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Welcome to today's RedState Morning Briefing Summary (RMBS FAQ).

Obviously the Sanford affair is a major centerpeice, so I'm spending most of today's RMBS responding to Erick's post in which he is shocked — shocked! — and dismayed to discover that he was wrong yesterday when he defended Sanford.

If you haven't read it, liberality responded to E Pluribus Unum's rant on the subject.  That rant isn't in the Morning Briefing, so I'm only going to touch on it in passing.

The Real Lessons of Mark Sanford’s "Hike"

Sigh.  Yes, Erick, there are some lessons to be learned here, but you're never going to learn them.  Let's take a look at what happens when a "teachable moment" occurs to someone who is utterly incapable of learning.

Well, what I wrote yesterday was wrong.  Sanford’s lies spread through his office and out to the rest of us.

Lesson #1: Wingnuts have the critical thinking skills of a 3-year-old.

Yesterday's bullshit?  Those were Sanford's lies — the fact that Erick is an imbecile had nothing to do with his being wrong.  When Erick's first post was written, we did not know where Sanford had gone, but with the shifting cover stories and the steadily-firming story of Sanford being spotted at airports, it was pretty obvious where Sanford wasn't — he wasn't hiking the Appalachan trail.  Let's revisit Erick's conclusions:

First, we need to be clear on the facts — not the media speculation:

  • Sanford did tell his staff and family where he was going.
  • Because he was traveling without a security detail, it was in his best interests that no one knew he was gone.
  • His political enemies — Republicans at that — ginned up the media story.
  • When confronted by a pestering media, things went downhill.
  • Again though, at all times there was no doubt that Sanford’s staff and family knew where he was.

Anyone who was paying attention knew that none of these claims were factual.  Now that we know that for certain, it's all the fault of Sanford's "lies" — it's not that everyone was lying to cover for the Governor, it's that they were faithfully repeating misinformation they took in good faith.  Yeah, that's the ticket!

We've heard this before.

You may remember a lot of stories about a guy named Saddam Hussein who was a grave and immediate threat to America because of his enormous, yet secret, stash of WMDs?  You may also remember what happened when it became inescapably obvious that no such WMDs existed: Bush hadn't lied, he got faulty intelligence.  Nevermind the fact that no one outside the Bush administration thought that Iraq had WMDs in the first place.  Nevermind the mountains of evidence showing that Bush and Cheney were hell-bent on invading Iraq regardless of the facts.  The wingnuts still claim — to this day — that "everyone believed the intelligence reports."

It doesn't even stop there.  It happens with every scandal involving a Republican.  The flimsiest of evidence is held up to support the righteousness of the Republican until it becomes impossible to deny reality any longer.  Then the story is that no one could be faulted for believing the story about the unicorns stealing the pixie dust even though it turned out to be a complete fabrication.  After all, there were dozens of op-ed's by geniuses like Mark Steyn and Bill Kristol supporting the unicorn-and-pixie-dust scenario!

Perhaps you remember a post by Erick on March 23, 2006:

Ben Domenech deserves our full advocacy and defense. He has done nothing wrong and does not deserve urban legends about his wrong doing solely because of the lies of those who are jealous of his success. Should the other side win, they will be emboldened. And should they win, one of our own who has done no wrong will be immeasurable hurt by the hate, lies, and jealousy of those who would just as easily do it to you or me.

We must defend Ben.

When Erick wrote this, the evidence of Domenech's plagiarism had been laid out for the world to see.  Just like with his post on Sanford from yesterday, Erick militantly ignored these facts and spun the whole episode as the work of "political enemies" out to destroy someone who had done nothing wrong.

True to form, Erick's bloviation was immediately followed by a confessional apology from the totally innocent subject of Erick's fevered defense:

I want to apologize to National Review Online, my friends and colleagues here at RedState, and to any others that have been affected over the past few days. I also want to apologize to my previous editors and writers whose work I used inappropriately and without attribution. There is no excuse for this - nor is there an excuse for any obfuscation in my earlier statement.

Do you see the pattern here?  I will guarantee that Erick doesn't and never will.

One of the claims that the wingnuts have been advancing is that they "have a long history of punishing and purging our leaders who prove unworthy of trust."  They probably believe this because they are unable to distinguish between leaders they should trust and leaders they shouldn't.  How was David Vitter punished?  What happened to Ronald Reagan due to his illegal activities in Iran/Contra?  When are they going to wake up to Bush and Cheney's lying us into Iraq?  The "teachable moments" keep coming and nothing changes with these losers.

