Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 5, 2009

THE TALIBAN WING OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.... From time to time in recent years, liberals have identified the "Taliban wing" of the Republican Party -- those conservatives who reject church-state separation, taking marching orders from James Dobson, and wonder why the government doesn't do more to promote and endorse their vision of Christianity.

The phrase is generally considered offensive by most Republicans, and it's easy to understand why. Indeed, no U.S. political contingent wants to be compared to the Taliban.

It came as something of a surprise, then, to see a leading House Republican make the comparison unprompted.

Frustrated by a lack of bipartisan outreach from House Democratic leaders, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said House Republicans -- who voted unanimously last week against the economic plan pushed by President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- will pitch a "positive, loyal opposition" to the proposal. The group, he added, should also "understand insurgency" in implementing efforts to offer alternatives.

"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."

He added that if Democrats don't give the minority party more "options or opportunities," Republicans "will then become an insurgency."

I see. So, a couple of weeks ago, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina compared the Republican Party to "freedom fighters" fighting against a "slide toward socialism." This week, a House GOP lawmaker and chairman of the NRCC compared the Republican Party to an insurgency.

We've gone from the Contra wing of the Republican Party to the Taliban wing of the Republican Party.

Asked to clarify, Sessions said he wasn't drawing a direct connection between the GOP and the Taliban. "I simply said one can see that there's a model out there for insurgency," Sessions explained.

Why don't negations between the White House and congressional Republicans produce more results? Perhaps because a few too many congressional Republicans are stark raving mad.

Update: MSNBC's "First Read" raises a very relevant point: "Imagine what Drudge would do if a Democrat said this."

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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one man's freedom fighter is another's terrorist...

Posted by: effluvientOne on February 5, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

That's a funny and unintentionally accurate typo in the final paragraph, there, Steve. Sometimes negotiation becomes a negation.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on February 5, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

When the MSM reports, over and over for days, that Senator Sessions "Supports Taliban tactics against American policies", I'll believe in a liberal press.

Posted by: oregon on February 5, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi should move toward the Republicans' way of thinking. She should offer to start running the House under the same rules and procedures that the Tom Delay used when the Republicans were in the majority (a smaller majority than the Democrats have now).

I'm sure that would make them happy.

Posted by: SteveT on February 5, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

When the MSM reports, over and over for days, that Senator Sessions "Supports Taliban tactics against American policies", I'll believe in a liberal press.

I'll go even further and say that's when I'll believe in an unbiased press. One that is actually doing it's job.

Posted by: kanopsis on February 5, 2009 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

How long before they offer Joe the fake plumber a job recruiting suicide bombers? He can promise martyrs 72 Sarah Palins as their reward in heaven.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on February 5, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

so, they all gonna grow beards, too!

Posted by: mellowjohn on February 5, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Are they really advocating arms against Pelosi? Isn't that treason?

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Posted by: ym on February 5, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

More like a group of Werewolves led by Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 5, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

There's another name for an insurgent: traitor.

but that's a GOP card.

let's just call these GOP "insurgents" idiots and be done with them.

Posted by: fromer on February 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I am more and more convinced that Obama was farsighted in allowing this Taliban Wing of the GOP have its voice. While it is true that the Republicans have framed the debate during the last week, Obama can take it back at any time.

In 1964, LBJ and the Democrats won a huge victory by capturing the middle against the "extremists" in the Republican Party. LBJ's moderate image led to the greatest and most productive explosion of liberal legislation since the New Deal. Like all incumbent presidents, Johnson had little problem in managing the press.

We are accustomed to raging impotently against the mainstream media, but Obama now holds most of the aces, which he can play at will. For example, The Washington Post's op-ed is maddening, but it's Obama's statement that the rest of the world will hear and read.

If the GOP wants to put an "insurgent" tire around its neck, they should be given every opportunity. Obama will ultimately own the cherished "bipartisan" label--the 2008 equivalent of "moderation"--while giving away little that is substantial.

