Tag Archives: Red states

For too many, their main problem with Bernie Sanders remains that he is white

Updated below (on Monday, November 12, 2018)

Bernie Sanders and Andrew Gillum.

Associated Press photo

Bernie Sanders campaigned relentlessly for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, but for too many, Bernie remains unacceptable as a Democratic Party presidential nominee because he is a white man, whether they’ll come out and say that or not.

The 2020 Democratic Party primary fight has begun, because already it’s being declared yet once again that Bernie Sanders isn’t good enough on black issues.

Before I delve into that, let me make a point: We’ve never had a Latino U.S. president (and Latinos comprise the largest non-white racial group in the United States). Or a Native American president. Or an Asian president. Or an openly non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming president. Or, for fuck’s sake, even a biologically female president. We haven’t even had an openly non-“Christian” U.S. president; claiming to be a Christian, as even Pussygrabber has, always has been a prerequisite to sit in the Oval Office.

Yet many so-called Democratic voters, if the next Democratic Party presidential nominee isn’t black, are going to scoop up their marbles and go home. (Not that that is racist or black supremacist or anything…)

So the latest “controversy” that “proves” that Bernie Sanders actually is a crypto-white supremacist is a recent remark attributed to him by The Daily Beast, which reported three days ago:

Democratic officials woke Wednesday morning searching for answers as to why the party was unable to win several marquee Senate and gubernatorial races the night before.

But for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the explanation was simple. The candidates who under-performed weren’t progressive enough; those who didn’t shy away from progressivism were undone, in part, by “racist” attacks.

“I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American,” Sanders told The Daily Beast, referencing the close contests involving Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia and ads run against the two. “I think next time around, by the way, it will be a lot easier for them to do that.”

Sanders wasn’t speaking as a mere observer but, rather, as someone who had invested time and reputation on many of the midterm contests. The Vermonter, who is potentially considering another bid for the presidency in 2020, mounted an aggressive campaign travel schedule over the past few months and endorsed both Abrams and Gillum. He also has a personal political investment in the notion that unapologetic, authentic progressive populism can be sold throughout the country and not just in states and districts that lean left.

Surveying the victories and the carnage of Tuesday’s results, Sanders framed it as a vindication of that vision. The candidates who performed well even though they lost, he said, offered positive progressive views for the future of their states, including Gillum, Abrams, and Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. Those who were heavily defeated, Sanders said, didn’t galvanize young voters, people of color, and typically non-active voters.

“I think you got to contrast that to the votes of conservative Democrats who did not generate a great deal of excitement within the Democratic Party,” Sanders said, alluding to a host of Senate Democrats who lost re-election on Tuesday night. “[They] did not bring the kind of new people, new energy that they needed and ended up doing quite poorly. In admittedly difficult states. Missouri and Indiana are not easy states, but neither is Florida or Georgia or Texas.” …

Sanders … credited Abrams with a “brilliant campaign” for her efforts to bring non-active Democratic voters into the electoral process. He marveled at O’Rourke’s fundraising prowess, which allowed the Texas Democrat to raise $38 million in the third quarter of this year — the largest of any Senate candidate in history — and earn more than 48 percent of the vote against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). And he noted that Gillum helped generate turnout that led to the successful passing of Amendment 4, which will restore voting rights to 1.5 million convicted felons in Florida. [This is great news that would warrant a blog post on its own, but I can do only so much…]

“I think he’s a fantastic politician in the best sense of the word,” Sanders said of Gillum. “He stuck to his guns in terms of a progressive agenda. I think he ran a great campaign. And he had to take on some of the most blatant and ugly racism that we have seen in many, many years. And yet he came within a whisker of winning.” …

Of course the anti-Berners ignore the second paragraph (and, well, every other paragraph as well) and focus like a laser on the third, which contains the juicy quote, “I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.”

On the bare face of that, of course I disagree with it. If you are a white voter who feels uncomfortable voting for a candidate primarily or solely because the candidate is not white, then you are racist, whether you’re fully conscious of it or not. Even just an “innocent” belief that elected officials “should” be white because that’s what you are accustomed to is, of course, deeply rooted in racism.

But I don’t know exactly what Bernie meant by his statement, and therefore I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Did Bernie mean that some white Democratic primary voters, knowing how racist their states are, hesitated to vote for black candidates because they figured that they’d only lose in the general election because of the racism in their states? Not wanting to lose an election because of racism doesn’t make you racist yourself, and it seems to me that there is a good chance that this is what Bernie was trying to say, albeit woefully inartfully.

What about white voters in Georgia and Florida who didn’t vote for either Abrams or Gillum primarily because they believe that Abrams and Gillum are “socialist” and they won’t vote for a “socialist”? Or primarily because their political tribalism precludes them from voting for anyone outside of the Repugnican Party (even if they wouldn’t brand Abrams or Gillum a “socialist,” although they probably would)?

“Socialist” Bernie Sanders campaigned for Abrams and Gillum relentlessly, not just in person, but in many, many e-mails (including, of course, fundraising e-mails for them) that I received myself over the course of months. Wouldn’t that be enough to brand Abrams and Gillum “socialist” at least by association?

Is it always simply about race? Always?

It’s also possible, it seems to me, that Bernie Sanders, if he was quoted accurately by The Daily Beast, was trying to be overly diplomatic in trying to win over some white voters who tend to vote only for whites by giving them an out on the charge that they are racist — believing that if you label them as racists, of course they’ll never consider voting for you.

That’s certainly not a tack that I would take, but if that’s what Bernie was trying to do (not likely but not impossible, from what I can tell), was it unforgivable? No. I’d call it rather stupid and inadvisable, as well as unnecessary (I don’t believe in coddling racists, or that it’s politically necessary to do so), but not evil. 

Full disclosure: I am a gay white male progressive and I have given both Abrams and Gillum campaign contributions ($30 each, if you must know; how much did you give to either of them?), and I hope that they ultimately win; Florida started a recount of its gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and some other races yesterday, and in Georgia, if the finalized vote count puts Abrams’ despicable Repugnican opponent below 50.0 percent, then there will be a runoff election early next month.

I gave to Abrams and Gillum in part because they’re black in that I believe in a truly representative democracy. How soul-crushing it must be to live in Georgia, for instance, which is about a third black, and never see yourself represented in the governor’s mansion or in the U.S. Senate for your state. That’s some fucked-up shit.

But I wouldn’t have given a penny to Gillum or Abrams if they were Repugnicans (I judge you by the company that you keep!) or if they didn’t espouse progressivism but instead espoused the stand-for-nothing, do-nothing, pro-corporate centrism that the likes of DINO Claire McCaskill still espouses even though her sorry arse just got tossed from the U.S. Senate for being a worthless, milquetoast piece of shit.

I have supported Abrams and Gillum primarily because they are progressive; that they have stood a chance of making our democracy (what’s left of it, anyway) more representative of all of the people has been the icing on the cake, but not the cake itself.

That’s why I find it disturbing that so many so-called Democrats don’t care how progressive a (so-called) Democratic candidate is or is not; all that they care about is that he or she is black and calls him- or herself a Democrat.

I don’t support Kamala Harris for the White House for 2020 because as attorney general of California she was rather unremarkable and because she hasn’t been in the U.S. Senate for even two full years yet. Her getting cheeky in some Senate hearings, while laudable (and at least somewhat entertaining or at least gratifying if not entertaining), is not enough to vote for her for president in 2020.

And Cory “I Am Spartacus” Booker is just another corporate whore. As one black commentator put it early last year:

… The Democrats leading the charge against Trump must meet exacting qualifications. They have to be loyal servants of the one-percenters, of banksters, hedge funds, charter school sugar daddies and privatizers of all kinds. They must be dependable supporters of apartheid Israel, of military contractors, drone warfare and U.S. military interventions of all kinds around the world.

To boost their party’s fortunes in this new era, Democratic party spokespeople need to be gifted hypocrites willing to pose as advocates of immigrants and champions of civil liberties going forward, even though they unflinchingly supported the biggest deportation and mass surveillance regimes in history implemented by the Democrat who just left the White House. They must focus narrowly on the handful of issues on which corporate Dems actually disagree with Republicans like abortion rights, and not stray to areas which might indict their own party along with Republicans.

