Maybe it’s time to just shout down the rabid right

 Members of the gallery cheer and chant as the Texas Senate tries to bring an abortion bill to a vote as time expires, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Amid the deafening roar of abortion rights supporters, Texas Republicans huddled around the Senate podium to pass new abortion restrictions, but whether the vote was cast before or after midnight is in dispute. If signed into law, the measures would close almost every abortion clinic in Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Members of the gallery cheer and chant as the Texas Senate tries to bring an abortion bill to a vote as time expires in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Opponents of a push by the rabid right in Texas to impose one of the harshest anti-abortion measures in the country won their right Tuesday because, basically, they shouted down the bill.

A lot of things happened to drive the bill to defeat but one of the most important tactics was the fact that the opposition created so much chaos with loud and virulent protests that Republicans who want to push Texas deeper and deeper into dark ages couldn’t get their act together to put everything in place by a needed deadline and the bill failed.

It’s ironic that the opposition used a tactic often deployed by the rabid right: Noise to muddle the issue.

On one hand it’s good to see the tabled turned on the rowdy right.

On the other, it’s sad to see how our government has descended so deeply into shouting, hyperbole and shrillness.

Substance vanished long ago in the American political system, replaced by screaming and senseless behavior that neither advances a cause or provides a consensus necessary for real success.

One look at the poster children of the rabid right shows a complete dependence on hysteria that is devoid of reality or substantial rhetoric.

Tea party events are filled with those who dress up as Uncle Sam or revolutionary war patriots who too often wave signs with racist slogans or threats of violence.

Those on the right flock to “stars” who offer little substance from their hyperbolic ravings:  Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann or Rand Paul.

Tuesday’s display in Texas may have shown that the only real way to deal with the rabid nature of the right-wing is to shout them down.

Sad, but perhaps true.

It may have come to this.


Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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You want answers to America’s problems? Sorry, none here

In an upside-down nation, maybe this is the how the flag should look.
In an upside-down nation, maybe this is the how the flag should look.

Odd that when one takes time to point out the many problems that face this nation, a handful of miscreants always rises up and starts screaming about how it’s bad to say America is in trouble unless you have an answer to the problems that we face.

Sorry folks.  No answers here.  We report problems.  We cannot, and will not, offer up phony solutions.  The politicians and those who claim they are saving America are too busy offering fake answers to questions they don’t even understand.

For the past two Presidential elections, we heard often from the small but extremely loud and often angry populace who, for reasons only they claimed to understand, believed that now former Congressman Ron Paul was the answer to America’s woes.

What these brain-dead minions never understood was that Paul ran for President so he could raise millions from the gullible believers of lost causes and then used that money after the elections to fund fake foundations whose only purpose is to keep his family employed and in the chips.

Now those same believers in hopeless populist fanatics are flocking to Rand Paul — son of Ron — and claiming that he is the savior they seek.

Those close to Paul say he is a self-serving egomaniac who, like his father, sees populism as a way to get rich off those stupid enough to write checks to his lame causes. Rand Paul’s only real populist cause is his own ego and he is a legend in his own mind.

Politics, unfortunately, is full of populist con-artists who see quick fame and even quicker riches in pulling off an elaborate con on a gullible electorate.  Sarah Palin did it for a while after washing out as both a vice presidential candidate and an Alaska governorship she dumped before her term ended.  It took Fox News a while to see through her con and send her packing.

Now Michele Bachmann is trying to follow the same route by leaving Congress before her various misdeeds catch up with her and hitting the speaking and writing circuit to appeal to a vapid nation of celebrity followers.

When you look at the current crop of wannabes on both sides of the political fence, you cannot find a leader among any of them.

In Washington, leadership took a holiday a long time ago.

So did morality.

And ethics.

And common sense.

And reality.

Want to solve America’s problems?

Maybe we could start by cleaning house.

How about hard and fast term limits?  No more than three House terms of two years each and one Senate term.  Obviously we don’t need Senators with more than one term of experience anyway.  Barack Obama was elected with less than one term under his belt.  Now Republicans want to replace him with either Rand Paul or Marco Rubio — both first term Senators.

On second thought, forget that.  Why replace one failure with another?

So what’s the answer?

Damned if we know.

It may be out there somewhere.

Or it may not exist.

Maybe that’s the real problem.


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Michele Bachmann calling it quits in Congress

Michelle Bachmann: Bye
 Bachmann: Bye

Tea Party centerfold Michele Bachmann is leaving Congress.

The Minnesota right-winger announced Wednesday she will not seek a fifth term in the House but would not elaborate on why she is leaving.

Some think Bachmann, who has ventured off into strange — and voter alienating — territory by aligning herself with tea party extremists and who also faces ethics questions over her questionable 2012 Presidential campaign, could have faced a serious challenge for re-election.

If that is the reason, she is not admitting it.  She claims neither her re-election chances or the ethics investigation had anything to do with the decision to quit but she also is not giving any other reason for throwing in the towel.

In a video posted early Wednesday, Bachmann said:

After a great deal of thought and deliberation, I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term. After serious consideration, I am confident that this is the right decision.

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Failed ‘fiscal conservative’ GOP Presidential candidates face millions in unpaid campaign debts

Failed Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: Living large off other people’s money.
(AP Photo)

Failed Republican primary candidates for President — who preached fiscal responsibility throughout their aborted runs for office — face millions of dollars of debts from their now shuttered campaigns.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich‘s campaign owes creditors close to $5 million, according to his Sept. 30 filing with the Federal Election Campaign.

Gingrich, who used private planes and luxury hotels throughout his failed bid for the Presidency, managed to pile on another 50 grand in debt after his campaign ended, the reports reveal.

“Newt live large on other people’s money,” GOP strategist Al Waring tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “That has always been his style.”

The overdue bills from the Gingrich campaign bills include fees for advertising, ballot fees, event expenses, consulting, legal fees, telemarketing, travel and web hosting.   Gingrich also stiffed some states when his checks for ballot fees bounced.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, another self-described “fiscal conservative,” owes $1.13 million.  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is $607,218 in the hole and Hermain Cain still owes $450,000 in unpaid travel expenses and loans.

In contrast, Texas Congressman Ron Paul ended his third unsuccessful Presidential campaign with a $2 million surplus which, is Paul follows his practice from previous campaign, will go into the foundations that support his various programs and employs members of his family.

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Political candidates preach financial responsibility while stiffing creditors

GOP Presidential wannabes like Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich may preach financial responsibility on the campaign trail but they are deadbeats when it comes to paying their campaign bills.

Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, owes $4.85 million in unpaid campaign debts.  Santorum, a former Senator, has stilled creditors for $1.69 million to date, according to campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Huntsman wrote a check for $1.5 million from his personal funds to cover some of his campaign debts after angry vendors hired lawyers and threatened to sue.  He stills owes more to others.

Bachmann owes more than $935,000.

A lot of the unpaid bills are held by small businesses who GOP candidates claim they represent.

Republicans aren’t the only ones who stiff those who provided services.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton still owes millions in debts from her failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.  Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, won two terms in the White House but still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars from both winning campaigns.

“Campaigns often stiff creditors,” one Republican consultant told Capitol Hill Blue.

Normally, the small business owners end up holding the bag.  Larger vendors, like telephone companies and airlines, demand huge cash deposits to hold against future bills.  Even then, campaigns run short.  Early in his 2008 Presidential bid, Republican contender John McCain had to make emergency phone calls when his campaign plane was grounded for unpaid bills.

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Romney picks up endorsement from Bachmann: Santorum next?

Michele Bachmann campaigns with Mitt Romney (REUTERS/Mark Makela)

As Mitt Romney cruises towards the inevitable – the GOP Presidential nomination – the former Massachusetts governor continues to pick up endorsements from those who once opposed him and called him names.

Michelle Bachmann became the latest to throw her support behind the presumptive nominee, calling Romney “the last chance we have to keep America from going over a cliff.”

“For all of America, this is a very simple proposition this November: President Barack Obama or President Mitt Romney,” Bachmann said while campaigning with Romney in Virginia. “Very easy.”

What is unclear is whether or not Bachmann’s endorsement will bring along tea party Republicans who backed her short and unsuccessful Presidential run.

Some conservatives may be waiting to see if another former contender – Rick Santorum – throws his support behind Romney and if that nod is enthusiastic.

GOP insiders say Santorum will endorse Romney but they are not sure if it will be a strong one or a tepid hand-off like former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich issued earlier this week.

Santorum wants concessions from Romney – including strong language on social issues in the GOP platform and will make his case in a meeting with his former opponent.

“Santorum wants strong positions against abortion, among other things, in the platform,” a former Santorum aide tells Capitol Hill Blue. “His endorsement is coming but it will come at a price.”

Romney aides aren’t sure Romney is prepared to pay the tab. He rejected demands from Gingrich for help in retiring campaign debt and a chance to speak at the GOP convention in Tampa. Gingrich, in return, toned down his endorsement.

“Santorum needs to be careful,” says a long-time GOP consultant. “He might have a future in the party if he plays his cards right but Romney holds all the aces.”

And while Romney gains more endorsements, new polls showed him tied with incumbent President Barack Obama in two of three battleground states: Ohio and Florida.

Romney advisers feel their candidate has momentum and can continue to gain ground on Obama if he moves to the middle and doesn’t alienate voters by kowtowing to the extreme right-wing fringe of the GOP.

“It’s a balancing act,” says a GOP strategist, “and it’s a delicate one.”

Copyright © 2012 Capitol Hill Blue

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Gingrich falls to third as Paul takes poll lead in Iowa

Ron Paul: Now a frontrunner in Iowa

Mirroring the fate of other frontrunners in the roller coaster ride to the GOP nomination, last week’s frontrunner is this week’s also ran as former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich falls from first to third in the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has a narrow lead over Mitt Romney — 23 to 20 percent — with 14 percent for Gingrich.  Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry tie for fourth with 10 percent while Jon Huntsman trails a distant fifth at 4 percent and Gary Johnson brings up the rear with 2 percent.

When you factor in the poll’s margin of error, Paul and Romney are essentially tied.

“Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding,” PPP said in a press release for the latest poll.

“Gingrich’s campaign in the latest sinking in a political war where many ships have been lost in a sea of changing voter attitudes,” a GOP consultant told Capitol Hill Blue.  “Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the frontrunners now.”

Reports PPP:

Paul’s base of support continues to rely on some unusual groups for a Republican contest.  Among voters under 45 he’s at 33% to 16% for Romney and 11% for Gingrich.  He’s really going to need that younger than normal electorate because with seniors Romney’s blowing him out 31-15 with Gingrich coming in 2nd at 18%. Paul is also cleaning up 35-14 with the 24% of voters who identify as either Democrats or independents. Romney is actually ahead 22-19 with GOP voters.  Young people and non-Republicans are an unusual coalition to hang your hat on in Iowa, and it will be interesting to see if Paul can actually pull it off.

Romney’s vote share is up 4 points from a week ago to 20% from it previous 16% standing. His favorability numbers have improved a little bit as well from 48/44 to 49/40. One thing Romney really has going for him is more room for growth than Paul.  Among voters who say they’re not firmly committed to their current candidate choice, Romney is the second choice for 19% compared to 17% for Perry, 15% for Bachmann, and only 13% for Paul.   It’s particularly worth noting that among Gingrich- who seems more likely to keep falling than turn it around- voters, he’s the second choice of 30% compared to only 11% for Paul.

In addition to having more support right now Paul also has firmer support (73% solidly committed) than Romney does (68% solidly committed.) But at the same time Romney appears to have more room for growth, which could allow him to overtake Paul in the last two weeks.

Two other notes on Romney: he’s now winning the electability primary- 25% of voters think he would have the best chance to defeat Obama compared to 17% for Gingrich and 16% for Paul. And he also leads Paul 24-18 among voters who watched the Sioux City debate on Thursday night, confirming general perception that he had the stronger performance.

Gingrich has dropped 13 percentage points from a high of 27 percent just two weeks ago.  Like other GOP frontrunners, he surged to the front as the GOP flavor of the month and then faded.

“People started taking a closer look at Gingrich and they didn’t like what they saw,” says Iowa GOP activist Carlene Wilson.

With two weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the race is shaping up as a two-man contest between Paul and Romney but — given the volatility of the GOP electorate this year — that could change.

“With six candidates in double digits there are still a lot of different things that could happen the final two weeks in Iowa,” PPP says. “But it looks like Paul and Romney have emerged as the clear front runners.”

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Debate, polls leave Gingrich in trouble

Newt's in trouble (AP)

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came out of the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses bruised and battered but still standing.

But the beating he took at the hands of Republican rivals Thursday night, coupled with signs of slippage in polls, suggests the current GOP frontrunner has peaked and now starts the downhill slide that has marked the rise and fall of others who held court at the top of the crowded pack of candidates.

