A Heads Up to Republicans re: Election 2010

Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee:

Look. Stop talking about the election last November as if it were a mandate to do whatever it is that Republicans are wanting to do this day, or that day. The FACT is, the Republicans that were elected ran on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” They didn’t run on “defund Planned Parenthood at all costs” or “shut down the government.” People are UNEMPLOYED, you PROMISED to get them jobs, and THAT’S what they elected you for.

Not to mention *puts on political scientist hat* that the first midterm has traditionally been unfavorable for the party in power. You understand tradition, don’t you? This was no overwhelming takeover. There were no landslides. November 2010 was a normal election.

Keep going right–and there will be a huge backlash. If there is anything to be learned from Wisconsin, it is that.

A Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

As the 2012 Presidential election season begins, I find myself trying to figure out whether or not I will campaign on your behalf.

You see, in 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. As a feminist, I wanted dearly to see such a proactive, feminist, capable, and successful politician like Hillary to be my President. I cannot express how badly I wanted Hillary as my President. I’m not alone. Millions of women, of feminists, wanted Hillary to be our President. We were heartbroken when she lost the nomination–to you.

But even so, we rallied to your cause. We worked hard for you. Millions of women helped you in your successful bid to the Presidency. We didn’t do it because of admonitions from male liberals that “McCain would be much worse.” No, we did it because of hope. We hoped that, even though we couldn’t have Hillary, that we could still have a feminist as our President. We hoped that we would finally have a president that would stand up for our rights. We hoped that you would be the leader of the Democratic Party that would stand up and say, “Enough. We’re not going to use women’s rights as a bargaining chip with Republicans. We’re going to live up to our promises. We’re not going to settle for being “better than the Republicans.” We going to stand up for equality, and we’re not going to back down. This is the right thing to do.”

To our dismay, you’re not. As hundreds of anti-choice legislation appear across the country that would undermine our rights and drag us back to second-class status, you’ve said nothing. You allowed your party to use women as a bargaining chip in the health care debate. As many have said, you and the Democrats have “thrown women under the bus.”

Why should I campaign for you? Why should I lend you my support and my aid?

I cannot answer that question, though the echo chamber of male Democrats and male liberals are crying “because he’s a Democrat! He’s better than Republicans! Do you want another Bush?”

The only reason that’s being given is a guilt trip. Vote Democrat, or else Republicans will win and things will be much worse for you. That’s the threat. Instead of support from my brothers, I get a backhanded threat.

I won’t be blackmailed, Mr. President. I need a damn good reason why I should support you again. No more hope–I want support. I want action. I want scathing reprimand from you to your party for stabbing in the back the millions of women who have supported and continue to support the Democratic Party.

The 2010 election was a mandate–but it wasn’t in favor of the Republican agenda. It was our answer to the Democrat’s treatment of its large, active female constituency: This is what happens when we stay home. Republicans win, and everyone suffers. Do you want us to stay home in 2012? Then keep your promises to your sisters. Fight for equality.

Let me share how I would like the next twelve years to go: I would like you to become the President we all thought you would be, that is, a strong ally of women–unwavering support for abortion rights. Equal pay. Strong support for victims of rape, harassment, and abuse. Strong condemnation of the men who commit these crimes. Equality for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The end to restrictions on the jobs women may have in the military. And that’s just the beginning. I want action. No election slogans. Action. Then, I would like my dream of 2008 to come true: I want Hillary Clinton to be my President.

Idealistic? No more than you during the 2008 Democratic primaries–which is why I dismissed you as unelectable. I still maintain that you won the nomination because of the split in the party between supporters of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Prove this political scientist wrong. Become the politician that women want you to be, and that Democrats need you to be.

Then I can give you my full, enthusiastic support. Until then, I’ll remain what my generation has been condemned to be thus far in our political lives: disappointed.

Brittany-Ann Wick

A Question To GOP And Their Supporters

So, I’m really curious. What happened to the GOP agenda being all about the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs? ‘Cause it seems to me, that all of these attacks on women’s abortion rights and the narrowing of the definition of rape have nothing to do with either of those.

