WEDNESDAY, MAR 4, 2015
Incredibly the Republican Party has gone backward on race since George W. Bush. Here’s what that means electorally
HEATHER DIGBY PARTON
Scott Walker, Rudy Giuliani (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas/Richard Drew/Photo montage by Salon)
Another CPAC came to an end this weekend. The hungover millennials are back to campus by now, with their backpacks full of Rand Paul buttons, and the oldsters are counting their profits. The consensus in the press is that this year’s extravaganza was a more sedate affair than usual, with the “Happiness is Hillary Clinton’s face on a milk carton” T-shirts relegated to the dustiest corners of the hall. Sure there was “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson declaring that STDs are the “revenge of the hippies,” which is kind of funny coming from a whole family that looks like it could easily have been rolling around in the mud on Yazgur’s Farm. And Brent Bozell issued a predictably turgid assessment of the threat America faces from terrorists the left:
“Tyranny is knocking at our door,” he warned, before declaring that the left “will do anything, using any means at their disposal, legal or otherwise” to strip conservatives of their freedom of speech and saying that the government isn’t “all that different from the East German Stasi.”
“Cultural fascism has arrived in America,” Bozell said. “Let us understand this soberly and unequivocally”
Very sober of him, indeed. But in a sharp break from the past, Ann Coulter was not a featured speaker this year, so the public was deprived of a peek into the darkest recesses of the conservative id. (In fact, there is no record of even one attendee using the term “raghead” this year.)
But despite the fact that the new CPAC organizers encouraged a slightly less fringy tone, they were unable to do anything about the fringy policies. Even the Great Whitebread Hope, Scott Walker (who, predictably, committed yet another embarrassing gaffe), reversed his position on immigration reform. He was for it before he was against it. And needless to say, the legislative game of chicken the House of Representatives was playing in the background over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security proved that the Tea Party wing of the GOP isn’t dead yet. Until the establishment is able to put a stake through its zombie heart, they have a big problem on their hands.
One little discussed CPAC panel on demographics discussed a new bipartisan report that reveals a daunting statistic that will make it very, very difficult for Scott Walker or any other anti-immigration Republican to win the White House in 2016. Ariel Edwards-Levy at Huffington Post reported:
“The fundamental challenge for my side is the seemingly inexorable change in the composition of presidential electorates,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres, whose clients include Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), said during a panel discussing the report. “And there’s no reason to believe that that’s going to stop magically.”
The demographic change poses little problem for the GOP in midterm elections, when young and minority voters are far more likely than older, white voters to stay home. But in the run-up to 2016, the demographic trend has some Republicans citing a need for change.
In 2004, Republicans’ most recent presidential victory, George W. Bush won 58 percent of the white vote, and 26 percent of the non-white vote — numbers that would lose him the White House today, Ayres said.
‘”That’s the stunning part for me in running these numbers — to realize that the last Republican to win a presidential election, who reached out very aggressively to minorities, and did better than any Republican nominee before or since among minorities, still didn’t achieve enough of both of those groups in order to put together a winning percentage” for 2016, Ayres said.
George W. Bush did better than any Republican has ever done with racial minorities. He reached out, he spoke Spanish, he had a long-term reputation for being moderate on these issues. He came from a border state and had a cultural affinity with Latinos. When he ran in 2000 the U.S. was in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom and conservatives had temporarily put the xenophobic genie back in the bottle. He just was not widely seen as a bigot of the old style. In any case, the GOP had made great efforts to try to get at least some minorities on board and Bush was successful in attracting about 25 percent of them. That would not be enough for any GOP candidate to win the presidency in 2016.
And that would seem to spell almost certain doom. Today the Republican Party is so aggressively hostile to minorities that many of them are willing to defund the federal police agencies entirely rather than allow the president to soften our policies toward undocumented workers. They are likewise unable to contain their most vicious bigots — an open David Duke ally is a current member of the House leadership. And neither can they keep their primitive patriarchs from promoting barbaric practices like forcing girls to give birth to their own siblings. They have, in short, taken several giant step backward from the time when George W. Bush eked out a win by getting a quarter of minority voters to cast their ballots for his ticket. The chances of them being able to even get half of that today are getting fewer by the minute. And according to their pollsters, they need to exceed his numbers to win.
