Former New Jersey Governor, Republican Christine Todd Whitman, reacts to the GOP choice of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to respond to President Obama's State of the Union.
From the Los Angeles Times:
"It's hard for me to phrase this politely: Sometimes Republicans think that just putting a woman up front means somehow that women are going to feel good about the party," Whitman said. "It is not about the messenger. It's about the message. And until we figure that one out -- while it's nice that we have a woman as a spokesperson -- if the message itself doesn't get changed a bit, it's not going to work."
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It’s grown so conservative and tea-party orientated and I just can’t buy into that. I’ve left the Republican Party and it’s left me, at the same time.
- Sue Wagner, Nevada's first woman Lieutenant Governor, January 28, 2014
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said that the government shouldn't help women who can't control their "libido or their reproductive system" by providing co-pay-free birth control and that Democrats are encouraging women to be "victims of their gender."
- Talking Points Memo, January 23, 2014
Well, that's one way of spinning it, I suppose.
Let's take a look at what Mike Huckabee actually did say:
Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anyone else can do. Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women.
That’s not a war ON them, it’s a war FOR them.
- Mike Huckabee, January 23, 2014
Well, so far, so good. That pretty much falls in line with what the ostensible leader of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, has advocated. We should note Mike Huckabee's adherence to an even more ingrained Republican approach to inequality. He does not propose any new initiative. He does not condemn workplace prejudice against women. He does not defend, or even acknowledge, Republican efforts to derail anti-discrimination bills.
The Republican Party, says Mr. Huckabee, recognizes the equality of women. Unequal treatment? What unequal treatment?
Recognition has to be easier than than action.
"...the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women."
Still, the recognition that women have capacity, without any action to ensure fairness, is a deficiency only in the eyes of Democrats, liberals, and RINOs, Republicans in name only. Mr. Huckabee is well within the mainstream of conservative sensibility. His choice of words, up to this point, fits any Frank Luntz type vocabulary. Focus groups would swoon.
What comes after that has gotten him in some trouble. It is a reapplication of a traditional appeal to targets of unfortunate treatment.
Former slaves did not actually need protection provided by any Freedmen's Bureau. In fact, the existence of an agency to prevent lynchings and vote obstruction was kind of an insult, an implication that black people were victims, not able to control their own fate.
Today, anti-discrimination laws and poverty programs that give a leg up to people of all races working their way out of poverty are also an insult. They keep people on a Democratic plantation. Unemployment compensation is disrespectful of those receiving such help, since it implies a sort of victim status.
And so it is with birth control as part of basic health coverage.
And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it!
Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be. And women across America need to stand up and say, Enough of that nonsense.
- Mike Huckabee, January 23, 2014
It is here that Mr. Huckabee departs from any focus group that extends beyond the dining hall of the weekly church fish fry. Conservatives holding, or seeking, elected office are cautious. Agreement will provoke a deadly reaction in general elections. Who can forget Todd Akin and his hopeless definition of legitimate rape? On the other hand, vocal disagreement may discourage support in Republican primaries.
Reince Priebus has been more outspoken.
...you cannot offer up words like libido, wherever that came from. You don't offer up these sorts of lobs and set up passes and serves that allow the Democrats to spike the ball.
I mean, it's not where our party stands, it really isn't even what Mike Huckabee meant to say.
- Reince Priebus, January 27, 2014
Republicans seem unanimous in their agreement with Mr. Priebus. They disagree with Mike Huckabee's choice of words, but embrace his message.
The words may be inelegant, but they are sincere. They accurately represent a traditional view of women, of sex, of Democrats and liberals, and of birth control itself.
The logic is the very core of conservative cultural tradition.
Democrats are insulting women by suggesting they need either government or birth control itself. What Democrats, liberals, and many women themselves do not recognize is the value of sexual virtue: that women who use birth control cannot control their libido or their reproductive system.
"...they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government."
We have watched other cultural clashes. They hold our morbid attention just as train wrecks or traffic collisions sometimes do. Mike Huckabee's efforts will provide a special sort of horrifying fascination as he vows to "take that discussion all across America".
