Category Archives: Stupid Blue Dog Tricks


Congress is back in session. That means inordinate attention will be paid to the Sinematic senator, the Man of La Manchin, and disgruntled House moderates. Ain’t nothing the MSM loves more than a Democrats in disarray story. They’re playing that angle hard. In this instance, there’s some truth to the CW-driven narrative.

Ever since Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 election, Democrats have focused too much on presidential races. The fixation continued even after Bill Clinton broke the GOP’s winning streak in 1992. Democrats had controlled the House since 1954, they were confident they could hold it forever. They were wrong.

The Democrats’ House and Senate majorities included Southerners who were eventually replaced by Republicans. I have to give the devil his due: this was down to Newt Gingrich. He’s an excreable human being, but he led his caucus out of the wilderness before his defenestration in 1999.

The senate was more flexible and changed hands in 1980, 1986, 1994, 2002, 2008, and 2014. I omitted 2001 as there was a tie in the Senate broken first by Vice President Cheney then by a party switch by Vermont’s Jim Jeffords who became a Democrat. The current Fifty-Fifty split is not unprecedented, but it is frustrating.

The Fifty-Fifty senates allow Sinema and Manchin to hold legislation hostage. They’re particularly annoying because they’re drama queens. I get where Manchin is coming from, his state flipped hard from blue to red in the 21st Century. Sinema is a different story. She’s a former leftist turned annoying centrist. She seems to want to be John McCain in a frock. Her focus is on Arizona independents, so she ignores Democrats. A recent post by Josh Marshall clarifies why she’s doing what she’s doing.

I’m not sure why Sinema thinks she can become an independent who caucuses with whichever party is willing to gratify her ego. The two current independent Senators, Bernie Sanders and Angus King, were elected with an I next to their name on the ballot. Besides, they’re New Englanders. Arizona is a different story: the GOP has moved from Goldwater-McCain hawkish libertarianism to all out Trumper nuttery. As far as they’re concerned, Sinema is a pinko. Hell, they thought the same thing of the guy she replaced, Jeff Flake.

What bothers me most about Manchin and Sinema is the price they want the Democratic caucus to pay is amorphous. During the negotiations over the ACA blue dog Democrats Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu had tangible things they wanted as opposed to fiscal responsibility, which is a highly overrated concept. In the immortal words of Charlie Pierce, “feck the deficit.”

I’m amused by a notion that pops up some frequency on social media: the idea that Democrats won a “trifecta” in the last general election. That takes the horse race analogy way too far. We have a razor thin majority in the House and a Fifty-Fifty split in the senate. I don’t like it either but those are the facts we’re stuck with.

The LBJ analogy is overused by those who dislike facing the facts. There were 68 Democratic senators after the Johnson landslide.  He could also count on some GOP support. One of the most liberal senators then was Republican Jake Javits. You know, the guy the convention center is named for. He was an anti-Tammany Hall protege of Tom Dewey who voted more like George McGovern than Bob Dole. It finally caught up with him in 1980.

Major legislation always stumbles on its way to the final vote, especially when the margins are this close. I’m uncertain whether the major components of the Biden agenda will pass or fail. Coming down on either side right now is playing it for drama. Joe Biden isn’t into to drama; neither are Schumer or Pelosi. They want to get shit done.

The Sinematic senator and the Man of La Manchin are into drama. I wish I could say that they do not want to see the Biden presidency tank, but I cannot. She’s a selfish drama queen who only cares about herself and Manchin is the personification of the inside the beltway center-right Conventional Wisdom. It’s as if he takes marching orders not from West Virginia Democrats but from Politico. I’ve revived the Stupid Blue Dog Tricks category in their “honor.” Oy, just oy.

You’re probably wondering why the cover of the Zappa/Mothers album Overnite Sensation is the featured image. Zappa fans know it’s because of the song Fifty-Fifty. It’s a great song featuring a wild lead vocal and fabulous solos by Zappa, George Duke, and Jean-Luc Ponty. That’s Ponty, not Picard.

Like the song, “I figure the odds be Fifty-Fifty. I just might have some thing to say.”

I’ll skip the bit about loose dandruff and chartreuse breath.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers:

Day In, Day Out

Some days I want to make like Paul Douglas’ cop character in Panic In The Streets and shake some sense into people. In reality, I’m more like Richard Widmark’s doctor character, looking on before we nail Zero Mostel and Jack Palance in the last act of the movie. That only makes sense in the context of a post featuring random thoughts and ramblings. Some call it madness, I call it First Draft Potpourri.

I hate the culture wars. I’m sick of the right seizing on every momentary story, blowing it up, and giving it more significance than it deserves. This time, it’s the announcement by the Geisel estate that they’re pulling some of the Dr. Seuss books because of “hurtful stereotypes.” That’s not cancel culture, it’s keeping up with the times. Dr. Seuss would get it. He was a liberal, but he was a man of his time and place. Context is everything. For more on this inane dust-up, check out this interview with Dr. Seuss scholar Philip Nel at Slate.

Senate Republicans are getting dumber by the day. The dimmest bulb in the GOP caucus is Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. He wants to delay the COVID relief bill by any means possible. He insisted that Senate clerks read the entire bill to slow things down. It took 10 hours and 44 minutes but it’s over.

Johnson is as dumb as Hey Abbott and Tater Tot. It’s scary that he beat Russ Feingold not once but twice. This was the biggest senatorial downgrade since J. Danforth Quayle beat Birch Bayh. Bayh was a distinguished senator and Quayle was the guy who couldn’t spell the plural of potato.

Speaking of potatoes, the right is trying to turn the Mr. Potato Head thing into a culture war issue. Really? Are they that intellectually bankrupt? That was a rhetorical question: the answer is a big YES.

I’m sorry that Don Rickles, who voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies, isn’t around to mock the whole mishigas. Oy just oy.

And now for a musical interlude from the Kinks:

“Boiled, French fried, any old way that you want to decide.” That Ray Davies knows from taters.

I commend your attention to an op-ed piece in the WaPo by the great Norm Ornstein who has forgotten more about Congress that most of us will ever know.  He has some productive thoughts about how to reform the filibuster in a way that will get the Man of La Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s votes.

The senior senator from Arizona is an odd case. She’s bisexual and used to be a leftist. She morphed into a Blue Dog Democrat in order to win elections in the land of Goldwater and McCain. I’d call her an opportunist, but we need her vote. Read Norm’s piece to learn how that may be possible. That’s Norm Ornstein, not this guy:

Finally, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a charter member of the Freedom, Man club. In his case, it comes with a dose of corruption. He’s taking care of his donors by making sure that they get vaccinated earlier than the cheapskates who didn’t pony up. That’ll show them who’s boss. For more on this Florida Man moron, check out this piece at TPM by Matt Shuham.

The news cycle is relentless. I had hoped that it would ease up when the Kaiser of Chaos “retired” to Mar-a-Doorn, but it hasn’t. It reminds me of the opening lyrics to the Johnny Mercer song that gives this post its title:

Day in, day out
The same old hoodoo follows me about

The last word goes to the Chairman of the Board:

We’ll hear more from Sinatra and Mercer later today. Cheers.

Freedom, Man

Greg Abbott, John Bel Edwards, Tate Reeves.

The Party of Trump specializes in diversionary tactics. The Governors of Texas and Mississippi announced yesterday that their states are wide open for business. Not only that but all mask requirements have been lifted. Why? Freedom, man.

It’s not just freedom, man. Both states are still suffering mightily from winter freeze related issues. You’ve all heard about the mess that messed with Texas and its Governor Greg (Hey) Abbott. Wintry shit hit the fan in Mississippi as well. Parts of Jackson, MS have been without potable water for two weeks. Jackson is the state capitol where Governor Tater Tot plays at governing. Both Hey Abbott and Tater Tot needed to distract attention from their failures so why not declare victory over COVID? Freedom, man.

