He pretty much sums it up. (Emphasis mine)
Let us dispense with some conventional wisdom before it petrifies. First of all, the president’s basic unpopularity was unquestionably a factor, but not anywhere near as much of a factor as was the reluctance of the Democratic party — from the president on down — to embrace the actual successes that the administration has achieved. The economy is, in fact, improving. It is the responsibility of the president and his party that we have the paradoxical polling that indicates that the elements of the Affordable Care Act are popular, while “Obamacare” is not. (Mitch McConnell told a transparent lie that Kentucky could get rid of the ACA and still keep its very popular state exchange. He didn’t suffer at all for that.) The senatorial candidates who lost were senators who ran away from the administration. Alison Lundergan Grimes wouldn’t say if she’d voted for the president. Kay Hagan endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline. Michelle Nunn practically ran as an independent. How much worse could it possibly have been for all of them had they stood by the president and his record? How much worse could it possibly have been for them had the president come to campaign for them?
Second, it was a great night for voter-suppression, which has been central to the Republican response to the fact that the president has been elected twice. Kris Kobach, the architect of the strategy, was re-elected as Secretary of State in Kansas, and Jon Husted won the same office in Ohio, over Democratic candidate Nina Turner, on an election that was a referendum on Husted’s voter-suppression tactics in that state. Thom Tillis, who piloted North Carolina’s incredibly stringent voter-suppression law through the state legislature, is going to the Senate, and Scott Walker, who oversaw the same kind of effort in Wisconsin, is going back to his day job, running the state into the ground and dodging subpoenas, until it’s time for him to run for president. It’s going to take days to sort out the overall effect of these laws on the general electorate, even if anyone cares to do so, which I’ve come to doubt, because the Supreme Court created a new normal when John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act and declared the day of jubilee, and the people in the country who are not those inconvenienced by these laws, and who are not those against whose franchise these laws were directly aimed, seem perfectly content with this situation.
Last, and I hate to break this to Tom Brokaw, and to Kasie Hunt, who talked about how the Republicans know they have to “govern,” but this election couldn’t have been less of a repudiation of the Tea Party. As the cable shows signed off last night, it was dawning even on the most conventional pundits that the Republicans had not elected an escadrille of Republican archangels to descend upon Capitol Hill. It was more like a murder of angry crows. Joni Ernst is not a moderate. David Perdue is not a moderate. Thom Tillis is not a moderate. Cory Gardner — who spiced up his victory by calling himself “the tip of the spear” — is not a moderate. Tom Cotton is not a moderate. And these were the people who flipped the Senate to the Republicans. In the reliably Republican states, Ben Sasse in Nebraska is not a moderate. James Lankford in Oklahoma is not a moderate. He’s a red-haired fanatic who believes that welfare causes school shootings. Several of these people — most notably, Sasse and Ernst — won Republican primaries specifically as Tea Partiers, defeating establishment candidates. The Republicans did not defeat the Tea Party. The Tea Party’s ideas animated what happened on Tuesday night. What the Republicans managed to do was to teach the Tea Party to wear shoes, mind its language, and use the proper knife while amputating the social safety net. They did nothing except send the Tea Party to finishing school.
Knowing ALEC is behind this is why I am posting, word-for-word, an email I received today regarding the FACT Act.
Hi Blue Lyon Blogger,
My name is Susan Vento, and I am writing to you about a cause very close to my heart. My husband, Bruce, was a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives until October 10th, 2000 when he died of pleural mesothelioma––a rare disease caused by asbestos exposure. Recently, asbestos companies are using their political influence to push a new bill in Congress, led by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It is called the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act.” In short, this bill would delay and, in some cases, deny justice to people suffering from asbestos-related diseases. The FACT Act marks the beginning of a state-by-state strategy to dismantle the rights of victims. We must take action to protect these victims before it’s too late, like it was for my husband.
In the name of so-called “transparency,” the bill places burdensome reporting requirements on victims applying to the bankruptcy trusts. Yet, the companies who knowingly caused the asbestos exposure have no comparable requirements. The legislation is a one-sided and unfair effort designed to harm those who have already been injured. You can find more information on the bill here. This legislation is not an effort to make the legal system more responsive. Instead, it is merely the latest attempt by companies and individuals like the Koch brothers to avoid responsibility for their wrongdoings.
