Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bye, Bye, Baby! Farewell, Michele!

She's going away!  Michele Bachmann is leaving us!  She's not running for re-election to Congress next year!

Where are the Bay City Rollers when you need them?  "Bye, Bye, Baby!"  And that's for sure!

There's an especially suitable line from this song for this situation:  "Wish I had never known you better."

Actually that is as undecipherable as Dorothy's line in the Wizard of Oz:  "If I ever go looking again for my heart's desire, I won't look any further than my own backyard because if it isn't there then I never really lost it to begin with."

Since neither of these lines makes any sense, they fit right well into this parting message to Michele Bachmann because she never made any sense either.  She was mind-blowingly crazy.  She was crazier than  the "I am not a witch" woman.  At least the latter was trying to run away from her reputation for being a whack job.  Michele embraced being a zany with that wide-eyed stare that was kind of shivery.

Remember?  Her doing a very odd and awkward Lindy on the stage with her doughy husband.  Calling for investigation of  the Democratic "Communists" serving in Congress.  Oh, please, that's enough.  I can't bear to bring her back now that we are finally to be rid of her.

Well, not completely rid of her.  She will linger on like the smell of a burnt dinner, like the Sarah Palin of twitter and a bored news media.  Periodically the two will pop up when news is slow.  Some things, like a summer cold, just come around and have to be borne.

Best news is that we have a chance of winning her seat.  Her Democratic rival in 2012 nearly beat her and has announced he is running again. Of course it's a Republican district, and a GOP candidate to replace her will likely not be as outrageous as Michele the Cracked Belle.  But there is a chance.  We next have to find sixteen other House seats where we have a chance of winning.  That will give us back the House, a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Just think how lovely life will be if the House is Democratic again.  We could get something done in D.C.  Do you remember what that's like?  I know it's a long time back, but I can assure you that there was a time when the Congress did the people's work.

Well, that's a lovely prospect.  Meantime, let's rejoice in what we have today.  Sing it out!  Bye, bye, baby, and farewell, Michele.

And, girl, don't bother to call or write.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Not a Whiff of Watergate! Obama Gains 11 Percent!

The Sunday morning talk shows today were dripping with blood and venom.  Obama's blood and GOP venom.  George Will and his ilk were having a high old time, all puffed up with self-righteousness and scarcely suppressed glee.  Even the normally less excitable Peggy Noonan was wriggling with indignation, still wedded to her outrageous assertion this past week that the current IRS frufah is "the worst thing since Watergate".  She and George Will and the other GOP talkers are absolutely confident that Obama is toast.  Off-camera Michele Bachmann is tootling "Impeachment Is A-Coming".

In reality it appears they are all paddling upstream and not getting anywhere.  So far at least, the public is not buying into the notion that Obama and his White House are Nixonian.  Keep in mind that Nixon and his pals were accused of criminal acts for which twenty-five of them went to jail.  But the public today knows there's no criminal conspiracy in the White House.  Obama is an honest man.  Not a whiff of Watergate.  In fact, au contraire, mon frere!

Reassuringly, Obama's approval rating is currently 53%, according to a CNN poll just released.  That's UP two points since the last  CNN poll.  Of course everyone is quick to say the modest gain is within the statistical margin of error.  Except  two other polls also show the 2% gain.  What must also be noted is that his disapproval rate fell 5 points between the current  CNN poll (45%)  and one in March (50%), giving Obama a net gain of ll% if we look all the way back to March.  But the real point is that he is doing fine at 53%.  Just as he was with 51% in the prior CNN poll.  Anything over 50% is dear to the heart of a sitting president, especially in the second term when lots of the freshness has worn off his presidency.  The bottom line here is that people like Obama, and they don't think he's a crook or a screw-up.

The Republicans never get this through their heads, that people truly like Obama.  They couldn't believe he was winning last year.  Peggy Noonan and company at one point were pinning their hopes on the belief they were seeing more Romney lawn signs than those for Obama.  Oh, babe, that is so dumb.   So now they see Obama sinking fast because somebody somewhere in government screwed up.  Like, what else is new?  Somebody somewhere is always screwing up!

In Reagan's presidency a whole barracks full of Marines got blown up in Lebanon.  Did Ronnie get impeached?  No.  People liked Reagan.

