Archive for backfire

Bright spot for Dems: Electing governors in states run by Republicans

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what's the matter with kansas now GOP governors

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As the headline suggests, there is, indeed, a bright spot for Democrats this election season: Knocking off GOP governors in tres rouge Republican states. Waitwhat? Yes, you read that right, we have a shot at retaking a few governors mansions in currently (Or to put it punnily, currantly) red states. Crazy huh? How'd that happen?

Well, it happened because radical right legislation signed by radical right governors is backfiring. Even their fellow Republicans have had enough. Now let's hope it backfires effectively enough to get voters to turn a few red mansions blue. Steve Kornacki cites one example. Then below that is the L.A. Times' broader take on the topic. Take it away, Steve:

Steve Kornacki, subbing for Rachel Maddow:

So you've heard a lot of stories in the last two years about extremely conservative governors and extremely conservative state legislators. You've probably heard of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and maybe you're even familiar with some of the extremely conservative lawmaking he and his legislature have achieved.

But you might not have heard what happened to Governor Brownback in Kansas today. Lots of people have seen enough and many of those people are Republicans...

There's a race for governor of Kansas this year. And today in that state, more than 100 Republican politicians and activists officially threw their support behind the Democrat...

And to put things in perspective and how big a deal this is, just take a minute to think of how staunchly a Republican state Kansas actually is...

Just two years ago, Brownback led an effort to purge moderate Republican state legislators in primaries to drive them out of the statehouse to replace them with right-wingers. And he got his way. 2012 was also the same year he signed a controversial tax slashing law into effect. ... Brownback said at the time that the cuts would create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.

But two years later, it hasn't quite worked out that way. So far, it`s cost Kansas a ton of revenue without really jump-starting the economy. Moody`s, for example, recently downgraded the state`s credit rating... [O]n one hand, the governor`s dealing with the fallout from the tax cuts he championed. And on the other, he`s dealing with backlash from the moderates he`s tried to stamp out.

Steve Benen has more on this at The Maddow Blog.

The Los Angeles Times explores the phenomenon further. Brownback isn't the only one who may be in trouble:

The mathematics and political map both favor Democrats, the opposite of their circumstance in congressional races, where most House Republicans are safe and most competitive Senate contests are in places President Obama lost in 2012.

By contrast, Republican governors are battling in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and other states Obama carried twice.

Democrats have even expanded the fight to places such as ruby-red Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback faces a stiff challenge amid an uproar from GOP moderates and others unhappy with his aggressively conservative agenda — especially a massive tax cut that has badly strained state finances.

I love the way Nathan Gonzales, an analyst with the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, put it: "One of the consequences of doing well in an election is having to defend those victories next time around."

As regular readers know, one of my mantras is that the GOP lacks foresight. This drives the point home.

And this concludes yet another episode of Republicans Eating Their Own.

eating their own

oz we're not in kansas any more

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U.S. relies on appalling death toll from #Syria attack to make case, but our casualty figures "much higher than others'"

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drumbeat to syria

Via a New York Times email alert:

A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved an authorization of force against the Syrian regime, setting up a showdown next week in the full Senate on whether President Obama should have the authority to strike.

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are pushing as hard as they can to persuade us that bombing Syria is the right thing to do. In fact, per another email alert I received, Kerry is saying that the administration wants a “trigger” that would authorize military action for 60 days each time al-Assad’s regime uses chemical weapons.

But they're getting a lot of resistance and for good reason. There are still unanswered questions, Americans are queasy about jumping into yet another conflict in a volatile region, and some of the answers we've gotten don't sound as convincing as they should.

And now this from the Los Angeles Times:

The death toll given by the Obama administration for an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack is far higher than confirmed counts of two key allies and a main activist group, which said it was shocked by the U.S. figure.

In pressing Congress to authorize a military strike against Syria, the administration has asserted that the government of President Bashar Assad killed 1,429 people, including at least 426 children, in an Aug. 21 attack on the suburbs of Damascus.

But Britain and France have cited far lower numbers of confirmed deaths, raising questions about the intelligence the White House is using to make its case to launch missile strikes against Syria.

"Raising questions about intelligence" is not a welcome phrase right about now.

British intelligence came up with 350 as the number of people who had been killed. French intelligence said there were at least 281 confirmed deaths, but maybe as many as 1,500.

But so what, right? The point is that civilians were murdered. Not so fast.

The casualty figures are important because the administration is resting its case for military action in part on the scale of the attack.

If we're going to commit an act of war (and yes, bombing another country is an act of war), then it goes without saying, especially after the fraudulent Iraq debacle, that we should base our actions on reliable intel.

The precision of the U.S. figure, given the initial confusion surrounding the attack and the often contradictory reports of the violence in Syria, also raised questions among some observers.

But never mind all that.

