Politics

Politics

A Death Panel By Any Other Name?

By 10.1.14

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and heads the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been acknowledged as a prime mover and advocate for Obamacare. So his recent article in the Atlantic titled, “Why I Hope to Die at 75,” should scare the hell out of most of those still shy of that number. He is not kidding.

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Politics

Maybe Holder Should Run the Secret Service

By 9.29.14

In the wake of the news of Eric Holder’s resignation, many voices are weighing in on the legacy he will leave behind. Newscasters have called him the president’s most trusted ally. He is noted to be the first black attorney general. But here’s the core: Holder will be remembered as a man who completely politicized the Department of Justice.

In recent days, some have questioned the ability of the Secret Service to protect the president. However, no one has questioned Eric Holder’s ability to use the Justice Department to protect the president.

Abandoning any precept of neutrality, Holder has served not as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, but instead as the president’s top policy-enforcement officer. Holder has used the Department of Justice to impose the president’s positions and protect his reputation — from stonewalling the investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal to dismissing voter intimidation by the Black Panthers.

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RNC to Discuss Mississippi Radio Ads

By 7.29.14

The Republican National Committee will take up the explosive subject of the race-card playing radio ads in the Mississippi Senate GOP run-off election between Senator Thad Cochran and Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel. The RNC is scheduled to hold its summer meeting in Chicago August 6-9 at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The discussion, according to an RNC source, will occur on the morning of August 7 — behind closed doors — at the “Members Only” breakfast that runs between 8:00-9:30. There is no word whether RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, under pressure to investigate the ads, will then comment publicly on the discussion.

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Showdown in Las Vegas

By 7.17.14

The letter was polite. A simple request for dialogue — a “productive conversation” — with the NAACP at its upcoming 105th convention in Las Vegas. Dialogue between black conservatives and representatives of the historic group that was once a beacon in the fight for civil rights.

The March letter went to Lorraine C. Miller, the interim president of the group, and was signed by Deneen Borelli, the prominent black conservative, on behalf of empower.org and FreedomWorks. Borelli cited the national black unemployment rate in February (12 percent) and noted it was double that for whites. The unemployment rate for black teens between ages 16 and 19 — a particularly mindboggling set of statistic, 32.4 percent — was cited. Last but not least was the drop in black homeownership from 50 percent to 43 percent, a sharp contrast to a rise of 73 percent in white homeownership.

The suggestion was made to have a panel on economic empowerment with representatives of the NAACP and a group of black conservatives including Borelli and the Reverend C.L. Bryant. Along with the inevitable booth, a staple of these kind of gatherings.

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Politics

The IRS Oddities Add Up

By 7.11.14

Curiouser and curiouser. It's hard to see how the details of the ongoing IRS investigation could anything but mystify a fair-minded and careful observer.

Yesterday came news that employees at the tax-collecting agency use an internal instant messaging system called OCS, and that conversations held on it are not archived automatically. Further, Lois Lerner, the woman in charge of the department that targeted conservative non-profit groups, had specifically inquired about that very point. “I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails,” she wrote to IT support in 2013. “Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable — I don’t know.…Do you know?”

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Donor Controversies Hit ‘Mississippi Conservatives’

By 7.8.14

The headline in the New York Times over the weekend was straightforward: “Unease in G.O.P. Over Mississippi Tea Party Anger”:

The stormy aftermath of Mississippi’s Republican Senate runoff has sent Tea Party conservatives around the country to the ramparts, raising the prospect of a prolonged battle that holds the potential to depress conservative turnout in November in Mississippi — and possibly beyond.

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GOP Soul-Searching Over Thad Cochran

By 6.27.14

By now you've probably seen the reaction to Tuesday night’s Mississippi Republican Senate primary election, in which shaky incumbent Thad Cochran eked out a victory over Tea Party insurgent Chris McDaniel by making use of some rather unconventional electoral tactics.

Cochran dedicated most of his efforts to pursuing Democrats, and specifically the black community. He went so far as to threaten his new voting base by saying McDaniel would cut food stamps, and made conspicuous charges of racism against both McDaniel and the Tea Party. There were further allegations, substantiated in news reports, of “street money” paid to Democratic fixers to turn out the votes of, shall we say, “new” Republican voters crossing over to vote for Cochran on a one-time basis.

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Who Paid for Race-Baiting Flier in Mississippi?

By 6.26.14

Who paid for it? Who will investigate it? Who will apologize for it? “It” being the flier distributed in the Mississippi Senate GOP primary, as seen here, whose headline reads: "The Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday." 

The flier says that the Tea Party uses the word “Democrats” as “code” for blacks. In short? Somebody out there in Mississippi put out a race-baiting flier to smear both Thad Cochran’s Tea Party opponent Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party itself. Using the worst lie about Republicans — against a Republican.

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Who Is Steve Scalise?

By 6.25.14

After an intense week in D.C., I spent the weekend catching up on Jenn's honey-do list, including trimming the oak tree.” So said Congressman Steve Scalise’s Facebook page on Sunday, three days after the Louisiana Republican staged an impressive victory in the House majority whip election. To his constituents, the status update was little surprise. They know him as a refreshingly down-to-earth, middle-class professional in a Congress populated by politicians who are anything but.

Scalise’s first-ballot win over Congressmen Peter Roskam and Marlin Stutzman is important for more than just reasons of state. He is the first red-state Republican to hold a position in the House GOP’s core leadership since Tom DeLay left office in 2003. Moreover, Scalise managed to ascend to the number three position in his party’s hierarchy just seven years after joining the House of Representatives in 2007.

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Revenge of the Good Ol’ Boys

By 6.25.14

I was at a boozy Washington function a few years ago when in walked Bob McDonnell, then-governor of Virginia, and Haley Barbour, then-governor of Mississippi. McDonnell hung back with a beer in his hand and rarely in his mouth, making small talk at the edge of the crowd. Barbour stormed into the middle of the party brandishing both a whiskey and a long-neck, slapping backs and shouting in a marble-mouthed southern accent, good to f—king see this one and it’s been too f—king long with that one.

At the time I thought I was witnessing the difference between a man who was running for president and a man who wasn't. But there was also a cultural difference on display: a governor from a Southeast purple state where politics can be unpredictable, versus a governor from the Deep South where GOP power is nearly absolute and concentrated in a good ol’ boy power structure.

Thad Cochran is one of those good ol’ boys. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1972, Cochran served three terms there, then ran for the Senate where he’s been for the past thirty-six years. In 2005 he was appointed chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee.

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