Saturday, August 09, 2014

Kick Me In The Rear, Again!

You know Republicans have gotten a bit ridiculous (analogous to slightly pregnant?) when, as Think Progress reported a little over a week ago,

Hours before Congress broke for the August recess, House Republicans claimed that the President could use executive action to fix the border situation with unaccompanied children fleeing violence in the Central American countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. In a press statement released Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other House Republican leaders indicated that President Obama could address the crisis “without the need for congressional action,” a statement tinged with some irony given that just the day before, House Republicans had slammed the President with a lawsuit claiming executive overreach.

It is, additionally, a lawsuit claiming the President exceeded his authority by delaying the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act, a provision bitterly opposed by the Party which bitterly opposed the legislation itself. But there is a way to gain Republican cooperation, even turning them into metaphorical cute little puppy dogs.  CNN reveals

The former Republican presidential nominee will team up with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a fundraiser benefiting the New Jersey Republican Party next month, sources familiar with the plans told CNN.

The event is billed as a birthday celebration for Christie, who turns 52 next month.

The September 10 fundraiser — co-hosted by Christie allies Bill Palatucci, New Jersey GOP Chairman Sam Raia, state Sen. Tom Kean and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick — will take place in East Brunswick.

Romney is listed as a "special guest."

It’s the latest high-profile political move for Romney, who is asserting himself on the 2014 campaign trail as a surrogate in key Senate and House races, and burnishing his reputation among Republicans in the process.

Romney’s appearance alongside the New Jersey governor, who is laying groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid, could also signal to Romney’s network of financial supporters that Christie remains a viable choice for the Republican nomination in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal that engulfed his administration earlier this year and continues to bubble beneath the surface. It's not the first time the two men have shared a stage together this year - Christie was invited to address a Romney-hosted donor retreat in Park City in June.

While the Republican donor class hasn't fled from Christie en masse, the scandal tarnished his his early frontrunner status and wounded Christie's golden boy status among establishment money-men.

The birthday fundraiser might also heal some bad blood left over from 2012. Christie and Romney — and their respective loyalists — had a sometimes fraught relationship at times during the presidential race. Christie publicly mulled running against Romney for the GOP nomination, and later infuriated some Republicans just days before the election by teaming up with President Obama for a tour of New Jersey storm damage after Hurricane Sandy, giving the president some important bipartisan luster in full view of the national media.

This is great reporting. We all witnessed at the convention set to nominate Mitt Romney for president a keynote speech by Chris Christie extolling the virtues of Chris Christie.  Too seldom is noted the photo tour of Hurricane Sandy damage conducted by a then-wildly popular Republican governor and the man facing off against Romney in the presidential election.  The image of seeming bipartisanship was a boon both for Christie, seen collaborating with a President popular in New Jersey, and for the incumbent President, whose bipatisanship credentials were greatly enhanced by his appearance with the GOP governor.  It was a win-win for guys whose personal ambitions greatly exceed their interest in the fortunes of their party.

In plain English:  Chris Christie sabotaged Mitt Romney.  And now Romney is doing whatever he can to help the Governor, himself lusting for the presidency.

A similar dynamic is taking place in Michigan. There, Republican Representative Justin Amash scored a victory in Tuesday's primary, after which

Amash targeted Michigan’s former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra, a longtime Chamber-backed candidate himself, now a Chamber-funded political lobbyist and supporter of Amash’s Republican opponent Brian Ellis. “I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra,” Amash told the crowd, underscoring the L-word to much applause, “you are a disgrace. And I’m glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance.”

Ouch. As “The Fix” notes, “Hoekstra lost the state’s 2012 Senate race — and in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.”

And then Amash zeroed in on his direct opponent, businessman Ellis: “You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign. You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you. To stop people who were more interested in themselves than in doing what’s best for their district.”

A disgrace who will fade into total obscurity and irrelevance- how would a proud man respond?  We found out when during a Newsmax panel (video, below) Hoekstra declared

I congratulate Justin, he won a good victory on Tuesday. As Republicans, most of us are united, there's a lot of opportunities in Michigan. We've got a good opportunity to re-elect the successful Governor. We have an opportunity to pick up a Senate seat. We have to win 3 new Congressional seats where the existing Republicans are either retiring or one incumbent was defeated in a primary. So, we've got a lot of work to do, that's kind of what I am focused on.

The Congressman can deal with his victory, and that’s something he has to deal with. I can’t have any control over that. My response to the primary on Tuesday is let's get together and let's focus on what we need to accomplish in November.

When the surprised conservative host asked Hoekstra to elaborate, the latter responded

Yeah, I mean, you know, the Congressman is entitled to his own opinions. So we disagree on who the best candidate was for the third district of Michigan. I supported his opponent, and I feel very comfortable and confident that the decision that I made in supporting Brian Ellis. Brian Ellis is a very talented individual, he's a successful businessman. I thought he would have been a very successful and a very constructive governing Congressman if he had had the opportunity to serve in Washington.

Congressman Amash's response to those who disagree with him, you know, that's his perspective. I really can't respond his feelings or his attitudes.

The ex-Repub congressman could have denounced Amash for his intemperate remarks, even suggesting that they revealed why he would prove to be a weaker general election candidate than Ellis.  If that were excessively bold, he might at least have withheld, however temporarily, offering his support for Amash's re-election.  Instead, it was "we have an opportunity to pick up a Senate seat" so "let's get together and focus on what we need to accomplish in November. "

Evidently, anyone who condemns Peter Hoekstra will pay as severe a price as someone metaphorically sticking a knife in the back of Mitt Romney.  Or perhaps less a price than a reward, something akin to winning the lottery.

It's the way they roll, witnessed after GOP Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina yelled "you lie" at President Obama during the latter's 2010 State of the Union message, a horrifying infraction against the imperial presidency which has gradually taken hold in the nation the past few decades.  ("Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names..." oh, never mind).  House Democrats threatened to censure Wilson; a few Republicans threatened retaliation. The Democrats censured Wilson; Republicans did.... nothing.

It's a lesson President Obama only recently has begun to learn. But, in all fairness, it's a lesson Democrats have failed to understand for decades.

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