You are browsing the archive for Republicans.

Oppositionalism: The Greatest Threat To The People’s Welfare

4:35 am in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

locking horns

locking horns by useless no more

Yesterday, I went to the kindergarten graduation ceremony at the local public elementary school. One of the teachers, who happens to be a member of my church and a card-carrying Republican, spoke briefly of a new after-school program that she has helped initiate. It is designed for children who are in danger of not having the basic skills necessary to begin first grade – a type of program that is quite common around the nation, but that had been sorely lacking in this rural Virginia county.

I was choking back tears as this teacher called about two dozen children to the stage – most of them from desperately poor African American families – and presented them with hugs and certificates. Knowing that she also invests a considerable amount of her personal time making home visits and tutoring these students, it dawned on me what a significant difference she makes in the lives of young children who have an incredible number of obstacles thrown between themselves and academic success.

This remarkably dedicated kindergarten teacher reminds us of how incomplete and misleading the typical left vs. right dichotomy can be. It would be easy to consider her Republican voting record and her conservative views on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and gun control, and to conclude she has little in common with progressives such as myself. From this, it would be easy to assume that, like some Republicans, she takes a “blame the poor” attitude toward poverty issues and has little compassion for those who are suffering in this economic crisis. Because of such stereotyping, it would be easy to ignore the fact that she is dedicating her life to helping poor children in a woefully underfunded public school system.

Those of us who get pigeonholed into easy categories of left/right and Democrat/Republican often fail to see the common bonds we share with our so-called political enemies. We cannot allow differences on a handful of “hot-button” issues to be exploited by those with political agendas and ambitions. If people of good will and legitimate concern for the common welfare continue to beat up one another based on these outdated categories, more sinister forces that have no concern for the people or no particular stake in partisan politics will further consolidate their power.
Read the rest of this entry →

Putting Away Childish Things (And Divisive Rhetoric)

7:16 am in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

Like many Americans, the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona last January gave me pause – pause enough that I lost my taste for blogging for more than four months. But my distaste had less to do with the speculation over the alleged motives of the shooter and more to do with my own reaction to the news.

On that Saturday afternoon, I was sitting at the kitchen table working on a sermon, and my wife entered the room to tell me that a U.S Representative had been shot at a political rally. My exact words were this: “Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. I blame Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.” And then I turned back to my laptop and resumed my work.

About twenty minutes later, I decided to take a break from the sermon, and I logged onto Facebook. I had actually forgotten about the news from Arizona that should have been downright shocking, but I was soon reminded by the animated chatter scrolling by on my news feed. Almost immediately, I engaged in a heated debate with a conservative friend about whether the shooting could be blamed on the heated rhetoric that had been boiling over from the right since the health care debate started.
Read the rest of this entry →

Watercooler – Gibbs Wants To Grow Up

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

Gibbs and Pres. Obama check out what's up "in America" from a safe distance. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

This gem from Robert Gibbs should be fun to kick around:

That was the message in this election, was people are going to have to be able to sit down at the tables like adults, discuss issues like adults, come out of that room and get results for American people like adults. I think if adulthood can break out, that’s a good thing.

Sounds like a pre-justification for more caving. What’s on your mind tonight?

Watercooler – Republicans Block Medical Care For Ground Zero Rescue Workers

7:08 pm in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

These folks deserve better. (photo: Viewmaker via Flickr)

It’s always interesting to see how partisan pundits try to defend the indefensible actions of the politicians they support. Here’s Jonathan Chait of The New Republic spinning the Republicans’ blockage of Ground Zero medical care:

It’s as if Democrats sat around dreaming up an issue that would make the Republicans look as bad as possible:

“What if Republicans supported a bill to seize puppies from poor children and turn them into pate to be served at a yacht reception for tobacco lobbyists?”

“No, too maudlin. What if we tried to introduce a foreign policy element — like, Republicans enacted a tax break for the bin Laden family…”

I could see a conversation like that leading to the Republican Ground Zero health care position. I can’t see it as the result of any conversation that had any political operatives or non-sociopaths in the room.

Pretty pathetic, no matter how you slice it. What’s on your mind tonight?

Watercooler – Most Republicans See No Solid Evidence For Global Warming

7:24 pm in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

photo: Rob__ via Flickr

Disturbing poll results from the Pew Research Center:

Currently, just 38% of Republicans say there is solid evidence the earth is warming, and only 16% say that warming is caused by human activity. In 2007, three-in-ten Republicans said global warming was the result of human activity. Also, by nearly a two-to-one margin, Republicans say scientists do not agree that the earth is getting warmer because of human activity. Few Republicans see global warming as a very serious problem (14%) or in need of immediate government action (24%).

(Banging head violently against the wall. Thud! Thud! Thud!)

What’s on your mind tonight?

Watercooler – Tea Party Asks GOP To Abandon “Culture Wars”

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

photo: bfelice via Flickr

Progressives often complain that conservatives want smaller government when it comes to taxes and spending, but bigger government when it comes to so-called “moral values” issues. The Tea Party wants to change that:

Representatives of the loosely organized tea party movement urged GOP leaders in a letter released Monday to abandon their fronts in the culture wars – issues such as gay marriage, school prayer, and abortion – and instead focus their new electoral power on individual liberties and “economic freedoms.”

The letter, signed by 16 tea party groups and a conservative gay organization, points to an emerging rift between the tea party movement and the GOP, which still counts social conservatives seeking “moral government” as a key constituency.

The signatories, ranging from conservative commentator Tammy Bruce to local tea party group leaders, say the key lesson the GOP should draw from the election is that Americans are concerned chiefly about taxes and the size of government, not their neighbors’ lifestyle choices or personal decisions.

