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Posts by filistro
Christian conservative groups are heavily invested in the concept of “family.” They run powerful advocacy groups with names like “Family Research Council” and “Focus On The Family” who state their goals as “strengthening marriages, supporting parents and standing for Biblical values.” One way they try to accomplish these goals is by using their considerable influence to push legislation that furthers their agenda. One such aim in recent years has been legal and political opposition to gay marriage, which they believe undermines “traditional marriage” and deprives children of what the family-oriented groups consider the moral ideal: an intact home with a mother and father in residence. (more…)
The cuckoo does not build a nest or rear its own young. Instead it lays its eggs, one by one, in the nests of other, smaller birds. When the chicks hatch, the larger cuckoo chick immediately pushes the smaller babies out of the nest to their deaths and then benefits from the tireless efforts of the little parent birds who exhaust themselves, often to the point of their own death, by feeding the ravenous interloper until it has grown much bigger and stronger than they are.
This, in a rather sad way, is what has happened to the Tea Party. (more…)
In Oprah Winfrey’s movie based on the Alice Walker novel, purple represents things that are painful because they seem impossible to attain. In modern American politics, this analogy seems more and more appropriate.
Purple states, also known as battleground or swing states, are becoming endangered. And like all rare things, they grow more valuable with each election. Advertising money is poured into them, polls sample their opinions on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis, and Presidential candidates visit them early and often. The campaign money spent in these purple states is staggering, with most of it going to media advertising. According to ABC News:
Top five states by number of advertisements run
- Ohio (219,414)
- Florida (197,603)
- Virginia (163,740)
- Iowa (132,911)
- Colorado (114,876)
Top five states for advertising spending
- Florida ($167,037,580)
- Ohio ($144,793,830)
- Virginia ($122,789,820)
- Colorado ($69,551,600)
- North Carolina ($55,995,570)
We see these huge numbers even though the overall effectiveness of such heavy advertising remains a topic for argument, with many analysts believing the advertisements cancel each other out and saturation level is reached much earlier in a campaign than strategists have in the past tended to believe. But since there is no clear indicator of the relative value of advertising in the swing states, it is certain the advertisement spending will continue because it is too risky for either side to unilaterally disarm. Still, despite this frenzied and costly attention from both sides, purple states seem likely to go the way of the dinosaur as state-level politics become increasingly polarized.
In his State of the Union speech last January, President Obama outlined an initiative to make college more accessible by reforming federal student aid and providing incentives for colleges to keep their tuition fees under control. A month later, speaking to a group of Tea Party activists in Troy, Michigan, then-Presidential-candidate Rick Santorum made reference to the president’s plan. “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college,” he said, then added with withering contempt, “What a snob!”
I found this statement a bit shocking, but at the time dismissed it as one of Santorum’s standard appeals to his base of what are euphemistically called “low information voters”. However, during the intervening months I’ve noticed more and more of the same sentiment in articles and public statements, implying that it is snobbish, wasteful and somewhat effete to attend college, and that a college education is not really necessary for a successful life. Oddly enough, many of these observations are coming from conservatives who are normally seen as the party of the moneyed élite, while most Democrats, the so-called “working class,” apparently remain committed to the dream of a college education for their children. This makes me wonder if the major American political parties might currently be undergoing one of their occasional sea-changes, wherein they retain their labels but swap out many of their cultural values. (more…)
On January 2nd, 2013, Chris Christie gave a press conference in New Jersey. He was incensed over Boehner’s refusal to bring a Hurricane Sandy relief bill to the floor, and (as usual) he took no prisoners. “There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” he said. Christie went on to point out that New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have waited 66 days and counting on aid from the federal government. And he said he worked the phones to secure votes for the package, but after being given assurances all weekend that a bill would be voted on “there is no reason for me to believe anything [Congress] is telling me.” His remarks galvanized Congress and added some extra drama to the leadership vote for embattled Speaker Boehner.
Because when Chris Christie talks, people listen.
With apologies to Barbara Mandrell, I just want to affirm up front that “I was Christie when Christie wasn’t cool.” I’ve always been a big fan of the big guy.
There’s something about Chris Christie that appeals to me. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a man who is so plainly comfortable in his own skin…and that’s a lot of skin to be comfy in! I even confess to furtively enjoying the way he will occasionally attack and abuse people at press conferences. Sometimes you just get sick of all the politically correct empathy and “feel your pain” blather, and yearn for a politician who will bluntly say what he’s thinking (and what lots of other people in the room are probably thinking as well, but are too overly cautious to say out loud). Far from being overly cautious, Chris Christie pretty much says what he thinks all the time. What other successful politician in America can lay claim to an entire page full of quotes like these?
I may not agree with a lot of things the man says, but I do admire him for speaking his mind. (more…)
If Republicans could choose a “Welcome” mat to grace America’s doorstep, it would look a lot like the one on the right: confused, angry and totally conflicted. On the one hand, Republicans know they need to find a better policy on immigration because, quite simply, the issue is killing them at the polls. But as we have all learned to our sorrow at various points in our lives, it can be really hard to make the heart accept what the brain is telling us to do.
First, let’s examine the nature of the GOP’s immigration immolation. In the recent election, Barack Obama won between 66 and 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, according to Reuters/Ipsos election day polling. This comes at a time when the Latino population is growing rapidly in states such as Florida, one of eight or so politically divided states that were crucial in the presidential race, and when high-profile Republicans like Jeb Bush are threatening that Texas could turn blue before the next presidential election.
“The nonwhite vote has been growing — tick, tick, tick — slowly, steadily. Every four-year cycle the electorate gets a little bit more diverse. And it’s going to continue,” says Paul Taylor, demographic specialist at the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, adding that the number of white voters is expected to continue to decline a few points in each future election cycle. “This is a very powerful demographic that’s changing our politics and our destiny.”
Compounding the problem for Republicans is the fact that while they are massively losing the Latino vote, they are not making offsetting gains with any other demographic. The presidential election results highlighted the political impact of this. About 80 percent of blacks, Latinos and other nonwhite voters cast their ballots for Obama in November compared with less than 17 percent for Romney, according to the Reuters/Ipsos polling referenced above. Obama also won about 63 percent of total voters age 18 to 34.