David Kirkpatrick

May 27, 2010

Sestak-Gate

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:25 pm

This is some real inside baseball, but the issue is beginning to really percolate amongst some of the more fact-challenged areas on the right. The “issue” is did the White House offer Joe Sestak a White House position in exchange for quitting the Pennsylvania US Senate Democratic primary against Arlen Specter (a primary Sestak ended up winning), and if the Obama administration did so was that act illegal.

Jon Chait has been doing a bang-up job covering this “scandal” here, here and here (and I probably missed some older posts, that’s just the last three days.)

From the last link, here’s Chait’s very concise summation on why this is a complete non-starter and is being trumped up by those who are either very fact-challenged, or maybe just simply disingenuous:

I’ll keep saying this: A job offer is not a quid pro quo to get somebody out of a race. It is getting somebody out of a race. Accepting one job means you cannot run for another. It happens all the time — the White House appointed John McHugh Army Secretary in part to get him out of New York’s 23rd Congressional District. It offered Judd Gregg a cabinet slot in order to get him out of the Senate. This is completely routine, neither illegal no immoral nor especially unusual. Can’t we wait to appoint a special prosecutor until there’s at least some possibility of underlying illegal behavior?

The constant hammering on demonstrably false or outright wrong “facts” from quite an embarrassing many on the right is what has really turned me off of the GOP and right wing commentary over the last year or so. We need honest political debate in this country right now, not attacks built on misinformation or lies designed purely to score political points with a dwindling base. I thought the Republican Party was on something of an upswing this year, but clearly it’s still just thrashing about in death throes. Any success this November might be the worst possible thing for the long-term viability of the GOP brand and influence.

April 30, 2009

The GOP — rhetoric v. reality

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:33 am

Looks like Specter’s defection has created a certain level of soul searching within the Republican Party.

Here’s one thing I find almost comical about this process:

Patrick J. Toomey, a former head of the Club for Growth whose primary challenge to Mr. Specter led the senator to bow out in the face of what he thought was a probable defeat, said Republicans should be open to a “wide range of opinions on a wide range of issues.”

“But I think fundamental common ground that the vast majority of Republicans share is the belief in limited government, freedom and personal responsibility,” Mr. Toomey said.

If the GOP actually stood for those three “shared beliefs,” it wouldn’t be in the position it finds itself right now. You can blame it on the brand, on the sputtery right-wing media or any other number of things, but those three ideals sell very easily to most independent voters and independents do not like the current incarnation of the GOP. The Republican reality is pretty bad and the brand is much, much worse. A huge problem is the brand has taken over the party and there seems to be no real effort from the inside to right the ship.

I don’t see any easy answers and I still think the GOP could honestly fall by the wayside as a theocratic stump of a party and find itself replaced with something new that actually believes, lives and most importantly votes, those three shared beliefs — pretty much summed up with the two governing tenets of small government and civil liberties.

Here’s another bit from the first link:

The question of how the party should respond to Mr. Specter’s departure was the main subject of a Senate Republican lunch on Wednesday. The party can be a “big tent,” said Senator John Ensign of Nevada, “but here are some core principles: fiscal responsibility, more personal responsibility, looking for a smaller, more effective government.”

Mr. Graham scoffed at the notion that the party was suffering because it was not conservative enough.

“Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough?” he said. “No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”

A new note to the GOP — right now no one is buying that the core principles of the party is fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility after the Bush 43 years. And its pretty hard to back away from those failed eight years when just about no one in the party fought back against the drunken sailor spending, unbelievable government encroachment into personal behavior and massive expansion of the federal government’s bureaucratic structure.

Hypocrisy doesn’t play all that well when it’s this naked and the GOP doesn’t seem to be learning the lesson.

April 28, 2009

GOP rump happy to lose senate seat

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:49 pm

Nothing from the bitter fringe of what used to be the Grand Old Party — and is now pretty much old, cranky folks who don’t even understand the meaning of political conservatism — would surprise me at this point.

The overall reaction to Arlen Specter switching sides of the aisle? Happy to see that backstabbing RINO go.

Never mind he gives the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority, and a full 60 vote majority as soon as Franken is seated from Minnesota. And for anyone who doesn’t get that yet, Franken won. Coleman is spinning his wheels, but he’s not getting that Senate seat. Not by the courts, and certainly not by a new election now that that Minnesota public really, really dislikes him.

David Frum laments the loss of Specter, but check out the comments at NewMajority on his post. This is GREAT day for the Republican Party! Er, folks, not so much.

From the link (and do scroll down to the comments):

The Specter defection is too severe a catastrophe to qualify as a “wake-up call.” His defection is the thing we needed the wake-up call to warn us against! For a long time, the loudest and most powerful voices in the conservative world have told us that people like Specter aren’t real Republicans – that they don’t belong in the party. Now he’s gone, and with him the last Republican leverage within any of the elected branches of government.

For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?

Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.

Here’s one sample comment from “conservative08:”

Good riddance to this clown. And any other “Republicans” that vote like moderate Democrats. These out of touch, crusty beltway types are exactly the reason Republicans have lost the past two elections.

Someone who voted for a trillion dollar stimulus package is somehow the answer for a Republican resurgence? Give me a break.

He’s a joke. And so are so many of the other losers who have spent like Democrats. Bye.

Um, spent like Democrats? How about Bush 43’s eight years of fiscal conservatism. Oh yeah, that didn’t happen and practically no one on the right let out one tiny peep in protest over the entire two terms. Hypocrisy is ugly, and very sad coming from a dying political party.

Arlen Specter switches parties

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:44 pm

The Pennsylvania senator leaves the GOP and doesn’t even simply become an independent. That says a lot about just how toxic the Republican Party has become.

It truly is getting down to the rump, and … you know, I’m not going to make a bad joke about rumps and toxicity right here. You can supply your own punchline with that softball setup.

From the link:

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania’s economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

February 2, 2008

Super Bowl XLII preview

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:06 pm

Here we are a bit more than twenty four hours before kickoff and all is excitement and questions.

Will the game be another thriller like these teams came up with in the last game of the season? Will the Giants, and Eli, be overawed at the sheer spectacle? Is the current line of New England by 12 points to high? Too low? And about the Patriots, is Tom Brady’s ankle ready to handle full speed contact?

Here’s some of the facts. The line opened at the Pats by 13 1/2 and has only drifted down to the Pats by 12. The over/under is 54. When the ball is finally kicked off sometime after 6 pm EST tomorrow there’s a decent chance of rain, and the temperature should start in the high-50s and drop a bit from there as the game goes on.

I’ve actually managed to avoid a lot of overwrought hype these last couple of weeks, but a few things made it through the stranglehold this political cycle has on my imagination. (more…)

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