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Also for your consideration, Mark Karlin at BuzzFlash has posted this: What Congress Will Be Voting on Is Another War, Not a "Limited Punitive Strike"

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VIDEO: Alan Grayson spars with Alex Witt on #Syria. Grayson wins.

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I've had my problems with Alex Witt in the past, but in today's interview with Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), she was more unprepared, flustered, and inaccurate than I've seen her in some time.

Witt came at Grayson with challenge after challenge of his positions on Syria, and he batted them away the way Mr. Ed swatted flies with his tail. When she got her facts wrong, he wasted no time in correcting her, and without even trying, he embarrassed her as badly as she embarrassed herself.

As a Twitter pal put it:

"He sorta ate Alex's lunch on the media hype of war with Syria. She was speechless and there was a moment of silence as if everything had gone off script."

Agree with Grayson or not, he speaks his mind, he's blunt, and gets right to the point. In this instance, he wasted no time and had ready answers to unWitting (bygones), uninformed questioning. Here are some excerpts:

Witt: You have been very vocal in your opposition to any kind of intervention. What's your argument against this?

Grayson: First it's not our responsibility. Secondly, whatever we do won't actually accomplish anything useful. Third, it's expensive. And fourth it's dangerous.

Witt: Okay. Uh. You're pretty definitive in that. How much pushback are you getting...?

Grayson: No, my position is actually the popular position here. We set up a website called DontAttackSyria.com and within a few hours we had 10,000 signatures petitioning the president against this action. The polls now show and will continue to show that Americans understand that it's simply not our responsibility. We are only one country out of 196. We have our own problems to deal with, and we're not the world's policeman, nor the world's judge, jury, and executioner.

Witt: You have said that you don't even think it's clear a chemical attack occurred. Now Doctors Without Borders, which is a completely impartial group, says its partners have treated 3,600 people for chemical weapons symptoms. Do you not believe them?

Grayson: No, no. You're misquoting me out of context. I said that several days ago before that evidence came in...

[But] I've yet to hear anybody explain to me why our attacking Syria will take away their ability to commit such an attack in the future.

Witt: Do you question, sir, the president saying that this is a threat to our national security, the use of chemical weapons in Syria?

Grayson: Absolutely. We haven't been attacked at all. Not a single American has been attacked during the course of this entire civil war. And I think Americans understand that. Let's tend to our own garden. ...

Witt: What's your response to [the clip of President Obama's remarks]?

Grayson: Not a single other country feels that way. Just a few days ago we had British parliament debate --

Witt: (She interrupted quickly and loudly here) France does, I believe!

Grayson: Well, no. France is saying we'll wait and see. So that's not the case at all. How is it that this is always our responsibility? And by the way, the treaty that the president's citing says that in case of violations of that treaty, you take the perpetrators to the International Court of the Hague, you don't bomb them.

Witt: (Sigh) Okay. Uhh.. Are you going to be on that conference call, sir, at 2:00... ?

Grayson: No, there is no conference call at 2:00 with general membership... I've arranged for a separate briefing... next week.

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#Syria Watch: "The idea of quick hits or short campaigns is often an illusion," brings unintended consequences

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drumbeat to syria

Robin Wright

At the risk of being redundant, I'm writing up another post on the risks of taking on Syria. My previous one, "Military analysts: Punitive strikes now being contemplated against Syria ineffective, even counterproductive," was based on a Los Angeles Times article titled “Punitive strikes ineffective, even counterproductive, analysts say”:

The type of limited, punitive military campaign now being contemplated against Syria has failed to deter U.S. adversaries in the past, and at times emboldened them, military analysts say.

In today's Times, there is an op-ed by Robin Wright, a familiar face on our Tee Vee machines and author of "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World." She is also a distinguished scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Looks like she agrees with the military analysts from my earlier post. She explains that the last five presidents have tried limited strikes, many in the Middle East, but that both Democratic and Republican administrations have "pretty sorry" track records.

Please read the entire op-ed, because she documents everything she says and has unique and personal insights based on her time living in other countries and witnessing events firsthand:

First, quick hits rarely achieve enduring political goals — and often produce more costs or unintended consequences than benefits. I've seen it so often before. [...]

So the idea of quick hits or short campaigns is often an illusion. [...]

In the case of Syria, a few days of strikes against military targets may assuage moral outrage over its heinous use of chemical weapons. But they also carry the danger of widening the war by legitimizing or deepening involvement by other foreign powers, notably Iranian and Russian support for Damascus. [...]

So, as the U.S. and its allies take on Syria, they need to ensure that the costs do not ultimately outweigh the benefits, and that another military mission doesn't backfire.

And this just in:

UK government motion on Syria intervention has been rejected by a 285 to 272 margin...

British PM Cameron has pledged not to override Parliament after losing the vote. Via a Politico email alert:

"It's clear to me that the British parliament and the British people do not wish to see military action," Cameron said after the vote. "I get that, and I will act accordingly."

Let's hope President Obama and Congress listen to the American people and act accordingly.

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