Posted by: Steve High on February 5, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Why doesn't Senator Sessions go live in an abandoned West Virginia coal mine to get the full Taliban insurgent experience?

He can take a few of his rad friends with him --

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 5, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Always the language of violence and warfare with these guys. How about they just grow the fuck up and start acting like responsible adults for a change?

Posted by: DH Walker on February 5, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Let us not forget that to date Blackwater is the only entity to try to get Sharia law introduced into the US court system.

Posted by: the seal on February 5, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

The Grand Obstructionist Party continues with politics while Americans and the World Economics falters. Polkitics as usual.

Posted by: mljohnston on February 5, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

So from 1980 to 2008 the Republican party embrace byzantine Stalinist tactics and now they're switching to "Islamo Fascist" tacts. The Party of Big Ideas.

Posted by: grinning cat on February 5, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

I've got to give Sessions credit. That string of gibberish was something to behold. They really have become the party of stark raving lunatics.

Posted by: JoeW on February 5, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Taliban are willing to die for their cause the repugs on the other hand are a bunch of Yellow Elephants.

Posted by: par4 on February 5, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, no U.S. political contingent wants to be compared to the Taliban.

Solution -- don't act like a bunch of theocratic loons.

Last time I looked, the truth of the assertion made a pretty good defense against libel.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on February 5, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how they're whining now about the Majority Party not giving them any "options" - when during the darkest times of the Bush Administration, the majority Republicans would not even allow Congressional Democrats to use a room in the basement of the capitol building for their own hearings.

Let alone all their whining about wanting to change the cloture rules back when things weren't going their way on the Meyers appointment.

They're nothing but a bunch of sick, psychopathic con artists, and they're on their way out the door. Too bad that we have to wait another 2 years for the opportunity to get rid of the last few cavemen.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 5, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK



Anyone find it ironic that the producer of "Red Dawn" was none other than Jack Abramoff?

Posted by: TCinLA on February 5, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Insofar as this Republican "insurgent" philosophy causes them to oppose high tech Pentagon boondoggles in favor effective 21st century Fourth Generation Warfare, it actually would be a good thing. I'm not holding my breath on this, but it's worth pointing out.

Insofar as Republicans genuinely are insurgents, they aren't going to get all hot headed when they are labeled "Taliban" or whatever. Genuine insurgents don't go into hissy fits when opponents call them names. Indeed they often embrace the epithets thrown against them.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on February 5, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Notes to the GOP:

1.) An "insugency" is the committing of insurrection against a duly-elected Government.

2.) "Insurgents" are individual who, by participating in an insurgency, and guilty of committing acts of insurrection against a duly-elected Government.

3.) "Insurrection" relates to "sedition", thus:

SEDITION: defined as conduct which is directed against a duly-elected Government and which tends toward insurrection but does not amount to treason.

4.) "Sedition" may well not be on the same level as "treason", but one might wish to think very carefully about threatening what amounts to an overt act of sedition against the duly-elected Government of the United States---as it could be construed, by some, as an Act of War against that Government.

5.) Based upon the precedents set forth by the previous Administration of the United States Government in its offensive actions against the sovereign nation of Iraq, there is a standing, if somewhat vague, legitimacy for unilaterally supporting, committing, and engaging in overt military/paramilitary acts against "an insurgency."

Based upon the actions of "certain nefarious Conservatives and their somewhat imbalanced commentaries", and coupled with the fact that this current Government is all of only 16 days into a 1,461-day term, it might be deemed as imprudent to simply ignore these "vocal ramblings" as nothing more than harmless rhetoric. Such commentaries led to the United States Civil War, as well as both World Wars....

Posted by: Steve W. on February 5, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I find it so troubling that President Obama is willing to actually sit down and talk with these Republican leaders with no preconditions.

Posted by: Dan on February 5, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Having grown up with a pure wingnut father, it doesn't surprise me them saying such things. I've been of the opinion for a long time, that down to family and individual level, the winger mentality is akin to them being their own little sovereign country, constantly at war with about everyone and thing in their path. Somehow, thankfully, I got spared that craziness.

