Category Archives: Rove

Here Comes The Dark Money

Dark Money Here comes the money – into the Nevada District 4 Congressional race:

“Crossroads GPS, a conservative group, said Tuesday it has bought $820,000 worth of TV time for ads to start airing today and run through Election Day on Nov. 4. A source familiar with the ad buy said it is aimed at Horsford, who represents the 4th Congressional District.

Paul Lindsay, communications director for Crossroads GPS, confirmed the group’s eleventh-hour spending plans for the campaign, which could be a game-changer, but offered no details.

“We have placed a buy in the Las Vegas media market and have an important message to communicate,” Lindsay said.” [LVRJ]

And what might the “important message” be? It’s that Representative Horsford is in the same political party as the President of the United States.  Horsford, the ads explain, supports the Affordable Care Act.  Yes, that’s the law which restrains some of the more egregious practices of health insurance corporations, requires that comprehensive insurance cover flu vaccinations, and autism screening, and makes shopping for private health care plans more convenient.   Then there’s the almost an outright lie.

The Affordable Care Act cut Medicare.” This prevarication has been one of the pillars of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  Those “cuts” actually: (1) Close the do-nut hole in Medicare Part D prescription coverage until the ‘hole’ is eliminated in 2020; (2) Expands existing coverage for senior citizens; (3) Supports initiatives to support care coordination; (4) Does not reduce benefits from Medicare Advantage (the private option to Medicare); (5) Reduces payments to Medicare Advantage rewarding those providers who improve the quality of their coverage, bringing payouts in line with other areas of Medicare; (6) Helps protect the Medicare trust fund.  [OFacts]

The “cuts” were made to over-payments to Medicare Advantage providers which were higher than payments made to Medicare providers – in essence supplying the private Medicare option with a public corporate subsidy. “Your” Medicare (Advantage) benefits weren’t cut!  What was cut were unjustifiable taxpayer subsidies to private health insurance corporations.   And, maybe we should be reminded that those same “cuts” about which Rove’s Dark Money ads are caterwauling, are the same “cuts” which appear in  Representative Paul Ryan’s budget plans?

Someone doesn’t like “cuts” made to the public funds available to private health care insurance corporations.  Who might that be? We’ll not know because Crossroads is a Dark Money 501 (c) 4 which doesn’t have to reveal the names of its donors. [IBT]  There’s nothing grass-roots about Rove’s organization which takes advantage of the decision in Citizens United to cover the tracks of mega-donors.

“The large donations may renew questions from Sunlight and others about whether Crossroads GPS should be able to file as a nonprofit “social welfare” group under the tax code, allowing it to avoid disclosing donor names. According to IRS regulations, the group’s “primary purpose” cannot be influencing elections, but the group can spend up to half of its money on political campaigning.” [WaPo] (emphasis added)

This goes toward explaining why the GOP was so anxious to attack the IRS for “politicizing” 501 (c) organization decisions?  There are legitimate questions about the “social welfare” activities of organizations like Crossroads GPS, and someone didn’t want those questions answered.

Republicans may see an opening in Nevada District 4 and are willing to unleash the Dark Side Money into the breach. We can hope that the constituent services, and the person campaign style of incumbent Representative Stephen Horsford can overcome the money accreting to the Tea Party Radical campaign of challenger Cresent “Segregation” Hardy.  [NVProg]

Early voting has started, and the GOP base is out in force – as usual – Every. Vote. Counts. GOTV.

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Filed under Nevada politics, Rove

There were some weddings in Las Vegas

Rainbow Flag 2 Some couples got married in Las Vegas, NV yesterday, a headline which now joins “Dog bites man,” and “Spring Flowers Bloom” in the archives of conspicuous banality.   The question in Nevada shifted from “could it ever happen?” to “will it happen?” to “how come it has taken so long?”  [more from Ralston]

Conservatives who are still uncomfortable with the idea of letting a relatively small number of homosexual citizens in the state take on the joys and obligations of marriage may not take much comfort in the thought that part of their message over the last 30 years has been received:  Government should not intrude on our private lives.  And, when we’re talking about truly private matters – who can argue with that?

It’s never been a simple matter to claim religious authority in the public sphere.  It’s especially difficult in a country in which initial religious practice ranged from the Brownists in Plymouth – marriage was an invention of man without scriptural authority, to Catholics in Maryland – marriage was a sacrament. [CJPH]   However, it’s also never been a simple matter to avoid entangling religious beliefs and political ideologies – witness the Rovian formula welding Patriotism and Christianity for the benefit of the Republican Party.

The result has been a right wing conglomeration of the fiscal ultra-conservative (Grover Norquist) added to the religious ultra-conservative (Patriot Pastors) mixed with the military/financial interests (Koch Brothers, Wall Street).  At some point the seams start ripping.