That makes the Gret Stet of Louisiana the meat in a stupid sandwich.  John Bel Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and he too loosened some restrictions but we still gotta mask up.

Repeat after me:

It’s all so stupid and short-sighted. Now that we have a competent national administration, there’s good news on the COVID front. President Biden announced that there should be sufficient vaccines for the entire adult population by the end of May. We just have to hunker down and be patient.

I, for one, don’t confuse recklessness and impatience with freedom, man. The majority of us have made sacrifices to limit the spread of the virus. Selfish dipshits like Hey Abbott and Tater Tot are exasperating and irksome. Hey Abbott is also guilty of the Republican sin of hypocrisy: he’s been vaccinated. Freedom, man.

I’m trying out a new nickname for the dumbass Texas Governor. “Hey Abbott” was something that Lou Costello said to Bud Abbott in all their movies. It was often a sign that Costello was in trouble and needed help. Sounds like Texas in 2021. Freedom, man.

Here’s an image from one of Bud and Lou’s weirder movies, Abbott and Costello Go To Mars:

The rocket misfired and the boys landed in New Orleans during Carnival. By analogy, that’s why New Orleanians are so alarmed about Hey Abbott and Tater Tot’s actions. We’re concerned that unmasked morons from their states will visit and leave a new COVID spike in their wake. That’s a price of freedom, man that we’re unwilling to pay.

For the featured image, I memed a picture of the Governors of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi with lyrics from the venerable song, Stuck In The Middle With You, which was revived by Quentin Tarantino for Reservoir Dogs. It sums up how I feel today: “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

The last word goes to Stealers Wheel:

Freedom, man.

Pointless Triangulation

I know, I know, it’s Jacobin, but it’s not all that different from something really poisonous in our political landscape right now which is the tendency to act like it’s 1992: 

Joe Rogan has some views on trans issues that anyone on the Left should oppose. Unfortunately, at least half the country holds similar views. The issue isn’t whether Bernie Sanders should compromise with such positions. As a matter of principle, he can’t and shouldn’t do that. The question is whether the best way to build a movement that appeals to rather than alienating the tens of millions of Americans who have reactionary views on at least some issues is to moralistically condemn them for those views or whether it’s to welcome them in an open and compassionate way while continuing to educate them, and while sticking to our own principles.

As a matter of real-world power, it’s also worth noting that the person Rogan said he is probably going to vote for is the most pro-trans candidate in the race. Sanders was a pioneer in the support of trans rights and he hasn’t changed course. Despite the ideological flaws Rogan has on these questions, the material meaning of his announced intention to vote for Sanders is that he plans to help empower a candidate who wants medical transitions to be paid for by the only insurance program that will continue to exist after the enactment of Medicare for All.

Anyone who’s serious about changing the world has to think hard about what compromises they might be willing to make in order to achieve power. This issue has preoccupied organizers for as long as struggles for justice have existed. It’s one thing for people operating in good faith to disagree with each other about those questions. It’s quite another to denounce Sanders for “touting” an endorsement which required no such compromises.

I don’t give a fuck about Joe Rogan or, to be honest, Bernie all that much. Of course I will vote and campaign and cape for Bernie every single day if he is the nominee, post memes and declare my undying love, etc etc. You all know this by now. WRT Rogan of course I start from the assumption that any popular white male podcaster/YouTuber is a douchemook and ask them to prove me wrong and so far Rogan … has not. But this isn’t about Bernie, or Rogan, or the necessity of endorsements.

It’s about the calculation that you can win over people who don’t want to vote for you by shitting on the people who do. And more poisonous than that, that you can win over people who don’t want to vote for you by shitting on people who need you to get elected to save their goddamn lives.

Saying we should throw trans people under the bus so that we can prove ourselves to be Real Serious People is utter horseshit and I’d rather lose every election from now until the end of time than engage in this kind of pointless pandering to miserable bigots who are lying about their bigotry.

I mean they are lying. “I wouldn’t have to be a Nazi if you didn’t want to recognize trans people’s existence” is not a thing said by people who want to support you and are persuadable. There are no legions of suburban mommies out there who want to vote Democrat except for how you all support trans people. For literally no one is that their number one issue, not that that matters, your degree of bigotry has fuckall to do with anyone else’s right to exist anyway.

You know what is somebody’s number one issue? Being alive, being able to go to work and go home and go out and yes, go to the bathroom, without fear of firing or harassment or goddamn being murdered. THOSE are some real-ass stakes. Kids getting medical care, that’s skin in the game. The right to privacy, to a life free from fear, that’s a real thing, not like Gated Community Gretchen’s comfort level at book club.

Gated Community Gretchen is going to hold her nose and vote for Trump because “those people” are “taking over,” anyway. This is the thing. We act like there’s some magic denunciation of our own that will make people who dislike Democrats stop disliking Democrats and aside from it being morally monstrous it won’t even WORK.

Like in addition to that, Mrs. Lincoln, the play fucking SUCKED.

Maybe once upon a time this worked, this triangulating “I love everything about being a Democrat except all my fellow Democrats” bullshit, this “I will denounce my own party and all its works in order to win the primary to represent my own party and all my icky morally deficient supporters who need to pull up their pants and stop buying designer handbags with their food stamps.” Did it?

I feel like maybe there was a time before everybody saw through the con, but it’s 2020 and we know things now, and one of the things we know is that if a cheese-faced fascist mobster-wannabe appeals to you after he’s put immigrant kids in cages you probably have more going on than thinking trans people are icky.

Every successful presidential campaign is by definition a coalition of voters who don’t agree with each other about everything but are willing to get behind a given candidate and their platform. The question is whether we’re so allergic to having people in our coalition who haven’t yet reached progressive positions on every issue that we’re willing to risk losing what is arguably the most important election of our lifetimes.

Which is more important — stigmatizing Rogan for his bad views by refusing to make any welcoming gestures when he expresses interest in joining our coalition, or shutting down Donald Trump’s concentration camps?

We heard this shit in 2004, that Gavin Newsom First of His Name, King of the Andals, etc etc was going to ruin everything on earth for Democrats forever by marrying same-sex couples. How’d THAT work out? Last I checked Gavin was presiding over the country’s largest economy and the Democrats who did lose elections on the back of marriage equality were the milquetoast half-a-loaf ones who couldn’t commit to the idea that people are people and displayed all the moral courage of wilted flan.

Take a lesson, assholes. Our fate is your fate. We are all of us safe or none of us and that is not something you can negotiate. The way this works now is people get on board with who they want to support, not the other way around. If the Rogan coalition is impossible to win without, then they’re the ones facing pressure, not the rest of us, and that’s the way this needs to be talked about. If Rogan’s audience is expected now to vote for Bernie then they’re the ones who have to get to where Bernie or WHOEVER is going. Bernie, to his credit, seems to get this.

People horny for the first Clinton administration, not so much.

We should be long past disposing of people’s fundamental humanity to appeal to some mythical as-yet-unseen voters who could show up anytime they wanted without us needing to yell slurs to get them here.


True Unity

Politics isn’t about feelings, you ambulatory turtlenecks: 

Obviously, no Democrat would talk like Trump anyway, because that kind of bigoted talk would get a person drummed out of the country’s multiracial party even as it got him celebrated and elevated in the country’s white ethno-nationalist party.

I am saying, though, that Democrats should stop pretending they can unite the country. They can’t. No one can. What they can do, what they must do, is assemble a coalition of working- and middle-class voters of all races around a set of economic principles that will say clearly to those voters that things are going to be very different when they’re in the White House.

