Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 21, 2009

THE LOYAL OPPOSITION.... House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) recently conceded that Republicans can't simply be "the party of 'no.'"

There's apparently some difference of opinion on that.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is the kind of uncompromising conservative who can make the leaders' life difficult. Mr. DeMint thinks, among other things, that some of his Republican colleagues are helping Democrats push America far to the left.

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters," Mr. DeMint said. "What I'm looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism."

Yes, Jim DeMint is anxious to lead the Contra contingent of the 21st-century Republican Party.

DeMint's worldview is bolstered, of course, by the pressure GOP leaders will receive from its supporters.

Conservative strategist Grover Norquist said party leaders must draw a bright line against higher taxes and spending, and that Republicans working with Mr. Obama should be treated as "collaborators."

It's as if some are actively working to keep Republicans in the minority indefinitely.

Steve Benen 11:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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"...Grover Norquist said party leaders must draw a bright line against higher taxes and spending..."

Are you FREAKIN' kidding me? To these guys, spending $10 billion a month in Iraq is OK, but spending on our own country is socialism?

Mr. Norquist, meet Mr. Bathtub...

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 21, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

"It's as if some are actively working to keep Republicans in the minority indefinitely."

I will always be willing to assist them...

Posted by: SadOldVet on January 21, 2009 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, people misunderstood Mr. Norquist. It is clear from subsequent events that what he intended to say was that he would starve the Republican Party of votes until it could be drowned in a bathtub. Apologies to Republicans who don't like how successful Norquist's plan has been.

Posted by: freelunch on January 21, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters," Mr. DeMint said.

WOLVERINES!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Stefan on January 21, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

sign 'em up for john cole's red state strike force!

Posted by: mellowjohn on January 21, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Question for everyone: Have 2 million people ever gathered anywhere for anything before?

Posted by: Gore/Feingold '16 on January 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

In fairness, you can't really blame them for standing up for what they believe in. Their ideology repels me, but if the shoe were on the other foot (as it often has been the last couple decades), we would be (and have been) similarly critical of wimpy Dems who were too willing to compromise for the sake of "bipartisanship."

Posted by: Menthol on January 21, 2009 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

"What I'm looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism."

What "slide toward socialism"? He may as well have said he's trying to put together a consortium to defeat the flying sea monsters.

People who don't live in objective reality should not have power.

Posted by: Tree on January 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is the kind of uncompromising conservative who can make the leaders' life difficult."

How? If the minority leader wants to oppose something, he's got DeMint's vote locked up. If the minority leader wants to support something, he already know DeMint won't be with him and there's no reason to even talk about it. DeMint makes McConnell's job really easy. Everyone knows exactly where DeMint stands on everything. That makes things easy, not hard. It's the fence sitters that make your life hard. You have to give them a military base to keep them happy.

Posted by: fostert on January 21, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Villagers:
Dems must do what the Republicans want, or else they aren't bipartisan. And they must gut everything that helps poor people, like social security and medicaid/medicare, because those are necessary "sacrifices."

I'm assuming Barack is not so naive as to believe he can really work with today's Repukes.

Posted by: Gore/Feingold '16 on January 21, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

mellowjohn... it's not John Cole's Red State Strike Force. John Cole and the rest of his posters and commenters are making fun of the Red State Strike Force.

Posted by: Edmund Dantes on January 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Norquist, meet Mr. Bathtub..

Bathtub, meet Toaster.

Posted by: Danp on January 21, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

All of the serious political leaders are on the Democratic side of the aisle. Seriously, who on the right can be consider a "serious" actor?

Norquist, Hannity, Limbaugh et al. are the voices of conservatism? Wow.

Posted by: TBone on January 21, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters," Mr. DeMint said.

If the Republican misadventure in Iraq has taught us anything, it's that Republicans don't believe in freedom fighters, only "terrorists," "insurgents," or "dead-enders."

Jim DeMint is welcome to choose the term that he think applies best to his situation.

Posted by: trex on January 21, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Their ideology repels me, but if the shoe were on the other foot ..., we would be ... similarly critical of wimpy Dems who were too willing to compromise for the sake of "bipartisanship."

It's not just a matter of ideology -- or rather, that it is only ideology for the R's, is what makes them crazy. We've just run some grand political science experiments, we now have empirical data, as good as we're going to get in this field:

1) Universal health care works. We have bravely volunteered to be control rat, 20+ other countries tried it, and they live long, healthier lives, cover everyone, and pay less per capita for the privilege.

