Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 26, 2010

AMERICA SPEAKING OUT, BUT NOT VERY WELL.... House Republicans launched their "America Speaking Out" project yesterday, an election-year gimmick intended to help give the GOP a policy platform to run on. One of the key problems, as we talked about yesterday, is that the party is asking taxpayers to foot the bill for this.

But there's also the matter of the Republicans' online discussion itself. As part of the initiative, the GOP is creating a forum for their supporters to discuss potential policy ideas. One of the first proposals, apparently promoted by a Rand Paul fan*, was to eliminate provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Republican officials monitoring the submissions removed it from their site.

But Dana Milbank highlighted some of "the early responses to the Republicans' request for ideas."

"End Child Labor Laws," suggests one helpful participant. "We coddle children too much. They need to spend their youth in the factories."

"How about if Congress actually do thier job and VET or Usurper in Chief, Obama is NOT a Natural Born Citizen in any way," recommends another. "That fake so called birth certificate is useless."

"A 'teacher' told my child in class that dolphins were mammals and not fish!" a third complains. "And the same thing about whales! We need TRADITIONAL VALUES in all areas of education. If it swims in the water, it is a FISH. Period! End of Story."

That last one was my particular favorite.

In fairness, there's no way to know if the participants are sincere. Some of the more ridiculous content may come from far-right nuts, or perhaps progressives who are trying to make Republican activists look stupid. Tragically, it's surprisingly difficult to tell the difference lately.

Republicans might want to take a hard look at the suggestion that "we need to reframe the discussion" about the BP oil spill to counteract the "environmental whackos" worried about wildlife. Republicans, this person proposed, should argue that "BP is creating a new race of faster dolphins. These fish are unable to compete against the fish of other countries, but now their increased lubrication will allow them to fly through the water. Faster fish = good."

I don't think I fully appreciated the comedic possibilities "America Speaking Out" offers.

* Update: Apparently, this wasn't a Rand Paul fan, but rather, was posted by a progressive who was testing to see how actual Tea Party ideas fared on the GOP's website. Like I said, the distinction between right-wing activists and progressives making fun for right-wing activists is often blurred.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

In those three examples...

#1 and #3 are parodies.
#2 is a House Republican back-bencher.

Am I right?

Posted by: TonyB on May 26, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter GOP: "I live in Idaho, and I get my seafood from the supermarket. Who cares about the Gulf?"

Posted by: DAY on May 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Is there a petition anywhere that we can sign to say we do not want our taxpayer dollars spent on rethugs.

Posted by: Joan on May 26, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

This has to be a plant, ther ren't eny speling mistakes!

"A 'teacher' told my child in class that dolphins were mammals and not fish!" a third complains. "And the same thing about whales! We need TRADITIONAL VALUES in all areas of education. If it swims in the water, it is a FISH. Period! End of Story."

Posted by: Bruce B on May 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Tony B I agree about #1 but not sure about #3.

What I don't understand is why the organizers of this didn't seem to have a clue what may be coming their way. They are going to have to wade though A LOT of mocking and outright dreck to come up with anything that has a passing acquaintance with sane.

Posted by: ET on May 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I hate government.
ALL GOVERNMENT!
But, why can't Obama send someone to my house to fix my VCR. It's been blinking "12:00" for almost 20 years.
Really, after all of this time, something needs to be done about this, Mr. President.
My blinking VCR is 'Obama's Katrina!'

Did I tell you I HATE all forms of geovernment? Oh, yeah, I did...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 26, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Those blighters dont hold a candle to our Al!

Al?

Al?

Posted by: neill on May 26, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Look, it is completely clear to me that numbers 1 and 3 are parodies. I would have thought that 2 was a parody, as well, if it weren't for the fact that so many of my conservative friends have said exactly the same thing.

Anyway, it's not quite fair to use anonymous postings to indict the Republican Party, any more than it was fair to cite a user-submitted "Bush = Hitler" video against MoveOn.org.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on May 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

All three are fakes is my guess.

Posted by: SaintZak on May 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Finally something to do during those down times this summer...go on the REPUG website and try to be dumber than the actual wingnuts...a challenge worth taking...

Posted by: Dancer on May 26, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Stupid, heathen liberals!

The Bible says Jonah was swallowed by whale and the whale was a great fish it don't say nothin' about no mammals.

I'm a mammal. Do I look like a fish to you?

Posted by: Winkandanod on May 26, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

>I'm a mammal. Do I look like a fish to you?>I'm a mammal. Do I look like a fish to you?>I'm a mammal. Do I look like a fish to you?>I'm a mammal. Do I look like a fish to you?

Actually you don't look like a mammal either...

Posted by: Vokoban on May 26, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think I fully appreciated the comedic possibilities "America Speaking Out" offers.

Just wait for the Jon Stewart take.

Can we start a betting pool as to when this thing goes belly up? I give it a week from inception.

Posted by: flyonthewall on May 26, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

House Republicans launched their "America Speaking Out" project yesterday, a (taxpayer-funded) election-year gimmick intended to help give the GOP a policy platform to run on.

