The Conservative Circular Firing Squad Takes Another Victim

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

To paraphrase Doug Mataconis, when William Jacobson has to defend his conservative credentials against the populist conservatives ragging against his site and his chosen co-blogger, you know that the right is in danger of going off the rails.

Well, not the whole right. Just the right side of the blogosphere’s populist purists. They’re running a purge out there folks.

WaPo takes aim at the IDF and misses

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The front-page headline in the Sunday Nov. 7 edition of the Washington Post paints a grim picture of the IDF
American Thinker Blog

WaPo takes aim at the IDF and misses

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The front-page headline in the Sunday Nov. 7 edition of the Washington Post paints a grim picture of the IDF
American Thinker Blog

The Circular Firing Squad Takes Aim At Chris Christie

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

New Jersey’s Chris Christie has been one of the biggest stars in the conservative wing of the GOP this year, but his comments today about Christine O’Donnell’s doomed bid for the Senate have made him the focus of ire on the part of one blogger who has taken it upon himself to attack anyone on the right who bothered to take note of the fact that Christine O’Donnell was doomed from the day she won the GOP nomination:

While a Republican, a corporatist, or a governmentalist might describe Castle as potentially a good Senator, no honest, serious thinking Conservative ever would. That does not mean that O’Donnell was an ideal candidate. But it is imperative that the conservative movement learn from 2010, come to understand why we lost where we did, and reject the conventional Republican wisdom that only serves to undermine our cause. Surrendering to liberalism, while claiming victory as a Republican, is a defeat for conservatism. And it is precisely those types of defeats Republicans have been fostering for too long, damaging our movement and, ultimately, their own brand in the process.

Of course, as Jimmie Bise notes, this criticism simply misses the point of what Christie said today, and also manages to ignore the political realities of states like Delaware:

It is obvious that Castle would make a far better Senator compared to Chris Coons who will be the Senator. In other words, had the Tea Parties shows a bit more discretion and wisdom, they most likely would not be looking at a reliable progressive vote in the Senate but someone who would side with Republicans at least as often as he would Democrats.

That’s not to say that Castle would have been our bestest buddy. We would have had to fight with him at least as often as we would with the Maine sisters, but we wouldn’t have to fight him all the time. I’m not big-shot blogger like my friend Dan, but even I know that someone who votes with conservatives half the time is much better than one who will never vote with conservatives. It’s better to have someone you have to drag to your side five or six times a year rather than someone you will have to pluck from the lap of Harry Reid.  I might even describe such a person as really good compared to the alternative.

Exactly, and considering the fact that it was readily apparent from both the polls and the election results that the candidate that Christie criticized never had a realistic chance to win the election, while Castle had a record of winning statewide elections going back to 1980, suggesting that thinking it would be better to have Mike Castle in the Senate than Chris Coons is “surrendering to liberalism” represents the kind of philosophy that virtually guarantees permanent minority status. Mike Castle was a viable candidate in Delaware. Christine O’Donnell was not. These are facts, arguing with them is really rather pointless. As is showering unwarranted support, attention, and money on a candidate who cannot possible win.

Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good is rarely a good idea, and the fact that there are now two Senate seats in Delaware that are likely to be controlled by Democrats for the foreseeable future rather than just one should stand as a lesson to those who demand purity even when it’s suicidal.

And one final note.

When you start seeing people like Chris Christie being attacked for not being conservative enough, you know that the right is in danger of going off the rails. Or at least some parts of it.

Outside the Beltway

Shortly After Major Bush Donor Takes Over MSNBC, Network Selectively Applies Rules To Suspend Olbermann

November 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Earlier today, MSNBC declared that it would be suspending progressive host Keith Olbermann because he violated NBC’s ethics rules by donating to three Democratic candidates for Congress. As many bloggers have noted, conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough has donated to Republican candidates for Congress while promoting the same candidate on air, but has never been disciplined. Moreover, Gawker notes that MSNBC has been exempt from the formal NBC ethics rules for years. It is still a mystery why MSNBC selectively applied NBC’s ethics rules to Olbermann. However, it important to realize that MSNBC has undergone a fundamental change in leadership in the last two months.

Late last year, Comcast — the nation’s largest cable provider and second largest Internet service provider — inked a deal taking over NBC Universal, the parent company of MSNBC. Comcast moved swiftly to reshuffle MSNBC’s top staff. On September 26th of this year, Comcast announced perhaps the most dramatic shift, replacing longtime MSNBC chief Jeff Zucker with Comcast executive Steve Burke. Burke has given generous amounts to both parties — providing cash to outgoing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) as well as to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and other top Republicans. But as Public Citizen has noted, Burke has deep ties to the Republican Party. Public Citizen’s report reveals that Burke served as a key fundraiser to President George Bush, and even served on Bush’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology:

Comcast – the country’s largest provider of cable TV and broadband Internet services – has increased its political giving along with its mergers and acquisitions. CEO Brian Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the 2000 Republican Convention. Comcast Cable President Stephen Burke has raised at least $ 200,000 for Bush’s re-election campaign. […] Comcast’s political giving has increased along with its mergers and acquisitions. The company was a “platinum sponsor” at the 2000 GOP convention, and Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the Philadelphia event. Burke was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology in 2002.

Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices? Historically, Comcast has boosted its profits by buying up various telecommunication and media content companies — instead of providing faster Internet or better services (overall, American broadband services are far slower than in many industrialized nations). Many of these mergers, as Public Citizen and Free Press have reported, have been allowed by regulators because of Comcast’s considerable political muscle. Comcast’s latest regulatory battle has been to oppose Net Neutrality — a rule allowing a free and open Internet — because the company would prefer to have customers pay for preferred online content.