2) Trickle-down economics does not work. We had GDP growth with little or no upward movement of median and below-median incomes.

3) Abstinence-based birth-control does not work.

4) Unilateral war-mongering is a really bad idea; by jumping the gun, we started a war we did not need to fight, and energized a variety of enemies. It also took our attention off the war that we did need to fight.

5) Deregulation of financial markets does not work.

So when we slam the D's for caving in, it's because they're caving in to crazy people who don't care if stuff works or not, who use faith-based methods, and redefine "works" to be "whatever outcome we got". That the crazy people can hire people with good haircuts who dress well to defend their policies, does not make them less crazy.

And now, I admit, I did arbitrarily stake out some positions as "good" without defending them in objective terms. Perhaps I am mistaken, and really, economic panics, war crimes, pregnant teenagers with STDs, stagnant incomes for most workers, and short, sick lives (with expensive healthcare for some, hope and pray for the rest) are all good things. In that world, yes, I'd be the crazy one, but I am totally ok with that.


Posted by: dr2chase on January 21, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

>"you can't really blame them for standing up for what they believe in"

The problem is... they aren't.
Abortion bad. Killing babies while bombing cities ok.
Spending on education bad. Spending on war. Ok.
Freedom fighters in Afghanistan good. Oops... now same Freedom Fighters bad.

... list goes on.


Posted by: Buford on January 21, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Why all the surprise? This is, after all, what you get when you allow conservative zealots to interbreed with cockroaches. Now if someone could design a Republican-sized "roach motel," we could resolve the "infestation" in short order....

Posted by: Steve W. on January 21, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone care to remind DeMint that the Republican's haven't been freedom fighters since the Dixicrats switched parties and the race-baiting "Southern Strategy" took hold of the GOP?

Posted by: Dustin on January 21, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I would love to know if any of Norquist's parents or grandparents (assuming he isn't the product of some lab experiment gone horribly wrong) have drawn a dime's worth of Social Security.

Posted by: bluestatedon on January 21, 2009 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight. Demint is saying we should continue things the way his crew ran them for the last eight years from the whitehouse and 12 of the last 14 from the congress. And he thinks thats good. Yikes! I personally doubt the man, and I hesitate to classify him as one because we really haven't figured out what his species is,has the slightest idea what socialism is.

Posted by: Gandalf on January 21, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

obama's inaugural address recognized the strength of free markets in promoting wealth and freedom. Expect the conservatives to emphasize both, and do what they can to resist the stifling of businesses.

Minorities are sometimes correct: in the U.S. now, only a minority of voters believe in Darwinian evolution, and only a minority of voters believe that global warming is anthropogenic.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 21, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's as if some are actively working to keep Republicans in the minority indefinitely.

Well somebody has to take over the reins now that Dubya is gone.

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on January 21, 2009 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Jim DeMint, the Civil War ended a long time ago. You lost.

Posted by: Saint Zak on January 21, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

eddie d.
i was not attributing ownership by the use of the possessive. i was merely trying to hint that john cole at balloon-juice -- whose blog i love almost as much as this one -- has done more to ridicule the red state strike force that almost anyone.
with the possible exception of the red state strike forcers themselves.
sorry for not being clearer.

Posted by: mellowjohn on January 21, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that that is all they have been since before 1994.

Posted by: ET on January 21, 2009 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Freedom fighters"? "Collaborators"? The ReThuglicans are finally showing their true colors as a fascist revolutionary party.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 21, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

One more example of how Mr Boehner has little power within his caucus. Remember the first bailout vote in the House? He was part of the negotiations, supposedly because he could bring a good fraction of his caucus along. Quite an embarrassment. The party of no, like a spoiled two-year old. (But who spoiled them?) No compromise, no consensus, no reason. If this keeps up, soon no party.

Posted by: Richard on January 21, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows exactly where DeMint stands on everything.


That's right. Whatever it is, DeMint's agin' it.

Posted by: kc on January 21, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

that's not demint. that's professor wagstaff.

Posted by: mellowjohn on January 21, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Has Mr. Norquist actually held a real job, or ever done anything for anyone, ever? Seems like all he does is suck up money like a bilge pump and then complain about how much money is available to everyone else.

He must be very entertaining, I can't think of why else anyone would even pay attention to him.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on January 21, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Thomas Frank does a great job of debunking the "freedom fighter" canard in his book The Wrecking Crew

Posted by: SM on January 21, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"What I'm looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism."

Slide ? Talk about trying to close the barn door after all the horses have run out.

