Faces of the Republican Party

New Fce of Republican Party

“Rubio-Haley new ‘face’ of Rpublican Party

Beneath the headline “Rubio-Haley new ‘face’ (sic) of Republican Party,” Friday morning’s Post and Courier’s front page displays a photograph of Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley standing on a stage in Spartanburg, SC.   A “drop head” right above the photo reads: “Governor’s endorsement amid rumors she could land on GOP ticket shines light on 2 rising stars, may broaden appeal of conservatives.”

Haley endorsing Rubio in Spartenburg

Haley endorsing Rubio in Spartanburg

I guess the premise is that people hesitant to vote for 21st Century candidates who don’t believe in science will be more likely to vote for 21st Century candidates who don’t believe in science if they’re younger ethic minorities who appear more physically attractive than, say, Mitch McConnell.

Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell

I thought it might be interesting, if not instructive, to compare Senator Rubio’s policy positions vis-à-vis Senator McConnell’s. After all, whether or not you accept Darwin’s theory probably has little impact on how you might govern. For all I know, Andrew Jackson believed the earth was flat. Perhaps, we’ll discover more progressive positions that Rubio offers that will appeal to younger voters as the old. white Republican electorate follow Harper Lee and Umberto Eco offstage to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.

Let’s start with what I continue to quaintly call global warming.

Climate Change

According to Scientific American’s website, Marco Rubio “believes climate change is happening, but not that it is caused by man.”   Here’s a direct quote: “And I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.”

Here’s a piece from the USA Today website affiliate Courier Journal on McConnell’s position: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s editorial board on Thursday that he doesn’t know if climate change is a real problem because he’s ‘not a scientist’ and that he’s more interested in producing cheap energy than worrying about it.”

So, as you can see, Rubio, although not a scientist, does boldly admit that global warming is real whereas McConnell because of his lack of expertise dare not judge.

Nevertheless, they both stand together in their opposition to the Paris Climate accords.

I doubt if these positions are going to get the millennials’ hearts a-thumpin.

2nd Amendment

Here’s Senator Rubio’s website on his hearty approval of the District of Columbia v. Heller 5-4 ruling on “gun rights.”

The Second Amendment right to bear arms is one of Americans’ most fundamental rights. Indeed, it is a right that reflects our country’s founding values. Opponents of gun rights often maintain that it is outdated, but it is as important as ever, and no one knows that better than America’s law-abiding gun owners. Marco understands the threats facing gun owners in part because he’s a gun-owner himself.

Furthermore, Senator Rubio is dedicated to

  • Voting to block the Manchin-Bloomberg expansion of background checks
  • Protecting the Second Amendment rights of veterans and their families
  • Standing against any federal attempt to ban commonly owned sporting rifles and standard capacity magazines
  • Pushing to make concealed-carry permits function like drivers’ licenses, so gun owners’ constitutional rights don’t end at state lines
  • Opposing U.S. involvement in the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty
  • Working to expand opportunities for sportsmen on federal lands
  • Fighting to defund the Department of Justice’s radical “Operation Choke Point” and other federal attacks on law-abiding gun manufacturers and dealers
  • Pushing to bring fundamental Second Amendment rights back to D.C. residents

Okay, let’s see if we can come up with some nuanced differences from Senator McConnell.

Darn tooting we can. Here’s what the ultra “conservative” Madison Project has to say about Senator McConnell’s record on guns:

“Here is a sampling of some of McConnell’s shortcomings on gun rights issues:”

  • Voted against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Amendment to block authority under Patriot Act to obtain gun records [RC #82, 5/26/11]
  • Voted for an amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) prohibiting the sale or transfer of handguns by a licensed manufacturer, importer or dealer unless a secure gun storage or safety device is provided for each handgun. 25 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted against it. [RC #17, 02/26/04]
  • Voted for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) amendment to spend taxpayer funds for Department of Education grants used to disseminate a gun control agenda in schools and through public service announcements. [RC #32, 03/02/00]
  • Voted for Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) Amendment requiring that all guns be sold with trigger locks [RC#122, 5/18/99] Voted for the 1991 Crime Bill (S. 1241), sponsored by then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), that imposed a waiting period for handguns and a ban on 14 types of assault style weapons. [RC #125, 07/11/91]
  • Senator McConnell cut a deal with the Democrats to allow all of Obama’s second term nominees to sail through the Senate.  Included in that deal was the confirmation of anti-gun zealot Todd Jones to serve as Director of the ATF.