Fixed.

Posted by: Mike from Detroit on May 26, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beating the drum for:

"Forced resuscitation of stillborn infants."

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 26, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"America Speaking Out" is a national brainstorming session. As anyone who has brainstormed knows, the first step in brainstorming is to just throw any and all ideas out there, without criticism or evaluation. Only after that are the ideas evaluated.

We're only at step 1 and democrats want to jump to Step 2 and stop all discussion. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: Al on May 26, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

So, the brilliant political tactic of the Republican leadership is "Since we're completely clueless about policy, we may as well just make fools of ourselves. Everyone is invited to do likewise." Am I missing something here?

Posted by: MattF on May 26, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

'm figuring that #'s 1 and 3 are fakes, but there are enough misspelled words in #2 that it reads just like a freeper post.

Posted by: azportsider on May 26, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Winkandanod: Don't believe everything you read. Especially that book.

Posted by: buddym on May 26, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Wait a sec! If this program is being done by the Congressional offices for the purposes of real legislation - i.e. paid for by taxpayer dollars as legit business - and not the campaign, can the Republicans delete offensive comments?

I'm sorry, but if my taxpayer dollars are paying for this, I expect any comment I put in to remain part of the official comment record.

Posted by: Chris on May 26, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Trolling is a art

Posted by: David Davidson on May 26, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I checked out the site briefly yesterday. I dont know if it was from high traffic or the site is just bugged, but most of the links and pages either didnt work or took forever to load. As to the taxpayers paying for it, I used to run a small website with forum discussions and the like. It cost me a whopping $25 a month between the domain name and some customized mods on the site. If this site costs more than $100 a month for them to run, then they are CLEARLY not the party of fiscal responsibility.

Posted by: Dylan on May 26, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Al, that was especially awful.

MattF gets it @ 10:46
Shorter: we need to elect better LEADERS.

Posted by: Kevin (not the famous one) on May 26, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are learning what any marketing executive knows. When you open the floor to suggestions from the public, you will hear from the following groups and the following groups alone.
1. The seriously disturbed
2. The clueless
3. And by far the largest of the three groups, the smartasses.

Posted by: JMG on May 26, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with most of the commenters here -- only #2 is real, 1&3 are parodies. And if the ratio of fake to real remains at 2:1, the website is gonna stop "listening" soon. *Someone* is going to figure out that they're being had.

Posted by: exlibra on May 26, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody else comment on the thought that maybe the Repubs are just out of ideas? Apparently saying "NO" takes way to much critical thinking so they need to turn to their voters to come up with actual policy. Getting any new policies into a feasible bill format is something altogether different. Maybe when it comes to writing the bill they can have local kindergarten classes cut and past notes from industry lobbyists into a pretty little pamplet that they can hang on their refrigerators.

Posted by: Dylan on May 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, DAY, Chenoweth Canned Salmon continues to be a leader at Albertsons in Boise. However, most of the trout sold in markets across America comes from thermal ponds in Idaho. So, just buy trout and salmon, forget about shrimp, crab and lobsters and all will be well.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 26, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I suggest:

Throwing out all science textbooks and replacing them with the only book you'll ever need; The Holy Bible King James ver.

Open up coastal waters and Alaska to drilling so America can be 100% energy independent again.

Require all colored people to wear i.d. tags at all times and make speaking any language other than English illegal.

Tax credits for gun purchases.

Constitutional amedment requiring Presidents to be white.

Posted by: Oh well on May 26, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

*Someone* is going to figure out that they're being had.

I dunno. We're dealing with people who still think Colbert is on their side.

Posted by: doubtful on May 26, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I'm the "Rand Paul" fan who wrote the "CRA" one. I'm a progressive who was testing how actual Teaparty proposals and language went over on the America Speaks site. Answer: largely not well, except in the case of banning the "Secret NAFTA Superhighway," which received a large amount of tinfoil support and no detractors.

Posted by: MMonides on May 26, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Matt F has it right. This is the Republican version of the Cash Cab shout out where, when you have no clue, pick someone at random on the street and hope they have the right answer. I'm surprised they're not offering money for a good idea.

Posted by: ML on May 26, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter GOP: "I live in Idaho, and I get my seafood from the supermarket. Who cares about the Gulf?"
Posted by: DAY

"Salmon are not endangered. You can get it in cans at the supermarket." Former Idaho Congressman* Helen Chenoweth, who held a sockeye salmon cookout as a campaign event.


*Yes, she insisted on being called "Congressman." Sorry to speak ill of the dead, but I knew Helen Chenoweth. That woman was nuts.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on May 26, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

ET wrote: What I don't understand is why the organizers of this didn't seem to have a clue what may be coming their way.

Especially since it's happened before. Remember when the Republicans put up gop.am? It's like tinyurl; you submit any page you want, and get back a URL of the form http://gop.am/tinyurl. When you visit that URL, you see the submitted page, with a wrapper frame showing some GOP ads, including an animated Michael Steele off to one side giving a spiel about the GOP.