As Poppy Bush (never actually) said, “Nah guh happen.”
Over the weekend you started to hear some rumblings from a few Republicans on TV who categorized the right-wing fringe in the House as “delusional.” But keep in mind that they don’t think they’re delusional because they are insulting massive numbers of voters without whom they cannot win the presidency. They say they are delusional because they aren’t taking the threat of ISIS pouring over the border during a shutdown and killing us all in our beds seriously. Here’s Lindsey Graham with his usual thoughtful analysis:
“I’ve never seen more terrorist organizations … that want to strike the homeland than I do today, and that’s a direct result of a failed foreign policy by President Obama. And the worst thing to do is having the Republican Party add gasoline to the fire by defunding the Department of Homeland Security.”
He also pointed out that it looks bad for Republicans to be furloughing cops and agents. And he’s right. If they lose the law ‘n’ order crowd, it’s hard to see who’s left to vote for them.
But nobody should be fooled into thinking that the various calls from Republicans in recent days to end this game of chicken has very much to do with a sober realization that they cannot afford to keep alienating minority voters if they ever expect to win the presidency. That may be the reality but it’s a reality they simply cannot face. Their base simply won’t let them.
Despite their best efforts to suppress the vote, gerrymander districts in their favor and otherwise try to rig the system, they simply cannot win a national election unless they change their approach toward racial minorities. At the moment the white tail is wagging the multicolor dog and there’s little evidence that’s going to change any time soon.
SUN OCT 19, 2014
by Lefty Coaster
Why any ostensibly rational person living in Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, or Louisiana who saw this map, and still would think their states’ Republican leaders’ policies were delivering the economic growth their region so sorely needs is beyond comprehension.
Almost every county in the U.S. has its share of haves and have-nots. But there are some regions where it’s just plain harder for Americans to thrive, places where the poor far outnumber those living in middle-class comfort.
Ten counties in America stand out as the most challenging places to live, based on a survey of six criteria including median household income, disability rate and life expectancy, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
The county with the dubious distinction of being the worst of all is Clay County, Kentucky, where residents can expect to die six years earlier than the average American.
The other four counties ranked at the bottom of the survey include four counties in the rural south: Humphreys County, Mississippi; East Carroll Parish, Louisiana; Jefferson County, Georgia; and Lee County, Arkansas.
The findings highlight an often overlooked issue in the debate about income inequality — the stubbornness of rural poverty. In the U.S., the number of poor rural residents outnumber those in the cities, with 14 percent of rural Americans living below the poverty line, compared with 12 percent in urban areas, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Rural Poverty Portal.
Of course you’d never get an inkling of any of this from watching Fox Noise. The right’s hired boobs like to characterize America’s urban areas as teeming with desperately poor people.
Of course, Appalachia and the South aren’t the only parts of the country where people struggle, The Times’ study found. Pockets of economic and social hardship extend from Maine to Alaska.
By Roberto A. Ferdman
Meanwhile, there are a number of states — all of them in the South — you might want to avoid. Mississippi, which scored lower than any other state, barely broke 50. Arkansas and Alabama, which tied for second to last, each scored 51.3. West Virginia, which was fourth to last, scored 52.2. And Tennessee, which was fifth to last, scored 52.9.
The South, which performed the worst of any region in the country, is home to eight of the poorest performing states. Only Virginia was in the top 25. And just barely — it placed 22nd.
The average person’s life is harder in the South and in Appalachia. The economic safety net in these states is bare bones and have gaping gaps that let many their citizens fall through into the economic margins. The South’s and Appalachia’s craven political leaderships that grovel before wealthy interests are the main reason why the region consistently lags behind the other states across a range of measures.
ORIGINALLY POSTED TO LEFTY COASTER ON SUN OCT 19, 2014
ALSO REPUBLISHED BY NEW JERSEY KOSSACKS, SUBVERSIVE AGITATION TEAM ACTION NETWORK, AND TEAM DFH.
September 3, 2014
I have a question for my Republican friends.
Yes, that sounds like the setup for a smackdown, but though the question is pointed, it is also in earnest. I’d seriously like to know:
If Republican fiscal policies really are the key to prosperity, if the GOP formula of low taxes and little regulation really does unleash economic growth, then why has the country fared better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones and why are red states the poorest states in the country?