Small But Not Too Small?

It’s impossible to have “small government” if the government is tasked with supervising individual sexual behaviors.  It’s impossible to have “small government” if the government is charged with executing statutes on family matters and women’s individual healthcare decisions.

It’s impossible to have “small government” while maintaining a military budget of at least $682 billion – as large as the combined military budgets of the next ten highest national budgets combined. [WaPo]  And, it’s impossible to have “small government” if we also want to secure fiscal and economic stability.  We tried ‘de-regulation’ and what we got was Enron and Lehman Brothers – and the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Now the frazzle shows up in the religious realm.  It’s now impossible to anchor a political ideology on a  floating buoy – public opinion has moved remarkably on same sex marriages in the last decade.  What was a useful wedge issue in 2004 has become something to avoid in 2014.  Witness the palaver over Blundermeister John Boehner’s decision to campaign on behalf of a gay Republican in California? [TDB]

No majority is ever permanent. No radical ideology is ever secure.

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Filed under Nevada politics, privacy, religion, Republicans, Rove

Nevada Political Notes

Nevada Political News:  “Organizations step up final push to get Hispanics to the polls,” Las Vegas Sun.  Plans are still on for President Obama to speak in North Las Vegas (info here) if recovery activities after Sandy permit. The race for the middle in Nevada Senate District 5; Kirk may call himself a pragmatist — if so, then why the attack on collective bargaining, which brings to mind the antics of the GOP in Wisconsin and Ohio?  Woodhouse (D) is the actual moderate in this race.

It should be remembered in Nevada District 4 that the Republican in the race has touched the third rail of Nevada politics — advocating that the Silver State become the nation’s nuclear trash dump.

Governor Sandoval may be talking nationally, but his money’s on legislative races. [RGJ] *Note that one of Sandoval’s favorites is ALEC supporter Greg Brower (R-Reno).   Senator (by appointment only) Dean Heller has received the endorsement of noted advocate of scrambling up church and state, and of pushing the  USCOCB’s version of women’s health — Rick Santorum.

Nationally, 538 shows President Obama up by 3.2% in statewide polling.  The same source reports Senator Dean Heller leading Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley by 3.6 to 4.4 depending on the measurement used.

The astroturf follies are alive and well in Nevada, and it’s not just down south.  Northern Nevada voters have been getting pro-Heller fliers in the mail from Safari International, the gun lobby, the Idaho Republican Central Committee, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads Super PAC, along with robo-calls from “Jack” and “Sandy” to get out the vote for the Republicans.  Since the fliers and calls are broadcast generally a person could wonder what happened to that carefully targeted GOP “Voter Vault” advertizing effort of recent memory — but why bother when there’s plenty of PAC money flooding the process?

Line of the Week: “Reid repeatedly said he has “nothing personal” against Romney, but nonetheless delivered a harsh political attack. “He’s multiple choice on everything,” Reid said. “He doesn’t stand for anything. He’s the plastic man of American politics.”   Yes, the “Plastic Man” of American Politics.  Yes, “plastic” in the sense of be capable of being molded or modeled, and “plastic” in the sense of being synthetic or processed materials that are mostly thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers of high molecular weight. AKA artificial.

The Sin City Siren is decked out for Halloween, complete with Creature Features which describe the Jekyll and Hyde (plastic) capacities of one Willard Mitt Romney.

Read the labels!  About all a person needs to know about the trade and economic policies of the Romney and the Obama campaigns is illustrated by Vegas Jessie who helpfully posts pictures of the labels on campaign gear. Guess whose is made in China?  Blue Lyon posts the GOP “Rape Advisory Chart,” along with some very compelling reasons why this election matters.

There’s another good graphic from On My Blotter concerning why a middle class tax cut is a sound economic idea.

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Filed under 2012 election, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Obama, political polls, Politics, presidential polls, presidential race, Reid, Romney, Rove

Chart of the Day: What Spending?

The latest Rovian/Romney  insertion into the political discussion is an ad which charges the Obama Administration with spending our way into oblivion.  Not. So. Fast.   There’s more from the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch.

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Filed under 2012 election, Federal budget, Obama, Romney, Rove

>Rove, The USA’s and the Holder Confirmation Hearings: Coming and Going Around?


Sometimes what goes around comes around, and what is going around is coming back. Perhaps if we go back to 2006 when Karl Rove was advocating vote suppression tactics in critical races, such as those in Nevada, Wisconsin, and other parts of the country, we can get a clearer picture of why Rove and his supporters are so intent on not seating Al Franken and making confirmation for AG nominee Eric Holder, Jr. difficult. First, the somewhat infamous Republican National Lawyers Association is back in the headlines, and secondly there are some interesting connections between that group, Karl Rove, and the upcoming confirmation hearing for Mr. Holder.

