This is good news. She’s a fighter. (Giffords 2016).

Gabrielle Giffords returns to Capitol HillAPRep. Giffords returns to the House chamber

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sent out a powerful message Monday in choosing the vote on the debt deal to mark her return to the House of Representatives for the first time since being shot in the head last January.

Both Democrats and Republicans jumped to their feet to welcome the congresswoman with a standing ovation. Although still recovering, Giffords says she felt compelled to return and vote “yes” on the debt deal (which passed the House with 269 votes).

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From one conservative to the others? These are not your parents’ conservatives. I keep saying, to all who will listen, that the fringe is now central to the GOP.

From Goldwater to Bachmann, the meaning of one of the right’s favorite terms has evolved considerably


Michele Bachmann calls herself a “constitutional conservative.” So does Rand Paul, and anyone endorsed by Sarah Palin gets the label as well. As the nation heads towards defaulting on its debt obligations and the state of Minnesota remains closed, it’s worth pondering what constitutional conservatism actually means, and what lessons we can take from it.

For conservative politicians, the name signals that they are identifying as Tea Party members, which means limiting government, balancing the federal budget, lowering taxes, ending redistribution from the wealthier to the poor, assigning a central position for God in the lives of Americans, even in courthouses and public schools, and asserting the right to bear arms. While God will always be given top billing, one gets the sense that lowering taxes and eliminating social programs are actually the most important pillars in the platform — so much so that many elected officials claim to be unwilling to compromise no matter what the short-term consequences.

Yet the term “constitutional conservative” is older than the Tea Party movement, and has a subtle yet important difference to it, since it focuses on moderation. For contemporary conservative political theorists like Harvey Mansfield and Peter Berkowitz, among others, constitutional conservatism requires a proper balance between principle and prudence — that is, between living up to one’s ideology, and living together in a democratic community in which all acknowledge the necessity of compromise. God remains central, for religion provides a source of virtue and a reason to sacrifice for the greater good, and protecting individual liberties still remain the fundamental goal, but being a constitutional conservative for political theorists above all requires an awareness of political realities, and an accommodation to them in order to a allow a range of people in a society to live together peacefully.


Today’s officeholders who call themselves constitutional conservatives have taken a very different approach. They may do well to revisit their theoretical brethren who acknowledged the necessity of living according to principle while not being ideologues, of being driven by values and not opportunism, of compromising on policy while remaining true to principle, and understanding that as much as one would like to move society in a certain direction, it may not happen overnight.

As the federal government stands on the brink of defaulting on its debt obligations, the question for the moment is whether political constitutional conservatives, too, can find proper balance between principle and prudence, between staying true to their ideology, and living together in a democratic community in which all acknowledge the necessity of compromising with others.

Brian J. Glenn is a political historian who teaches in the Department of Government at Wesleyan University. His book, “Conservatism and American Political Development" (co-edited with Steven M. Teles), was published by Oxford University Press in 2009.

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Certainly if Sarah Palin or any of those other politicians come to Australia, for whatever purpose, then we can initiate a private prosecution, and that’s what we intend to do.

Robert Stary, Julian Assange’s lawyer “Palin to be prosecuted for inciting violence if she visits Australia,…” - StumbleUpon

I would be happy to purchase a one way ticket for her. (thysilverdoe)

Wow, I guess everyone has their standards.

(via progressivefriends)



“Be careful of yourself,” I told Gabby last March, after the front glass door and a window at her Tucson congressional office were shattered. The attack came the same evening — Sunday, March 21 — she and other House Democrats voted for the health care law.

She laughed. “I’m tougher than nails….

I will continue to speak out. They’re not going to shut me up.

Sarah Palin, “Sarah Palin’s first post-Tucson interview” - War Room - 1/17/11

Um, Sarah? I hate to tell you this, but your own persecutionist fantasies notwithstanding, no one is trying to shut you up. Out of pity, we might wish you did, but no one is trying to infringe upon your free speech. We’re only trying to exercise our own. You should expect that. This is America, after all (still). In so doing, we will continue to point out the ample funding your bully pulpit receives.

Anyway, I think the reason that many people are going to be criticizing right-wing rhetoric in particular in the wake of the Giffords incident is not for what people like Rush and Sarah Palin say openly, but precisely because their underlying message is suspect. I think it’s pretty clear that in many cases, and especially with people like Beck, their hottest rhetoric is delivered with a conspiratorial wink, as in, “I’d be more explicit about the threat your political enemies pose, but I can’t. But you know what I’m trying to say about them, and about what has to be done.” Beck in particular gets his market share by going further in that direction than his competitors.

Matt Taibbi (via azspot)

This is the sense in which Chip Berlet uses the term “becking,” in that older sense of a wink or nod.

In May 2009, just a few months into the Obama administration, President Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney gave dueling speeches on national security in Washington, with Cheney accusing the president of making Americans less safe.

20 months later, Guantanamo is still open, the CIA agents accused of Bush-era torture are still free, and Obama is conducting covert air wars in at least two countries. And an ailing Cheney has now changed his tune and is actually praising Obama on foreign and national security policy.

Justin Elliott, “The latest Obama cheerleader is … Dick Cheney?” - War Room - 1/17/11

It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to widen the rift between Obama and progressives which was somewhat narrowed by the Tucson speech and all the good feeling surrounding the King holiday.