Cook ’em a free pizza and they will come.
No, it’s not a Herman Cain campaign motto. It’s the Republican Party’s new strategy for molding the next generation of conservative voters. And it begins in elementary school.
Fighting back against the Obama Administration’s increased restrictions on unhealthy, high sodium and fatty foods in school cafeterias, Republicans this week proposed a bill to re-designate pizza sauce, ketchup and fries as “vegetables” and overturn the administration’s push for more whole grain and (actual) vegetable options in schools.
The administration’s argument is based on very simple logic: If you’re receiving government-subsidized meals, the government has the authority to require that those meals be healthy, but opponents of healthy foods see it differently.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness begins during childhood,” one Republican lawmaker said in support of his party’s proposed legislation. “The government has no authority to take away my child’s right to have frozen pizza, grease-drenched freedom fries and fat-filled Twinkies for lunch!”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently accused the Obama Administration of “explicitly” trying to “make people believe that Congress can’t get anything done” by pushing legislation the president knows won’t receive the Republican support needed for passage.
In yet another spot-on critique, the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen analyzes the “chutzpah” of McConnell’s claim by citing examples when the Kentucky Republican himself has shamelessly confessed to employing a strategy of unified Republican opposition to essentially every policy Democrats and President Obama have proposed.
Beyond blatantly admitting that making Obama a one-term president is the No. 1 goal of the Republican Party, McConnell has given further explanation of the GOP’s strategy not only to unseat the president, but to rally Americans against the Democratic Party. It calls for unified opposition to any and every policy Obama proposes – including those the party has previously supported – because unified Republican opposition, even if it is only symbolic, has the effect of “shifting American public opinion” against the Democratic agenda and “necessarily mak(ing) Democratic ideas less popular,” as Benen puts it.
“McConnell’s willingness to blame the president for McConnell’s own deliberate strategy is plainly insane,” Benen states.
I would add that the long list of partisan bills Republicans have pushed in the last 10 months is a far greater factor in shaping public sentiments about how “Congress can’t get anything done” than any policy the president has proposed.
Mitt Romney can negotiate with “good Democrats” and “good Republicans.”
Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters
He did it in Massachusetts as a one-term governor, and with that extensive “executive experience” under his belt, Romney therefore is ready to be the type of national leader America is so “desperately longing for.”
“The real course for America is to have someone who is a leader, who can identify people in both parties who care more about the country than they care about getting re-elected,” Romney said during the Oct. 11 GOP debate in Hanover, N.H.
“There are Democrats like that. There are Republicans like that. I was the governor of a state that had a few Democrats. People in this room know how many we had in Massachusetts.”
When moderator Charlie Rose of PBS asked Romney, “So it’s essential to deal with Democrats and be prepared to compromise on the big issues of our time?” the default frontrunner of the 2012 presidential race said:
Posted in Election 2012? Oy vey!, Magic Underpants, Nicholas Wilbur, Rick Perry Presents "Rick Perry", The Hermanator
Tagged 2012 primary, GOP, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, politics, President Obama, primary, Republican primary, Rick Perry, Tea Party
Whether you’re Christian or Jewish, God makes a pretty clear case against selfish ambition and hypocrisy in both testaments of the Bible.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Clownsville)
Remember Cain, the first man born on Earth? Cain was cursed by the Lord for killing his brother, but Cain’s first sin (one always leads to another) was selfish ambition. While his brother, Abel, sacrificed the first-born of his flock, Cain offered only defiled fruit (the assumption being that he kept the good shit – probably the chocolate-covered strawberries – for himself.)
In The Gospel According to John, when the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who’d been accused of adultery, they cited the law of Moses, which commanded that such a woman be stoned. Jesus said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The morals of these stories are self-explanatory, but for those who aren’t keeping up on their studies (I won’t name names…yet), they are straightforward warnings against selfish ambition and hypocrisy.
Republicans would be wise to take note.
It dawned on me, sometime between last night and this morning, that I hadn’t actually said in yesterday’s post “why I think it matters” that Marcus Bachmann might be gay. I was, I will admit, kind of worked up!
So, here’s why I think it matters:
- If Marcus Bachmann is gay, and has spent his life not just in denial but actively persecuting people like himself — OMG, look at what our shared homophobia can do to a person. If Marcus Bachmann is gay, then in among the wasteland of the lives ruined, wasted and shattered by the homophobia that he so spews with such venom, is his own. And furthermore:
- If Marcus Bachmann is gay, and has spent his life not just in denial but actively persecuting people like himself — OMG, look at how fucked up our society is. Not only did we produce this monster, but we are aiding and abetting the damage that he is wreaking.
We’ve already seen all of this in the long list of outed anti-gay crusaders to which I referred last night, and the fact that our cultural norms and mores can produce and support such a disturbing level of self-hate is, or certainly should be, deeply, deeply troubling.
None of which is to say that if Marcus Bachmann is not gay that he gets a pass on his malignant homophobia. It is odious, it is genuinely life-threatening, and it must not be allowed to further warp our national dialogue. And it remains a very clear indication of just how fucked up we are.
It’s just that if he (or one of his children, or his wife) is gay — all that gets turned up to eleven. And a half.