Despite this apostasy, “The NRA endorsed him anyway, and his relations with that influential group have continued to be good.”

At any rate, it would appear that Mitch McConnell is softer on guns than Marco Rubio.


According to his website, Senator Rubio is for simplifying the tax code and slashing income taxes:

His plan

  • Cuts taxes, letting taxpayers keep more of their own money instead of sending it to Washington.
  • Dramatically simplifies the tax code by eliminating all itemized deductions and tax “extenders.”
  • Under Marco’s tax reform plan, the charitable-contribution deduction and a reformed mortgage interest deduction would be available to all taxpayers.
  • Creates a new $2,000 (individual) / $4,000 (married filing jointly) refundable personal tax credit in place of the standard deduction: Credit phases out beginning above $150,000 (individual) / $300,000 (married filing jointly) and would be unavailable to taxpayers with an annual income in excess of $200,000 (individual) / $400,000 (married filing jointly).
  • Eliminates the Marriage Penalty and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
  • Consolidates the maze of higher education tax incentives into a single, $2,500 universal tax credit for the first four years of post-secondary education and costs related to eligible job skill training. The credit phases out between 400 – 500 percent above the Federal Poverty Level (roughly $97,000 – $121,250 for a family of four).
  • Addresses the tax treatment of health care as part of a comprehensive effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with consumer-centered reforms. The plan repeals all 21 Obamacare taxes.

McConnell’s votes on taxes.

  • Comprehensive tax reform can work if it’s revenue-neutral. (Jul 2013)
  • 1977 AdWatch: Horse Sense understands when tax cuts are real. (Sep 2010)
  • Resolve to lower capital gains taxes. (Aug 2008)
  • Voted NO on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted YES on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted YES on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted YES on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006)
  • Voted YES on permanently repealing the `death tax`. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut. (Feb 2006)
  • Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Feb 2006)
  • Voted YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. (Nov 2005)
  • Voted YES on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years. (May 2003)
  • Voted NO on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates. (May 2001)
  • Voted NO on increasing tax deductions for college tuition. (May 2001)
  • Voted YES on eliminating the ‘marriage penalty’. (Jul 2000)
  • Voted YES on across-the-board spending cut. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted YES on requiring super-majority for raising taxes. (Apr 1998)
  • Rated 76% by NTU, indicating a “Taxpayer’s Friend” on tax votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 0% by the CTJ, indicating opposition to progressive taxation. (Dec 2006)
  • Taxpayer Protection Pledge: no new taxes. (Aug 2010)
  • Supports the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. (Jan 2012)

Yawn. Both favor slashing taxes for the wealthiest taxpayers, which, if you believe in history and math, doesn’t stimulate the economy but leads to massive deficits.

Let’s transition to something less bloodless. Social issues.


In the first Fox debate Senator Rubio seemed to suggest that he doesn’t favor any exemptions for abortion, including, incest, rape, or the health of the mother.

Kelly: “You favor a rape and incest exception to abortion bans. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York just said yesterday those exceptions are preposterous. He said they discriminate against an entire class of human beings. If you believe that life begins at conception, as you say you do, how do you justify ending a life just because it begins violently, through no fault of the baby?”

Rubio: “Well, Megyn, first of all, I’m not sure that that’s a correct assessment of my record. I would go on to add that I believe all –”

Kelly: “You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?”

Rubio: “I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass a law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.”

However, more recently, he’s been walking back from that rather draconian view. Here’s what his website has to say.

Protecting life [except for capital punishment] defines who we want to be as a society. All life [except for those on death row] is worthy of protection, and all life enjoys God’s love.

Marco believes that Roe v. Wade was not only morally wrong, but it was a poorly decided legal precedent and should be overturned.