You may recall that Bill Clinton touched on this at the 2012 Democratic Convention. He claimed that, of all the private sector jobs created since 1961, 24 million had come under Republican presidents and a whopping 42 million under Democrats. After Clinton said that, I waited forPolitiFact, the nonpartisan fact-checking organization, to knock down what I assumed was an obvious exaggeration.
But PolitiFact rated the statement true. Moreover, it rated as “mostly true” a recent claim by Occupy Democrats, a left-wing advocacy group, that 9 of the 10 poorest states are red ones. The same group earned the same rating for a claim that 97 of the 100 poorest counties are in red states. And then there’s a recent study by Princeton economists Alan Binder and Mark Watson that finds the economy has grown faster under Democratic presidents than Republican ones. Under the likes of Nixon, Reagan and Bush they say we averaged an annual growth rate of 2.54 percent. Under the likes of Kennedy, Clinton and Obama? 4.35 percent.
Yours truly is no expert in economics, so you won’t read any grand theories here as to why all this is. You also won’t read any endorsement of Democratic economic policy.
Instead, let me point out a few things in the interest of fairness.
The first is that people who actually are economic experts say the ability of any given president to affect the economy — for good or for ill — tends to be vastly overstated. Even Binder and Watson caution that the data in their study do not support the idea that Democratic policies are responsible for the greater economic performance under Democratic presidents.
It is also worth noting that PolitiFact’s endorsements of Occupy Democrats’ claims come with multiple caveats. In evaluating the statement about 97 of the 100 poorest counties being red, for instance, PolitiFact reminds us that red states tend to have more rural counties and rural counties tend to have lower costs of living. It also points out that a modest income in rural Texas may actually give you greater spending power than the same income in Detroit. So comparisons can be misleading.
Duly noted. But the starkness and sheer preponderance of the numbers are hard to ignore. As of 2010, according to the Census Bureau, Connecticut, which has not awarded its electoral votes to a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, had a per capita income of $56,000, best in the country, while Mississippi, which hasn’t gone Democrat since 1976, came in at under $32,000 — worst in the country. At the very least, stats like these should call into question GOP claims of superior economic policy.
Yet, every election season the party nevertheless makes those claims. It will surely do so again this fall. So it seems fair to ask: Where are the numbers that support the assertion? Why is Texas only middling in terms of per capita income? Why is Mississippi not a roaring engine of economic growth? How are liberal Connecticut and Massachusetts doing so well?
It seems to suggest Republican claims are, at best, overblown. If that’s not the case, I’d appreciate it if some Republican would explain why. Otherwise, I have another earnest, but pointed question for my Democratic friends:
How in the world do they get away with this?
NOTE: In a recent column, I pegged the indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry to his “Democratic opponents.” Though the indictment did come out of Austin, which is a blue island in the red sea that is Texas, I should have noted that the judge who assigned a special prosecutor in the case is a Republican appointee and the prosecutor he chose has, according to PolitiFact, ties to both parties.
Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL, 33132. Readers may contact him via email at email@example.com.
AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan
AUTHOR: RYAN DENSON APRIL 23, 2014
In the richest country in the world, one would think child hunger is not an issue. However, the truth is very, very heartbreaking. According to the newest annual ‘Map the Meal Gap’ report conducted from the anti-hunger charity Feeding America, more than one in five American kids lived in a “food insecure” household in 2012, meaning that their meals are not consistent, or do not meet the basic necessary amount. Roughly 49 million Americans are currently in a food-insecure household.
The top eight states for food-insecure homes for children are:
1. New Mexico, with 29.2% being food insecure
2. Mississippi, with 28.7%
3. Arizona , with 28.2%
4. Nevada, with 28.1%
5. Georgia, with 28.1%
6. Arkansas, with 27.7%
7. Florida, with 27.6%
8. Texas, with 27.4%
Of the top 8 states where children not not adequately receive food, six are Republican states. That comes as no surprise, given the Republicans malice towards feeding hungry children in the last few years. Even less surprising, the report found that the hungriest counties are largely concentrated in the deep south and southeastern United States, with just a little less than 12 percent of the group coming from outside those regions. That means 88% of children that go hungry in this country come from the southern Bible Belt. Just like Jesus would have wanted.
