McConnell Needs to Go in 2014

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” –Senator Mitch McConnell, 23 October 2010

With this statement, Senator McConnell rewrote his own job description from that of a United States Senator representing the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to a hard-nosed ideologue intent on a solitary goal of ending another man’s political career.

Two years and hundreds of filibusters later, the President wins his bid for reelection, by a landslide.

What does Senator “one-term” McConnell have to say about that?

“The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives,” McConnell said in a statement. “The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.” –Senator McConnell

You see what he did there? Senator McConnell is pretending that the record number of filibusters he and his party orchestrated, even on legislation that they agreed with, is a personal failure of President Barack Obama.

The lack of productivity in the Senate for the past four years is a failure of Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party, not President Barack Obama.

Take a look at this handy chart, that lays out exactly who has filibustered in the Senate the most, by number and by percentage. At the top of the chart? Republican after Republican, after Republican. If your Senators are on the top half of this list, you should be angry. Very angry.

Filibustering is refusing to debate. It is refusing to vote. It is refusing to allow anyone to debate or vote–per Senate rules, sixty Senators must vote to overrule a single, anonymous Senator who may filibuster a bill, then waltz out of the Chamber, off into the city. A filibuster, under current rules, does not require a Senator to hold the floor. It does not require that one, single Senator to even be in the building.

If one or both of your Senators are on the top half of this list, your hired representatives are refusing to do their jobs.

Just think a second: what would happen if you decided you left an anonymous note on your boss’ desk saying that you didn’t feel like working that day, then walked out? I’d be written up, docked points, and fired.

There hasn’t been balance in Congress since President Obama was elected in 2008, and that’s because the vast majority of the Republican Party has been refusing to do their jobs.

Mitch McConnell is the orchestrator of this collective tantrum, and as a resident of Kentucky, I am angry. Rand Paul, my other Senator, has refused to work over eighty percent of his short time in the Capital. I am very angry. My state has no voice in the Senate. None. Kentucky’s representatives in the Senate anonymously protest, then run off into the city to do whatever it is old white men do in Washington D.C.

Kentucky, we have two more years until Mitch McConnell is up for reelection. And you know what? I’m angry enough that I’d consider running against him myself–but I don’t meet the minimum age requirement, and I won’t meet it in two years, either. So to anyone considering running against Mitch in 2014? Consider this as my letter of interest.

Political Chess: Ann Romney, GOP’s Sacrificial Pawn

It was inevitable, once the GOP realized that their war on women was hurting them politically, that they’d seek to use the rhetoric for their own gain.

It’s ironic, but not surprising in the least, that they’d use women as pawns in the process. They did this, of course, to avoid accusations of sexism. But it’s still sexist.

The icing on the cake is tapping into the old working moms vs. stay-at-home moms “fight.” A fight that (guess who?) misogynists began, in order to divide women, pitting us against one another in a faux fight for supremacy.

Why does it matter? Ultimately, it doesn’t. Save for, of course, the policies and societal expectations that force women to make these “choices” and receive criticism no matter what “choice” women make.

If the GOP were smart, they’d reverse course on the anti-women stances they’ve taken. But they want to have their cake, and eat it too, I suppose.

Sorry, GOP. You can’t perpetuate inequality and sexism–and expect women to support you. You’re waging a war on women. It’s not simply rhetoric. It’s fact.

Now, you’re exploiting misogyny to perpetuate the same.

Women aren’t buying it.

 

Santorum Drops Out of Presidential Race

From the New York Times:

“Rick Santorum suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, bowing to the inevitability of Mitt Romney’s nomination and ending his improbable, come-from-behind quest to become the party’s conservative standard-bearer in the fall.

“We made a decision over the weekend, that while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign today, we are not done fighting,” Mr. Santorum said.”

It’s over.

While he may be trying to give his supporters hope that this suspension is temporary, this marks the end of his bid. Now that he’s announced, donors will dry up, media attention will wane, and strategists within the Republican Party will shift their focus elsewhere.

One down, three more to go.

Mitch McConnell Writes Letters: Act Two

Not long ago, I wrote to Mitch McConnell, one of my Senators, to voice my objections to the Blunt Amendment. The amendment, if you recall, would have allowed any employer to refuse health insurance coverage for birth control. Thankfully, the amendment failed. However, I’m only just now receiving a response my from esteemed representative.

This is not the first time I’ve written to McConnell. This is the first time, however, that he acknowledges my disagreement. In the past, his letters assume the recipient agrees with his views, and assures the reader that he will fight (fight!) to represent my interests in the Senate. I could only conclude that no one read my letter at all.

