The White House moved 0.4 percent farther out of reach for Republican presidential contenders this morning as the newly released jobs report showed that unemployment fell to 8.6 percent in November.
The angry stuttering of befuddled Republicans echoed through early primary states where White House hopefuls responded to their window of opportunity slamming shut.
The GOP’s bread & butter issue – attacking President Obama for his “failed policies” – appeared to have slid off the plate, landing face-down in the dirt with a splat heard ’round the campaign.
Between sex scandals and boner debate bloopers by frontrunner Republican contenders, embarrassed conservative voters across the nation have been turning their head and coughing whenever the subject of Nov. 7, 2012, comes up.
For Newt Gingrich, the latest in a series of unelectable Republican presidential contenders to rise up as a frontrunner, any endorsement, even from “America’s worst newspaper,” is a welcomed endorsement.
Gingrich's Skeletons Await (via The Economist)
The New Hampshire Union Leader may not have a strong track record when it comes to influencing presidential elections, but when international pundits are making the observation that the Republican Party would have to be “feeling particularly suicidal” to award Gingrich the nomination, it’s no-cred fish rags like the Union Leader that give a depressed presidential campaign reason to stay the course, however doomed.
As everyone predicted, the Herman Cain wave crashed, and as a result the former Speaker of the House found himself floating to the top of the polls after six months of being anchored to the bottom of the shallow end of the GOP candidate pool.
Mostly disregarded by the press as a washed-up, burnt-out, has-been shellback whose presidential ambitions were assumed to be recorded as an “also-ran” footnote in whatever post-’90s history books that bothered mentioning him at all, Gingrich is now the undisputed leader of an eight-deep presidential roster, according to polls.
He was next in the line of third-tier candidates to be beckoned from the shadows of irrelevance and emerge as the latest and greatest—if still generally unacceptable and unelectable—conservative alternative to the loathed frontrunner, Mitt Romney.
And that, in essence, is the only real significance of the Union Leader’s endorsement: the slightly more electable, moderately more likeable Mitt Romney was “snubbed” by the largest-circulation newspaper in the first state to hold a primary election in 2012.
Between applauding the death of uninsured Americans, booing gay soldiers and cheering mass executions in Texas, the Republican presidential primary race has been quite a shock to those who understood “conservatism” to mean “pro-life” and “pro-military.”
Apparently “compassionate conservatism” retired the same year as George W. Bush.
It’s moments like these that have highlighted not only the moral decay of the conservative constituency but also the depths to which Republican presidential primary candidates will dive in order to woo the teabagger demographic.
I’ve been generally opposed to the idea of a Democratic primary, mainly because challenging any incumbent has the potential effect of dividing the party. But in President Obama’s case, and given the daily headlines coming out of the GOP primary race, I’m softening to the idea.
Ralph Nader and Cornel West have been on a quest for weeks to find a few challengers to the Democratic presidential throne. Their idea, so far fruitless and no more plausible than Nader’s own presidential campaigns, was not brainstormed as a means to actually replacing Barack Obama. It was theorized as a way to get the president to pay better attention to the liberal agenda.
Though questions about their mental health have surfaced, Nader and West are not so delusional to think the Obama campaign behemoth will fall to one of the nameless, faceless, yet-to-be-revealed and so far unannounced Democratic primary challengers. They merely wanted to push progressive policy ideas into the mainstream, which, with all the dramatic, overhyped inarguably unnewsworthy circus acts on display in the Republican primary race, isn’t a terrible idea.
Here’s the explanation: The Lord’s Resistance Army, “a notorious renegade group that has terrorized villagers in at least four countries with marauding bands that kill, rape, maim and kidnap with impunity,” is currently killing, raping, maiming and kidnapping with impunity.
And true to his word, he hasn’t given up, even as it becomes increasingly apparent that Republicans will do nothing that might fix the economy, because fixing the economy could lead to the reelection of President Obama. (The horror! The horror!)
Two bills came up for vote, two bills were blocked by Republicans. President Obama asked the Republicans, “Hey, how do you feel about a bill that will create two million jobs?” In response, the Republicans flipped Obama the bird.
President Obama then said, “well, ok — what about this portion of the bill that will create 400,000 jobs? Jobs for people we like! Teachers, and firefighters, and police! (Oh my!)” In response, the Republicans farted in President Obama’s general direction.
And now, it’s on to the third bill — The Rebuild America Jobs Act, which is all about infrastructure, baby:
It’s not news that Republicans hate welfare and think it’s the scourge of all the ills that befall America. It’s also not news that they have been using welfare stereotypes as dog whistles to their base ever since Reagan talked about a hypothetical welfare queen driving a Cadillac. He didn’t mention race, naturally, but he didn’t have to. Everyone knew he was talking about black women*. We have heard variants of this declaration ever since.
So, who did he say “chose” to be in her position? Why, the dreaded single mother, of course. Oh, they may take care of the children, but not her. She’s on her own, he said. Even that doesn’t really surprise me, though his declaration that they may take care of the children startled a bit**.
In yet another spot-on critique, the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen analyzes the “chutzpah” of McConnell’s claim by citing examples when the Kentucky Republican himself has shamelessly confessed to employing a strategy of unified Republican opposition to essentially every policy Democrats and President Obama have proposed.
Beyond blatantly admitting that making Obama a one-term president is the No. 1 goal of the Republican Party, McConnell has given further explanation of the GOP’s strategy not only to unseat the president, but to rally Americans against the Democratic Party. It calls for unified opposition to any and every policy Obama proposes – including those the party has previously supported – because unified Republican opposition, even if it is only symbolic, has the effect of “shifting American public opinion” against the Democratic agenda and “necessarily mak(ing) Democratic ideas less popular,” as Benen puts it.
“McConnell’s willingness to blame the president for McConnell’s own deliberate strategy is plainly insane,” Benen states.
I would add that the long list of partisan bills Republicans have pushed in the last 10 months is a far greater factor in shaping public sentiments about how “Congress can’t get anything done” than any policy the president has proposed.
Mitt Romney was once again the clear victor in Tuesday’s GOP debate.
And by that I mean only that the Republican primary voters are no more and no less confident about who should or who will win the GOP nomination next year than they would have been had the debate never taken place.
Herman Cain had a good night beating the audience over the head with his “simple, fair, neutral” 9-9-9 tax plan, but Cain’s radical idea to replace the entire current tax code I think has more to do with the joy he gets from saying “9-9-9” than any actual merit of the proposal.
Rick Perry didn’t have a bad, night, which is to say that he did have a bad night because the media buzz leading up to the debate created some pretty high expectations for the Texas governor. It was a make-or-break night for Perry, and if he didn’t blow Romney out of the water he was going to be written off.
He didn’t blow Romney out of the water, but neither can he be written off at this point in the race. Romney’s still Romney, after all. He’s smooth, but almost too smooth; rehearsed, but almost too rehearsed; and overall, the base was given no reason last night to feel any different about the former Massachusetts governor than they did a week ago, as the general feeling that he will say anything to get elected was magnified with his performance.
The door is still wide open for anyone to walk through, mainly because nobody cares about these debates except the moderators and the debaters themselves.