Emphasis mine. Consensus, as Mr. A is fond of saying in stupid meetings we’re in, is not unanimity. You don’t get to have everyone agree with you, and everyone agreeing is not a sign of anything anyway. You get the balance of people to commit to something and the people who want to get on board afterward can, but the people who won’t? Fuck ’em, Bucky, we got work to do.

We forget this all the time because so much of our politics is about talking but as a politician you are supposed to DO STUFF. I know cable news has warped everyone’s brain to the point that we think if two people are yelling at each other that automatically makes both of them wrong, but it doesn’t. And I know our ignorance of history leads us to think that there was some indeterminate point in the past where “we” all rallied around the flag but “we” didn’t. As many people agreed with McCarthy as fought against him. Post-9/11 there were waves of hate crimes and paranoia and let’s not forget all the torturing. During our last glorious period of unity in World War II we locked up a bunch of Japanese-Americans who probably weren’t feeling like we wanted their unity at that point.

We confuse the way we need to remember things with the way they happened, and that’s where our need for unity comes from. It’s childish horseshit and we should be above it by now. People are dying.

Democrats took back the House and a bunch of state legislatures last fall because they said to the voters, here is what we are going to DO FOR YOU. Lots of people liked that. Because some people didn’t doesn’t mean Democrats somehow failed to “unite the country.” It means some people don’t want to get on board with where most of us are going and that’s fine, for them, they get to live their lives, but we don’t have to spend all our time freaking out about what they think or stressing because there are 12 people out there we ain’t converted yet.

Bemoaning the end of comity is good Sunday show ratings but I know of nobody sitting in the pain clinic twitching for an opioid fix who gives a damn if Ilhan Omar was rude. I know of nobody on the phone yelling at their insurance company about a test their doctor says they need to stay alive who worries about Amy Klobuchar being an asshole in the office that one time, or even Joe Biden challenging Trump to a monster truck rally or whatever believes-his-own-press shit Joey has going on today.

People will get united real fast if we stop talking about unity and start giving them clean water, good jobs and free health care. The ones that won’t, eh. The bleached suburban bookclub assholes currently making common cause with Nazi hicks in the hills, fine, you get invited to the party but don’t expect me to change the menu, the venue and the seating just to convince you to show up. Show up or don’t. The rest of us, we got kiddie concentration camps to close.


Clinton (Consultant) Needs to Go Away

For all the talk about how Hillary and Bill need to exit the stage, I think the real cancer on our politics is everyone they employed. Shut UP, Rahm: 

“I don’t think you can make it to the Oval Office without being a good politician. And whatever you want to say-and I am in violent disagreement with this president-he was a better politician than Hillary.”

He’s also a fascist but let’s respect his SKILLZ, right?

Shut UP, Carville: 

James Carville said the Democrats will not have a wave election in the 8pm hour of MSNBC’s election night coverage. He said there is still a good chance that Democrats win the House but some races will be nail-biters.

40 seats, you lizard-headed asshole.

Shut UP, Begala: 

“It is really impressive, the money and the operation that the Trump folks are putting together,” said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist. As soon as the midterm election is over, he said, Democrats “had better get about the business of re-arming for the next battle.”


Shut UP, Snuffleupagus: 

STEPHANOPOULOS: 2020 jockeying has already begun. And we talk to two contenders from the Buckeye state, Republican Governor John Kasich and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

We’ll break down the politics, smoke out the spin. The facts that matter this week.

The smoke! The fire! The toasted marshmallows!

And STFU forever and ever and ever, Mark Penn & Andrew Stein: 

Penn, a frequent contributor to The Hill, co-wrote a Sunday op-ed for The Wall Street Journal with Andrew Stein, a former Democratic Manhattan borough president and president of the New York City Council.

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the pair wrote. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

You know, I don’t care one way or another if Hillary wants to run again (yes, or Bernie, god you’re all exhausting), but I do wish the people who won two elections on her husband’s back and have been dining out on it ever since would GO TAKE UP KNITTING.


Tweet Of The Day: Nancy Smash Challenge Edition

It’s no secret that we’re Nancy Pelosi fans here at First Draft. The first female speaker was also one of the most effective. It’s why she was targeted by Republicans in the 2010 teabagger wave election and in every subsequent campaign. It’s best when your boogieman (boogiewoman in this instance) can really boogie.

Pelosi just led Democrats to their biggest gains in the House since the post-Watergate wave election way back in 1974. Instead of meeting with acclaim, she’s facing a challenge led by the #FiveWhiteGuys with support from the cats and kittens at Politico.

Since none of them has the balls to stand for leader, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and the other #FiveWhiteGuys thought they’d found the perfect stalking horse in African American Congressperson Marcia Fudge. They were outmaneuvered by the wily Pelosi who cut a deal with Fudge yesterday. It’s why she’s been House Democratic leader longer than anyone since Sam Rayburn.

That brings us to the tweet of the day. It’s a joke I considered stealing outright but decided not to. Without further adieu, here it is:

I’m Done With Your Doug Jones Feelings Too, Internet

See the Bernie & Hillary edition.

AAAAND we’re already mad at Doug Jones.  Instead of, rightly, being mad at the assignment editors who are out there asking every conservative Dem to take impeachment off the table like it’s 2005.

Look, the point for anyone who lived in Alabama was not to be represented by a Bible-banging pedophiliac, and for anyone who doesn’t live in Alabama the point of Doug Jones was to elect a Democrat, full stop. Doug Jones is almost not the point at all. The point is a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, a Democratic White House, Democratic state houses because goddamn, have you seen the world right now?

Blah blah blah Jill Stein blah. People I know and love are suffering and will suffer while we fantasize about having more than two parties, about not having to choose between the arsonists and the (dumb, underfunded, likely corrupt) fire brigade. Me and mine would like the fires out.

Does anyone who’s still pounding on the purity drum really think we’d be worse off with a Congress that could stop this tax obscenity, that could hold the line on Roe, that could actually confirm a Supreme Court nominee from a Democratic president? I get that we all want everybody banging  the impeachment drum at all times, I am as in love with Kirsten Gillibrand First of Her Name as any of you, but elect enough Democrats and the individual weaknesses of this that or the other one don’t matter no more.

Doug Jones in his seat now and for the foreseeable future is not about Doug Jones, it is about the seat. The problem with conservative Democrats isn’t that they’re awful, it’s that the slim margin of control one party usually holds gives shitass attention-whore conservative Democrats outsize power. Had Democrats held the Senate by double digits Joe Lieberman would just be some asshole footnote instead of a whole asshole chapter.

So we can all sit around getting mad and disappointed at Doug Jones or we can make sure the fact that he’s 85 percent of the way there is enough to make a real difference, by electing a shitload more people who are 90 percent and 95 percent and 100 percent there.


The Gods Lift Those Who Lift Each Other

Two quick hits.


Oklahoma stands out for the velocity with which districts have turned to a shorter school week in the past several years, one of the most visible signs of a budget crisis that has also shuttered rural hospitals, led to overcrowded prisons and forced state troopers to abide by a 100-mile daily driving limit.

Democrats helped pass bipartisan income tax cuts from 2004 to 2008. Republicans — who have controlled the legislature since 2009 and governorship since 2011 — have cut income taxes further and also significantly lowered taxes on oil and gas production.

“The problems facing Oklahoma are our own doing. There’s not some outside force that is causing our schools not to be able to stay open,” said state Sen. John Sparks, the chamber’s top Democrat. “These are all the result of a bad public policy and a lack of public-sector investment.”


I’ve been thinking about the latter since first reading it, because it articulates so perfectly what we’ve lost in the last 60 years (lost, never forget, at the hands of racist rich men who found the GOP eager to provide a political “philosophy” to sell their hate and selfishness). We’ve lost not the idea of kindness but the ability to clearly articulate the benefits of community. Not that helping others is some abstract good for which we will be rewarded in heaven, but that it directly benefits us right now today.