In Clinton's presidency he disgraced the Oval Office with his zipper problem.  Did he get convicted upon impeachment?  Did his popularity drop?  No.  He was acquitted in the Senate, his popularity remained high throughout, and the GOP took a bath in the next Congressional  election.  People liked Clinton.

JFK blew it badly with the Bay of Pigs, buying into a CIA invasion scenario that made Wile E. Coyote look, by comparison,  like George Patton.  Did the public round on JFK for being a greenhorn dupe?  Nope.  People liked JFK.

So far, it's three up and three down for the GOP.  They can find nothing to link Obama to any "cover-up" in the Libya attack.  They can't even find a cover-up, and about half of those polled who think there is a cover-up in the Libya matter can't find Libya on a map.  (I kid you not.)   They also can't connect Obama to the Justice Department gathering of AP phone records because the law prohibits any such connection. And they have found nothing to connect Obama with the cloddish IRS practices in Cincinnati.  In fact, a report by the Inspector General says there is no such evidence nor any evidence of any political influence from outside the IRS.

So what does the GOP say in the absence of evidence of anything?  It says, "We are not through investigating."  (They've been investigating the Libya deal for a longer span than its revolution lasted!)

So there goes immigration reform.  There goes tax reform.  There goes infrastructure building. There goes job creation.  There goes environmental and education improvements. There goes a "grand bargain" re the budget.  There will instead be three years of GOP Congressional investigations even though it's pretty obvious that there is no there there on the three issues.

Meantime, the economy is picking up some surprising steam.  The job picture is suddenly looking better.  Consumer confidence just did a jump. The stock market is at a record high.  New controls on Wall Street have just been promulgated, including regulation of derivatives.  The deficit just surprised the hell out of everybody by looking like it's going to drop 25% more than was expected.  And housing prices and housing starts are a-blooming.  Baseball season is purring along, and winter has finally left the northeast.

So smell the flowers and smile at the daft GOP.  They were the ones who needed to make a legislative record before 2014.  They are still perceived as a do-nothing Congress.  And by their own self-analysis they needed that immigration reform bill in order to cuddle up to Latinos.  Instead they will still be plowing the old investigative fields of "Get Obama".

Some folks never learn.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

North Korea, the IRS, and a "Kick Me" Sign

Against all GOP hopes, their Four Horsemen of Scandal failed last week to catch public attention and keep it.  Public interest in the alleged Libya talking-points-scrubbing, the IRS  "persecution" of the Tea Party, and the Justice Department taking of AP phone records have all thus far produced a yawn from the American citizenry.  The fourth horse  -  the military tolerance of abuse of women  -  wasn't a GOP favorite anyway.  Sadly it was the one issue which really did warrant an outcry.  The GOP just couldn't be bothered playing it up because (1) many of its right-wing members despise women and (2)  the GOP knew it couldn't tie the military mess to the White House or even suggest such a thing.  Obama has those two daughters.

Not that they could tie the other stuff to the White House either.  And it was their foaming-at-the-mouth attempt to do so that probably convinced the majority of American public that this was just more of the GOP's wild accusations.  The GOP has pretty much exhausted its creds by being frequently preposterous in its accusations about Obama for four and a half years.

It makes one think of Kim Il What's-His-Name of North Korea.  That's what he wants.  He wants us to think about him, to notice him, to be scared of him.  He stands like a chubby little school boy in an empty field, shaking his fist at us and yelling, "You better watch out and be really scared.  Because I'm going to do terrible things to you.  And, boy, will you be sorry!  You just wait and see!"  He's always saying this and shaking his fist.  We look at him for a while and then we don't look any more.  On Saturday he gave up threatening nuclear war (no one was listening any more anyway) and instead fired a couple of missiles off his east  coast to plop into the Pacific.  At least South Korea said he did.  Neither the USA nor Japan bothered to say anything about it.

Like the GOP, Kim Il has shot his wad.

No one much believes them any more.

Yeah, you say, but what about those evildoers at the IRS?  Surely they really exist and did bad stuff.

Nope, they just did dumb stuff.  If you have ever worked in government or any major organization, you know what happens when people get in over their heads or are swamped with work.  They take up drinking or they flail with both arms.  Or sometimes they do both.  Which is hard to do at the same time.

