Did This Go A Bit Too Far?

Last Wednesday night there was no hiding the joy of the MSNBC anchors at the total and utter failure of the Republican attempt to bring the country to its knees over Obamacare. Schultz had his usual swagger. Maddow took the usual analytical approach and had an index card for every “ransom” demand the Republicans made and lost, reading each one aloud and tossing it in the air with a “didn’t get that” and a grin on her face.

But for sheer over the top drama betraying a clear animosity for conservatives, the prize must go to Martin Bashir. Martin quoted Oliver Cromwell from his address dismissing Parliament in 1653. Martin said the words apply today. I could not find a link to an intact video of Bashir’s closing moment of his show but I did screen capture the text of Cromwell that Bashir read from in his best theatrical British accent.

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It is really hard to gauge how one should react to this. I viewed the Republican shut-down tactic as plain stupid. It didn’t really inspire any animosity in me. So at first blush I found Martin’s dramatic recitation absolutely hilarious. But if we bother to take Bashir seriously, then we must conclude he has a real hatred for at least part of the Conservative movement.

In fact, if we look at the entire “drop dead” reaction of the left to the Ted Cruz inspired revolt, one must draw a much bigger conclusion. The days of liberals saying “I’m a lover, not a fighter” appear to be long gone. We have a government in which each side (with exceptions of course) truly hates the other. While the people of this great nation just want to get up in the morning and go to work, our government is engaged in a multi-level civil war — Democrats against Republicans and Old School Republicans against the Tea Party. The only thing we have not yet witnessed (unlike in other legislative bodies around the world) is an actual fist fight breaking out on the floor of the House. At his point, I wouldn’t rule that out in the not-so-distant future.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

Akin’s Comment Doesn’t Begin or End with Akin

Today I offer a quick shout-out to Missouri Representative Todd Akin for single-handedly exploding the Republican Party. For the uninitiated, Akin’s comments did not come out of the blue.

They are part of a long tradition of GOP medical gobbledygook regarding rape and pregnancy as detailed by Rachel Maddow.

For those who don’t want to sit through Rachel’s 20 minute presentation, here is a summary of Republicans being stupid:

James Leon Holmes — 1980 — Pregnancy from rape as frequent as snowfall in Miami.
Stephen Freind  — 1988 — Female secretions stop rape related pregnancies.
Clayton Williams — 1990 — Rape is like the weather, relax and enjoy it.
Henry Aldridge — 1995 — Juices don’t flow — it takes cooperation to get pregnant.
Fay Boozman — 1998 — Fear triggers hormonal changes that prevent pregnancy.

So Akin is another in a long line of GOP operatives spouting biological nonsense about rape. Akin is receiving enormous pressure to withdraw from his race against sitting Senator Claire McCaskill. If Republicans think Akin’s exit from the national stage will end the debate, they’ve got some more thinking to do. Akin’s brother in anti-abortion thought is none other than VP candidate Paul Ryan. Ryan and Akin co-sponsored HR3 (an abortion funding bill) that attempted, in its first draft, to refine the term rape to “forcible rape“. Sounds a bit like Akin’s “legitimate rape” doesn’t it? Despite the Romney campaign’s repudiation of Akin’s comment, Paul Ryan has Akin hanging around his neck and if Democrats are smart, that will remain the case regardless of Akin’s future.

While many women believe the life of the unborn takes top priority and forces the decision of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, there is also a sizable number of women who want complete reproductive freedom, and at the very least, believe that rape and incest are valid reasons for an abortion. Any hopes the GOP might have had to bury Paul Ryan’s record on this subject have just blown up in their faces. Only pro-life absolutist women will stick with Romney/Ryan. The rest could be a lost cause for the ticket.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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Who the Hell is Saul Alinsky (and Rachel Maddow Jumps the Shark)

Who the Hell is Saul Alinsky?