The remainder of Erick's post is a bunch of smarmy religious talk about how we "live in a fallen world and we ourselves are fallen," an so forth.  He mentions his Bible study group and finishes with this bumper-sticker wisdom:

Blessed is the Lord God Jehovah who brings forth bread from heaven, water from rocks, and men like Mark Sanford from the dust of the earth. His will be done.

liberality cited Matthew 7:5 in his diary, so I'm going to cite the next verse, Matthew 7:6 (Message translation):

Don't be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.

Oh, snap.  Nice one, Jesus.

If states and local governments don’t want stimulus money, why recycle and waste American taxpayer dollars?

Remember how that asshat Mark Sanford tried to reject South Carolina's stimulus?  Remember how I was just talking about how David Vitter suffered no loss of status in the Republican party for consorting with prostitutes and issuing bald-faced lies about it?

Well, here's an op-ed by David Vitter defending state and local governments who reject stimulus money.  I'll be you didn't know this much irony could be packed into one measly Morning Briefing.

Yesterday, I introduced legislation that would direct stimulus funds rejected by state governors and local municipalities to paying down the growing national debt.

Go ahead and read the rest.  It's pretty dull — both in the sense of being not entertaining and not particularly intelligent.  Paying down the debt is probably the least effective use of public money that we could do right now.

Obama Thinking About Stimulus II

Awesome.  The first stimulus was anaemic, at least if you listen to credible analysts such as Krugman.  Krugman, among others said the stimulus was too small, so maybe Obama had planned all along to break it into politically-feasible chunks.  Maybe he just figured out that he didn't go far enough.  Either way, bring it on, Barack.

That's obviously not what RedState thinks:

The deficit is headed to levels unimaginable a few months ago, investors are speaking of the inevitable return to high levels of inflation, and the nation has lost 16,000 jobs per day since the ’stimulus’ was signed into law. Yet Obama seems to think that things are going so well that we might need to spend a whole lot more. And according to Paul Krugman, most of Obama’s economic team supports the effort. Krugman seems to be the intellectual father of the ‘more stimulus’ movement, with his call for nearly doubling what has been spent so far.

The "unimaginable a few months ago" link comes from Instapundit, so this essay is on shaky ground to start.  The author, Brian Faughnan, then quotes some generalizations by Obama Administration insiders to dismiss the value of stimulus:

But if Obama is tempted to request another trillion or so in spending - an act which would split his Congressional majority - then all he need do is look to his own economic advisers to see why that’s a bad idea. Recall what Budget Director Orszag said about fiscal stimulus bills, before he came to the Obama administration:

Practically speaking, however, public works involve long start-up lags. Large-scale construction projects of any type require years of planning and preparation. Even those that are "on the shelf" generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.

Orzag is right, except where he isn't.  We're not talking about "on the shelf," we're talking about "shovel ready" which is a different situation.  In fact, due to budget shortfalls, thousands of projects are waiting only for funding.  I've seen road crews at work already on stimulus-funded projects here in Missouri, so while Orzag might have a general point, it's clearly false in certain cases.  While some projects are already under way, those projects that Orzag needed some startup time are going through their startup.

Congressman Pete Sessions: Our goal is to retire Nancy Pelosi by electing Republicans who represent your values in government.

Well, it's good to see that Pete Sessions have figured out that elections have consequences.  I guess he needs yet another "teachable moment" — 2006 and 2008 not having "worked" — to learn that America is tired of wingnuts.  Just in today's Morning Briefing, RedState has established that "your values" are hypocrisy, faux piousness, and fiscal ineptitude.  Slap warmongering onto that shitpile and you have the values that America just isn't going to elect any more.

Pete's not going to let reality stop him:

But to achieve a majority we need to retain our current Republican numbers before adding to them. That is where the Patriot Program comes in to play. The Patriot Program’s goal is to work with incumbent Republican Members of Congress to provide them with the necessary support and organization to win reelection. It is imperative we limit the number of incumbents who fall victim to the Democrats and their far-left money machines such as ACORN, Big Labor and Hollywood. Even though some of these Members are in tough districts and know they will be targeted by the Democrat attack machine, they stood by their conservative principles and courageously voted against the trillion dollar boondoggles. It wasn’t an easy vote to take and they’ll be attacked for it – so we need to give them the defense they need.