And they must absolve their party of responsibility for running an incompetent campaign by blaming the Russians. Hillary is history, but her big stinking tent is still there, and Democrats are crying for a “united front” against Trump, led by spokespeople who can stick to the corporate script.

Cory Booker is a great fit. …

Yup. We were punk’d by Barack Obama, who barely lifted a finger to push through a progressive agenda and who accomplished little outside of some spiffy speeches. He was dignified, sure, but he actually did next to nothing. Shame on us if we’re punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Cory Booker and probably such as Kamala Harris.

On that note, The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake is out with his quasi-quarterly rankings of the competitors for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates. Here are his top five now, from one to five: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cory Booker.

I find Harris’ spot at No. 3 inexplicable. She hasn’t even been well known here in my home state of California, so how she could win a presidential election eludes me entirely. I did vote in November 2016 to send her to the U.S. Senate, but she hasn’t proven herself there, as it hasn’t even been two fucking years yet.

Obama had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years of his first six-year term before he ascended to the White House (his naivete of the “Game of Thrones”-like workings of D.C. was glaring) and that was a huge mistake, one in which I won’t participate again.

For a long time, if not always, Aaron Blake had put Bernie Sanders at No. 1, so Bernie’s slippage to No. 2 on Blake’s rankings to me indicates that perhaps Warren is seen by the Beltway establishment as the perfect fusion/hybrid of an establishment candidate like Billary Clinton and a populist candidate like Bernie Sanders; she’s to be a parting gift for us Berners. But that’s the coward’s way out.

I can support Warren if she fairly and democratically emerges as the presidential nominee, as she is my second choice behind Bernie, but I still have serious concerns about her ability to win a presidential election. I’ve said it a million times before, but I’ll say it again: I would expect her to get labeled as just another weak egghead from Massachusetts; I would expect her to get Michael Dukakis’d or John Kerry’d. (You heard it here, perhaps first.)

In the meantime, I expect Bernie Sanders to continue to be attacked as not good enough for blacks, even though as president the black front runners Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably would do no more for black Americans than Obama did, but would be, like Obama was, mostly just symbolic — and even though it would be great, if we must apply affirmative action to our electoral politics, that we don’t demand only a white or a black president and continue to shut out all of the other groups that never have been represented in the White House.

And I expect Bernie’s continued support for black progressives like Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum to be dismissed cynically as just Bernie’s dishonest attempt to shore up his pro-black bona fides — this from actual racists and racial supremacists whose main problem with Bernie Sanders, today as it was the case in 2016, is that he is white (and of Jewish heritage).

These hypocrites must continue to call Bernie Sanders a racist in order to try to obscure their own racism and racial supremacism and their own rank, racist political motivations.

P.S. This is interesting: The Washington Post reports that just more than 2,000 voters (Democrats, Repugnicans and independents) in 69 battleground U.S. House districts were polled on November 5 and 6, and that those who reported that they supported a Democratic candidate (33 percent of the total number of those polled) were asked to give their preferences for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

The poll found that Joe Biden was their No. 1 choice, with 35 percent; Bernie Sanders was at No. 2, with 15 percent; Kamala Harris at No. 3, with 12 percent; Elizabeth Warren at No. 4, with 10 percent; and Cory Booker at No. 5, with 7 percent.

I don’t see Cory Booker winning (the vice presidential slot maybe), that’s for sure, and while I think that Aaron Blake probably accurately captured the top five candidates, I don’t agree with the order in which he ranked them.

For instance, while he put Warren at No. 1, the poll put her at No. 4.

Also, while Biden looks strong in the poll, what really matters to me, it seems, is which candidate, Biden or Bernie, if both of them run, inherits most of the support of the other candidates who drop out over time. For instance, if Warren were to drop out while Bernie and Biden were still in the running, I do believe that Bernie would inherit most of her supporters.

Also, of course, if Biden doesn’t run and Bernie does, I have to wonder how much of Biden’s support Bernie would get. (My best guess is that most of Biden’s support would go to the other much more establishmentarian candidates rather than to Bernie.)

All of that said, I’m not sure if polling voters in certain battleground districts is reflective of the field of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters as a whole, but, again, I do believe that with a high degree of accuracy, we can state that the top five contenders for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination (alphabetically) are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

I am a little tempted by such dark-horse candidates as California U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell or lawyer Michael Avenatti, but if you haven’t been at least a governor or a U.S. senator, you’re probably never going to make it to the White House. I can’t say that I want to support a presidential candidate who has little to no chance of winning.

Bernie Sanders, as long as he runs, of course, remains and probably will remain my No. 1 choice until the final nominee emerges.

And yes, while I could not bring myself to vote for Repugnican Lite Billary Clinton in 2016, I’m most likely to vote for the Democratic nominee, even if it is not Bernie, over Pussygrabber in November 2020.

P.P.S. OK, I just stumbled upon a CNN poll taken early last month. The poll of Dems and Dem leaners put Biden at 33 percent, Bernie at 13 percent, and Harris at 9 percent. (Warren comes in just behind Harris, with 8 percent, and behind Warren comes Cory Booker, tied with John Kerry at 5 percent.)

I’m thinking that it’s probably safe to say that the top three are Biden, Bernie and Harris.

Biden, methinks, would represent the old-guard/establishmentarian vote (as well as a good chunk of the Obama-by-association/black vote, from which Billary benefited in 2016), Bernie would represent the progressive-regardless-of-race-or-sex vote, and Harris mostly would represent the non-white/identity-politics vote, and it might also help her that she’s a woman (speaking of identity politics, as taboo as that might be [rank tribalism over ideology in electoral politics is a fact]).

I don’t put Warren in the top three. In the top five, yes, but not in the top three. I think that the Beltway pundits overestimate her popularity among actual Dems and Dem leaners, many of whom, myself included, like her enough as an individual but just don’t see her beating Pussygrabber in 2020.

Update (Monday, November 12, 2018): I don’t want to do another P.S., so here’s some more discussion on this topic:

CNN inexplicably puts Kamala Harris at the front-runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, as though Beltway wishful thinking were fact (maybe there is something to that “fake news” charge…).

Seriously, though, here is CNN’s Beltway-wishful-thinking-filled ranking, in this order: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar(!), Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders (at No. 6!), et. al.

Right.

The polls — you know, surveys of the voters who actually will decide this thing (not CNN’s “analysts”) — show something quite different. Another poll, this one from Politico/Morning Consult of 733 Dem and Dem-leaning registered voters taken from Wednesday through Friday, shows Joe Biden with 26 percent, Bernie with 19 percent, Beto O’Rourke with 8 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 5 percent, Kamala Harris with only 4 percent, and Cory Booker with only 3 percent.

So while CNN dreams of Kamala Harris — its “analysts” fantasize that the “2018 election convinced us that Harris seems to be exactly what Democratic voters are telling the party and its politicians they want representing them going forward,” Politico reports something else:

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) enter the 2020 election cycle as the leaders for the Democratic presidential nomination to take on President Donald Trump, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of last week’s midterms.

More than a quarter of Democratic voters, 26 percent, say Biden is their first choice to be the Democratic nominee. Another one-in-five, 19 percent, would pick Sanders, the runner-up for the nomination in 2016.

The two septuagenarians — Biden will be 77 on Election Day, 2020, and Sanders will be 79 — are the only two prospective candidates to garner double-digit support. The third-place candidate is Rep. Beto O’Rourke (R-Texas), who built national name-recognition through his losing Senate bid last week, with 8 percent. …

I surmise that O’Rourke will flame out as a presidential contender for 2020, and that he came in at third place in the poll only because of the immediacy of the midterm election (and he did do well for Texas), but all (or at least almost all) of the reputable recent nationwide polls consistently put Biden at No. 1 and Bernie at No. 2.

Because CNN puts Bernie at a laughable No. 6, I surmise that we can expect CNN to attack Bernie throughout the entire process, because CNN’s “woke” “analysts” don’t want Bernie to win. 

Don’t get me wrong; I certainly right now don’t count Kamala Harris out (I pretty much count Booker out, and I’m on the verge of counting Warren out if her polling doesn’t improve), but, again, the polls of Dem and Dem-leaning voters thus far show that the top two front-runners are Biden and Bernie, whether the identity politicians like it or not.

