Political Animal


May 23, 2012 9:15 AM Mini-Tuesday

By Ed Kilgore

I’m a little embarassed by the fact that in twelve or thirteen posts yesterday I didn’t get around to mentioning it was a primary day in Kentucky and Arkansas. You will forgive me, I hope, a lack of excitement about the “story” of the president’s weakness in these two states (and in other border states with large fossil-fuel energy industries and relatively few African-Americans), since I’ve been reading about it since the 2008 primaries. Yes, it’s a bit odd for an incumbent president to get under 60% of the vote in his own party’s primary anywhere, but this is, as Politico’s Charles Mahtesian puts it, Obama’s “region of doom,” and I’m sure his campaign is happy all these states will have just one more opportunity to register their lack of regard for Barack Obama.

The one interesting result from last night was a surprisingly easy primary win for a protege of Rand Paul’s in an open Republican congressional district in Kentucky. But Paul had some outside help. You think Super PACs are having an impact on presidential politics? Check this out from the Louisville Courier-Journal:

[Thomas] Massie came into the race largely unknown in the district’s population center of Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties but was able to overcome his lack of name recognition by scoring a couple of big name endorsements and getting the backing of several tea party organizations.
He also got more than $500,000 worth of backing from a super PAC called Liberty for All, which was funded almost entirely by a 21-year-old Texas college student with an inheritance. The group ran ads supporting Massie and criticizing Webb-Edgington and Moore.
Marc Wilson, a supporter of Webb-Edgington, criticized the group after the ballots were counted
“It’s a shame that a Texas libertarian super PAC could come in and invade the Republican Party to buy a congressional seat,” he said.

Wow. Wonder if the kid down in Texas turned in a term paper to his poli sci class entitled “How I bought a congressional seat in Kentucky.”

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • stormskies on May 23, 2012 9:29 AM:

    Such another fine example of the 'intelligence' of a large amount of our fellow citizens. These people are in fact so fucking stupid they could not figure out how to get out of a room with one door in it.

  • Ron Byers on May 23, 2012 9:41 AM:

    Arkansas and Kentucky are two more states abandoned by the national Democrats. Bill Clinton is a Democrat and was governor of Arkansas for a long time. Don't tell me there aren't Democrats in Arkansas. Kentucky hasn't always been uniformly red. The big money boys in the DC Democratic establishment decided they should abandon a bunch of difficult states and in the process enabled the Republican party to run wild, completely unchallenged. The result is an irresponsible political monolith actively engaged in hastening the decline of America.

    No, I am not giving the Republicans a pass, but we have to acknowledge that while we have smuggly watched the Republican party become a regional party, we Democrats have been moving in the same direction. We just have more numbers and richer states than the Republicans. Somebody once said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. I think he was an old time Republican for whom I would have voted.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on May 23, 2012 9:43 AM:

    And yet, when it gets down to it, the onus for the stupidity really is on the intellectuals and geniuses in Ky's 4th District.

    (Note: I'm in Ky., -- aka Wingnut Valhalla -- but not in the uber-wingnut heaven that is the 4th District, home of the Senate's former close-to-stupidest Senator in the Universe: Jim Bunning. When someone like Rand Paul can win a Senate seat in your home state, it really hits home just how far we've declined.)

    It's scary, folks. Ever try to convince a wingnut of anything? It doesn't matter what evidence or reasoning you apply. Those minds are made up, and there is nothing that will get in.

    Get ready to say goodbye to your country. It'll soon be gone.

  • berttheclock on May 23, 2012 9:49 AM:

    Of course, the first two comments at the LCJ story about Massie's win attacked the mainstream Republican Party for trying to run moderates.

    However, yes, President Obama picked up 66 delegates, but, 42% of the voters in this closed primary voted "uncomitted".

  • DisgustedWithItAll on May 23, 2012 9:51 AM:

    Ron Byers is correct. The responsibility for the country's decline belongs to Democratic stupidity and spinelessness. Add to that the extent to which any Democrat bought into the wingnut ideas that destroyed the world (unfettered markets, deregulation, there is no society) -- e.g. Bill Clinton signing the Glass-Steagall law out of existence -- is the extent to which Democrats own positive responsibility as opposed to the neglectful responsibility.

    And any triangulating, New Democrats are especially responsible for the cowardice and especially responsible for the aid and comfort to Republican ideas. You know who I'm talking to, don't you?