Well, RedStaters, you heard the man.  Get out your checkbooks.  Oh, and if Sessions gets a clue and backs moderate Republicans who can win — but you hate — well... just think about that before you send the check.  Think about Charlie Crist.  Go ahead, get angry.  Let your anger flow through you. Your hate will make you strong. True power is only achieved through testing the limits of one's anger, passing through unscathed. Rage channeled through anger is unstoppable. The dark side of The Force® offers unimaginable power! Pout with the dark side, Anakin!

OK, enough of that.

Originally posted to The Red Pen on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 04:51 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Heh. (10+ / 0-)

    Blessed is the Lord God Jehovah who brings forth bread from heaven, water from rocks, and men like Mark Sanford from the dust of the earth. His will be done.

    I saw that yesterday and just thought "get over yourself, you drama queen. God doesn't care about any of this.". And if you really want to go into the theology, I'm pretty sure that Erick's invocation of the divine for the purposes of rank partisanship is at odds with the 'thou shalt not use my name in vain' thing.

    Can't find my drink oh man Where are my keys, I lost my phone (phone ohoo) - Lady Gaga

    by MBNYC on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:13:57 AM PDT

  •  I'm sympathetic to Erick on one count - (14+ / 0-)

    his statements before the final news came out are reminiscent of what some here were saying before the news about Edwards was confirmed last year.  It was hard to believe he'd do something so totally fucking stupid, and many people thought the news had to be wrong because why would he do something so risky when he was running for president?  It didn't make sense, so people's instinct was to say so and defend him.

    It's the reaction after the truth comes out that shows where the problems are.

    They only call it Class War when we fight back.

    by lineatus on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:16:02 AM PDT

    •  There's a difference (8+ / 0-)

      The possibility that Edwards had an affair — with a pregnancy — seemed too weird to be true to some.  Personally I believed it because it was broken by the same organization that broke the story of Rush Limbaugh being a drug addict.

      The possibility that Mark Sanford had gone AWOL wasn't all that weird.  What wasn't believable was that anyone had know where he was.  There still remained the possibility that he'd actually gone camping.  Even so, Erick's gushing support of the story that Sanford's inner circle was "in the know" the whole time was obviously delusion, and I called it out as such before I knew that Sanford had been to Argentina.

      When people were still defending Edwards, they were responding to allegations in a gossip rag, the National Enquirer.  I found them credible, but there was the possibility that the sources were mistaken or even lying.  As Carl Sagan famously said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

      The claim that Sanford was AWOL was big, but not extraordinary.  By the time the Sanford scandal turned into "ZOMGZ, I can't believe he did that," the facts were no longer in dispute.

      Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

      by The Red Pen on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:27:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One small difference. (5+ / 0-)

      As much as I'll put my hand up when called on to say if I thought the Edwards stuff was bullshit, it was because the source was the National Enquirer.

      Sanford was obviously up to something underhanded just by the changes in stories, the fact his wife didn't know where he was, etc.

      If God had been a Liberal, we wouldn't have had the ten commandments. We'd have had the ten suggestions.

      by funluvn1 on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:31:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I change my sig (7+ / 0-)

    I will change it to this:

    A teachable moment requires a teachable student

    i can't watch [Obama] speak on tv for more than 5 minutes or else what he's saying starts to make sense to me. It's very scary.

    by Kimball Cross on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:28:58 AM PDT

  •  Are you using the Jerusalem Bible? That's the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pucklady, The Red Pen, gooners, Norbrook

    only translation I know of where Jesus sounds like he's text-messaging. "Don't be flip with the sacred"? Give me a break! :-)

    •  It's "The Message" Translation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pucklady, steve davis, mamkotke, Zubeck

      The Message is a translation by theologian Eugene Peterson who wanted to translate the idiom as well as the text.

      From the publisher's site:

      "It was just awful," Peterson says. "They’d fill up their coffee cups and stir in sugar and cream and look at their cups and they weren’t getting it. It was just really bad. I went home after the third week and said to my wife that I was going to teach them Greek. If they could read it in Greek they would get it, they’d understand what a revolutionary text it is and couldn’t just keep living in their ruts. She agreed that would empty the class out fast."

      So Peterson did the next best thing and used his knowledge of Greek to translate Galatians into "their idiom." He put the life back into the ancient text, words originally spoken and penned in the language of the working class. "Paul had this wild syntax with vigor and startling images he would fly into when he was excited. I wanted them to get that." Bit by bit, he translated Galatians every week and gave everyone in the Sunday school class a copy of it. "I knew I had them the second week because after they left, I was cleaning up and their cups were full of cold coffee and they had forgotten to stir in the sugar and cream and drink it."

