Tag Archive: conservatives

Labels

Democrat. Republican. Liberal. Conservative. Green, Libertarian, Tea Party.

These are labels that the mainstream media apply to politicians. Sometimes they are appropriate. But most of the time they fit like a pair of baggy pants on an anorexic supermodel.

Take our governor. What label fits Chris Christie? Certainly, he’s a Republican, isn’t he? He’s the outgoing chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, delivered a self-serving keynote speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, and is a top-tier contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

But not all agree. At least by their definition of “Republican.”  

Brat, A Self-Made Phony Yet An Honest Representative of the Right

Hypocrisy, exaggeration and deception are part and parcel of democratic politics, but all lies, I have learned, are not equal, nor should they be received that way. Some lies are much more deceptive, cunning and misleading than others, as are the liars that tell them. A good example is currently winding its way through the web and blogosphere, and it concerns the current darling of the Tea Party, David Brat.

Brat’s unexpected primary victory against Republican Party Bigwig/Congressman Eric Cantor is huge news, and rightfully so. As a Tea Party favorite, Brat’s victory serves as a warning to more moderate Republicans that so-called free market, laissez-faire Tea Party values still hold credence with Republican voters.

The Tea Party and its Republican supporters live in a sort of “way we never were” cloud where America is (or should be) rightfully a white, Christian country comprised of English-speaking hard workers who, in their noble, honest self-sufficiency are not in need, nor desire, any welfare-state handouts like Medicare, Social Security or almost anything else state-sponsored or supported. They see themselves as the once marginalized but now awakened  “Silent Majority” whose time to stand up – unapologetically so – for American values and identity has arrived. According to Tea Partiers and many Republicans, people who get a “boost” from government programs are cheating an otherwise fair and square system which rewards hard work and honesty with The Good Life.

So wasn’t I surprised when I read that in his official campaign biography, Brat makes an astounding claim:

“[Brat] tested his rural values against the intellectual elite while at Princeton and against the powerful elite at American University.”

Okay, so from a reasonable reader’s perspective, the assertion here is immediately understood. Brat attended college as a sort of noble underdog undergraduate at Princeton University. The image is quite clear of a young conservative man standing up for good American Christian values in the profane, ivy covered halls of Princeton University…perhaps passionately defending the rights of the unborn against the Abortionist professors of that esteemed institution. Perhaps he made an entire U.S. government class gasp when he publicly proclaimed his stance against affirmative action or immigration or on some other hot button issue. So here’s the kicker:

It never happened.

Brat never gained admission to or graduated from Princeton University. He lied. He misrepresented himself and tried to convince his readers, supporters and others that he earned something that he did not.  

In reality, Brat apparently – though I still think this needs to be confirmed – attended Princeton Theological Seminary. Is the seminary geographically located in the town of Princeton? Why yes, it is. Is it known by anyone, past or present, as being part of Princeton University? No, not by a long shot. In fact, its students and graduates either call it by name or refer to it as “PTS.”

This is no small omission, and he shouldn’t get a break on it. America is indeed the land of fudged resumes, and of people reinventing themselves – sometimes twice over. But what we have here is a candidate who represents a movement that, like I mentioned earlier, is obsessed with merit and straightforwardness, and Brat, in his claims, honors neither. He’s a fraud and wannabe. His claims are an insult not just to Princeton alumni, but rather, to any and all of us who ever worked and earned a four-year college degree anywhere. Its especially stinging for those of us burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in college loans that the Tea Party demands we repay regardless of the cost to our families and the national economy. He’s a fake, a phony. He’s pathetic.

But curiously enough, I will concede that Brat is a fine representative of the entire Tea Party movement, and that of the Republican Party as well. Because if you do really believe that you’ve earned everything in your life, and that you owe nothing to your society or nation or community, then you’re about as much as a hypocrite as he is. The truth is that most if not all Americans have received immense benefits, both directly and indirectly, from the various levels of government over the course of their lifetimes. Whether it was attending public school, driving on an interstate highway, breathing in relatively clean air, gaining a benefit from an unadulterated medication, cashing a Social Security/Medicare check or sending an email – we have all proven to be welfare kings and queens. We have all advanced at some point in our lives from the imperfect largesse of the Federal and State governments.

And you don’t need a Princeton degree to figure that one out.  

At CPAC: Awesome Empty Chairs & Awesome Chris Christie

Yesterday, the same day as Gov. Christie’s speech was delivered to a standing-O but plenty of empty seats (as Paul Mulshine notes), John Hudak, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and editor of their Fix Gov blog made this observation:

But when did the room fill up? Right afterward, as Hudak notes, when that panel ran over and into Wayne LaPierre’s time.

And that about says it all for CPAC. Except for that New Jersey  governor they gave 15 minutes of stage time to yesterday. One of the things Christie did do, in a speech that never mentioned his scandals, dropping polls or scrutiny of his Sandy spending, was to mock income inequality as a legitimate issue. While 24.7% of his constituents are living in poverty. And that about says it all for Gov. Chris Christie.

Hat/tip to Daily Kos for Hudak’s first tweet.  

Chris Christie uses the working poor as bargaining chips

Bill Holland is executive director of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, based in Newark. Promoted by Rosi.

Cross-posted with the Press of Atlantic City.

Last week – on Tax Day – Gov. Chris Christie took the opportunity to veto a bill that would have ended his 3-year-old tax increase on 500,000 of New Jersey’s working families – including 23,000 in Atlantic County. Instead, the governor has chosen to yet again hold their livelihoods hostage to secure a reckless tax cut for residents making as much as $400,000 a year.

