Debunking the Obama is Closing GOP Car Dealerships Conspiracy Theory

May 28 2009 Published by under Featured News

Today, Fox News joined the parade of right wing media who claim that Barack Obama is targeting Republican car dealerships for closure, so I think that it is time that we look at some facts to debunk this right wing myth.

It all started in the Examiner with, “Evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Repubicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the Right side of the Blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership chain partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of staff Mack McLarty.”

Wait a minute, evidence appears to be mounting? This is different from saying that evidence is mounting. Here is what they call evidence, “The basic issue raised here is this: How do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government, but only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?”

This led Major Garrett of Fox News to report, “There is some concern in the blogosphere that of the of the Chrysler dealerships being closed, a disproportionate number appear to be in which the operators contributed to Republicans. And hardly which contributed to democrats have been closed down. I’m not saying the White House knows anything about this but would you be concerned about any taint of politics in any of the decisions.”

Once again, there is no evidence to back up his claim. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed the latest GOP conspiracy theory today, by saying that dealership closures are Chrysler’s decision. Here is the video:

Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight.com points out, “There is just one problem with this theory. Nobody has bothered to look up data for the control group: the list of dealerships which aren’t being closed. It turns out that all car dealers are, in fact, overwhelmingly more likely to donate to Republicans than to Democrats — not just those who are having their doors closed.”

Silver crunched the numbers, and found that 88% of auto dealers identified themselves as Republicans. Doug Ross came up with 92% as the number of car dealers who donated to Republicans. Could it be that more Republican dealerships are being closed because dealers are much more likely to be Republicans?

Obviously, this couldn’t be the answer because it is logical and makes sense. Instead the right wing media would prefer to believe a conspiracy theory that has no evidence supporting it. This bit of right wing paranoia has been debunked.

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Steele Blames 2008 on The Media’s Love for Obama’s Blackness

May 22 2009 Published by under Featured News

RNC Chair Michael Steele was guest hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show today where we found out that the era of Republicans not looking backwards lasted for two days. Steele blamed the GOP’s 2008 defeat on the media, who fell in love with Obama because he is black. Is Steele jealous because the media fell in love with the “wrong black man?”

Here is the audio from Think Progress:

Steele said, “The problem that we have with this president is that we don’t know [Obama]. He was not vetted, folks. … He was not vetted, because the press fell in love with the black man running for the office. “Oh gee, wouldn’t it be neat to do that? Gee, wouldn’t it make all of our liberal guilt just go away? We can continue to ride around in our limousines and feel so lucky to live in an America with a black president.” Okay that’s wonderful, great scenario, nice backdrop. But what does he stand for? What does he believe? … So we don’t know. We just don’t know.”

Steele went back to the old Republican well of woe that the media did not dissect the relationship between Rev. Wright and Barack Obama. Steele said that Obama learned at Wright’s knee. Do we really have to go through this again? The 2008 campaign is over. The idea that the media did not focus enough on Obama and Wright is laughable. The media spent weeks focusing on nothing but Rev. Wright.

I know refighting the 2008 presidential campaign makes Republicans feel better, but if this is new era of a Republican comeback, as Steele promised earlier this week, it looks a lot like the old era of failure. Republicans didn’t lose because the media didn’t properly vet Obama. One of the reasons that they lost was that McCain picked a running mate, which his campaign didn’t bother to properly vet. So I think that the GOP needs to be careful when they complain about vetting.

There are more systemic reasons why the Republicans lost in 2006, and 2008. They were/are a party living in the past. They offered no serious alternative to Obama. They also have been running terrible campaigns all over the country, are alienating voters, and have no message.

Steele is using the media as an excuse, to hide deeper issues. I have a hunch that Steele is jealous of Obama. It might not be that the media fell in love with a black man, but that in his view, the media fell in love with the wrong black man. I think that Steele would get better coverage if he would stop putting his foot in his mouth.

