Tea Party Professor Who Defeated Cantor Flubs Interview on First Day

Note to Prof. Dave Brat, the newly nominated tea party candidate for the Virginia district currently held by Majority Leader Eric Cantor: College professors get to choose topics for discussion in class, but candidates — just like elected officials — must be able to answer whatever questions the media throws their way.

Brat made a poor showing today in one of his first national interviews:


The Line: October 27, 2011

  • photo-paul-ryan-150Jonathan Chait dissects Republican pols’ facility at papering over facts they find to be inconvenient. They all do it but Chait fricassees the GOP’s Big Thimker, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose big speech at the Heritage Foundation yesterday on income equality (or whatever) turned out to be nothing more than a retread of the same manure Ryan has been spreading for years.
  • In a piece titled “John Galt Clutches His Pearls,” Digby marvels at Ryan’s speech, too: “One of my favorite right wing quirks is their ability to shape-shift from Rambo to Aunt Pittypat in the blink of an eye.”
  • Elizabeth Warren did not take credit for #OccupyWallStreet, despite the right-wing propaganda ministry’s claims. Dave Weigel uses the right’s “dogpiling” on Warren as a case study in how they twist Democrats’ words to bolster their narrative that liberals are elitists, vain and out of touch. (Similarly, Al Gore never said he invented the Internet.)
  • photo-rick-perryIf your candidate’s fumbling, befuddled debate performances are killing his campaign, what do you do? If you’re Rick Perry’s campaign team, you quietly announce that the candidate won’t be participating in any more debates. Kevin Drum reacts: “So there you have it. Perry’s not hiding from anything. He’s just choosing to stay off national TV because it makes his dimness a little too painfully obvious to voters who are trying to choose a leader of the free world. Better to focus instead on what he’s best at: attack ads and laughably flimsy policy proposals.”
  • New polls out in the congressional districts find 12 seats that are ripe for Democratic pickups, including five in California: Dan Lungren (CA-7), Jeff Denham (CA-10), Elton Gallegly (CA-26), Mary Bono Mack (CA-36), Brian Bilbray (CA-52). Relatedly, the district of GOP House Rules Committee Chair David Dreier (CLOSET-1) was disappeared by California’s new nonpartisan redistricting committee. Democrats need to win 25 seats to win control of the House next year.
  • Via Pork News (seriously): The GOP’s drive to install racist Arizona-style “papers please” anti-immigrant laws in the Old Confederate states could result in losses in the tens of millions in agricultural production next year. Turns out, farmers can’t find “legal” Southerners who’ll take jobs doing back-breaking farm work in the fields.
  • For the tenth anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act, I have a piece up at Gore Vidal Now tracking some of Vidal’s writing about the act, which he described as being “as despotic as anything Hitler came up with — even using much of the same language.”

Christians Vs. Republican Party’s Worship of Atheist Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Selfishness

Left: Ad from Christian group attacking Republicans over Rand’s influence in the party; right: Democrats’ ad depicting Republicans tossing Granny off a cliff

Here’s a new and welcome twist. Christians are attacking Republicans on moral grounds, targeting the decidedly un-Christian influence over the party of Ayn Rand, a best-selling author of novels in which she advocated atheism and what she called the “virtue of selfishness.”

[Faith] is a sign of a psychological weakness. . . I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desire, above the evidence of what your mind knows. That’s what you’re doing with the idea of God.
– Ayn Rand

These Christians are particularly critical of the GOP’s 2012 budget bill which was authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who is both a Catholic and an outspoken proponent of Ayn Rand’s cult of godless individualism. The Christians say Ryan based his “toss Granny off a cliff” kill-Medicare plan on Rand’s “every man (woman and child) for himself” philosophy.

Ryan’s bill passed in the House in April with 253 Republican votes. All the Democrats and three Republican members voted against it. It failed in the Senate last month with all Democrats and five Republicans voting against it and 40 Republicans voting for it. Despite the draconian cuts in Ryan’s bill, including its provision to kill Medicare for everyone 54 and younger, had it passed and been signed into law, it would have still added as much as $6 trillion to the debt over 10 years.

It’s about time that true Christians — that is, those who believe in Christ’s message of compassion and forgiveness and who follow his admonitions to care for the poor, homeless and sick — called out the Republican Party over its moral degeneracy on Christianity’s most fundamental values. The GOP and its tea party base make a practice of putting the interests of their corporate sponsors — for example, the health insurance industry — over the needs of their brothers and sisters — for example, the uninsured — all the while depending on the votes of right-wing evangelicals to cling to power.

On Friday, as Rep. Ryan left a right-wing religious conclave sponsored by Ralph Reed, the Christianist leader who was disgraced by his dealings with the Bush-era GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, he was caught on video being approached by a Catholic protester who tried to give him a Bible. Ryan refused to take it.

Amy Sullivan at Time Magazine: