All I can say about this is…
[WARNING: profane tweet after the jump]
Tonight, starting sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 PM Mountain Time, I’ll be live-tweeting from a Colorado GOP Precinct Caucus at Denver West High School (PDF map) as an “observer.” (They allow that.) Then, I’ll drive two miles down the road and, continuing my rally-hopping ways, I will attend Mitt Romney’s victory party. Should be fun! My tweets will all appear here, along with any tweets directed at me, and anything I retweet:
With the GOP race still nominally undecided (though, c’mon, we all know how this ends), the Colorado Caucuses next Tuesday have become important, and as a result, we’ve got candidates in town! Yay! For a political junkie like yours truly, this is obviously exciting. So, on Tuesday, I went to a Ron Paul rally in Denver, and on Wednesday, I went to a Rick Santorum rally in Colorado Springs. :)
Anyway, after the jump, via Storify, my archived live-tweeting of both rallies (including selected replies), with lots of photos and some videos. (Just keep scrolling, and the embedded Storify window will keep expanding as you scroll down.)
Huntsman was the best potential president in the GOP field, but his incompetent campaign and personal douchiness (to use the technical political-science term) eliminated any chance he had of overcoming the RINO-ish parts of his biography and platform to seriously challenge for the nomination. My lyrical Twitter farewell:
A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that Mormon used to make me smile
And I knew that if he had his chance, he’d see his poll numbers advance
And maybe he’d lead Romney for a while
But losing to Ron Paul made me shiver
His potential he could not deliver
Bad news on the Twitter
Before long he’d be a quitter
I can’t remember if I cried
When I heard that soon he’d step aside
But something touched me deep inside
The day #HUNTSMENTUM died
So bye-bye, RINO governor guy
Playing the centrist in the primaries was not gonna fly
The Grand Ol’ boys that you so love to decry
Are sayin’ this will be the day that you die
This will be the day that you die
Ed Cowan of Waterbury, Vermont gets his ticket to ride! On to South Carolina!
Meanwhile, the all-important battle for third place remains too close to call:
Who will get the momentum? Who will get a third-place bounce? OH THE SUSPENSE! Hold me, Wolf Blitzer!
I’m referring, of course, to “third place” in the battle to be the Democratic runner-up to President Obama in the New Hamsphire Democratic Presidential Primary — a battle won by the seemingly earnest Mr. Cowan, despite a late, Drudge-fueled charge by the inimitable and hilarious Mr. Supreme (who I met in L.A. at the DNC protests when I was in college; somewhere I still have “Vermin Supreme 2000” bumpersticker).
President Obama, for his part, presently has 48,115 of the 58,923 ballots cast, or 81.7%. That’s slightly better than George W. Bush did as an incumbent in the 2004 New Hampshire GOP primary; he got 79.6%.
Incidentally, if it seems like these numbers don’t add up, that’s because another 5,889 votes, or 9.99%, went to assorted write-ins, likely including such esteemed candidates as — I’m just guessing here — Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Hillary Clinton, and Tim Tebow.
By the way, I was just kidding about “on to South Carolina.” Obama’s the only candidate on the ballot there.
P.S. Oh yeah, the Republicans had a primary in New Hampshire last night too. Instead of #HUNTSMENTUM, it was #HUNTSMAGEDDON, though Huntsman doesn’t seem to recognize that yet. Oh, well. At least his daughters are pretty.
Meanwhile, I, for one, welcome our new Flip-Flopping Robo-Mormon Overlord. #RomneyHaters4Romney unite!
Can you feel the #HUNTSMENTUM tonight? They’re feeling it in Dixville Notch!
Republican voters in the “First in the Nation” hamlet, which quadrennially opens its polls at midnight and closes them at ~12:01 AM after everyone in town has voted, gave two votes each to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, for the first tie since 1980, when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush got 5 votes apiece. Nate Silver may say Huntsman has just a 0.4% chance to win tomorrow, but in Dixville Notch, it’s a 50/50 proposition!