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Billary is inevitable? So was Dean! (And Bernie Sanders is NOT Ron Paul)

Associated Press photo

Howard Dean has an emotional moment, including the “Dean scream,” in Iowa in January 2004, after he devastatingly came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses (behind John Kerry and John Edwards), the first contest of the presidential primary season. Howard Dean widely was considered the inevitable victor of the contest for the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination, but once individuals actually started participating in the caucuses and primary elections, it was clear that they had dated Dean but decided to marry Kerry. Billary Clinton, like Howard Dean did, came in at third place in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 (behind Barack Obama and John Edwards). And like Dean in 2004, Billary in 2008 never recovered from her stumble in Iowa. Billary is a stunningly weak candidate, yet the lemmings have lined up behind her, just as they did for Howard Dean.

I certainly hope that Slate.com writer Jamelle Bouie was not “inspired” by “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri when he recently sloppily compared presidential aspirant U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to former Repugnican/Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Democrat in name only McCaskill, who is on Team Billary, recently bloviated that Sanders “is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president” and dismissed the large crowds that Sanders attracts at his campaign events by stating that Ron Paul “got the same-size crowds. [Former Repugnican Party presidential aspirant] Pat Buchanan got massive crowds. It’s not unusual for someone who has an extreme message to have a following.”

As many have noted (such as this writer for Salon.com), a majority of Americans actually quite agree with Sanders’ so-called “extreme” message. Democracy sure sucks when it doesn’t go your way, when your center-right claptrap (like McCaskill’s) actually isn’t in line with the majority.

And leave it to a member of the pro-dynastic, anti-populist, Democratic-in-name-only Team Billary to try to make your popularity with the people into a bad thing.

I get it that McCaskill lives in what I’d certainly classify as a red state: Mittens Romney won Missouri in 2012. (The last “Democratic” presidential candidate who won Missouri was Bill Clinton in 1996.) Missouri has a Democratic governor and one “Democratic” U.S. senator (McClaskill), but both houses of its state legislature overwhelmingly are Repugnican, and its delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives is six Repugnicans to two Democrats.

So to survive politically in a state as red as is Missouri, McClaskill has to pander to the right and the center-right. I get that.

But is the entire Democratic Party to shift even further right so as to further please DINOs like McClaskill in the red states, as former “Democratic” Louisiana U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (good riddance!) expected it to?

What about those of us in California, for instance? We’re the most populous state in the nation. Our governor and both houses of our state legislature are in Democratic control, both of our U.S. senators are Democrats (well, plutocrat Dianne Feinstein is a DINO), the majority of our U.S. representatives are Democrats, and a Repugnican presidential candidate hasn’t won California since 1988.

But we’re to stifle our values and ourselves for the likes of Landrieu and McCaskill? I have a much better solution: red-state DINOs (like McClaskill) just call themselves Repugnicans already and be done with it. They need to join the party with which their political philosophy and worldview is most aligned instead of trying to get the rest of us actual Democrats/progressives to convert to their version of what the Democratic Party “should” be.

Their tent is just way too damned fucking big. When you stand for everything, you ultimately stand for nothing.

Even Slate.com’s Jamelle Bouie, most of whose writing I find insightful and wise, even though he acknowledges that “At 10,000 people, [Sanders’] crowd [in Madison, Wisconsin, last week] was the largest* of any candidate in the presidential race so far,” joins the conventional-“wisdom” herd and proclaims that “visibility isn’t viability, and there’s almost no chance Sanders will become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, even if he sustains his momentum into next year.”

Bouie adds: “Sanders is a fascinating candidate with a vital, underrepresented message in American politics. But the same qualities that make him unique — relative independence from the Democratic Party, a foundational critique of American politics — make him unsuited for a major party nomination, much less the Democratic one.”

Bouie concludes his unfortunate screed on Sanders:

Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be important. Here, it’s useful to think of Ron Paul, the former Republican representative who ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012. Paul drew large crowds and raised huge sums for his campaign but couldn’t translate that success into votes. Nonetheless, his splash mattered. He helped bridge the divide between libertarians and the Republican right, and he inspired a new group of conservative and libertarian activists who have made a mark in the GOP through Paul’s son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

If Sanders can sustain and capture the left-wing enthusiasm for his campaign, he could do the same for progressives. He could bring their issues onto a presidential debate stage and into the Democratic mainstream, and bring them into the process itself. No, Democrats won’t change overnight, but with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit.

Hey, I have an extremely radical idea, perhaps even more extreme and radical than any idea that even Bernie Sanders has put forth: How about we, the people, actually get to vote in the primaries and participate in the caucuses in order to determine who ultimately emerges as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate?

How about we allow Bernie Sanders to run his campaign for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominationthe first caucus and the first primary election aren’t until February, seven months from now – instead of declaring Billary Clinton the winner now and giving Sanders the lovely parting gift (like Rice-A-Roni) of the warmth of knowing that his candidacy helped to melt the cold, right-wing hearts of those who call themselves Democrats but who actually are a bunch of Repugnican Lites?

Crazy, huh?

But seriously: How about we, the people, and not DINOs like Claire McClaskill and not media pundits who are steeped in the conventional “wisdom” of wolf-pack “journalism,” decide, through actually participating in the actual democratic process, whether or not we deem Bernie Sanders to be an acceptable presidential candidate to put forth in November 2016?

Jamelle Bouie educates us silly Sanders supporters:

Despite the polls and the voting, presidential primaries aren’t popularity contests. Instead, they’re closer to negotiations, where interests and individuals work to choose a leader and representative for the entire group. That person has to appeal to everyone, from ideological factions and political power centers to wealthy donors and ordinary voters and activists. The candidate also has to show that he or she can do the work of a national campaign, from winning debates to raising money.

Oh, I agree, for the most part, probably. But then Bouie continues: “Clinton has done this. She came close to winning the 2008 nomination and spent the next seven years — right up to the present — building her stature in Democratic politics. …”

Yeah, 2008 was close but no cigar, and Bouie apparently essentially advocates that because Billary has been working at this since 2008, we should acknowledge that and coronate her as the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate already; Bouie’s conventional “wisdom” apparently can be reduced to telling us Sanders supporters: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

But I recall clearly that this was what the “Deaniacs” essentially were saying to the rest of us Democrats and progressives in 2004: That former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was So Self-Evidently Inevitable that everyone should just accept that fact and get on board with Team Dean already. (I still recall that one of my favorite fellow leftists, Ted Rall, at the time a Deaniac, even went so far as to write a blatantly anti-democratic column in which he suggested in all seriousness that the Democratic primaries and caucuses just be canceled in order to save money, since Dean’s victory was assured anyway.)

I supported John Kerry as the 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate from the get-go (as I saw him as the candidate who best could unseat the incumbent “President” George W. Bush), but I was told then by the Deaniacs: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

Except that in early 2004, when the voters actually had their say at the primaries and caucuses – which is all that actually counts, in the end – Howard Dean imploded spectacularly, and John Kerry spectacularly rose from the dead and won the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Interestingly, campaign adviser Tad Devine, who was instrumental in Kerry’s spectacular rise from the dead like Lazarus on crack, right now is a senior adviser for Bernie Sanders.

So yeah, those who smugly write Bernie Sanders off (those would be Billary supporters, mostly), methinks, could be in for a big shock in early 2016, much as the smug Deaniacs were in early 2004 when underdog John Kerry, who had been left for dead, and not Howard Dean The Inevitable, won the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Not only does Bernie have John Kerry resurrector Tad Devine on his team, but what does it say of Billary that she lost to Barack Obama in 2008? She had been first lady for eight years in the 1990s and a (carpetbagging) U.S. senator for New York for eight years, yet upstart Obama, who had been in the U.S. Senate for only four years, not even a full term, beat Billary, which wasn’t “supposed” to happen.

Billary is significantly flawed – or she wouldn’t have lost to Obama, who came from nowhere in 2008 to snatch – democratically – the crown away from her.

And let’s face it: The uber-scandalous, slimy Billary is just one leaked e-mail or one leaked secretly-recorded video away from implosion.