Election Day

Today is election day. Tonight we’ll see if Kentucky has gone completely insane. We’ll see if we deserve the reputation we’ve gotten nationally, and internationally.

I don’t need to read the reaction to Rand Paul’s campaign staffers jumping a young, liberal woman to know what the reaction is. I know there are scores of people blaming the woman for three men beating the ever-loving stool out of her. We blame women for being stalked, harassed, raped, beaten by their partners, why not blame them for conservative, tea bagging thugs stomping on their heads?

Thing is, this incident is a lot more than anyone else has bothered to say.

Domestic terrorism.

Voter intimidation.

Oh yeah, I said it. That’s what it is. These Rand Paul fanatics, supporters and employees, beat the stool out of this woman because she disagreed with them. Full stop. Plan and simple. This woman dared to speak publicly, voicing her political opinion, taking and exercising her Constitution-given right. And these Rand Paul thugs couldn’t stand it. I bet Rand Paul couldn’t stand it, either.

We are admonished as children to be careful who we choose to befriend, because who we associate with says a lot about us. Our friends reflect our values, and what’s more, these friends influence us.

Rand Paul chose to associate with violent, fanatical thugs. He chose to associate with men who believe our Constitutional rights only apply to them, and people who look and think like them. Anyone else? Better sit down, and shut up, or they’ll beat the stool out of you, too. Sounds like Al-Qaeda. Why? Because they are very, very similar. Using violence, or threat of violence to silence dissent is domestic terrorism.

It’s also voter intimidation. Voting is the ultimate way we express our political opinions. Will this woman ever be able to attend a rally, vote, or even wear a button without checking around to make sure tea bagger, Rand Paul thugs aren’t around? It’s doubtful.

Rand Paul’s thugs didn’t just intimidate this one, single woman. They intimidated all of us. They sent a message to all women, to all liberals: here’s what will happen to you if you don’t do exactly as we say.

Rand Paul disassociated with these thugs too little, too late. He, and the tea party spent months courting these thugs, and people like them, whipping them up into a fervor, feeding them lies, telling them that we liberals want to kill America and eat their babies, especially us liberal women. I’m horrified at what happened to Lauren Valle, but I’m not surprised in the least. This isn’t an isolated incident.

Tea party candidates across the nation have themselves, or had their employees use threat of violence, or actual violence against citizens who question them. Joe Miller hired military servicemembers as security, who then assaulted and illegally detained a reporter for asking a question. Rand Paul and Dan Seum manhandled a 70-something year old man who dared to ask questions they didn’t like at the Southwest Government Center here in Louisville. This shows a pattern. A pattern of violence, contempt of dissent, disregard for our Constitution and our political process. We cannot as responsible citizens condone this behavior. Not by ignorant individuals, and certainly not candidates to political office in the United States government.

Responsible and ethical Republican and conservative friends and readers, this is not the party you believe in. I’m sorry to say it, but ignorance, hatred, greed, and contempt have infected your party, and led to these despicable events. However much you may wish for your party to gain power, today is not the time. Violence needs to be quelled. Fanatics need to be purged. Hatred needs to be expelled from your ranks. There needs to be some in-house cleaning, and that cannot happen when these fanatics believe their tactics intimidated us, and gotten them what they wanted.

I stood up in the face of Rand Paul thugs’ intimidation and violence. As a liberal woman, I stood up and voted today. Against violence. Against voter intimidation. Against silencing of dissent.

But not without checking around me for Rand Paul supporters.

Rand Paul Needs Schooling, Part 2

Rand Paul not only needs some schooling on campaigning—I need to expand his curriculum. Recently he held a meet and greet at the Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway. He did not expect anyone but his loyal fans and supporters at this event, apparently. It was to be a two-hour event—it ended after 30 minutes. Why? Citizens were asking questions!

