Friday, November 16, 2012

Gay Marriage at the Ballot: How You Like Me Now?

Couldn't let this year's post-election experience depart without highlighting this thought from Ta-Nehisi Coats:

It was only four years ago that the advocates of same-sex marriage stood tentative before the ballot. Then came The Great Mauling.

So how you like me now?
Nine states and Washington, D.C., have now legalized same-sex marriage. Though it remains unpopular in the South, rights campaigners see the potential for legislative gains in Delaware; Hawaii; Illinois; Rhode Island; Minnesota, where they beat back a restrictive amendment last Tuesday; and New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in February.
A rapid shift in public opinion is bolstering their cause as more people grow used to the idea of same-sex marriage and become acquainted with openly gay people and couples. "The pace of the change in opinions has picked up over the last few years," said Michael Dimock, associate research director of the Pew Research Center in Washington, "and as the younger generation becomes a larger share of the electorate, the writing is on the wall."
This is the great civil-rights struggle of our time. Again, it shouldn't be subject to the ballot. Whatever. Nothing quite matches the thrill of seizing your opponent's crooked rule-book, thumbing through the pages, and then throttling him senseless with the thing.

Sometimes even your schadenfreude is respectable.
Great stuff. Here in Maryland, marriage equality passed both houses of the legislature and was supported by the governor, but opponents got enough signatures to put it on the ballot, as every equality measure most be personally approved by voters, you know, just like every other single piece of legislation. Anyway, the opponents failed at the ballot box, just as they did in Minnesota, Washington State, and Maine last week.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Very Happy but Not Gloating

There are a lot of reasons to be thankful for Tuesday night's election results. The most important are, not in any particular order: The ACA gets a new lease on life, probably irreversable--most of its protections kick in 2014; marriage equality wins in Maine, Maryland and Washington State, also likely irreversable--even though another vote in another year could technically reverse these outcomes, it would be much harder to take away someone's marriage once granted; a continuing Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, which hasn't looked at all likely since 2010; and critical opportunities to ensure the Supreme Court doesn't shift dramatically to the right if Obama needs to replace one or more justices in the next four years.

Beyond that, though, there are good reasons for caution. Some of this comes from having felt greatly chastened in 1994 and 2010 (and to a certain extent in 2000 and 2002) by elections in those years after Democratic presidential wins. Although unemployment was still high (7.9%), Obama was the incumbent running for his party's second consecutive term, and only one such incumbent lost in the 20th century (Carter; GHW Bush and other incumbents lost seeking their party's third or fourth consecutive term). So Obama should have been the favorite.

It's also worth considering the relative closeness of this election and the electoral vote circumstances that frame any presidential election. Narrow wins in Ohio, Florida (likely) and Virginia, suggest how the shifting of a few thousand votes in such places can dramatically alter outcomes. That states which turned blue for us in 2008 (Indiana and NC) flipped back this year should also provide reasons not to be overly optimistic next time.

Additional reasons for caution lay in the country's fiscal situation. There is a wide and deepening chasm between what the country spends or will need to spend on income support and defense and the tax levels it seems willing to pay for them. Obama's stance on wanting to raise taxes on incomes only above $250,000 is not encouraging. Much more revenue than this will be needed if Social Security and health care are to be fully or reasonably funded in the next decades. Our party's unwillingness to address this has perhaps helped in the short term but could be costly in the years ahead if not changed.

It is true that the economy should improve, however, which should both help Democratic prospects in 2016 and help the country's revenue projections at least somewhat.

But by 2016 it also seems likely voters will nevertheless be more inclined to a Republican messenger (as they proved to be in 2000 after eight years of Clinton/Gore), and there are an infinite number of things that can go badly in the next few years to make that inclination greater. And I think this remains true even given the new demographics. Republicans will get better at fashioning themselves for a shifting electorate, whether that consists of more stringent voter eligibility requirements (which we've already witnessed) or the nominating of minority candidates, or both. In short, by 2016 the country might just well be sick of us in a way they weren't yet this year.

We Democrats have also been mighty fortunate. Republican conservatives have proven very adept at shooting themselves in the foot with ignorant and stubborn candidates (Akin and Mourdock this year, Christine O'Donnell last time), which we might not always be graced with.

Finally, while the U.S. Senate continues to be led by Democrats, some of these Democrats represent very red states (ND, Montana, and Indiana, etc) and their votes will not always be with us.

While there's a lot this election accomplished, there's much it did not. So I leave you, happy but not gloating.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Voting Early and Often

Voted to re-elect the President today, and to approve teh gay marriage in Maryland. Also voted to approve Maryland's version of the Dream Act and to expand gambling in the state. Ordinarily I wouldn't be in favor of the latter, but the "No" ads were really irritating and most of the local pols were in favor, so I did my partisan duty in that regard.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Baltimore Sun Gets It Right

Health care reform moves ahead in Maryland, nationally: Supreme Court upholds health care reform law, offering access to millions

Offering access to millions

Please, Democrats, Obama, other media peoples, take notice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And All These Ideas are Really, Really Awful

The Texas GOP has published its 2012 party platform. Among other wishes, the old party of Lincoln would now like to get rid of this:
Voter Rights Act – We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.
It would be horrible enough if the Texas teabag party wanted to not reauthorize the VRA. But today's teabaggers are so emboldened they feel comfortable enough saying they just want the Act repealed, expunged as it were, deemed to not have ever existed, to not ever have been needed. And there's a lot more really bad, awful stuff beyond this, which you can read about if you've the stomach for it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

All These Ideas Sound Pretty Awful

Our Imbecilic Constitution
Advocating the adoption of the new Constitution drafted in Philadelphia, the authors of “The Federalist Papers” mocked the “imbecility” of the weak central government created by the Articles of Confederation.
Nearly 225 years later, critics across the spectrum call the American political system dysfunctional, even pathological. What they don’t mention, though, is the role of the Constitution itself in generating the pathology.
I appreciate the sentiment behind this but none of these ideas sound particularly appealing to me. And I'd just as soon have my fingernails pulled out then let today's teabaggers and religious reichwing nutjobs anywheres near a Constitutional convention.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Prairie Fire of Debt

Headline and story from the NYT this a.m.:
An Often Procrastinating Congress Is Raring at the Gate on Tax Cuts
Where do I go to resign from this planet?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Meet The Next Darling Of The DC Pundit Class

Lugar, in a bitter concession statement, lashes opponent Richard Mourdock for his frank and open advocacy of totalistic partisanship. Yet in the classic manner of right-thinking advocates of bipartisanship, he makes sure to insist that both parties are to blame:
Mourdock is the guy who thinks only one side's ideas should win. So naturally our "liberal media", which has made Republican-tinted bipartisanship the great and only goal of American political life, will soon deem Mourdock to be Very Serious and full of Big Ideas... h/t Balloon Juice.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Conservative Political Correctness Strikes Again: Cuba Edition

There's a really bizarre column up at Fox Sports [no linky] frothing at the mouth demanding Miami Marlin manager Ozzie Guillen's "suspension" for saying he "respect's [Cuba leader] Castro".

The Miami Marlins should suspend Ozzie Guillen. A one-month suspension would send a powerful message that Guillen’s thoughtless remarks on Cuban dictator Fidel Castro will not be tolerated. A one-week suspension probably is more realistic.

Yes, we live in a free country, but the Constitution protects free speech only from restriction by the state and federal governments. The Marlins, a private entity, presumably can impose the penalty of their choice on Guillen, who is a management employee, not part of the players union. Still, I’m not confident the Marlins will take action, not when their expectations for the team are so high, not when they just opened their new ballpark.

Sorry, Guillen’s offense is bigger than any of that.

What did Guillen say about Castro?


I normally cringe at politically correct overreactions, particularly in response to mindless, preposterous remarks from people who are just spouting off. But when Guillen told Time magazine, “I love Fidel Castro . . . I respect Fidel Castro . . .” well, that’s about as extreme and insensitive as it gets.


I’m not sure even what Guillen was trying to say to Time — he apparently admires Castro for surviving 60 years when “a lot of people have wanted to kill him.” Whatever his point, it’s almost unthinkable that the manager of the Miami Marlins could say such a thing, particularly when he effectively acts as the spokesman for the team.

Oh dear. I'm not sure there are enough fainting couches to sustain the collective punditry collapse at this verbal violation of that is good and decent.

Look--I know people are still pissed that Cuba helped the Soviets invade the U.S. in Red Dawn, but we need to get over it.

I'm heartened that Rosenthal hates, really hates it when teh womenz and teh gayz are offended by something Rosenthal's buddies say and so he really, really hates teh political correctness. Except this time. When it's a politically incorrect view he doesn't like.

And naturally, Rosenthal demonstrates his complete lack of awareness about the various U.S. efforts to kill Castro, undermine his country's sovereignty and strangle the island economically for 60 years with his "Whatever his point was..." talk.

Unfortunately Guillen has already been made to apologize and worse might still happen for his daring to have an opinion at variance with the ruling media class, so we might not even gain what we sometimes refer to as a teachable moment about Cuba, Castro and U.S. policy.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Is that the best you've got?

Via Sullivan:

The Romney campaign launches ("What is a one term Obama presidency worth to you?"):

The Obama campaign responds by creating, which is comfortably outraising the Romney camp. Capitalizing on the "not concerned about the very poor" controversy, the DNC shoots out an insta-ad:

Forgive my expressing some sudden giddiness here, but it never hurts to have the opposition tossing up these softballs.

And then there's this:

The Republicans have not picked a presidential nominee yet, but President Barack Obama’s Ohio team opened its Dayton headquarters Thursday night looking ahead to the November election.

The headquarters, at 411 E. Fifth Street in the Historic Oregon District, is the third office the Obama campaign has opened in Ohio. The other offices are in Chillicothe and Shaker Heights near Cleveland.

During the grand opening, first lady Michelle Obama spoke by phone to a room full of volunteers and supporters.
“We’re going to finish what we started,” Obama told the crowd. “We got our work cut out for us. Obama told the audience she was coming to Ohio on Feb. 23. She will be holding a fundraiser at the Westin Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.

Republican presidential candidates are also preparing to campaign in Ohio during the next month ahead of the March 6 primary. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has events planned for Akron and Columbus on Feb. 18. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will headline the Cuyahoga County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner on Feb. 16 in Mayfield Heights near Cleveland.

None of the GOP candidates have opened field offices in the Dayton area.

I don't know what it is. But there's just something about seeing Michelle Obama's name followed by Santorum/Romney that brightens my day. Maybe it's because I think Michelle could win this thing by herself.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

The paper edition of the Post that coincides with this picture explains that this Iowa couple, evangelical Christians who say they practice their faith in part through their vote for president, supports Santorum. The paper quotes the couple as saying they can't support Romney because he's Mormon, Bachmann because she's a woman, and Ron Paul "because of his anti-war views".

Because nothing says Christ follower like some good war making.