These poor schlemiels in Cincinnati were suddenly swamped with 70,000 applications for special tax status.  Because of budget cuts engineered by the GOP, there were only 200 of them.  And they weren't lawyers.  Yet they were being asked to do a task of "determining eligibility" without any clear guidelines.  I've watched well-meaning low-level civil servants struggle with problems like this, and it's not a pretty sight.  We should probably be glad there wasn't a mass suicide, bodies raining down from the IRS offices in the fed building in Cincinnati.  Instead the poor clucks decided to simplify things by picking out of the pile all the applications that announced in bold letters that they were from blatantly political organizations.

Actually, maybe they were doing exactly the right thing.

Is there anything more blatantly political-sounding than the words "Tea Party"?  Yet these are the words these groups used in their titles.  Why would they assume that no one would think they were political?  You'd have to be a genuine idiot to ignore "Tea Party" in a group's name.

Haven't these Tea Party groups gone to great lengths to convince us all that they are profoundly and muscularly political.  "Watch out!" they shout at their demonstrations, waving their fists and their signs.  "We are coming to get you, you election you!"

Sort of like Kim Il Whosit in his empty field.  Obviously they want to be noticed.

If you wear a sign saying "Kick me", somebody is likely to do so.  You can't boast about being formidably political and then expect to escape scrutiny about whether you are too political to get special tax treatment.

The IRS folks in Cincinnati were just doing their job.  All thumbs perhaps.  But they weren't persecuting anybody.  They were nobody's political tool.  In fact, some of them are probably secretly Tea Partyers themselves.

In fact, in all my days I have never met an IRS employee who was anything but fiercely conservative.

So this whole so-called IRS scandal is, in all likelihood, a dog that won't hunt.  And did anybody ever really think that Obama is stupid enough to do what Nixon did in using the IRS for political purposes?    We Democrats have our faults.  Stupidity isn't at the top of the list.  NIXON GOT CAUGHT.  Obama knows that,  I know it,  you know it.

When an idiot network newsperson asked Obama the other day if last week's problems were his Watergate, he suggested that "the press read some history".  Yep.  That's a very good idea.    



The IRS, George W and John Boehner

This is Part 3 on the so-called White House scandals.  The purported scandals are actually disappearing faster than I can write about them, which is just fine because, as I've said earlier, they aren't really scandals.  Except for one.  And none of them have anything to do with Obama.

We've already looked at the Libya and AP brouhahas.  Now what about the IRS supposedly persecuting the Tea Party-type groups that sought special tax status?

The big thing here is staring the blind media in its collective face:  the alleged IRS sins occurred entirely under the control of a Republican appointee, a hold-over appointment from George W. Bush.  The office of IRS Commissioner has a five-year term as fixed by law.  Obama couldn't replace the Commissioner until last November.  By then the practices of the IRS regarding the Tea Party groups had been stopped by the IRS itself.

This is why it's nutty to lay this "scandal" at the door of the Obama White House and thus try to turn the affair into a Nixonian use of the IRS for political purposes.  Are the GOP screamers and the news-starved media suggesting that George W wanted the far right to be maltreated?  It was Georgie's boy who was in charge of the agency.  It has nothing to do with Obama.  In fact, a president is  supposed to be "hands off" the agency BECAUSE of the political use Nixon made of it.  The fact that George Bush's appointee was in charge of the IRS is, as we say in law, dispositive of the case, i.e., over and out, case closed, no Obama scandal.

(If any scandal at all, it's actually a GOP Congressional scandal, and it's also the Tea Party's own fault, but more on that in a subsequent posting.)

What remains of the four scandals that riled the media last week is the only true one: the pig-headed male chauvinist refusal of the military brass to put an end to sexual abuse of women in the military.  This scandalous defiance of law and decency has been going on ever since women have been admitted to the military.  Thus it's been going on for decades.  And it has got to stop.  Now.  No more refusing to prosecute sex abuse charges.  No more reversing convictions.  Do the right thing NOW.  It's not just because one of my grand-daughters is a West Point cadet.  It's not just because it is criminal and anti-women to tolerate abuse of women.  It's also because it's bad for the military and bad for the country.