People, this is American Government 101, or Voting 093 (a remedial class, I’ve decided. Rand Paul needs both.). No one, no one, should vote without getting to know the candidates, and their stands on important issues. If a candidate is not forthcoming, it is the public’s job to ask those questions. If a candidate refuses to answer them, that is abject and utter failure on the part of the candidate, and a sign of his inability to be a public servant.

This video, shot and posted by HillBilly Report, shows Rand Paul happily walking around, shaking the hands of the citizenry. HillBilly, and any other citizen that asks questions gets the cold shoulder. Rand Paul stops smiling, withdrawls his hand, and turns his back on these citizens. He dodges them like Pac-man dodges the ghosts in the old Namco game. It would be comical, If it weren’t so sad. Most stand there, disbelieving, as he hurries away.

In the video Hill Billy persues Rand Paul, camera rolling, asking his question, and then asking why Paul isn’t answering his question. Rand Paul runs like a boy fearing cooties on the playground. When he leaves the room, Hill Billy follows, determined to get some kind of answer from Paul. What happens next is appalling. He’s assaulted—his arm is grabbed, and it appears Paul and his companion, State Sen. Dan Seum, are trying to get him back in the auditorium. What candidate thinks it is a good idea, not only to so blatantly avoid questions, but to resort to this kind of behavior to get rid of concerned citizens?

It doesn’t end there—no. He tells the AP Hillbilly was harassing him!

Now, these weren’t young punks* trying to get a rise out of a Tea Party Darling. Hillbilly is a 71-year-man. The citizens were retirement age—one only wanted to know what Rand Paul wanted to do (or not) to Social Security. One was a working man, still wearing his hard hat.

I say again: if this is how Rand Paul acts as a candidate, when he is trying to court the votes of the citizenry, he will be ten times worse as a representative. The position Paul is campaigning to be elected to, no matter the title or prestige that comes with it, is a public office. The job is to serve the public. It is not a letter of nobility. It is not a position to aspire to in order to hook up your friends. (or fans. Or supporters.)

*Not that young voters would do so, of course. I am a young voter myself, so I know that certain people, ahem, are often quick to take the passion of a young voter and/or activist, and dismiss us as antagonistic. Which is a shame—they’ll push us away if we’re too passionate; then lament our “apathy.”

There’s no telling how many parts to this series there will be. The OP wasn’t intended to be the beginning of a blog series at all! But, Rand Paul, like his darling Tea Party, is like a gift that just keeps on giving!

Rand Paul Needs Schooling Part 1

Rand Paul needs some education on campaign-running. In this article, when asked for specifics on one of the staples of his campaign, he responded that it was impossible to give specifics until after the election. Apparently, he’s taking his cue from incumbents in Congress, where it is common to postpone controversial votes until after the election.

I have several issues with this—as a voter, as a political scientist, and as someone with a wee bit of experience in campaigning.

First, annoying as it is, it is understandable when incumbents postpone controversial votes until election season has concluded. Why? Well, we all know the answer to that question. In a general election, politicians tend to swing toward the middle, to court the largest possible number of the electorate. A controversial piece of legislation may alienate moderates, the base, or both. It’s acceptable (if annoying if that particular legislation is important to you) because we have a solid voting record from incumbents that we as voters can judge from. With a brand-new politician, running for his first-ever political office? Not so much.

I spent two years in student government at Western Kentucky University. I learned quickly that voters want specifics. As a rookie to the whole scene, I fell into the trap of using idealistic platitudes as my platform. It was easy to do, because I really did want to “help the students.” My decision to join was based off my being a student, noticing issues that needed to be addressed, and deciding I should do something about them. Once elected, I met the then-Chief of Staff, who answered my questions and pushed me to come up with specific solutions. I did. As a senator, I got off easy. Later, when I chose to run for an executive position-the students, and the student paper, the College Heights Herald, weren’t having any of it. They wanted specifics. This is a problem, what exactly are you going to do about it? Where exactly do you stand on this issue?  I was well-prepared, but I had one thing going against me: reality.

