As Digby reminds us in her recent Salon.com piece, it's become a meme of corporate media that, although it's now widely acknowledged that the political right has moved farther in that direction in recent years, the left — already far out on the fringe — has moved equally leftward. This despite analyses by Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, among others, that suggest "Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem".
Rand Paul's quixotic presidential campaign launched this week, but the dominant narrative was not his association with conspiracy theorists, or his amorphous positions on issues, but rather his apparent inability to tolerate interviews with reporters. The creatively coiffed, self-certified opthamologist capped off a week of "Randsplaining" by walking out of an interview with The Guardian
Watch this space for the launch of IsItaRug.com, a site devoted to Rand Paul's tonsorial novelty.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was caught on tape by The Nation explaining to a secret conference of billionaires organized by the Koch brothers that he plans to use the appropriations process to prevent action by the executive branch. If the GOP wins the Senate this year, McConnell promises to attach riders to appropriations bills limiting how the funds can be spent, in an attempt to curtail the actions of government departments and agencies.
The Washington Post's Dan Balz, whose commentary I usually find stodgy, posted a piece on August 3 titled "Which direction for the divided GOP?." Echoing analyses that have been widely heard since last year's election, Balz'z piece is subtitled "Splits likely to persist."
Balz cites a recent Pew Research poll that asked Republicans about their party. The poll found little agreement, other than that the party must address major problems if it is to do better in future presidential elections. But 54 percent thought that meant taking a more conservative direction, while 40 percent wanted moderation. There was even less agreement on tactics, with about one third saying congressional Republicans had compromised too much, one third saying the tactics were about right, and one quarter calling for greater compromise with Democrats.
In an article titled "I.R.S. Scrutiny Went Beyond the Political", NY Times reporter Jonathan Weisman recaps the recent history of IRS review of applications for nonprofit status, and finds that the issue was "less about ideology," and more about the difficulty of applying one set of standards across applications from organizations whose purposes range from deveoping open-source software, to helping musicians obtain Internet access, to political advocacy.
In a move that goes to the heart of Obama's argument that Romney can't be trusted, Romney told a rally in northern Ohio that Chrysler, now owned by Fiat, was planning to move Jeep manufacturing to China. In fact, as the Washington Post's Greg Sargent notes, Chrysler is considering building Jeeps in China for the Chinese market, not moving American jobs.
... this story should be a big deal. Romney may very well be the next president. That’s a position of some responsibility. Yet he and his campaign rushed to tell voters a story designed to stoke their fears for their livelihoods without bothering to vet it for basic accuracy. This is not a small thing. It reveals the depth of Romney’s blithe lack of concern for the truth — and the subservience of it to his own political ambitions.
Speaking on CNN, Romney campaign co-chair and renowned bloviator John Sununu had the following exchange with host Piers Morgan:
“When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Mr. Sununu said.
Mr. Morgan asked flatly, “What reason would that be?”
Mr. Sununu responded, “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”