Dare I be hopeful?
The right wing’s second wind seems to have run out of steam already, and the winds of — dare I say? — change are blowing leftward. Let me count the ways:
The Repugnican-Tea-Party controlled Arizona state Senate just shot down some more anti-immigrant legislation, dealing Grand Dragon — er, state Senate President Russell Pearce a blow to his pink baby-boomer face.
This additional mean-spirited, white supremacist, racist, xenophobic legislation among other things would have challenged U.S. citizenship by birth (which is provided for by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) and would have required public schools to out the children of illegal immigrants and hospitals to out patients who are illegal immigrants.
Boycotts work, apparently. Arizona state senators, in shooting down the further racist, xenophobic legislation, noted the detrimental effect upon Arizona’s economy by last year’s passage of Pearce’s woefully misguided S.B. 1040.
Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott “Dead Man” Walker is popular within the Repugnican Tea Party — but among the Wisconsin electorate, upon whom his political fate in the state actually rests, um, not so much.
Oh, and today a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order against Walker’s union-busting legislation from taking effect.
Reports The New York Times today:
A judge issued a temporary restraining order [today] that prevents Wisconsin’s new law cutting collective bargaining rights for public workers from taking effect, at least for now.
The decision, issued by Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County Circuit Court, temporarily bars Wisconsin’s secretary of state from publishing the controversial law, one of the procedural requirements for it to come into effect in the state.
Publication had been expected late next week, but Judge Sumi’s ruling delays that until at least March 29, when she plans to hold a full hearing on a lawsuit that questions the validity of the collective bargaining law based on the speedy manner in which it was carried out earlier this month….
Um, yeah, anything done as quickly and dirtily as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Wisconsin’s state Senate rammed through their union-busting legislation — and anything done against such a backdrop of public outcry — is probably illegal as well as unethical and immoral.
And the Times notes that the judge “was first appointed to the court in 1998 by Tommy Thompson, a Republican former governor, then elected in 1999 and 2005.” (Emphasis mine.)
Politico reports today that for the first time in the poll’s history, a Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that a majority of Americans — 53 percent — support same-sex marriage. The poll backs up a recent Democratic poll that put the national level of support at 51 percent, Politico notes.
Right now, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia. It’s coming to your state soon.
The pundits more and more are calling President Barack Obama’s re-election in November 2012 more or less a foregone conclusion.
While Obama is a weak president, a Bill Clinton carbon copy, and while I resist the lesser-of-two-evils “argument,” quite admittedly what the Repugnicans are offering up is much worse than is another four years of Obama: such jewels as union-busting (and anti-environmentalism) in the name of job recovery; attempting to destroy national treasures like Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the name of reducing the federal budget deficit (while the sacred cows of the bloated military-industrial complex and the too-low tax rates for the rich and the super-rich — the real causes of the federal budget deficit — go unaddressed); and blaming “illegals” and other minorities — and labor-union members — for the nation’s economic collapse when it is the still-unprosecuted Wall Street crooks who drove the economy into the fucking ditch.
Less than a full three months in power after the mid-term elections, Repugnican Tea Party traitors in the U.S. House of Representatives and in some of the states (like Wisconsin), drunk on power, already shot their political wads in their stunningly politically tone-deaf political overreach. Promising to aid the economy, they instead have focused on trying to achieve their right-wing wet dreams, such as union-busting, outlawing (or at least severely restricting) abortion, continuing to make political piñatas out of “illegals,” keeping same-sex marriage illegal in most states, and yes, attacking National Public Radio.
But in a rapidly diversifying United States of America, the electorate is resisting continued rule by stupid white men. That’s the good news.
The bad news?
Well, what do you do if the voters are rejecting your agenda? If you are of the Repugnican Tea Party ilk, you do your best to fix the elections.
If some GOP lawmakers get their way, it could be a whole lot tougher for people across the country to cast a ballot in the upcoming 2012 presidential election.
Boosted by major electoral gains in state legislatures nationwide in the 2010 campaign, Republican lawmakers in 32 states are pushing measures that would require citizens to show a state identification or proof of citizenship to vote. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, GOP lawmakers are proposing new limits on college students who vote in the state, potentially eliminating a key base of electoral support for Democrats in the state ahead of the upcoming presidential election.
As the Washington Post’s Peter Wallsten writes, the measures have set off a partisan battle over voting rights across the country, with Democrats accusing Republicans of trying to suppress voters, including young people and minorities, who would cast their ballots for President Obama and other Democratic candidates next year.
In New Hampshire, Republicans are pushing to end rules that allow same-day voter registration in the state, which has often provided key swing votes for candidates from all parties in the state. State GOP lawmakers are also proposing new limits on students, including a bill that would allow them to vote in college towns only if they or their parents had established permanent residency in the state.
Some GOP lawmakers in New Hampshire have billed the measures as an attempt to crack down on voter fraud in the state — but recent remarks from the newly elected GOP state House speaker have suggested otherwise.
In a recent speech to a tea party group in the state, House Speaker William O’Brien described college voters as “foolish.” “Voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do,” he said, in remarks that were videotaped by a state Democratic Party staffer and posted on YouTube. Students, he said, lack “life experience” and “just vote their feelings.”
GOP lawmakers in the state have distanced themselves from O’Brien’s remarks.
“It’s a war on voting,” Thomas Bates, vice president of Rock the Vote, a youth voter-registration group, told the Post. “We’d like to be advocating for a 21st-century voting system, but here we are fighting against efforts to turn it back to the 19th century.”
Meanwhile, Republicans have also revived measures that have been debated on and off over the last several election cycles that would require voters to provide state-issued IDs at the polls.
In Wisconsin, GOP lawmakers are moving forward with legislation that would block students from using school-issued identification to verify their identity at the polls. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Republicans are preparing to introduce a similar measure requiring state IDs — a plan that the North Carolina Board of Elections has said could be problematic for African-American voters, a key base of support for Obama in 2008.
Why is it that everything that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors claim is their motivation actually has or would have an opposite effect? Busting unions makes employment much worse, not better, and their claims to care about “preventing election fraud” — which is yet another “crisis” fabricated by the right — actually are all about depriving a huge group of Americans the right to vote, or at least about erecting more hurdles between them and the voting booth.
The good news is that if the Repugnican Tea Party were strong, it wouldn’t have to try to disenfranchise voters, as it has been doing since at least the blatantly stolen presidential election of 2000.
The bad news is that this shit so often works, at least in the short term.
We truly patriotic Americans have to be vigilant.
The right is weak, and the winds of change are blowing in our favor, but the right is not dead yet.