Category Archives: Republicans

In Praise of Iowa – NYTimes.com

In Praise of Iowa – NYTimes.com.

January 4, 2012, 12:58 am

In Praise of Iowa

It’s easy to complain about the Iowa caucuses – easy and completely justifiable. Iowa’s caucus-goers have given us the presidency of Jimmy Carter, lent credibility to Pat Robertson’s political ambitions and created a permanent constituency for ethanol subsidies among Democrats and Republicans alike. As friendly and civic-minded as Iowans may be, there’s no reason why a low-turnout contest in a small, rural state should play such an outsize role in every presidential nominating process.

But in the wake of Tuesday night’s Romney-Santorum photo finish and Ron Paul’s strong third-place showing, it must be said that this time around Iowans have discharged their responsibility impressively. Presented with the weakest presidential field of any major party in a generation, they made the best of a bad situation, punching the three most deserving tickets without handing any of them a decisive victory.

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Obama to Target Congress in 2012 Re-election Campaign – NYTimes.com

Obama to Target Congress in 2012 Re-election Campaign – NYTimes.com.

Obama to Turn Up Attacks on Congress in Campaign

HONOLULU — President Obama is heading into his re-election campaign with plans to step up his offensive against an unpopular Congress, concluding that he cannot pass any major legislation in 2012 because of Republican hostility toward his agenda.

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However the White House chooses to frame Mr. Obama’s strategy, it amounts to a wholesale makeover of the young senator who won the presidency in 2008 by promising to change the culture of Washington, rise above the partisan fray and seek compromises.

After three years in office, Mr. Obama is gambling on a go-it-alone approach.

[…]

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The Iowa Caucuses’ Bitter Harvest – NYTimes.com

The Iowa Caucuses’ Bitter Harvest – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

Iowa’s Harvest

Coralville, Iowa

AS the hour of actual caucusing drew closer, Ron Paul’s campaign trumpeted his endorsement by a pastor who, as it happens, has spoken of executing homosexuals. Rick Perry pledged to devote predator drones and thousands of troops to the protection of the Mexican border, making the mission to keep every last illegal immigrant from crossing sound as urgent as rooting out terrorists in Pakistan.

And Rick Santorum, bringing his “Faith, Family and Freedom” tour to this eastern Iowa town on Thursday, promised never to be cowed by all those craven secularists who believe that a stable, healthy household needn’t be headed by a God-fearing mom and dad.

None of these three men is likely to win the Republican nomination. But before they exit stage right — stage far right, that is — they and a few of their similarly quixotic, similarly strident competitors will do no small measure of damage to the Republican Party and no great favors to the country as a whole. What happens in Iowa doesn’t stay in Iowa: it befouls Republicans’ image nationally, becomes a millstone around the eventual nominee’s neck and legitimizes debate about some matters that shouldn’t be debatable.

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Many Democrats take heart from the spectacle of ultra-conservative pandering in Iowa, correctly surmising that it bolsters their own party’s fortunes and President Obama’s re-election chances. They shouldn’t, not if they care about the country, best served by a vigorous back-and-forth about the proper size and role of government and about budgetary restraint. In its least hypocritical moments, the Republican Party has provided an important counterbalance to a Democratic tropism toward paternalism and bloat. It can’t do that if it marginalizes itself by repelling fiscally conservative but socially moderate voters who have little appetite for the shenanigans in Iowa.

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Keeping College Students From the Polls – NYTimes.com

Keeping College Students From the Polls – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Keeping Students From the Polls

Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.

Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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The Trouble With That Revolving Door – NYTimes.com

The Trouble With That Revolving Door – NYTimes.com.

December 18, 2011, 9:00 pm

The Trouble With That Revolving Door

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Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave | Mother Jones

Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave | Mother Jones.

Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave

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.

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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.”

[…]

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No Labels: Is this the first centrist group ever to have good ideas? – Slate Magazine

No Labels: Is this the first centrist group ever to have good ideas? – Slate Magazine.

Stop the Filibuster, Fix Presidential Appointments

Is “No Labels” the first centrist group ever to have good ideas?

Have we been too hard on the centrists? I just spent most of a day with these creatures, learning their language of applause and mutual congratulation. By the end, I was shocked: They were on to something.

One year ago, when the group No Labels announced itself with an all-day congratulation-fest in New York, Politico’s Ben Smith asked whether it was basically a Democratic front group. The only Republicans onstage, he wrote, “had recently lost primary races.” Its too-cute logo, a Noah’s Ark of animals to compete with the donkey and the elephant, was ripped off from an independent designer. Its slogan—“Not Left. Not Right. Forward”— was ripped off from MSNBC, said Rush Limbaugh.

In 2011, political reporters knew No Labels as the guys who sent out “action” emails with no actual policy demands. This was odd. While FreedomWorks or MoveOn would call for a phone-melting campaign to pass a bill or block a nominee, No Labels cried only for people to get along. A July 14 email asked supporters to “call your representative and urge them to continue their work in Washington to find a bipartisan solution.” An Oct. 5 blast about the supercommittee called for politicians to “put their labels aside and work together for the good of the country.” Repeat, repeat, every few days.

But this was before Dec. 13, and the smoothly choreographed launch of an actual No Labels plan. “Make Congress Work!” (the exclamation point is theirs) is a list of 12 ideas, crowdsourced over a couple of months and debuted by a panel that included two actual elected Republicans, Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin and Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. There are a few nonclunkers among those 12 ideas. Presidential appointments: Give them up-or-down votes within 90 days. Filibusters: If people are going to do it, make them stand up and empty their lungs out, Jimmy Stewart-style.

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We can fix the ‘supercommittee’ – The Washington Post

We can fix the ‘supercommittee’ – The Washington Post.

We can fix the ‘supercommittee’

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Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. As Hub of Campaigns – NYTimes.com

Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. As Hub of Campaigns – NYTimes.com.

Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. As Hub of Campaigns

About once a month, a dozen or so of the country’s most influential Republicans meet in a bare-walled conference room in Washington to discuss how to make further gains in the Congressional elections next year and defeat President Obama.

They share polling and opposition research, preview their plans for advertising and contacting voters in swing states, and look for ways to coordinate spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 12 months, drawing on years of experience laboring for the party.

But almost none of them hold office or a job with the Republican Party itself. Instead, they represent conservative groups that channeled tens of millions of dollars into last year’s Congressional campaign. And as 2012 approaches, the groups — among them the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, the American Action Network and Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers — have gathered into a loosely organized political machine poised to rival, and in many ways supplant, the official Republican Party apparatus.

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Migrants from Sanity – NYTimes.com

Migrants from Sanity – NYTimes.com.

October 20, 2011, 9:44 pm

Migrants from Sanity

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