Republican Corruption, Pete Sessions (R-TX32), and the Weakness of the 1994 Revolution Leadership

CREW filed an ethics complaint today a complaint with the DOJ against Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, one of the most conservative members of the House and a clear Republican leader.  The complaint alleges three things.  One, Sessions urged concessions for the Louisiana Coushatta, a Jack Abramoff client, and then over the next 18 months received $20,500 in contributions from that and other Abramoff connected gaming interests.  Two, he accepted a trip to Malaysia from Abramoff lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig and four months later formed a Malaysia caucus in the House.  Previously he had no interest in Malaysia.  And three, he earmarked millions for a San Francisco firm tech defense firm, Promia, and then received $55,000 over the past six years from executives at that firm for his reelection campaign.

Will Pryor, cousin brother of Democrat Mark Pryor, is running against Sessions, and it's a very tough district for a Democrat.

Sessions first came to Congress in 1996 after losing his first campaign in 1994 by a few points to John Bryant, a Texas Democrat.  While Sessions didn't win in 1994, spiritually at least he is part of that group of 'revolutionaries' who ran on a platform of conservative reform.  The ideological roots of this group stretch back to the 'New Right' of 1976-1978, and the Goldwater campaigns of 1960 and 1964.  What has become very clear is that these are weak men, unable to follow through on the reform they promised.  Whether it's Ralph Reed, who accepted $4 million of Jack Abramoff gaming money while denying that he knew the source (released emails show that he's lying), or George Bush increasing spending faster than any President since FDR, it seems that the guiding principle of the conservative movement is the personal weakness of the men who run it.  

It is therefore not shocking that a conservative Congressman like Pete Sessions is corrupt, because the conservative movement now reflects the weak and cowardly character of its leadership.  They were not strong enough to follow through on their promises in 1994, whether it was term limits, accountability for Congress, or integrity in government.  I write this not because I am a liberal, but because I hope that genuine conservatives take back the movement that has deserted and defrauded them.  Honest conservatives should be not just as outraged as I am, but more so, for it is not in my name that these people trashed what it means to be a conservative, it is in the name of everyone who thinks of themselves as a law-abiding conservative American.

I don't expect wide conservative outrage over Sessions, or Reed, or Delay, or Bush, of course.  I expect reflexive defensiveness, and then I expect conservatives to make excuses and call these leaders 'too liberal', as they are right now doing with Bush and his 'liberal' spending.  But I hope that I am wrong.  I hope that conservatives take the time to figure out what has gone disastrously wrong in their movement, what has caused their movement to consistently promote and protect men who are too weak and cowardly to make hard choices.  I expect more 'authoritarian cultism', as Glenn puts it, a fetish for loyalty even to those who have betrayed their every principle, but again I hope I am wrong, because this country needs a principled and honorable conservative movement, and what we have now is malignancy.  Only conservatives can fix this, but the first step is to jettison folks like Sessions.

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Christians need to publicly recognize and thank this guy!

Despite his repeated efforts to provoke one, O'Reilly conceded "there is no attack on Easter"

    Summary: Despite his repeated attempts in recent weeks to suggest that "secular progressives" have waged a "war on Easter" resembling the purported "war on Christmas," Bill O'Reilly admitted that "there is no attack on Easter."

Further, O'Reilly congratulated himself for the lack of Easter attacks, stating, "[A]fter the thumping that the department stores and all-over crazies took over Christmas, these people say, 'You know, I don't think we want to come up against O'Reilly and these other people on Easter. Let's just let it go.'" - Media Matters - (Bill's own personal devil.)

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The X-Factor: Will there be an Independent candidate in 2008?

Al Rodgers diary "Sunday Talk: MUTINY!!" on the front page of DailyKos had one thing in it that did not make me feel too good about our future prospects. That is the LATimes/Bloomberg poll asking if the 2004 election would be held today, who would you vote for with people responding 49% Kerry and 39% Bush. If I'm not mistaken there were polls in 2004 that had better numbers for Kerry (if not for Bush). In such a poll Kerry should definitely be above 50%. That he's not worries me deeply and just goes to show how divided this country really is. It certainly doesn't bode well for any of our candidates in 2008.

So, here comes the X-Factor: Will there be an Independent candidate in 2008? I believe this to be an important question. Whoever he or she is, an independent run could either be a spoiler for Democrats or Republicans, maybe for both. I can already see the mainstream media touting such a candidate saying that if anyone could unite the country it would be an independent President.

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Help me Develop and Frame a Wedge Issue

cross posted at DailyKos

I could use some help in defining a wedge issue (or theme).  I'm going to be giving a speech to a political club I belong to that has Dems (damm few)  and Repubs (all shades).  I use these speeches to see what talking points seem to work. Where do I get their attention and what puts them asleep or in `not listening' mode

I'm not looking for Democratic talking points, I'm in a conservative area, Repubs outnumber Dems.  The tactic I have been working to develop is to make the conservatives doubt their Dear Leader.  

Lately I've come (stumbled is more like it) upon the theme of "this ain't Eisenhower's Republican Party" anymore (or something to that effect).  

Using this as a spring board, I need some examples of what conservative values espoused by Eisenhower Republicans just don't hold water (or directly contradict) today's Neo-con world.  Using some themes like this I seem to be getting a response from the moderate conservatives in the audience.  I'm trying to cobble together a cohesive package that I can shop to candidates to chew over.  I want to create something that will win in November, part of that will be making doubters within their own party.

My long term goal here is to develop a cohesive narrative of the Republican Party change has made Bush supporters cultists, but we need to build to that point, this is the start. I have to build the dissatisfaction first.

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GOP: First Religious Party

(Cross posted on

Kevin Phillips, author of American Dynasty, among other books, has recently published American Theocracy, which takes a close look at the relationship between the Republican Party and the religious fundamentalists right in America. Kevin Phillips goes even further than merely describing the relationship, however. In fact, he suggests that the Republican Party is now the first religious party in American history and that it is this phenomenon that has influenced the Bush Administration's total lack of a policy apparatus — essentially, the Bush White House has given up on formulating a governing policy and, in stead, has catered to the demands of this extremely influential constituency within the Republican Party by using the White House as a political tool to consolidate control over this religious constituency. Now, Kevin Phillips is not some media pundit writing about the Republican Party from the outside, as he's been an inside player within the Republican Party when he was a member of Nixon's White House team. It was during that time, in the early to mid 1970s, that Kevin Phillips began to observe the inroads that the religious fundamentalist right was making within the Republican Party — just around the time that Nixon was launching its Southern Strategy to courtship Southern Whites unhappy with the progress of the Civil Rights movement. Now, of course, the Republican Party is apologizing for its use of race as a wedge issue to courtship the bigot vote in the South; never mind that they continue to use race and other social wedge issues to divide the public, and to attract the bigoted and close minded elements to the Republican Party come election day.

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