Ann Coulter has a brain fart: “The shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully, I’m so proud of these Republicans”
Crazy lady Ann Coulter said Monday night that Republicans were smart to shutdown the federal government in an attempt to delay or defund Obamacare. ‘Destroy’ would be a better word, since that is their motivation.
“This is why I think the shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully, I’m so proud of these Republicans, and that is because they have branded the Republican Party as the anti-Obamacare party,” she told Fox News host Sean Hannity.”
Friday was the fourth day of the government shutdown, and there’s still no sign of an exit. What’s surprising about the ongoing fight is how a small group of members of Congress have managed to bring Washington to a halt. Just months ago, Speaker John Boehner was warning that forcing the government to shut down over Obamacare or anything else was politically hazardous. Yet Boehner remains stuck, his strategy dictated by a small rump of members in the Republican caucus who refuse to budge. On Monday night, as government funding ran out, a group of around 40 hardline conservatives refused to support any resolution to fund the government that didn’t defund Obamacare. Since Monday night, their goals may have become less clear, but their resolve has not weakened. While it’s widely believed that a “clean” resolution would pass the House handily, it would also likely lead to a right-wing rebellion in the caucus that would spell the end of Boehner’s speakership.
So who are those hardliners? To compile this list, we started with a roster that the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group aligned with Ted Cruz, created of representatives who were allied with them. We cross-checked it with the list of members who signed an August letter by Rep. Mark Meadows demanding that Boehner use a shutdown as a threat to defund Obamacare, and against other public statements this week. It’s not a comprehensive roll — there’s no official “wacko bird” caucus that keeps a register — but it’s a window into the small but powerful group of men and women in the House of Representatives who brought the federal government to a standstill.
Quoted: “It is a simple issue of fairness: Members of Congress, their staff, and the political elite should not be given special relief from the harmful effects of Obamacare while the rest of America is left holding the bag.”
Quoted: “I am deeply disappointed that President Obama and the Senate refused to come to the negotiation table and failed to fund the federal government.”
Representative: Phil Gingrey
Home District: Marietta, Georgia
Quoted: “A majority of Americans think Obamacare will make health care in our country worse, and they’re right. House Republicans are listening to the American people, and I urge Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to do the same.”
Quoted: “House GOP is united around a very reasonable policy: POTUS should give families the same Obamacare delay he gave to businesses.”
Representative: Vicky Hartzler
Home District: Harrisonville, Missouri
Quoted: “The American people have spoken already on this: They do not want Obamacare …. It is hurting people.”
Representative: Tim Huelskamp
Home District: Fowler, Kansas
Quoted: “Most Americans realize the government shutdown has no impact on their daily life. They got their mail today; they’re going to get their Social Security check.”
Representative: Jim Jordan
Home District: Urbana, Ohio
Quoted: “We have to get something on Obamacare, because that — if you want to get this country on a fiscal path to balance, you cannot let an entitlement of this size that will truly bankrupt the country and, more importantly, one that’s not going to help Americans with their health care, you can’t let this happen. ”
Representative: Steve King
Home District: Kiron, Iowa
Quoted: “The American people have rejected Obamacare. The president is willing to put all of that on the line to save his namesake legislation, which I think would go down in history as the largest political tantrum ever.”
Representative: Raul Labrador
Home District: Eagle, Idaho
Quoted: To Chris Matthews of MSNBC: “You know, your boss, Tip O’Neill, shut down the government 12 different times. And you didn’t call him a terrorist.”
Quoted: In response to Harry Reid calling Tea Partiers “anarchists”: “When the other guy starts calling you names, you know that you’re winning the debate, and you know that he knows you’re winning the debate.”
Representative: Mark Meadows
Home District: Cashier, North Carolina
Quoted: “James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 58 that ‘the power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon . . . for obtaining redress of every grievance.’”