Do we want Billary’s implosion to happen before the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate is actually elected by the primary-election voters and the caucus-goers, or do we want to risk that Billary’s implosion happens after we stupidly just allow the high-risk Billary to have the party’s presidential nomination (you know, because she wants it so badly and because she has been “working” for it for so long now!) but before the November 2016 presidential election?

I, for one, not only cannot in good conscience support DINO Billary Clinton – whose vote for the Vietraq War in October 2002 when she was in the U.S. Senate (Bernie Sanders voted against it when he was in the U.S. House of Representatives) alone makes her unfit for the Oval Office** – but I wouldn’t take the risk of gambling everything away in November 2016 with her, with such a flawed, risky candidate.

I wisely resisted running with the Lemmings for Dean in 2004; I similarly am resisting running with the Lemmings for Billary in 2016.

For me, it’s Bernie or bust.***

*Bouie further notes:

Hillary Clinton drew 5,500 people to her [formal announcement] speech on Roosevelt Island in New York City, while Jeb Bush drew just 3,000 people to his announcement event at Miami Dade College in Florida. (Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to 11,000 students at Liberty University, but they had to be there — Cruz announced at the school’s convocation, which is mandatory for students living on campus.) Before Madison, Sanders spoke to a packed auditorium of 700 people in Iowa, and before that, he spoke to 5,000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

**Gee, I wonder if Billary felt any pang of guilt or even remorse when, on this past Fourth of July during a parade in Podunk, New Hampshire (at which Queen Billary’s henchpeople employed ropes to keep the rabble safely at bay), she told a 40-year-old man whom the Vietraq War — the war for which as U.S. senator she voted — put into a wheelchair, “Thank you for your sacrifice.”

I mean, it’s not that common that the results of a soulless, self-serving politician’s wrongdoing so starkly stare him or her in the face.

***On that note, if we are going to compare Bernie to anyone on the right, in the end, when all is said and done, history just might record him to be much more like the late arch-conservative Barry Goldwater than like Ron Paul.

Not only is there the fact that in modern history members of the House of Representatives (like former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul) never go straight from the House to the White House, but must have been a U.S. senator or a governor first (Bernie meets that qualification but Ron Paul never did), but I can see Bernie winning the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination but unfortunately losing the 2016 presidential election, as Repugnican U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona lost the presidential election of 1964.

However, while Goldwater lost in 1964 (badly), he is widely credited with having fathered the “Reagan revolution” and the success of the right that we’ve seen for the past several decades. (The right’s success is evidenced not only by the worsening income inequality of the past several decades, but also by how far to the right it has spooked the Democratic Party into moving, especially under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.)

I could see Bernie Sanders doing for the left what Barry Goldwater did for the right. But the comparison of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to the much more fringy former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is lazy and sloppy at best.

So I agree with Bouie that “with time and effort, the Sanders revolution could bear real fruit,” but Bouie and I don’t get to that point of agreement by the same route.

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NO ONE actually is shoving bacon-wrapped shrimp down your throat

Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee compares the legalization of same-sex marriage to forcing Jewish delis to serve bacon-wrapped shrimp, but a more apt comparison would be a bacon-wrapped shrimp restaurant refusing to serve non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals because the owners hate non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals…

Weren’t the Repugnican Tea Partiers going to be kinder and gentler after Mittens Romney lost to Barack Obama in November 2012?

When it comes to non-heterosexuals and the non-gender-conforming, the Repugnican Tea Partiers are demonstrating amply that they don’t care whether they still can win presidential elections or not.

Repugnican Tea Party Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (whose surname always has struck me as a bit, um, Brokeback…) recently reinstated allowable discrimination against non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming state employees (such discrimination had been outlawed in 2007 by his Democratic predecessor). There was no reason to do this (in Brokeback – er, Brownback’s – fifth year into his governorship) except for hatred, bigotry, mean-spiritedness and spite.

Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee (former governor of the wonderful state of Arkansas [cue the banjo; the lynching is about to begin!]) recently declared that expecting “Christo”fascists to accept others’ same-sex marriages is like forcing Jews to serve “bacon-wrapped shrimp” in their delis.

Wow.

How does ordained Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee know about the gay sex act that we faggots call wrapping the shrimp in bacon?

Anyway, Huckabee, of course, compares apples to oranges.

Same-sex marriages aren’t literally being forced upon others. If your own backasswards religious belief is that same-sex marriage is contrary to God’s wishes, then don’t marry someone of your sex (which, of course, no one is forcing you to do). It’s pretty fucking simple.

However, you don’t get to fucking force your fucktarded, backasswards, Dark-Ages-era religious beliefs upon others, and you don’t get to claim that others exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, such as the freedom to marry whom they wish to marry, because such an exercise of such a freedom is offensive to you, somehow violates your rights.

I find “Christo”fascists to be dangerous. I see little difference between these theofascists here at home and the theofascists of ISIS. The only difference between American theofascists and the theofascists of ISIS is that the theofascists of ISIS are doing what the “Christo”fascists would do here at home if they could.

I find “Christo”fascists to be incredibly offensive, but do I get to claim that because I find their very existence to be deeply offensive to me, they lose their First-Amendment right of the freedom to be religious fucktards?

No, I don’t. And it works both ways.

As far as businesses serving the diverse members of the public goes I bring this up because of the same-sex-wedding-cake “controversy” and Huckabee’s having brought up a Jewish place of business, the deli – it long has been established (by Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) that businesses serving the general public legally may not refuse to serve customers based upon those customers’ race, color, religion or national origin. (Yes, sexual orientation needs to be added to that list of protected classes, and so should gender and gender expression. [That said, if you refuse to treat others as you would want to be treated because they’re not on the list of protected classes, you’re not much of a Christian, are you?])

If you hate Jews or Mormons or atheists, if you find their beliefs to be offensive to your own religious beliefs, you may not legally refuse to serve them in your place of business if it’s open to the public because of their beliefs. Does this prohibition against discrimination violate your First-Amendment rights? The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which has not been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as unconsitutional, says that it doesn’t.

As a gay man, I’d never hire a (known-to-me) homophobe to make my wedding cake (the Old Testament has no prohibition against the serving or the eating of wedding cake, I’ll add), but what does it harm a wedding-cake business to make any wedding cake for anyone? You’re not forcing the wedding-cake business owner or employee to make a cake for his or her own forced same-sex marriage, are you? The wedding-cake business gets to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples and be homophobic at the same time. The wedding-cake business’ precious homophobia is not threatened at all; it gets to remain intact.

And in Alabama (cue the banjo again), which is just a hop, a skip and a jump from Huckabee’s Arkansas, state Supreme Court Chief “Justice” Ray Moore claims that Alabama does not have to follow a federal court’s recent ruling that the U.S. Constitution mandates that the state must allow same-sex marriages.

Wow.

Every state in the Union must follow the federal judiciary’s rulings. That’s how our constitutional government is set up. For a lesser jurisdiction to refuse to follow the federal judiciary is tantamount to treason. While I doubt that we’ll end up sending in the troops to Alabama, as we’ve had to do before* when an elected official (a stupid white man, of course) defied a federal court’s civil-rights-related order, Alabama does not get to remain in the Union and defy the orders of the federal judiciary. (And if we need to send in the troops again, in Alabama or in any other treasonous state, we should.)

Roy Moore needs to be removed from his post – again. (Yes, he was removed from the bench before, in 2003, for refusing, as state Supreme Court chief “justice,” to follow a federal court’s order to remove an illegal/unconstitutional monument of the Ten Commandments – a monument that he commissioned – from the grounds of the Alabama Judicial Building, which contains the state’s Supreme Court and other courts. He never should have been allowed back on the bench.**)

And, again, because it’s worth repeating: No one is forcing anyone to serve or to eat bacon-wrapped shrimp. If you don’t want to serve or to eat bacon or shrimp or bacon-wrapped shrimp, whether because you believe that a non-existent, Zeus-like deity prohibits it, whether because you are a vegetarian or whether because you just don’t like these food items, then by all means, don’t.

But those of us who want to indulge in bacon-wrapped shrimp have the freedom and the right to indulge in bacon-wrapped shrimp whether our indulgence offends you or not. You don’t have to indulge – you remain perfectly free not to – but nor may you discriminate against us because we do.