There are times you must, I think, recognize that certain individuals are superior in their talents and in what they have done and can potentially do for your state...
...Mark Warner, if I may say with a sense of humility, like John Warner crosses the aisle and makes things work.
- Former Senator John Warner (R-VA), January 27, 2014
endorsing Democrat Mark Warner (not related) for
United States Senate
This is the first time Republican John Warner has publicly backed a Virginia Democrat.
Democrats hold a sizable advantage on Republicans on several key perceptions of the United States's two major political parties, according to a new poll.
The Pew Research Center poll show Americans perceive Democrats as more willing to work with the other party than Republicans, by a margin of 52 percent to 27 percent.
Democrats also hold a 20-point advantage when it comes to which party "is more concerned with the needs of people like me" and a 10-point edge when it comes to governing in a more ethical and honest way.
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At the start of the midterm election year, Republican candidates hold a slim two-percentage point advantage when voters are asked about their preference for Congress.
Forty-three percent of voters would back the Republican in their House district if the election were held today, while 41 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate, according to the latest Fox News poll.
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In the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Libya, the Obama administration falsely claimed it was a spontaneous assault in response to an offensive online video, even though the administration had intelligence reports that the attacks were connected to terrorist groups tied to al-Qaeda. Which of the following do you think best describes why the Obama administration officials gave false information in their early public statements about the September attacks on Libya?
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Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its "one percent," namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the "rich."
- Tom Perkins, founding partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, January 27, 2014
in a letter to the Wall Street Journal
Those who met clothing salesman Arnold Schuster in 1952 would not have imagined that he would be responsible for the capture of one of the most notorious bank robbers in American history, or that his own assassination would bring down the head of one of the largest crime families in the country.
Willie Sutton is still famous for his answer when asked why he robbed banks. "That's where the money is." Back then, he had a reputation as one of the most polite bank robbers ever. He always treated victims and bystanders with uncommon courtesy. He also had an acute talent for escaping from prison.
Clothing salesman Arnold Schuster was on a New York City subway when he recognized Willie Sutton. Sutton had escaped yet again, this time from a prison in Pennsylvania. He was known to have a taste for fashion, so his FBI poster had been distributed to clothing outlets. Schuster followed Sutton to a gas station and notified police.
His role in the capture brought Schuster some minor fame. He later appeared on the television game show I've Got a Secret. Crime boss Albert Anastasia had never met Willie Sutton, but he happened to be watching the television program and flew into a rage. "I can't stand squealers!" he reportedly shouted "Hit that guy!" He ordered the killing of the young clothing salesman.
Supposedly, that killing contributed to the killing of Anastasia by crime associates a few years later. Gangsters killed each other in those days, sometimes in spectacular fashion. But the killing of civilians, even witnesses who testified in prosecutions, was forbidden.
That was not all because of altruism. The ethic was because of the cost of public opinion. When non-combatants were murdered, crackdowns would follow. Income from crime would go down, way down.
That's what happened after clothing salesman Arnold Schuster was killed. The cost hit all of New York's crime families. Anastasia had murdered a civilian. The public was enraged, Anastasia was responsible.
Watching some of the coverage of the activities in New Jersey brings to mind the violent saga of Willie Sutton, Albert Anastasia, and poor Arnold Schuster.
Rick Ungar, writing for Forbes Magazine, describes what he sees as the prevailing ethic of New Jersey politics:
I strongly suspect that what Mayor Zimmer is alleging is, indeed, representative of “politics as usual” in America and similar to behavior that most elected officials have participated in simply as a matter of how things are done.
- Rick Ungar, Forbes Magazine January 20, 2014
That's pretty much the way some of the earlier charges of bullying came across.
Adam Schneider, the mayor of Long Branch says he only got cooperation on a utility project after he endorsed Christie for re-election. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says he stopped getting access to the governor's office after he declined to endorse. Olympic star Carl Lewis was thinking of running against a friend of Christie until he was warned off. An appointment to some athletic council would get cancelled if he ran.
Policy threats, appointment cancellations, public projects backed or not backed, all are considered to be part of political strength. That sort of wheeling and dealing will be familiar to moviegoers who saw the movie Lincoln. It wasn't just cinema. The 16th President really did apply carrots and sticks.
