Heading Off Trouble

Trump said and did a lot of unpleasant things during the third debate, including his usual stack of lies, and saying about Hillary, “Such a nasty woman”. I can promise you that, plus the “Excuse me; my turn,” cost him votes among women.

But frankly, the greatest concern of myself, as well as many other people out there, is that he’s still refusing to recognize the legitimacy of our electoral process, and has basically said that if he loses, it’s only because it’s rigged against him.

This kind of talk is extremely dangerous. Our democratic process remains intact only because people have stepped aside and admitted they’ve lost. That gives us continuity and gives our government, and our elected officials, legitimacy. It’s a required part of democracy.

Trump threatens all that. In Trump’s worldview, anything other than a win is a rigged election (he said as much today). That’s something that is unprecedented in American politics (but then again, so is pretty much everything about his rise to power), and it’s something that needs to be squashed immediately.

How does one squash it, though? Well, for starters, the Republicans need to loudly and often be on the air saying that elections are fair and proper and not rigged. Some have done a little bit of this, but all of them need to do a lot more. Trump’s base won’t listen, but it will help to tamp down fears among more mainstream Republicans whose support for Trump is perhaps a bit softer.

Then, assuming Hillary wins, the Republicans need to loudly and visibly cooperate with her on as many issues as possible. Stop being obstructionist, stop avoiding governance, and really stop with stunts like threatening to block any SCOTS nominations she puts forward. Stop it with all that crap. Make it clear that she’s our legitimate, elected leader, and that we all need to work to make her time in office a success, because, frankly, that’s the patriotic thing to do.

Now do I think the Republicans will actually do any of this? Of course not. They’ll continue talking about the integrity of our elections not in terms of how Trump has nothing to fear, but in terms of stoking those fears by passing more voter exclusion laws. They won’t come out and openly say that they think our electoral process is rigged, but everything they do will indicate they believe it to be.

Make no mistake: Trump talking about our electoral process as being rigged could damage our country for the next twenty-plus years. It’s up to the Republicans to keep that from happening.


Yes, There is a Difference, and No, the Democrats Don’t Do it, Too

I got into a bit of a text argument last night with a friend. We were discussing the Republican convention, and I mentioned Christie’s efforts at building a lynch mob to go after Clinton, and the chants of, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” that echoed through the convention floor.

My friend pooh-poohed all this, saying that, hey, Democrats did it, too! They wanted to have Cheney, Bush, and Rice all thrown into jail!

So let’s examine this claim.

Last night, Chris Christie gave a speech that was basically a hatchet-job against Clinton, talking about all the great and evil things she’s done (followed by Ben “Grain Storage” Carson telling us that she’s an agent for Lucifer). Not only was this speech full of lies and distortions, it was also very reminiscent of your basic witch trial, with a pre-determined verdict and a mob out for blood.

This never happened at any of the Democratic conventions.

Sure, many of us wanted Cheney, Bush, and Rice on trial for war crimes, and the fact that they haven’t been remains a great source of national shame. But we have never, on that public of a stage, had anything like this. Ever. No major party has. Well, at least not in America.

There is no longer any soft way to pedal this, nor any way to deny it: the Republican party has become a fascist party. Their nominee is a fascist in every way that matters. They’ve also become a white nationalist party of the sort that ran South Africa during the apartheid era.

This is a party that has gone from high-minded ideals that I could at least understand, even if I disagreed with them, to a party that embraces-doesn’t just “not reject”, but outright embraces-a racist, sexist, anti-American, fascist agenda. There is no other rational way to look at this.

It’s very sad. I continue to believe that a decent, sane, conservative party that acknowledges science, isn’t under the sway of the religious right, and agrees that maybe, just maybe, taxes aren’t entirely evil, is essential to our country. Having the Democrats completely run the show isn’t a great idea. Loyal opposition is important.

It’s just a shame that the opposition right now is terribly disloyal to America and its ideals.

Oh, Arizona…

There are a lot of things I love about living in Arizona. The fact that the temps have been in the low-to-mid-80s during the middle of February, for example. The low cost of living in Phoenix, the sixth-largest city in the country. The beautiful terrain.