That is the issue here, and until and unless the Repugnican Tea Party fucktards get a grip, they’ll continue to lose presidential elections.

P.S. As to why the “Christo”fascists remain so opposed to non-heterosexuality and non-gender-conformity, I think these are the reasons:

  • Haters always have to have at least one group of people to hate, and non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals are the last class of people who do not have widespread federal legal protections against widespread discrimination.
  • The “Christo”fascists are terrified that once you start pulling on a thread (such as the thread of homophobia) of the tattered tapestry that is their bullshit belief system, the entire tapestry will come unraveled (because it will – but then again, it already has).
  • In a patriarchy, the male is valued and the female is devalued, and for a society’s males to be (or to be considered to be) feminine thus makes them devalued, and also “weakens” the patriarchal society because the patriarchal society needs a critical mass of he-men to survive. (We no longer exactly live in tribal groups that need a critical mass of warriors, and the patriarchy has been killing this nation slowly, but that’s another blog post.)

P.P.S. Since we’re on the topic of bacon-wrapped shrimp, I will comment further that I believe former Barack Obama adviser David Axelrod’s assertion, in his new book, that Obama had fully supported same-sex marriage when he was elected president in 2008 and only pretended that he had “evolved” on the issue to the point that he finally publicly came out in support of same-sex marriage in May 2012.

“Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church,” Axelrod reportedly wrote in his book, “and as [Obama] ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage.”

This is entirely believable. As I’ve noted here, in 1996, when Obama was running for the senate of the state of Illinois, he responded to a questionnaire, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” And about 60 percent to 70 percent of black voters in California reportedly voted against same-sex marriage in 2008 (with Proposition Hate). And California is a blue state. So rampant homophobia within the black community has been a very real phenomenon. (Black homophobia apparently has eased up some since Obama’s May 2012 pro-same-sex-marriage announcement, but at the same time, bigotry dies hard, and it’s hard to know to what degree Obama’s pronouncement actually changed hearts and minds within the black community and to what degree his pronouncement just decreased public homophobic pronouncements from the black community.)

At least Axelrod very apparently takes responsibility for his share of the blame for the very apparent lie about Obama’s “evolution” on the issue of bacon-wrapped shrimp.

*As a writer for the Christian Science Monitor put it:

… At this point, there is no difference between what Roy Moore is advocating here and what George Wallace did when he stood before a doorway at the University of Alabama in an effort to prevent African-Americans from enrolling in the school notwithstanding a federal court order that this must happen. In both cases, we have a politician – and make no mistake about it, Roy Moore is acting far more like a politician than a jurist here [Alabama’s Supreme Court “justices” are elected, not appointed] – who is appealing to outright bigotry and openly defying a federal court order.

Ultimately, the Supremacy Clause [of the U.S. Constitution] tells us that the federal courts will win this dispute, but it’s rather obvious that Moore and others like him will exploit this matter as much as they can before it’s over. Meanwhile, though, at least some of Alabama ’s gay and lesbian citizens are able to take advantage of the equality under the law they are entitled to. Let’s hope it isn’t too long before that expands to the rest of the state.

If same-sex marriage doesn’t expand to the entire state of Alabama quite soon, I say: Bring in the troops. Just like we (probably) should bring in the troops against ISIS. Theofascists must never be allowed to prevail in their oppression of others.

** Moore should have been disbarred in the state of Alabama for life, in my estimation. Such disbarment would have prevented his re-election to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012 after his 2003 removal from the post by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

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Adieu, Landrieu; it’s long past time for Democrats to stop kissing red-state ass

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in New Orleans. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

Associated Press photo

Gee, maybe her very own country-Western song would have saved “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana from being denied a fourth term in the Deep-South state. A campaign appearance by Billary Clinton (who does have her very own country-Western song) apparently wasn’t enough.

“Dems, It’s Time to Dump Dixie,” proclaims the headline of a column by a Michael Tomasky (whom I’d never heard of until today) that will be interpreted as fairly sound advice for the Democratic Party or, perhaps, as a false-flag attempt to give Dems poor advice meant to harm them (the column does appear, after all, on the center-right website The Daily Beast). But probably, it’s more of the former than of the latter.

The occasion of the column is the double-digit defeat of Democrat-in-name-only U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to her Repugnican Tea Party opponent this past weekend. Landrieu was the last remaining “Democratic” U.S. senator of the Deep South. (Wikipedia defines the “Deep South” as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina – and sometimes at least portions of Texas and Florida, too. These seven states, Wikipedia notes, were the first to secede from the Union.)

The advice that Tomasky gives to the Democratic Party – to “dump Dixie” – seems to be the advice that the party perhaps already has taken to heart; well before this past weekend’s election in Louisiana, the national party wisely decided to stop funneling campaign cash to Landrieu and to let her languish, dry up and blow away.

Tomasky concludes his column by proclaiming that “the Democratic Party shouldn’t bother trying [to win congressional seats in the Deep South ]. If they [the Dems] get no votes from the region, they will in turn owe it nothing, and in time the South, which is the biggest welfare moocher in the world in terms of the largesse it gets from the more advanced and innovative states, will be on its own, which is what Southerners always say they want anyway.” (The link there is my own, of course, not Tomasky’s.)

Absolutely.

The likes of Repugnican Lite Landrieu – whose last-ditch, self-serving, desperate attempt to shove the Keystone XL oil pipeline down Americans’ throats for the deep pockets of the fat cats of Big Oil in order to save her Senate seat was incredibly pathetic (as was her defense of Big Oil even as British Petroleum was filling the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of crude oil) – have only harmed, not helped, the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party’s lurch to the right, which started no later than during Bill Clinton’s reign (Wikipedia also notes that the Clintons’ home state of Arkansas sometimes also is included in the list of the states that make up the Deep South) and has continued during Barack Obama’s, doesn’t capture nearly as many Repugnican-leaning voters (who most often simply vote Repugnican instead of Repugnican Lite) as it turns off the Democratic Party’s base. And a party that stands for everything, that tries to please all people, in the end, stands for nothing.

Obama squandered too much of his presidency trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. He tried to negotiate with these terrorists, but you don’t negotiate with terrorists. Obama instead should have taken care of his base and not given a flying fuck what the enemy thought, since politically, he didn’t really have to. Had he done that, I surmise, he wouldn’t be spending his last two years in the Oval Office with both houses of Congress controlled by the enemy. Obama started off in 2009 with both houses of Congress controlled by his own party, and, had he played his cards right – instead of having wasted his political capital in trying to placate the implacable wingnuts – he could have maintained that political advantage to this day.

It’s long past time for the Democratic Party to start tending to its base. Obama’s failed experiment of “bipartisanship”* should have made this abundantly clear by now, but waiting in the wings, of course, is Billary Clinton, whose jaw-droppingly awful proxy country-Western music video on You Tube titled “Stand with Hillary” makes you wonder whether Billary approves of the video or not.

The New York Times’ Frank Bruni notes that “The video wasn’t produced by Clinton or her aides. But the people who did put it together [a “super-PAC” called, of course, “Stand with Hillary”] clearly followed the cues that they felt they were getting, and they read her intentions right.” I more or less concur, from what we know of Billary and the way she rolls.

I mean, the country-Western style of the video definitely seems to be geared toward the same shit-kicking voters to whom Billary apparently was trying to appeal when, as her 2008 effort to best Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination grew more and more desperate, Billary (right along with the John McCainosaurus campaign) denounced Obama as “elitist and out of touch with the values and the lives of millions of Americans” for having accurately described the mindset of rednecks (who, Obama correctly had asserted, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”**).

Because Billary wants to be Queen of the Rednecks, you see. But the majority of the rednecks don’t and won’t buy that a Democrat – especially one of the caliber of Billary Clinton – is truly One of Them (replete with her own country-Western anthem!), and true Democrats are put off by those who (like Billary) call themselves Democrats but who court rednecks more than they court the members of the traditional Democratic Party base (who simply are taken for granted, year after year after year).

I should note that the guy in cowboy garb in the “Stand with Hillary” video, who was lip-synching someone else’s vocals, calls himself apolitical and says that the video was just another paying gig, that he may or may not vote for Billary for president should she be on the ballot in November 2016.