That's what we often expect from those we elect.
The bridge block with traffic tied up for hours and hours on successive days is something different. Memos show public officials close to Governor Christie reacting to the suffering of little children sitting in school buses throughout the morning of the first day of school.
I feel badly about the kids ... I guess.
And the reply: They are the children of Buono voters - Buono being Christie's election opponent.
Granting or denying hurricane relief funds to people trying to survive puts political pressure way beyond any level that can be identified as strength. It goes beyond the outer limits of bullying. The allegation can be read one of two ways.
Chris Christie's Lieutenant Governor threatened to deny funds desperately needed by Hoboken residents unless Hoboken's Mayor Dawn Zimmer would clear some bothersome zoning regulations aside for a Christie ally. The deal involved a construction project worth many millions.
or the alternative allegation:
Chris Christie's Lieutenant Governor offered to shift funds desperately needed by other areas to Hoboken instead, if Hoboken's Mayor Dawn Zimmer would clear those regulations.
This is not American politics as usual, or even everyday New Jersey politics.
Intimidating politicians is sometimes considered political strength, sometimes political bullying. Depends on which side you take.
Going after commuters, school children, and hurricane victims goes to a level Americans don't tolerate.
Take a lesson from Albert Anastasia.
Chris Christie's people went after civilians.
At The Moderate Voice, Ron Beasley recommends the recent movie at Netflix documenting Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign. Ron sees Mitt much more sympathetically now. Among his insights is that Mitt didn't really want to win. As I see it, that observation would be evidence of a level of Romney patriotism I had failed to detect.
Conservative James Wigderson gives politics and policy a moment's rest (whew). He explains what has to be the silliest minor effort to protect Justin Bieber from his latest juvenile antics. People with this sort of budding sense of entitlement may grow up to be Ted Nugent.
- Tim McGaha at Tim's Thoughtful Spot is celebrating. It's the anniversary of the landing of the Mars rover Opportunity. Its life was designed to go for an ambitious 3 months. Tim explains how long it actually sent information to us from the red planet.
There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President
- President Barack Obama, interviewed by New Yorker Magazine, November 24, 2013
On the surface, it might seem as if the President's observation is not all that controversial. Do we really think there is no racism among those who reflexively oppose President Obama? But conservatives point out that some people are more willing to support the first black President because he is black. Couldn't President Obama have admitted that some people give him the benefit of the doubt?
Well, actually, let's see what more he said.
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said.
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President.”
- President Barack Obama, interviewed by New Yorker Magazine, November 24, 2013
It might seem as if some conservatives are accusing the President of not saying what he really did say.
So the president believes race may play a factor among some white voters who don't much flip over him, telling the New Yorker, and I quote, "There's no doubt that there's some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black president."
What's remarkable is that five years into his presidency, this issue of race still even comes up. And on this Martin Luther King Day, no less, seems the latest excuse de jour served up for a presidency that's flailing, and approval ratings that are tumbling.
But wait a minute, when those ratings were soaring, I guess race was not an issue? Or now that they're going the other way, have they suddenly become an issue?
- Neil Cavuto, Fox News personality, January 20, 2014
You can see Neil Cavuto's point. By saying that some people don't like having a black President, while others kind of like having a black President, the President is making an issue out of race. Consider what the President said when he spoke directly about race and the issues.
“There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues,” he went on.
“You can be somebody who, for very legitimate reasons, worries about the power of the federal government—that it’s distant, that it’s bureaucratic, that it’s not accountable—and as a consequence you think that more power should reside in the hands of state governments.
But what’s also true, obviously, is that philosophy is wrapped up in the history of states’ rights in the context of the civil-rights movement and the Civil War and Calhoun. There’s a pretty long history there.
- President Barack Obama, November 24, 2013
So we can see how President Obama is using race to make excuses. Conservatives are outraged that the President did not at least acknowledge that it's possible to oppose him on policy grounds. You don't have to be racist to oppose the policies of America's first black President.
What exactly did he actually say, right after pointing out the history that associates racism with some of the policy arguments used against him?