This time, his letter gives me background on the issue. (Uh, Mitch? I know. Why the fuck do you think I’m writing?) Then, he gives his version of events, presenting them as undoubtedly the objective truth:

“You don’t have to belong to any particular faith to see if that if government can violate the religious rights of one group, then surely it can violate those of others.”

He concludes with a condescending acknowledgement of our disagreement on the issue, before he thanks me for sharing my “opinions” with him anyway.

McConnell’s letter highlights his utterly incapability of distinguishing between religious freedom, employees rights, and the fact that institutions are not people.

McConnell fails to realize the employees of faith-based institutions do not subscribe to the institution’s religious affiliation merely because they’re on the payroll. I know it’s difficult for Mitch to believe, but some people work for companies they don’t believe in, that they don’t even like, because they need the paycheck.

McConnell is utterly incapable of recognizing the fundamental difference between believing in a religious system, and adhering to its moral codes in your own personal behavior, and attempting to force those under your control to adhere to them, too. That’s not religious freedom, that’s tyranny.

Newsflash: 98% of Catholic women have used birth control. Religions are not like the Republican Party. It’s not a “follow our orders to the minutiae or GTFO” deal. Spiritual beliefs are deeply personal, intimate, and individualistic. Ever notice how many denominations there are in Christianity alone, Mitch? No one person’s faith is going to look like another’s, even if they share the same label. That is our right in this country–to believe whatever we want.

How many times, and how many ways do I have to say that an employer, especially a faith-based one, has no right to impose and enforce its beliefs on their employees?

It is the height of arrogance, not to mention irony, to accuse the Obama administration of crossing “a dangerous line.”

Oh, and this?

“I was disappointed that Senator Blunt’s amendment failed to overcome the threat of a filibuster by a mostly partisan vote. Americans decided at our nation’s founding that the government cannot tell someone whether their religion is worth believing. For the protection of everyone who enjoys the freedom to worship as they wish, this mandate should be repealed.”

I was disappointed that Senator Blunt’s amendment failed.

I bet you were.

overcome the threat of a filibuster by a mostly partisan vote.

How’d you like a taste of your own medicine? I must say, that’s a pretty pathetic potshot, considering you and your GOP friends have been filibustering every possible piece of legislation, even if you agreed with it, just to make the President look bad. Check the mirror before you whine about partisanship, you hypocritical old fart.

Americans decided at our nation’s founding that the government cannot tell someone whether their religion is worth believing.

That’s not what happened here, and you know it. I object to your attempting to give my employer the right to dictate what my health insurance will or will not cover–forcing me to adhere to my employer’s religious beliefs. My employer can believe whatever the fuck he wants. He can’t impose that on me, and neither can you. The government’s job is to protect people like me from people like you.

For the protection of everyone who enjoys the freedom to worship as they wish,

Wait, are you actually acknowledging that not everyone has the freedom to worship as they wish? I know you’re not, and that’s a shame.

this mandate should be repealed.

No.

Postscript: Uh, Mitch? You know you sent that letter to me twice, right? And you know you referred to me as “Mr.” in the first letter? I know you don’t really read correspondence from constituents that disagree with you, but you should pay close enough attention to, at the very least, get my name and my gender correct.

Just saying. And I’ll be passing along your little boo-boo to other voters. I’m sure Kentuckians will be very interested to learn just how little attention you pay to your constituency.

2012 GOP Primary Like Democrats in 2008?

A guest on Piers Morgan’s show in CNN last night made a very interesting comparison: the guest equated the current Republican primary to the Democratic primary in 2008, in terms of two candidates competing all the way to the convention.

However, there’s one big difference in the two primaries that, I believe, makes them not so comparable. In 2008, Democrats, progressives, and liberals were divided into two camps: pro-Clinton and pro-Obama.

Today, the GOP is also divided, but, into anti-Romney and anti-Santorum camps. Also, anti-Gingrich, because he’s still in the race, and unlike the analysts, I don’t believe he’s going to drop out anytime soon. If you want to get a little wild, you have Ron Paul’s fan club to spice things up a bit (but mostly just to annoy the shit out of you).

In 2008, you had two groups of the Democratic electorate that were wildly passionate about their candidates. Today, the Republicans don’t have that passion. Some do–but not nearly enough to maintain the energy the party is going to need for a primary that’s going to last all the way to the convention.

The longer this primary lasts, the more conservatives that are going to lose patience with this dog and pony show put on by a bunch of dudes they don’t even really like, and they’re going to stop paying attention, stop caring, and perhaps even stop donating and stop voting.

That’s a huge contrast from the excitement of the 2008 Democratic primary.

(Note: I can’t find a video online of the discussion. If I find it later, I’ll edit in the link.)

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Others have made the point that health insurance is a part of women’s wages, wages that we earn–not a privilege benevolently bestowed on us by men who may revoke it at any time, because taxpayers and religion.

