Brown Insults Teabagger Across the Pond

Gillian Duffy, a retired woman in England could check off many of the membership criteria of the American Tea Party Movement.

  1. She is upset about high taxes.
  2. She is upset about the mounting national debt.
  3. She has a disdain for “the other”, i.e. foreigners.

The exchange between Mrs. Duffy and British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who was campaigning, showed the woman to be slightly cranky but not sufficiently so to deserve the insult she subsequently got from Mr. Brown. Apparently, her concern about the influx of Eastern Europeans into England did not sit well with the Prime Minister, who got into his limo and called her a bigot, unaware he was still on microphone. Brown later apologized both publicly and at Duffy’s home. (We won’t address the similarity between this and our own recent struggles with the immigration issue.)

On the one hand, it was a real hoot to see a world leader throw politics out the window and call it the way he saw it. On the other hand, his immediate apology proved that what the man says in public does not synch with what he says in private. So, he threw his credibility out the window also.

As for Mrs. Duffy, I am sure she is now a hero to the Tea Party movement here in the US. Move over Susan Boyle, America has found its new idol! I’m just waiting for Sarah Palin to anoint Mrs. Duffy on her Facebook page.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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Two From the Asylum and Another Obama Misstep

The past week produced some doozies from the GOP asylum.

An Idea No One Could Possibly Bawk, Bawk, Bawk At

First we get Nevada Senatorial hopeful Sue Lowden who suggests that bartering for your medical services is a good alternative to the current health care legislation. Heck, according to her it used to work fine. You went to your doctor and if you couldn’t afford to pay him, you offered him a chicken. When this brain-dead fool was offered the chance to explain her way out of such insanity, she stuck to her guns. In a world where Sarah Palin is viewed by some as a domestic and foreign policy expert, we can expect just about anything. So I strongly recommend, before Sue gets elected and the chicken plan becomes law that you visit the Medical Chicken Calculator just so you know how much chicken to buy before you get sick. An appendectomy for example will cost you 1,019 chickens.

I actually have an idea that Harry Reid can counter with. If I’m not mistaken, Reid grew up in a house of prostitution. Now can any of you think of an interesting barter system that ties into the world’s oldest profession? I sure can!

May I See Your Papers?

Lunacy must be contagious since Nevada’s southeast neighbor, Arizona had a touch of whacked out legislation this past week. Everyone knew that the Arizona legislature had passed a bill allowing police to demand evidence of legal immigrant status from folks they pulled over. Few thought Governor Jan Brewer would be crazy enough to sign it but sign it she did. The new law is ripe for abuse as few blond light-skinned folks are going to be asked to prove they are here legally. From my travels on other blogs, I’ve seen the case made that we already have laws requiring immigrants to carry with them at all times proof of their legal right to be here (I guess, green card, etc.). It has also been stated that cops can already arrest you if you refuse to provide identification when asked. These points are made in defense of the law. Here is where I am lost.

If it is already the law that legal immigrants should carry a form of proof of “legality” and it is already the law that everyone must produce id when asked by a policeman, then why on Earth do we need the Arizona legislation? Other than create a public relations nightmare for Arizona, what value does this new law add? By signing this easily misunderstood redundant legislation into law, Jan Brewer has bought her state a world of hurt. Since the law suits have already started and the Justice Department is already on alert, Jan better hurry up and jump to the chase. Get those un-American folks lined up and tattoo numbers on their arms while you’ve got the legislative momentum going for you!

Obama Did Not Read My Last Post

Well okay, I didn’t really expect the POTUS to be reading the Rutherford Lawson Blog but I sure wish he did. This time he tripped so badly that Rush Limbaugh actually had a good point. Yes, you will hear this from me only once so listen carefully … Rush Limbaugh was right (sort of).

Obama still does not understand that remarks addressed at a niche audience get heard by everyone. In a video aimed at DNC donors and OFA members, Obama urged that we get out the vote for “young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women”. Watch for yourself at the 1:58 mark.

My immediate reaction was “oh no he didn’t!” Whether intentionally or not, Obama implied that the older white male vote was either unimportant to him or a lost cause. The simple truth is without a decent portion of elder white males, Obama would not be President today (this is true of EVERY President). So after I caught my breath, I hoped against all hope that no one else would notice this. Alas, the blowhard loved by Conservatives everywhere, Rush Limbaugh, heard Obama loud and clear and worked it for all it was worth.