The report also found that a quarter of the nation’s food-insecure peoples in the south earn too much money to qualify for government assistance, yet somehow they are still unable to provide adequate food for their families throughout the year.
And what do the leaders of these states plan to do about this epidemic? Absolutely nothing. In fact, they are so blind to the evidence before them, that they feel the solution should be more cuts to food assistance programs.
Even though 45% of food stamps go to feeding hungry children, the Republicans want to cut, cut, cut. Currently, 1 out of 5 children in the United States go hungry. Over 17 million kids. Rep. Jim McGovern (D) made it clear in June 2013 during the SNAP cutting fiasco that cutting food stamp benefits to kids won’t make them just “go away,” but it will just make the situation even worse. These kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and yet the Republicans, the champions of the “sanctity of life”sought to cut $20+ billion from the food stamp program.
In September last year, the Republicans made good on their promise, and passed a farm bill which cut $40 billion from the Food Stamp program, on a close vote of 217-210. Only 15 Republicans voted against it. Every Democrat voted against it.
Eric Cantor defended last years cuts, saying:
“Most people want to go out and be productive so that they can earn a living, so that they can support a family, so that they can have hope for a more prosperous future. They want what we want.”
Whoa, back it up. Who are the ones defending these cuts? Why, just millionaire Republicans like Cantor and Boehner, who claim to be opposed to these programs because they create a “culture of dependency.” Oh yes, I forgot, how dare children be dependent on their government to feed them. How dare hungry children want food in their stomachs when they have no other resources to get it.
Republican Representative Tim Huelskamp from Kansas had some strong words for food stamp recipients:
“Look for work. Start job training to improve your skills or do community service. But you can no longer sit on your couch or ride a surfboard like Jason in California and expect the federal taxpayer to feed you.”
Again, let’s remember: almost half of all food stamps go to children, and the elderly! Some of these people can’t just get up and go to work to earn their food. And I’m guessing they’re aren’t riding on their surfboards.
Even with 1 in 5 children going hungry in this country, Republicans think they are leeches who are riding on their surfboards, sucking up taxpayer money. Even though food stamps are needed most in the Republican dominated south, the Governors, Representatives, and Senators are continuously voting against their constituent’s best interests, and the constituents don’t seem to notice.
Not only are Republicans increasingly skeptical about the idea that humans evolved over time, they are going out of their collective way to prove that at least one branch of the human family is incapable of further evolution. Like our Neanderthal cousins who apparently died out near Gibraltar, perhaps we may look forward to one day when the surviving Republicans will be confined to a few camps in Arizona.
Whether it’s the product of Obama Derangement Syndrome, a constant force-fed diet of Fox News, or some other hidden, inexplicable cause, a recent poll conducted by the Pew Organization confirms that Republicans are increasingly becoming a Party inhabiting an alternate universe:
A new Pew Research Center poll shows a widening political gap over theories about how humans came to be, with Republicans growing increasingly skeptical about the idea that humans evolved over time.
Over the last four years, the percentage of Democrats who said they believe in evolution has risen by three points, from 64 percent to 67 percent. But the percentage of Republicans who believe in the theory has dropped 11 points, from 54 percent to 43 percent.
* * * * *
CNN suggested the poll’s results may be driven by a collective, deliberate rejection of all things scientific. But neither CNN nor the Post try…
View original post 320 more words
Reblogged from Slate, 28 December 2013
Reblogged from Slate, 27 December 2013
While Richard Eskow sounds slightly petulant regarding Nancy Pelosi‘s reported instructions there should be no gloating. While covering alternative strategies, Eskow misses an important option which should not escape comment. If there is any temptation on the part of the President or Democratic Party leadership to show some magnanimity, it should be resisted. This is a courtesy which the Tea Party would have extended neither to the President, nor to the millions who have tied their futures to his political fortunes. With Republicans in disarray, now is the time to press home the advantage with an eye to encouraging the re-emergence of responsible sanity among the opposition.