Marco has a record of supporting pro-life policies [like capital punishment], and will continue to do so in public and private life.

Marco believes that as a nation we must always come down on the side of life [except in cases of capital punishment]. We must speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

Can you guess McConnell’s views on abortion?

That’s right; he’s against abortion, as evidenced by his spearheading the 20 week ban in the Senate, but but does allow exceptions for the life of the mother.

So once again, it appears that Marco Rubio is to the right of Mitch McConnell.


Even though their dire predictions about how the Affordable Care Act would wreak havoc to healthcare and the economy has proven patently false, both continue to advocate its abolishment.

Marco wants a “market-driven” alternative.

Iran Treaty

They hate it!!!


They love him!!!!


Marco, the son of immigrants himself and despite his being a one-time member of the Gang of Eight, is essentially anti-immigration and especially against détente with Cuba.

Mitch wins this battle. He was not a member of the Gang of Eight.


Essentially, there’s not much difference between Rubio and McConnell – except that McConnell’s attendance is much, much superior to Marco Rubio’s, whose chronic truancy dates back to his days as a Florida legislator.

So, to return to the Post and Courier’s headline’s, what about him might broaden Conservative’s appeal to younger voters? His Latin good looks?


I doubt it. Here’s the cat all the young voters are swooning over.





A Review of Punditry re. the Republican Debate

Jimmy Carter, one of the Right’s favorite punching bags, commented recently that the United States was no longer a democracy but an oligarchy. Although perhaps hyperbolic, Carter’s comments do highlight some uncomfortable facts. For example, according to the New York Times, “fewer than four hundred families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era.”

Not surprisingly, one of the most pressing issues for these donor families is the abolition of estate taxes.   How many family estates pay taxes, you might wonder? In 2015, 1.2% of the population paid “death taxes” as the Koch brothers call them, or the “Paris Hilton tax” as EJ Dionne of the Washington Post labels them.

Of course, loopholes large enough for not only camels, but also elephants and asteroids to pass through are there for the exploitation, so when you get down to it, the effective tax rate for the estates of this 1.2% of the population boils down to a paltry 16.6% on average. And get this, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, only “20 [that’s 4 x 5 = 20] small business and farm estates nationwide owed any estate taxes in 2013.”

So does repealing the estate tax make any sense for a government that spends in excess of 600 billion dollars a year on defense alone?

You betcha, if you’re one the Koch brothers or the other 400 families who have raised half of the money flowing into these so-called super PACs.

Next question. How many of the Republican presidential candidates are for the abolishment of estate taxes?

[cue sarcastic laughter]

Which brings me to last Thursday’s presidential debate, which I sort of watched while checking out tweets. (Given my delicate sensibility, my enduring such a grotesque circus is tantamount to drinking that rancid pre-colonoscopy concoction).

More to my taste is reading the pundits’ “takeaways.” Who were the winners and losers?

Well, here’s Hoodoo’s run-down of the conventional wisdom.

The BIG WINNERS according to the pundits:

Carly Fiorina

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18:  Carly Fiorina, former CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Company, speaks at the Heritage Foundation December 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. Fiorina joined a panel discussion on the topic of

As far as biography goes, Ms Fiorina, the daughter of a law school professor, dean, and federal judge father and a portrait/abstract artist mother has the advantage of growing up in relative poverty, despite the fact that her parents gave her a grand piano as a wedding gift. She touts her career arc as rising “from secretary to CEO,” and it’s no lie.

During summers while attending Stanford, she worked at Kelley services, and after dropping out of UCLA’s School of Law, she served time as a receptionist at the real estate firm Marcus and Millichap. Later, she earned an MBA from Maryland and a Masters in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

Obviously, she ain’t no dummy, and besides that, she’s articulate and quick on her feet, attributes she displayed Thursday night and a rare commodity among most of the other “contestants” on the stage of what seemed more like a gameshow than a debate.

