Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut
  • Elizabeth Warren (MA) – the first woman Senator from Massachusetts.
  • Tammy Baldwin (WI) – the first openly gay Senator
  • Mazie Hirono (HI) – first Buddhist Senator and first Senator born in Japan
  • Tulsi Gabbard (HI) – first Hindu elected to Congress.  Will be sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita.
  • ME, WA and MD the first states to approve gay marriage by public referendum.
  • WA and CO first states to legalize marijuana (not just the medical stuff) by referendum
  • Romney-Ryan are the first ticket to lose both home states since 1972.
  • Romney may be the only candidate to have 4 home states and to lose them all (MI, NH, MA and CA)
  • Puerto Rico voted for statehood, though the vote is controversial because of many blank votes.
  • The last three presidents have been re-elected (coincidentally they all had only daughters).  The only other time that has happened was with Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
  • The number of women Senators reached an all time (so far) high – 20.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

In 1994 California Governor Pete Wilson secured re-election by enthusiastically attacking illegal immigrants with rhetoric that offended Hispanics.  As a result the Latino vote in California turned overwhelmingly Democratic.  The Republican Party in the home state of Reagan and Nixon has withered away and yesterday ceded super-majority control of the California legislature to the Democrats.

That is the demographic destiny that stares the national Republican Party in the face.  After 6 years of virulent rhetoric on illegal immigration and the passage of laws in states like Arizona that threaten anyone with brown skin with racial profiling, a presidential nominee who promised to deal with illegal immigrants by encouraging them to self deport, opposing the DREAM Act, the at times racist opposition to the elevation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and many such issues the Republican share of the Latino vote dropped from 31% to 21%.  Even Faux News acknowledged this demographic disaster yesterday.  The Old White core of the Republican Party is gradually dying off.  The percentages of Hispanics is surging.  Unless the Republican Party can bottle up the crazies they face a future as a permanent minority party or dissolution like the Whigs.

It is unclear the Republicans know how to solve this problem.  Talking heads like George Will and Bill O’Reilly suggested the solution was to highlight rising young stars like Florida Senator Marco Rubio.   It is profoundly ironic that the party that rails against affirmative action so eagerly highlights its token minority mascots as a solution to its problem with minority voters.  It is a superficial solution that really does not address the core of the Republican Party’s campaign.  To begin with Cuban Americans like Rubio or newly elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz have limited appeal to non-Cuban Hispanics – a big reason is the preferential visa regime available to Cubans.  Also, while the Republicans have gathered an impressive collection of minority faces in elected office – Governors Martinez (New Mexico), Sandoval (Nevada),   Jindal (Lousiana) and Haley (South Carolina) and former party head Michael Steele – none of this has translated to greater minority support.  The last few Republican presidential conventions appear to have had more minority speakers than attendees.

The simple reason is that the Republican Party’s policies turn off many minorities.  Putting a minority mask on policies the community despises is not likely to garner much support from the community.  So far most minority groups have not embraced the Randian fantasy of no government and do acknowledge that government can play a positive role.

One of the bright stars at the Republican convention was Mia Love.  A woman, African American and a Mormon from Utah she wowed the convention attendees.  She was widely expected to take out the one Democratic congressman from Utah – Jim Matheson.  She lost.  Her campaign was disorganized and extreme views on matters like ending the federal school lunch program did not help, even in Utah.  The more I read about her I get the distinct impression that the Republicans fell in love with a young attractive charismatic but inexperienced mascot who was just not ready for prime time – Sarah Palin anyone?

Expecting tokenism to trump policy is offensive.  Condescending remarks like those from Bill O’Reilly that embrace Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comments are offensive.  Video below:

Active campaigns carried out by Republican Secretaries of State to discourage minority voting, the series of misleading robocalls directed at minority communities, the habit of sending poll watchers only to minority communities are factors that convince minorities that the Republican Party does not respect them or care about them.  And these are still basic matters of tone.  This does not address the substantive disagreement on bread and butter issues which trump agreement with Republicans on the religious culture wars.