Vote Suppression Group backs Coleman: Remember back in 2006 when Karl Rove told the Republican National Lawyers Association that the Democratic Party “rests on the base of election fraud?” [TPMM] From this came a connect-the-dots exercise linking voter suppression activities to the firing of the U.S. Attorneys (Nevada’s Daniel Bogden included), and the thoroughly politicized Bush Department of Justice. [Harpers]

They’re back! The Coleman Recount efforts in Minnesota are being funded in part by none other than the Republican National Lawyer’s Association. The Minnesota DFL Party has filed a formal complaint that the RNLA has “failed to register with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC)and is breaking the law by taking sums in excess of legal limits and from corporations that aren’t allowed to donate.” [MN Indy] Additional information: [Dkos] More to the point, the vote/election suppression issue may be back in the spotlight during the Holder confirmation hearing.

Speaking of things Rovian: Senator Arlen Specter, who was only too happy to declare his support for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft in advance of Judiciary Committee hearings in December 2000, is now bemoaning Senator Patrick Leahy’s support for Obama nominee Eric Holder, Jr. [TP] Now why would the Republican Party be so concerned about Holder’s appointment? There are at least three possible theories.

Theory One: The ‘roughing up’ of Holder because of his connection to the Clinton pardon of Marc Rich will provide cover for Bush pardons that may come in the last moments of the current administration. (Paul Abrams) [HuffPo]

Theory Two: There are outstanding subpoenas for Karl Rove’s testimony concerning the political operations in the White House and the firings of the U.S. Attorneys. Therefore, the more Rove and his followers can impune the credibility of Holder and characterize him as a political flunky, the more validity Rove might seek to attach to his claims that holding him accountable constitutes a witch hunt. [WashMonth]

Theory Three: A number of Department of Justice Lawyers were doubling as activists with the Republican National Lawyers Association, and some may have been the subjects included in the infamous missing Rove e-mails as suggested in April 2007. [TPM]

Theory Four: Holder is an outspoken critic of vote suppression tactics, such as those advocated by Rove. Prior to the 2008 election Holder said, “We’re hoping that there will not be anything by way of voter suppression efforts, where people will be challenged unnecessarily, or impediments will be placed in front of people who want to exercise the right to vote.” NPR’s Farai Chideya.” [NPR]

If the latter two speculations are valid, then Senators Specter and Grassley have fallen into line with Karl Rove’s possible desire to put a monkey wrench into the hearing in order to (1) protect his own skin; and (2) to continue the voter suppression tactics he advocated to that meeting of the Republican National Lawyers Association in 2006. Could this also have something to do with the lovely photo of Senator Arlen Specter shaking hands with RNLA Board of Governors member Cleta Mitchell at the RNLA 2007 conference? [RNLA] Or, could this connect with Senator Specter’s declaration that Attorney General Gonzales should resign, while not specifically calling for the resignation in April 2007?

If none of the speculations are valid, then there remains quite enough fodder to stoke conspiracy theories into time immemorial about the relationships between Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, the Republican National Lawyers Association, the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal, and the vote suppression attempts in 2006 and 2008.

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Filed under Republicans, Rove

>Lettuce vs. Houses: Can McCain shed the Shadow of Atwater – or does he even want to?


If the Bush-McCain party wishes to convince Nevadans, and other citizens of the U.S. that it can run a campaign that isn’t merely a rehash of Lee Atwater-ism, then it might take advantage of the gaffe by Senator McCain about the number of houses he owns by ducking for cover and renouncing the 1988 style “elitist” attacks on Senator Obama. However, the label itself didn’t magically appear in the Grand Oil Party lexicon of political slurs as Reagan sought to characterize Governor Dukakis as an effete liberal who would support gun control and sympathize with African Americans. Ridding itself of this vestige of GOP campaigning may be difficult since, as Thom Hartmann correctly points out, the charge has been a staple of modern campaigning since at least the 1952 election season during which Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson was caricatured as a “pointy-headed liberal.” [BzFlsh]

Stevenson, McGovern, Mondale, and now Obama, were and are the targets of this Nixon-Atwater-Rove line of attack simply by virtue of the fact that they are Democrats, and it has been a singular feature of the GOP to immediately label its opponents as “out of touch,” or “insufficiently common” to speak to and for the American people; much less independent minded westerners. Unfortunately for the Grand Oil Party, its candidate this round fulfills the elitist role in ways that keep seeping out into the public consciousness.

Inside-the-beltway pundits and commentators may sniff dismissively that the average American voter may not “buy” the notion that Senator McCain is a member of the privileged elite because that doesn’t fit into their corporate media narrative [TP] but the Arizona Senator keeps opening the door and allowing the message to leak out.

