Category Archives: Republicans

Opinion on Chuck Hagel–not all critics are extremists

Chuck Hagel

President Obama appears to be moving toward nominating former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense. Unfounded charges from the right link him to the fringy, false notion that President Obama does not support Israel.

The cries and whispers about Hagel — a moderate Republican — are not surprising. For a large segment of pundits and those who listen to them, moderation is not a good quality.

It is important to remember that diversity of opinion extends to Israel, where as in the United States, there are moderates and patriots who, while they may not support neo-conservative policies, are not traitors.

Case in point: Chemi Shalev and his opinion piece in the Jerusalem newspaper, Haaretz. Shalev has a nuanced opinion of Hagel, and does not endorse him, but says:

…whatever one’s objections to Hagel, one wonders what he has done to deserve the vile and venomous campaign of vilification that he has been subjected to in the past few days. From a widely respected former senator from Nebraska, known for his integrity and non-conformism, he has been turned virtually overnight into an inept, sadistic, gay-bashing anti-Israel appeaser who reeks of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, some mainstream Jewish leaders have been dragged into this mud as well.

American Jews often talk about “what’s good for Israel.” Here’s a vote for moderation and democratic choice, not character assassination.

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A greater victory for President Obama than some say

John Boehner, Eric Cantor
–The last-minute tax deal in Washington drives a wedge between a comparatively moderate Republican majority in the House of Representatives and an “end of days” fringe that cares little about the politics of compromise.

The deal follows through exactly with what the president said he would do – make a deal that would minimally affect only a small minority of taxpayers.

–Begins to erode the ideological wasteland created by the Republican tax pledge to Grover Norquist.

Offers evidence that the president can and will use the bully pulpit successfully in his second term.

The outcome is much better than the alternative of having allowed full tax hikes to kick in. True, the Republicans will try to marshal forces on spending cuts in two months. But crafty Democratic planning can cut them off at the pass.
If and when the Republican extreme right forces the issue of the debt ceiling, Republican moderates might be forced to cave once more. The moderates know that ruining American faith and credit is wrong – and bodes poorly for holding a majority in the House for 2014 elections.

From this perspective, it’s not a bad start to January for President Obama even before inauguration.

update: Meanwhile, Paul Krugman is saying that President Obama wimped out. I disagree. I think he worked with what he had

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Last-Minute Compromise…finally…..

Movement away from the cliff….

Meanwhile, CBS News has learned that there has been agreement on two of the major hangups.

Multiple congressional sources tell CBS News that the two sides have agreed on an income threshold for the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. For weeks, Democrats have pushed for letting the cuts expire for those making over $200,000 and families making over $250,000 while Republicans have wanted to renew the cuts for all Americans, including the wealthiest.

Additionally, agreement has been reached on the estate tax, which was set to increase from 35 percent to 55 percent in 2013. Instead, the compromise sets the new rate at 40 percent with the first $5 million exempt from being taxed.

Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have been the key negotiators over the past 24 hours and the movement on taxes represents a huge step forward in the talks.

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Who Buys The Republican Line in Congress?

Seems like a good time to offer some brainy quotes from the people who pretend to have the country in mind.

And the winners are… the Republican leaders of the Senate and House who appear to be held hostage by the wing-nut fringe of their party — assuming they are not themselves converts to the cause.

John Boehner, for having washed his hands of the matter, waiting for something to happen. Could it be that he wants to hold onto the speakership, no matter what happens to the country?

Mitch McConnell, who vowed with fellow Republicans on inauguration night 2009 that he would block everything President Obama tried–and to make him a one-term president. On the brink or wrecking the economy by refusing to be a statesman, he blames President Obama and the Democrats as usual.

Boehner

“I did my part; they’ve done nothing. I’m convinced that the president is unwilling to stand up to his own party.”

mitch mcconnell“They’ve been playing Lucy and the football with the American people for months. They’ve said no to every single proposal that’s been offered to avoid this tax hike—including their own. They’re running out the clock. Moving the goal posts. Sitting on their hands. They aren’t doing anything.”