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Poll: John Edwards is the Most Unpopular Man in North Carolina

May 16 2009 Published by under Featured News

My how the mighty have fallen, as a poll of voters in North Carolina this week found that John Edwards registered a record low approval rating, on the other hand, Elizabeth Edwards is even more popular than Barack Obama in the state, which has fueled speculation that Mrs. Edwards might run for the Senate.

The Public Policy Polling poll found that only 19% of those surveyed had a positive opinion of the former Democratic senator, and vice presidential candidate. Overall, his disapproval rating was 69%. Only 30% of liberals and 11% of conservatives gave John Edwards a favorable rating. His disapproval rating was 50% from liberals and 78% from conservatives.

Elizabeth Edwards has garnered a great deal of sympathy in home state despite her release of a new book that has stirred some controversy. Elizabeth Edwards has an approval rating of 58%, which is higher than any politician in the state. Liberals gave Mrs. Edwards a 68% approval rating, and conservatives gave her a 50% approval rating. The Democrats in the state don’t have a challenger to run against incumbent Sen. Richard Burr next year, so speculation is growing that Elizabeth Edwards could be approached to run.

As far as John Edwards is concerned, he is finished in politics. Voters will often forgive marital infidelity, but Edwards managed to cheat on a wife who has been battling cancer for years. Although, he stresses that his wife was cancer free when he cheated, this excuse doesn’t dismiss the perception in people’s minds.

Before anyone dismisses a political future for Elizabeth Edwards, I would remind them that this is the exact way that Hillary Clinton’s political career started. Mrs. Edwards is experienced on the campaign trail, and she is a solid public speaker.

Obviously the big issue would be her health, but she could be a viable candidate. As far as John Edwards is concerned, his infidelity likely cost him a position in the Obama White House. I was an Edwards supporter in 2004, and I don’t think he should ever run for office again.

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Glenn Beck Labels the word Compassion Marxist Code

May 04 2009 Published by under Featured News

Glenn Beck went on a wild rant on his radio show today. He concluded that President Obama wants to appoint a Marxist judge to the Supreme Court, because Obama used the word compassion when talking about his potential Supreme Court pick. Beck said that the word compassion is Marxist code.

Here is the audio from Media Matters:

Beck went into red scare mode over what Obama said that he was looking for in a Supreme Court justice, “Barack Obama comes out says he wants somebody who lives in the real world, somebody who is compassionate, and somebody who understands social justice. That’s code language for Marxism..A progressive is enlightened. Marxism is at the barrel of a gun. That is the difference to these guys. Really? Yeah, you telling me that you are not doing things from a barrel of a gun, you’re going to have to. They are going to have to.”

This has to be one of the craziest things that I have ever heard. Let me ask you this? What would it matter if Obama did appoint a Marxist to the Supreme Court? As one of nine voters, what can a single justice accomplish alone? The notion that Obama is speaking in some sort of code that only liberals understand has been gaining popularity. Sen. Orrin Hatch referred to Obama speaking in code yesterday on ABC’s This Week.

However, Hatch’s version of the Obama code states that Obama is selecting a liberal activist judge, where as Beck thinks that Obama is launching a Marxist state by appointing a Supreme Court justice, which makes absolutely no sense.

Compassion is Marxist? Well I guess all of those Republicans who bought into George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism were really endorsing Marxist conservatism, which is a term that makes no sense, but when it comes to Glenn Beck logic is optional.

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Sen. Hatch Accuses President Obama of Speaking in Liberal Activist Code

May 03 2009 Published by under Featured News

Sen. Orrin Hatch was on ABC’s This Week today, and quickly accused President Obama of wanted to select a liberal activist judge who will legislate from the bench. Hatch accused Obama of using the code words for a liberal, activist judge. He said justices should not take sides. Of course he did not include Antonin Scalia who Hatch vocally supports because he has no problem with a Republican partisan justice.

When discussing what he is looking for in a Supreme Court nominee Obama said, “Now, the process of selecting someone to replace Justice Souter is among my most serious responsibilities as President. So I will seek somebody with a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity. I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives — whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.”