Half a million hardworking New Jersey families rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. The refundable tax credit helps offset the high cost of living for low-income families and gives adults an incentive to work instead of relying on welfare or other public programs. And it’s been championed by conservatives – including Ronald Reagan, who called it “the best anti-poverty, best pro-family policy, best job-creating measure to come out of Congress.”

But in early 2010, Christie slashed the EITC, essentially raising taxes on 500,000. He cut the state credit by 20 percent, costing some families up to a week’s pay. And while he claimed raising taxes on the working poor was necessary, he allowed tax rates on the richest 1 percent to drop that same year.

Headline of the Day: Sitting on a Couch

Well, my plan today was to post for your consideration a clear winning in the unintended-irony sweepstakes, this item from the Hunterdon County Democrat as our Headline of the Day:

“Flemington Borough Council meeting a day later; special closed session is on openness in government”

Christie does not apologize for calling Navy SEAL "idiot" and adds "jerk"But then THIS trumped the hell out of it:  

Gov. Christie: Nation turning into ‘people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check’

After you’re finished recoiling from this headline, for the sheer assault of your governor’s buy-in of the GOP thought-bubble that most of us are sitting on our asses waiting for government cheese to rain from the sky:  

1. Pay no attention to the guys in the boardroom chairs waiting for their next tax loophole: With his corporate welfare buddies, Christie’s in a shaky position to lecture anybody on entitlements.

2. Thanks Gov, but you killed my job: Some of the workers Christie paints as lazy would have good jobs right now if he hadn’t pulled the plug on the ARC Tunnel, a public works project with documented need, the cost of which independent congressional investigators now find (surprise!) Christie exaggerated as he was building his national rep.

3. Really? You said this at a George W. Bush ‘conservative conference’ Conservative? Let’s see. Doubled federal spending inside of 8 years. Privatized war (including the one based on a WMD lie) to the tune of billions and billions of our money to his buddies. TARP bank bailout requiring little if any responsibility back to the public. Whatever Christie says to a gathering of people still impressed by George W. Bush should be held in contempt.

Neither Ledger’s Megan DeMarco, who wrote the story under the headline or the desk editors who probably supplied it used it to mislead the readers about what Gov. Christie said. THAT’s what makes this so alarming.

Republicans reject Scott Garrett’s nutty budget

Today, Scott Garrett asked the House of Representatives to replace Rep. Ryan’s already extreme budget with the nutty Republican Study Committee (RSC) budget, which basically does away with most government programs. It’s an unconvincing attempt to make Ryan look reasonable and show the conservative purity of the supporters. Ezra Klein comments on the hilarious results when the vote came:

…a bunch of Democrats – 172 of them, to be exact – either voted “present” or, more sneakily, switched from “no” to “present.” As the number of “no” votes dwindled, the confused Republican realized their “yes” votes – votes that were friendly expressions of conservative solidarity rather than an actual effort to pass the RSC’s plan – were becoming a majority. The result, as Brian Beutler says, was “chaos” on the House floor, as Republicans, once they realized what was going on, rushed to switch their “yes” votes to “no” votes to make sure the RSC budget didn’t actually pass.

The resulting 111-112 vote is very entertaining, as former “moderate” Leonard Lance joined Scott Garrett as the only New Jersey Republicans to join the super-extreme right. Does he anticipate a primary with Garrett? Has he given up on a general election?  

The Republican Plan to Abolish Medicare

Living down here in the Philadelphia media market, we were bombarded with misleading 2010 ads attacking Democrats for “cutting Medicare.” In reality, they had reformed the privatized Medicare Advantage program dreamed up by Republicans, which managed to cost more to the government, not less as promised by conservatives. But the ads worked because seniors love their government Medicare plans.

Conservative Republicans are now revealing their true plans as they have proposed to abolish Medicare for everyone under 55, and replace it with a system of voucher designed to not keep up with inflation. This is now the moment of truth for Democrats. Nancy Pelosi was right in 2005 when she revealed her schedule to negotiate with Bush on Social Security: “Never. Is never good enough for you?

There’s plenty of issues the Democrats disagree about, but Medicare isn’t one of them. If the public wants to abolish Medicare, let them vote Republican. I say the 2010 campaign shows the public wants just the opposite.

Rush Holt understands:

Budgets are moral documents. They reflect, in dollars and cents, our real priorities. Republican priorities are clear: abandoning the most vulnerable in our society by destroying Medicare and Medicaid in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.  

Frank Lautenberg understands:

This budget is more proof that Tea Party extremists have toppled the Republican House leadership and completely taken over.  The House Republican Tea Partiers started with cuts to Head Start, education and medical research, and now they want to privatize Medicare.  If you are a child seeking an education or an older American seeking health care,the Tea Party budget is toxic to your future.

Every other Democrat must oppose this plan, and every Republican needs to be put on record that they plan to abolish the Medicare program if they get the Senate and Presidency.  

Update: Frank Pallone reminded me that Medicaid is at issue too:

“Converting Medicaid into block grants is one of the worst health care proposals to be presented to Congress in years”

(Almost) LIVE from the CPAC 2011 Conference in Washington, DC

Sigh. – promoted by Rosi

I am here at the CPAC conference in Washington DC, and had the opportunity to see Mitt Romney speak this morning. CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference – is as crucial a gathering of neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, Tea Party people and rank-and-file Republicans as the Netroots Nation conference is for our side. The place is crammed with Republican presidential hopefuls and I’m enjoying walking around talking to people who probably disagree with me on just about everything.

I have met a large contingent from NJ, and got a chance to interview some of them. Will post video later.

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