McCain’s top economic adviser openly stated that Americans who were complaining about their economic woes were merely “whiners,” and if “they” (likely meaning the Great Unwashed) were really astute observers of all things economic they would see that the economy was fundamentally sound. Gramm’s words betrayed the economic elitism intrinsic in Republican economics. For the elite investor class of which Gramm is a charter member the economy is fine; however, for those who have adjustable rate mortgages on starter homes in an economy that is hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs – not so much.

McCain can’t define “rich” in any way the average American can comprehend. He tried desperately to argue that his tax plan wasn’t a benefit package for the rich; he wanted to keep everyone’s taxes low. So, where is the line between rich and middle class? McCain offered a “joke” saying “How about $5 million?” [TP] Things only got worse as Senator McCain tried to walk back the effect. The candidate was asked by Politico what he meant. His response was as ingenuous as it was vague: “I define rich in other ways besides income.” [TP] This response, while perhaps Biblically correct, doesn’t go anywhere near offering proof that he understands what it means to be middle class in any meaningful way.

McCain responded to a simple question “How many homes do you own?” with the worst possible answer for a candidate trying to sound like a man of the people, “I think – I’ll have my staff get to you…it’s condominiums where – I’ll have them get to you.” [Politico]

The Obama campaign seized the moment, producing a “Houses” commercial. [NYT] The GOP response was fast, but hardly drawing from a position of strength – “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people “cling” to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?” “The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.” [NYT] This reply merits some parsing.

The first line is simply an ad hominem attack, which doesn’t address the issue of McCain’s sensitivity to the economic lives of middle class Americans. At best the sentence is a play on the old “pot calls kettle black” assertion. The insertion of the Rezco reference is pure Atwaterian slur by association. Notice the “arugula” reference? And, note that Senator Obama can’t be a Good Old Boy because he might be anti-gun, a resurrection of ’88 motif. The third sentence is pure distraction and diversion: “raise taxes, opposes drilling, responsible for high gas prices” talking points intended not to describe Senator McCain’s connection to the affairs of average Americans but to divert their attention from his lack thereof. If nothing more, this response illustrates that the McCain campaign doesn’t intend to defend McCain or his positions, but to go on the offensive each time he or his policy proposals are criticized – the classic Nixon-Atwater-Rove strategy. “Never apologize, never explain, just stay on the offensive.”

Therefore we can expect more Nixon-Atwater-Rove style campaigning from McCain. There will be more attempts to tie Senator Obama to so-called radicals, the Reverend Wright story having played itself out, the next round is said to tie Obama to Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. The Pinkston Group, which worked for the Swift Boaters, will be running ads in conjunction with an astroturf outfit calling itself The American Issues Project on the subject. One of the founders of The American Issues Project is Ed Failor, Jr. who worked for Senator McCain’s Iowa campaign in 2007, earning some $50,000 for services rendered to the campaign before McCain “pared back operations.” [NYT] The bad news is that the Swift-boating continues; the good news is that members of the corporate media are now more likely to look into the backgrounds of the groups running these ads than during the 2004 election.

Senator McCain’s promise to conduct a new, clearer, cleaner, and more civil campaign quite simply can’t be considered a serious premise for his operations given his adoption of the Nixon-Atwater-Rove underpinnings as illustrated by the reply to the ‘houses’ issue. Perhaps there is little else that could so adequately explain why the Bush-Cheney campaign strategy and tactics merge so easily into the McCain campaign strategy and tactics. They not only share a cadre of associated advisers, but a philosophical camaraderie as well.


Filed under Bush, McCain, Rove, Swiftboating

>John McCain’s campaign connects to the DoJ U.S. Attorneys’ firing scandal


Dot One: Bud Cummins is fired as a U.S. Attorney in Arkansas to make a vacancy available for Tim Griffin. Griffin was the subject of a BBC news report as the leader of the vote-caging scheme in Florida to suppress votes of African-American members of the U.S.military.

Dot Two: Tim Griffin becomes U.S. Attorney in Arkansas.

Dot Three: Tim Griffin resigns to join Mercury Public Affairs. Steve Schmidt joined Mercury, which represented the Cayman Islands, under scrutiny for banking laws that encouraged tax dodging by U.S. citizens. Schmidt is a partner but doesn’t lobby for the Caymans. [More from ChiTrib’s The Swamp] Senator McCain hires Schmidt to handle day to day campaign operations.

Dot Four: Steve Schmidt, member of Karl Rove’s exclusive ‘Breakfast Club,” takes over the operations of the McCain Campaign, [Politico] and hires Tim Griffin to work for the campaign.

Dot Five: Griffin joins Team McCain, which is beginning to look very much like Team Bush-Cheney? [TPM]

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Filed under McCain, Rove, U.S. Attorneys