They went online without any sort of filtering, and naturally they got heavily bombed by what JMG calls the wiseasses. Let me search... Yes, balloon-juice was a major instigator, here's a (mostly safe for work) post on the sort of games you could play:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2009/12/14/someone-hose-off-vitter/

Posted by: Ken on May 26, 2010 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should file a FOIA request for all of the suggestions and ideas, and which ones are flagges as "inappropriate." I bet you'd see some interesting patterns.

Posted by: BrendanInBoston on May 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

This comment is probably more appropriate for Atrios' site, but of course it will never get read there.

I propose that we rebrand the GOP to 'FIP' --- the Fucking Idiot Party.

Posted by: David Bailey on May 26, 2010 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

If they want to reach out to the public for ideas in a way that is embarrassing to ignore, we really ought to organize a serious campaign to push progressive policies on the site. It's what America wants, and they're at least pretending to listen.

Posted by: Anthony Damiani on May 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

I loved the "ninja cat army" idea as a solution for dealing with terrorism.

This site is not quite as funny as Michael Steele's "wassup" site, although it may get there over time.

It seems to be administered by Compuserve executives on loan from 1988 though.....it crashes more often the John McCain

Can't anyone in the GOP do the internets?

Posted by: lgerard on May 26, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK
"Maybe when it comes to writing the bill they can have local kindergarten classes cut and past notes from industry lobbyists into a pretty little pamplet that they can hang on their refrigerators."

water ---> monitor

This is just another example of how painfully and frighteningly clueless the GOP really is.

I mean, really, anyone who's been on the 'net more than a month knows that any site with open comments -- especially a heavily-promoted political one -- will bring a mix of the crazy, teh stoopid, and much wiseassery and buffoonery.

I hope someone grabs all of these before they disappear forever. There'll be some Gems of Genius giggles in there ...

Posted by: Mark D on May 26, 2010 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Not cluing in that those were jokes makes Mr. Benen, our host, look pretty naive.

Posted by: flubber on May 26, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said, the distinction between right-wing activists and progressives making fun for right-wing activists is often blurred.

While I like the concept of progressives making fun FOR right-wing activists, I think you mean "making fun of" there.

Posted by: josef on May 26, 2010 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

i spent some time at the website and it wasn't functioning all that well...my votes on the "thumbs" didn't seem to take, each page jump on the comment treads tossed up multiple repeats... a mess..

however it's comedy gold...within one minute of poking around i found this suggestion posted under the topic of job creation [tagged with "first-principles"]

"We need to ensure that the Republicans never give us up, let us down, runs around, or deserts us."

http://www.americaspeakingout.com/browse/questions/in/job-creation

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 26, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

ps:
the website fail notice is funny, too: “A very high volume of Americans are speaking out right now. Please wait a moment and try again.”

Posted by: dj spellchecka on May 26, 2010 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

It reminds me of the 'Make Your Own Chevy Tahoe Ad' campaign, where parody ads were the norm. To their credit, Chevrolet did not remove anti-SUV ads from the site for the duration of the campaign. Really, this is the first thing I'd think would happen.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on May 27, 2010 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

As the creator of the "Ninja Cat Army" "Idea" I would like to express my extreme disappointment that the GOP has since removed my idea and disbanded my account. I was really looking forward to that little army.

Posted by: Andrew on May 27, 2010 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

So far, the site has demonstrated that so-called "progressives" are devoid of ideas and comedic abilities. Hopefully, they will soon become bored and go away.

Posted by: Bob on May 31, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

My guess is that all of these are by real Conservatives. If it is ridiculous in nature, against civil rights, pro BP or any other big corporation, and against the environment it is Republican. Democrats don't even want to say these things in jest because they are so distasteful we couldn't get the after taste out of minds for weeks!

Posted by: Dawn on June 2, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Why hasn't the unemployment extension bill passed? There are so many people that were laid off due to this horrible economy. We need the little bit of the unemployment check to continue to look for work. Why are John Boehner, Jim Bunning, Snowe, and others keeping this from passing? Why? The America people need help here!

It makes me sick that they can continue to give free money to the illegals for there housing healthcare, eduacation,etc. And can't help the Americans that need this unemployment help. There is something wrong with this picture. All that money and free help the illegals receive could be and should be going to legal Americans. After all this is a American right.

Let me just say this free money going to illegals that are here in our Country it's free for Congress to shell it out but we the American peole are also paying for this is taken out of our taxes.

Woild like to have some answers. that's all.


Janie H.

Posted by: janie Hatfield on June 29, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

The new America: Wrong is right and right is wrong. Example yes it's illegal to cross the border(Mexico) but once you make it to the U.S your
just another undocumented worker. This came out of the mouth of a lawyer (who defends open borders) during an interview on C-SPAN. We are like sheep being led to slaughter.

Posted by: BSISBS on July 15, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Get two plants, and set both of them in two different locations. One plant should be put in a box with a light so it can grow. The other plant should be put in a dark box so it will not grow.

Posted by: Tawna Polle on December 30, 2010 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly