookbook for electoral success.  Sure it’s basically the same recipe used to enact policies that cut wages then convince working people that the elephant party is for them.  The same recipe that allows them to vote against equal pay for equal work, keeping salary information secret by law, and support restrictions on contraceptive coverage and deny there is a war on women.

This recipe is an ad that dresses some dude as a millennial to talk about why he is a Republican… Priceless.  Be sure to dig the tasty duds on this guy.  Then check out John Oliver’s parody – may I have another please?

Salon has the story of a Republican that has seen the light in I was poor, but a GOP diehard: How I left the politics of shame.

The people who most support the Republicans and the Tea Party carry a secret burden.  Many know that they are one medical emergency or broken down car away from ruin, and they blame the government.  They vote against their own interests, often hurting themselves in concrete ways, in a vain attempt to deal with their own, misguided shame about being poor.  They believe “freedom” is the answer, even though they live a form of wage indenture in a rigged system.

I didn’t become a liberal until I was nearly 40. By the time I came around, I was an educated professional, married to another professional.  We’re “making it,” whatever that means these days.  I gladly pay taxes now, but this attitude is also rooted in self-interest.  I have relatives who are poor, and without government services, I might have to support them.  We can all go back to living in clans, like cavemen, or we can build institutions and programs that help people who need it.  It seems like a great bargain to me.

I’m angry at my younger self, not for being poor, but for supporting politicians who would have kept me poor if they were able.  Despite my personal attempts to destroy the safety net, those benefits helped me.  I earned a bachelor’s degree for free courtesy of a federal program, and after my military service I used the GI Bill to get two graduate degrees, all while making ends meet with the earned income tax credit.  The GI Bill not only helped me, it also created much of the American middle class after World War II.  Conservatives often crow about “supporting the military,” but imagine how much better America would be if the government used just 10 percent of the military budget to pay for universal higher education, rather than saddling 20-year-olds with mortgage-like debt.

Government often fails because the moneyed interests don’t want it to succeed.  They hate government and most especially activist government (aka government that does something useful).  Their hatred for government is really disdain for Americans, except as consumers or underpaid labor.

Sadly, it took me years — decades — to see the illogic of supporting people who disdain me.  But I’m a super-slow learner.  I wish I could take the poorest, struggling conservatives and shake them.  I would scream that their circumstances or failures or joblessness are not all their fault.  They should wise up and vote themselves a break.  Rich people vote their self-interest in every single election.  Why don’t poor people?

Andy Borowitz reports that the Eric Cantor loss has caused the GOP to release their new platform

The morning after Tuesday’s stunning Tea Party victory in Virginia, House Republicans unveiled a sweeping new legislative agenda, proposing an end to Social Security, a return to child labor, and unprecedented gun rights for pets.

“The Republican Party is the party of common sense,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “And such common-sense proposals as electronic ankle bracelets for immigrant babies and a barbed-wire fence with Canada are long overdue.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) echoed Speaker Boehner’s sentiments as he touted his signature legislation, “to put Americans under the age of twelve back to work.”

“Instead of spending all day playing with Xboxes, our kids should be in factories assembling them,” he said.

As for what is perhaps the most controversial G.O.P. proposal, guaranteeing gun rights for pets, Boehner said, “It’s clear that the authors of the Second Amendment meant it to apply to all mammals. All our new law says is, if you have four legs and a tail, you get a gun.”

When asked about future relations between House Republicans and President Obama, Boehner did not mince words. “If the President thinks he’s going to get the kind of cooperation and flexibility he’s gotten out of us for the past six years, he’s kidding himself,” he said. “The honeymoon is over.

 

This will make some CONservatives very nervous.  It appears Conservatives  Are Losing Edge On Social Values.  Yikes, outside of the 1% their economics are an electoral loser so if the shiny object of social issues goes away it starts to look like trouble for the Gargantuan Old Pachyderm.

 Self-professed conservatives long have outnumbered liberals in America, but the gap has narrowed in the last four years, particularly on social issues, a shift that could harm GOP prospects in future elections.

On social issues, the number of people who identify as liberal is now almost equal to the share who say they are conservative, according to the latest polling by Gallup. For years, conservatives held an advantage.

About one-third of Americans identify with either group. Another third call themselves moderates on social issues. As recently as 2010, conservatives had a 17-point advantage over liberals on social issues in Gallup’s polling.

 

 

This one is from DailyKos

Yesterday, every Republican Senator voted against equal pay for women.  Not surprising since I can’t remember the last time the GOP supported a policy that would improve wages.  The more desperate folks are the more subservient they will be for their corporate masters.  That said, it’s a strange way to demonstrate that there is no “war on women.”