I agree with that point–I’ve said it many times in face to face arguments and on facebook over the last month.

Women have an established right to equal pay for equal work. Allowing employers to restrict our access to birth control is a violation of that right.

We earn our health benefits. No matter how icky you may find our cunts, and how we use our cunts, you cannot restrict our access to the health benefits that we have earned by our work.

The debate on birth control is merely a new verse in the same old song. This is nothing more than the next attempt to take away the rights of women to be free and to choose our own destinies.

Oxford Historian Fails at Analyzing Michigan Primary Results

Don’t take this as a jab at historians, but perhaps Timothy Stanley should stick to history, because his political analysis misses the mark, to put it mildly.

From his column on CNN:

“The votes that Romney and Santorum drew matched their public personas. In the last two weeks, Mitt has been branded as a “Massachusetts moderate” — who thinks it’s perfectly normal for a patriotic woman to own “a couple of Cadillacs.” In contrast Santorum presents as a “working class” conservative who “almost threw up” at the thought of separating church and state and who implies that college is for snobs. Together, they are the rational brain and the rumbling gut of the Republican Party.”

Considering that Romney’s Cadillac gaffe  was a gaffe because it demonstrated his class privilege, a huge no-no in the current economic climate, where does “patriotism” enter the picture? Buying American-made cars is considered a good thing, patriotic even, yet it seems Stanley is framing this as a bad thing. Substitute “patriotic” in that sentence for “working class” and it makes sense, but in its present state, it makes none.

Stanley does the same thing in the next sentence, linking “working class” with the idea that separation of church and state is a bad thing. What does one have to do with the other? Nothing. Why would one’s membership in the “working class,” even the “conservative working class,” be indicative of one’s views on the separation of church and state? This has not been adequately established–he’s making assumptions here.

Also, rumbling gut? What is this supposed to imply? Indigestion? Impending diarrhea? Or is it a reference to one’s instinctual feelings? If so, on what? What an awful metaphor.

Now, consider this:

“There will be a lot of debate in the next few days about why Democrats and independents were so drawn to Santorum. The consensus is that they were spoilers out to deny Romney the nomination. Aside from some individual testimony to that effect, I’m not sure this can be proven. After all, Santorum has been pitching himself at blue-collar workers for some time and it’s notable that he won union members 45-26 percent. These are the famous “Reagan Democrats,” the unionized auto workers living in suburban Detroit who flipped from Democrat to Republican in 1980 because they were so attracted to Ronald Reagan’s stance on God, guns, and taxes.

Santorum enjoys the confidence of significant numbers of non-Republican populists precisely because of his reputation as an antediluvian conservative. In an age when politicians seem manufactured and packaged to appeal to a shrinking center-ground, Santorum has stood out this season as a man of his word. That word might well by lifted from a particularly angry passage in Leviticus — but it sounds so much better than the bland platitudes that fall from Mitt’s mouth. It’s telling that Santorum performed well in Michigan among people looking for “strong moral character.” That’s what he’s selling on the campaign trail.”

Okay, I’m going to take off the political scientist and writing critic hats for a moment here.

Dude.

Republicans have been divided the entire primary season: they can’t decide which candidate they hate the least. Why on earth would Democrats be “drawn” to any of these Republican candidates, much less Santorum? While Republicans may be thinking “anyone but Obama,” Democrats are thinking “holy shit why would anyone want these guys near the White House?”

While I can pretty confidently say that there was no organized effort on the part of Democrats to shake up the primaries for the Republicans–one thing is certain. The longer it takes for Republicans to choose a candidate, the better chance Obama will have at re-taking the White House, and by a larger percentage. You don’t have to be a snob with a university degree to figure that out.

Putting my hats on now.

Honestly, the Republican Party doesn’t have a viable candidate. Neither Romney nor Santorum, and certainly not Gringrich or Paul, could defeat Obama in November. The GOP erred considerably in their chosen strategy of “making Obama a one-term President.” Pure sabotage doesn’t work in politics–it didn’t even work for Democrats in the 2004 election season–I’m not sure why Republicans chose it as their strategy from 2008 until now. It wouldn’t have worked even had they confined it to the election season–again, it didn’t work for the Democrats in 2004.

President Obama has the incumbent’s advantage–and the GOP needed a considerable track record, in addition to a very good candidate, to reclaim the White House. They have neither. Ensuring a divided GOP, and a contentious convention will hand a larger margin of victory to President Obama.

A larger margin of victory for President Obama will save a large portion of the citizenry from suffering from high blood pressure.

If you asked, I’d say this is fairly obvious–certainly political science 101. Dr. Stanley should definitely stick to his field.