Here’s Who Republicans Just Picked To Run Their Governors Association

The Republican Party really wants you to know that they’ve changed. They’ve broadened their appeal. No more war on women. No more out-of-touch super-rich white guys as their standard bearers. So guess who they just picked to run the Republican Governors Association?

Ding ding ding! A super-rich white guy who opposes raising the minimum wage and defunded Planned Parenthood in his state.

Meet Bill Haslam, governor of Tennessee, partial owner of Pilot Flying J — a company under investigation for defrauding customers — and new chair of the RGA. Some things never change.

All of the poison in all of the wells!

In case you haven’t heard, Republicans are adamant that when Obama announces his immigration reform executive action tonight, he will be “poisoning the well.

But how can you poison a well that’s already been poisoned so many times? Why, it seems every time the President takes a position, according to Republicans, he’s “poisoning the well.”

When President Obama tried to pass background checks on gun sales after Newtown — a policy supported by 9 in 10 voters — Lindsey Graham accused him of poisoning the well. And when Obama signed legislation reforming a broken health care system — a goal of Democratic and Republican presidents for decades — John McCain said he had poisoned the well. Jeff Flake said that if Obama took any credit for the immigration reform principles in the bipartisan Senate bill, he would be poisoning the well. According to Marco Rubio, policy to protect DREAMers poisoned the well. To other Republicans it was the president’s refusal to cave to their demands during their government shutdown that poisoned the well, or criticizing Paul Ryan’s draconian budget, or passing a stimulus package, or repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

So what was truly the moment when President Obama poisoned the well? What was the well-poisoning-iest moment of his illustrious well-poisoning career? To Republicans, it appears that perhaps it was just the moment he was elected president — ever since then, the GOP can’t stop finding newly poisoned wells.

So if you care to visit GOP-Delusionland, where “King” Obama rules, be sure not to drink the water. Here in the real world, the president will be busy taking legal and meaningful action to enact immigration reform. Republicans in Congress have left him no choice.

Dear Koch Brothers: We Aren’t Going Anywhere

To: Friends and Allies
From: David Brock
Date: Friday, November 7, 2014
Re: Dear Koch Brothers: We Aren’t Going Anywhere

For six months, American Bridge has been working to show just what kind of world the Kochs are trying to create through in-depth research reports on their business practices, statements, and views.

We’re exposing just how self-serving and out of touch their worldview is with that of average Americans, and we know we’re making headway because of how the Kochs reacted to the scrutiny: the president of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ political arm, accused us of engaging in “the politics of personal destruction” and not focusing on policy, which is clearly not the case – all of our attacks against the Kochs are based on their views on policy or their business practices. The Kochs’ PR folks are accusing reporters of getting research from us and telling them not to trust it because they say we’re running a smear campaign – but they fail to mention that what we’re saying is true. Koch Industries recently began running – for the first time ever – a positive PR campaign to build up their public image that we’re so successfully breaking down. And the Kochs created yet another dark money group – Freedom Partners Action Fund – to back Koch-approved candidates.

The work we did this cycle put their candidates on the defensive and caused them to spend precious time and resources denying their Koch connections. Terri Lynn Land in Michigan had to defend the Kochs’ terrible environmental record in her state. Scott Brown in New Hampshire was forced to address the fact that the out of state billionaires were funding his campaign. And Thom Tillis in North Carolina had to fight back against charges that he did whatever the Kochs told him to do so they’d help him win a Senate seat.

We won some of these races, but not enough. That’s because we’ve only been at it for six months and the Kochs have a decades-long head start in pursuing their extreme, self-serving agenda to the detriment of working families. And after Tuesday, they’ve never had more power to enact it.

ICYMI: Ben Carson Kicking Off 2016 GOP Primary With Hour-Long TV Ad

In case you missed it in First Read this morning, the Washington Times announced that Dr. Ben Carson is releasing an hour-long television ad set to air this weekend, officially kicking off the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Powered by strong grassroots support, Carson has had an impressive year, quickly climbing from obscurity to top-tier Republican candidate. In July, he easily won the CPAC straw poll, topping Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and other conservative favorites.

And even more noteworthy, the most recent poll of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa shows Dr. Carson checks in second place, trailing only Mitt Romney (who insists he won’t run again). In that poll, Carson’s favorablity sits at an impressive 41/8 with room to grow as his name recognition increases. Compare that to Chris Christie, for example, who is under water at 35/41.