Yes, it was high drama as America’s silliest democratic tradition took place. And CNN’s Steve Urkel was there:
If only Huntsman had worked harder to convert the town’s Paul voter, or perhaps its Gingrich voter, he could be seeing “HUNTSMAN WINS DIXVILLE NOTCH” headlines right now. That’d be some bankable #Huntsmentum!
Of course, in the other midnight-voting New Hampshire hamlet, it was a different story: Hart’s Location went Romney 5, Paul 4, Huntsman 2, Perry 1, Gingrich 1. But as Huntsman is no doubt saying, “They pick their noses in Hart’s Location. They actually pick presidents in Dixville Notch.” Or something like that. :)
(Top twitpic by @mzwrite.)
P.S. Here’s my previous Dixville Notch blog coverage…
Yesterday, I, a generally pro-Obama left-centrist, called Obama’s “non-recess recess” appointment of Richard Cordray an unjustifiable abuse of power. Now, here comes conservative/libertarian blogger Dale Franks, defending President Obama on the issue — “as distateful as it is to me.”
Here’s the blog post. It’s well worth a read if you care about this issue. Money quote:
At the very least, a colorable argument can be made that the mere existence of pro-forma sessions held for the specific purpose of disallowing recess appointments, during a time when the Senate is unable to meet to discharge its advice and consent functions, is itself an unconstitutional usurpation of the president’s Constitutional powers. There is nothing in the Constitution to indicate the president’s recess appointment power is any less important than the Senate’s advice and consent power.
“So it is far from clear,” Franks adds, “that it was the President, rather than the Senate, who was acting in a manner that violated the Constitutional separation of powers.”
Anticipating the obvious objection (“but Senator Obama participated in pro-forma sessions to block Bush appointments!”), Franks also notes:
Whatever the actual practice has been in terms of when presidents made recess appointments, or whether presidents in the past have accepted the practice of pro forma sessions, or even whether someone argued a different view about such appointments in the past, is entirely irrelevant. It might be instructive to know these things in order to make personal judgments about the character of the respective parties, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the constitutional issues at hand.
I’m not sure if “nothing whatsoever” is quite right, but he’s got a point in that informal precedent and practice with respect to constitutional (or perhaps I should say “Constitution-related”) norms isn’t the same thing as a Supreme Court decision definitively interpreting the Constitution. Not by a long shot.
Anyway, read the whole thing. I don’t know if I’m totally convinced, but Franks does a better job defending Obama’s action than I’ve seen the president himself, or Jay Carney, or Nancy Pelosi, or anyone else on the Left do. Of course, whereas Franks is focusing with laser-like precision on the constitutional issues, those folks have to worry about “personal judgments about the character of the respective parties” — i.e., themselves — so they’re less likely to call attention to the details, and more likely to make broad-brush populist arguments that conceal the underlying point.
But if all that can be said about Obama here is that he’s being a hypocrite, and that he’s engaging in rhetorical sleight of hand to distract from that hypocrisy…well, that’s on par with noting that the Sun rose in the East this morning, and Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb, and the SEC is a WAR!!! Obama’s a politician. Of course he’s a hypocrite, especially when it comes to matters of procedure. Virtually all politicians are. There is no moral high ground between the two sides when it comes to procedural matters. Everyone advances whatever argument suits their short-term interests at the moment. As someone who cares about procedure, I think that’s a damn shame, but it’s the reality.
President Obama yesterday exercised his “recess appointment” powers to appoint Richard Cordray, whose nomination had previously been blocked by the Senate GOP, as the head of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
There’s only one problem with this: Congress isn’t in recess.
Congressional Republicans have ensured that Congress technically remains “in session” throughout the winter break by holding brief pro forma sessions every few days, precisely to prevent Obama from making recess appointments. This action is arguably outside the spirit of the rules regarding congressional recesses and presidential recess appointments, but it’s within the letter of those rules — or at least, it was widely acknowledged until now to be within the letter of those rules, including by Senator Obama and other Senate Democrats who pulled this exact same stunt to prevent President Bush from making recess appointments late in his term. Unless I’m very much mistaken, Bush never reacted to this gambit by pretending Congress was in “recess” when it was actually still in session. Bush made recess appointments, yes, but only when Congress was actually in recess.