We need women in the military as warriors.  Ask Congresswoman Duckworth, who lost her legs in Iraq.  We need women in the military beyond the need for their courage.  We need them not for just their sacrifice but for the same reason we need diversity in all fields:  ALL people have something to contribute, no matter their race, gender, religion, etc.  We must not cut ourselves off from the talents of women by driving them away from the military, by allowing abuse to triumph.

Further, we are not fundamentalist extremist Muslims.  Among such as the Taliban the abuse of women is too commonplace.  When they stone a woman to death, we gasp in horror at their "primitive" ways.  Yet if we tolerate women being sexually abused in our military  -  the force that is supposedly holding the line against the violence of fundamentalist extremism  -  how can we claim any credibility in anyone's eyes, including our own?

President Obama is not responsible for the prior deficiencies of the military brass in this matter.  At least not until now.  From this point on, however, he and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel must fire generals under whose command things do not improve.  Up until now we thought the military was prosecuting and punishing men who attack their female comrades in arms.  Now we know that the military has been flagrantly tolerant of such abuses.  Tolerance amounts to an endorsement in the eyes of the male ranks.

John Boehner said of the supposed-scandals that someone should be behind bars  He was talking about the IRS thingy and was hopeful of hanging a jail rap on some top Democrats in the White House.  He was speaking nonsense.  But if he had applied that to the military abuse scandal he would have been correct.  Some generals and other officers should go to jail for tolerating crime and obstructing the course of justice.    



Friday, May 17, 2013

Part 2 of Hair on Fire & Is Obama Jewish?

The above question, "Is Obama Jewish?",  is not just a teaser to lure you into reading this blog.  It's a  lesson about not taking the media and "the experts" too seriously.  It's something we have to keep in mind in order to stay balanced in these times of "scandal" hysteria.

Several months ago a reputable national poll reported that the number of Americans who believe Obama is a Muslim has dropped sharply to only 10% (still an amazing number), but the poll also reported that a startling 18% of Americans suddenly believe Obama is Jewish.  Wha?

In due course the pollster caught the error that produced this unlikely result.  He said it was a typo. That is inexcusable and, to my knowledge, unprecedented.  According to the corrected findings, nobody thinks Obama's Jewish, and the same old large percentage believe he's a Muslim as was reported all last year.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.  The trouble is it lasted too long.  The correction did not catch up with the error entirely.  Remember this: Truth seldom overtakes fiction.  As a result of this screw-up, a New York Times columnist wrote about a week ago of the "clueless" nature of Americans, his prime talking point being the 18% who allegedly believe Obama is Jewish.  This was error upon error.  There had been plenty of time since the first error was corrected for there not to have been a second error.  And by a New York Times columnist writing on his specialty of politics?  This truly is the end of the world as we know it?

No.  It's just a writer being as clueless as his subjects.  He didn't check it out.

And that's what's happening now.  The media, with a few exceptions, has jumped into the GOP kerfuffle over purported "scandals" in the Obama administration.  They have jumped into it with all the heartiness of journalists in a slow news season.  Remember what was going on before the "scandals" broke?  Nothing. The idiot head of North Korea had been wiped from the public eye by the Boston bombing, then the surviving Boston bomber reportedly confessed, and then three women who had escaped that house in Cleveland went home.  Then nothing.  No men were biting dogs.

The GOP saw its chance to play catch-up.  Some issues get tabled by a party during a campaign year for fear that the issue will be dismissed as "just playing politics".  After the campaign is over, the party  trots out the issue and begins pounding on tables.  That's what is going on now.  And that's why it seems that the Obama administration is falling apart on a lot of fronts all at once.  It isn't.   The GOP is just doing a dump of stuff they have been storing up, along with some newer stuff.  They are doing a fine job of creating the appearance of a wave and exaggerating it's components.

We looked at two of their "scandals" in my last posting,  and I'll do the other two next time, i.e. the IRS pursuing conservative political groups and the sex abuse scandal in the military.  You'll notice, please that I use no quote marks with the word "scandal" in the prior sentence, and that's because in my view  -  a view that's over 70 years long  -  the military issue is the only real scandal that's been unfolding.  The rest is just the GOP taking advantage of a slow news time in the media.

So don't set your hair on fire.  Put the matches back in the drawer once again.  Next time we'll look at what the IRS thing is really all about and what, if any, dangers it actually presents.

And we'll see how John Boehner, for once in his life, made a wild statement that is actually true.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is Your Hair on Fire? Is Obama Jewish?

It's knickers twist time.  The media and some hair-tearing Democrats are wild with the "scandals" befallen Obama.   Three in one week!  Four, if you count the newest stories about really scandalous sexual abuse in the military.  Military out of control?  IRS destroying our country?  AP assaulted by Justice Department subpoenas?  Libya talking points scrubbed?

Golly, it's just so awful.

But is it?  And what does it have to do with Obama?

The answers are "no" and "nothing".  With two caveats, discussed later.

Taking the least first:  Re Libya, no one cares about emails scrubbing talking points except the media and that jerk Congressman Darrell Issa  from California, who has an arrest/accusation record from the 1970s that he would probably like to scrub.  He's a braggart and a bully and a nut case.   But no matter his braggadacio,  the American public doesn't much care about anything to do with Libya, sad as that may seem to hawks and fix-everything-now liberals.  Sure it's sad that our intelligence people may have misread the threat in Libya and thus failed to thwart the attack on our embassy.  Four Americans died, and that's what matters.  But  if you didn't realize our intelligence people quite often misread the opposition threat, you are a dreamer.  Hell, they didn't even realize the Sovet Union was falling apart!  John le Carre knew (read "The Russia House"), but the CIA didn't.  So it's no surprise that no one knew at the time exactly who was attacking the embassy that night last fall.  And recent polls show people are more interested in the three women escaping their Cleveland prison.

Next "scandal":  The Justice Department is destroying the First Amendment?  Assaulting the AP's freedom of the press?  No.  The Justice Department was trying to catch the leaker who endangered our double agent in Yemen, the double agent who had exposed a plot to blow up an airliner that would have been carrying lots of Americans.  As a former journalist, I feel very strongly about freedom of the press.  I also feel very strongly about avoiding having Americans killed and about protecting those who dare give us the information to protect our fellow citizens.  Though it looks as if Justice may have overshot the mark and obtained an excess of records, when you don't know who did something in a huge organization such as AP, where do you draw the line on your search?  As for protecting the "leaker",  I don't get it.  What public purpose is served in this case?  Isn't the leaker here more like a traitor than a whistle blower?

So what about the IRS messing around?  And the military doing likewise?  Only one of these is serious, and you can guess which one.  But the rest of this hair-burning stuff next time.

And a revealing answer to the strange question of "Is Obama Jewish?"

Till then, put the matches away.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jesse James and Rush Limbaugh

Red state v. blue state is nothing new.  Once upon a time we were as divided as a nation as we are now and virtually along the same sectional lines.  That was before, during, and after the Civil War.  Since a newly-estimated 800,000 Americans died in that war  (the estimate used to be 600,000 until last year), I guess you could say we were more divided in the 1860s than now.  At least we haven't come to outright slaughtering each other in these times.  At least not yet.

It is striking, however, to note the similarity between now and the years right after the Civil War, particularly if we look at post-war Missouri and the fabled Jesse James.  The real Jesse James of that era was a Confederate guerilla who refused to quit killing people when the war ended.  He had learned his gruesome "bushwhacking" craft as one of the eighty men who rode with the murderous "Bloody Bill" Anderson during the war.  This gang of thugs did plenty of killing, including the en masse slaughter and mutilation in one day of over a hundred unarmed "Yankees".  Bloody Bill was caught and killed, but Jesse escaped and in the post-war years turned his guerilla career into just plain thieving and killing.  As the old folk songs tell us, he specialized in holding up banks and trains and murdering the men who worked in those places.

For this, he became a folk hero.  Thanks to the press of his era.  Thanks to the Rush Limbaughs of his day.

The Missouri news sheets of that time that glorified him into phony national prominence made no pretense of objectivity.  In that way they were certainly more honest than Fox News and the radio screamers.  Even their names said it all:  "The Weekly Caucasian", "The Unterrified Democrat" (the Democrats of Missouri were pro-slavery), and "The Vindicator".  Jesse was their boy, glorified as a fighter for The Lost Cause and as a Robin Hood who did you-know-what.