Is it that Team Billary could find only someone who would be pro-Billary for pay? At any rate, that the guy in the video is a fake cowboy, a fake country-Western singer and a fake Billary supporter speaks volumes about Team Billary, methinks, including how insubstantial the candidate is herself.

I don’t assert that the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign should not be populist. Of course it should be. The party hasn’t done nearly enough for what remains of the middle class and the working class for many years now and desperately needs to return to its roots of socioeconomic equality and justice. Therefore, I’d love to see the likes of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. But wasting resources trying to convert those who never are going to support you anyway (as the desperate Billary tried to do in the spring of 2008, as the White House was slipping from her talons) is – well, a waste of limited resources.

The cultural stuff – such as country-Western music (for fuck’s sake), God, guns and gays – can, and should, take a back seat this next Democratic presidential cycle, in which populism should be the centerpiece, but should be limited to the discussion of socioeconomic issues that affect the common American, regardless of where he or she lives (and regardless of whether he or she likes country-western music or supports same-sex marriage).

If Billary indeed is on a trajectory to act, once again, like she’s Queen of the Rednecks, and the Democrats actually let this pass and allow her to become the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, then, it will be, I think, just as Harry S. Truman warned us: “If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time.”

We just saw the wisdom of Truman’s words in action this past weekend in Louisiana. We don’t have to see the truth of his words again in November 2016.

*In the speech that made Obama a political rock star at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama proclaimed that “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. … We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Really? One people? Even those who say that he shouldn’t be allowed to give the State of the Union address?

I mean, does Obama, six years into his presidency, still believe his feel-good, fluffy words from 2004?

**To be fair, this infamous comment of Obama’s should be taken within its larger context of his preceding remarks, which you can find here.

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IMPEACH OBAMA!

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Washington. Obama is holding an afternoon news conference Wednesday to share his take on the midterm election results after his party lost control of the Senate, and lost more turf in the GOP-controlled House while putting a series of Democratic-leaning states under control of new Republican governors. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Associated Press photo

The impeachment of Barack Obama: Bring it, bitches!

I sincerely hope that the Repugnican Tea Partiers take advantage of their new majority in the U.S. Senate and impeach President Barack Obama.

I do.

Because it will backfire.

A civics lesson is required (for many if not even most American readers) first: the U.S. House of Representatives can vote to impeach a sitting president by a simple majority vote. It’s not that hard a feat, especially in a highly poisonously partisan atmosphere, such as we have had for some time now (at least since 1998, the last time that a sitting U.S. president was impeached…).

Presidential impeachment, of course, is not the equivalent of the removal of the president. (Yes, many if not most Americans are fuzzy on the definition of the word “impeachment.”) If the House of Representatives votes to impeach, which is much like a grand jury handing down an indictment, the U.S. Senate then acts much like a courtroom (with the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presiding) and the senators vote on whether or not to remove the president. (They’re supposed to act like independent, non-partisan jurors, but of course there is no avoiding politics and partisanship in such a matter as the removal of the sitting U.S. president.)

However, the U.S. Senate may remove an impeached president only on a two-thirds vote. (This constitutionally required higher threshold apparently was intended to prevent petty politics and ensure that a president is removed from office only for very good cause.) Thus, while the Repugnican-traitor-controlled House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton in December 1998 — as Clinton was wrapping up his sixth year in the White House, just as Barack Obama is doing now — in February 1999 the Senate acquitted Clinton, as only 50 senators, all of them Repugnicans, voted that Clinton was guilty of one or two misdeeds, either one of which could have removed Clinton from office had 67 of the senators voted that Clinton was guilty of having committed it. (To be fair, not a single Democratic senator voted Clinton to be guilty of either misdeed, and five Repugnican senators [John Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania — all moderate, mostly Northeastern, Repugnicans, of course] also voted Clinton as not guilty of either misdeed.)

A solid majority of Americans thought that the 1998-1999 Repugnican-led impeachment debacle was bad for the nation – because it was – and in apparent political blowback, the Democrats gained seats in both houses of Congress in the following election, in 2000.

So: The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress, still bitter that a black man sits in the White House, never could get the two-thirds vote in the U.S. Senate that would be required to remove Obama from office.

An impeachment effort against Obama would be perceived by the majority of Americans as exactly what it would be: At best, the commission of a waste of time by the Repugnican-led Congress with a self-indulgent, petty political stunt instead of the addressing of the nation’s problems (an act of partisan grandstanding because Obama of course never will be removed from office) and at worst, yet another brazen attempt by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to subvert the will of the majority of American voters, such as they did when they tried but failed to remove Bill Clinton in 1998 and when they had no problem with George W. Bush being seated in the Oval Office in early 2001 even though he’d lost the popular vote to Al Gore by more than a half-million votes (and no doubt Gore had won the pivotal state of Florida as well, but, of course, then-Florida-Gov. Jeb Bush and then-Florida-Secretary-of-State Katherine Harris made damned sure that Gee Dubya “won” Florida).

Pundits unanimously agree that the Democrats are poised to retake the U.S. Senate in 2016, when the electoral map will favor them as it favored the Repugnicans on Tuesday. (In 2016, 23 Senate seats now held by Repugnicans will be up for a vote, compared to only 10 Senate seats now held by Democrats.)

While I don’t like Billary Clinton (to put it mildly), polls have shown her around 10 points ahead of any Repugnican candidate in hypothetical 2016 presidential match-ups, and while I’m not happy about it, at this moment I don’t see an actual Democrat – that is, an actually progressive Democrat – emerging as the 2016 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

So 2016 looks like a bloodbath for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors already; the White House most likely will stay in Democratic hands and the Senate most likely will flip back to the Democratic Party.

If, drunk on their short-lived power, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. act like they have the “permanent [Repugnican] majority” that they talked about during the illegitimate reign of George W. Bush (we saw how “permanent” that was), they’ll only further antagonize centrist and left-of-center voters, and November 2016 will be even worse for them than it would have been had they showed some humility and vision that extends past only two years.

Luckily, they’re not capable of showing such humility or vision.

Because of that, I should thank the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in advance for most likely inspiring me to blog much more regularly over the next two years than I have over the past year or two. (Obama’s second term thus far has been quite a snoozer.) I anticipate that they’ll give me lots of inspiration. They’ll be my muses – on crack.

True, I am ensconced here in California, which is like an isle unto itself, where, on the state level, anyway, we are not much troubled by the Repugnican Tea Party traitors. This week Democrats took every statewide office here once again, as they did in 2010, and the state Legislature remains in firm Democratic control. Both of our U.S. senators are Democrats, as are the majority of our members of the U.S. House of Representatives. As California Democratic Party head John Burton wrote in an e-mail today (with the subject line of “We’ll always have California”), “California remains a deep-blue beacon.”*

But, having lived the first 30 years of my life in the God-awful red state of Arizona, I know what it is like for the millions of Americans who languish in the red (and purple) states, and not everyone can move to California or to another blue state (and nor should they have to). It’s up to all of us progressives to do what we can to assuage the damage that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors have wreaked upon our nation. We have a duty to do our best to protect those who cannot protect themselves against the legions of right-wing traitors among us.

And I have the feeling that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. over the next two years are going to fire us up to fight them like President Hopey-Changey hasn’t been able to fire us up for quite some time now.

*Interestingly, though, the for-profit media widely are making an “issue” of the fact that the Democrats haven’t retained a two-thirds supermajority in both houses of California’s Legislature. Wow. The bar always is set much lower for the wingnuts than it is for those of us who are left of center, isn’t it? Just as was the case with the 2000 presidential election, an actual win is always a “loss” for the left and an actual loss is always a “win” for the wingnuts. I mean, George W. Bush not only should have been impeached and removed from office, but he (and his cohorts) should have been executed for their war crimes (Vietraq War) and their crimes against humanity (Vietraq War, Hurricane Katrina), Nuremberg style, yet here the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are talking about Obama’s impeachment.

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Arizona and California in the news

Another black eye for Arizona (yes, it’s the thought that counts)

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. The governor must sign or veto Senate Bill 1062 by the end of next week. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

An anti-discrimination protester holds up a sign at the Arizona Capitol yesterday. Whackadoodle Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (below) has less than a week to decide whether or not to sign into law the legislation that the state’s legislature just passed that allows business owners to discriminate against non-heterosexuals out of their “religious” beliefs.

