Paul Tullis's Grim Tidings

Bitter musings on politics and policy

Posts Tagged ‘tea party

Midterm Elections: Is the Shine Wearing Off the Tea Party?

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Latest polls:

In the California Senate race, Barbara Boxer now has an 8 point lead, widening the spread from 2 back in March.

Just a few weeks ago, Meg Whitman had a 7-point lead over Jerry Brown. Now, after Whitman has poured tens of millions more dollars into attack ads which factcheckers have called disgraceful in their inaccuracy, Brown has a 5 point lead.

In Pennsylvania, Twoomey had a 10-point lead; it’s now tied at 45 each.

Rand Paul/Conway: was once more than a 15 point lead for Paul, now Conway—a Democrat in Kentucky—is just 2 points behind.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, a top target of the GOP, was tied with the Tea Part challenger Angle; now Reid has a 5 point lead.

This reminds me that in 1951, Frank Sinatra’s record label had just dropped him. He was walking past a theater where Eddie Fischer was performing; Fischer fans taunted Sinatra.

Who gave Eddie Fischer a thought between the 1950’s and last week, when he died?

The point is this: Americans love the new new thing. The Tea Party was a sexy fad. Now the shine has worn off, and people are realizing what they are: inexperienced extremists with no vision for how to run the country except to grind government to a halt at the moment its citizens need it more than since…what, 1957, when the National Guard started integrating southern schools?

Prediction: The midterm elections will have the usual ruling-party losses, but nothing more. Forget about the GOP taking the House or Senate. Obama’s mandate renewed, and hopefully his confidence restored so he can end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and ram cap-and-trade down their fucking throats the way Cheney did with the giant welfare-for-polluters act known as the Energy Bill of 2005.

Suckas!

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Written by ptullis

September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

No free lunch: Why Republican policies always end up biting you in the ass

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The Wall Street Journal today editorializes that the Cape Wind clean energy project that recently won the approval of the Interior Dept. is a “lousy deal” because it may, if the pricing scheme proposed by the company operating the wind farm is approved by regulators, produce energy at double the price consumers in the area now pay.

Here’s what’s also going to be expensive, if we don’t move aggressively toward a clean energy future:
•Rebuilding after hurricanes, which will be stronger and more frequent with a warmer Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Andrew, in 1992, cost $41.5b in 2010 dollars.
•Cleaning up after oil spills, such as is now being played out along the Gulf Coast. Current costs are estimated at $350m and rising.
•The price of food, as fertile soil is lost to heat and drought.

I could go on, but you get the point: Conservatives don’t want to pay now, but we’ll all end up paying later. The difference is that the costs now are knowable, and so easier to plan for.

The Journal says that Cape Wind will result in “$443 million in new energy costs.” It doesn’t say among how many people these costs will be spread out, or over how long a period of time; if it’s 5 million people who might get power from Cape Wind, over 40 years (which seems like a reasonable amount of time for it to function), then we’re talking about a whopping $2.21 per person per year.

Disinvestment—the inevitable result of their tax-cuts-to-solve-everything approach to governing (if you can call it that)—also ends up costing more in the long term. Case in point: In 1978 Californians voted to cap their property taxes. This was hailed as a great moment, the people taking power away from big scary mean government, and launched an anti-tax movement that can be said to be the roots of the “Tea Party” (which boasts among its membership people who are on Medicaid yet rail against “people looking for handouts” and “the whole welfare mentality”). But since public schools get the bulk of their funding from this pool, the state’s schools went from tops in the nation to down around Mississippi’s somewhere. Obviously this would not have been the sole factor (conservatives will probably blame unions and immigrants), but it cannot be said that the way to improve outcomes in education is to reduce its funding.

Now you’ve got companies saying the students we’re graduating are too dumb for them to hire (I can point you to the surveys if you’re interested). So we get a lot of unemployed people. But Republicans don’t want to pay unemployment benefits. Some of these people turn to crime—and Republicans are always happy to lock people away. Here’s the problem: It costs about $25000 a year to incarcerate someone.

California spends about 1/3 that figure per pupil on public education. So would you rather educate people now, or get car-jacked by them later?

This would be funny except the pattern gets played out again and again. Look at the news today: It’s conventional wisdom on the conservative blogs (and leaking into the mainstream press) that the reason Greece and Spain are so screwed (if they are indeed screwed; the $18b per year bailout compares favorably with the $144b a year we’re spending in Iraq) is because of their overly generous welfare states. The implication is that there but for the grace of God go I, i.e., the US will be headed down this road if we don’t cut back on entitlements (somehow the Pentagon’s budget, which has nearly tripled in the last 20 years, is always left out of these discussions).

Now consider Republican policies: They want every company to be free to move their operations to wherever labor is cheapest. They don’t want to pay to retrain the workers left behind for the service jobs that are all our economy creates anymore. They don’t want to give them unemployment insurance over the long term. They don’t want to pay to educate their kids, so that the kids don’t grow up into the same predicament as their unemployed parents.

So what are they supposed to do? Live off the fat of the land? Become bond traders? Whoops, that won’t work—their education is shit. Work retail? Great—but who’s going to buy the stuff they’re selling?

Is there something I’m missing here?

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Tea party disses birther: Are Republicans recognizing how wing-nuts hurt their brand?

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The Los Angeles Times reports today that an Orange County attorney who has repeatedly challenged the legality of President Obama’s holding of the office has been booted from a Tea Party rally scheduled in northern California tomorrow.

The rally will feature Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and other mainstream candidates; they denied knowledge of the birther’s scheduled appearance at the rally until so informed by the Times.

The local Tea Party organizer who dis-invited the wing-nut–and what is the world coming to, when Tea Partiers are sane in comparison to other elements of the GOP–told the Times that she had been “getting calls from candidates like crazy” since the Times informed them the birther would be sharing their stage.

“It’s not worth it,” she told the L.A. Times. “She’s too controversial.”

Are Republicans finally getting wise to the fact that even a big tent can be too small for some?

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Written by ptullis

April 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm