South Carolina’s Divisive Message – NYTimes.com.
South Carolina’s Divisive Message
Published: January 21, 2012
Since it was first held 32 years ago, the South Carolina Republican primary has been won by the party’s most electable candidate, the one backed by the Republican establishment and invariably the winner of the nomination. On Saturday, the state veered in an extreme direction, and the outcome spoke poorly for a party that allowed itself to be manipulated by the lowest form of campaigning.
South Carolina has moved sharply rightward since Mr. Obama arrived on the national scene. In 2000, 24 percent of state voters said they were “very conservative,” but that number jumped to 34 percent in 2008. Now it is up to 37 percent, according to exit polls. Two-thirds of Saturday’s voters said they supported the Tea Party, reflecting the election in 2010 of four South Carolina freshmen who are among the most extreme members of the House.
In one of the most telling results of the exit polls, most voters said that cutting the federal budget was more important than encouraging job growth. At a time when more than 13 million people remain unemployed, these voters do not want the government to do a thing about it, possibly because it might improve Mr. Obama’s re-election chances.
It was Mr. Gingrich who pulled the race into the gutter, where he found considerable support.
As one voter told a reporter, “I think we’ve reached a point where we need someone who’s mean.”
They got that candidate on Saturday.
Read the full story here: The New York Times
Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole – NYTimes.com.
Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole
Published: January 5, 2012
The Federal Election Commission ended another abysmal year with its three Republican commissioners blocking an attempt to unmask the secret donors flooding the 2012 hustings with unlimited special-interest money.
The three Democratic commissioners favored closing an F.E.C. loophole from 2007 that requires disclosure only if a donor’s stated “purpose” is to electioneer — as if any would-be secret donor would admit that. It has been particularly exploited in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations, unions and other heavy hitters to spend unlimited amounts.
Read the full article here: The New York Times
Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon – The Washington Post.
- Ruth Marcus
- Opinion Writer
Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon
DES MOINESThe barrage of commercials tells the story: This is a presidential election without meaningful contribution limits or timely disclosure, outsourced to political action committees whose spending often dwarfs that of the candidates they support.
Read the full article here: The Washington Post
Filed under banking, corruptopn, dysfunction, ethics (in politics), government, housing, inequality, politics, politics & business, unemployment, USA
Deep Pockets, Deeply Political – NYTimes.com.
Deep Pockets, Deeply Political
By CHARLES M. BLOW
A tiny number of wealthy Americans are playing an ever-increasing role in financing our politics. This is not a good thing for a democracy.
Read the full story here: The New York Times
Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave | Mother Jones.
Howdy from Highland Park, where taxes are low, the gun store’s booming, and donations to the GOP are way, way above average.
At a strip mall clogged with Ferraris and fashion boutiques, Beretta Gallery salesman Chris Cope shows me a framed photo of one of his best clients, an oilman posing next to a bounty of elephant tusks. In addition to selling massive safari rifles, this high-end Italian weapons emporium in the Dallas suburb of Highland Park supplies $130,000 Imperiale Montecarlo shotguns as well as petite .22s and chic, lockable handbags to conceal them. All told, it sells more firearms than any other Beretta outlet in the world. Last year, the store presented George W. Bush with a $250,000 shotgun engraved with the presidential seal, a picture of his Scotty dog, and “43” on the lever. The gun, which required more than a year to assemble, was a thank-you from Mr. Beretta for a military order of a half-million pistols.
It’s fair to call 75205, the zip code for most of Highland Park, the most enthusiastically Republican enclave in the country. Among the two-dozen zip codes that donated the most money to candidates and political parties last year, 75205 gave the highest share—77 percent—to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It also gave Republicans more hard cash, $2.4 million, than all but four other zips nationwide. Affluent, insular, and intensely sure of itself, Highland Park is the red-state counterpart of, say, Berkeley. It’s a place where, one native son half-jokes, friends might ask one another, “Do you want to come over for barbecue after we go vote for Mitt Romney?” People in the surrounding city of Dallas, where I grew up, call it the Bubble.
It’s no secret why Highland Park attracts so many rich conservatives. It has a prime location near Dallas’ financial center and one of the lowest property tax rates in a state with no income tax. Yet it has one of the nation’s best school systems and an average emergency response time of 2.5 minutes. “Highland Park is safe,” says Mary Bosworth, a local GOP precinct chair. “You call the fire department and they’ll be there in three minutes, versus ‘Are you dead yet?’ in Dallas.”
Read the full story here: Mother Jones
Filed under campaign contributions, economy, ethics (in politics), inequality, politics, politics & business, Republicans, society, taxation, unemployment, USA
Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy – Houston Chronicle.
Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy
By GARY SCHARRER and RICHARD S. DUNHAM, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Published 10:25 p.m., Friday, December 16, 2011
AUSTIN – Unbeknownst to most Texans, Gov. Rick Perry officially retired in January so he could draw early pension benefits worth $7,699 a month, in addition to his annual governor’s salary of $150,000.
Perry’s January retirement – on paper, at least – was revealed Friday when the Federal Elections Commission released the financial disclosure statement the governor was required to file as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. The annuity brings Perry’s total state government-related income to $242,388 a year.
Reaction to news of the unusual arrangement, in which Perry retired as a state employee but remains Texas’ elected governor, was swift and negative.
Perry, 61, and his staff brushed off the criticism, with the governor telling ABC News, “I think it’d be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.”
Read the full story here: The Houston Chronicle