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2014 file photo, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announces her plan to end the current Child Protective Services agency by executive order during her State of the State address at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix. An independent team named by Gov. Brewer to review the state's troubled child welfare agency on Friday Jan. 31, 2014, called for a top-to-bottom overhaul of the department to focus it purely on child safety. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Associated Press photos

The Arizona legislature’s passage of a law that, under the guise of the protection of religious beliefs, allows businesses to discriminate against non-heterosexuals (mostly, to refuse to serve them, and, very apparently, this applies also to those whom the “religious” business owners simply perceive or suspect to be non-heterosexual, and very most likely also would apply, by extension, to the non-gender-conforming), is yet another example of the abject ignorance, bigotry and mean-spiritedness that exists in the backasswards state where I was born and raised and left in 1998, yet to have set foot back there since.

All eyes now are on Repugnican Tea Party Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Will she or won’t she sign the discriminatory legislation into law?

Arizona businesses — quite ironically, since the legislation is touted as being for the benefit of business owners — vehemently don’t want Brewer to sign the legislation into law, arguing, correctly, that like Arizona’s past refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Day and its more recent unconstitutional discrimination against the brown-skinned perceived to be “illegals,” this legislation, if enacted, would give the pathetic state yet another black eye and result in more boycotts and more lost business.

The Arizona Republic, Arizona’s largest newspaper, also has come out against the discriminatory legislation. But this is Arizona, you see, and so the Republic’s largest argument is not that even further discrimination against an already historically oppressed minority group is wrong, but is that it’s bad for bidness. (The Republic’s editorial concludes:

… High-tech companies need talented young workers, so they locate in places young people find attractive and welcoming.

Arizona should strive to be one of those places.

This bill is a do-it-yourself black eye that would tag Arizona as a champion of anachronistic views of sexual orientation.

That’s not just the wrong side of history; it’s the dumb side of economic development.

We urge the governor to veto this bill as part of her continuing message that Arizona is open for business.)

But the Bible-thumping, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, inbred haters in Arizona (and they are legion), like the wing comprised of the plutocrats and those who love them, also are a huge wing of the Repugnican Tea Party, and they vehemently want Brewer to sign the legislation into law, so what’s poor Brewer to do?

My best guess is that Brewer won’t sign it into law — citing business interests, and not, of course, moral or ethical or even legal concerns — but I’m thinking that it’s only just over 50-50 that she won’t, so I wouldn’t be shocked if she does enact the discriminatory legislation.

However, if Brewer signs the legislation, this could backfire on the haters in Arizona and in the other red states, with whom we of the blue states still are waging a civil war.

Should Brewer sign the law, I have little doubt that a lawsuit would result, and it is quite possible, if not even probable, that because of the Arizona teatards’ attempt to legalize the practice of discriminating against an already historically oppressed minority group while hiding behind the facade of their “religious” “sensibilities,” we will see federal law changed to protect non-heterosexuals among the groups that federal law already protects.

Specifically, Title II of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 declares that “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

This federal law, and the subsequent court rulings regarding it, prohibit most (if not even all) businesses that serve the general public from practicing discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion or national origin (we could add the more generic category of “ethnicity” to that list, I believe). Simply adding sexual orientation to this list of protected groups of individuals would invalidate any state’s law to enshrine discrimination against non-heterosexuals in its statutes or constitution.

(Civics 101 lesson for the teatards: No state’s law, even a law contained within a state’s constitution, may violate federal law, which includes: the mandates of the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and, of course, the rulings of the federal courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court.)

No, I wouldn’t, of course, expect the currently-less-than-worthless U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to offer any more historically oppressed minority groups protection from discrimination, since the Repugnican Tea Party is all about discrimination against the “wrong” kinds of Americans, but the House won’t be in the teatards’ control forever.

And while the current U.S. Supreme Court is too timid and too slow to bring all Americans to the level of equality that we are promised by the U.S. Constitution (and other founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence), I wouldn’t rule out the U.S. Supreme Court, or, at least, a lower federal court, ruling Arizona’s legalized discrimination against non-heterosexuals to be unconstitutional (since it is), and thus invalid.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to write about this issue until Brewer had gone one way or the other, but you know, whether Brewer signs the law into effect or not, the majority of the Arizona legislature has passed this deeply anti-American (well, I suppose that, given our nation’s ugly history, you could argue that it’s very American…) legislation, and it’s the thought that counts.

That the state’s legislature would even pass such hate-filled legislation like this tells you volumes about the backasswards state of Arizona.

California will keep its 55 electoral votes, fuck you very much

Much has been written about some bizillionaire’s attempt to get an initiative on California’s ballot that, if the majority of the state’s voters passed, would signify their agreement with his plan to split California up into six states as shown in the graphic above.

Having lived in California for more than 15 years now, I can tell you that California will not be split any century soon.

Not only would a majority of California’s voters never approve splitting the state even into two, but the U.S. Congress, which must approve the creation of any new state, most likely would not approve a plan to create one or more new states from California (or from any other of the already existing 50 states, for that matter).

So let’s not waste time arguing about the viability of the plan, since many proposals to split the state of California have come and gone over the decades and will continue to do so, will continue to go nowhere.

What we should pay attention to, however, is what most discussions of these periodic proposals to split California up miss: the fact that the real agenda behind these proposals is to make it easier for the Repugnican (Tea) Party to win the White House.

Yes, California’s 55 electoral votes — more electoral votes than any other state, since California is the most populous state (even the second-most-populous state, Texas, has only 38 electoral votes) — are just sitting there, in a huge pile, and they are soooo tempting to the wingnuts. (Since the 1992 presidential election, all of California’s electoral votes have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate.)

Divvy up California, especially creating one or more new red states from California’s red(der) regions, and now the Repugnican Tea Party now gets a significant chunk of those 55 electoral votes, making it easier for Repugnican Tea Party traitors and more difficult for the opposition party (as much as we can call the Democratic Party “the opposition party,” anyway) to win the White House.

If it isn’t about that, then how come the very same Repugnican Tea Party traitors who want to divide California don’t advocate that we divide other, populous, red(der) states, such as Texas and Florida? (The third-most-populous state of Florida has 29 electoral votes.)

Um, yeah.

Whenever a wingnut proposes something and claims that it’s for the public good, take a good look behind the curtains and see what the real agenda is.

Nothing good comes from the Repugnican Tea Party traitors.

P.S. The rich proponent of the so-called “six Californias,” a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, claims that he is an “independent,” but my guess is that that is a smokescreen for his pro-plutocratic agenda. In any event, the majority of so-called “independents” lean to the right, and their calling themselves “independents” often (if not usually) is to (try to) sucker in those who have soured on the Repugnican Tea Party; it’s classic bait and switch.

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No, we’re NOT all going Texan

A graphic of Texas divided into states

The lazy “journalists” at TIME have announced on the cover of the October 28 issue that “the Lone Star State [Texas, of course] is America’s future” — so much so that we’ll be “the United States of Texas.”

It’s popular these days to make such an assumption, perhaps especially after Gail Collins’ June 2012 book As Texas Goes…: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.

But it’s also a ridiculous argument to make that any one state is going to take over the entire nation’s sociopolitical culture any decade soon.

Of course you can take the nation’s most populous states — California, Texas, New York and Florida are the top four, in that order — and find similarities between these states and the rest of the states.

We’re talking about the top two most-populous blue states and the top two most-populous red states, yet the combined population of California and New York exceeds 57.5 million Americans, whereas the combined population of Texas and Florida, by comparison, is around 45 million.

Texas and its red-state mentality aren’t exactly taking over the entire nation.

TIME helpfully notes that from 2010 to 2011, California lost 94,000 residents while Texas gained 110,000 residents, but the graph in the magazine does not give us the context of that, which is that California has just more than 38 million residents to Texas’ just-more-than 26 million — yes, Texas is a good 12 million people behind California, putting it at a distant second place — so we’re hardly talking about an exodus.

And comparing other red states to Texas is pretty fucking stupid because duh — they’re red states.