The Republican Party was the party that freed the slaves.  However one of its founding constituent groups was the anti-slavery wing of the Know Nothings who were notorious for attacks on immigrants in antebellum America.  Even though the Republican Party held on to a large portion of the black vote until Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act and Nixon implemented the Southern Strategy, they spent the intervening period pissing off large chunks of every single ethnic immigrant group entering the United States.  So why would it be different for Hispanics?

The Republican Party needs a through rethink on how they approach minorities.  Nominating someone like Rubio is papering over its serious problem with minorities and will not do much to draw support.  They need to adapt to the reality that we are no longer in Bill O’Reilly’s wet dream of an America controlled by the white establishment and stop embracing race baiters like Joe Arpaio.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

We won’t have Mitt Romney to kick around for much longer.  However, just released back story for Romney’s Benghazi blunder shows just how much Romney was in thrall to the neo-con elements of his base.  When the American consulates in Cairo and Benghazi came under attack on September 11, Mitt Romney jumped the gun to score cheap political points while the consulates were still under attack.  The Washington Post notes  that Mitt Romney was aware the next day he had blundered.  However, fear of the neo-cons being outraged prevented him from admitting his boneheaded mistake.

Within hours, on the advice of his messaging shop and with the blessing of his foreign policy advisers, Romney approved a statement that accused Obama of sympathizing with anti-American interests in the Muslim world. It was sent out shortly after 10 p.m.

By sunrise the next day, it was clear to Romney that they had acted too quickly. The campaign learned that four Americans had been killed in an attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Even to some Republicans, Romney’s hasty statement looked insensitive.

“We screwed up, guys,” Romney told aides on a conference call that morning, according to multiple people on the call. “This is not good.”

His advisers told him that, if he took back his statement, the neoconservative wing of the party would “take his head off.” He stood by it during an appearance in Florida.

A gutless weasel who cannot stand up to the extremists of his own party has no business being President.  We are lucky to have avoided a Romney presidency.

 

 

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Watching Faux News yesterday night was a delightful exercise in schadenfreude.  One of the highlights of comedy hour came after Ohio was called for Barack Obama, sealing his re-election.  Karl Rove who has spent a lot of money of some likely irritated plutocrats along with the Romney campaign disputed the call – even though it was clear to this amateur poll watcher that large swathes of Democratic counties still had to send in their results.  The whole fiasco delayed Mitt Romney’s concession for about an hour.

Rove was right in bringing up memories of 2000, but this did not appear to fit that scenario.  Of course Rove’s math has been known to be wrong – notably in 2006 where he confidently noted that he had numbers assuring a Republican win.  For those who missed it, the video of yesterday’s exchange is below.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Once again in no particular order:

  • The Mexican Drug Cartels – Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana last night. The United States may be gradually heading to sanity on the topic.

  • The American Catholic Church and homophobes – Obama won. Three states legalized gay marriage by voter referendum. Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin – the first openly gay Senator. Ouch!!!

  • Plutocrats – almost a billion dollars spent and Obama won. Sherrod Brown won. Linda MacMahon blew over 100 million dollars in her two futile attempts to buy the Connecticut Senate seat. And now your taxes will go up.

  • Joe Lieberman – couple more weeks and you join Mitt Romney in political retirement. Good Riddance.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

In no particular order and ignoring the obvious ones like Obama.

  • Arithmetic

  • Nate Silver who may or may not be a witch

  • The return of tax sanity in California.

  • Faux News, Rush Limbaugh and other right wing talking heads – four more years of peddling ludicrous lucrative conspiracies to a credulous conspiracy prone audience.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The anonymous copyeditor who came up with the heading “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” That was a millstone even the most mendacious weathervane could not dislodge. As he ponders the end of a long political career littered with defeat, Mitt Romney probably wishes he had never penned that article.

Wherever you are you unsung hero, this blogger salutes you.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

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