    Don't expect Democrats to fight any more vigorously or more intelligently this time either despite the extremely high stakes.

    Again, get ready to say goodbye to your country. The handover will be complete in November.

  • stormskies on May 23, 2012 9:52 AM:

    It really is a tragic spectacle relative to what DisgustedWithItAll is talking about: a large swath of our fellow citizens who are so psychologically invested in their delusive 'beliefs' that no amount of actual facts presented to them will change anything. The investment is so total equaling their psychological stability that they will of course vote against their own self interest.

    And that, indeed, is a tragic spectacle that is scary. And like DisgustedWithItAll said we may have to say goodbye to our country because it will be gone soon. Imagine the 'reality' that will be created if the corporate power brokers manage to get buffoon Romney installed as the president, and the Repiglicans are the majority in both the House and the Senate. Imagine.

    My god.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on May 23, 2012 9:54 AM:

    2nd sentence in above post should have been: "The responsibility for the country's decline belongs to Democratic stupidity and spinelessness as well as the Republican efforts. But decline is the Republican goal; that's the price they don't mind paying to rid themselves of the government."

  • berttheclock on May 23, 2012 9:54 AM:

    When, I saw only 58% supported the President in the Kentucky primary, I thought they allowed cross over voting. No, it was a closed primary, so, when, 42% vote "uncommitted", what will that mean in November?

    Just love how the word "moderate" has become one based solely upon the eye of the beholder. In Kentucky, it appears to mean to the TPers being very closely tied in with left wing Democrats in some fashion.

  • Hedda Peraz on May 23, 2012 10:00 AM:

    I am glad to see that my fictitiously adopted state is continuing the hallowed tradition of buying votes. A tradition certainly not started by LBJ, but increased to a hight that still awes the rubes. (See: LBJ vs Coke Stevenson, 1948 Senate campaign.)

    As my dear, late sister in scribbling said, "Too much is not enough!"

  • c u n d gulag on May 23, 2012 10:03 AM:

    Coming soon:
    As school reconvenes at the end of summer, a teacher is asking 9 year-old Johnny what he did last summer?

    "Well, my Daddy gave me 'bout $2 million, 'n me an' a couple other rich kids, we bough ourselves a State Senator, 'n a matching future US Senator of this here state, BEEYOTCH!!!
    So you 'n the Principal better start kissing our asses, or else - no cash from the state for you, 'n none from the Fed's neither.
    Now that's what my Daddy calls Mockracy in action!"

  • DisgustedWithItAll on May 23, 2012 10:05 AM:

    @stormskies: It wasn't that long ago -- perhaps a year -- that I thought it was possible to change minds with facts and reason. I understand the economics of our situation very well and can explain it. I understand climate change very well and can explain it. I tried. I tried very, very, very hard to convince Useful Idiots of the Wingnut Cause. And it just doesn't matter. There is nothing -- and I mean NOTHING -- that you can say to convince them of anything. NOTHING.

    I've never been more pessimistic of just basic human potential and goodness. It's essentially to the point that I've give up and the last hope is that the conservative virus hasn't infected enough people to allow Obama and his bungling team to squeak through with a victory. It's our only hope.

    In the Fall, Democrats are not going to know what hit them when the Tea-publican machine rolls out it propaganda machine. They'll be sitting there as dumbstruck and mouth agape as ever while they get steam-rolled. And the press plays its willful stenography and false equivalence act.

    "Corporate 1984" is just around the corner.

    Ignorance is Strength

  • berttheclock on May 23, 2012 10:15 AM:

    @DisgustedWithItAll, sadly, I can envision Wassermann with her mouth agape. Please, self, perish the thought.

    However, I still remember her saying over and over again on Chrissy Poo's entertainment show how the committee she worked for had subpoena powers and both Rove and Cheney were going to hauled up before that committee. Plus, she spoke of the Sergeant of Arms having power. We are still waiting and waiting and waiting. BTW, Ms Wassermann, how are your surrogates doing supporting the President?

  • c u n d gulag on May 23, 2012 10:16 AM:

    "My god,"

    Well, THEIR God, anyway.

    I've said it before, we're at a tipping point.

    if we lose, we'll soon be "The United Dominionist Christian Corporate (read - Fascist/Oligarchic/Plutocracic) States of America."