The God-awful red state of Arizona, for instance, where I lived for the first 30 years of my life, of course is much like Texas. In Arizona, like in Texas, the business owners, the plutocrats, the fat cats, call the shots. You, the commoner, probably especially in the workplace or as a consumer, have almost no rights, because that’s how these states’ laws are written: for the benefit of the plutocratic overlords and to the detriment of the working class and the poor. It’s set up that way.

Consumer protection? Employee protection? Environmental protection? Dream on! These Commie luxuries cut into the fat cats’ profits, and that’s anti-American! And anti-Christian, too (even though Jesus said to pay your taxes without complaint and that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Heaven)!

This is how Arizona was when I left it for good 15 years ago, in 1998, so to claim that Arizona is copying Texas now is bullshit.

The red-state-blue-state divide has been with us since before the Civil War, and to claim that the entire nation is going to turn all blue or all red during our lifetimes is short-sighted and ridiculous.

Despite even the McDonald’s-ization of the United States of America — I refer to the monolithically capitalistic American culture, with McDonald’s and Wal-Mart stores in all 50 states, as well as movies and television shows that Americans watch in all 50 states — the regional sociopolitical and cultural differences throughout the U.S. persist, and they will for a long time to come.

TIME’s article quotes one person who puts the Texas “miracle” into a nutshell: “The Texas model basically calls for low taxes and low services,” TIME quotes Erica Grieder, author of the April 2013 book Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas. (Clearly, Grieder sees the Texas “miracle” in a different light than does Gail Collins, and I have to wonder if Grieder’s book was a response to Collins’.)

More emphasis needs to be placed on “low services,” the part of the red-state equation that almost everyone usually misses when singing the praises of Texas’ low taxes. There are low services because these red states don’t care about the individual, unless he or she is filthy rich. For the filthy rich — those who need the least amount of help — the red states can’t bend over backwards enough.

The commoner, however, is pretty fucking fucked in a red state. Those who need the most help in a red state are the most fucked, yet, ironically, these are the very same states that claim to be the most “Christian,” even though Jesus Christ was all about people helping other people (and not about claiming that the richer the plutocrats get, the more all of us will benefit — somehow!).

As far as taxes are concerned, you get what you pay for, and I experienced the “low-services” environment of Arizona, in which everyone except for the richest was pretty fucking miserable. The richest Arizonans could afford their own health care, education, transportation, etc.; the rest of us were quite on our own in this “low-services” environment.

So if you are a commoner and you want to pay lower taxes but stupidly don’t give a shit about your quality of life, then by all means, pack up your shit and move to Texas.

Concurrent with the myth that there is an exodus of commoners from California (and other blue states) to Texas is the myth that we Californians are so distraught over seeing anyone leave the state.

No, actually, we’re not.

The lower the population is, the lower the taxes can be, the lower the competition for resources will be, and the quality of life will increase for those of us who remain.

So: Go!

And most of us Californians are fine seeing greedy, unethical business owners packing up and moving their businesses to Texas (and other red states), where, without state regulations that protect the consumer, the employee and the environment, they can rape, pillage and plunder and profiteer far more effectively than they can do here in California, where we believe in protections for the environment, the employee and the consumer.

Most of us Californians aren’t abject fucktards, and so we are quite clear that the vast majority of plutocrats don’t exist to help out anyone else, but are in it almost entirely or entirely for themselves and their fortunes, which they gain at our expense as employees whom they under-compensate and as consumers whom they overcharge (and, of course, at the expense of our environment, which they destroy in their quest for obscene personal profits).

“Trickle down” is the fat cats urinating all over the working class, what little remains of the middle class, and the poor. The plutocrats don’t ensure that all boats rise. No, they keep buying larger and larger yachts for themselves while they foreclose upon our dinghies.

“Jobs!” is the mantra of the Texas-promoting plutocrats and those who love them like chickens showing love to Colonel Sanders.

Right: Jobs with shitty wages and shitty or even no benefits — in states with “low services,” so don’t expect any help outside of your employer, who only exists to fuck you over! Lots and lots of these shit jobs in Texas, but hey, they are jobs, in the strict, dictionary-definition sense of the word, right?

Again, does quality matter at all?

I say that it does, and so I’m staying here in California, where I’m happy to pay my fair share of taxes for a better quality of life — instead of evading taxes and living among the miserable in a dog-eat-dog, “low-services,” pro-plutocratic red state.

And again, when you are talking about the nation’s two most populous states, the blue state of California and the red state of Texas (states so populous and so influential that the two of them have the most influence on the public-school textbook industry, with, basically, Texas editions and California editions), it’s easy to compare the two states to other states — or even to the nation as a whole.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s accurate to do so.

I’m not a hypocrite on this matter; it works both ways. The New York Times on Friday apparently held out California as a model that, if followed, could break the gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Indeed, although wingnuts claim that California still has a state budget deficit, California for some time now actually has had a budget surplus under Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who after his November 2010 election reversed years of budget deficits under former Gov. Arnold “Baby Daddy” Schwarzenegger, the Repugnican fraud who ruled the state from the do-over gubernatorial election of 2003 through early 2011, and under the nation’s shitty economy under George W. Bush from early 2001 through early 2009.

Because Brown has accomplished in less than three years what Baby Daddy never accomplished in more than twice that amount of time, Brown’s re-election in November 2014, should he seek it, is guaranteed. Because Brown — unlike his Texas counterpart, the blowhard Repugnican Gov. Prick Perry — just quietly does his job (which I define as doing what’s best for the majority of the residents of the state that he governs, regardless of their income) without a lot of fanfare and bluster, Brown’s accomplishments aren’t well known outside of California, but here in California, Brown is on solid footing with the majority of the state’s voters.

That is the truth of where California and Californians stand today.

“The turnaround [in California] from just 10 years ago — striking in tone, productivity and, at least on fiscal issues, moderation — is certainly a lesson in the power of one-party rule,” the New York Times notes. “Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the [state] Assembly and [state] Senate and the governor, Jerry Brown, is a Democrat. The Republican Party, which just three years ago held the governor’s seat and a feisty minority in both houses, has diminished to the point of near irrelevance [in California].”

Gridlock doesn’t happen when the Repugnican Tea Party is as impotent as it is in California, and, the aforementioned Times article also notes, because in most elections in California a Repugnican candidate would have to be moderate (or at least campaign as a moderate) in order to win, most Repugnican candidates in California don’t have to worry much, if at all, about being “primaried” by a far-far-right-wing whackjob of the so-called “tea party.”

But, unlike those who tout the so-called Texas “miracle” — and only our treasonous plutocrats have anything to gain from the “miraculous” arrangement in Texas — I’m realistic.

Yes, as the New York Times at least insinuates, if the treasonous Repugnican (Tea) Party were as weak in D.C. as it is here in California, the nation would be much, much better off. We most likely would have no more gridlock and a return to prosperity. It would be great.

But like the Texas “miracle” is a right-wing fantasy, that the much-quieter California miracle will sweep the nation is a left-wing fantasy.

It’s not like the long-standing dynamic of the red states and the blue states is going to go away soon. The entire nation isn’t going to California-ize any year soon any more than it’s going to Texas-ize any year soon.

Indeed, the Civil War still wages. The red-state-blue-state divide is not an oversimplification. It’s a fact. (I could produce a lot of proof, but how about [once again…] a map of the slave states and territories and the free states and territories compared to a map of the 2012 presidential election results?:

Florida went to Obama in 2012, by the way.)

It’s a long, hard slog, and the change is slooooow, but, I predict, once it becomes clear to enough Americans what, exactly, the so-called Texas “miracle” actually entails, and once more Americans realize that the right-wing lies about how California is today are just that — lies — the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. will see their power diminish, as it has here in California.

It’s already happening.

After all, in all but one of the past six presidential elections (the 2004 election), the Democratic candidate indisputably received more votes than did the Repugnican; Texas Gov. Prick Perry, for all of the blather about the coming “United States of Texas,” couldn’t win even his party’s presidential nomination, much more the White House; and more and more it’s appearing that the Democrats might take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2014 elections.

In the meantime, go to Texas and have your “miracle” there, while I enjoy the actual miracles that are happening here in California.

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