We've had MASSIVE socialism for the Rich, MASSIVE socialism for Corporate America, and MASSIVE socialism for the Military Industrial Complex for DECADES, and none of the RightWing in Congress are the least bit upset about it.

Posted by: Joe Friday on January 21, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Marler wrote: obama's inaugural address recognized the strength of free markets in promoting wealth and freedom.

He also emphasized the need for a robust regulatory authority to avoid the excesses of the last eight years. How dishonest of you to imply that Obama agrees with the plutocratic position.

Expect the conservatives to emphasize both, and do what they can to resist the stifling of businesses.

Conservatives have complained about regulation "stifling" business since moves against snake oil salesmen and sweatshop. Like you, Marler, they have no credibility left.

Minorities are sometimes correct

Objectivly true as a possibility, but wildly off the mark in its implication that the Republican minority thast ran the show for the last eight years and fouled everything might be correct about, well, anything.

The GOP's recent switch to the minority was in large part because they were incorrect, and because they refused to acknowledge the fact, despite the disasters caused by their policies.

How disgusting to see your eagerness to resume your dishonesty and bad faith argumentation in service of Republican policies, Marler. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on January 21, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Minorities are sometimes correct

The reason they're in the minority is that their ideas were tried and shown to be wrong.

Posted by: Tyro on January 21, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK
Minorities are sometimes correct: in the U.S. now, only a minority of voters believe in Darwinian evolution, and only a minority of voters believe that global warming is anthropogenic.
Didn't you just shoot your own argument in the foot, twice? Posted by: Dustin on January 21, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I want to distinguish the two remarks. As menthol pointed out, DeMint's position is a perfectly reasonable one. We did blast Democrats for compromising core principles in an emergency -- and some of keep on blasting Obama as not being progressive enough. DeMint is merely saying the same thing. (The fact that Republican principles are 'bad' and ours are 'good' is, of course, very true but irrelevant to this argument, as is the fact that apparently -- and hopefully really -- Americans have rejected those principles.)

If he is really a believer in those principles -- and too often we fail to realize that people are capable of being absolutely sincere in their wrongness -- this is a justifable, in fact the only possible, position.

(Does the evidence prove these people wrong? Yes, as we view 'the evidence.' What we are forgetting is the 'religious mindset' of so many Republicans. To this type of mindset they have "The Truth" and if the evidence proves them wrong, this only shows the evidence is wrong, incomplete or irrelevant. To pick non-Christian examples for a change, even a Conservative Jewish group put out a new translation of the Hebrew Bible with a foreword showing that there is no eviudence that the Jews ever were 'slaves in Egypt' and that David was no more than a minor tribal leader, not a "Great King" but this didn't cancel Passover. And believing Muslims see no contradiction in simultaneously admitting that the Qur'an was assembled from memory forty years after Mohammed's death, and that its unusual arrangement is because the assemblers didn't remember which came first, so they put them in size order, and that some verses were inserted at random in what appeared to be a suitable Sura -- they remembered that Mohammed said them, but not the context. They can admit alol this, and still state that the Qur'an is somehow still word for word the exact way it was 'dictated' to Mohammed by the angel Gibreel.)

On the other hand, Norquist's use of 'collaborator' is really scary. The term is used only for people who work with an illegitimate government, either a foreign invader or a dictator who took power by coup. I could not, for example, imagine it being used about an English Tory who supported a Liberal or Labour position without a firestorm at whoever used it. And I would argue it should never be used in American politics, period. (Someone is bound to argue that Bush's ascension was the result of a coup -- but it wasn't really, any more that JFK's 'assistance' from Daley made his Presidency illegitimate.)

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on January 21, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Conservative strategist Grover Norquist"

As opposed to
Titanic navigator Grover Norquist?
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Grover Norquist?
Bear Stearns financial strategist Grover Norquist?

I mean, really, if he was paid based on results he'd be on food stamps.


Posted by: Steve Paradis on January 21, 2009 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters," Mr. DeMint said.

Yes, and we recognize that DeMint is fighting freedom every day.

Posted by: thalarctos on January 21, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I propose that we begin a detailed chronicle of every instance we see a GOP dead-ender use the word "Socialism" in its various forms.

We've already seen Sen. Inhofe accuse Carol Browner of being a member of the Socialist International. Now we see DeMint accuse the Obama administration of helping the country's slide toward socialism. There have already been numerous other instances, including by Palin & others during the fall campaign.

