Dick Durbin talks to Ed Schultz about the power of the banking lobby over the Senate and the trouble he's having getting some bankruptcy reform passed.
From the Cafferty File:
Senator Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democratic Party is just the latest bad news for the Republican Party. Politico suggests the GOP’s meltdown is the worst of any party’s in decades and has left the Republican party on the brink of irrelevance with few obvious paths back to power.
Specter’s abandonment comes in the same month as a traditionally Republican leaning district in upstate New York tipped for the Democrats. This means in the nine Northeastern states — there are only 15 GOP House members out of 83 seats — and only three Republican senators out of 18.
On a national level, the GOP is near record levels for unpopularity. Only about one person in four identifies himself as a Republican; and a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows only 39 percent of those surveyed have a favorable view of the Republican party. Even a lot of Republicans no longer like the party much.
Some Republicans say conservatives have left the GOP with an exclusionary message. Senator Olympia Snowe says, “you certainly haven’t heard warm encouraging words of how they view moderates. Either you are with us or against us.”
Meanwhile Specter’s switch to the Democrats is less than genuine. As recently as March 17, the Pennsylvania senator insisted he would never switch parties. But once the polls indicated he would lose his bid for re-election, he jumped on the Democrats’ bandwagon like a bird on a worm. This is called hypocrisy.
Here’s my question to you: Is the Republican Party on the brink of irrelevance?
From AmericaBlog on Foxx:
The House Republican chosen to lead the charge against including women, people with disabilities, and gays in America's already-existing hate crimes law - existing law already counts violent crime based on the race, religion or national origin of the victim as a "hate crime" - just referred on the US House floor to Matthew Shepard's murder as "a hoax."
You will recall that Matthew Shepard was the young gay man in Laramie, Wyoming who, a decade ago, was tied to a fence, Jesus-like, pistol whipped in the head some 50 times, then left for dead in the cold fall night, only to be found a day later clinging to life. Shepard died five days later. Even though Shepard's murderers admitted that they killed him because he was gay, the far-right bigots who control the Republican party couldn't resist the opportunity to gay-bash Shepard one last time. Now by referring to his brutal murder as a hoax.
Watch the video for yourself. Then feel free to call this sorry excuse for a human being and tell her what you think of her bigotry.
Phone: (202) 225-2071
Phone: (336) 778-0211
Phone: (828) 265-0240
President Obama responds to Chip Reid's question as to whether Sen. Specter's defection from the Republican party is a "game changer" and if the President is going to be able to "run roughshod" over the GOP.
I do think that, to my Republican friends, I want them to realize that me reaching out to them has been genuine. I can't sort of define bipartisanship as simply being willing to accept certain theories of theirs that we tried for eight years and didn't work and the American people voted to change.
But there are a whole host of areas where we can work together. And I've said this to people like Mitch McConnell . I said, look, on health care reform, you may not agree with me that I -- we should have a public plan. That may be philosophically just too much for you to swallow.
On the other hand, there are some areas like reducing the costs of medical malpractice insurance where you do agree with me. If I'm taking some of your ideas and giving you credit for good ideas, the fact that you didn't get 100 percent can't be a reason every single time to oppose my position.
And if that is how bipartisanship is defined, a situation in which basically, wherever there are philosophical differences, I have to simply go along with ideas that have been rejected by the American people in a historic election, you know, we're probably not going to make progress.
If, on the other hand, the definition is that we're open to each other's ideas, there are going to be differences, the majority will probably be determinative when it comes to resolving just hard, core differences that we can't resolve, but there is a whole host of other areas where we can work together, then I think we can make progress.
Dave N.: Well, as long as the GOP is the Limbaugh National Committee, I'm afraid the former scenario is going to reign. Remember how The Great Gasbag himself defined it in his Sermon From the CPAC Mount earlier this year:
Limbaugh: Bipartisanship occurs only after one other result, and that is victory. In other words, let's say as conservatives liberals demand that we be bipartisan with them in Congress. What they mean is: We check our core principles at the door, come in, let them run the show and agree with them. That's bipartisanship to them. To us, bipartisanship is them being forced to agree with us after we politically have cleaned their clocks and beaten them. And that has to be what we're focused on.
From Washington Journal April 29, 2009. Rep. Paul Broun while responding to a caller about the Mexican child that has died from swine flu. He says that it's not true that all Americans don't have access to healthcare. Apparently the Representative thinks that not being turned away from the emergency room is somehow an equivalent to healthcare.
This is the same person who compared President Obama to Hitler-- Editorial: 'Hitler' remark makes Broun irrelevant in D.C.:
Well, it's the fact that Obama has proposed an expansion of this country's national service effort, a call to community service aimed at boosting this country's security by working to improve its infrastructure, do a better job educating its citizens, and help those citizens stay healthy. An Obama campaign document readily available on the Web, "The Blueprint for Change: Barack Obama's Plan for America," offers up additional details on the president-elect's community service proposal.
For Broun, that plan somehow translates into, as he noted in a Tuesday story from the Associated Press, "exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany, and ... exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's (Obama) proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that's as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."
Our congressman went on to say, "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him (Obama) to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential of going down that road."
Congressman Broun was of course comparing Obama to Hitler, a comparison that his denial only served to reinforce. And then, Broun compounded his non-denial denial by subsequently offering a non-apology apology on an Augusta radio station, using the smarmy and ultimately meaningless line, "I apologize to anyone who has taken offense at that."
From The Rachel Maddow Show April 27, 2009.
MADDOW: As the Republican Party searches for meaning in the political minority, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire has taken the paranoid hyperbole baton and sprinting with it. Sen. Gregg is all hot that President Obama‘s healthcare reform might be brought up under Senate budget reconciliation rules.
What does that mean? It means that it could pass with a majority vote rather than allowing the Republicans to require a 60-vote supermajority. The man who was almost Obama‘s commerce secretary said about that decision, quote, “I can understand shaking Hugo Chavez‘s hand, but I can‘t understand embracing his politics.”
Of course, Sen. Gregg himself embraced majority rule, the same South American dictatorial politics of constitutionally-approved majority rules back in 2005, when it was President Bush wanting to use those rules to open up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for drilling. At that point, he was all for it. You know, Judd Gregg was about half a hair from being Obama‘s commerce secretary. That is the definition of a near-miss.
Jon Stewart rehashes the Jane Harman debacle for us in his Your Government Not at Work segment.
Michael Steele bids Arlen Specter good riddance. So much for that big tent.
Steele: For the senator to flip the bird back to Senator Cornyn and the Republican Senate Leadership, a team that stood by him, who went to the bat for him in 2004, to save his hide to me is not only disrespectful but down right rude. I'm sure his mama didn't raise him that way.
Rachel Maddow talks to Lincoln Chafee about the Club for Growth and other conservative groups pouring money into the Republican primary process and demanding "purity" from their candidates on right wing conservative issues, and then that candidate going on to lose a general election. Rachel asks whether that strategy is going to mean the end of the Republican party or a possible formation of a third party. Chafee does not see the party changing and feels they're not going to remain a viable national party.