Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Republicans, Please Impeach Obama

There's a contingency of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives which seeks to impeach President Obama. I hope they succeed. Not because I am anti-Obama or sympathize with them on any conceivable level, but because such an action, if successful, would sound the death knell for the GOP.

With an embarrassingly low approval rating hovering in the mid single-digits, and with the party's overall image, brand and relevance in crisis mode, Republicans would seal their long-term obsolescence with such a self-serving, venomous partisan witch hunt while surely boosting Obama's political standing and currency (read: Bill Clinton).

Impeachment proceedings, legislated as punishment for cases involving High Crimes and Misdemeanors not as debilitating, resource-draining ideological retribution, would unequivocally prove to voters that the GOP's been hijacked by a paralyzed cabal of enraged, sore-losing malcontents whose unprecedented hostility towards the president is a brain-cell-eating disease that's rendered them rationally and intellectually impotent on the major issues confronting the nation such as the economy, employment, immigration, education and the environment.

As former Speaker Newt Gingrich can attest, Republicans would likely spend the next ten to twenty years or more (as these self-proclaimed "revolutionaries" did after Clinton's impeachment) in the political doghouse, watching enviously and regrettably as Democrats build another secular bull-run.

But fortunately for these rabid impeachment-chasers, including Sen. Tom Coburn (OK), Sen. James Inhofe (OK), Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (MI), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), articles of impeachment, if drafted, would likely never make it through the House, and even if it did, would surely be killed in the Senate.

To be sure, one could argue that, given their unyielding political strategy of polarization and obstructionism, the real treasonous behavior is that which has been perpetrated daily since January 2009 by House and Senate Republicans, who at any and all cost to America, have put party before country as they seek to thwart Obama's agenda and ultimately bring down his presidency.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Boycott Shmoycott

The Republican National Committee voted last week to boycott presidential primary debates held by television networks NBC and CNN if they continue with productions of a Hillary Clinton mini-series and documentary respectively. Yes, the party that gave us what felt like 842 debates in the 2012 primaries has decided to limit its participation this time to Fox News and possibly ABC and CBS.

And why? Because the GOP angrily charges that these productions will be "puff pieces," "extended infomercials" and a "thumb on the scales" in the upcoming 2016 presidential election for which Clinton is the presumed Democratic frontrunner. "Political ads masked as unbiased entertainment," the RNC draft resolution claims.

"We're done putting up with this nonsense," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. "There are plenty of other outlets. We'll still reach voters, maybe more voters. But CNN and NBC anchors will just have to watch on their competitors' networks. The media overplayed their hand this time."

Seems Priebus has finally figured out that the GOP stands a better chance of winning elections if it stops its candidates from actually speaking. And considering the last crop of GOP hopefuls, keeping these boneheads out of debates and off of mainstream television screens seems to be making more sense as well.   

But the RNC's position here is puzzling and counter-intuitive. For on thing, the results of the last election demonstrate a dire need by the GOP to expand its reach among voters not contract it. Shrinking its audience to largely Fox News does little to help broaden its base. The party's message (whatever that is) must be heard by more than the rabid conservatives watching Fox if its ever to rebuild its brand and expand its tent.  

Limiting its audience punishes the lesser-known, under-financed candidates who need as much free air-time as possible. What the party would be left with is a select group of elitists who have the visibility, name-recognition and wealth to fuel their own campaigns outside of the debate arena. 

The GOP, ironically, also runs the risk of having its debates themselves viewed as infomercials. Imagine a Republican debate, on Fox, and moderated by the likes of Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh (as the party wants). Who but the red-meat-gorging Foxies would want to watch that softball-filled farce?

Most perplexing is that Priebus is crying foul without even knowing the ultimate content of these productions; programs, mind you, which Clinton herself has said she prefers not be aired. Apparently she doesn't think hours of rehashed Bill/Monica, Hillary/Obama campaign drama (including charges of racist comments by her and Bill), Benghazi and more would amount to a free "infomercial" for her campaign. And she's right. It's reasonable to expect that both productions could dredge up enough semi-dormant Clinton controversy to negatively impact her. So for the RNC to go absolutely RepubliBonkers over programming which it knows little about seems monumentally ill-advised.   

Lastly, the RNC's actions really aren't much of a surprise. For years now, Republicans have attempted to subvert America's democratic election process in any way they can....limiting the public's access to candidates and disenfranchising voters. This strategy runs so counter to what previous elections have taught them. It's become truly fascinating to watch the GOP implode despite all it knows it needs to do to turn around its disastrous fate. Republicans simply can't help themselves.

In the end, Priebus' lame-stream media paranoia serves no purpose other than to fire up an already blazing base. It's an embarrassing waste of time and energy which will yield nothing. If NBC and CNN ultimately sponsor debates and extend invitations to the Republican candidates, you can be sure these media-hungry carnival barkers will take their desired place at the podium.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

John McCain is a Liberal?

I was at the gym early this morning and overheard a small group of men and women talking politics in between sets.

"A Hillary/Palin match-up...now that's what I want to see!," one woman excitedly declared, although I got the sense she was simply teasing the others.

"Yeah, she's the real deal," echoed a beefy man in his 50's, clearly quite serious.

Then I heard something that stopped me mid-chin-up.