I think Rush Limbaugh is one of the worst things to happen to broadcast media. However, in this case, Rush raises a reasonable question. (Sorry Ed Schultz.) I’ve got a news flash for our President. Barack, white people matter. They have valid concerns just like minorities do. If you continue to make them feel ignored or marginalized, you will not only ruin any chance for a positive Democratic outcome in 2010, you will end up a one term President.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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An Open Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

One incident is just that, an isolated incident. Two incidents is perhaps a coincidence. Three makes a pattern. I’m writing this before you have the third incident. I want to help stop you before you establish a pattern you don’t want to establish.

Last week at a DNC fundraiser in Miami, you made some remarks that at first blush tickled me a bit until I gave it more thought.

I’ve been a little amused over the past couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes, taxes you would think they would be saying “thank you”.  That’s what you’d think.

There are two problems with this statement, Mr. President. The first is that people protesting should not “amuse” you. It’s a choice of words that sounds terribly condescending. But there is a bigger problem. The “they” in “you would think they would be saying thank you” isn’t Sarah Palin, or Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. The “they” are ordinary citizens who are struggling (many of them) to make ends meet. Did they get a federal income tax decrease? Damn straight they did. Do they look foolish protesting taxes generically when they should be protesting specific tax issues (perhaps at a state or local level)? Absolutely. But “they” are still your people. They are the citizens of this country, not elected officials, not megaphones like Palin or Limbaugh. They’re ordinary folks. When you speak of them in a demeaning way, you send the message that you are more the President of some than of others. A very bad message to send, indeed. You could have said, in a most humble manner, “I really don’t understand why they are protesting.” Instead, you gave the common man a kick in the ass, intentionally or not. Those who have defended you on this say you were talking to a particular audience. You know in the age of YouTube and 24/7 news, that is total nonsense. You are always talking to everyone, never just to the audience assembled at a particular rally.

Had this been isolated, I could let it pass. But then this past week while campaigning in California for Barbara Boxer, you got into a tiff with some LGBT protesters who heckled your speech. At about the 2:15 mark in the following video, the heckling began and your reaction was reasonable enough, telling your hecklers that you and Boxer support the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Then at the 5:24 mark things go off the rails once again. In response to a second round of heckling, you say to the protester “I’m sorry, do you want to come up here?”

Oh no you didn’t!

Did you challenge a protester to come up on the stage? What were you going to do, sock him in the jaw? Mr. Obama, you are the President of the United States of America. You are not some local pol on the south side of Chicago talking tough with the crowd. You know full well if the dude took you up on your offer, Secret Service would have pummeled him. You did not come across as wanting a dialogue with the man. You came up a bully, basically saying “I am the President, I DARE you to come up here and challenge me.” It was unbecoming to say the least.

Mr. President, I voted for you. I support your programs and I like you as a person. I have caught a lot of heat on this very blog for my support of you. I must tell you, friends don’t let friends drive drunk so I have to deliver some frank advice to you. I am no psychologist but I fear that your victory on health care reform has over-emboldened you.  It has played games with your prick-o-meter. You see, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin have permanent damage to their prick-o-meter. They are beyond the point of being able to recalibrate it. (And yes, women can be pricks too.) You, on the other hand, can take a step back and get a tune-up.

There is an important distinction that you may have lost sight of and it may lose you a second term if you do not take note. For the politician or political pundit, you have free rein. Go for it. Be as sarcastic as you want to be. They dish it out and you are completely within your rights to dish it right back. When it comes to private citizens, even those who gather in public forums, you must bend over backward to show respect. Yes, even when they act like total asses, you must show respect. Because, as President, they are YOUR asses. You are their President. You can be respectful without being patronizing. You can be respectful and still disagree with them. But you must show respect. Your enemies are looking for you to condescend and disparage. You must not give them that advantage.

Mr. President, for many years I worked for a large corporation and I can pin point the exact day when that company transformed from being special to just being another company that didn’t really care about its employees. On that day, the CEO was caught off the record blaming the sales force for the company’s ills. It was unprecedented. Executives at this company always took the heat when things went wrong and worked with the employees to change things. Never had a CEO betrayed his workers and blamed them for the company’s problems.  When you play rough with the average citizen, you remind me of that CEO. It was his undoing. I don’t want it to be yours. You’ve gone down that road twice. Let’s not make it a pattern.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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