Now, as President Obama would say, let me be clear. Senate Republicans should not be blocking nominees willy-nilly, and especially should not be blocking the appointment of the head of a new agency simply because, in essence, they don’t think the agency should exist. They lost that legislative fight, the agency does exist, and if the GOP wants to change that, they need to pass a law eliminating the agency. In the mean time, the president should have the right to appoint people to fill the vacancies in the new agency, and so long as those people are basically qualified and competent and not drastically outside the political mainstream, they should be confirmed. Of course, both parties have been flagrantly violating that principle for years now, but that’s how it should be. Moreover, I’d say there’s something particularly subversive about undermining recently passed Acts of Congress by stonewalling the nominees necessary to allow the newly created agency to function. So in that sense, the Republicans are, in my view, clearly in the wrong on Cordray.
But two wrongs don’t make a right, especially when the second wrong is an possibly unconstitutional, “unprecedented power grab,” as John Boehener put it. And it’s made worse by Obama’s stated rationale, which is political rather than consitutional:
But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I’m not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve. (Applause.) Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans. We’re not going to let that happen. (Applause.)
That’s not a legal or constitutional argument, it’s a populist rallying cry — and in this context, I’d call it demagoguery. It brings to mind, for me, this exchange from A Man For All Seasons:
Alice: Arrest him!
Thomas: Why, what has he done?
Margaret: He’s bad!
Thomas: There is no law against that.
Richard: There is! God’s law!
Thomas: Then God can arrest him.
Alice: While you talk, he’s gone!
Thomas: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
Richard: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
Thomas: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Richard: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Thomas: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast -– man’s laws, not God’s -– and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.
Obviously, I’m not saying that Republicans are the Devil, or that President Obama or Richard Cordray or the CFPB is God. Nor am I suggesting that this one action by Obama will single-handedly destroy American government, nor that the Obama Administration is a “lawless” regime, as some on the Right are hyperbolically claiming. As “constitutional crises” go, this is a relatively minor one. It’s not even totally clear to me that the Constitution, as opposed to decades of informal precedent regarding the interpretation of the Constitution, has been violated.
But even if it’s “only” decades of informal constitutional precedent that have been violated, that violation — for explicitly political reasons, supported by populist rhetoric — is still wrong, no matter how much the GOP is also wrong (in a more pedestrian, everyday political sense) to have blocked the Cordray nomination in the first place. And to defend a legal or constitutional wrong with populist political rhetoric is, arguably, even worse. That’s dangerous. That way lies true lawlessness, crisis and authoritarianism. It’s a long, long way down the road — but that’s the direction the road leads. And Obama shouldn’t be leading us in that direction, no matter how frustrating the GOP’s tactics are.
Moreover, even if you don’t buy the argument that this move is structurally wrong in a manner that infringes upon separation of powers and whatnot, it’s still politically unwise and short-sighted. Just as with the breakdown of the old way of handling judicial and other appointments, just as with the ever increasing abuse of the filibuster, just as with the questionable (but legal) tactic of holding brief “sessions” to prevent recess appointments from ever happening, one party breaking the rules (or the spirit thereof) will embolden the other party to do exactly the same thing when they’re in power. Do the Democrats really believe President Romney in 2013, or President Christie in 2017, won’t do exactly the same thing President Obama is doing now? The Democrats just gave away, forever, their power to block recess appointments by Republican presidents — all to get Richard Cordray in office. Was it worth it? Really? Another Man for All Seasons quote comes to mind:
It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?
In my view, as a generally Obama-supportive centrist, the president has two choices. He must either acknowledge his error and retract the recess appointment, or he must convincingly explain his legal and constitutional (not political) rationale for this move, and do so in a way that either harmonises his action with past precedent or explains why he now believes that precedent, which he previously supported, should be cast aside.