I had two years under my belt by this time, as well as Dr. Sandra Audrey’s Campaign Management class. I was prepared with specifics, but not the specifics that the students wanted. Parking, they asked, what was I going to do about parking? Silly me, I was honest to a fault. Nothing. We’re in the middle of Bowling Green, we have nowhere to put more convenient parking lots, even if student government had the clout to push the university to fund a multi-million dollar project. I gave specifics, but not exactly what they wanted to hear.  I was experienced, but I didn’t have that mix of specificity, platitudes, and the dismissal of the hurdle logistics and reality. I lost.

Rand Paul could learn a thing or two from the Student Government Association of WKU. You don’t get to, as a rookie, make grandiose statements about an issue, and then refuse to elaborate. With this budget thing, Dr. Paul, you could go about it a whole of different ways. Some conservatives will like, some liberals will like, and some that everyone or no one will like. People need to hear the how.

You also don’t get to say that you’re too busy to figure out how exactly you want to do those things that you want to do. You’re campaigning for public office—your job, if elected, will be to figure out how you want to do those things you want to do, and then do them. Especially if you’re the libertarian you say you are—you won’t have an established party behind you to do everything for you. Campaigning is a full-time job. I sympathize. I ran myself, as well as running the 2008 campaign for Bowling Green commissioner Slim Nash. Doing those things while being a full-time student, I really sympathize. But the thing is, you can’t complain. It’s part of the job. A politician cannot complain about how hard it is, because he chose to do it, and a massive amount of his electorate is struggling to make ends meet. Who wants to hear a well-off doctor complain about the difficulty of running for office, when you may be struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table? Many of his supporters, or potential supporters, will never even dream of running, because just surviving is taking up all of their time, money, and energy. In short, it’s not a politically savvy thing to do. I know. I and my fellow SGA members did it, and we got ripped apart by the students and the campus media, and then we lost.

Rand, here’s some advice from me to you. Go speak to some of the current and former SGA members at WKU. It’s pretty close to home, so it shouldn’t take up too much of your time.

Greg Fischer & Unions: a Press Conference and an Interview

I’ve recently become a contributor to Louisville station WLKY’s Local Voices blog! My first post on Local Voices, is my contribution to the “This is what a young feminist looks like.” blog carnival. This is my newest post.

Today at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 29 local labor unions announced their support for Greg Fischer in his candidacy for mayor. I walked in twenty minutes early, found my way back to the gym where the conference was being held, and looked around. There were small groups of men and women standing about and chatting. A podium was set up in front of the stage, with the IBEL seal on the front of it. A camera from WHAS was setting up. Chairs lined the walls. Coffee, of course, was available in the back. I had time to kill, so I took measure of the crowd. I quickly noticed that I was the only attendee under the age of 35. Combine that with my blazer, and I stuck out like a plum in a bed of tomatoes.

For the press conference itself, many of the union representatives gathered behind the podium, sporting Greg Fischer stickers and holding signs. He thanked the unions for their support, and spoke of the importance of creating jobs, saying, “Working men and women are the backbone of Louisville’s economy, and it is good paying jobs that have created a strong and thriving middle class, keeping our community healthy.” The press conference ended with the union supporters chanting one of Greg’s catchphrases: “Put Louisville back to work!”

Afterward, the attendees mingled with Greg, who chatted with everyone that said hello, the camera right behind. I spoke to one of the union representatives, Dennis Brown, a pipe layer. He came up to me as I sat waiting to speak to Greg and struck up a conversation. He said that he’s been supporting Greg since last fall. He didn’t like most politicians, he said, but Greg was different. “I look at him and I can tell he really believes what he’s saying.”

I met two of Greg’s staff, who embodied Greg’s ideal of “customer service.” One, Lawrence Winburn, went the extra mile when I asked to speak to Greg. He only had a few minutes between two consecutive interviews and a luncheon, but Mr. Fischer was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions.

Check out the rest of the post here.