White Male America didn’t succeed in the 1950s as a result of keeping black men and women down. White Male America succeeded because of public policies designed to enhance the lives of many. The GI Bill, robust and widespread public schooling, infrastructure improvements that started before WWII and affordable public college provided by land grant universities all lifted vastly more people than tax cuts ever would have. Wild amounts of government spending, union jobs, pensions, and honest-to-god public assistance without ponderous and intrusive means-testing bullshit, all provided a framework for everyone to succeed.

And then a bunch of people came along and said this can’t continue, because it’s starting to benefit black and brown people, and if they win you lose. If you talk about the collective good you’re a commie. If you want to be fairly paid you’re a feminazi. If you criticize foreign wars you’re an egghead elitist SJW coastal fifth columnist who loves terrorism and hates America. If you’re different in any way, you’re a threat.

Who did that? Who’s responsible? Who sold that line, and who bought it? We still can’t identify the perpetrators in public. We talk all day long about how “Washington” is “broken,” how “politics” is “broken.” We talk about “the age of Trump” like it’s a tornado that just descended from the clouds. Someone MADE US THIS WAY and made money from it, and we can’t even bring ourselves to name the force that did it.

If Democrats are going to articulate a policy that is about helping ourselves, instead of helping “others,” because of course they’re the same thing, then they need to get real about what they’re fighting and why. A return to New Deal/Great Society rhetoric isn’t going to cut it in the face of the GOP puke funnel. I don’t think the concept of pity is the main problem here.


Let Me Make This Easy for You, Democrats


Really? Still? We’re still doing this? It’s 2017. We’re fully more than a decade past the time when Democrats, eager to take the high road and do the right thing and be patriotic and put country before party, sucked George W. Bush’s strap-on and were rewarded for their decency by having the war hero they nominated for president derided as a commie faggot peace-freak appeaser. We jus spent eight years in which a Democratic president gave weekly speeches about nonexistent well-meaning Republicans who just disagreed on policy while they howled outside his windows burning him in effigy. And we’re still gonna do the right thing?


I mean it, God, why? So rich fucks like Richard Blumenthal can look at themselves in the mirror and talk to their reflections about how they tried, or something? So they can feel good about themselves? So they can say they did the “right thing” as defined by some centrist think tank as its members hump the status quo like their lives depend on it? So they don’t ruffle any feathers on the half-plucked chicken we’ve placed in the executive branch? So that maybe next time they’ll get a freebie? How stupid are these people?

Let me explain this for everybody, the fucking club of the most of them, that just got here on the last bus out of Idiotville. Let me tell you what will happen if Democrats hold hearings and confirm this guy. Let’s imagine they do that, and somehow we all survive the next four years and come out alive, and it’s a Democratic president in that chair the next time. And maybe Ruth Bader Ginsberg or one of the other 400-year-old people decides to pack it in. Let me lay out for you what happens next.

In payment for Democrats being so nice and good, and voting to confirm this suit filled with cockroaches to the highest court in the land, Republicans will make the next Democratic nominee into the biggest screaming pinko terrorist butt-buddy to ever walk the earth. They will portray that person, most likely a semi-conservative career prosecutor or the like, as a grave threat to the Republic and come up with endless rationales for delaying and finally denying his or her confirmation, and after they do that they’ll take victory laps at CPAC so the frog-fuckers who vote for them can shower them with praise for saving the land.

That will be your reward, Democrats, for “doing the right thing” by Republicans. Would that any of you were half as interested in doing the right thing by your constituents, or by America. Would that you felt as strongly about doing the right thing for us. Would that that kept you up at night.



What Are You Looking At?

I cannot tell you how exhausted I am of the Democratic Party pretending there’s only one race that matters: 

Still, the party’s expectations about Clinton demonstrated just how bad parties are at analyzing what they need to fix to win. Next year, while it is not what they boast about, Democrats are expecting mistakes by Trump — the most unpopular incoming president in decades — to create opportunities for them. Their debate about winning a new majority is not about a savior from red America, or even a change in policy. It is about better organizing, and how to win back voters who were Democrats until the party was branded as neoliberal and pro-trade.


Democrats can’t just organize at the national level and run for president and lose every House and Senate seat and every state house and expect those losses not to eventually bite them in the ass at the national level too. Let the blue states become seething roiling pits of anti-everything sentiment, from Scott Walker’s rageaholic anti-education Wisconsin to Bruce Rauner’s union-bashing Illinois, and those feelings reach a critical mass.

If every voice from every leader is an authoritarian Republican one, how do you expect them to listen to what Democrats are saying? Where are they supposed to read your 5-point plan? Twitter?

When we look at the future, what are we looking at? National numbers on Trump’s unpopularity? If that shit mattered John Kerry would be opening his presidential library and Hillary would be having Bill measure the Oval for new curtains. State numbers are all that matters, and maybe this more than anything: How far down the Republican rabbit hole have the state legislature and the house races gone?

If those have all been won by tea-freak bigots, I don’t care what it did in the last election, that’s not a blue state.

What are we expecting otherwise? “Well, on a local level I approve of drug testing for welfare and repealing worker protections and gutting public schools and bashing professors and throwing the entire economy into a tailspin so I can regulate where transgender people pee, but nationally? I’m all for fairness, sharing, kindness, gay people, single mothers and the idea of a representative democracy!”

Forget a 50-State Strategy. We need a 50-State Legislature Strategy.


It Can’t Be Said Often Enough: Trump Was Not a Surprise

Not if you’d been paying attention in any way: 

A 2006 report by the Institute for Policy Studies found that, in 2005, CEOs of the largest U.S. private defense contractors continued to profit from the ongoing wars.

Defense CEO pay was 44 times that of a military general with 20 years of experience and 308 times that of an Army private in 2005. Generals made $174,452 and Army privates made $25,085, while average defense CEO pay was $7.7 million.

In contrast to wealthy individuals who became even wealthier, those who were sent to do the actual fighting comprised disproportionately high numbers of working class Americans. In the combined efforts of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, almost 7,000 U.S. soldiers have died. More than 970,000 veteran disability claims have been registered with the Veterans Administration.

Returning soldiers face higher unemployment rates than their civilian counterparts, particularly among male veterans age 21 to 24. Between 2009 and 2012, the youngest veterans had an unemployment rate of 21.6 percent, compared to 13.5 percent for civilians.

Veterans struggle to find proper healthcare in a system ill-prepared for the number of wounded, particularly those with catastrophic injuries and mental health issues that require long-term care. Private nonprofit organizations have been picking up the slack left by inadequate funding in the federal budget.

Like their ancestors who fought in and survived the Civil War, today’s soldiers return to find their situations either the same, or much worse, than when they left. Who would blame them for being angry? As soldiers go off to war we say, “God bless our troops.” Maybe we should add, “God help them when they come home.”

It reminds me of when 9/11 happened and there was a sea of stories about “why they hate us” and other stuff, like, how dare those illogical people blame America for the fact that their kids are killed by bombs we sold to their enemies, what crazy talk. To profess surprise at Donald Trump’s message taking hold is to admit you were asleep the entire last half of the last century and the entirety so far of this one.

And the veteran piece is a critical one because for a lot of people, including a lot of people I know, service was the fastest and most reliable way out of a dead-end situation. So they join up to escape poverty, and then get plunged right back into poverty when they get home, only now they’re minus a leg and need medication the VA can’t give them for three months. You’ve taken what is already a monstrous situation — go to war so your family can eat, kids! — and made the best case scenario end of it (that you come home alive) a horror show.

I don’t blame anybody at a Trump rally one bit for being pissed the government doesn’t listen to them. Because you know what? It doesn’t.