It’s been a rough year for teachers in this country, particularly in the Midwest. Wisconsin notwithstanding, teachers in Michigan may be taking it on the chin from Republicans more than any other group in the country. Last Thursday, we learned that GOP House Speaker Jase Bolger’s next legislative target is teachers’ pensions.
That’s right: pensions. It’s not enough that school funding has been drastically cut back, forcing school districts into difficult financial straits. It’s not enough that they have made it “more illegal” for teachers to strike. It’s not enough that the new Emergency Manager law is being used as a cudgel to force even more wage concessions. It’s not enough that their ability to collectively bargain has been severely curtailed. It’s not enough that they will now pay more for their health insurance after giving up wages to secure what they have. No, none of this is enough. Now their pensions, the money they will live on in their retirement, are in the bullseye.
Whether Michigan school districts will see more funding next year will depend on the state’s economy, but lawmakers are working on pension reforms to free up money for Michigan K-12 classrooms, state House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said Wednesday.
“Our goal is to make schools better” by giving school officials “the tools they need” to better contain costs and improve teacher quality, Bolger said Wednesday during an hourlong discussion with the Kalamazoo Gazette in his office at the state Capitol.
“The whole point was to face reality,” he said of the Republicans’ 2011 agenda this spring on education. “I don’t think the past 10 years were helpful, where schools got marginal increases in funding, and there was not an attempt to contain costs.”
But wait! There’s more teacher-bashing goodness!
Not very long ago, a bit of audio tape emerged in which Marcus Bachmann, husband of Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, likened gays and lesbians (and, one presumes, the entire LGBTQ community) to “barbarians”:
We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it, doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature.
Given the virulence of the hatred in those remarks, not to mention the fact that Mr. Bachmann appears to have been involved with/aggressively pushed the so-called “reparative therapy” designed as a “cure” for homosexuality, much was subsequently made of the fact that Mr. Bachmann’s voice sounds not dissimilar to that of the standard-issue stereotypical “gay man” — a bit foppy, a bit high-pitched, the hint of a lisp. Much was also made of the fact that he dances in a mildly flamboyant fashion. The idea underlying all of this japery was and is, of course: OMG it’s so funny, he hates gay people but dude is soooooo gay!!1!
Here’s the problem with that:
Skipping Down The Path To Prosperity
Republicans are in a world of hurt going into the 2012 election. You don’t hear much about it in the media, they devote the bulk of their time to pushing the Republican Party’s talking points and bringing on faux Democrats who seem to spend most of their time bashing President Obama and avoiding giving him credit for anything. What amazes me is that with 2 and 1/2 years of pounding on the President, he is sitting better than any incumbent president in my memory.
I don’t put much stock in horse-race polls this far out from an election, but non horse-race questions — when the sample is large enough — can be useful in analyzing trends. These results from an NBC/WSJ combined poll show some shocking numbers that make me know that the Republicans boneheaded move of hitching their wagons to Paul Ryan is already having an effect. From First Read…
In our combined NBC/WSJ polls for the first half of this year (so 4,800 total interviews, including 711 seniors), 44% of seniors identify themselves as Democrats, versus 35% who identify themselves as Republicans. So a nine-point spread. But in our merged NBC/WSJ polls from 2010 (12,502 interviews, including 1,931 seniors), Democrats held just a two-point edge among seniors, 42%-40%.
What is astounding to me is that in the 2010 midterms, the GOP won the senior vote by 20 percentage points. Clearly there is buyers remorse happening in the elderly voting population. I know when I first heard that the Republicans were getting behind the Ryan plan, I sat up in bed and actually said to the television, “you’re kidding?” I couldn’t believe it. In all my years obsessing over politics, that was by far, the dumbest idea I’d ever seen a political party embrace. Seniors show up to the polls and vote in their self interests. Like Richard Pryor said, “you don’t get to be old, being no fool.”
Republicans are also losing ground in the midwest, here are some more numbers to chew on from First Read:
Over at Ta-Nehisi Coates’ place at the Atlantic, there is a lively discussion surrounding one simple statistic:
35 percent of all women of reproductive age will have had an abortion by the time they’re 45.
Now, one can argue with the efficacy of statistics that are dependent on the use of the future perfect tense (“…at current rates, more than one-third [35%] will have had…”), but it’s not like we’re looking at a possible reversal of the trend. If the folks behind the statistic, the highly regarded Guttmacher Institute, are off, they’re off by a matter of percentage points. So I feel entirely comfortable with the phrase “roughly one-third.”
Entirely comfortable, and entirely unsurprised. Abortion is one of the greatest open secrets in American society. We all know that it happens a lot — we just don’t talk about it. God forbid! We need to feel ashamed, horrified, and deeply guilty! Or, if those of us who have had abortions don’t feel that way, we at least know better than to raise the fact publicly. We know how thoroughly we’re judged before anyone even opens their mouth. (Aside from anything else, we’re admitting that we’ve had sex. Shhhh!)
But if we don’t start talking about it, if the roughly one-third of us who terminate a pregnancy in the course of our reproductive lives don’t get more honest and more bold, the GOP (and some anti-choice Democrats) will continue to do all they can to take away our right to this entirely legal surgical procedure. As Jeffrey Toobin wrote some time ago in the New Yorker: Continue reading