On the other hand, our politics are unbelievably fucked-up beyond…well, beyond all belief.

We’re the sort of state where people can, and do, openly carry guns around with them. Because apparently Arizona in 2014 sometimes gets confused with Arizona in 1884. We’re the sort of state (and specifically, Phoenix is in the sort of county), where having a sheriff like Joe Arpaio is considered acceptable. We have this odd mix of local politics that, at least outside the metro areas of Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson, mixes the worst elements of extremist Republicans with the worst elements of extremist Libertarians. How fucked-up are our politics? They are so royally fucked-up that the Arizona Republican Party actually censured John McCain, a sitting, senior United States senator and former GOP candidate for the White House, for voting alongside Democrats too often. That’s how fucked-up things are here.

I had thought that was kind of the low point we’d hit with politics in this state, and then the GOP-controlled state legislature (previously noted for filing a lawsuit against our Republican governor for expanding Medicaid), passed a bill that is, essentially, the same bill the Kansas legislature killed a few days ago. You know, the one that was the subject of my latest article mocking Kansas.

Now admittedly, Arizona’s state legislature is notorious for being comedy-level stupid. This is the same group of people who manage our state’s economy so poorly that they had to sell-off parts of the state capital complex, and then lease them back, in order to make our budget. They are so incompetent that they keep cutting educational budgets to the point where the CEO of a major tech company said he’d have to reconsider doing business in this state, because he wasn’t sure he could hire a skilled and educated workforce. So the fact that this collection of ass-clowns has now passed, along party lines, of course, this latest bill is almost zero surprise.

It’s also worth noting that I’m 99% sure our governor is going to veto this. She’s someone with whom I disagree more often than not, but I doubt she’s stupid enough to sign this. If she is, of course, we can then expect several years and several million dollars to be wasted defending this bill before the courts; all the way up to the US Supreme Court which will say, “Yeah, fuck, no.” Though possibly they might dress it up a bit.

It isn’t correct to say that I’m surprised or deeply disappointed in Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature. I’m not. This is absolutely the level of stupidity I’ve come to expect from them. I would like to hope that anyone I know who is Republican in this state, and especially anyone I know who is gay and Republican, would find themselves unable to vote for the party next time around, but I know that won’t be the case. They’ll find a way to rationalize all this and set it aside. They’ll say, “the governor will veto it, so it’s a symbolic vote” (while ignoring what the symbolism represents), or they’ll point out that discrimination against gays is already legal here (you can indeed be fired for being gay, because the law doesn’t say you can’t), or they’ll simply scream, “BENGHAZI!” at you until you walk away. But I’d dearly like to hope they’ll learn from this exactly what their party is, and take that into account next time they vote.

Parsing the Election I: The Republican Party’s Next Move

Four more years!

The election is over. The only state left to call is Florida. Last I saw, it was trending toward Obama and hopefully will end up there. An imperfect man will continue to lead our very imperfect nation, and hopefully all will go well enough that in 2016, we can elect another Democrat.

I have a lot of thoughts on what happened last night. Here they are in no particular order.

This was less about everyone thinking Obama was great than it was about everyone thinking Romney was, basically, a lying asshole. This was an election that the GOP should have won, due to how basically stupid the electorate are. A number of people bought into the largely inaccurate perception that Obama was a weak, do-nothing president who hadn’t accomplished anything of note in the last four years. Had the Republicans had a better candidate, they might have pulled it off.

But that’s the problem with the GOP. There was no better candidate that their fundamentally (and I use that word with great deliberateness), insane base would have accepted. Had they had someone like Jon Huntsman as their nominee, they might have had more traction. As it was, when the GOP candidates were people like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, well, Romney is simply the most palatable of a really bad bunch.

The GOP needs to bear this in mind. They need to make sure they select a real moderate next time around, not someone whose opinions seem to vary by the hour. They also need to do a much better job of reaching out to minorities, especially Hispanics (more on how to do this in my Puerto Rico article that’s coming up next), and certainly need to do a better job of getting the youth vote. One CNN commentator I heard last night mentioned that once a young person had voted for the same party in three major election cycles in a row, it’s very likely that they will continue to vote for that party for the rest of their lives. By embracing the crazy and emphasizing the religious aspects of their party, the GOP has alienated the youth vote and basically lost an entire generation.