Olbermann has been a strong voice in favor of a free and open Internet. Republicans, on the other hand, have supported the telecommunication industry’s push to radically change the Internet so corporate content producers have the upper hand over start-ups like blogs, independent media, small businesses, etc. As Reuters has reported, the incoming Republican Congress has signaled that it will vigorously side with companies like Comcast against an open Internet.

It is not clear why MSNBC has selectively suspended Olbermann indefinitely without pay — but the move showcases the limits of the corporate media. While modern technology has created a seeming multitude of entertainment and television choices, the reality of corporate media consolidation has resulted in fewer investigative news options and less voices in the media with a critical perspective on powerful business interests. Olbermann has stood out as a voice for working people in a media universe dominated by “reality television” and business lobbyists posing as political pundits. It is unfortunate that Comcast and MSNBC have chosen to suspend him.


DeLay Takes ‘A Little’ Credit In Big GOP Win, Plans Return To Politics After Trial

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose corruption trial began this week in Austin, on Wednesday took a little credit for the Republicans’ takeover of the House Tuesday night.

“Well, I hope I played a little part into it. A lot of the guys that are there now are from Texas came from our redistricting and we gained three more seats in Texas and that’s pretty amazing,” he said. “So what every little bit I had to play, I am very proud of.”

DeLay is charged with money laundering during the 2002 elections. Prosecutors say he used his Texas PAC to funnel $ 190,000 in corporate donations (which are illegal in Texas) through the Republican National Committee and back to several Texas state house candidates. Republicans took back the state house that year, directly leading to DeLay’s successful redistricting plan that put more Texan Republicans in the U.S. House.

His trial began this Monday. It’s expected to last three weeks, and after that, DeLay says he plans to take public his behind-the-scenes role in rebuilding the conservative movement, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

“Once I get this trial off my back, I’ll be more involved,” he said.

At the trial, DeLay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, has argued that the money from corporations was always kept separate from the funds that went to candidates.

“There is proof the corporate funds never came to Texas,” DeGuerin told the judge this week, at a moment when the jury was outside the courtroom.

But Texas Judge Pat Priest rejected the claim, saying separate accounts wouldn’t matter if prosecutors prove that DeLay intended to launder the money.

“I don’t care if you put it in one pocket and took money out of the other pocket,” he said. “Money is absolutely fungible. It’s like beans.”

Several witnesses have been called to the stand, according to local news reports, including former employees of his PAC, such as his daughter Danielle DeLay Garcia. The staffers testified that DeLay didn’t have a major role in the day-to-day operations of the PAC.

The PAC’s former treasurer testified that the PAC regularly took money from corporations, but said they only used it on administrative costs, which is allowed under Texas law.


ObamaCare Takes a Shellacking

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Michael F. Cannon

It wasn’t just the party of ObamaCare or its champion that took a “shellacking” at the polls yesterday.  The law took a shellacking as well.  One pollster reports:

This election was a clear signal that voters do not want President Obama’s health care plan.  Nearly half (45%) of voters say their vote was a message to oppose the President’s plan….

Arizona and Oklahoma passed constitutional amendments designed to block ObamaCare’s individual mandate.  Many new governors either plan to join the 22 states already challenging ObamaCare in court, or to block its implementation in other ways.  Congressional Republicans appear determined to use every tool in their arsenal to repeal it.

President Obama is striking a conciliatory note, saying he is open to “tweaks:”

If the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our healthcare system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster, more effective reform… I am happy to consider some of those ideas.

There is room to doubt his sincerity.  The Washington Post has reported that when President Obama begins a sentence with, Let me be clear, it is “a signal that what follows will be anything but.”  Obama has likewise claimed open-mindedness and flexibility when his behavior exhibited the opposite qualities.  (Remember how last year’s White House summit on health care was all about gathering “the best ideas.”)

Yet with a firm conviction that facts and science and argument still matter, I resubmit to President Obama this Cato Policy Analysis: Yes, Mr. President: A Free Market Can Fix Health Care.  In fact, a free market is the only thing that will.  But a reasonably free market is impossible with ObamaCare still on the books.

I doubt the president will read it.  But Republicans should.  They seem pretty solid on Repeal.  They’re weaker on Replace.

ObamaCare Takes a Shellacking is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog

Cato @ Liberty

New Republican revolution – GOP takes House in landslide; Dems cling to Senate

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Washington (CNN) – Republicans took voters’ distress over the stubborn jobless rate and a stalled economy and turned it into a sweeping takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, while Democrats were able to hang onto their majority in the Senate, though in smaller numbers.

With results still coming in, the extent of the Republican takeover of the 435-member House was still to be determined. But CNN projected that Republicans would win at least 60 more House seats than they currently hold to wipe out the Democratic majority of the past four years.

CNN Political Ticker

REPUBLICAN MARK KIRK Wins US Senate Election in Illinois … Takes Obama’s Old Seat, GOP +5

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Republican Mark Kirk has been declared the winner in the Illinois US Senate race. With 99% of the precincts reporting, Kirk has called the winner over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. The former seat of President Barack Obama has been flipped Republican. This loss is going to leave a mark.

Republican Mark Kirk is NBC’s projected winner of the Illinois Senate race, snatching the seat that former Sen. Barack Obama held in Illinois.

Kirk defeated Obama ally Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias struggled to overcome reports that his family’s failed bank made loans to known criminals. The president and the first lady both made stops in the state to try to boost the Democrat.

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Scared Monkeys

DeMint Takes Aim at Party Insiders

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), writing in the Wall Street Journal: “Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.”

“Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the
Washington Post earlier this year: ‘As soon as they get here, we need to
co-opt them.’”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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