Furthermore, we should make every attempt to find out what each speaker means when they make the charge of "Socialism" against someone. I'm guessing these GOP dumbasses don't know a Socialist from a Sociologist and the resulting long list of contradictory definiitons would be amusing to say the least.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 21, 2009 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

You sad pinheads miss the point that DeMint makes about the slide into socialism.

If you do not believe that the only problem with our economy is that the rich do not have enough money - then you are a socialist.

If you are opposed to cutting business taxes - you are a socialist.

If you are opposed to cutting taxes for the wealthy - you are a socialist.

If you are opposed to eliminating inheritance taxes - you are a socialist.

If you do not believe that the only taxes that can be raised are payroll & social security taxes - you are a socialist.

We would kick all of your commie asses out of the country - except we need your increasingly cheap labor. Fortunately, we are doing a good job of increasing the number of poor workers in the country. A poor needy worker is the best kind - they are too afraid to give us any crap.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on January 21, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Norquist doesn't have parents. A buzzard laid the egg and the sun hatched it.

Posted by: VaLiberal on January 21, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

It's as if some are actively working to keep Republicans in the minority indefinitely.

This seems a bit like whistling past the graveyard -- as I recall, obstructivism helped raise Newt Gingrich's profile and, by making the Clinton White House look ineffectual, helped precipitate the GOP takeover in '94.

The only way the Democrats will be keep their momentum up over the next 18 months is to use the "nuclear option" in the Senate.

Posted by: Charles Murtaugh on January 21, 2009 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party that is recognizable as freedom fighters."

Methinks DeMint is unhappy that he was born over 100 years too late for the Civil War and he can't grab a musket and go shoot those damn Yankees.

Either that, or as alluded above, he's seen RED DAWN waaaaaaaaaaay too many times.

Posted by: gf120581 on January 21, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Grover Norquist -- STILL??? I suppose the poor fellow didn't score enough dough out of his Jack Abramoff connections to retire permanently to some tax-free island in the Caribbean. He just has to keep the travelling medicine show going and going and going. But do Republicans have to keep buying the same old cures-whatever-ails-you tonic he's been peddling for way too long?

Posted by: Mandy Cat on January 21, 2009 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Minorities are sometimes correct
...
The reason they're in the minority is that their ideas were tried and shown to be wrong.

Right now, a minority of Americans oppose building new nuclear power plants.

Republicans who are in the minority believe that their minority ideas may some day be in the majority. Anthropogenic-GHG-induced global warming was once a minority opinion among scientists, as solar-cycle-induced global warming and cooling is a minority opinion among scientists now. The situation may change by the time of the 2012 election. In the 70s, a majority of scientists believed that the main threat of global climate change was global cooling.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 21, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans who are in the minority believe that their minority ideas may some day be in the majority.

And they are wrong. Republicans will regain the majority when, years and years from now, Democratic ideas seem stale or don't seem up to the task to solving the problems of that time. At that point, Republicans will offer other ideas, different than the failed ones they're offering now. It will take a few cycles for Republicans to realize that their old, failed ideas are the ones that are holding them back and they need to change, rather than thinking that they just need to wait until their failed ideas come into fashion again.

Posted by: Tyro on January 21, 2009 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Last estimates are Bush spent ten trillion dollars by the time he was done.

When Grover draws his "bright line", he can color it yellow and send it up his own backside just to remind everyone what a "Repub party before country" traitor looks like.

Posted by: Glen on January 22, 2009 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans who are in the minority believe that their minority ideas may some day be in the majority.

Marler, you disingenuous jackass, they just used to be in the majority, and they instituted policies based on their ideas, and they failed -- or at least, they failed at bringing peace and prosperity to this nation. They succeeded wildly at enriching their cronies.

You're conflating, once again, a minority scientific view -- which at least is likely to have some tangential relationship to actual data -- with a minority political view, which can be -- and in the Republicans' case, is -- based on fantasies and lies (to which, it hardly needs be added, you wholeheartedly subscribe).

And typically, you blithely and dishonestly ignore those who pointed that conflict out to you and simply repeat your dishonest opinion. Given the Republican contempt for science -- which you again endorse by treating science as if it were a popularity contenst -- your dishonesty is particularly rich.

Thanks for yet another example of your bad faith commentary, Marler. And thanks for demonstrating why the Republican Party will continue to be held in contempt by a majority of loyal Americans. Too bad, that -- then all your shilling for them and their rewards of sweet, sweet tax cuts will be for naught.

Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on January 22, 2009 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK


GOP 2004: Beware the Tyranny of the Minority

GOP 2009: Beware the Tyranny of the Majority

got it..

Posted by: mr. irony on January 22, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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