Monday, March 18, 2013

News Nuggets 1204

DAYLEE PICTURE: Haleakala Park in Hawaii.  From the Smithsonian Magazine.

Three Women were Paid to Falsely Claim They had Sex with Menendez, Dominican Police Say from the New Jersey Star Ledger
"The women, whose claims generated media attention in the United States, were hired by a Dominican attorney to make the videotaped statements, spokesman Maximo Baez told reporters. Two of the women received about $425 and the other was paid about $300, he said. Authorities are seeking to interrogate the attorney, Melanio Figueroa, about the payments and have not determined his motive or whether he was in turn paid by someone else to set up the interviews, Baez said."
Bet dollars to doughnuts: this "attorney" is either a GOP operative or someone working for some GOP PAC or activist group.  Well, Mr. Tucker Carlson at the Daily Caller?  Are you still standing behind your "big scoop"?

Ten Years Later, the Hubris That Landed Us in Iraq Has Collapsed (Peter Beinart) from the Daily Beast
"A decade of wild successes—international, economic, ideological—before 2003 eroded America’s caution. But Peter Beinart says on the 10th anniversary of the war, for better or worse, we’ve lost our epic ambition."

And yet:
Few Regrets as Neoconservative Advocates for Iraq Invasion Look Back (Eli Lake) from the Daily Beast
"Ten years after the toppling of Saddam, some key neocons—and architects of the war in Iraq—say they have few regrets. Eli Lake reports."

The Speechwriter: David Frum on the Rhetoric of Iraq (David Frum) from Newsweek
"When Bush decided to go to war in 2003, you’d think he would have been gripped by self-questioning and hot debate. That never really happened. Bush’s speechwriter David Frum looks back at the daunting messaging effort—and how Tony Blair swayed Democrats in Congress and liberal hawks in the media."
Oh yeah.  Right.  Selling that war was hard, I'm sure.  I've come to appreciate David Frum's sensible critique of where conservatism has gone in the last 10+ years -- but this item so reminds me that his career was built on selling one of the most shameful exercises of US power in our history.  And, lo and behold, in his eyes it was actually Tony Blair's fault!  Even the normally straight-shooting Frum can't bring himself to look at the Iraq war clearly.

As Demographics Shift, Democrats Look to Win the South (David Francis) from the Fiscal Times
"... the Republican grip on the south, and the strong standing that this grip affords the party, might be weakening. Dramatic demographic shifts in a number of southern states are underway, potentially ushering in a new Democratic majority and ending the Republican reign over the south."

The American Mind (Sam Tanenhaus) from Prospect Magazine [of the UK] 
"The historian Garry Wills has written better than anybody else about modern America. ... A good Catholic who nonetheless has declared war not only on church elders but on the Vatican itself. When the sex abuse scandals erupted a decade ago, and others writhed in torments of apology or denial, Wills coolly explained that what seemed like desecrations of the faith were in reality outgrowths of its most hallowed rituals."

Six Big Takeaways From The RNC’s Incredible 2012 Autopsy from Talking Points Memo
"President Obama’s campaign staff boasted throughout the 2012 race that the GOP’s dismissal of minority concerns, intolerance towards gays, celebration of wealth, and fetishism of Ronald Reagan would doom them in November. Today the RNC released their official response: “You were right.”"

Right Blasts RNC 'Autopsy' as Power Grab from Politico
"Tucked in near the end of the 97-page report, formally known as The Growth and Opportunity Project, are less than four pages that amount to a political bombshell: the five-member panel urges halving the number of presidential primary debates in 2016 from 2012, creating a regional primary cluster after the traditional early states and holding primaries rather than caucuses or conventions. Each of those steps would benefit a deep-pocketed candidate in the mold of Mitt Romney."

RNC Calls for Sweeping Reforms to Party from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire
"The Wall Street Journal calls it a "scathing self-analysis" that "describes the party as ideologically ossified, unable to speak to a wider electorate and increasingly seen as representing the rich and the old.""

It Won’t be Your Father’s GOP (Jennifer Rubin) from the Washington Post 
"Thirty years after Ronald Reagan was president, Republicans are still running on a tripartite alliance of social, fiscal and foreign policy conservatives. Alas, such candidates run on a myth; that coalition has splintered and what will replace it is far from clear.

In Defense of GOP Consultants: It’s the Candidates’ Fault (Byron York) from the Washington Examiner
"If there was any villain at the just-completed Conservative Political Action Conference, it was the generic figure of the Republican political consultant.  Overpaid, unprincipled, always on the lookout for the next client — or easy mark — the consultants, to listen to a number of CPAC speakers, have helped bring the Republican Party to its current low state. ... “Now is the time to furlough the consultants and tune out the pollsters!” said 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin."
Well that's a relief!  After the months of post-election self-analysis and hand-wringing, it is comforting to hear that GOP activists have learned ... absolutely nothing.  A clear look at the post-election coverage will tell you that, for the most part, it has been the consultants who have come the closest to saying anything that might actually make a difference for the Republican Party.  This will teach them to  pipe down and tow the line!!

Conservatism (Coming Apart) (Matt Lewis) from the Daily Caller
"Social issues are another conundrum. ... Yet more and more, their foundational beliefs are seen as obstacles to the GOP’s survival (the GOProud vs. CPAC skirmish is merely a surrogate battle in a larger argument.)"

Plouffe: Hillary Clinton ‘Probably the Strongest Candidate’ for 2016 (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"With the GOP about ‘as popular as the Ebola virus,’ top Obama strategist David Plouffe says Clinton is ‘probably the strongest candidate’ for 2016 if she decides to run. Lloyd Grove reports."

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