There are, as everyone knows by now, two Joe Bidens.
There is the generally competent and affable, if long-winded, vice president we actually have.
And there is Onion Joe, creation of the satirical newspaper the Onion, who has been banned from every Dave & Busters and likes to wash his Trans Am in the White House driveway.
The only trouble is that occasionally Onion Joe intrudes into the actual world. Take the already widely circulated clip from Danville, Va., of Vice President Biden telling voters (the town, the L.A. Times notes, is about 50 percent black) that the Republicans are “going to put y’all back in chains.” …
This is, quite frankly, not the sort of thing a Serious Person could ever say and hope for anything less than a public pillorying… .
Can he hear himself? you wonder. You cannot help feeling that if he could hear himself he would stop at once.
That is the trouble with Joe.
He inspires the sort of discomfort one feels upon introducing one’s fiance to Grandpa after he has had a scotch too many.…
It is not that Tipsy Grandpa has any sinister intent. It is just that his list of Acceptable Ways To Phrase Things has not been updated since 1943 or so. Routinely, in the company of the family, he makes Pole jokes and everyone laughs politely. Sometimes, when the spirit moves him, he recites limericks that imply his opinion of the Irish is low… .
I am not saying this to excuse Onion Joe’s periodically alarming outbursts. And sometimes he is completely right. But my instinctive response is to wince apologetically at his cringe-inducing gaffes, not denounce the man. He inspires less anger than embarrassment.
“All right,” you say, after he finishes. “Well, that was — very — informative, Joe. Who wants dessert?”
Except he’s the vice president.… Sure, the veep may have no real authority, but the position does at least mean one thing: People are listening. Your words matter.
So except for occasionally presiding over the Senate and possibly running a duplicitous shadow government, the main requirement of the job is simple: Shut up. Don’t make wild, flailing statements that will do no one any good. Better to keep silent and be thought a gaffe-prone Onion parody than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Obama campaign petitioned IRS to investigate conservative groups
Well, well! Lookie here!
Obama’s use of the IRS to bully his enemies started before he even became the President. In 2008, during his first Presidential campaign, his campaign wrote letters to the IRS demanding that they investigate Obama’s political opponents.
from Wall Street Journal:
On Aug. 21, 2008, the conservative American Issues Project ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground. The Obama campaign and supporters were furious, and they pressured TV stations to pull the ad—a common-enough tactic in such ad spats.
What came next was not common. Bob Bauer, general counsel for the campaign (and later general counsel for the White House), on the same day wrote to the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into AIP, “its officers and directors,” and its “anonymous donors.” Mr. Bauer claimed that the nonprofit, as a 501(c)(4), was committing a “knowing and willful violation” of election law, and wanted “action to enforce against criminal violations.”
AIP gave Justice a full explanation as to why it was not in violation. It said that it operated exactly as liberal groups like Naral Pro-Choice did. It noted that it had disclosed its donor, Texas businessman Harold Simmons. Mr. Bauer’s response was a second letter to Justice calling for the prosecution of Mr. Simmons. He sent a third letter on Sept. 8, again smearing the “sham” AIP’s “illegal electoral purpose.”
Also on Sept. 8, Mr. Bauer complained to the Federal Election Commission about AIP and Mr. Simmons. He demanded that AIP turn over certain tax documents to his campaign (his right under IRS law), then sent a letter to AIP further hounding it for confidential information (to which he had no legal right).
The Bauer onslaught was a big part of a new liberal strategy to thwart the rise of conservative groups. In early August 2008, the New York Times trumpeted the creation of a left-wing group (a 501(c)4) called Accountable America. Founded by Obama supporter and liberal activist Tom Mattzie, the group—as the story explained—would start by sending “warning” letters to 10,000 GOP donors, “hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” The letters would alert “right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.” As Mr. Mattzie told Mother Jones: “We’re going to put them at risk.”
The Wall Street Journal describes Obama as the “pioneer” of using the IRS to bully political opponents. And somehow we’re supposed to believe that the IRS targeting didn’t start with Obama himself?
We know for a fact that Obama met with the head of the Treasury Employees Union in the White House the day before the IRS targeting started in the Exempt Organizations branch. Now we can see that was just a continuation of a deliberate strategy that Obama set out using in the campaign.
It’s time for a special prosecutor. It’s time to subpoena all communications between the White House and the IRS. And it’s time to start deposing everybody who worked at the White House and Obama’s campaign since day one.
Tea Party Test Case
Republicans win when they stay true to conservative principles, conservatives claim after every Republican defeat. (examples here, here, and here ). As Texas Gov. Rick Perry said at this year’s CPAC, “”You need to nominate conservatives if you’re going to win elections. You can’t do it with moderates or even moderate conservatives. Americans want the real thing.”
We’ll soon see. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the real thing: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli not only opposes gay marriage, he considers homosexuality “intrinsically wrong.”
And the tea party movement treats him like a rock star.
In short, you can’t get much more purely orthodox than Cuccinelli on the big conservative hot-button issues. There is not the slightest chance that he will risk losing by moving too far to the center. So, as political analyst Robert Holsworth told the Washington Post, that makes him “almost a test case of the argument that Republicans win when they don’t trim their beliefs.”
The only flaw in the experiment may be Cuccinelli’s opponent: Democrat Terry McAuliffe. In Virginia’s last gubernatorial election, McAuliffe came in a distant second in the Democratic primary. He is not, to put it gently, the most formidable candidate the Democrats could field. So if Cuccinelli wins, he may owe part of his victory not to his strong views but to his weak opponent.
“Nobody on the left really believes what they always say about campaign contributions and spending,” contends former FEC chairman Bradley Smith. “… It turns out that the ‘reformers’ do not believe money is corrupting. Rather, they believe that their political opponents are corrupt.”
Smith was writing about President Obama’s decision to support Super PACs. But a year later, he could point to another salient example: Michael Bloomberg.
New York’s mayor spent $2 million from his Super PAC earlier this year to sway the outcome of a Democratic congressional primary in Chicago. It worked: Robin Kelly beat Debbie Halvorson. As one political writer noted before the election, “the Bloomberg ad buys are a powerful lure for inattentive voters in this low-energy, off-cycle special primary election.”
Now Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns is spending $12 million to buy advertising around the country. The ads in support of background checks are targeting specific lawmakers for special pressure.
This is precisely the sort of “issue advocacy” that so-called campaign-finance reformers find anathema when it is produced by conservatives — just as they condemn Karl Rove’s PAC, Crossroads GPS, for meddling in elections.
When conservatives engage in this sort of behavior, they are condemned as “outside groups” that are undermining the democratic process. Bloomberg, on the other hand, seems largely to have escaped such censure.
Indeed, the big-money influence of the Koch Brothers routinely is denounced as “the Kochtopus,” and groups that Koch money funds, such as Americans for Prosperity, are derided as “astroturf” — that is, fake grassroots.
Yet when Bloomberg engages in similar behavior, progressives say (seemingly with straight faces) that “New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) launched a national grassroots campaign today… “
Bradley Smith is right. Progressives do not really object to the injection of big money into politics. They object to the injection of big money by the other side.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Race Gets More Crowded
Enter Susan Stimpson, the Republican chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors:
“Name the last tax cut that Richmond made. I believe that the reason that Stafford County is enjoying such prosperity is that we believe in the model of limited government, which includes lowering taxes, less of an a government administration, prioritizing funding, and economic development and letting the market flourish,” said Stimpson.
You Expected Maybe Quiet Reflection?
Because that’s what political parties DO.
It’s not like they would have said, “Interesting choice. Let us get back to you” if he’d picked somebody else… .