So I agree with the CW on Fiorina. Don’t be surprised if she ends up being a vice presidential choice, despite her first ex-husband Todd Bartlem’s accusation that during their marriage she had an affair with her soon-to-be second and later ex-husband, Frank Fiorina, a senior executive at ATT. Obviously bitter, Bartlem told that paragon of journalistic excellence the Daily Mail that Fiorina “los[t] her humanity” in a “pathological” pursuit of power.

In her memoir Tough Choices, she describes the marriage’s dissolution this way: “While we were married, we weren’t peers.”


Marco Rubio

rubio_perplexed_master_0Like Carly Fiona, Rubio was also lucky enough not to be a beneficiary of great wealth. (Some people have all the luck; sorry, Jeb). In fact, Rubio’s father worked as a bartender, as Marco likes to boast.

CW went gaga over Rubio’s performance. He took on Hillary’s claim of “living from paycheck to paycheck” to great applause and spoke of the 100K of student loans he racked up and repaid in full, though he wisely didn’t mention the $80,000 boat he purchased while paying off his loans, his liquidating a $68,000 retirement account, nor did he mention his failure to make mortgage payments on his home for five months, nor the fact that he had a lease of $50,000 on a 2015 Audi Q7.

Now that’s what I call living from paycheck to paycheck in style!

I disagree with the CW that Rubio was a big winner because of his statement that he doesn’t believe in abortions even if the mother’s life is at stake.

Not to mention rape and incest.

I can see the Hillary commercial now. Female voiceover, pregnant mother with damaged fetus that threatens her life makes the excruciating decision to abort. Cut to subsequently born happy white children skipping towards a swing set to be pushed by surviving, smiling mother.

Or, how about a couple of shots of the baby in David Lynch’s Eraser Head?

John Kasich

pic_related_111014_SM_John-KasichOnce again Kasich is fortunate to come from modest means; his father was a mail carrier.

During the debate, I agree he was very effective. His response to why he had expanded Medicaid was superb, essentially, “duh,” who in her right mind wouldn’t?

Though the pundits universally adored it, I was less impressed with his non-answer on how he would explain to his hypothetically gay daughter why he doesn’t support marriage equality. Rather than saying, “because the Bible tells me so” or “I believe that sexual orientation is a choice,” he dodged the question and boasted that he had recently attended a gay wedding and added, “If one of my daughters were that, of course, I would love them.” (my italics)

Well, duh, who in his right mind wouldn’t?

Still, if you’re a rational Republican willing to compromise on your contempt for the poor, Kasich strikes me as eminently electable.


Jeb Bush

I actually think Jeb was a loser and agree with Frank Rich’s assessment that Bush speaks “with all the conviction of a robo-call.” He needed to create some sparks and didn’t.

Plus the poor bastard is a scion of one of the 1.2% of the families who will have to pay some estate taxes when #41 passes from, in Richard Wilbur’s words, “this rotten/Taxable world to a higher standard of living.”

Scott Walker

walker super durpThe conventional wisdom — too scripted — which maybe was a good thing. I can’t find to share the mean-spirited image flashing its way through cyberspace the night of the debate, a motion gif that makes Dukakis in that iconic attack ad featuring him in a tank look like Sean Connery’s James Bond in comparison.

So the picture above will have to do.

Mike Huckabee

An articulate spokesman for the 5th Century BCE, but will his message appeal to 21st Century voters?

Chris Christie, Rick Perry, et al



Rand Paul

Rand Paul

Though some have touted him a winner, most see Rand Paul as a loser, and I agree with the latter. To break out of this pack, you need charisma, and in Paul’s case, a new hairdresser.

And last but not least

Donald Trump.

ptbOh, where is HL Mencken when we need him?

Dead and gone to hell, according to all these men and woman of faith.

I so wish someone had asked Trump about his metaphysical beliefs. Perhaps he would have identified himself as the Messiah.

I would, though, if I were Fox News, not be so gung-ho in expelling him from Republic contention. As my favorite saint, Teresa of Avila, famously put it, “More tears have been shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers.”

A Trump independent candidacy would doom the Republicans.

Bottom line: All these candidates seem to care about are rich folk and fetuses.

That may be enough if you have the 1.2% shoveling unlimited money your way. For as PT Barnum said and Donald Trump’s ascendency proves, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”