I’m Done With All Your Hillary and Bernie Feelings, Internet


Genuinely, I think he does. I think he wants to bring about the end times. I think he is living in a comic book and none of the rest of us are real to him.

Marco Rubio is six years old and he keeps thinking if he talks faster and louder it will make him sound smarter. Debate moderators ask him why his own people think he sucks, and he yells about his Lord and Savior.

Jeb Bush once ruined an entire family’s life just to make points with the Jesus freaks over Terri Schaivo, and the freaks are not even voting for him now. Like, think of that. You mortgage your soul for someone, and they’re like, “Ick, get away.”

I don’t know what to worry about more, that Donald Trump is gonna pick somebody for his VP that he has already publicly called a giant shitlord who will then sink him from within, or that he’s gonna choose a military dude like Petraeus. Then he’ll win, and quit, leaving us with a morally dyslexic G.I. Joe in charge.

ANY ONE OF THEM gets to appoint Supreme Court justices, as Sainted Dead Scalia reminded us last night, and Notorious RBG ain’t gonna live forever. If we make her deal with one more Republican president, she would be well within her rights to give the concept of existence on this planet the finger.

So if I read one more thinkpiece about ageism, sexism, Bernie-ism and who isn’t respecting who enough online, I will send this whole Internet to bed without supper. I have a Mom Voice now. I can do that.

I mean, dear God. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, writers. It’s not about you. It’s not about you, people who have time to be penning this or that for a publication that exists to explicate the zeitgeist or whatever. God damn, what is happening in this country right now during this political campaign, it is not about you.

Some of the things being said at and near Bernie’s fans remind me of how I was treated as a young person at my first paying gig: You’re only 22 so nothing you say is legit, like call us when you grow up. Some of the things being said at and near Hillary remind me viscerally of how I was treated the last time I asked for a raise at my job: You need to be nicer because that matters more than any other skill you have. 

Some of the things being said to younger and older voters are making me ragey and some of them are making me sad and you know what those feelings of mine, those deep and real feelings mean to a bunch of people in Flint, Mich. whose kids have been poisoned by lead in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ Two Thousand Sixteen?



There was a Democratic debate Thursday night or during the Super Bowl or whenever, and two candidates on stage — a Jew and a woman, both the first of those groups to win major primaries — were discussing their responses to systemic racism. Systemic. Racism. They were discussing institutionalized hatred of black people and the dehumanization of them by the government.

Yes, later John Lewis and Bernie Sanders supporters snapped at each other on Twitter and yes, Hillary could not get away with having a prominent supporter who goes by “Killer Mike” because of sexism. But at that debate OUR PARTY HAD A GODDAMN DISCUSSION ABOUT FIXING RACISM.

The Republicans, at their debate last night, were fighting over who gets to hold the fire hoses and unleash the German Shepherds. 

And not for nothing, but a few weeks ago we had a sitting U.S. Goddamn President name of Barack Hussein Obama who spoke not tentatively, not neutrally, not cautiously but ADMIRINGLY of the courage of young gay men and women living their lives as full citizens of the United States. He PRAISED THEM. As role models not just to other gay people but to everybody, in front of a joint session of Congress, behind a fucking podium with a seal on it, to thunderous applause.

Later, at the Republican debate, a bunch of guys talked about if we could put Don’t Ask Don’t Tell back into effect somehow and make everybody forget if Gunny Highway likes dudes and stack the Supreme Court with people who will go around forcibly divorcing every gay married couple on earth.

The differences between Bernie and Hillary are real (see Kissinger, Henry and Dead, Why Isn’t He Yet) and explanations of them are welcome and necessary. But the constant online whining about behavior of campaign supporters towards one another and the over-identification with the candidates personally* is starting to feel like therapy for the comfortable commentator class. Maybe we’re forgetting that BEN CARSON DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE DEBT CEILING IS..

It is starting to remind me of 2003 when Yes Hippies Are Right But They Smell, or 2004 when Yes Democrats Are Right But The Midterms. I do not want to see President Trump elected so that all U.S. progressives can Suck On This for not supporting Bernie. I do not want somebody else’s kids to fight three more wars so We Can Learn Something This Time It Serves Us Right for not supporting Hillary. We who are here to type stuff into the Internet don’t get to write checks for other people’s asses to cash.

I am supposed to be freaking out right now because calling someone a Bernie Bro is reductive and mean and makes you less likely to vote Hillary? I will call you anything you WANT, okay? What do you want me to call you so we can get some work done? I am sorry I was born after Roe v Wade but I’ve had by conservative estimate 37 transvaginal ultrasounds, so if I give you a pin commemorating the fight to make abortion legal can we please elect Bernie to stick a probe up Scott Walker’s bunghole?

President Bernie, President Hillary, are not going to lead-poison our children to save a few bucks and then be all LET’S NOT TELL ANYBODY when they get a memo about the poisoning. They’re not going to make cracks about turning Syria into a glowstick and they’re not gonna slap their junk on Putin’s dinner table and they’re not gonna forget where China is or whatever it was Trump did last week. They’re not going to punish poor women by faux-investigating the only medical clinics that give a shit if those women live or die.

I want a woman president, maybe this woman. I want a non-Christian president, maybe this dude. I would rather have CLAIRE as president than any combination of any of the Republicans currently running and I’m sincerely afraid that we might not survive a couple of them. Far too many of the things I’m reading lately are forgetting that soon and very soon that will be the fight we’ll have to have.

At that point the therapy sessions will be over, and not a moment too soon. So work for your chosen candidate. But don’t confuse that work with the kind you need to do on your psyche, because the latter you can get done on your own goddamn time.


*Call me, John Kerry, you are 8 feet tall and it still charms me senseless.

Are You Proud Now, America?


There was nothing there.

Not only was there nothing there, but there was something less than nothing there, because people actually got themselves INDICTED for making out like there was something there.

Not only was there something less than nothing there, but anybody with two brain cells to rub together looked at the sterling credentials of the people making out like there was something there and said, there’s nothing there.

They were, of course, the exact kind of carnival barkers they seemed to be, and this news only surprises the people who make a living being surprised when the curtain gets pulled back and, instead of an alien life form, the freak show’s just one sad goat with a weird mark on its neck.

I don’t really blame the barkers. They’re doing their jobs, and people will do the same job after them just as people have done the same job before them.

No, I blame everybody else, who should KNOW BETTER BY NOW.

Are you proud of yourselves, CNN? Most Trusted Name in News? Are you proud that you ran your first story on this mess like this? 

An anti-abortion group has released an online video that it says documents how Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs for a profit, a felony, while violating medical ethics by altering normal abortion procedures so as to preserve the organs.

Are you proud that the very next day you ran a commentary calling the video “a horror movie?”

But, frankly, the detail is up for lawyers to debate. What matters about this video is what it appears to reveal about the reality behind America’s sanitized image of abortion; the reality of what an abortion is and how it morally compromises us all.

Are you proud that during YOUR SPONSORED DEBATE, you let a presidential candidate describe those videos, and that your after the fact “fact check” called it “true, but misleading?”

The clip does show what appears to be a fully formed fetus on an operating table with its legs twitching. But the clip Fiorina references is not part of the CMP sting video but was instead taken by another anti-abortion group and was added to the sting video. The Center for Medical Progress, however, doesn’t explain where the fetus video was shot, so it’s not clear whether it was taken at a Planned Parenthood clinic. For its part, the women’s health organization has flatly denied the accusations.

VERDICT: True, but misleading

Are you proud that when someone did what everybody thought someone would do when presented with the kind of foaming nonsense you put on TV hour after hour after hour, your coverage conveniently forgot that he not only admitted to a motive when captured, he was fucking thrilled about it?