It is the next part that set Hatch off, “I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving as just decisions and outcomes. I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded, and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.”

Hatch claimed that this is liberal activist code, “Well, it’s a matter of great concern. If he’s saying that he wants to pick people who will take sides — he’s also said that a judge has to be a person of empathy. What does that mean? Usually that’s a code word for an activist judge. But he also said that he’s going to select judges on the basis of their personal politics, their personal feelings, their personal preferences. Now, you know, those are all code words for an activist judge, who is going to, you know, be partisan on the bench.”

Did you see where Obama said in the quote above that he is going to select a justice based on their personal politics and feelings? I didn’t. Hatch’s not wanting of a partisan judge on the bench is hysterical when you remember that he has long been a vocal supporter of Antonin Scalia, who is the most partisan member of the court. What Hatch meant to say was that he doesn’t want a liberal activist on the bench. Conservative activists are fine with him.

Although a president can never know how a justice will rule once they are seated, I expect Obama to pick someone who is in his own ideological image. He will probably choose a left leaning judge, who has a practical way of looking at the Constitution. Obama may get to fill 2-4 more vacancies yet, so like any president he is going to try to remake the Court. This first appointment is likely the beginning of the end of the conservative Supreme Court era.

No one needs to look for secret code about that. It is obvious that the Supreme Court is going to take a left hand turn. Frankly the country has taken a move to the left, and Court usually ends up reflected the political attitude of its time, so I don’t think that there is any secrecy or code here. The Supreme Court will move to the left on issues like unionization and discrimination. This move is not only justified, but long overdue.

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Conservative Talk Show Host Suspended for Blaming Unhygienic Mexican Leeches for Swine Flu

Apr 30 2009 Published by under Featured News

WTKK in Boston has indefinitely suspended conservative talk show host Jay Severin for blaming the swine flu on “some of the world’s lowest primitives” in Mexico. He also referred to Mexicans as unhygienic leeches from a primitive country.

According to Think Progress over the course of this week Severin has said, “So now in addition to venereal disease and the other leading exports of Mexico — women with mustaches and VD — now we have swine flu. … We should be if anything surprised that Mexico has not visited upon us poxes of more various and serious types considering the number of cimminalieans already here…”

He also called Mexicans unhygienic, and blamed them for the swine flu, “When scoop up some of the world’s lowest of primitives in poor Mexico and drop it down in the middle of the United States. Poor, without skills, without language, not share our culture, not share our hygiene. … It’s millions of leeches from a primitive country. … Now they are exporting a rather more active form of disease which is the swine flu.”

I don’t even know what to say about this blatant racism. The station was more than justified in suspending Severin. After 9/11, some Republicans thought that racism against people from the Middle East, and Muslims was acceptable, and now they are using the swine flu to unleash their racism against Mexicans that was barely below the surface to begin with.

In an article on the Boston Globe website, Severin is described as, “a bombastic voice whose views often mirror those of fringe conservatives.”
We first got a taste of this form of racism when George W. Bush tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform, but Severin’s comments take it to a whole new level.

Of course, he was just following the lead of conservative talkers like Michael Savage, who have spent the week railing against Mexicans for spreading the swine flu. I would argue the biggest threat to America isn’t a virus, like the flu, but exploitation of this crisis to fan the flames of racism.

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Comparing George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s First 100 Days

Apr 26 2009 Published by under Featured News

President Barack Obama will mark his first 100 days in office this week. To mark the anniversary, here is a comparison of how Barack Obama and George W. Bush spent their first 100 days in office. You may be surprised to learn that both presidents were/are still popular after their first 100 days.

Here are the major accomplishments of the first 100 days of the Bush administration:

1). $1.6 Trillion Tax Cut – In his first 100 days George W. Bush’s top administrative priority, a $1.6 trillion tax cut, passed the House of Representatives, on its way to eventual passage in the Senate.

2). Faith Based Initiatives – Early in his first 100 days, President Bush signed an executive order creating White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The office focused solely on helping religious or “faith-based” groups obtain federal tax dollars.