According to anonymous Capitol Hill sources, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi cautioned Democratic members of Congress on Thursday against “gloating” over the spectacular crash-and-burn that was the Republicans’ government shutdown.
No gloating over the Republicans’ plunging poll numbers in the wake of this aborted coup.
No gloating over the widespread repudiation of their tactics by prominent public figures in a variety of fields.
No gloating over the public and private disarray that is gripping their party in the wake of this disaster.
No gloating over the widespread dissatisfaction that the Republican Party’s corporate sponsors have been expressing in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.
No gloating. Period.
We can certainly appreciate the minority leader’s position. After all, although it’s been a political disaster for the Republicans, the shutdown has also been a human disaster for a lot of federal employees, and for the many Americans who rely on their government to be there when they need it.
What’s more, it cost the American economy an estimated $24 billion, according to Standard & Poor’s. Consumers, who generate roughly two-thirds of the economy’s output, lost a great deal of confidence in the future as the result of this travesty. Investors, whose faith in the United States government has kept borrowing costs extraordinarily low for years, also lost faith as they realized how much power an extremist faction still holds. That’s going to cost us.
So the word has gone out: No gloating. Not even a little. Presumably that also goes for crowing, rejoicing, exulting, whooping it up, and rubbing it in.
Just so we’re clear about that.
Okay, then: What is permissible under the circumstances? “Explicating” should be allowable. This is – or should be – what educators sometimes call a “teachable moment.” This should lead a moment of clarity for the Republicans, the conservative community and the Tea Party. If they haven’t experienced that yet, allow us to be of service – with the understanding, however, that this is not gloating.
What it is is a last desperate attempt to speak to you as one group of human beings to another, in the hopes that underneath the veneer of madness there lie hearts still capable of empathy, of rationality, and – at a minimum – an instinct for self-preservation.
We also offers some “reminding.” To the elected officials of the Tea Party we say, you swore an oath. You have a responsibility now – a responsibility not to yield to your basest instincts, your deepest fears, or the shrieking voice of your Id as it cries out for recognition and ego satisfaction. This isn’t about you anymore; it’s about your country.
To the leaders of the Republican Party – to Messrs. Boehner and Cantor and Ryan et al. – we say, enough gamesmanship. You bear even more responsibility for this disaster then your Tea Party faction does. You could have stopped this at any time, and chose not to do so. Perhaps the political beating you’re taking now will offer you more illumination than your conscience was able to provide.
That’s not gloating, either – although it might be called “lecturing,” or even “hectoring.”
This should be an instructive moment for Republican voters as well. Whether you’re a business person, an investor, or just somebody trying to get along in this struggling economy, you – like the rest of us – took a hit because of the antics of your Republican Party. Come back home: all is forgiven. Provided, that is, that you’ve learned never again to vote for politicians who will work against your best interests.
And we close with some “observing.” This experience should be nothing short of a revelation for those pundits, officials, and other Beltway insiders who have been in assisting that “bipartisanship” is the path of wisdom. Those goals may be noble in principle, but there is little merit to be found in meeting the architects of this disaster halfway. It may be emotionally satisfying to seek compromise and consensus, but sometimes circumstances call for a very different response.
Compromise and consensus are good things – except when the moment calls for confrontation rather than compromise.
Yesterday’s deal will put pressure on Congress to cut even more spending, which would harm the economy even more, and to look towards a “grand bargain” that would cut Social Security and Medicare, leaving millions of Americans in even greater financial insecurity.
That battle will soon be upon us.
So there you have it: a little explication, a little observation, some reminding, and admittedly a little lecturing. It also seemed important to include a warning. But we’ve looked into our hearts, and we’re almost sure there was no gloating.
Punishing the Poor
In the first days of the shutdown, conservatives alternated between celebrating and downplaying the impact. RedState.com’s Erick Erickson insisted Americans would barely notice the government shutdown. But the consequences of the government shutdown are only too real for the families who will lose food assistance, and the children who would lose access to Head Start.
Read between the lines. It’s not that no Americans will suffer as a result of the shutdown. It’s that no Americans will suffer who don’t deserve to suffer anyway. According to the conservative worldview, they are the “immoral undisciplined people” who receive undeserved benefits from government, and those who provide those benefits.