Representative: Randy Neugebauer
Home District: Lubbock, Texas
Quoted: “We get tons of mail and E-mails and phone calls. And overwhelmingly, those phone calls say, ‘Congressman, do everything you can to get rid of this very onerous piece of legislation. We don’t want the government running our health care.’ And so, from my perspective, we’re doing the people’s work here.”
Representative: Matt Salmon
Home District: Mesa, Arizona
Quoted: “I was here during the government shutdown in 1995. It was a divided government. we had a Democrat president of the United States. We had a Republican Congress. And I believe that that government shutdown actually gave us the impetus, as we went forward, to push toward some real serious compromise.”
Representative: Mark Sanford
Home District: Charleston, South Carolina
Quoted: “Our society has been held together for over 200 years in no small part due to the belief that our system was fair or equitable, yet the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been anything but that.”
Quoted: “I know it’s not comfortable for a lot of people here, but this is how it’s supposed to work. It’s supposed to be cantankerous. It’s supposed to be this constant grinding.” *
* A previous version of this story quoted Schweikert saying that the shutdown “is my kind of fun.” That statement was taken out of context. The congressman was referring to an interview with NPR, not with the government shutdown. We regret the error.
Tea Party Galaxy: Voyage to the Center of Delusion
With the government shutdown continuing and no real negotiations happening, it seems that Captain Ted Cruz is still at the helm of the Republican Party. It’s helpful to remember that the Tea Party crew’s main demand is an end to Obamacare, a health care reform law that was passed years ago.
Putting it another way, the Republicans, currently led by the Tea Party, are willing to risk a US default in order to keep working class Americans from accessing affordable health care. This is their best chance to finally drown government in the bathtub, so why would they ever negotiate? They’re having the time of their lives.
And even though the latest Tea Party/Republican talking point is that a default won’t really be that bad and we have plenty of money to pay the interest on our debt, I don’t think I want to stake the world’s economy on Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. I think the Republican space ship may be a recurring character, let’s see how it holds up under the gravitational pull of economic calamity and increasing corporate pressure. Be sure to like, comment and tell yer friends! Oh, and you can find more links to the news behind the cartoon on my site.
nlargeJim Geraghty, George Will (Credit: CBS News/AP/F. Scott Applewhite)
It’s the second week of the government shutdown, and while the right is still confused about whether the shutdown is a good thing, one thing is certain: any and all negative repercussions from it are not only Democrats’ fault, but the result of a “sadistic” master plan to turn the American people against the Republican Party. “Obama views the shutdown as just a game,” writes Rachel Alexander for Townhall. She continues:
One senior level Obama administration official gloated, “We are winning.” Obama is cruelly playing with Americans’ emotions in order to beat the Republicans. He shut down veterans’ memorials, requiring World War II veterans to break down barriers in order to see a memorial set up for them. Obama is counting on the cruel, unnecessary shutdown of certain areas of government to anger Americans against Republicans, and not see it as a carefully plotted maneuver by the left.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty doesn’t allege any “carefully plotted” schemes from the left, but he does go so far as accuse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of “sadism.” In response to the House’s passing a bill to guarantee back-pay for furloughed federal workers, Geraghty writes:
This is quite the revealing moment, as the leadership of the Democratic party and federal government workers are supposed to be the best of friends — symbiotic, really. But when the moment comes to help out federal workers, Harry Reid drags his feet. The only plausible motivation is that the Democrats’ strategy for “winning” the shutdown fight requires maximizing the pain to as many Americans as possible, so that the pressure is maximized on the GOP opposition to accept a deal that amounts to unconditional surrender.
“Harry Reid doesn’t want to minimize the pain of the shutdown,” Geraghty writes. “He wants to maximize it.”
From his new perch at Fox News, meanwhile, George Will argued that the National Park Service is acting like a “willing servant” of the Democrats. “All around the country,” Will said, the government “went out of [its] way to make life as unpleasant and inconvenient as possible.” Will went on to call the closure of parks “government acting as an interest group on its own behalf.”
On the day the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the U.S. government is shut down, and it may be permanently broken. You’ll read lots of explanations for the dysfunction, but the simple truth is this: It’s the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else. The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasn’t an accident, it was probably inevitable.
People talk about the role of race in Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”: how Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips helped him lure the old Dixiecrats into the Republican Party permanently. Far less well known was the GOP’s “Northern Strategy,” which targeted so-called white ethnics – many of them from the Catholic “Sidewalks of New York” like my working-class family, in the words of Kevin Phillips. Without a Northern Strategy designed to inflame white-ethnic fears of racial and economic change, Phillips’ imaginary but still influential notion of a “permanent Republican majority” would have been unimaginable.
“The principal force which broke up the Democratic (New Deal) coalition is the Negro socioeconomic revolution and liberal Democratic ideological inability to cope with it,” Phillips wrote. “Democratic ‘Great Society’ programs aligned that party with many Negro demands, but the party was unable to defuse the racial tension sundering the nation.” Phillips was not trying to defuse that tension, far from it – he was trying to lure those white ethnics to the GOP (although he later broke with the party he helped create.) But his Northern Strategy truly came to fruition in 1980, with the election of Ronald Reagan. Where Nixon swept the South, Reagan was able to take much of the North and West, too.
I loved Chris Matthews’ book “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked,” but as I said in my interview with him, I think he let Reagan off the hook when it came to race. Ronald Reagan picked up the political baton passed to him by Barry Goldwater and Pat Buchanan, and played his role with genial gusto. Reagan had trafficked in ugly racial stereotyping over the years, about “young bucks” buying T-bone steaks with food stamps and Cadillac-driving welfare queens. But the Reagan who got elected president was better at using deracialized language to channel racial fears and resentment. He and his strategists had succeeded in making government synonymous with “welfare,” and “welfare” synonymous with lazy people, most of them African-American.
When Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg studied the voters of Macomb County, a hotbed of so-called Reagan Democrats – the county gave two-thirds of its votes to John F. Kennedy in 1960, and the same proportion to Ronald Reagan in 1980 — he found that they no longer saw Democrats as working-class champions. “Blacks constitute the explanation for their vulnerability and for almost everything that has gone wrong in their lives,” and they saw government “as a black domain where whites cannot expect reasonable treatment,” Greenberg wrote.
So for a lot of Democrat-turned-Republican voters, “government” was all about black people, Reagan knew. You didn’t have to be racist to thrill to Reagan’s declaration that “government is not the solution; government is the problem,” though it didn’t hurt. Republican strategist Lee Atwater explained exactly how it worked in a now-infamous 1981 interview that was secret for 30 years. Atwater explained how the GOP dialed down its racial rhetoric for fear of alienating white moderates who might buy the GOP’s anti-government crusade, but be uncomfortable with outright racism.
You start out in 1954 by saying, “N–ger, n–ger, n–ger.” By 1968 you can’t say “n–ger” — that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites … “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N–ger, n–ger.”
And then you say “Defund Obamacare,” and everyone knows why.
To be fair to Republicans, not everyone is or was comfortable with this strategy. One of the things I remember best from Richard Ben Cramer’s legendary history of the 1988 election, “What It Takes,” was the way both George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole grappled with whether and how to reach black voters, in the wake of the Reagan revolution. Each man struggled, in his own way, to understand and accept exactly how party leaders, starting with Goldwater, had actively pushed African-Americans out of the party of Abraham Lincoln. Dole’s discomfort seemed a little deeper and more genuine; in the end, Bush acceded to Atwater and Roger Ailes, one of Richard Nixon’s media henchmen, to produce the infamous Willie Horton ad that helped torpedo Michael Dukakis.
Over and over, that’s how things got worse: Republicans who know better, who probably aren’t “racist” in the old-fashioned sense of believing in black inferiority and opposing the equality and integration of the races, nonetheless pander to those who are, for electoral gain. And when the election of our first black president riled up the racists and launched the Tea Party – supposed deficit hawks who tolerated skyrocketing government spending under George W. Bush — too many Republicans went along.