3). The Environment – Bush rolled back some of the Clinton era environmental regulations. He also announced that the U.S. was abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, and began his push to allow drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

4). No Child Left Behind - Only six days after taking office, President Bush sent his No Child Left Behind education reform plan to Congress. The bill, H.R. 1, was the first major piece of legislation passed for the new president.

It might seem odd now, but at the time George W. Bush had an approval rating of 60% after his first 100 days. Americans also gave Bush high marks are the economy with 52% favoring his handling of the issue. However, some early trends were starting to take shape as 58% of those surveyed said that Bush favored business over the environment, and nation was split 44%-43% over whether or not the nation was on the right track.

Here are the major accomplishments of Obama’s first 100 Days:

1). Economic Stimulus Plan – Obama got Congress to pass a $787 billion economic stimulus plan.

2). Expanded SCHIP – Obama signed a law that expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan to cover an additional 4 million children.

3). Lilly Ledbetter Act -Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act which requires equal pay for women.

4). Ethics Guidelines- Obama implemented new ethics guidelines that are designed to curtail the influence of lobbyists.

5). Iraq and Afghanistan – Obama announced the phased withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, while sending an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan.

6). Budget and Healthcare- Obama got his budget passed, which paves the way for healthcare reform later this year.

Obama also has gotten high marks from the public on his first 100 days performance. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Obama has a 69% approval rating. Americans are also giving Obama high marks on the economy as 58% approve of his handling of the issue. They approve of Obama’s handling of the environment by 61%-23% margin, and 50% of Americans think that the country is heading in the right direction.

Both Bush and Obama had major accomplishments in their first 100 days. The major difference between the two is the speed with which Obama has been able to get things done. Bush and Obama took office facing very different expectations. Not much was expected of Bush, so many experts gave him credit for exceeding the modest expectations set for him, while much has been expected of Obama, and so far he has delivered.

The argument that Obama has done too much doesn’t hold up well, when compared to the fact that Bush laid the groundwork for most of his priorities in his first 100 days. With the exception of the time after 9/11, these first 100 days were the high point for the Bush administration. Only time will tell, how we will someday look back at Obama’s first 100 days.

See Also: Comparing Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s First 100 Days

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Gingrich: Who Cares About The Obama’s Dog

Apr 12 2009 Published by under Featured News

While on ABC’s This Week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that the stories about the Obama’s dog were stupid, and asked who cares? Believe it or not Mr. Speaker, some people, especially kids, care. More importantly, after eight years of gloom and doom, America just wants to have a little fun.

Gingrich had no time for the puppy talk, “I hope that the girls love the dog. I hope the family and all the pressure they are going to be in finds it useful, and I think this whole thing is fairly stupid. It’s great that they have a dog. It’s great that the kids are adjusting, and where they got it from who cares. It was a nice gesture on Sen. Kennedy’s part to give it to them, but who cares, and of course now they have done their liberal gesture because they donated money to the pound.”

From a strictly political point of view this story is total fluff, but I can tell you who cares about this story. Kids care. One of the nice things about having children living in the White House again is that it gives kids around the country an emotional connection to their government. When Mr. and Mrs. Obama are mentioned by kids, they always mention their daughters.

For children, a new puppy is a big deal. It is natural that they would be interested in the kind of dog that the Obamas were going to get. I think that anything, even a puppy, that helps humanize the White House and the government for children is a good thing.

Gingrich is expressing some sour grapes over the kind of pop culture coverage that Obama is getting. After the scandal plagued Clinton years, and the secrecy and mistrust of the Bush years, people are hungry for a president and First Family that they can like. Many Americans want to feel good about the president and the presidency again, and they have embraced Obama much for the same reason that so many were motivated by his message of hope. A majority of people in this country want to believe in the president again.

Sure stories about Bo Obama the First Dog are frivolous, but after all the gloom and doom of the Bush years, the nation wants to have a little fun. It is nice to have a president that is respected around the world, but it is much more important to have a president who lends respect to the office at home.

