The GOP Wrecking Crew: ‘ It’s hard to imagine a Congress less productive than this one, but obstructionism could actually get worse ‘

For those of you who have not read Thomas Franks’ 2009 tome, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation in awhile, it may be time to take it off the bookshelf for another read.

The New York Tines editorializes today, The Prospect of a Republican Senate:

WreckingCrewIn a rare fit of realism on Tuesday, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, admitted he would be unable to repeal the Affordable Care Act if Republicans win the Senate next week and he becomes majority leader. That would take 60 votes, he said, and no one thinks Republicans will get that many.

But conservatives reacted with anger to what they considered a demonstration of weakness, and on Thursday Mr. McConnell was forced to backtrack. Yes, his spokesman told The Washington Examiner, Mr. McConnell remains “committed to the full repeal of Obamacare” with only a simple majority, through a parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation.

Those two comments are a pretty good indication of what life will be like in Congress if Republicans gain control of the Senate in Tuesday’s election, and if Mr. McConnell wins his race in Kentucky. It’s not just that they are committed to time-wasting, obstructionist promises like repeal of health care reform, which everyone knows President Obama would veto. The bigger problem is that the party’s leaders have continually proved unable to resist pressure from the radical right, which may very well grow in the next session of Congress.

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(Update) Whatever happened with Boehner’s lawsuit against the president?

The TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, told Americans this past summer that he was filing a lawsuit against the tyrannical Obama because he had delayed the implementation of a provision of “ObamaCare” that Boehner’s own Tea-Publican House had voted over 54 times to repeal (Newsflash: the GOP intends to schedule more repeal votes in the next Congress).

Back in September I told you about Whatever happened with Boehner’s lawsuit against the president?  While low information voters and regular viewers of FAUX News thought that the lawsuit was filed at the time the TanMan announced it, the lawsuit was never actually filed. And a similar case to the one Republicans were pushing was thrown out of court. Court tosses Obamacare mandate lawsuit brought by doctors.


Since then, the TanMan has gone through two law firms who took a look at this turkey of a case and decided not to pursue it (probably out of concern for a violation of professional ethics not to file a frivolous lawsuit).

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‘Dark money’ in Arizona could get darker

This case has been kicking around in court for some time now, and has the potential to unravel the weak laws Arizona has regulating the disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures. The Tea-Publicans in the legislature had a chance to fix this problem they created with indecipherable statutory language, but in the last legislature they did nothing — you’re shocked, I’m sure!

Howard Fischer reports, Court could make tracking political ‘dark money’ harder:

dark_moneyA federal judge is being asked to rule that “dark money” groups that don’t now disclose the source of their contributions can also legally hide how they’re spending the money — and on whose behalf.

Attorney Paul Avelar pointed out to U.S. District Judge James Teilborg that Teilborg already declared more than a year ago that a key state law about political committees is unconstitutional. Teilborg said the 183-word definition of who has to register with the state is so vague as to be unclear to “people of common intelligence.”

But Avelar told Teilborg on Wednesday that Arizona continues to require groups spending money on campaigns to register. So now he wants the judge to issue an order immediately blocking the state from enforcing the law. Avelar, an attorney with the Virginia-based libertarian organization Institute for Justice conceded that would have ripple effects.

If the law about who needs to register with the secretary of state goes away, so do all the laws that govern what political committees — other than those operated by candidates themselves — need to do. And that includes detailing not just what they are paying for TV commercials, newspaper ads, mailers and phone banks, but also which candidates those efforts are designed to elect or defeat.

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Dr. Jill Biden coming to Tucson for Congressman Ron Barber

Announcement from the Ron Barber for congress campaign:

Dr. Jill Biden and Ron Barber to Greet Trick or Treaters Friday at Barber Campaign HQ

Ron Barber with four of his grandkids on Halloween

Tucson, AZ – Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will meet with Southern Arizona families Friday afternoon at Ron Barber Campaign Headquarters, located at 5920 E. Pima St.

Children in attendance will be wearing their Halloween costumes.

What:  Dr. Biden Celebrates Halloween
with Southern Arizona Families
Where:     5920 E. Pima St., Courtyard
Tucson, AZ
When:  Friday Oct. 31, 4:00 pm*

*Reporters must arrive by 3:00pm to clear security.


Read Stephen Lemons’ commentary today before mindlessly voting for Doug Ducey

I took some grief from Stephen Lemons when I did not jump all over his exposé on Doug Ducey’s mob family connections . Special Report: Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Ducey Hails From an Infamous Ohio Organized-Crime Family.

My response is tempered by experience. I have lived in this state since 1963. I knew mobster Joe Bonano (he was a regular customer at my Dad’s service station); I saw the real estate land swindles back in the day; political corruption from the assassination of reporter Don Bolles, to AzScam, to the Keating Five, to the alt-fuels scandal, to the Fiesta Bowl scandal; the impeachment of Ev Mecham, and the resignation of J. Fife Symington III after conviction. Arizona is the wild West.

Through it all, there is one thing I have come to know: Republican voters in Arizona do not give a damn if their politicians are crooks or connected to crooks.

John McCain is a good example. I was thinking when I read Lemons piece, “what about McCain’s involvement with Hensley & Co., the Budweiser distributorship, from which his wife Cindy inherited her fortune? Jim Hensley was linked to Kemper Marley, the man who ordered the assassination of reporter Don Bolles. And what about Charles Keating and the Keating Five? John McCain was up to his eyeballs in that scandal. ” Democrats have tried to tar John McCain with this history for his entire political career. He was rewarded with the nomination of his party for president in 2008. McCain has never lost an election. Republican voters in Arizona just do not give a damn.

In any case, Stephen Lemons has a must read commentary today, which includes this history on McCain, and much more about Dicey Doug Ducey. Ducey’s Salesmanship Signals Doom in AZ. If you have not already voted, please read these two pieces by Lemons before you mindlessly cast a vote for Doug Ducey out of GOP tribalism because he has an “(R)” behind his name on the ballot. You are inviting disaster. You have been warned.

Voters should give a damn about Stephen Lemons is writing about. But experience tells me that Republican voters in this state just don’t give a damn. And that is more of an indictment of Arizona Republicans than it is of Doug Ducey.

No country for austerity pushing Democrats

Crossposted from

deficit cutting

My biggest problem with centrist establishment Democrats has been their insistence on trying to prove they’re the bigger grown-ups in the room by embracing punitive conservative economic ideas and more successfully implementing them. Welfare reform was a perfect example of this. Democratic support for it, including President Clinton’s, was supposed to neutralize the issue for Democrats forever. Oddly, though, I never noticed the tendency of voters to associate Democrats with “welfare” to diminish. What happened was that the idea of “welfare” simply expanded to include any public assistance whatsoever, whether or not the recipient worked for wages, and then further to mean 47% of the country. People still defend welfare reform to me on the policy merits but no one can reasonably argue that it was a long-term political success for Democrats, unless they want to make the perverse case that Mitt Romney lost because at least half the country was offended that he thought they were on welfare.

President Obama embraced deficit reduction from the beginning of his presidency. And he did succeed in shrinking the deficit. Does he get any credit for it? Nope. Continue reading