Ted Kennedy

The Complicated World of Bigotry

In the greater Seattle suburb of Kirkland, a very quaint and beautiful area where I would love to live someday, there is a grade-A @$$hole who has led a fevered vendetta against gay rights. He’s the pastor of Antioch Bible Church (where he’s been for over two decades) and has not only been a firm opponent of gay marriage, but of anti-discrimination legislation and domestic partnerships. He is arguably to the right of many gay marriage opponents from far more conservative areas of the country.

It’s worth noting that the pastor in question, Ken Hutcherson, is black. Whatever solidarity he is supposed to have as an ethnic minority for a sexual minority is apparently quite lost on him. Ken Hutcherson’s existence shouldn’t be shocking to those with life experience outside of textbook indoctrination. I’ve met many racists and homophobes, some white, some Hispanic, some Asian, and they all come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. It’s nearly a waste of time to confront them about it. Bigotry is not something people like to admit, and if you mention it they tend to act like they’ve been unfairly attacked.

Now that the high emotion surrounding the passage of the health care bill is in the past, it is very important to remember this. Racism and xenophobia is rampant in the culturally homogenous society of Japan, where even those of Japanese ancestry who were born elsewhere have difficulty being accepted. I’ve personally heard very disparaging remarks towards blacks from Hispanics, heard bigoted comments towards blacks from Indians, heard whites say horrible generalizations about black people and vice versa. Racism is not a homogenous factor of one particular ethnic or political group; it’s the result of the natural tribal instinct that we share with our primate cousins.

Who’s to blame

Denial. It’s not a river in Egypt.

Still, as President Obama and D.C.’s majority legislative leadership strain our belief in a rational governing and representative body, it’s difficult to deny that something has gone terribly awry.

Not to belabor a point so many have made over the last year – and in some cases, decade(s) - but these Democrats don’t seem so concerned with my ability to access affordable, adequate health care as they do their ability to decide without me just what exactly defines adequate, affordable and accessible care.

So I’d like to report that their collective voice raised so stridently on my behalf (declaring as they do my “right” to all the government largesse they propose to provide) no longer has the power to shock my libertarian sensibilities. Yet day after day I find myself wondering how these men and women, whose primary attribute seems to indicate an infinite willingness to pretend two and two equals zero, were ever elected in the first place.

And therein lies the rub.

The Alan Graysons, Nancy Pelosis, John Lewises, Charlie Rangels, Harry Reids and other idealogical heirs to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy were all elected by the people and for the people. We may not like what they’re doing but someone voted for them just as they did Obama.

How did it happen? Good question and one with a plethora of philosophical and political answers. But the most important reason is too close to home for comfort. Thus, we can continue to play the blame game, or we can stop denying the unpalatable truth.

Masschusetts Senate Special Election Polls

In analyzing the data from the latest polls coming from Massachusetts with regard to the upcoming special election on January 19th, I have some things to note.

  • Rasmussen polled 500 likely voters on January 4, releasing their results the following day.
  • The Boston Globe polled 554 likely voters January 2-6, releasing their results this morning.
  • Public Policy Polling polled 744 likely voters January 7-9, releasing their results last night. (full .pdf of the results available there)

Beginning linearly with the commencement of the polls, the Boston Globe began first, though it concluded on the 6th. It was not released until this morning, but I think that its results were not influenced by Rasmussen’s numbers, as Rasmussen conducted their poll in the midst, releasing the results toward the end.  They also included Joe Kennedy as an option, whereas neither of the other polls did.  Who knows why it took the Globe four days to release their results, but I think for the time their polling spanned, it is likely accurate.

Can the GOP Come Back?

Think about it! Four years ago, the Republican Party held the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, the Democrats have won the Presidency by a sizable margin, gained additional seats in the majority Democratic House, and could possibly hold a sixty-vote majority in the Senate—large enough to end any Republican initiated filibuster.

First of all, consider the magnitude of the Republican loss. What support shifted from four years ago?

Ted Cruz blasts Senate Democrats for trying to repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment

Ted Cruz

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from the upper chamber’s two party leaders, Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), yesterday on a constitutional amendment that would place heavy limitations on political speech.

The proposed constitutional amendment has next to no chance of passage, requiring two-thirds majorities from both chambers as well as ratification from three-fifths of the states, but Senate Democrats are using as part of an effort to get their base to the polls this fall. In other words, the committee hearing on the amendment was a charade.