And I think that’s ultimately where the problem with the GOP lies. They continue to embrace the religious right, and, indeed, basically define the religious right. They aren’t the moderate religious sorts, like Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush I or even Reagan. No, they’re the party that embraces a view of reality that has nothing to do with facts. They reject evolution and global warming. They nominate people like Todd Akin, who famously made a series of dumb and wrong remarks about rape. They continue to try and force a conservative religious agenda on a populace that really doesn’t want it, especially among the younger voters.

For the Republicans to succeed in 2016, they need to have good, sane, moderate candidates. They need to weed out the crazy early on, and possibly have fewer debates, since that’s less chances for the crazies to get attention. They also need to properly and fully embrace immigration reform in a fashion that doesn’t include stupid concepts like self-deportation, but that rather provides, yes, amnesty. Most of us don’t like the concept of anything like amnesty, but those of us connected to reality understand that it’s needed. The GOP needs to understand that, too.

But I have a feeling that it’s going to take one more drubbing. They won the House, after all, and depending on what happens in 2014, they might keep it. I expect one final election where they double-down on the crazy and nominate someone like Rick Santorum, or possibly actually nominate Rick Santorum. I think the wing of the party that says, “Romney’s problem was that he was too liberal!” will hold enough sway to make that happen, and that likely will ensure that the Democrats retain power in 2016.

Know hope.

About Last Night

Click to embiggen!

Last night Obama and Boehner gave dueling speeches. Obama’s was reasonably non-partisan, clear and measured, with smacks to both the right and left for not accepting reality. He did blame Republicans more than Democrats, but only because at this point they should be blamed more. Boehner, on the other hand, gave a highly-partisan speech wherein he whined some more and blamed everyone except the Republicans. Neither actually solved our problem with the debt ceiling, but I expect that will sort itself out no later than Monday.

For the record, mad Socialist though I am, I’m in favor of certain targeted cuts to Medicare and Social Security (ie: if you’re rich, you don’t need either). I’m also very much in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy and, FYI, if you pull in $250,000 and have a family of four, you’re rich, even if you live in Manhattan.

I’m also in favor of cutting back on the debt and deficit as much as possible, but this is not the time. This is the time to spend even more money to do things like repair our badly aging infrastructure, something I never hear the GOP wanting to do. But doing so will fix some massive problems we have and will also create jobs.

Except, oh, wait, according to the GOP government never creates jobs. Well, except presumably jobs for police, fire departments, schools, libraries, the military, Congress, the Senate, the Executive Branch, the Judicial branch, all those state and local government jobs, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, NASA, various jobs with defense contractors, various jobs with other contractors and all those other job that government doesn’t create. Indeed.

(chart lifted from here)

She’s a Witch! Burn Her!

Certified wackaloon and possible criminal Christine O’Donnell has been quite the media darling lately, which is somewhat surprising given that she basically refuses to appear on any non-sympathetic (ie: places other than Fox News), media outlets. Well, it turns out that before she got all gun-shy with the media she was a regular guest on Politically Incorrect. On one fun episode she talked about her brief experience with witchcraft.

That is of course in addition to her mid-1990’s, and as yet unrefuted, views on masturbation.

I take great solace in the fact that the GOP is apparently stupid enough to pick people like this for their nominees. If you people want her, you deserve what’s likely to happen to you during the election.

Yet More Republican Idiocy

I still am amazed that there’s such a thing as a gay Republican. Clearly the party is doing every thing they can to get rid of you guys. Texas, as I mentioned before, released a party platform calling for gay sex to be made illegal again. Now Montana’s Republican party is getting into the act. This from the party that likes to claim it supports individual freedoms and keeping the government out of people’s private lives.

How can you people who are gay and Republicans live with yourselves? I mean, I’ve heard of self-loathing, but this is taking it to an insane level. Wise up and leave your party.