And so I think it’s important for progressives not to dismiss out of hand arguments against my Presidency or the Democratic Party or Bill Clinton or anybody just because there’s some overlap between those criticisms and the criticisms that traditionally were directed against those who were trying to bring about greater equality for African-Americans."
So President Obama is pointing out that some people don't like him because of his race and others like him because of his race. He knows there is an overlap in history of states rights and other issues with some of the arguments used against him, and that that is the very reason progressives should be careful not simply to dismiss those arguments as racist.
He is making the argument that some conservatives think he is arguing against.
Well, let's see how other conservatives react to his agreement with them.
Here's Glenn Beck:
He said in New Yorker Magazine "There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President." Mr. President, I mean, this is so tired. This is so tired.
- Glenn Beck, January 20, 2014
The very tired Glen beck is joined in his assessment by fellow host Stu Burguerre, reacting to the idea that some people don't like having a black President.
And it's obvious, he sets such a ridiculous standard. Are there some people? I guess there is someone somewhere.
- Stu Burguerre, January 20, 2014
And, of course, associate Pat Gray, who protests with the counter fact:
There are some black people who don't like the idea of a (Voices in unison:) white President.
- Pat Gray, January 20, 2014
I especially like that chorus of voices chanting the same point, the point they don't seem to know that President Obama already made for them in somewhat calmer terms.
A few seconds later, Mr. Gray expresses greater enthusiasm.
Making excuses for himself. Going to the easiest card he can play, and that's the racist card. Shut up!
- Pat Gray, January 20, 2014
Rush Limbaugh is a dependable source of conservative perspective.
"There's no doubt, no doubt, that there's some folks who just really dislike me because they don't like the idea of a black president," Obama said in the article. So, what, white Americans have just figured out Obama's black in the last two years? This is classic. This is really classic.
- Rush Limbaugh, January 20, 2014
Of course, not all conservatives have gotten the memo. Some do not perceive the race card being played. For example, Bill O'Reilly is a little more moderate in his assessment of the Obama claim that some folks don't like having a black President and some folks do.
That assessment? 100 percent correct.
- Bill O'Reilly, January 21, 2014
O'Reilly may seem to be making an obvious observation. President Obama says some folks reflexively attack him because they don't like having a black President. Some folks give him the benefit of the doubt because they do like having a black President. And, although there is an unfortunate historical entanglement between some conservative arguments and racism, the President cautions progressives not to dismiss conservative concerns out of hand.
You can see why some conservatives might see very little objectionable. But here is something Bill O'Reilly and others may have missed.
The flip side is I think it’s important for conservatives to recognize and answer some of the problems that are posed by that history, so that they understand if I am concerned about leaving it up to states to expand Medicaid that it may not simply be because I am this power-hungry guy in Washington who wants to crush states’ rights but, rather, because we are one country and I think it is going to be important for the entire country to make sure that poor folks in Mississippi and not just Massachusetts are healthy.”
Well, there you have it at last. Obama thinks it's important to provide health protection to poor folks in Mississippi as well as Massachusetts, because we are all one country. One country.
Talk about playing the race card.
"And on this Martin Luther King Day, no less, seems the latest excuse de jour served up."
"Mr. President, I mean, this is so tired. This is so tired."
"Are there some people? I guess there is someone somewhere."
"There are some black people who don't like the idea of a white President."
"Going to the easiest card he can play, and that's the racist card. Shut up!"
"...white Americans have just figured out Obama's black in the last two years?"
And those who, for some reason, just don't see the race card being played. Those blind souls who have become complacent at the President's outrageous statements.
"That assessment? 100 percent correct."
Susanne Atanus (R-IL), Congressional Candidate, explains
why God is now against the United States.
From the Daily Herald, (Chicago, IL):
"I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first," Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions.
"God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions," she said. "Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."
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Explaining his call for the arrest and hanging of President Barack Obama
He should be executed for treason. I think the appropriate punishment is death. They killed Benedict Arnold. (Obama) shouldn't be allowed to kill Americans without a trial.
- Joshua Black (R-FL), interviewed by Tampa Bay Times, January 20, 2014