If he does neither, as will likely be the case, then he is and will remain in the wrong on this. It’s not the most grievous abuse of power in presidential history; indeed it probably doesn’t even make the “others receiving votes” category of the rankings thereof. But it’s wrong, and it’s dangerous, and fair-minded liberals should condemn it.
Mitt Romney “won” the Iowa caucuses tonight by 8 votes out of 122,255 cast, “beating” Rick Santorum 30,015 to 30,007. That’s a margin of 0.0065%, which is even narrower than Florida’s unbelievably close 2000 election (0.0090%), and essentially meaningless in the absence of a recount. The caucuses ended in a tie, plain and simple.
As dramatic as that was, CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television” somehow managed to make it even moreso, on a wild and wacky night of television that just got weirder and more wonderful as the hour got later and later. If you’re a political or news junkie and you weren’t watching CNN from 1:30 to 3:00 AM Eastern Time, you truly missed out.
First came this moment, when the entire set collectively lost its sh*t:
Then, a bit later, came the live-TV interview that will live forever in political journalism lore. As Rick Santorum clung to a 4-vote lead, and the nation waited for results from a single outstanding precinct in Clinton County, Iowa, an enterprising CNN producer managed to get two local biddy-old-lady county GOP officials, Edith Pfeffer and Carolyn Talett, on the phone to discuss what had happened in their county that was delaying in tally. It was absolutely, sublimely amazing. Here’s video of most of it:
Moments later, Candy Crowley at Romney headquarters got independent word that Romney had been told he’d won by 14 votes. John King did the math, and found that — voila! — Edith and Carolyn’s numbers would lead to precisely that result. He revealed this to America in a way that surely had Tim Russert, he of the famous dry-erase board, looking down from Heaven and smiling:
Eventually, the official word came down that Romney’s margin was actually 8, not 14. Somehow, Santorum had picked up an extra 6 votes from the 30,001 shown by King’s biddy-old-lady-based tally. But whatever. Edith and Carolyn are instant legends, and CNN got a truly epic night of punch-drunk wee-hours TV out of the whole thing. HI-LA-RI-OUS. We might as well end the 2012 election now — RIGHT NOW, as Wolf Blitzer would say — because I’m pretty sure nothing can ever top this. LOL!!
If anyone else in Denver feels a disturbance in the Force this evening, it’s probably caused by the arrival of a bunch of conservative bloggers and tweeters from around the nation, descending on our fair city for BlogCon 2011, a two-day conference sponsored by the Tea Party-supporting political group FreedomWorks.
A bunch of long-time online friends and acquaintances who I’ve never met in person are coming to BlogCon, from my “blog wife” Melissa Clouthier, to voice-of-reason righty Matthias Shapiro, to the conservative twittersphere’s id, Kurt Schlichter, among many others. And so, because I wanted to meet all these people, I’m going too!
I may not share much politically with these folks, but I like a lot of them, and I think it’ll be fun to hang out and chat and network…plus, it was free to sign up…so I’m taking most of the day and attending BlogCon, where I’ll be the lonely liberal/left-centrist in a room full of conservatives. Occupy BlogCon! :)
NOTE: I previously referred to FreedomWorks as being “Koch-affiliated.” I now understand that’s not really true. The Koch Brothers founded FreedomWorks’ predecessor group, but then there was a schism over Koch funding, and some hard feelings remain. Anyway, FreedomWorks gets no Koch money, nor has any direct Koch ties. Doesn’t really matter to me, as a “Koch-agnostic.” The point is, it’s a conservative group. :)
Oh, and by the way… Happy 11/11/11!
Last night, inspired by the generally unsatisfying, incomplete, and often vacuous nature of the tweets I keep seeing from both Left and Right about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the ongoing economic calamity — and also by this National Review article, among other big-picture economic pieces I’ve read recently — I went on another one of my extended Twitter monologues of political pessimism and #PANIC. Before it disappears into the nothingness of Twitter’s terrible archive system, I thought I’d post it here for posterity. Warning: some profanity.