Today, the entire government has been taken hostage by leaders elected by this crazed minority, who see in the face of Barack Obama everything they’ve been taught to fear for 50 years. Start with miscegenation: He’s not just black, he’s the product of a black father and a white mother. (That helps explain an unconscious motive for birtherism: They can’t get their minds off the circumstances of his conception and birth.) With his Ivy League degrees, they are sure he must be the elitist beneficiary of affirmative action. Steeped in Chicago politics, he’s the representative of corrupt urban machines controlled by Democrats – machines that ironically originated with the Irish and once kept African-Americans down, but which are now synonymous with corrupt black power. In Michele Bachmann’s words, Obama is a product of Chicago’s scary “gangster government,” or did she say “gangsta”?
Leading Republicans who know better have demeaned the president with a long list of racially coded slurs. Obama is “the food stamp president,” Newt Gingrich told us. He wants to help “black people” (or was it “blah people”?) “by giving them somebody else’s money,” Rick Santorum said. Even his so-called GOP “friend” Sen. Tom Coburn insists Obama is spreading “dependency” on government because “it worked so well for him as an African-American male.”
Where Mitt Romney’s father, George, stood up to the rising tide of racism in his party and marched in fair housing protests in the 1960s, Mitt himself embraced the birther-in-chief Donald Trump during the 2012 campaign. And when things got tough in the fall campaign, he and Paul Ryan doubled down on racial appeals by accusing Obama of weakening welfare reform – he hadn’t – and of giving white seniors’ hard-earned Medicare dollars to Obamacare recipients. And we all know who they are.
Now we have John Boehner, elected House speaker thanks to the Tea Party wave of 2010, shutting down the government over Obamacare. Boehner has the power to open the government by bringing a clean continuing resolution to the floor and allowing it to pass with the help of Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. Should we expect such courage? In one of his first major media appearances after becoming speaker, he refused to rebuke the birthers in his caucus. “It’s not up to me to tell them what to think,” he told NBC’s Brian Williams.
Now he’s kowtowing to the roughly 30 House Republicans from bright red districts that also happen to be almost exclusively white, in a country that is more than one-third non-white. They want to shut down the government to torpedo Obamacare, the signature program of our first black president. Obviously, though he’s the leader, Boehner believes it’s not up to him to tell the GOP suicide caucus what to think. Although the speaker told reporters after Obama’s r-election that Obamacare was the law of the land, and that a government shutdown would be bad for the country, he changed his tune when confronted with an insurrection, and the de facto House speaker who happens to be a senator, Ted Cruz. (Cruz’s father, by the way, just joined the ranks of those who seem to believe Obama is a Muslim, telling a Colorado woman who made that claim: “[Sen. John] McCain couldn’t say that because it wasn’t politically correct. It is time we stop being politically correct!”
In the end, it’s all about Obama. I keep waiting for John Boehner to have his “Take this job and shove it” moment, since he’s not the House leader, he’s being led by Ted Cruz and the House suicide caucus. But I’ve been waiting a long time for Republicans to do the right thing and repudiate their party’s lunatic fringe, particularly its racist fringe. I assume I’ll be waiting a while longer.
A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning highlights just how unpopular the House strategy has been: By a 72-22 margin, voters opposed Congress shutting down the federal government to block the implementation of Obamacare. Even though Americans were divided on the merits of the healthcare law itself—with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed—they were against the idea of Congress cutting off funding for the law, 58 percent to 34 percent.
Self-identified Republican voters backed the shutdown by a narrow 49-44 margin, but that’s where the support ended. Democrats (90-6 oppose) and independents (74-19) overwhelmingly were against the shutdown. And while Obama receives a negative 45-49 job approval rating in the poll, those figures look like a standing ovation compared to the 74 percent of respondents who said they disapproved of the job Republicans are doing in Congress. More poll results here.