Saturday, October 19, 2019
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Tim Kaine Rips Rand Paul: “Extremism Run Wild”

He [wrote] into the local paper to complain that a fair housing act that had passed 34 years before was unjust and a free society should tolerate hate-filled groups excluding people based on the color of their skin. This is very frightening stuff, it's the kind of stuff that happens when you see this kind of extremism run wild. And I think the Republican Party needs to get on record...get their leaders out there saying, "we're against this and we condemn this kind of thinking." thinking

UPDATE: Charles Lane explains why Rand Paul's "argument makes no sense." It's also beyond laughable, unless you're an Ayn Rand afficionado, an extremist, or an imbecile. But I repeat myself... :)

Tim Kaine: Rand Paul Victory a “Stunning Loss” for Mitch McConnell

Tim Kaine comments on Rand Paul's victory in the Kentucky Republican primary for U.S. Senate last night.
Today, Kentucky Republicans selected Rand Paul as their Senate nominee, handing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a stunning loss. In a show of weakness for the Minority Leader, and in a race that symbolized the fight over the heart and soul of the Republican Party, Rand Paul overcame McConnell's handpicked candidate by a large margin. Unfortunately for Republicans, ordinary Americans are unlikely to be receptive to extreme candidates like Rand Paul in the general election this November.

Rand Paul's positions fail to resonate beyond the far-right Republican segment of the electorate that supported him tonight. Middle-class Kentucky voters want to elect a Senator with clear ideas about how to create jobs and opportunities for Kentucky families. But Rand Paul is more interested in talking about abolishing the Department of Education and disbanding the Federal Reserve than about supporting economic recovery.

As a result, Democrats are now in a better position to win Kentucky's open Senate seat.

Let's hope Tim Kaine is right about this. For now, I'm just enjoying watching Mitch McConnell get his butt kicked. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

P.S. This should play really well among Kentucky voters this fall.

UPDATE: After the "flip," check out the analysis I received from a politically astute friend via email.

Tim Kaine on Bob Bennett Defeat, Tea Party, and the “Republican...

DNC Chair (and former Virginia governor) Tim Kaine issued the following statement following the defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) this weekend by Tea Party activists and others from the hard right who thought Bennett was not conservative enough.
Today the Tea Party strengthened its hold on the Republican Party by ousting Utah's Senator Bob Bennett from the primary. That the Tea Party would consider Bob Bennett - one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate - too liberal, just goes to show how extreme the Tea Party is. This is just the latest battle in the corrosive Republican intra-party civil war that has resulted in the Tea Party devouring two Republicans in just as many weeks. If there was any question before, there should now be no doubt that the Republican leadership has handed the reigns to the Tea Party.
By the way, Progressive Punch rates Bennett as the 81st most progressive U.S. Senator, not much different than Jon Kyl (#78), Orrin Hatch (#79), Sam Brownback (#82), Michael Enzi (#84), Jim Inhofe (#86) and Jim DeMint (#87). The point is, if Bob Bennett isn't conservative enough for the Tea Party, then basically noone in the GOP is.  In short, the Tea Party appears to be the monster that could cause the GOP to self destruct. As the saying goes, if you play with matches, you're likely to get burned...

P.S. Spelling note to Tim Kaine; it should be "reins" not "reigns."

UPDATE: See Chris Cillizza's article on the "Bob Bennett fallout."  According to Cillizza, Bennett's loss "sets off alarm bells across the chamber as Members contemplate their own fates." Cillizza adds that this is "especially true on the Republican side where the rise of the Tea Party movement has put establishment politicians on notice." Cillizza quotes Republican strategist Ed Rogers pointing to Bennett's loss as "proof that the tea party movement is huge presence in the GOP organization." I agree with Cillizza and Rogers on all these points.

Kaine Has “Serious Questions” About McDonnell Administration

I have some serious questions about the fiscal responsibility of some of the steps being taken. I don't think cuts to education and the health care safety net are a good idea ever, particularly in this economy. I don't want to roll back protections for employees in terms of discrimination or send a signal that we don't care about it. And I think the notion of well, we're gonna...push back on a health care bill that will do a lot of good for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, it's like, you just gotta go out and see how people are living and you'll realize that this bill's a very good thing.

For more, see here (interview by Adam Rhew).

Tim Kaine On RNC Rejection Of Civility Pledge

It's truly mindboggling that the Republican National Committee actually sees extreme nastiness as morally acceptable and politically advantageous, but that does appear to be the case. As always, a heckuva job Michael Steele and Company!