Are you even going to have a meeting? Are you going to sit down with anyone involved in any of that coverage and say, how did we manage to get snowed by these assholes again? After ACORN, after the NPR video, after everything? Are you going to say while it is their job to play us, we should at least try not to be played OR ACT SORRY WHEN IT HAPPENS? Do cable networks even run corrections? Would you, if you could?

Or is it going to be bygones, nobody could have known, truth on both sides, problem was how it looked not what it was, and on and on until the next thing, when they take us by surprise again?

Are you proud, all you people who followed in cable news’s wake? All you two-bit pundits and columnists who gleefully tweeted along with #DefundPP because OMG BABY PARTS, everybody who said okay, look, cancer screening can’t happen unless everybody denounces every woman who’s ever had an abortion, one by one?

Are you proud, Congress? I don’t mean you tea freaks, I mean you people who are lauded as Serious Republican Thinkers and Conservative Democratic Stalwarts and shit. Are you proud you got taken in by something this transparent? Are you happy you spent months, months, of company time screeching in hearings at poor women and their representatives, saying they were whores and sinners, thanking God someone finally exposed their perfidy?

Are you proud, everybody who stayed quiet? Who hedged your bets, kept your powder dry, and waited to see who turned out to be right when you knew goddamn well who was right and who was going to hell? Are you proud now that the world’s most predictable result is here, and everybody who is saying I TOLD YOU SO is being derided as mean, when you should be forced to wear signs that say I WAS COWARDLY?

Are you proud this is how it happens now? Yeah, the guys who are going to jail should be ashamed of themselves, but everybody who joined their idiot chorus and everybody who stayed quiet because OMG CONTROVERSIAL and everybody who would rather some people get killed than some women get health care and everybody whose job it is to make sense of all the competing forces at work in modern politics should be even more ashamed.

The carnival barker’s gonna bark. That’s his job. He sells the freak show tickets. It’s right there on the sign. You shouldn’t be proud that you read it and walked right into the tent.


The Generational Feminism Olympics, Yay!

I am so not looking forward to the next 10 months of this bullshit: 

Do you notice a difference between young women and women our age in their excitement about Hillary Clinton? Is there a generational divide? Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

Guys? Which one of you forgot to send Debbie Wasserman Schultz the list of stuff ladies younger than 40 care about? Because she seems to be under the impression that young women aren’t working as clinic escorts, or donating to Planned Parenthood, or supporting pro-choice candidates, all of which is the case. Moreover, she seems to  be under the impression that if she doesn’t “see” it, it doesn’t exist, so obviously we need to make sure to do stuff on her timetable if we want any respect as people.

Christ. First of all, most of the serious assaults on Roe have come at the state level, in places like OH I DON’T KNOW WISCONSIN where lots and lots and lots of young people tried to recall the anti-choice governor. Where was the DNC while this personhood-amendment-supporting, 20-week-ban-signing asshole was riding roughshod over a pro-choice man and then a pro-choice woman opponent? I mean it, where were they? Because if they want to talk about complacency, I’d like to hear an explanation for the WAREHOUSES full of dry powder they decided not to waste in that case. I’d like to talk about that before we go full metal jacket on the college kids.

Second of all, if anyone is to blame for the erosion of Roe, it is the anti-choice men in statehouses and Congress and the Supreme Court eroding it. I’d like to hear a little more about THEM, and what Democratic and abortion rights groups intend to do to stop them, and a little less about those ungrateful teenage bitches who just don’t understand real activism or whatever. Something something Twitter.

This is WHAT ANTI-CHOICE MEN WANT. This is what rich old jackwagons who hate women and especially poor women WANT. They want us yelling at each other so we’re not yelling at them. They want the DNC chair talking shit about her own voters instead of saying “I think young women are incredibly energized and excited about the possibility of a female president, and even if there are generational differences in how women approach the issues, in the end any movement that doesn’t welcome the contributions of younger members will dry up and blow away. Look at the Republican party, for example.”

They WANT us to jab about the menopause caucus burning their bras and the girls who care more about the Kardashians and being naked than they do about their rights. And here we are giving them exactly what they want. Look, people will always try to play you, but you don’t have to welcome it. You don’t have to follow the script. You can refuse to dump on other women to make yourself look better. You can refuse the premise of the question.



Democrats Who Voted for SAFE Act are Cowards & Traitors

Once upon a time: 

What I want to know, what I want to know, is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President’s unilateral intervention in Iraq?

What I want to know, is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting tax cuts which have bankrupted this country and given us the largest deficit in the history of the United States?

What I want to know, is why the Congress is fighting over the Patient’s Bill of Rights?  If the Patient’s Bill of Rights passes, is a good bill, but not one more person gets health insurance and it’s not five cents cheaper.

What I want to know is why the Democrats in Congress aren’t standing up for us joining every other industrialized country on the face of the Earth in having health insurance for every man, woman and child in America?

What I want to know, what I want to know, is why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President’s education bill — “The No School Board Left Standing Bill” — the largest unfunded mandate in the history of our educational system?


I want to end on a personal note.  Three years ago next month I signed a bill into law called the civil unions bill [cheers], which gives gay and lesbian Vermonters the same rights I have: visitations of your significant other in the hospital, inheritance rights, insurance rights.  Vermont truly is a place where every American is equal in the eyes of the law.

I want the President of the United States to explain to all Americans why he doesn’t believe all Americans should be equal under the law.  [cheers].  I signed, I signed that bill six months before an election when it was at 35 percent in the polls.  I never had a conversation with myself about whether I ought to sign the bill or not because I knew that if I was willing to sell out the hopes and dreams of a significant portion of our people, that I had wasted my life in public service.

Come back, Dr. Dean. Your country needs you now.

Come back, because way too many Democrats are cowards.

In several meetings, Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) presented fellow Democrats with polling data showing that lawmakers who didn’t support tighter restrictions would be in the sharp minority. As former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Israel is often called on to give advice on electoral matters. And while he didn’t explicitly encourage members to vote for the SAFE Act, the implication was clear: you will be vulnerable if you don’t support the only piece of refugee-related legislation that has gotten a vote after the Paris attacks.

Come back, because they’re looking at the man in the White House and saying hey, he’s on two weeks’ notice and we still have elections to win.

The top House Democratic aide said that members were encouraged to support the bill in part because they believed it would ultimately fall short of becoming law. That, combined with a sense that the underlying reforms weren’t severe, led many to conclude a “nay” vote wasn’t worth the political blowback.

Come back, because way too many Democrats are traitors.

Come back, because they’re looking to their own pockets, instead of to the values of their country.

Come back, because way too many Democrats are whiny babies who would rather complain that they weren’t wined and dined enough than do the right thing for the sake of their immortal goddamn souls.

One House Democrat, who requested anonymity, said he went into the meeting with administration officials opposed to the bill but left in support of it.

“If the White House hadn’t royally fucked this up they’d have lost maybe 20 Democrats,” said the lawmaker. (He ultimately voted against the bill.)

Come back and rip them another one, and remind them, as you reminded them once, that they can’t give people a choice between a Republican and a Republican. Come  back because if they do that, it doesn’t matter who they vote for. We’ll get Republicans every time.

Come back because they’re doing it AGAIN. Come back and remind them what happened last time they tried this. What happened last time they let a crisis scare them, let a bunch of bullies cow them, let the anonymous poll answers speak for them. Remind them what our country looked like when that was done.

Remind them what another country looked like, too. Remind them how many people died because they either turned a blind eye, or couldn’t be bothered.

Remind them it may take a lifetime but they will answer for that. One of the great solaces of belief is considering what weight the unjust will have to carry, even if it is in some kind of afterlife.

Remind a lot of them they lost elections anyway. Remind them it’s not a deal with the devil if the devil doesn’t even pretend to promise them something.

Not that they care. Not that they’ll listen. They didn’t listen before.