So is this a good thing? What’s on your mind tonight?

Watercooler – Pelosi Was An Unprecedented Target

7:21 pm in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

Moreso than ever before, in the 2010 midterms a House Speaker was demonized to rev up the opponent’s base:

More money was spent and more commercials were run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in this midterm election cycle than against any other congressional leader since Newt Gingrich. More than $65 million was spent on 161,203 ads that targeted Pelosi from January 1 through last week’s election, according to a new analysis of TV ads for CNN by Campaign Media Analysis Group.

“Not since 1996 and Newt Gingrich has a speaker been the target of so many elections ads, candidates, groups and party ads from the GOP put Pelosi front and center in the midterms” says Evan Tracey, CMAG’s president and CNN’s consultant on TV advertising.

The game plan by the GOP, individual campaigns, and independent groups that backed Republican candidates and causes, was simple: Tie as many Democratic incumbents and candidates to Pelosi, one of the most unpopular political figures in America right now.

It’s a distrubing trend. Instead of proposing solutions to our nation’s problems, candidates are more and more turning to fear-mongering and the politics of hate to motivate voters. It won’t be long before we have instituted the “Two-Minute Hate” depicted in Orwell’s 1984.

What’s on your mind tonight?

UnCommon Ground – Failed Bipartisanship And The Need For Systemic Change

8:14 am in Politics by Jim Moss

graphic: outtacontext via Flickr

(This is the first chapter of a book I am writing called “UnCommon Ground.”  The introduction can be found here and here.)

In 2007, as the Republicans were beginning the process that would eventually nominate John McCain, the following poll asked conservatives to list their top ten issues for the upcoming presidential election. The results were telling:

1)      Illegal immigration – listed by 86%

2)      War on terrorism – 80%

3)      Federal spending – 65%

4)      Judicial appointments – 64%

5)      Flat tax/tax cuts – 61%

6)      Size of government – 61%

7)      Iraq – 55%

8)      Social Security – 45%

9)      Entitlement programs – 38%

10)   Abortion – 36%

At first glance, this poll seems to confirm that conservatives have little in common with progressives. I could not find a comparable survey, but a reasonable guess is that progressives would have come up with a much different list – GLBT rights, climate change, universal health care, regulating the financial sector, and so forth. Any issues that would be shared between the two groups (taxes, War on Terror, Social Security, abortion, etc.) would find them at polar opposites with no hope for reconciliation.

This apparently complete disparity between conservatives and progressives is a false construction. Both major parties as well as the mainstream media have fueled the dichotomy that has created the rigid “us vs. them” mentality that dominates American politics.  . . .

Read the rest of this entry →

Some Random Reflections On Election Night

6:13 am in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

1) CNN still stinks. – A dozen “experts” supposedly representing all sides of the spectrum, but no true progressives (and no true Tea Partiers, either). Spitzer was the only one who even came close, but he’s a hopeless Democratic partisan. A classic case of the mainstream media reducing a complex narrative to two simplistic points of view that in reality only represent the Washington establishment.

2) Highlight of the night: Blanche Linclon goes down, and goes down hard. – Functionally, this race meant nothing, since Lincoln has been voting Republican all along – but man, did that feel good! Hopefully a lesson to others who are tempted by the Blue Dog siren song.

3) Democratic leadership is in serious denial. To hear Tim Kaine, even as late as 8:30 pm, still predicting that the Democrats would keep the House was laughable. Certainly, he’ll be touching up his resume soon.

4) The Republican Party is about to explode. Even the conservative wags in the CNN studio couldn’t hide the fact that a major civil war is brewing in the GOP. The Tea Party folks who managed to get elected are not going to roll over and be good Republican drones for Boehner and company. When it’s time to actually get real about spending cuts and earmarks, this is going to get interesting – and present progressives with a chance to win some converts.

5) Rand Paul will be good for the progressive cause. First, he’ll be one of the key players that splits the Republicans. Second, he’ll give a national stage to some of the ridiculous ideas that come from the Tea Party/libertarian marriage – such as allowing businesses to discriminate on racial lines. This is a golden opportunity for us to show that progressives have better ideas and plain common sense approaches to our national problems.

6) Marco Rubio scares me to death. Prediction: Rubio will run for president, maybe in 2012, but more likely in 2016. He’s got everything the far right needs in a candidate: Youth, good looks, charisma, he’s not white, and he’s proven that he can win big in a battleground state. Be afraid. Be verrrrry afraid.

It looks like our work is cut out for us. Let’s get to it!

The Most Important Question Facing Progressives

7:48 am in Uncategorized by Jim Moss

Point 1: It’s more than abundantly clear that Obama will never support anything resembling the progressive agenda. His only intention is to browbeat us into submission while courting and compromising with the Republicans who oppose pretty much everything he campaigned on.

Point 2: The election of 2010 is relatively unimportant. Right now, we have a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate who have failed miserably considering the historic majorities they have enjoyed. Health care reform was a corporate giveaway that continues to screw the people; climate change legislation was DOA in the Senate; economic reform has been weak and ineffectual; and let’s not even talk about DADT or the continuation of militarism and overeaching executive authority.

In short, the Democrats ain’t doing squat, and the Republicans won’t do squat, either, with a split Congress and a president who still lives in the make-believe world of butterflies and bi-partisanship.

Conclusion: It’s time for progressives to get the jump on the 2012 election, which is the one that really matters. Here’s a potential nightmare scenario: On January 20, 2013, a Republican president takes control with a Republican House and a Republicans Senate, many of whom are Tea Party sympathizers. This is possible no matter what happens in this year’s election, especially if the economy is still in the toilet.

A question: Given this reality, what is the best strategy for progressives to take today? . . . Read the rest of this entry →