"I was gonna vote for McCain last time, mainly because of Palin, but changed my mind because he's a liberal," a 40-something guy said.

"Really?," asked the woman. "McCain's a liberal?" Incredulous, I muttered the same question to myself.

"Yup, calls himself a Republican, but he's nothing but a liberal," he said with utter disdain.

And that, my friends, is why the Republican Party as we know it is dead. When its constituents start referring to Sen. John McCain as a liberal you know the GOP bus has officially careened off the cliff.

Let's just visit McCain's record for a second, because perspective and context here is critical. He's a fiscal and military hawk. He voted for the Iraq war, pushed for the surge, and currently seems to want to invade every rogue country in the world. He supports lower taxes for individuals and corporations. He's pro-gun, anti-Obamacare, against gay marriage, is anti-choice and against public funding of abortion-related programs. He's even fairly vague on the subject of immigration. While he supports a two-step process of beefed up border security and overall reforms, it's hard to tell where he truly stands on the actual fate of the nation's 13-million undocumented citizens. And let's not forget he's the Dr. Frankenstein to Sarah Palin's, well, Frankenstein.

Welcome to 2013 Republican politics, where Tea Party crazies rule the day and former conservative icons like Ronald Regan, Bob Dole and Jack Kemp couldn't get themselves elected if they offered to pay for votes. We now live in an age of rabid extremism; a political climate that allows for hard-core, longstanding conservatives like former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar to be tossed from office for not being conservative enough...and for hard-core conservatives like McCain to be labeled liberal. The GOP's no longer a political party. It's now a cabal led by the likes of Palin, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other conservakooks.

Compromise has become a filthy, dirty, stinkin' word. Republicans who attempt to meet Democrats halfway, even a quarter way, are attacked for being caving sellouts of "real" conservative values. Gone is the first rule of negotiating: no one can get everything they want, all the time.

Yes, welcome to modern day Republicanism. A perfect storm of Tea Party furor, ignorance and intolerance. Where candidates can surely get themselves elected on ideological absolutism, rabble-rousing rhetoric and fire and brimstone...but fail to get anything accomplished legislatively because it takes compromise to pass bills in Washington.

To be sure, sanity has left the building. Monomania has taken over. What the party stands for today is a far cry from the days of Reagan, Kemp, Dole, Alan Simpson and other ardent right-wingers who somehow managed to do their jobs and pass bi-partisan legislation. It's no longer the party of small government and low taxes. To be a Republican today, or more so a successful Republican, you have to preach to the lowest common denominator. You must be anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-poor, anti-minority, anti-women, anti-gun-control, anti-environment, anti-education, anti-science and anti-empathy...while, ironically and hypocritically, preaching the gospel of the good Lord.

With 'young turks' like Cruz, Rubio and Paul leading the GOP charge it all but ensures the party's further and deeper slide into irrelevance and ultimate oblivion.  

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Maureen Dowd is Wrong About Reince Being Right

In her New York Times op-ed Wednesday columnist Maureen Dowd writes "Reince Priebus says a lot of goofy things, but the chairman of the Republican National Committee has a point." She's referring to Priebus's latest diatribe in which he's accused NBC and CNN of being in the tank for Hillary Clinton, providing her with "puff pieces" and "extended commercials" through their planned mini-series and documentary respectively.

"Hillary tries awkwardly to airbrush her history, but everybody can use some professional help," Dowd continues. "By the time Hollywood is finished, Hillary could be fighting critics with the sexy charm and kickboxing skills of Catwoman."

So Priebus has his panties in a snit because he thinks, as Dowd suggests, that in these productions Clinton will come off looking like a super-human political goddess. But there are those who will argue that the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and likely 2016 presidential candidate has as much, and maybe more, to lose by the films as she does to gain.

Let's remember one thing: while Hillary is wildly popular with the Democratic base, she's a veritable lightening rod with everyone else. She narrowly won the popular vote against Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries with 48%, and many of the 47% who voted for him can't stand her. Her approval rating has dropped 12% since last year (she's taken hits with men, independents and Republicans) and polls show that she's virtually even in head-to-head match-ups against each of the likely Republican candidates. She's certainly no shoe-in. 

Consider the controversies and scandals Hillary's been a part of, either directly or through her husband and former president Bill Clinton. There's TravelGate, Whitewater and the mystery shrouding White House staffer Vince Foster's death; the infamous "stand by your man" comments during the Monica Lewinsky affair; what some called racially insensitive comments by Bill and Hillary during the '08 campaign; and the Benghazi debacle. None of these moments from Hillary's past would benefit her to be showcased on television, and I suspect she's as pissed off about NBC and CNN's planned programming as Priebus.

While Dowd cites the television movie "Game Change" and how Julianne Moore's Emmy-winning performance cemented Sarah Palin's reputation as a bona fide dumbbell, the bigger point, and contradiction, is that Moore's radiant beauty did little to transform Palin's ignorance into "sexy charm." The movie only held a mirror up to the Wasilla Wonder and she did all the rest.

As for Priebus, he should stop whining like a 12-year-old about what the so-called liberal media does or doesn't do for Hillary Clinton. Let him call Rupert Murdoch and ask Fox Television to make all the movies they want about the Republican candidates. The trouble is, Murdoch's a fantastic businessman. He's not going to invest in films no one will want to see about people no one cares about.