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): America is exceptional and I cherish the system that makes us so: capitalism. I like working hard and being rewarded for it. #iamthe53
Me: Do you like the stagnation in real wages since 1973? #iamconcerned MT @kesgardner: I like working hard and being rewarded for it. #iamthe53
How did we collectively fail to notice that, economically, the American Dream has been moribund for decades? #IAmStagnantRealWagesSince1973
I am not the 99. I am not the 53. I am sick of rigid ideological perspectives that obscure what matters. #IAmStagnantRealWagesSince1973
I am not a number. I am worried about my girls inheriting a crappier America than mine. I am angry at failed leadership & failed ideologies.
I am angry that a broken political system, a worthless press, demagoguery, ignorance & fairy tales prevent America from fixing its problems.
I am sick of a politics dominated by rigid ideologues, Left & Right, whose misplaced self-confidence is exceeded only by their utter myopia.
I hate the inadequacy of our politics AND the sniveling self-regarding Bloombergian vacuousness of many who posture against that inadequacy.
It’s not that we need to be more “bipartisan.” Pitched battles are fine, when informed by facts & reason. The problem is WE NEED TO SOLVE SHIT.
For DECADES we’ve had an energy crisis, a health care crisis, a debt crisis… crisis after crisis. WTF happened to us? We won 2 world wars!
The American Dream was a thing once. Now it’s not, but we pretend it is. Our “leaders” tell us fairy tales while leaving our crises unsolved.
In the end, the problem isn’t Obama, or Bush, or Congress (though they all suck). The problem is us. All of us. Not Left, not Right. Us.
Or maybe the problems of the modern world are just too complex to solve. But again I go back to, DAMMIT WE WON TWO WORLD WARS.
#TeaParty and #OccupyWallStreet have more in common than they’ll ever know. They see a tiny sliver of the truth & think it’s the whole truth.
Why does our binary political system force us to choose who’s f**ing everything up, government or the private sector? What if THEY BOTH ARE?
I have three daughters. I fear they will inherit from my generation a poorer, crappier America, in decline. For this, I blame everyone.
I boldfaced that “more in common than they’ll ever know” tweet because I particularly like it. I really think that’s true. The Tea Party isn’t wrong about our unsustainable debt; they’re just wrong in their myopic focus on that one crisis among many, and in their blind adherence to rigid conservative ideology in seeking solutions to our many problems. Likewise, Occupy Wall Street isn’t wrong about financial sector greed and malfeasance and how it’s screwed us over; they’re just wrong in their myopic focus on that one cause among many for the current mess we’re in, and in their blind adherence to rigid liberal ideology in seeking solutions to our many problems.
President Obama is in Denver today to give a speech about his jobs plan, but apparently he — or at least his press office — are slightly confused about which rectangular-shaped state Denver is located in:
AAAH-HAHAHAHA. Hey, cut the man a break. It’s hard to keep all 57 states straight!
And I wasn’t being sarcastic. Rick Santorum, the archconservative also-ran from Pennsylvania, with whom I disagree about most everything — especially gay rights — thrilled me enough to bust out that unironic “FTW” (“For The Win”) because of this response to Michelle Bachmann’s (and Ron Paul’s!) ongoing cavalcade of sheer nonsense with regard to the debt ceiling:
He’s wrong, of course, about “focusing” on the Balanced Budget Amendment. But on the fantasy of never raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances, he’s dead on. Wonder of wonders, he actually does math, and throws some facts into the debate. Amazing!
As I tweeted afterward:
Rick Santorum actually does math, calls out Bachmann on “showmanship, not leadership” re: debt ceiling. THANK YOU!! #SantorumHaters4Santorum
Santorum did in 30 seconds what the bulk of the media failed to do for months. #ThankYouRickSantorum
Re: Bachmann, debt ceiling, facts & math, media should be utterly, deeply ashamed that RICK SANTORUM is doing its job for it. #4thEstateFAIL
We interrupt the Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control Watch — STOCKS CRASHING! ECONOMY CRATERING! DEBT SOARING! OBAMA FLAILING! ENGLAND BURNING! BACHMANN’S EYES BULGING! — to bring you something else to #PANIC about… in the world of college sports! With bonus Rick Perry secessionist action! (No, not that kind of secession.)