It is no coincidence that one of the presidents that Obama is compared to most often is Ronald Reagan, because it has been since Reagan that the nation had a president who didn’t embarrass it in some way. I have a hunch that Newt Gingrich would think that the coverage of the First Dog was great if a Republican president was getting the press.

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Obama Administration: the Mexican Drug Violence is a Positive

Mar 27 2009 Published by under Featured News

President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told reporters today that the spiraling drug related violence along the US/Mexico border has not put Mexico in danger of becoming a failed state. In fact, he tried to spin the violence as a positive.

Here is Blair’s assessment of the situation in Mexico, “Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state. Repeat that. Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state. The violence that we see now is the result of Mexico taking action against the drug cartels. So it is, in fact, the result of positive moves which the Mexican government has taken to break the baneful influence that these cartels have had on many aspects of the Mexican government and Mexican life.”

Blair continued, “The assistance that the United States is providing does have an intelligence component in terms of assisting the Mexican authorities. They are very much in the lead. It is very much something that is built on their capabilities – not on the United States moving in and pretending that it knows things better. And I think it’s something that we ought to do. And the Mexican campaign, and this campaign, is our campaign, too.”

I agree with Blair that Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state, but I think his view that the border violence is a byproduct of a crackdown by the Mexican government is wishful thinking to say the least. The border violence is likely in large part related to competition between the drug cartels. The reason why the violence has not spread into the U.S. border is because these cartels don’t want to anything that could make it more difficult to get their products to their customer base. I doubt that the 400 additional federal agents and equipment sent there by Obama this week will make much of a difference.

The easy way to reduce the drug trade and the violence that comes with it is to change the federal policy on illegal drugs. Legalization and regulation would be the smart thing to do, but do the cultural stigma against drugs, this will never happen. The other option would be to cut down the market for illegal drugs, by stressing recovery over incarceration.

It is cheaper to send an addict to rehab than it is to house him/her in a prison, but since nobody has ever won an election by sending addicts to rehab, politicians spend their time trying to out tough each other on the drug issue. The outcome of all of this posturing is a protection and strengthening of the market for drugs in this country. Those who are worried about the violence spilling over into the U.S. are overreacting, but contrary to Blair’s statements, there is nothing positive about the current situation.

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The Global Currency Conspiracy Starring Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann

Mar 27 2009 Published by under Featured News

According to Think Progress, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann went on Glenn Beck’s radio show today and peddled the conspiracy theory that that the world is moving towards a global currency. Interestingly, Bachmann defended herself by saying, “This isn’t Michele Bachmann being a kook.” Is this in comparison to the other times when she was being a kook?

Here is the audio:

Here is whatBachmann said, “What that means is all of the countries in the world would have a single currency. We would give up the dollar as our currency and we would just go with a One World currency. … If we give up the dollar as our standard, and co-mingle the value of the dollar with the value of coinage in Zimbabwe, that dilutes our money supply. We lose control over our economy. And economic liberty is inextricably entwined with political liberty. Once you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom. And then we are no more, as an exceptional nation, as we always have been. So this is imperative.”

Of course, none of this is true. Obama was asked about unified global currency at his press conference, and he said, “I don’t believe that there’s a need for a global currency.”

Ah, but the conspiracy theorists believe that Tim Geithner is open to the idea, but Geithner was asked by Bachmann at a hearing this week, “Would you categorically renounce the United States moving away from the dollar and going to a global currency as suggested this morning by China and also by Russia, Mr. Secretary?” Geithner replied, “I would, yes.”

Although it is impossible to convince conspiracy theorists otherwise, there is no truth to this far right imaginary threat. I don’t even know what else can be said, the Obama administration doesn’t support it. It never was going to happen. It was a figment of the far right’s imagination. Bachmann is crazy. Glenn Beck could possibly be crazier than she is, and these two are becoming the faces of the right. Bachmann makes her entire party look like lunatics. She is a black eye to the GOP. Every time she speaks, she makes people feel better about voting Democrat.

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