The AFL-CIO released this statement…

Most Republican lawmakers say they believe in fair and equal pay for women. But a day after Equal Pay Day, when Republican senators had a chance to vote for a bill that would have gone a long way to achieving that goal, not a single one cast a vote to just allow debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, let alone pass it.

Today’s vote marks the third time in recent years that Republicans have killed legislation that could play a major role in closing the wage gap between men and women. On average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn. The gap is even wider for women of color.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes and strengthen current equal pay laws, including strengthening penalties that courts may impose for equal pay violations, and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage practices. The bill also would require employers to show pay disparity is truly related to job performance—not gender.

The Progressive Populist editorializes. GOP Needs ACA Backlash, in their current edition…

The threat of losing insurance has kept millions of Americans tethered to dead-end jobs, particularly if they or their family members had chronic health problems. They are now able to retire and/or start their own business and still find affordable insurance.

Meanwhile, Republican “leaders” in 25 states are still preventing more than five million working poor Americans from getting Medicaid through the federally funded expansion. Health experts estimate that Medicaid shutout could cause 17,000 unnecessary deaths. (Subsidies are available for people making from 100% to 400% of the federal poverty rate to buy private insurance through the state exchanges, but since the law did not anticipate that states would be so mean-spirited as to pass up federal assistance that would pay nearly the entire cost of providing Medicaid for those living in poverty, the law did not provide subsidies for the working poor to buy insurance.)

Now that people are getting a better look at what the law really does, support appears to be increasing. A CNN poll conducted nationwide March 7-9 and released March 11, found that 39% of Americans support the health care law, up from 35% in December, while 57% said they opposed the measure, down five points from December. But those “opponents” included 12% who said they opposed the law because it’s not liberal enough — they want single payer.

Joan McCarter of DailyKos.com noted that most of the support was gained among college-educated people and those making $50,000, a good demographic to have on your side politically. Will that make Republicans rethink their approach on Obamacare? Probably not, but it does make life more complicated for them. It also shows that it’s smart politics for Democrats to keep campaigning on the law, but to talk about how they want to make it even better.

Kevin Drum also noted that ever since the law passed in 2010, about 40% of the country has opposed it, while more than 50% have either supported it or said they wanted it to go further. “This goes a long way toward explaining the supposedly mysterious result that lots of people oppose Obamacare but few want to repeal it,” Drum wrote.

Andy Borowitz has breaking news on the Republicans going pro-active and helping Americans get health care with their new website.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Saying that “the American people are fed up with a disastrous Web site that doesn’t work and never will,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) and a phalanx of congressional Republicans today unveiled their own health-care Web site, EmergencyRoom.gov.

“At EmergencyRoom.gov, every American can access the one tried-and-true health-care system that has worked in this country for decades,” he said.

While Healthcare.gov has frustrated many users with its difficult-to-navigate design, Rep. Cantor said that at EmergencyRoom.gov, “Health care is just three easy steps away. One: enter your zip code. Two: see the list of emergency rooms. Three: get to the nearest one before you die.”

The Virginia Republican wasted no time touting the cost savings of EmergencyRoom.gov, comparing it favorably with the notoriously expensive Obamacare site: “Unlike Healthcare.gov, which private contractors built at a cost running into the hundreds of millions, EmergencyRoom.gov was built for nine hundred dollars by my intern Josh.”

And in contrast with Healthcare.gov’s maze of forms, links, and phone numbers, he said, “EmergencyRoom.gov has just one phone number: 9-1-1.”

 

The New Republic is carrying The Last Days of the GOP.  This interesting read details the historical precedent of using wedge issues to create a winning recipe that resulted in the GOP taking over the U.S. House in 1994 to the current riff among Republicans and their black sheep cousins in the Tea Party.

This anti-Washington sentiment, which is loosely identified with the “Tea Party,” has overshadowed and transformed grassroots Republicanism. Republican leaders like DeLay were able to keep the evangelicals and other social conservatives in line by battling gay marriage or late-term abortions. But as I recounted three years ago, many of these social issue activists have been absorbed into the Tea Party’s anti-government, anti-establishment ethos. In their current report on the GOP, based on focus groups, the Democracy Corps affirms this conclusion. Evangelicals, the report says, “think many Republicans have lost their way” and that the party leadership “has proved too willing to ‘cave’ to the Obama agenda.” They identify with the Tea Party groups (even though they may disagree on social issues) because they see them “standing up and pushing back.”

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