Who buys this stuff?

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Romney the Elder Statesman? Not

Romney’s legacy and the debacle that could have been is still in the rearview mirror. (As the mirror warns, objects are closer than they really appear). Just as we thought the image was gone, he came back with nonsense about entitlements and President Obama buying the election with giveaways. Talk about graceless defeat.

Let’s make sure that we’re overtaking the inertial mass we’ve just passed and get moving back into our lane. It ain’t easy, what with wingnuts writing petitions to secede, morons who are saying that the UN has a secret plan to herd suburbanites into cities, and bloviating radio mouths spouting any other insanity that can be belched into semi-intelligible sounds.

As we digest what we can, here’s a great summary from Garry Wills in the NY Review of Books:

“What happens to those who lose a presidential campaign? Some can do it with heads rightly held high, and go on to give valuable service to the nation….

“What public service do we expect from Mitt Romney? He will no doubt return to augmenting his vast and hidden wealth, with no more pesky questions about where around the world it is stashed, or what taxes (if any) he paid, carefully sheltered from the rules his fellow citizens follow.

“What vestige of a backbone is Romney left with? Things he was once proud of —health-care guarantees, opposition to noxious emissions, support of gay rights and women’s rights, he had the shamelessness to treat as matters of shame all through his years-long crawl to the Republican nomination.”

Seriously, friends and relatives who voted for Romney, can you not see that this would have been a road-wreck with all of us tied to the roof?

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Latino Power: Even George W. Bush Heard About It

Perhaps because his little brother Jeb warned him, former President George W. Bush and aides knew well that the changing ethnic mix in the United States would cause problems for the Republican Party.

In the waning days of his presidency in 2009, Bush said that the Republican Party:

“should be open-minded about big issues like immigration reform, because if we’re viewed as anti-somebody—in other words, if the party is viewed as anti-immigrant—then another fellow may say, well, if they’re against the immigrant, they may be against me.” [Fox News Sunday, Interview with Brit Hume, January 11, 2009]

It was a warning not heeded. Republicans opposed the Dream Act and efforts toward immigration reform. They took insignificant steps–like parading out conservative Latinos at the Republican National Convention, such as Florida U.S. Senator Marco Antonio Rubio, “the crown prince of the Tea Party Movement,” and the now elected U.S. Senator from Texas, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz.

One other attempt to identify with Latinos was characteristic of the deceitful Republican presidential campaign. On the stump and with the right audience, of course, Mitt Romney played up his tenuous Mexican ties, not mentioning the connection was based on the fact that his great-grandfather fled to Mexico to continue practicing polygamy.

Now the Republicans appear to be getting the message: Latinos voted 75 percent to 23 percent for President Obama. TalkingPointsMemo.com reported:

“For the first time in US history, the Latino vote can plausibly claim to be nationally decisive,” Stanford University university professor Gary Segura, who conducted the study, told reporters.
According to Segura, the Latino vote provided Obama with 5.4 percent of his margin over Romney, well more than his overall lead in the popular vote. Had Romney managed even 35 percent of the Latino vote, he said, the results may have flipped nationally.

Latino Power is real. Beyond their strong influence on the presidential race, Congress and governorships, hundreds of Latinos serve in state legislatures; thousands serve in local government.

I’ll bet that Republicans in the new Congress will be more willing to work with Democrats on comprehensive immigration reform. They make other concessions as well. But they will also figure, wrongly, that Latinos will accept their intrusive social agenda — anti-abortion, privatization of Medicare and Social Security and the crazy pledge to never raise taxes.

My guess is that the Republicans are going to get it wrong. Interest groups are not monoliths and people aren’t stupid. A profile of Latinos, as with the changing demographics of the United States, will show that they are increasingly young, progressive and interested in Democratic values. Latinos are no more fooled by Rubio and company than African Americans are fooled by U.S. Rep. Allen Bernard West in Florida or the handful of other blacks tied to the Republican Party.

Latinos will not be snowed by extremism and lies.

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