2016 is upon us, and Ben Carson is first out of the gate.

The New Tea Party Cavalry Riding Into Washington

The Republican Party rode a Koch-fuelled wave to victory in elections around the country this week, but don’t let them fool you: nothing about their extreme, Tea Party agenda has changed. The GOP has not moderated itself. It has not rid itself of “gaffe-prone” candidates. It has not adopted a milder, more palatable stance on key policy issues that impact the lives of women, immigrants, or working families. And the proof is in the pudding. A quick scan of some of the newest members of the House shows just how extreme this latest crop of Tea Party Republican members of Congress truly are.

From Georgia to Maine, Virginia to Wisconsin, Illinois to Iowa, extreme Tea Party Republicans have been elected to seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Take Glenn Grothman in Wisconsin’s 6th District to start. We’ve already detailed the long list of Grothman’s greatest extreme hits, but as a quick refresher, the Congressman-elect has: proselytized about the “war on men,” fought for a seven-day workweek, and proposed a law to formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse.

In Georgia, Congressman-elect Jody Hice thinks it’s okay for women to run for public office, provided they do so with the permission of their husbands. Hice wrote a book in 2012 in which, according to Mother Jones, he “asserts that supporters of abortion rights are worse than Hitler and compares gay relationships to bestiality and incest.” In that same book, Hice “asserts the gay community has a secret plot to recruit and sodomize children,” and writes that Islam “does not deserve First Amendment protections.”

Virginia’s 7th District, former home of Eric Cantor, will now be represented by Tea Party upstart David Brat. Brat, a professor by trade, has a deep appreciation for and commitment to rigorous science and facts, as evidenced by his claim that he is not concerned with global climate change because “over time, rich countries solve their problems.” Brat has also argued that one of the largest factors in economic growth is “the Protestant religious establishment,” and in an olive branch of bipartisanship, claimed that “the left does not believe in diversity. They believe in top-down, I’m going to force my way onto you.”

Just up the road in Virginia’s 10th District, Congresswoman-elect Barbara Comstock has voted in favor of allowing Virginians to bring guns into bars (because that can only end well). She pushed anti-union bills as a state legislator while being paid by a right to work advocacy group. And to top it off, she supported personhood legislation and voted in favor of an extreme piece of legislation requiring Virginia women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before they could receive an abortion.

New York’s Lee Zeldin, First District, also wants to restrict women’s access to health care, and supports a tax break for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Lest you think those were Zeldin’s only extreme policy positions, the good Congressman-elect also supports an option to replace Social Security with private investment accounts. In Maine’s 2nd District, newly elected Bruce Poliquin opposes raising the federal minimum wage and likely violated the state’s constitution by being involved with businesses while serving as state treasurer.

It’s not just extreme policy positions and offensive rhetoric that defines this crop of Tea Party Republicans. Some prefer to put their Tea Party-patented obstructionism front and center. David Young from Iowa’s 3rd District is an admitted member of the anti-compromise caucus. He praised Cruz’s filibuster and the shutdown last year; supports abolishing government agencies like Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Education, as well as the EPA and IRS; and he opposes rape and incest exceptions for abortions.

Meanwhile, Illinois Republican Mike Bost (IL-02) once had an outburst while serving in the Illinois House over a pension reform bill in which he threw papers all over the floor and compared Republicans and his constituents to the Biblical flight of Jews from Egypt. The Chicago Tribune kindly referred to Bost as an “obstructionist.” Huffington Post reported that while Bost “made a name for himself” with outbursts like this, his aggressive temper has not been confined to legislative matters. With Mitch McConnell promising no more government shutdowns, maybe Ted Cruz could learn a thing or two from Bost’s antics.

This is just a snapshot of the Republican Party’s latest class of Tea Party House electees. Are they moderate? No. Has anything changed for the “rebranded” GOP? Definitely not.

BREAKING AUDIO: Perdue’s Closing Argument

Asked today about whether his company was closing down American plants as they opened others overseas, Perdue quickly responded, “Sure, we closed down plants all the time…”

Listen to the breaking audio above.

It’s an interesting closing argument — no pun intended — to cap off what’s been a disastrous last month for David Perdue’s campaign, as a series of events shed light on both his business career and his worldview. His downward spiral began when an old deposition surfaced, revealing that Perdue himself had admitted, “I spent most of my career” outsourcing.  Asked the next day how he would defend that record, Perdue looked shocked — “Well defend it? I’m proud of it!” he replied.