Because of your influence and experience in the political blogosphere, I am asking for your help. I am a spokesperson for the Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign. The ACVRC is a national campaign dedicated to protecting the rights and privacy of cancer victims and their families. I hope that you will join our fight to defeat this unfair legislation and the potential precedent it sets. Here are a couple of simple steps you can take to make a difference:
1. Sign the petition to stop legislation that threatens cancer victims!
Go to www.CancerVictimsRights.org/take-action/sign-the-petition/ and follow the instructions to sign the petition at the bottom of the page.
2. Spread the word!
Share your thoughts on the bill and our cause with your blog audience. Place a link to our petition on your blog to allow your readers to sign and showcase their public support––every signature matters!
Thank you in advance for your time. Individuals and families affected by cancer already have enough on their plate. With your help, the ACVRC is committed to fighting legislation that further burdens them.
“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. Tears aren’t enough. Expressions of sympathy aren’t enough. Speeches aren’t enough. We’ve cried enough. We’ve known enough heartbreak. What we’re proposing is not radical. It’s not taking away anyone’s gun rights. It’s something that, if we are serious, we will do.” ~ President Obama, speaking today.
I haven’t forgotten, and so, knowing that I’m likely pissing into the wind, I will be contacting my Congress Critters.
But shit. 92% of us are in favor universal background checks and yet, Republicans are vowing to filibuster anything. I despair.
And honestly, I don’t understand this at all.
Doing nothing would be akin to pissing on the graves of those little children and anyone felled by gun violence, and spitting in the faces of those left behind.
(And no, I’m not allowing comments on this post. I just had to get this off my chest and have no fucking interest in getting into another gun debate.)
When I listen to “my side” defend the indefensible, rationalizing that which they would be howling about if it were the “other” side doing it, I want to scream, and often do.
When what is moral is whatever our side does, then we have cut ourselves loose from our moorings.
William Rivers Pitt: Waking From My Moral Coma
I am finished with the moral geometry that says this is better than that, which makes this good. This is not good; this is, in fact, intolerable. Allowing the perpetrators of war crimes – widely televised ones at that – to retain their good name and go on Sunday talk shows as if they had anything to offer besides their ideology of murder and carnage is intolerable. Entertaining the idea that the billions we spend preparing for war cannot be touched, and so the elderly and the infirm and the young and the weak and the voiceless must pay the freight instead, is intolerable.
The pornography of America’s global killing spree is intolerable, and, by the by, I am sick of hearing about drones. A child killed by a Hellfire missile that was fired from a drone is exactly, precisely as dead as a child killed by a Hellfire missile fired from an Apache attack helicopter, precisely as dead as a child killed by a smart bomb, precisely as dead as a child killed by a sniper, precisely as dead as a child killed by a land mine, or by a cruise missile, or by any of the myriad other ways instant death is dealt by this hyper-weaponized nation of ours.
Exactly, precisely as God damned dead, and the blood is on our hands regardless of the means used to do the killing. The issue is not the drones. The issue is our hard, black hearts, and the grim fact that the debate in this country right now is not about whether the killing is wrong, but about the most morally acceptable way of going about that killing. Drones are bad, but snipers are better, because you don’t hear the buzzing sound in the sky before your lights go out forever. Or something.
It is the killing, it is the permanent war, it is our deranged national priorities. It is the system we live under which requires the serial deaths of all those innocents to maintain our economic health that should appall us. We sup upon the blood and bonemeal that is the byproduct of the idea that is America, and we sleep. And we sleep.
I listened to the inaugural address while sitting in my office at work, so it was possible that in the middle of answering emails, scheduling meetings, and entering my time, I might have missed it. But no, not a mention.
Unlike four years ago, not even a crumb for us non-believers today. No, Mr. President, freedom is not “a gift from God.” Our freedom was earned by the blood, sweat, and tears of real, live human beings.
And no, Mr. President and Chief Justice Roberts, “so help me, God” is not part of the oath of office. Please reread that Constitution you just swore to defend.
Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
That being said, good luck with the bat-shit crazy contingent in Congress.
Cross-posted from The Neophyte Photographer.
It is Inauguration Day in the United States.
For all the silliness of the election season, and regardless of the winner, I like inauguration day and the peaceful transition of power it symbolizes (or in this case, the assent of the people to the continuation of the current administration). I’ve got a number of friends who are there and I hope they have a great time.
I took these shots of the White House last March. You can see the lights on in the Oval Office and I wonder if they are on all the time, or only when the President is in residence. I’m pretty sure President Obama was in D.C. at the time, so seeing the lights on was kind of cool.
UPDATED to add: Okay, now I’m feeling rather foolish. I’ve been operating under the misapprehension that the Oval Office is located in the White House. It is not. Rather it is located in the West Wing, a separate building on the White House grounds.