Except he didn't.  There's no good evidence that Jesse ever gave any poor person anything.  He didn't rob the trains and the banks because of any social protest agenda.  He robbed them because that's where the money was.  And he wanted the money all for himself and "his boys".

Yeah, there were "the boys".  The "bubbas" of their time.  The sons and grandsons of men like them would grow up to form lynch mobs, and the sons and grandsons of the lynchers would grow up to enforce Jim Crow and spit on little children trying to desegregate schools.  Today they spit on the idea of an African-American being president and claim he wasn't even born in the USA.  Not all of them live in the South; Donald Trump lives in the North but is certainly one of them.  They are the hard-core gun folks, the ones who sneer at science and "regulations" and want to "get government off our backs."  They walk, talk, and sound just like Jesse and his boys but, except for Donald The Hair, they ride pickups instead of horses.

It sounds like I'm looking down on them.  Oh, no.  "Looking down on them" would mean they are little and I am large.  That's not the case.  These guys are big and scary.  But we aren't allowed to call them out for what they are.  They ride neath the same cover Jesse had, a so-called press that wants us to believe that "the boys" are "victims" of "big government" and "liberals", victims like the bully-boys who began nurturing their "we been done wrong" story right after Appomattox.  Lee may have surrendered at Appomattox; these guys never did.  They are "gallant". They are the unjustly treated victims, victims, victims, victims.

No, they are perpetrators, not victims.  And they have found a better way to destroy the union than by war.  They have used things like the Tea Party, the lies of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, the 2010 redistricting, and the Senate filibuster to tie our government into knots.

In the end, one of his own men shot Jesse James in the back and killed him.  Maybe today's gang of good ol' boys will similarly polish each other off.  By the time Jesse took one in the back, the un-Reconstructed pro-Southern faction in Missouri had squirmed back into political power, and Jesse had become a liablity.  They put a price on his head, and one of his own sold him out.  That's sort of what's happening now in the GOP;  their "bad ol' boys" are becoming an embarrassment.  Maybe "the boys" will soon be forced by Karl Rove to ride off into the sunset.

It cannot happen soon enough.


"Farewell, Jesse.  Good-bye, Jesse.  Farewell, Jesse James.
Robert Ford caught his eye and killed him on the sly,
And they laid Jesse James in his grave."  

"The Ballad of Jesse James" ....... Billy Gashade (1882) and then Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Eddy Arnold, The Kingston Trio, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, and me when my kids were little.  It's a good song and a good legend.  Just a rotten man.  




Thursday, May 9, 2013

In South Carolina, "Close" Doesn't Get the Cigar

Against all apparent rhyme and reason, ex-Governor Mark "Appalachian Trail" Sanford won election Tuesday to a vacant Congressional seat in South Carolina, beating his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch by about 10 percentage points.

He managed this feat in spite of an amazing record of worthlessness:

1. He lies.  While governor, he took off for Argentina for five days visitng his mistress and said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

2. He steals.  He used public funds for his junkets to see his sweetie.

3. He cheats.  He cheated on his wife.

4. He's a hypocrite, using the old Republican "second chance because God forgives me" pseudo-religious out.  Not only does this public guilt-and-remorse proclamation give him a second shot at public office but it shows how crafty these famously "family value" Republicans are.  They can mess around and then come running back into the fold with no accountability.  In fairness, I acknowledge Bill Clinton did it too but at least he didn't first go around harping on "family values."

5. He apparently has evil intentions.  On Tuesday night he gleefully gloated, "I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances but of third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth."  Golly, that's a lot of pre-excused sin he's contemplating.

5. He's a divorced woman's nightmare, the man you can't get rid of.  First he breaks your heart and then he breaks the law by sauntering into YOUR home even though he is legally prohibited from being there.  You're a nothing in his eyes, and he obviously enjoys rubbing that in and casually making more problems even after you're divorced.

6.  He's a criminal and a scoff-law.  He entered his ex-wife's home illegally.  The law either means something or it doesn't.  How can you be the ultimate lawmaker  -  a Congressman  -  and have no respect for law?