Posted by: Stuck on February 5, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Stuck: Same, only other relatives (not my dad). They really but whole-hog into the notion of exceptionalism, both big ("America doesn't have to obey any rules") and small ("my own standards don't apply to me"). It's hypocritical, narcissistic, and dishonest - all things that pretty well describe the overwhelming majority of senate Republicans.

Posted by: DH Walker on February 5, 2009 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

They're dreaming about all those virgins who will greet them.

Posted by: CDW on February 5, 2009 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

I resent the comparison.

Posted by: The Taliban on February 5, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget once upon a time the U.S. and the mujahadeen in Afghanistan were on the same side - trying to get the Soviets out. And also shortly before 9/11 there may have been some pretty high-level talks between the Bush Administration and the Taliban. (To be fair, the Clinton WH may have talked to them too.) So I think a lot of Republicans really do identify with them.

Posted by: bobbo on February 5, 2009 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

With the Republicans calling themselves seditious and Taliban, it won't be hard at all for President Obama to pull back.

Republican traitors, how nice.

Posted by: freelunch on February 5, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Taliban analogy is fitting on several fronts.

One, they're a dictatorial theocratic form of government. Not unlike the lunatic fringe calling themselves republicans.

Two, they are conducting an insurgency, just as republicans are now, sabotaging the will of the people.

Three, and most importantly to me, is the Taliban represents the REGRESSION of civilization. Just as these religious fanatics want to turn the clock back a few centuries, so do the modern day republicans. I have a feeling republicans nowadays would fit right into any monarchical, aristocratic, feudal type of system, pre-Magna Carta.

Posted by: citizen_pain on February 5, 2009 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Did Sessions end his rant with a Rebel Yell? Let's just call Republicans the Confederate Party and be done with them. Their showing their historic Southern roots: destroy whatever you do not control.

Posted by: Ted Frier on February 5, 2009 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"So, a couple of weeks ago, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina compared the Republican Party to 'freedom fighters' fighting against a 'slide toward socialism.'

You know who else did that back in the 1980's?....


(Granted we'd be the Russians in this scenario...probably shouldn't bring that part up)

Posted by: reader on February 5, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Is he really telling us something we didn't already know? Spread the word that the Repubs consider themselves to be the Taliban.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on February 5, 2009 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Republicans,

Thank you so very much for doing the dirty work for us. You truly are very Taliban-esque, and I will make it my duty to spread the word. I look forward to watching you twist in the wind now that you've been marginalized.


Posted by: Limbaugh's Diabetes on February 5, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

He added that if Democrats don't give the minority party more "options or opportunities," Republicans "will then become an insurgency."

"will become"?

Do they understand that two months of stopping stimulus spending may drill this economy into teh ground and it should prove simple to connect teh dots for the people that the GOP is causing it?

Watch for Obama to open a can of whoop-ass in early April.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 5, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

If I'm not mistaken, it is the longstanding official policy of the USA that we do not negotiatiate with terrorists.

Since the Repugnant Ones have now admitted that they are in fact "Taliban insurgents", let's hope that President Obama will uphold tradition and not negotiate with them!

Posted by: Mark-NC on February 5, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Taliban Republicans" is a much better term than "conservatives." The Rove coalition turned the term "conservative" on its head and made it as dirty a word as "liberal."

The big government, borrow-and-spenders like Bush are properly called LIBERALS or REAGAN DEMOCRATS or TAX CHEAPSKATES! Note that Reagan was a Democrat most of his life and a big fan of FDR. Yuck.

Liberal Jewish agents of Israel like Perle, Feith, and Wolfowitz who fomented the "draining the swamp" wars are still LIBERALS, despite finding a home for their defense concerns for Israel in the Republican Taliban wing of the Christian Zionist George Bush.

Since the term "conservative" has been sullied by association, we need a new term, like "progressive" for "liberal," or "pre-owned" for "used," or "immigrant" for "illegal alien." "Fiscal conservative" or "paleo-conservative" are a bit longish.

Posted by: Luther on February 6, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK



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