Humans are often reassured when the bar of expectations is set low enough to step over. Alas, Republicans seem to be trying to wriggle under it…. (More)

Squirrels don’t get to participate in limbo contests, which is rather rude as we invented them. Back in the early 1950s, Monique Muffintail was running from a cat in Trinidad and dashed through a crack at the base of a barroom wall. The cat thudded against the wall hard enough to rattle pots and pans in the bar’s kitchen. Dance pioneer Julia Edwards happened to be there and matched the rhythms of tinkling steel with Monique’s deft agility to create the now-famous dance. But squirrels don’t get to follow in Monique’s paw prints because, well, humans wouldn’t win any limbo contest if squirrels were included.

Unless Republicans were involved.

For example, I doubt even a squirrel could get lower than Connecticut state legislator DebraLee Hovey (R) posting a Facebook message telling Gabrielle Giffords – the former Arizona Congresswoman who was gravely wounded in a mass shooting two years ago today and visited the families of those killed and wounded in the Newtown Massacre on Friday – to “Stay out of my towns!” Rep. Hovey continued:

It was political. The LtGov was there, Blumenthall was there and ALL political types KNOW it is courteous to let sitting Reps know when another political is in their District. So…there was pure political motives.

Representative Hovey was in Florida when Giffords visited, and was apparently miffed that she couldn’t put in an appearance. She has since taken down the post – much to the relief of English teachers nationwide – and apologized. Which implies she at least realized she was worming under an awfully low bar.

Then there’s Powerline‘s Paul Mirengoff, who called John Brennan – President Obama’s nominee for CIA Director – an “Arabist.” Among other things, Mirengoff thinks Brennan wasn’t anti-Muslim enough when Brennan said this to a group of Muslim students at NYU in 2010:

They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing – absolutely nothing – holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children. We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. Rather, such thinking is a recipe for endless conflict. […] We are at war with Al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and any comment to the contrary is just inaccurate. We will destroy that organization.

Brennan also referred to having visited Palestine, which Mirengoff insists “does not exist.” In short, Brennan doesn’t share Mirengoff’s simplistic worldview of Israel Perfect and Islam Evil, so Mirengoff thinks racial slurs like “Arabist” are in order.

I’m not sure it’s possible to ooze any lower, but the Tea Party managed in today’s Rasmussen poll. Only 8% of respondents said they were Tea Party members, down from a high of 24% in a 2010 Rasmussen poll. Fully half of the new Rasmussen poll’s respondents had a negative view of the Tea Party. In case you missed it … yes … Rasmussen poll.

That makes the Tea Party only one-fourth as popular as House Speaker John Boehner’s handling of the GOP’s fiscal cliff debacle in a recent Gallup Poll. A whopping 31% of respondents approved of how the Speaker handled the negotiations, as compared to 50% who disapproved. Respondents were split on President Obama, with 46% approval and 48% disapproval, and similarly for Vice President Biden (40%/42%).

Clearly Speaker Boehner will need to work on his limbo skills. Or maybe he, and Republicans, could try stepping over the bar.

Good day and good nuts.