The Texas A&M Aggies, a.k.a. the Brett Favre of the 10-team Big Twelve, are at it again. Rumors about an A&M move to the SEC — which would probably result, finally, in the disintegration of the Big XII, causing massive ripple effects across college sports, up to and including the formation of four 16-team superconferences, the end of Notre Dame’s independence, the destruction of the NCAA as we know it, and/or the Rapture — have resurfaced as a hot topic in the last 24 hours, with increasing numbers of respected journalists saying their sources are lending credence to the possibility of major news soon. Like, maybe an announcement on or around August 22?
And now, in the past hour or two, the topic has gone from “hot” to “surface-of-the-sun hot,” thanks to… wait for it… Rick Perry!!
Asked by The Dallas Morning News ’ statehouse reporters about SEC speculation regarding A&M, Perry responded: “I’ll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y’all did. … As far as I know, conversations are being had. That’s frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there.”
The key phrase is “As far as I know, conversations are being had.” The response by the governor, a former Aggie yell leader and likely future presidential candidate, went beyond the Twitter and message board speculation that erupted in the last 48 hours.
Perry didn’t say if the conversations were strictly internal at this point or involved direct discussions with the Southeastern Conference.
Maybe Perry’s big announcement on Saturday isn’t that he’s running for president; it’s that Texas A&M is joining the SEC #WAR!!!!
In all seriousness, it’s not clear to what extent Perry is just regurgitating rumors, repeating things he “read about the same time as y’all did,” and to what extent he is actually relaying inside information. But the man is a former Aggie Yell Leader, and he’s been the governor of Texas for a decade, so he presumably knows everybody in all the relevant positions of power. This is causing lots of folks to take notice.
The best Twitter reaction to the news? That belongs to Luke Zim, who writes, “Rick Perry’s run for President just to get A&M in the SEC is the most elaborate college football fanatic move of all-time.”
I am writing to express my absolute disgust with the ongoing situation surrounding the FAA’s lack of funding. I do not know your position on the issue, and thus do not presume to blame you personally. But in the larger picture, it is utterly disgraceful that Congress has gone on recess without resolving this issue, leaving as many as 74,000 citizens out of work because our government cannot even perform the basic functions of governance. This inexcusable behavior reflects extraordinarily poorly on members of both parties and both houses of Congress. For our legislative branch to take a month off, with pay, while stranding thousands of Americans for no discernible reason other than partisan bickering and brinksmanship, is beneath contempt.
Such actions by Congress cause the public to rightly question whether anyone in Washington deserves to be re-elected next year. The entire Congress, as a body, is failing this country in countless ways, with this being just the latest, most egregious example. Mind you, I am a Democrat, and I blame the extreme, intransigent Right for many things — for instance, they take the bulk of the blame for the recent absurd standoff over the manufactured debt-ceiling crisis. But I know better than to naively believe that Congress’s overall dysfunctionality, as exemplified by this FAA fiasco, is solely one party’s fault. Both Republicans and Democrats share the blame for getting us to this point, and both Republicans and Democrats must work to improve things. It is incumbent upon each member of Congress to exercise leadership and prevent this sort of nonsense from occurring. “Partisanship” is not a dirty word, to the extent the parties are arguing honestly about genuine, passionate policy disagreements. But when partisanship leads to situations like this, something is clearly amiss. I urge you to take a leadership role in moving Congress back from the brink and getting this situation resolved immediately.
I also believe it would be appropriate to pass legislation stating that, in the future, if any federal employees are furloughed, or federal contracting projects placed on hold, due to congressional budgetary inaction extending past the deadline at which action is required to maintain funding, Congress should be barred by law from taking a recess until funding is restored, and congressional salaries should not be paid for the unfunded period of time. I somehow suspect these ridiculous impasses would be far less likely to occur if such a law were on the books.
I think I’ll send it to Bennet and Udall, too.
UPDATE: dcl points out that my hastily conceived proposed legislation would violate the 27th Amendment. At least the salary part. Seems like they could do the recess part.