    The new Pledge Allegiance, and Faith:
    I pledge allegiance to the Flag
    of the United Dominionist Christian Corporate States of America,
    and to the Republicans for which it stands:
    One nation,
    under GOD and religious laws,
    Indivisible, with Liberty,
    and Justice,
    for all - of the faithful and deserving."

    It CAN happen here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The rest of you Commie Heretics - DIE!

    But before that,
    'I'll See You In The Gulag.'

  • stormskies on May 23, 2012 10:16 AM:

    DisgustedWithItAll........I can totally relate to what you are sharing. From another part of our country, Wisconsin, just look at what is happening. We all know what the corporate governor Walker is all about. Look at all that he has done in collusion with the Repiglican House and Senate there. And yet despite all that he has done, despite all that has been exposed, he still have roughly a 50% 'approval' rating, and is expected to win the recall.

    This country indeed is United Stupid America.

  • Mimikatz on May 23, 2012 10:45 AM:

    Tje GOP has thrived in part by fighting social programs and championing predatory capitalism, ensuring that life is very precarious for a great many people. These people are then appealed to on the basis of tribal loyalties, especially resentment of "the others" who supposedly are the cause of their insecurity. "Freedom" means only freedom from regulation that might restrict corporations, leaving them at the mercies of the predators.

    The GOP mastered modern techniques of persuasion by appealing to emotion, while liberals keep thinking that people can be appealed to on the basis of reason. We are headed toward climate disaster, income inequality of a third world country and an authoritarian government that will do nothing in the face of disaster. It is hard to see a happy ending even if young people begin to assert themselves in time.

    But hey! We've got Facebook!

  • Mike on May 23, 2012 12:07 PM:

    Explain this to me. How are we better off in a world where there is no spending from outside groups? So the establishment candidate (whoever is next in line) wins without any contest. Nobody can challenge them because they have better name recognition. So nobody that is not already a famous-ish politician or sheriff can win an election. This is somehow a good thing?

    "Again, get ready to say goodbye to your country. The handover will be complete in November."

    Let's not call other people wing-nuts when we're saying crazy shit ourselves shall we?

  • Quaker in a Basement on May 23, 2012 12:51 PM:

    While it is true that 42% of Dems voted for "uncommitted" yesterday, it seems to be overlooked that 33% of Republicans cast their protest votes for candidates other than Romney.

  • c u n d gulag on May 23, 2012 1:06 PM:

    No one I know is arguing NO spending from outside groups or people.
    Only that the amount be limited, and open for everyone to see.

    Another possibility we've talked about is 'publicly funded/financed elections.'

    Here's some specifics:

    And here's a "wiki" on campaign financing of other sorts:

    What you may find, is that, like our health care system, our way of financing elections, is FAR from the best in the world.

  • William Kern on May 23, 2012 2:21 PM:

    Radley Balko just posted an article that would embarrass Ed Kilgore along with most who commented on this story.
    Skim it yourself:

  • mudwall jackson on May 23, 2012 2:37 PM:

    stormskies on May 23, 2012 10:16 AM:

    "DisgustedWithItAll........I can totally relate to what you are sharing. From another part of our country, Wisconsin, just look at what is happening. We all know what the corporate governor Walker is all about. Look at all that he has done in collusion with the Repiglican House and Senate there. And yet despite all that he has done, despite all that has been exposed, he still have roughly a 50% 'approval' rating, and is expected to win the recall.

    This country indeed is United Stupid America."

    with the broad brush you're using, i assume you're including the 1 million wisconsin voters (a rather remarkable number really) who signed walker's recall petition. and i assume you're also including voters like me who can't recall the last time they voted for a republican (repiglican? come on! at least use something modestly creative.)

    and calling people stupid is a great persuasion technique! if they didn't disagree with you before, they do now! if they disagreed with you a little, they now disagree with you a lot.

  • Jake Collin on May 23, 2012 2:44 PM:

    Didn't Obama just have a $38k a plate fundraiser a couple of weeks ago? Seems a bit hypocritical to be going after a Super Pac run by a 21 and 24 year old.

    I think you're just unhappy the youth isn't in lockstep with Obama compared to 2008. I'm crying on the inside for you.

    Also, I'm finding it difficult discovering a reason to "buy" a congressional seat for a candidate wanting to remove the corporations access to the unmitigated force they now get with the government "regulating" them.