Remind them anyway. It’s our job to remind them. It’s our job to stand up even if it’s useless, even if it’s never worked, even if the club of the most of them are dirtbag losers who run screaming when they see a Rassmussen poll. Remind them so that WE don’t have to feel, as they may someday, that not every single thing was done to make it stop. Remind them so that you can look in the mirror.

Remind them so that they know that somebody fought back, when they couldn’t be bothered.

Light. Them. Up. 


The Pre-Palin GOP Was a Scholar’s Paradise, and Other Lies We Tell Children

Bill Daley, attempting to let Republicans off the hook by complaining about those filthy Republican voters: 

Calling the current GOP primary “carnival-like,” Daley said the party had a chance to right itself after Palin’s “blatant lack of competence and preparedness” became apparent and contributed to the collapse of the McCain campaign.

“What’s critical is that substantive, serious Republican leaders either wouldn’t or couldn’t declare, before or after the election: ‘This is not what our party stands for. We can and must do better,’” Daley wrote.

“Once McCain put Palin on the ticket, Republican ‘grown-ups,’ who presumably knew better, had to bite their tongues. But after the election, when they were free to speak their minds, they either remained quiet or abetted the dumbing-down of the party,” he continued. “They stood by as Donald Trump and others noisily pushed claims that Obama was born in Kenya. And they gladly rode the Tea Party tiger to sweeping victories in 2010 and 2014.”

I hate to defend Sarah Palin, but I’m defending Sarah Palin. I hate to defend Donald Trump, but I’m defending Donald Trump. And I hate to defend Republican voters, but I’m defending Republican voters. Neither of them did anything but vote for their own best interests. Their own best interests were racist, dumb, petty and loud, but I’m not gonna sit here and say they don’t have a right to those interests. If that’s what they want, they get to vote for it. That gets to be what power looks like for them. THIS IS HOW IT WAS DESIGNED TO WORK. You can’t bitch that the system that got you rich is now making somebody else rich, assholes.

Sarah Palin did not make the GOP stupid. Donald Trump is not making the GOP stupid. GOP primary voters are making the GOP stupid, because stupid is what the GOP wants.

And to be honest, I don’t like the carping that once upon a time Republicans were good, principled representatives of the people. That hasn’t been true for at least six decades. (Don’t throw Lincoln and Eisenhower at me. Those people might as well have been aliens from another planet for all that they’d be able to relate to either party today.) Longing for a time when the serious and sensible Republicans were in charge is just longing for a time when Republicans hid their racism and murderous economic policy with adept use of the English language.

Oooh, Ronald Reagan would never make it through a GOP primary today? Well, isn’t that sad. Saint Ronnie would never have said gay marriage is like man-on-dog! He would have just let gay people die, quietly, by the tens of thousands, because he said nothing about the disease ravaging them. At least his silence was articulate, right?

Sarah PALIN made the GOP stupid? George W. Bush stuck our entire national dick in a bees’ nest, killed thousands of American soldiers, destabilized the entire Middle East, and none of his advisors have come up with a coherent reason why. It’s been 14 fucking years and they’re still flailing around. I don’t care how many countries girlfriend can see from her house or how silly she sounds in interviews. Exactly nobody is dead because of her.

And let’s not forget, Sarah Palin did not put herself on the GOP ticket. That decision was made by John McCain, a man whose honor is so sacred to the Republicans that they’re about to elect a guy who called him a loser.

According to Daley the Republican’s have become captives to candidates like Trump, who is thriving in a system that is built upon “opportunistic soundbites above seriousness, preparedness and intellectual heft.”

One: Captives. They are powerless in the face of their complete and total ability to not elect Trump if Trump is not what they want. Pity their weakness. They can’t help it!

Two: Seriousness and preparedness. Like that of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Feith and Wolfowitz.

Three: Heaven forfend we lack the intellectual heft of the GOP of yore. Take it away, Jesse Helms: 

All year, Peterson reported, “Helms campaign literature sounded a drumbeat of warnings about black voter-registration drives. . . . On election eve, he accused Hunt of being supported by ‘homosexuals, the labor union bosses and the crooks’ and said he feared a large ‘bloc vote.’ What did he mean? ‘The black vote,’ Helms said.” He won, 52 percent to 48 percent.

In 1990, locked in a tight race with an African American Democrat, former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, Helms aired a final-week TV ad that showed a pair of white hands crumpling a rejection letter, while an announcer said, “You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota.” Once again, he pulled through.

That is not a history to be sanitized.


Take it away, Dick Armey: 

The House majority leader, Representative Dick Armey of Texas, set off a dispute on Capitol Hill today when he referred to Representative Barney Frank, one of several openly homosexual members of Congress, as “Barney Fag.”

Mr. Armey said later that he had simply mispronounced Mr. Frank’s name.

Take it away, Trent Lott: 

At his 100th birthday party Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Republican leader, paid tribute to Mr. Thurmond, saying the nation ”wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years” had he won the presidency in 1948. The racially charged political firestorm over the next two weeks forced Mr. Lott to resign his leadership post.

Take it away, Norm Coleman: 

When asked about the recount and how it is affecting him personally, Coleman said he starts every day with a prayer and that he knows “God wants me to serve.” Coleman did later temper those rather immodest remarks by adding that he is not indispensable and that others can serve as well.

Boy, the pre-Palin days were a paradise of learning and ideas. If only the dumb snowbilly bitch hadn’t screwed it all up for everybody.



Poll Worship & The Louisiana Silly Season

I hate articles about polls. There’s way too much poll worship in the world and when the polls are wrong, as they were in the U.K. general election, people freak out. It’s part and parcel of worshiping a false deity.

Poll worship is wreaking havoc on national politics right now with the candidate trying to be the first insult comedian elected President leading the GOP field. The polls also show a backbench Independent Senator from Vermont doing surprisingly well in the politically quirky Granite State. All you need to know about that is that New Englanders often win that primary *and* that they love insurgents: Pat Buchanan stunned Poppy Bush by getting 37% of the vote in 1992. I guess Bush should have been more honest about being a bona fide Yankee and invited everyone in New Hampshire up to Kennebunkport for a ride in his power boat. They love retail politics in that state, which is one reason the insult comedian will fade there unless he meets every single Republican voter. It’s what they expect.

The point of the previous paragraph is that we’re in the political silly season and it’s too early to put much stock in polling data from any organization or in any state. New Hampshire doesn’t vote until 2/9/16 and anything could happen including the alien invasion that occured in the fine SyFy teevee show, Defiance. That could, in turn, lead to gruff, crooked outsider Datak Tarr winning New Hampshire. I told you it was the silly season…

Meanwhile in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, we’re having an uncharacteristically boring Gubernatorial (hereinafter Goober) campaign. One of Jindal’s many unfortunate legacies is the dulling down of Louisiana politics. It’s not as bad as what he did to health care or education but his two terms have, at least temporarily, drained the life out of our politics. The current race for Governor is thus far lacking in drama, intrigue, and seasoning, to use a food metaphor.

That brings me back full circle to the post title. It shouldn’t be our silly season since election day is Saturday 10/24, but we’re busy debating a recent poll showing the lone Democrat in the race, John Bel Edwards, in first place with 30% of the vote followed by Gopers Bitter Vitter and Public Service Commissioner/former PBJ aide Scott Angelle at tied 21%. That’s right, we’re talking about a fucking poll. Sigh.

It’s a banal and sterile argument because 30-35% is more likely than not the dull Blue Dog State Rep’s ceiling. Additionally, Vitter hasn’t spent much money on the race as of yet and has nearly $10 million in his coffers. That hasn’t stopped Team Vitter from trying to discredit pollster Verne Kennedy. It’s what they do:

… the Kennedy poll showed Vitter losing support among several of his core constituencies since May. (Kennedy polled the Louisiana electorate in May, June and July.) The senator wasted no time trying to shoot the messenger.

