Tag: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2014

For seven years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:

2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez

2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden

2009: Mike Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.

2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters.

2011: Nancy Pelosi, Republican Presidential Field, Occupy Wall Street, Anthony Weiner, the Eurozone.

2012: The Culture Warriors, Unions, The Poll Unskewers, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, MSNBC

2013: Healthcare.gov, the Platinum Coin, the Shutdown Caucus, the National park Service, Fiscal Cliff Panic Mongers.

For this year, I picked:

Jonathan Gruber: #3 was in the lead most of the year. Then #2 took over earlier this month. But the millionaire consultant from MIT has to take the top prize now. The thing about Gruber is not that he made comments that support Halbig. It’s not that he helped create Obamacare. It’s not even that he called the voters stupid. It’s that he revealed the ugly reality that undergirds of much of the progressive movement in this country: the belief that Americans are stupid, that leaders are wise and that the latter must lead the former to good choices through deception, obfuscation and coercion. The most common thing I read on liberal message boards after Grubergate was “Hey, he’s right!” There is a large section of the Left Wing that thinks we need to be ruled by a technocratic elite. Gruber pulled back the veil. And that he looked like a horse’s ass into the bargain was just gravy.

Lamenting Democrats: In the wake of yet another electoral shellacking, the professional whining class went into overdrive, trying to find something, anything to blame for their loss. Random articles about science topics would start with lamenting that evil Republicans were taking over the Senate. Robert Reich screamed that Republicans might use reconciliation to do stuff (reconciliation being a legitimate tactic up until November 3). A thousand articles sprang up about “how to talk to your crazy right-wing uncle/parents/cousin/neighbor/imaginary friend at Thanksgiving about Issue X” (hint: don’t).

I’ve been disappointed by elections. But I hope I never get to the point where the results of an election make me gnash my teeth and rend my garments in such hilarious fashion.

Barack Obama: The only reason his approval ratings aren’t at record lows is because of mindless Democrat loyalty. The economy continues to improve despite the Republicans rejecting every “jobs bill” he proposes. His party got crushed in the election. And his response to this was to … implement immigration reform through executive action (polls show Americans support the policy, but oppose the means). His White House is also becoming famous for what are called “bad optics” and would be called scandalous if Bush were doing it: fund-raising while the Ukraine is in turmoil, having a huge dinner while Ferguson is burning, golfing right after a press conference on an ISIS beheading. He has earned the low poll numbers. And earned a place on this list.

Jim Ardis: Earlier this year, Ardis persuaded a judge to launch a raid on a house because one of the inhabitants was … mocking him on Twitter. He apparently still thinks this was a fine idea. Jim Ardis … meet the Streisand Effect.

(One infuriating note: a judge has upheld the drug charges that resulted from the raid finding drugs in the house. Because warrants to arrest parody account holders are apparently just fine.)

Paul Krugman: Another year for Krugman, another set of factually-challenged opinion pieces apparently written by unpaid interns. My favorite was his assertion that Halbig represented “corruption” in the courts, a claim the indispensable Walter Olson demolishes here. As several bloggers noted, Krugman was a big supporter of the Platinum Coin Caper, where he said, essentially, that we should concentrate on the letter of the law, not the spirit, the opposite of what he’s saying now.

Note, also. This year is coming a cropper for things Krugmans believes in. The Picketty analysis of inequality appears to be badly flawed. And Keynesian ideas are failing all over the globe.

Dishonorable Mention: Wendy Davis, whoever is doing PR for the Ferguson Police, the Ferguson rioters, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Secret Service, Mary Landrieu, Everytown USA.

Now the Golden Drumsticks, awarded to those who best exemplified what is right with the world. Here are the past awards, the first round from West Virginia Rebel.

2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks

2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama

2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush

2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers

2011: Seal Team Six, Mark Kelly, The Arab Spring (ugh), the Technicians at Fukushima

2012: Down Ballots, The Sandy Responders, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, Mathew Inman

2013: Francis I, Edward Snowden, Rand Paul, The American Military, The Institute for Justice

For this year, I picked:

Ebola Responders: In the face of a colossal healthcare crisis and one of the most terrifying diseases out there, Africa has been flooded with volunteers risking their lives to help. Hundreds of healthcare workers in Africa, including Humarr Khan, have been killed trying to comfort or save the dying. Even in this country, we’ve seen nurses and doctors work hard to care for Ebola victims, including two nurses who were infected in Dallas and mercifully saved by modern medicine.

Here’s a little thing about me: I tend to dislike movies about dystopias. Not because I think a dystopia won’t happen or because I’m ignorant about the dark side of human nature. I dislike them because they usually ignore the flip side of human nature: our capacity to be generous, brave and compassionate.

