Original Link: http://www.seattlepi.com/connelly/398039_Joel30.html
By JOEL CONNELLY
AS PRESIDENT OBAMA signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, expanding the time frame in which workers can sue for sex or race discrimination, the Senate Republicans' campaign arm took a swing at Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for backing it.
The punch landed squarely on the chin of its sender. National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh managed a gender switch.
"It's unfortunate that Patty Murray has chosen these tough economic times to create a gold rush for HIS trial lawyer buddies and a payoff for their support of Senate Democrats in the last election," Walsh said.
All four Republican women in the Senate voted for the Ledbetter Act, named for a Goodyear Tire manager in Alabama who discovered she was being paid less than male counterparts.
But 36 male Republican senators voted against the law, as did a top-heavy majority of House Republicans.
"I would say that my women Republican colleagues know a lot more about what is going on in this country," said Murray, who was at the White House when Obama signed the bill.
So were two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and -- of all people -- GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska.
What is becoming of the loyal opposition?
Even House Minority Whip Eric Cantor told Politico this week, "It would be a great mistake for the House GOP to turn inward and simply become the party of 'no.' "
Still, it seems to be happening: Witness the solid GOP House vote against the Obama-backed stimulus package.
The faces of two great Republican presidents grace Mount Rushmore, the "Great Emancipator" Abraham Lincoln, along with trust-buster and conservationist Theodore Roosevelt.
Given the party's tenor today, Abe and Teddy would probably be labeled "RINOs" -- movement conservatives' abbreviation for "Republicans in Name Only."
(In this state, some have already put the label on former three-term Gov. Dan Evans.)
Instead, the GOP's current visage is Mount Rush -- radio commentator Rush Limbaugh.
The Limbaugh judgment, delivered four days before Obama's inauguration: "I hope he fails."
Elaborating 24 hours into Obama's presidency, Limbaugh told a fellow failure rooter, Sean Hannity of Fox News:
"We are being told that we have to hope (Obama) succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president."
A Republican congressman from Georgia, Phil Gingery, dared tell Limbaugh to "back off" and that it's easy to "stand back and throw stones." (He included Hannity in the criticism.)
Gingery was back groveling before Mount Rush a day later, apologizing for "putting my foot in my mouth."
"Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich, and other conservative giants are the voices of the conservative movement's conscience," he said, begging forgiveness. "Every day, millions and millions of Americans -- myself included -- turn on their radios and televisions to listen to what they have to say, and we are inspired by their words and determination."
With the same cooks in the kitchen, the right wing is serving up the same old stew of bile and red herrings. Eating up this concoction is an audience that's bitter, elderly and male, grumbling as the country embraces a new young president.
On Wednesday night, Bill O'Reilly was offering Karl Rove sanctuary from a House subpoena, then doing a softball interview with Bernie Goldberg on the ex-CBS ancient's latest press-bashing book.
Bill-O gave way to Hannity -- now minus liberal patsy Alan Colmes -- who was promoting Ann Coulter.
Of course, the Democrats demonized both Bushes in late stages of their presidencies. The White House press corps, for five years a W. lapdog, showed its teeth in his second term.
What the political right conveniently forgets was the brief span of national unity -- which could have gone on much longer -- following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A bipartisan majority gave us the USA Patriot Act. It would quickly end with Rove's decision to harness terrorism as a partisan political issue.
Murray was incredulous that Republicans would attack the Ledbetter bill. After all, Republicans' one recent successful president -- Ronald Reagan -- specialized in happy endings.
"They've forgotten to look out the window," Murray said. "People rallied behind the cause of this woman," Ledbetter. "She has made sure others will get the justice that she was denied. A wrong was righted. It's what we celebrate in America."
With the Seattle P-I up for sale, I've received a few sneering e-mails from those Limbaugh calls "Dittoheads."
They not only relish the paper's financial losses, but go on to denounce Seattle and revel in layoffs by major Northwest employers. Why? We're "liberals" and have it coming.
Is this the route to rebuilding a party that's out of power? Or broaden its appeal? Or recapture the Gipper's sunny optimism about America as a "shining city on a hill"?
No way, no-how!