Posts filed under ‘republicans’

Grassley, health insurance, and greenbacks

Call this month a split decision for Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. The Midwesterner struck a blow for transparency when his probe revealed that three Harvard researchers had taken millions of dollars from Big Pharma, raising conflict-of-interest concerns. “Under pressure,” the New York Times wrote, “two of the researchers acknowledged receiving $1.6 million apiece in consulting fees from drug companies between 2000 and 2007 and the third reported earning more than $1 million.” (Merci, Muse, for first mentioning the New York Times editorial that addressed the subject.)

Alas, Grassley has shown he’s not immune to financial shenanigans. The American Spectator has revealed that he’s prone to directing public dollars toward the Hawkeye State through generous earmarks. “Due in large part to Grassley’s spending savvy,” the AmSpec noted, a report from the group Citizens Against Government Waste “put Iowa, 30th in terms of population, 16th in overall earmark spending.” While this may delight Grassley’s constituents, it contributes to imbalance at national spending levels. The senator should heed the wise Latin words Medice, teipsum: Physician, heal thyself!

June 15, 2008 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

McCain: Springtime of GOP’s discontent

Arizona Sen. John McCain has won the Republican presidential nomination for 2008. Does he have what it takes to mobilize the GOP base? Bob and Susannah discuss in the latest “Running Gags”!

March 7, 2008 at 8:31 pm 2 comments

Hagee endorses McCain

Surprise: Pastor John Hagee of San Antonio, founder of Christians United for Israel, endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain for president — not ordained Baptist minister and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The New York Times detailed Hagee’s, er, intriguing beliefs on Eretz Yisrael and end-times prophecies. While these beliefs may unsettle and/or confuse the secular Times, they’re in step with many other Americans. “(In) one poll last year, 42 per cent of Americans said they believed that ‘Israel was given to the Jewish people by God’, and 32 per cent that Israel is ‘part of the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and the Second Coming of Jesus,'” the Times Literary Supplement reported.Wonder if Hagee’s support shows a conservative shift towards McCain?

February 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

Midwest, Southern setbacks for McCain?

Sen. John McCain has lost the Republican primary in Kansas. Jayhawkers went for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee over McCain, 60 percent to 24 percent, with Texas Rep. Ron Paul picking up 11 percent.

What might help Huckabee’s improbable run is that the New York Times is not-so-subtly advocating McCain’s candidacy. Reporter Kate Zernike referred to “the daunting number of delegates Mr. McCain has amassed” and added that “Mr. McCain is far enough ahead in the delegate race that his advisers have said it would be all but impossible for anyone else to win the nomination.” Of course his advisers would say that. How about finding a less partial source?

The numbers are as follows: To win the nomination, a candidate needs 1,191 delegates. The total before the voting on Saturday put McCain at 703, Huckabee at 190 and Paul 42.

My sense is that Huckabee will also do well in the upcoming March 4 primaries in Texas (a winner-take-all 140 delegates) and Ohio (88). These states are friendly to fundamentalists (think Rod Parsley and John Hagee) and populists alike.

February 11, 2008 at 6:08 pm Leave a comment

Conservative civil war?

“On Point” host Tom Ashbrook discussed conservative pundits’ animosity toward Sen. John McCain on Monday as McCain seems poised to win the Republican presidential nomination. Ashbrook focused on Rush Limbaugh, broadcasting Limbaugh’s mimicry of McCain and angry response to 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, who has criticized Rush for denouncing McCain.

Limbaugh headlines a long list of commentators — Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan — whose audience includes many with an equally strong dislike of McCain. (I analyzed the pundits’ outrage here.)

To what degree will Limbaugh, Coulter et al. influence voters’ decision in November? Do people listen to them primarily for entertainment value, or does their audience take their opinions more seriously?

Many conservatives pride themselves on their independence — independence from Big Government in Washington, DC, independence from New York-centered media, independence from movie barons in Hollywood. They might also resent what is becoming their own version of the mainstream media telling them what to do, and who to vote for.

February 11, 2008 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

Who made Rush, Coulter emperors?

The Republican punditocracy — including Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Pat Buchanan and Laura Ingraham — boasts lots of listeners and New York Times best-seller status. But it seems to be mistaking its clout at store counters and on radio dials for the authority of Moses on the mountaintop.

On “Super Tuesday” the clarion calls came out against Arizona Sen. John McCain. Ingraham welcomed Focus on the Family boss Dr. James Dobson, who delivered some unkind words against the Straight Talk Express. Limbaugh got a dressing-down from former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole for his attacks on McCain. Savage, when not calling the entire primary process a ploy of Goldman Sachs, also castigated the senator, as did Buchanan and Coulter.

Yet party voters seem to like the guy right now. The punditocracy can gin up one excuse after another — too many independents in New Hampshire, too many in Florida — but after McCain won delegate-heavy states like New York and California in the voting yesterday, the conservative hydra seems to be spewing more smoke than fire.

The GOP has valid complaints against McCain: he’s shown he’s a maverick, but he hasn’t yet proven he’s a unifying leader. Or, rather, when he’s led, he’s done so by working with Democrats (as in the Gang of 14) and not enough with his own party. Nevertheless, the Republican rank and file seem to prefer him over more authentic-sounding efforts like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

During last year’s insurgency against President Bush and McCain over amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Republican punditocracy gleefully noted that the leaders had lost touch with their base. They may not be so gleeful to acknowledge that now it is their turn to lose alignment with their base.

February 6, 2008 at 5:39 pm 1 comment

Ann Coulter checks in on Boston

Conservative author Ann Coulter chatted with Boston-area WRKO-AM host Howie Carr on Monday afternoon, fielding questions about Republican presidential candidates, her hero Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and her latest controversial remarks, this time on Christianity and Judaism.

Coulter and Carr are both known for their incendiary remarks, but Carr played the role of moderate this time, chastising Coulter for mentioning “lynching” (twice) and for a careless comment about Mormons. Perhaps Coulter’s sole virtue is that, by being so glib, she encourages others to make sure they don’t follow her example.

November 19, 2007 at 9:29 pm 1 comment


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