Francis I: He continues to shake up the religious world while adhering closely to Catholic doctrine. My initial impression of him remains unchanged. He is just a good man.

Rand Paul: Paul gave a speech earlier this year that was a rebuke to the neocons: defining a foreign policy that defends our interests while avoiding senseless overseas debacles. He is pushing the Republicans toward reforms of our criminal justice system, our surveillance state and our War on Drugs. I’m a bit worried whether he’ll hold up to the pressure of special interests, especially if he has Presidential aspirations. But right now, he’s doing good.

David Brat and the Republican Candidates: “A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it—it keeps him upright.” – Robert A. Heinlein. I’m not sure what to make of Brat at this point, but I think his defeat of Cantor is an important reminder to the Republicans of what will happen if the get stupid again. Among the other Republicans running for office this year, there was barely a gaffe to be heard. In fact, the biggest War on Women complaint was about Mark Udall, criticized by his own supporters for talking too much about the War on Women. In general, they stuck to the bread and butter themes of the economy, Obamacare and big government. Let’s hope they deliver.

The Supreme Court: It’s always a mixed year from the Court, but this year they gave us good decisions in Riley, Hobby Lobby, Harris v. Quinn, McCullen v. Coakley, NLRB v. Noel Canning, Town of Greece v. Galloway, Schuette v. BAMN and McCutcheon. They continued their streak of unanimously rejecting Obama’s power grabs. You can check on this year’s key decisions here. There are a few I had issues with but most were solid.

Honorable Mentions: marijuana decriminalization efforts, Scott Walker, Charlie Baker (anyone who defeat Martha Coakley gets a mention), the American military

Put your nominees in the comments. And I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving.

McGovern v. DWS

George McGovern died yesterday. He was 90. While McGovern was the most liberal candidate ever to be nominated for President, he was a principled one, who actually believed what he said. His speech against the Vietnam War (this was back when Congress actually debated whether we would have wars or not) is as shocking 32 years later as it was then.

The interesting thing … and the reason I’m writing about him … is that McGovern, later in life, moved in a direction I would call “liberaltarian”. Nick Gillespie:

Having sunk most of his savings into the venture, it went belly up, he said, partly because of a bad economy but also due to “federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc.”

Lamenting his lack of business experience while he was a legislator and presidential contender, McGovern concluded that “ ‘one-size-fits-all’ rules for business ignored the reality of the marketplace.”

As he explained, “setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels — for example, 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales — takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.”

In 2008, also in the Wall Street Journal, he attacked what he called “economic paternalism” from right-wing and left-wing politicians who were seeking to ban subprime loans and the pay- day lending business. Such laws don’t actually help people of limited means, he stressed, even as they reduce everyone’s ability to deal with their finances. He also took aim at “health-care paternalism” that made it impossible for consumers to shop across state lines for insurance and stuck them with unwanted or unaffordable gold-plated plans. “I’ve come to realize,” he wrote, “that protecting freedom of choice in our everyday lives is essential to maintaining a healthy civil society.”

As Radley Balko says, “libertarianism happens to people.” In the end, the most liberal Presidential candidate in history wound up to the right of half the crowd currently in Washington.

As I said, he was too liberal for me, even in the end. But you can contrast his principled liberalism to someone completely unprincipled, like say, Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

That Obama has a “kill list” has been known since January, 2010, and has been widely reported and discussed in every major American newspaper since April 2010. A major controversy over chronic White House leaks often featured complaints about this article (New York Times, 5 June 2012: “Senators to Open Inquiry Into ‘Kill List’ and Iran Security Leaks”). The Attorney General, Eric Holder, gave a major speech defending it.

But Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Congresswoman from Florida and the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, does not know about any of this. She has never heard of any of it. She has managed to remain completely ignorant about the fact that President Obama has asserted and exercised the power to secretly place human beings, including US citizens, on his “kill list” and then order the CIA to extinguish their lives.

Just marvel at this stunning, completely inexcusable two-minute display of wholesale ignorance by this elected official and DNC chair. Here she is after the second presidential debate being asked by Luke Rudkowski of We Are Change about the “kill list” and whether Romney should be trusted with this power. She doesn’t defend the “kill list”. She doesn’t criticize it. She makes clear that she has never heard of it and then contemptuously treats Rudkowski like he is some sort of frivolous joke for thinking that it is real:

To be fair, I’d ignore Rudkowski too. He looks and sounds like a crank. If I hadn’t already blogged about the kill list, I would have thought he was a raging nutter. Moreover, I suspect DWS is not so much ignorant as she is an unthinking partisan hack who simply has no interest in criticism of her party. But I can’t imagine George McGovern having a kill list. Or pretending one didn’t exist.