Kyle Ruckert, campaign manager for Vitter, sent an email blast accusing Kennedy of “fantasy-land polling.” He cited several alleged instances of Kennedy’s polls being widely off the mark, including Vitter’s 2010 Senate primary against former state Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor. Vitter won that primary with 88 percent of the GOP vote.

Ruckert’s email claims that Kennedy’s poll in that race had the two men “almost even” with Vitter leading 46-34 percent. (That’s not “almost even” — not even with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent — but politics is the mother of hyperbole.) “Kennedy’s poll was wrong by more than 40 points,” Ruckert wrote. At the end of his email, he concluded, “it’s silly season, and desperate candidates try desperate things.”

Kennedy, who is not polling for any gubernatorial candidate, says his two polls in Vitter’s 2010 primary election did not come close to the results cited by Ruckert’s email. Kennedy sent me a copy of an email he sent to Ruckert citing the actual results of his surveys. Far from showing Vitter’s primary contest close, Kennedy’s polls showed Vitter ahead by huge margins. In June 2009 (a year before the primary), Kennedy’s poll had Vitter leading Traylor 54-15 percent. In August 2010, Kennedy’s poll showed Vitter with an even bigger lead of 66-14 percent.

Kennedy called the Vitter camp’s response to his latest survey in the governor’s race “foolishness.”

“I asked Kyle Ruckert to share his sources, because I can’t find anything even close to what they’re saying,” Kennedy said. “I don’t expect them to send it to me.”

One would have thought that the Vitterites would blame Obama for their loss in support. It’s what Diaper Dave usually does and the blame Obama approach helped elect his lackey Double Bill Cassidy to the Senate last year. Instead, he’s blaming a respected pollster who often works for business groups. In short, it ain’t no librul conspiracy.

This whole mishigas is *another* reason I hate stories about polls. The only reason the lackluster Edwards is in the lead in Kennedy’s poll is the pollster’s custom of automatically giving any Democrat 90% of the African-American vote. He may be the leader on paper but he’s not the frontrunner: the odds are long against his prevailing in a run-off against ANY Republican.

In case you were wondering, John Bel Edwards is NOT related to former Governor Edwin and has none of Le Guv’s panache and style. He’s also more conservative than the last 2 Democrats to win major statewide office, which is conservative indeed. He’s very much a part of the Gret Stet good ole boys club, his brother is the current Sheriff of Tangiapahoa Parish as was his father before him. The father was, however, a staunch EWE ally. None of the EWE charisma rubbed off on JBE: his nickname among internet smart asses is Gomer. That’s right, Gomer for Goober. I feel another sigh coming on, y’all.

I considered apologizing for discussing polls in a post expressing dislike for articles about polls but decided not to. It would be akin to not discussing Bobby Jindal in an article about Louisiana politics. I might rather not think about how he fucked the Gret Stet over but his shadow looms heavily over the Goober race. In fact, the one good thing I can say about Gomer is that he has been very critical of the PBJ record throughout the latter’s second term. It’s not his fault that fear and loathing of a black President turned a purple state deep red. I seem to have crossed over the Bridge Of Sighs

I’m reluctant to predict the outcome of the not so great Gret Stet goober race. I’m not sure who the GOPer will be right now but I still think Vitter will rally his base of bigots, bible bangers, and assholes and make the run-off against the hapless Gomer. Whatever happens, the Blue Dog is gonna be left for roadkill in the run-off.

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Your Own Self-Interest


There is no question that the Democratic party has done a god-awful job of explaining to white working people who’s screwing them and why. Most of the people who have tried that have found themselves marginalized, and not always by Republicans, either. Senator Professor Warren is one of the few of them who has managed to explain these matters in such a way that they are both easily understood, and in such a way that she doesn’t sound like she’s talking down to anyone. And she still has a long push up a dirt road before she moves the political dialogue to the point where white working class voters actually act on what she’s saying to them. Sooner or later, it’s up to the voters to decide to stop being stupid about their own self-interest, and to stop falling for scams about how the Poors and Browns are the ones stealing all their money.

Ah, the idea that people get the government they deserve. I get it, I do. In 2004 I was all “fuck everything, let these fucking people rot.” But nobody deserves this, even the people who say at the ballot box every four years that yes, yes we do.

The reason the scams about the Poors and the Browns work is that absolutely no one is offering any other answers. I hear this maddening thing all the time about people voting against their own self-interests and what everybody saying it has to figure out is that people aren’t voting against their own self-interests. They’re voting for the person who is going to make them feel better about losing, since nobody will help them WIN.

Who else is offering a competing, compelling message? Who else is making sure their lights stay on? Who else is standing up for their right to live in a decent society where we all take care of each other, take responsibility for each other, lift each other up?  Who else is backing up magnificent words with actions? Who else is paying for presses and TV stations to make sure those words don’t end up twisted and broken?

It’s not the party agreeing that single payer would have been socialism, so let’s have this other thing. It’s not the party whose president promised to walk with picketers and absented himself from the Midwest when those picketers showed up. It’s not the party of every other bullshit triangulating thing, afraid to stand up to the war until the war was almost over, just fine with torture once its president oversaw the torturing, constantly running from its own principles and afraid of the cable news blowhards calling them mean for smiling at anybody on The Professional Left.

I get the temptation, but blaming people for their own subjugation helps them throw off that subjugation not one fucking bit. Nobody deserves to have this done to them, and nobody signed up for the economy they’re getting except that asshole in The Wolf of Wall Street and his bros. The responsibility for the theft of this country rests with the crooks, not their victims. However much we might want to say seriously, lock up your shit next time.


I Do Not Mourn The New Republic

Mostly because of shit like this: 

Now the left-leaning weekly has admitted that it was wrong to have backed the war based on the administration’s claims that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

“We feel regret, but no shame. . . . Our strategic rationale for war has collapsed,” says an editorial hammered out after a contentious, 3 1/2-hour editors’ meeting.

“I wanted the editorial to be honest not just about the war and other people’s mistakes but our mistakes,” Editor Peter Beinart says. “We felt we had a responsibility to look in the mirror.”

You know what would have been better than apologizing, Petey? NOT SUPPORTING A WAR THAT LED TO ALL THOSE DEAD PEOPLE, because they don’t care about your fucking feelings, and boring on about your personal growth and how strong you are to consider your own failings is pretty much an invitation to throw rotten fruit at you in the street.

You had a responsibility to look in the mirror? Where was that responsibility when you were writing things like this: 

The unhappy truth is that, if the Bush administration wins the war but betrays the peace, the political consequences for the president will be small. Once the fighting is over, the American press will turn its attention elsewhere, just as it has in post-Taliban Afghanistan. But the consequences for hawkish liberalism will be great. Having been played for fools, most liberal hawks will retreat to a deep skepticism of American power. They will end up on the decent, feckless left–in the company of those who sincerely condemn men such as Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam but have no strategy for toppling them except empty exhortations to people power. And that soft isolationism will likely retake the Democratic Party.

Support Daddy’s fantastic new war or you’ll look like pussies in the long run, fellas. And then nobody will be there to save the peoples of the world from themselves by dropping lots of freedom bombs!

(By the by, the only reason the president’s political consequences were “small” was that THE POLITICAL PRESS OF WHICH YOU ARE A MEMBER decided holding Bush accountable would be awkward and rude. Don’t act like things just happen when it’s your hand on the cookie press, asshole.)

So that’s the magazine I’m supposed to be all aflutter about now becoming just another morass of buzzwords and quizzes, a purveyor of We Supported Triangulating Bullshit and You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next type of stories? Boy, will I miss its historical seriousness and the journalistic guts it took to cheerlead for a war based on nothing. This is a dark day for news indeed.