So why did he win?  It's important to know because this district was supposedly one of the Democrats' best hopes for winning the 17 seats needed to take back a majority in the House and get some governing done.

Aye, but there's the rub.  It wasn't really a high-hope prospect at all.  This Congressional district is highly Republican.  Elections are about numbers, and the most telling numbers of all are the totals registered in each party.  Those totals are telling because they almost variably tell us who is going to win.

There is another telling aspect to this race.  Sanford's opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, campaigned like an amateur, which is what she is.  She made the business person's mistake of not taking the race seriously enough.  She just didn't campaign much, making too few appearances.  Apparently she also was vague in her platform.  So what was this election from her perspective?  Was it an "anybody but Sanford" election in which the prize would just drop into her lap?  

It doesn't work like that.   You gotta want it.  You gotta work for it.  You gotta go door-to-door for it.

She also was carrying baggage, namely her famous brother.  Stephen Colbert is chiefly famous for making fun of the very sort of people who live in the district his sister wanted to represent.  I don't quite see how that was going to work out in her favor.

Yes, she came closer in her percentage of the total vote than Obama did in that district in 2012.   He lost it to Romney by about 20 points, so she bested the President's percentage by 10 points.  But so what?  That and a dollar won't even get you a cup of coffee.

In South Carolina, as everywhere else, close doesn't get you the cigar.  Colbert Busch didn't even get close enough for a stick of chewing gum. To win a GOP district a Democratic candidate has to work like hell,  have a clear platform, and not be carrying the weight of all her brother's mockery of her electorate.

In short, a successful Democrat in Tuesday's race had to be someone who was not Elizabeth Colbert Busch.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Senator Kelly Ayotte: "Your Mother's Dead and I Don't Care"

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) didn't really say that but she just as well might have.

She was confronted this week by the daughter of one of the school teachers killed in the Newtown shootings.  The young woman wanted to know how Ayotte could have brought herself to vote against expanded background checks for gun purchasers.  This young woman doesn't want her mother's death to be for nothing.  And she certainly doesn't want the pain she is living with to be inflicted on more people.

Turns out, however, that this suffering young woman has it all wrong.  It isn't about her and other future victims and their heart-broken survivors.  Kelly Ayotte explained that to the young woman, using a canned spiel from the gun lobby.  It's about the rights of gun owners.  Ayotte made it clear:  Nothing must be done that might  -  just might  -  cause some restriction on their guniness.  "I was worried about that," Ayotte explained.

I didn't know that Second Amendment rights trump all others.  That they trump the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  It's pretty hard to have life or liberty or happiness when living in a society where you might be shot dead at any moment.  Is Senator Kelly Ayotte too dumb to understand this?

She and her ilk rely on the argument that background checks wouldn't have stopped the Newtown shooter.  Well, there are plenty of criminal laws on the books right now, but the criminals keep on committing crimes.  Should we therefore repeal all the criminal laws?

Cruel Kelly Ayotte rebuffed  -   ever so politely  -   that suffering young woman.  All Ayotte would accord the dead heroic mother, who died to save the children in her charge, was the assertion that Ayotte was sorry for what had happened.

It's just that Ayotte isn't near sorry enough.  She will, however, likely get a whole lot sorrier.  Since her vote on the gun issue, her popularity ratings with her constituents has plummeted.   Will those voters remember?  Will things keeps happening to remind them of Ayotte's mindlessness?

And as I write this, word has come that a five-year-old boy in West Virginia has shot and killed his two-year-old sister.  He did it with his own gun, a rifle expressly made for children, called the Cricket.    The gun was fully accessible to him.  It was HIS.  So was the bullet in it that wasn't supposed to be there, the one that killed his sister.

I can't believe this.  I live in a country where  CHILDREN apparently have Second Amendment rights.  Where parents buy guns for their children, for children as young as five years old.  Have the parents ever thought of what might happen to THEM the next time their kids get mad at them?  And what of the manufacturer who makes "little rifles" for little children?  Is there nothing people won't do for money?  And are there no laws against giving lethal weapons to little children?  No laws to curb the idiocy of such as those West Virginia parents?    

For once I am speechless.  I just hope Ayotte's constituents hear of the West Virginia insanity.  We have to stop the mindless madness.