Since then, Perdue has been desperately trying to turn the narrative away from his career as an outsourcer, but to little avail. It seems he can’t stop himself from accidentally telling the truth about his record. Today’s gaffe is just the latest in a string of comments underscoring that when it comes to Perdue’s business record, he’s constantly prioritized personal profits over the lives of American workers.

Watch our recent video to see how his outsourcing career has become a major political liability: David Perdue: Career Outsourcer

NEW VIDEO: “Bully”

If you own a television or a computer, you’ve probably already seen Chris Christie’s latest tirade, this one at the expense of a Jersey Shore business owner who is concerned about the area’s unfinished recovery from Hurricane Sandy. It’s interesting behavior — aggressively disparaging our own constituent to prove how invested you are in rebuilding New Jersey, and then embarking on a 19-state campaign tour the next day.

But then again, this just isn’t your average presidential hopeful. This is Chris Christie, the trash-talking, traffic-stopping bully, and he’ll be damned if a constituent or the truth are going to come in between him and his narrative.

So we decided to round up just a few of his finest acts of belittlement. Check out our new video:

BREAKING VIDEO: Chris Christie Berates Man Concerned About Sandy Recovery

He’s at it again. Today, at an event in Belmar, New Jersey, Chris Christie was confronted by a man concerned about the work that still needs to be done to rebuild homes from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.

Chris Christie went straight to his default response: angrily belittle the man, telling him to “sit down and shut up.” Watch for yourself:

Scott Walker reaps the benefits of loophole created by judge with Koch ties

Earlier this month, Wisconsin U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued an injunction that effectively allows outside groups to coordinate with political campaigns on so-called “issue advocacy,” overturning a longstanding Wisconsin campaign finance law banning such coordination. Given that Randa has ties to the the billionaire Koch brothers, who fund several outside groups that would very much like to see Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker win reelection, we likened his ruling to the proverbial fox guarding the campaign finance henhouse.

As it turns out, it’s even a stretch to suggest in jest that Randa is guarding the state’s campaign finance regulations.

In a separate ruling in September, Randa dealt another major blow to Wisconsin campaign finance statute, and the most recent financial disclosures from the Walker campaign show that he’s reaping the benefits from Randa’s newly-created loophole. Last month, Randa ruled that Wisconsin election officials should no longer enforce laws that cap the amount of money that political candidates — like Walker — can collect from PACs and campaign committees.

Prior to Randa’s ruling, the state’s limit for PAC contributions, which had been in place since 1990, was set at $700,830 for gubernatorial candidates. According to the Walker campaign’s latest campaign finance report filed last week, the campaign has accepted a whopping $2.6 million from political parties and political action committees. In total, that’s over three times the amount that was allowed by law, and almost $2 million of it coming in just the six weeks after Randa’s determination.

Put simply, Walker’s campaign has swiftly exploited Randa’s ruling on PAC contributions to bolster his campaign in the homestretch.

Walker’s status as a champion for Koch brothers and their allies is well-documented, with the billionaire brothers holding up his extreme right wing policies as exemplar of their political agenda. After all, prosecutors opened an investigation into illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and a Koch-affiliated group, Wisconsin Club for Growth, during the 2012 recall election. What’s clear from Randa’s rulings, and the fact that he’s attended multiple Koch-sponsored junkets, is that Randa, too, is a Koch ally, who appears to be pursuing a concerted effort to roll back Wisconsin campaign finance laws to the benefit of Scott Walker and his political allies.

VIDEO: Ernst Faces Backlash For Shunning Iowa Newspapers

Yesterday, it came to light that Joni Ernst was refusing to sit down with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. Then it became clear, she was refusing to sit down with the editorial board of essentially every newspaper in Iowa.

As she spurned the Iowa press, she still managed to find the time to meet with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd yesterday (and had the audacity to tweet a picture of this with the hashtag #IowaKnows Best — no, really!), and to sit down with FOX News this morning.

It’s understandable why Joni Ernst is desperate to hide her extreme agenda from Iowa — support for privatizing social security, wanting to eliminate the federal minimum wage, opposition to subsidies like the RFS, etc. — but her little Houdini act backfired.

Check out Ernst getting blasted on local TV for cheating Iowa voters out of the opportunity to know where she stands on the […]