[The GOP's] greatest political strength today is their ability to dominate heavily white areas. — Ruy Teixeira | Think Progress
The Michele Bachmann sideshow is hurting the GOP – Due to a series of gaffes, she is again on the receiving end of criticism, including from Fox News powerhouse Bill O’Reilly. The congresswoman is also, as reported by The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, “embroiled in a litany of legal proceedings related to her rolling disaster of a presidential campaign — including an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into campaign improprieties.” It’s almost as if Bachmann were a Democratic mole embedded in the Republican Party with the purpose of chasing away a wide range of voters. Her latest sound-bite-producing comment, this time on ObamaCare, begged for audio accompaniment of the Twilight Zone theme. Try to imagine it: “Let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that. Let’s love people. Let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”
Suddenly conservative Christians have a problem with politicizing religion??!? – “It’s sad when clergy egregiously politicize worship,” Mark Tooley, president of the conservative Christian organization Institute on Religion and Democracy, wrote in one of several blogs and articles that have criticized the sermon. “Is this characterization of religious conservatives as racists, chauvinists and bigots really fair and accurate? And if political critique of religious conservatives were appropriate in an Easter sermon, couldn’t León offer a thoughtful analysis rather than snide smugness?”
NRA Still Undermining Weakened Gun Legislation – Last month the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a plan to increase penalties for straw purchases, or buying a gun for someone who can’t pass a background check. According to the Post, NRA lobbyists are pushing a revision that would make it much harder to prosecute gun traffickers: The NRA’s draft language would require law enforcement officials to prove that the straw purchaser had reason to believe the buyer was prohibited from obtaining guns or knew that the buyer intended to commit a crime, according to an analysis of the NRA proposal provided to The Washington Post by the Bloomberg-led mayors group.
Leaving the massive gun-show loophole in place, on purpose – Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said closing the gun-show loophole is “a bridge too far” for most Senate Republicans. He added that the “paperwork requirements alone would be significant.” The nation would like to reduce mass murders, but for some federal lawmakers, “paperwork requirements” have to take precedence? Similarly, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was asked whether expanded background checks can survive in the Senate. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t think it makes any sense. The current system is broken. Fix the current system.” …that might be possible if Senate Republicans weren’t also blocking ATF from functioning effectively…
The Republicans’ Diversity Deserts | Charles Blow – Too many House Republican districts are isolated in naturally homogeneous areas or gerrymandered ghettos, so elected officials there rarely hear — or see — the great and growing diversity of this country and the infusion of energy and ideas and art with which it enriches us. These districts produce representatives unaccountable to the confluence. And this will likely be the case for the next decade. [...] With the exception of a few districts, a map of the areas in this country with the fewest minorities looks strikingly similar to a map of the areas from which Congressional Republicans hail. In fact, although this is the most diverse Congress in history, not one of the blacks or Asians in the House is a Republican. Only about a sixth of the Hispanics are Republicans, and fewer than a third of the women are.
“My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.” — Republican Congressman Don Young from Alaska
Top Critique of GOP is Unwillingness to Compromise – A new Gallup Poll finds rank-and-file Republicans, independents, and Democrats voice the same primary criticism of the GOP: it is “too inflexible” or “unwilling to compromise.” When asked to say what they most dislike about the Republican Party, 26% of Republicans, 17% of independents, and 22% of Democrats offer this critique — leading all other mentions.
From the Department of Outreach – Representative Steve King (R-IA) and Senator Jim InHofe (R-OK) want to ban the federal government from translating documents into other languages. An attempt to codify English as our official language and violate the Voting Rights Act.
Exxon Mobil pipeline leaks ‘a few thousand’ barrels of crude oil in Arkansas – Exxon Mobil said that one of its pipelines leaked ‘a few thousand’ barrels of Canadian heavy crude oil near Mayflower, Ark., prompting the evacuation of 22 homes and reinforcing concerns many critics have raised about the Keystone XL pipeline that is awaiting State Department approval.
Alaska Lawmaker Tells Exxon Valdez Spill Not Its Fault – Alaska is set to give oil companies, including ExxonMobil, a massive tax cut. The bill, which passed the Senate 11-9 and is endorsed by Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, is being debated by the House of Representatives. The plan raises the base tax rate that companies pay no matter the price of oil, and also gives them a $5 credit for every barrel they produce. The plan would cost the state anywhere from $3 billion to $9.5 billion over the next six years. As if that weren’t enough, Republicans in the state House want to make the tax cut even larger. And as they debated doing so, Rep. Kurt Olson (R) told a company representative that Exxon shouldn’t be blamed for the second-worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989…
Loaded for Bear(shit): Consultants Cash In on Palin – Sarah Palin attempted to relaunch her political career this week with a new video which railed against “the big consultants, the big money men, and the big bad media.” …Seen through the lens of the invaluable Center for Responsive Politics, Palin’s PAC spent $5.1 million in the last election cycle (more than it raised in that time period, raising some questions about Palin’s claims of fiscal responsibility). But the real news comes when you look at how donors’ money was actually doled out: just $298,500 to candidates. The bulk of the rest of it, more than $4.8 million, went to—you guessed it—consultants.
“If your boss suddenly decided he had a moral objection to your health insurance plan covering cholesterol medication—and had the power to act on his objection—it would be outrageous invasion of your privacy and the doctor-patient relationship. It’s the kind of thing that no politician would ever want to see happen, unless that politician were a Republican, and instead of needing cholesterol medication, you needed birth control coverage.” — Jed Lewison
Elevating the religious beliefs of some people over the civil rights of all – As in every state, residents of Kentucky already enjoy religious liberty under the First Amendment, but conservatives in the state legislature decided to craft a proposal that would empower Kentuckians with “sincerely held” religious beliefs to disregard state laws and regulations. In effect, if a law conflicted with the tenets of your faith as you interpret them, your conscience would trump your obligation to follow the law…
Tennessee Republicans pushing to cut welfare benefits if kids’ report cards don’t measure up – Tennessee has among the lowest average monthly benefits for a recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in the country. But not content with that, the state legislature is pushing a plan to cut benefits for families of kids who don’t do well enough in school. [...] Now those kids are essentially asked to bear the burden of maintaining their families’ cash incomes, or putting additional burdens on their parents. The math a kid living on TANF is concerned with is likely this: How many hours ago did I have my last meal? How many days overdue is the rent or the electric bill? And, if this bill passes: What score do I need on this next test to keep my family’s income from being slashed?