      Think of it like a translation done by Howard Zinn.  It is a controversial version, but I like it and it dispenses with a lot of exposition that's necessary around quotes of direct translations.

      Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

      by The Red Pen on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 06:11:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "True believers" of all stripes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pucklady, Nadnerb in NC, The Red Pen

    tend to be unwilling or actively deny what becomes blatantly obvious to everyone else.  In some cults, it's painted as a "test" - that is, this was to test your faith.  

    Erickson is a true believer - it's not until reality clubs him to the ground and starts stomping on him that he might, just might have a few doubts.  

    I think that I have had enough of you telling me how things will be. Today I choose a new way to go ... and it goes through you!

    by Norbrook on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:57:08 AM PDT

    •  Stop lecturing about morals and faith (4+ / 0-)

      As the social conservatives fundies & other movement conservatives (often out of the Bible-belt) lecture us about their morally superior "values" & harp on the supposed evils of liberalism, gay marriage, equal womens' rights, & private decisions such as abortion...they set up absurd standards no one lives up to nor want to.
      When the other the social conservatives fundies began lecturing us yet again...we need to tell them to please shut up...you're making a fool of yourself...American people don't need your lecturing, we're largely live & let live.

  •  It doesn't really require (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pucklady, Nadnerb in NC, The Red Pen

    a teachable student, unless of course, you want some learning going on.  I do enjoy your posts.  I hate to give those guys the site views and your commentary is just so...perfect :-)  You help me get this info in a palatable form and for that I am grateful!

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 05:59:40 AM PDT

  •  As a Charlotte, NC resident, I must admit (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bellatrys, pucklady, funluvn1, The Red Pen

    that I was listening to the local wingnut talkshow station here (WBT) to see what their reaction would be.

    I was amazed that the majority of SC callers (we're right on the NC/SC border) were calling for Sanford to resign ASAP. They were also much more upset with him for leaving the state in the lurch than they were about the affair he was having.

    And the hosts were basically agreeing with them.

    •  There was another post on RedState... (5+ / 0-)

      ...by Leon Wolf.  Wolf seems like one of the smarter contributors on the site.  The title is DIAF Mark Sanford (DIAF stands for "Die in a fire").

      Nobody's perfect.  Who hasn't exceeded the posted speed limit from time to time (or just this morning, more likely)?  But supposedly conservative leaders are dropping like flies.  Most people who decide to get married manage to do so without being unfaithful to their spouses, but in the space of a week, 5% of the Republicans in the Senate have shown that they can't even hold to that basic moral guideline.

      I don't doubt that conservatives are angry.  Most of them believe in what they preach and it's gotta hurt to realize how few of their chosen leaders also believe.

      Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody watch news tonight. — Wang & Connie Chung

      by The Red Pen on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 06:17:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  At least they get the friggin' point. (6+ / 0-)

      which is something that the morans at RedHate refuse to do.

      From comments at RedHate:

      Gov. Sanford has plenty of time to fix this

      sickofitall Wednesday, June 24th at 3:04PM EDT (link)

      If he can attain forgiveness from his family and his Savior and from the populace of SC there's no reason why he can't run in 2012. After all were he to win the nomination he'd be going up against a guy who has made tons of money by proudly describing his teenage cocaine abuse. He just needs to handle this in the right way- humbly and honestly- those are two characteristics that no Democrat can bring to the table.

      Ouch

      jfpurdue01 Wednesday, June 24th at 3:07PM EDT (link)

      I am very disappointed. Perhaps this is why he has continued to refute anyone who suggests he might run for President. I would still vote for him if there was no other fiscal conservative that I thought would stay true to those principles.

      My two cents.

      Chemical Sam Wednesday, June 24th at 3:16PM EDT (link)

      I'll point out one major difference between Sanford's affair and others, and then quit.

      He's being compared to the likes of McGreevy, and Spitzer, already. Haven't heard a peep about a comparison with Bill Clinton, yet, oddly enough. After all, Clinton has his pants around his knees in Little Rock as soon as his other hand was down from swearing in.

      What makes Sanford's extramarital affair so much less egregious than those of the Democratic counterparts I mention above is that he didn't abuse the power of his office.

      I don't know where Senator Ensign's potential abuse of power may lay, so I can't really side him up. But I do see the difference between what happened here, and what's happened elsewhere. Where this sort of thing is half-expected, it's often fully realized.