Last week, I had two choices for blog topics in my head. One was a pros and cons of Barack Obama and the other was asking who the hell is Saul Alinsky. I chose the former. Then the following Friday night, not one but two left-leaning TV personalities asked essentially “who the hell is Saul Alinsky?” I chuckled to my wife that something must be in the air. What’s putting this Keyser Söze of politics into everyone’s head are the ramblings of GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich who drops Alinsky’s name with the frequency of a thirteen year old girl citing Justin Bieber. According to Gingrich, President Barack Obama is a slave to “Saul Alinsky” and we all must be afraid, be very afraid of “Saul Alinsky liberalism”. These warnings are usually greeted with whoops and hollers from Gingrich’s adoring fans, an ignorant lot who have no better idea of who Saul Alinsky is than I did, but will clap for anything anti-Obama.

So who is this Saul Alinsky? Bill Maher’s summary biography states that Alinsky liked black people, and hence is an enemy of current day Republicans. Of course that greatly oversimplifies things. Alinsky identified with the disenfranchised of all races. He essentially invented community organizing. Of course, Obama having been a community organizer must have inherited all of Saul’s evil traits. To make matters worse, about a year before he died, Alinsky wrote a book called Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. Alinsky believed that you had to do (or threaten to do) outrageous things to get the attention of the establishment. According to the Wiki article on him, he planned to stage at various times in his career, a fart-in and a piss-in. In the former, a mass of baked bean-filled protesters would disperse themselves among a concert audience and unleash a torrent of offensive odor and sound. In the latter, well dressed black men would occupy public urinals and simply refuse to leave until demands were met. Just the mere threat of these shenanigans got the attention of the powerful.

What I don’t get from the little I’ve read about Alinsky is any sense of violence. The dude saw what he thought were disadvantaged people and rejoiced in pissing off their perceived oppressors. He was clearly an enemy of the status quo when the status quo put its heavy foot on the throat of a powerless minority. This, by the way, extended to Richard Nixon’s “silent majority”. He was just as concerned about disenfranchised whites and their vulnerability to wrong-headed leaders who would offer them the politics of hate disguised as hope.

In the context of Newt Gingrich, as Bill Maher ably points out, Alinsky is just another boogeyman designed to make you fear, distrust or outright hate Barack Obama. Nothing more, nothing less.

Rachel Maddow Jumps the Shark

Let me state two things up front. First, I like Rachel Maddow. Second I do believe in dog whistles. With that out of the way, my friend Ms. Maddow took a leap too far last night in her coverage of the Florida primary. During Newt Gingrich’s “concession speech” (Newt never actually concedes) in Florida last night, he suggested that Barack Obama stop singing, stop being the “entertainer-in-chief” and actually do his job. Out of any context, the comment would seem at least nonsensical and at worst some veiled reference to the stereotypical  “singing dancing black man” so adored (and simultaneously ridiculed)  in our pop culture. But, as always, context is everything.

A couple of weeks ago during a fund-raiser, President Obama sang the first line of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”. I got a major kick out of it. I thought it greatly humanized him particularly when he so often comes across as remote. But let’s be honest here. When you let your guard down and show a frivolous side to America, your opponents will exploit it. Just go back to 1968 and Richard Nixon’s brief appearance on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in” where he said “sock it to me?” It was funny. But Nixon haters certainly like to use it in their “laugh at Nixon reel.”  The fact of the matter is Obama DID sing. So for Gingrich to tell him to stop singing and do his job was at worst evidence of Newt having no sense of humor or appreciation for a human moment. It was NOT some example of racism. It did not conjure up images of the minstrel show (as Maddow put it) in any but the most racially paranoid minds.

Former Gingrich spokesperson and current leader of the “not coordinated with Gingrich” Super PAC, Rick Tyler, bless his soul, did battle with Maddow and Al Sharpton last night. To my surprise, Tyler who once wrote the immortal words “But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich”, ably defended his candidate and made Maddow and Sharpton look pretty pathetic.

You know something? As a black man, every now and then I get a little tired of white folks defending black folks … because sometimes they just don’t know when to quit while they’re ahead.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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