The first hour of the Fox News debate proved particularly tough for Gingrich as opponents battered him for fat cat contracts with Freddie Mac, ethical lapses during his political career and a long history of multiple marriages and extra-marital affairs.

He rebounded some in the second hour but viewers of the debate probably came away with more questions about the man currently at the top of the GOP heap.

Gingrich took a pounding from Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul and he sought once again to cast himself as a national celebrity on the world stage — a strange defense that might not play well with his target audiences.

The debate beating, however, is just a postscript to Gingrich’s problem in the polls.  Rasmussen’s Poll this week shows the former frontrunner now trailing Mitt Romney by three percent while a Public Policy survey puts him in a statistical dead heat with Ron Paul.

Gingrich has slipped four points in the RealClearPolitics roundup of polls.  Gingrich’s favorability among GOP voters has dropped 20 points in the past week.

“The slide has started,” a worried Gingrich strategist tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “In this election year, once a Republican frontrunner has started to slide, it’s over.”

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Ron Paul: God wants small government and no Fed

Ron Paul

In Ron Paul‘s view of the world, God wants limited government and elimination of the Federal Reserve.

That’s right.  The twice-failed Presidential candidate — once as a Libertarian and later as a Republican — says he finds his anti-government beliefs rooted in scripture, not politics.

While some might find it a stretch to see God as a strict Constitutionalist, Paul finds a way to link most of his beliefs to his Christian faith.

“Ron Paul is, first and foremost, a right-wing religious zealot,” a long-time GOP political consultant tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “That is key to his hardcore, almost cult-like followers.”

According to Chris Moody at The Ticket, a close look at Paul’s campaign will find it littered with Christian conservatives and right-wing religious activists. His Iowa campaign director, Michael Heath, came from the anti-gay Christian Civic League of Maine, which fought against adding sexual orientation to the state’s human right act.

Paul has a long history of opposing gay marriage.  Moody also cites The Iowa Poll, conducted by the Des Moines Register, which found 17 percent feel Paul is “the most socially conservative candidate” in the upcoming caucuses.  Only Michelle Bachmann polls higher among the right wing.

Paul hopes his extreme right-wing positions play well in Iowa where 64 percent of likely voters oppose gay marriage and abortion.

Yet while Paul polls well on those hot button issues, it is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich — who is considered the most “socially conservative” by just 10 percent in the recent Iowa Poll — who leads the polls in Iowa.

Why?  Because while Paul courts the right with his right-wing stands on gay rights and abortion, he runs counter to those who want Constitutional amendments to enforce those views.

Family Leader, a leading conservative group in Iowa, removed Paul’s name from a list of candidates for endorsement.

Family Leader boss Bob Vander Platts, says the group sees no reason to support him.

“He’s right on the sanctity of human life but he’s wrong when he believes it is a states’ rights issue,” Vander Platts says.  “Such important issues should not be left up to the states.”

In debates and interviews, Paul quotes the bible as foundations for his economic policies and conservative beliefs, Moody notes.

(Editor’s Note: The original version of this article did not include proper attribution to source material.  It has been edited to reflect that.)

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Gallup: Gingrich surges, Romney fades, Paul drops

Newt Gingrich: Now a solid frontrunner

The latest Gallup daily track poll shows former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich surging further ahead of previous frontrunner Mitt Romney while Ron Paul fades to a distant third and into a virtual tie with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Gingrich has 37 percent in the nationwide poll and Romney 15 points behind at 22 percent.  Paul slips badly, down to eight percent while Perry has seven percent and Bachmann six.

“At the moment, we’re looking at a two-man race,” a veteran GOP political operative told Capitol Hill Blue Tuesday. “That could change after Iowa but at the moment this race belongs to Newt and Mitt and everyone else is a spectator.”

Just a week ago, Paul supporters felt confident their candidate could take Iowa but Gingrich’s surge comes at the Texas Congressman’s expense and his numbers are suffering in New Hampshire as well.

Gingrich appears poised to capture the Iowa caucuses, could pull an upset in New Hampshire, and has a solid leader in South Carolina.  Even a second-place finish in New Hampshire could keep Gingrich in the running if he captures South Carolina.

“Newt may be this election season’s John McCain,” says the political operative. “Another candidate presumed dead in the summer rises from the ashes to become the nominee.  Of course, we all know what happened to McCain in the general election.”

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