Kaine: Republicans Must “condemn these acts decisively”

Tim Kaine has issued a strong statement calling on Republicans "to tone down their over the top rhetoric and tactics and to condemn the deplorable behavior of their supporters which has included the vandalizing of Congressional offices and threats on Democratic Members of Congress who voted in favor of health insurance reform." Kaine concludes:
The Republican National Committee has followed up its infamous fundraising presentation with a new fundraising appeal that shows the Speaker of the House aflame online. The RNC's Chairman has said that the Speaker should be put before a firing squad and vehemently defended Rep. Boehner's characterization of the passage of health insurance reform as 'Armageddon.'

It is no coincidence that we now have reports that Democratic Congressional offices have been vandalized, Democratic Members of Congress have received threats and been subject to racial epithets and homophobic slurs, and a gas line was cut at what was thought to be the home of a Democratic Member of Congress after the address was posted online and tea partiers were encouraged to intimidate the Congressman.

These now cannot be brushed off as isolated incidents.

It is no longer enough for Republicans to characterize threats and incidents of vandalism as isolated. It is no longer enough for Republicans to blame these events on outsiders.

Republican leaders must disassociate themselves from this deplorable behavior, they must condemn these acts decisively and, most importantly, they must tone down their own tactics and rhetoric to set a better example for their supporters and the country. I call on them to do so.

The point is, Republicans are stoking this anger, fanning the flames, and implicitly (or even explicitly) encouraging their supporters to resort to violence. Unfortunately, as Timothy Egan writes in this morning's New York Times, the Republican Party has become "the party of the hissy fit," the home for "rage-filled partisans with spittle on their lips...tying their fate to a fringe, one that includes a small faction of overt racists and unstable people." On one level, that's fine, if Republicans want to write themselves off as a serious political party in America. Make our day! On another level, though, what the Republicans are doing here is completely unacceptable, bordering on illegal (incitement to violence?); "playing with fire," as Egan writes.  

Sadly, this once-great political party has deteriorated from the sensible, serious centrism of Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and many others (e.g., Bob Dole in his pre-presidential-nominee days, George HW Bush in his "voodoo economics" days). Just as sadly, this once-great political party has declined from the serious intellectual foundations laid down by people like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater to the blow-dried idiocy of Eric Cantor, the "get-off-my-lawn!!!" rage of John Boehner, and the know-nothingism of Sarah Palin. Last but not least, this once-great political party has morphed from the "sunny optimism, and at times bipartisan bonhomie" of Ronald Reagan to the "red-faced, frothing" (as Egan puts it), pessimistic, fear-and-loathing driven "Party of No" we see today.

The consequences of this Republican implosion, which not coincidentally has taken place in the aftermath of our country electing its first African American president, are almost certainly not going to be positive.  Here in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli is one manifestation; as E.J. Dionne writes, Cuccinelli and his allies "want to resurrect states' rights doctrines discredited by President Andrew Jackson during the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s and buried by the Civil War." Perhaps they even want to fight another Civil War. Who knows? But the bottom line is that, as Anne Applebaum writes in this morning's Washington Post, if all Republicans are going to do is "scream 'communist' and 'fascist' at our democratically elected president-- thereby achieving nothing at all -- then I want nothing to do with them." Nor should any of us.

Kaine: “Up or down vote…by this Saturday” for Health Care Reform

Kaine also calls out the Republicans for the "phantoms" - "death panels," for instance - they have thrown up over the past year.

UPDATE: Also, here Kaine says - correctly, I'd add - that the Republicans don't want to debate the substance of the bill but instead prefer to use every procedural "trick" in the book to defeat President Obama's agenda. That is, after all, why we call it the "Party of No."

Kaine: “I scratch my head in amazement” at Cooch the Birther

On this matter, I believe Tim Kaine speaks for all of us:
"I scratch my head in amazement that somebody in a position of that altitude would express and opinion like that," Kaine said of Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's comments. "I read the transcript and what he said is that he posited that perhaps the president was born in Kenya, I think it was, and I think he said that is a reasonable hypothesis or something like that. It's ridiculous."

Speaking outside the White House, Kaine continued: "The president is an American citizen, duly elected by the voters. But some people just can't accept that. And they're still having trouble accepting that and I think that's what the attorney general is, maybe in that camp."

Personally,  I "scratch my head in amazement" not only that Cooch is a birther, but that he's also a climate change denier, a raging (and raving) homophobe, a "states rights" extremist, a tinfoil hat wacko who believes the government is tracking his kids via Social Security numbers, and a guy who talks to his toy elephant named "Ron". Given all this, what I really "scratch my head in amazement" over is that the people of Virginia elected Ken Cuccinelli as Attorney General last year over the sane and super-qualified Steve Shannon. What. The. Hell?!?