Thursday, April 11, 2013

McConnell Slick As Usual

Responding to a remarks made by David Ignatius on the weekend of March 10-11 on The Chris Matthews Show, Rush Limbaugh whined

Can Obama behave in such a way that his ideas will triumph, or can he only get what he wants by destroying his opponents? Well, you and I know the answer to that. Obama can't sell his ideas. He doesn't even try. The entire Obama MO -- and it's been this way since Obama got into politics in Illinois as a state senator -- has been to clear the playing field, not level it. This is why I have been imploring people to understand (particularly Republicans) that what they face is not just a president, but an entire Democrat Party which has as it is objective to eliminate all viable opposition, but not do so on the strength of their ideas -- which they can't do, by the way.

Their ideas do not sell, and that's why Obama doesn't try to sell them. That's specifically why Obama has to destroy the credibility and the reputation of his political opponents...

They're still saying it because they're still in campaign mode. So their MO is literally to destroy their opposition and win in that way because their ideas do not triumph.

Yesterday, the vindictive, vitriolic, and vicious President, commenting on the efforts of two conservative Senators to come to an agreement on NRA-friendly gun legislation, remarked in a written statement: "It recognizes that there are good people on both sides of this issue, and we don't have to agree on everything to know that we've got to do something to stem the tide of gun violence."

When in 2009 Limbaugh claimed "You know racism in this country is the exclusive province of the left,"  he was echoing an idea many conservatives have long held.  It should have come as no surprise, then, that Dave Weigel found

The Senate Republicans' weekly post-lunch press conference stuck to the issues of a week until near the end, when a reporter asked about the "secret tape" of a Kentucky campaign session, published today by Mother Jones. McConnell and the NRSC have moved aggressively to judo-flip the story, turning it from a question of offense or gaffes—which, to be fair, didn't come from McConnell's mouth in the tape—to a story of illegal bugging.

"Well," said McConnell at the presser, "as you know, last month my wife's ethnicity was attacked by a left-wing group in Kentucky. And then, apparently, they also bugged my headquarters. So I think that pretty well sums up the way the political left is operating in this country."

That takes us back approximately two months when Yahoo News reported

Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign on Tuesday accused a liberal group of “race-baiting,” after the organization, Progress Kentucky, charged that his Taiwan-born wife, Elaine Chao, had helped send American jobs to China during two terms as labor secretary.

Progress Kentucky, which is advocating for McConnell's defeat in 2014, denied its comments were racially motivated. A spokesman said the group was drawing attention to actions the Senate minority leader had taken that benefited China at the expense of American workers.

The sharply worded back-and-forth began with a Feb. 14 tweet.

The link took readers to a piece from a newsletter published by radio host Jeff Rense, accusing Chao of making "racist remarks" against American workers in a July 2007 Parade magazine article.

In that piece, Chao, who helmed the Labor Department under President George W. Bush from 2001-2009, seemed to channel overseas employers' complaints about U.S. workers.

"American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene," she said. "They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction. Too many young people bristle when a supervisor asks them to do something."

In a statement, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said Progress Kentucky "should be ashamed of themselves" for the tweet.

"It is unconscionable that anyone would use blatant race-baiting for political gain," Benton said. "We hope all Americans can agree that these disgusting tactics have no place in American politics as we try to bring people together to solve our difficult problems."

Shawn Reilly, Progress Kentucky's executive director, rejected the charge of race-bating.
“Benton’s statements are an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Mitch McConnell has engaged in the selling of the American middle class overseas for decades,” Reilly said in a statement.

Chao, who came to the United States as a child, was the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet post. She and McConnell married in 1993. She is currently a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Progress Kentucky's Twitter feed also includes links to media interest in actress Ashley Judd, a Democrat who has said she may challenge McConnell next year. Other tweets attack McConnell as a "lying, hypocrite, obstructionist" and highlight business activities of his father-in-law, James Chao, a shipping company owner with ties to Chinese officials.

In another tweet, the group asks whether McConnell is "too close to China" and links to a piece quoting a Chinese dissident expressing concern about Elaine Chao's appointment as labor secretary. And in another, the person handling the account seems to signal uneasiness with a supporter encouraging Progress Kentucky to train its sights on Chao. It doesn't last long.

At least three of the tweets cited by reporter Olivier Knox were quickly deleted. Objectively, Chao's comments in her interview with a reporter for Parade magazine were not "racist."  But they were, as charged by the group, "offensive."  Unfortunately, Chao also reflected the prejudices of society's elite when she claimed

American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene.   They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction. Too many young people bristle when a supervisor asks them to do something.

Chao's message, according to the reporter, was "You could lose your job to a foreign worker -- not because he's cheaper but because he has better workplace skills and discipline."    That cleverly diverts attention from the headlong rush of American corporations to send jobs to mainland China which characterized Chao's tenure as labor secretary.  And it is a mean and inaccurate stereotype, grossly at odds with reality, in which the Economic Policy Institute (graph below from Mother Jones) notes

Productivity growth has risen substantially over the last few decades but the hourly compensation of the typical worker has seen much more modest growth, especially in the last 10 years or so. The gap between productivity and the compensation growth for the typical worker has been larger in the “lost decade” since the early 2000s than at any point in the post-World War II period. In contrast, productivity and the compensation of the typical worker grew in tandem over the early postwar period until the 1970s.

Major figures on the right know how to play their popular base, much of which believes it is victimized by gun-hating, abortion-loving, anti-family liberals who hate Christians.  It is a handy way to distract the media from examining the Repub effort to increase the labor pool, decrease the supply of adequate jobs, and reinforce the nation's position as a land of income inequality.

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