      The only people that should have a beef with Mark Sanford are his wife, family, and friends. We have nothing to do but learn from his mistake, and ensure that the Democratic Party doesn't make a wholesale mockery of the man for their own political gain. Hands up anyone who doesn't believe they'll try to run the entire GOP to the ground for this, like a bunch of shameless hyenas.

      Do I want him to resign? NO. I want Governor Sanford to keep throwing money back in the federal government's face. And then I want every other governor who hasn't followed that lead to start doing the same.

      What these friggin' Einstein's continue to miss is the goddamn point, as usual.  Not only did the man have an affair, but THE GOVERNOR of a STATE took off without telling anyone where he was going for 5 days, missing Fathers Day with his kids, and left the State of South Carolina without an official Executive Officer in charge.  

      This is called incompetence on such a grand scale that it should immediately disqualify you in peoples minds from ever being voted in for Dog Catcher in the future.  The affair is only a big deal because of the hypocrisy of the family values bullshit the Republican's keep spewing, as well as the fact that having an affair when you are in a postion of power which keeps you under a microscope, it is once again really fucking bad judgement.  

      Damn these people are dumb!

      OK, one more...

      Their decent into delusion is complete!

      They still don't get it.

      Kowalski Wednesday, June 24th at 3:32PM EDT (link)

      Professional politicians who have these kinds of liabilities just cannot be a part of the Republican Party.

      The Democrat party will still welcome and forgive them, but it doesn't go, and will never go, for Republicans.

      Mitt Romney is now my odds-on favorite for the next Republican nominee. That's probably disastrous because no Conservative wants him. I respect the people who don't, but I don't see any choices right now.

      Besides, as Mark Sanford has proven today, it's all smoke and mirrors. It doesn't matter who the nominee is in Republican politics today. We could nominate Bozo the Clown posthumously and he'd be more electable than anyone we have right now.

      Congratulations to Team Obama: they have successfully eliminated all their potential adversaries.

      Looks like 8 years of Barack.

      My emphasis above.

      So, Team Obama has successfully eliminated all their potential adversaries, huh?

      Yes.  It's true.  

      They made Ensign have an affair with his staffers Wife that he put on the payroll.  They sent that e-mail from the lady in Argentina five years ago to Mark Sanford and then bought him some tickets to Argentina just last week (which you have to admit was some fuckin' great forethought on their part, considering Obama wasn't even a US Senator five years ago) and they no doubt put a bee in Mark Foley's bonnet about how it would be OK to send gaii emails to underage male Pages in the US House back in 2006 so the Republicans could lose the mid-term elections to the Democrats.  

      Dude did get one thing right though.  

      Besides, as Mark Sanford has proven today, it's all smoke and mirrors. It doesn't matter who the nominee is in Republican politics today. We could nominate Bozo the Clown posthumously and he'd be more electable than anyone we have right now.

      My only question is:  Is Bozo the Clown neo-con code for Ronald Reagan?  The whole posthumously thing has me wondering....

      If God had been a Liberal, we wouldn't have had the ten commandments. We'd have had the ten suggestions.

      by funluvn1 on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 06:19:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention that the commenter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Red Pen

        Kowalski also missed the point.

        You can't become a "professional politician" in the current Republican Party, unless you HAVE these kinds of liabilities. And a strong religious background.

        That way, you can continue to be a liability, but since you've been "saved", all is forgiven in their world.

  •  I know there are already RS diaries... (5+ / 0-)

    on the rec list, but I'm recc'ing this one anyway.

    Another twist to Erickson's failure: the conservative creed is mistrust government and power. Sanford is a career politician but they couldn't mistrust him. Erickson could have written "here is what we are hearing from Sanford's staff". He could have added, "all this speculation could be driven by his political rivals (and Republicans at that) and the spastic media". That would have accomplished the same thing, and left him an opening to come back and say, "nope, turns out he was gettin' it on in Buenos Aires.  

    Instead, he had to claim as facts statements from a politician's staff in crisis mode. We all see through your "we don't trust government" lies, Erickson.

  •  Gee, a patriot program for a party out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pucklady, The Red Pen

    of power.  I recall another:  Feingold's Pick a Progressive Patriot program, which started in 2006, but which focuses on electing new members not incumbants.  Sessions really knows how to steal an idea, and then get the whole thing bollixed.

  •  In other news - "Sun rises in east" n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Red Pen

    REAFFIRMED as a second-class citizen since Nov 4, 2008!

    by Timoteo on Thu Jun 25, 2009 at 07:25:00 AM PDT

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