So we have a Democratic Party that is frequently to the left of and far less principled than … George “Amnesty, Abortion and Acid” McGovern. What does that tell you about the state of politics?

Your Friday Morning DWS Fail

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is rapidly rivaling Nancy Pelosi as “Democrat Most Likely to Say Something Dumb and Hilarious”. For your amusement, here is Anderson Cooper destroying her on the Romney abortion issue.

(The link has a preliminary minute where Anderson explains that the GOP abortion plank is essentially unchanged since 2000).

Of course, we all know that Anderson is a Right Wing homophobic woman-hating lunatic, right? Right? Oh, yeah.

Wisconsin Update

There are various signs that Scott Walker may survive the recall effort. He is leading in the polls. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal endorsed him. Barret, in last night’s debate, crossed me as a man without ideas, simply repeating the line that Scott Walker “divided the state” over and over again*. He is still not saying how he would balance Wisconsin’s books. This is probably because he can’t tell the truth — that he would leave Walker’s reforms in place — without being slow roasted by his supporters.

(*I love the logic here. Passing reforms? That’s dividing the state. Fleeing to Illinois? Bipartisanship!)

I won’t relax until the votes are counted. And recounted. And challenged in court. And recounted. And the subject of a stupid Michael Moore movie. But there are reasons for hope. And the biggest reason for hope? The Democrats are already saying that the Wisconsin election has no national implications. Nope, no sir. It’s been said in a lot of places, but let’s just go with the Miss Verbal Diarrhea herself:

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee said Friday that if Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) doesn’t prevail over Gov. Scott Walker (R) in next month’s Wisconsin recall election, there won’t be any ramifications for Democrats nationally.

“I think, honestly, there aren’t going to be any repercussions,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in a broad-ranging interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

“It’s an election that’s based in Wisconsin. It’s an election that I think is important nationally because Scott Walker is an example of how extreme the tea party has been when it comes to the policies that they have pushed the Republicans to adopt,” Wasserman Schultz said. “But I think it’ll be, at the end of the day, a Wisconsin-based election, and like I said, across the rest of the country and including in Wisconsin, President Obama is ahead.”

This is, to quote the President, a cowpie of distortion. If Walker is defeated, how long do you think it will take for the Democrats to declare that this a national referendum on budgets, unions, the Tea Party, Mitt Romney, conservatism, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the designated hitter rule? Ten nanoseconds? If Walker loses, there will be a bloodbath of people stampeded by Democrats rushing to the nearest camera to declare that the American people have finally had enough of crazy Right Wing agendas. In fact, DWS tries it in that very interview, saying this has no national implications except the rejection of Tea Party extremism.

They’re scared. They’re scared that more states will follow Wisconsin’s lead (as many — both Republican- and Democrat-controlled — already have). They’re scared that all the efforts of the party, their MSM propaganda wing and the various Hollywood celebrities who paraded around Madison will come to naught. Wisconsin was supposed to be where the tide turned, where the thinking people of this country finally turned back the wave of Tea Party craziness. It may still happen. But if it doesn’t, they are going to be bitter.

Hence, the backing away and avoiding eye contact.

Over The Top?

Dovetailing with the last post about jiggling boobs in commercials, another facet of British delicacy which I find both appealing and refreshing is their bare knuckle candor at which they interact with each other in Parliament. Politicians sometimes hide behind the notion that politcs, like tennis, is a gentleman’s game, hardly.

Florida GOP Congressman Allen West this afternoon dispatched a scathing personal email to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, calling her “vile, unprofessional ,and despicable,” “a coward,” “characterless,” and “not a Lady,” and demanding that she “shut the heck up.”

Since when did Daniel Hannan join the House? You can read the entire email, and the Wasserman Schultz comment of the floor the precipitated it, in the link I provided.

So, here are the questions. I realize Allen West is new and all, but did he over do it? Should this have been sent straight to Debbie without CC’ing the world? Should his disgust at her as a human being be made public? Is he proving himself a neophyte by taking anything any politician says personally, not understanding that this is how the game is played, it’s not personal, it’s politics?

Or, is it about time that one of these clowns actually shows some stones and goes after the perpetrator of a personal attack like most of us would? Given the gravity of the situation we find ourselves wrt to the debt, the deficit, and out of touch politicians that could not gauge the pulse of the people with a stethoscope, isn’t some fiery rhetoric (that’s all it really is) a welcome respite?

I like Allen West a lot and think he has a huge future in politics with the sky the limit, but I’m hoping he thought this whole stunt through and calculated it’s effect prior to execution, and was not some reactionary impulsive out burst.