Conservative rhetoric about low-income Americans sounds a lot like conservative rhetoric about government workers. Once, Fox Business’s Stuart Varney provides a good example. On the June 5 edition Fox & Friends, Varney proudly admitted he was “being mean to poor people,” as he fulminated against the Earned Income Tax Credit and those who rely on it.
Varney is hardly alone. Conservatives alternate between mocking the poor, blaming the poor for their condition, or angrily insisting that the poor, the unemployed, etc., have it too good, or claiming that they’re slashing at the safety net because they care so much about low-income families and the working poor.
As I wrote a couple of years ago, the problem isn’t that Republicans can’t fix poverty. That’s true, of course. Conservative policies usually make poverty worse. The problem is that conservatives don’t want to fix poverty.
Poverty isn’t the problem, in the conservative worldview. Poor people are the problem. The government can help many people, but it will inevitably help people conservatives believe shouldn’t get help from the government. After all, if they were “better people” they wouldn’t need help in the first place.
Governing a La Carte
Almost immediately after voting to shut down the government, conservatives complained about the consequences. When desperately ill people — including kids with cancer — were turned away from NIH clinical trials, House Republicans donned lab coats for a press conference demanding the reopening of the agency they voted to close. Viral videos spread of House Republicans demanding that park rangers reopen the very war memorials and parks that Republicans closed when they shut down the government.
Conservatives had little to say about the 9 million vulnerable women and children who rely on WIC program, or the 49 million Americans who live in “food insecure” households and rely on food stamps who stand to lose vital benefits if the shutdown continues. In states Utah shut down its programs almost immediately after the shutdown began. Louisiana’s program, which serves 64,000, does not have the funds to operate during an extended shutdown.
Conservative commentator Bill Kristol said that, “no one in Arkansas is going to starve,” even though 85,000 people in Arkansas could lose food assistance because of the shutdown. Kristol insisted that cities, state government, and charities would step in. That’s unlikely, since city and state governments are already strapped, thanks in large part to Republicans blocking federal aid to cities and states.
Plus, the shutdown has hit charities with a “double whammy,” occurring as it has in the middle of the federal government’s biggest charity drive. Charities that rely on donations from federal workers may not reach fundraising goals, even after the shutdown ends. Some of the same charities are facing increased demand, from the same furloughed federal workers who previously supported them.
Charity may have saved Head Start, for the moment. The shutdown led to the closure of Head Start programs in several states, gave at least one billionaire a chance to generate positive press at little cost. John and Laura Arnold were lauded in the press when they donated $10 million of their $2.8 billion fortune to the National Head Start Association, to keep the program’s doors open.
None of articles about the Arnolds’ rescue of Head Start mentioned that the Laura and John Arnold Foundation are part of a campaign to undermine public pensions. For a mere pittance (to them), the Arnolds bought enough good PR by appearing to help impoverished children to make the media forget their efforts to impoverish retirees. It may end up costing the Arnolds nothing, if the money works out to be a temporary loan.
House Republicans proposed piecemeal measures to open the part of the government they like, or that have popular appeal, including child nutrition programs. However, even the National WIC Association opposed the GOP’s “a la carte” approach to governing. In a statement denouncing the Republican sponsored measure, the association called it, “”a cynical ploy to use low-income nutritionally at-risk mothers and young children as political pawns for political ends,” and said that funding WIC in a “piecemeal, short-term, stop-gap manner” is unacceptable.
Trickle Down Shutdown Misery
Middle-class, working-class, and low-income Americans are still waiting for the prosperity that was supposed to “trickle-down” to them as a result of tax cuts for the wealthy. They are stillwaiting for the “recovery” enjoyed by the one percent to “trickle-down” to their homes and communities.
As the shutdown drags on, all that’s trickled-down from conservative politics is misery; whether its government workers who are going without paychecks, families in danger of losing food assistance, small businesses losing money, or local economies losing millions of dollars every day that government shutdown continues.
And all because Americans elected, and re-elected a president who campaign on health-care reform, Congress passed a health care reform law, and the Supreme Court upheld it. Republicans can say all they want that they are doing what’s best for the country. It feels a lot like revenge, and polls show that Americans are not fooled by Republicans saying otherwise.