But it did hearing did produce some highlights, among them Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) fiery and eloquent defense of the Bill of Rights. The amendment before the committee, the conservative favorite said, “would repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment.”

“Let’s be clear, this amendment doesn’t just do it for corporations, it doesn’t just do it for billionaires — nothing in this amendment is limited to corporations or billionaires. This amendment, if adopted, would give Congress the absolute authority to regulate the political speech of every single American with no limitations, whatsoever,” said Cruz. “This amendment is about power and it is about politicians silencing the citizens.”

Hillary Clinton has a list — and she’s checking it twice

Prominent Democrats who endorsed Barack Obama or remained neutral in the 2008 Democratic presidential race may find themselves in a place they don’t want to be — on Hillary Clinton enemies list.

Aides who worked on Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 campaign kept a running hit list of Democrats who they believe betrayed their boss, according to allegations made in a new book, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton:

Inside a cramped third-floor office of Hillary Clinton’s once-bustling presidential campaign headquarters in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, Kris Balderston and Adrienne Elrod put the finishing touches on a political hit list.
Almost six years later most Clinton aides can still rattle off the names of traitors and the favors that had been done for them, then provide details of just how each of the guilty had gone on to betray the Clintons—as if it all had happened just a few hours before. The data project ensured that the acts of the sinners and saints would never be forgotten.

Enough With The Political Dynasties

Chelsea Clinton

Our country declared its independence from a monarch and an aristocracy. We were founded on the promise that any American, of any background could theoretically be elected President or any other political office. Instead we’re slowing starting the see the rise of the House of Clinton political dynasty with Chelsea Clinton now thinking about getting into politics.

Despite her famed political lineage, Chelsea Clinton has adamantly refused stepping into the political arena. Now, however, Clinton’s answer on her political ambitions is less definitive.

Asked if she would consider jumping into politics, Clinton – daughter of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton – is now saying, “I don’t know.”

“Before my mom’s campaign I would have said no. Not because it was something I had thought a lot about but because people have been asking me that my whole life,” Clinton, speaking of her mother’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid, said in an interview for the September issue of Vogue.

“And now I don’t know… . I mean, I have voted in every election that I have been qualified to vote in since I turned eighteen,” Clinton continued.

Gingrich pushed the individual mandate in 2009

While wondering around Facebook and Twitter yesterday, I saw quite a few of my conservative friends — proud members of the anti-Romney faction in the Republican Party — pointing to video from 2006 where then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was preparing to sign RomneyCare into law.

The reason the video is getting play is because Romney notes that he collaborated with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) in pushing the law through, obviously a moment that’ll make many Republican groan, and rightfully so:

The Massachusetts healthcare reform law, which — as we’ve noted many times here before, including today, served as the template for Obama. But conservatives that hammer Romney on this issue and push Newt Gingrich as the alternative are conveniently forgetting that he supported many of the same ideas that became part of RomneyCare, and later ObamaCare.

Over the weekend, Verum Serum posted audio from a May 2009 Center for Health Transformation conference call where Gingrich very clearly calls for some form of a requirement on individuals to purchase health insurance coverage:

Romney in 2002: “My views are progressive”

Over the last several months, we’ve noted numerous times that Mitt Romney is incredibly inconsistent. He’s been on just about every side of issues that are important to conservatives. And the guy comes across like the typical politician; someone that will say anything to get your vote.

While I’m not fan of Newt Gingrich and believe he is just as inconsistent, Romney’s bomb-throwing on his rival’s record is laughable. I know, it’s a primary and every candidate is going to play the “I’m more conservative” card whenever they have a chance. But with Romney, there is just so much to counter this. And it’s not in the way of support for statist policies, Romney has litterally run away from conservatism.

During his race against Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney played down the Contract with America, which was key to the Republican takeover of Congress, saying that it “is not a good idea to go into a ‘contract’ like what was organized by the Republican Party in Washington”:

MA Senate: Scott Brown leads Democrats

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who won a special election early last year to fill the seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy, is leading all of his potential Democratic opponents (including Elizabeth Warren, who has close ties to President Barack Obama) in prospective general election matchups, according to a poll released by WBUR.

Scott Brown v. Elizabeth Warren

  • Brown: 44%
  • Warren: 35%
  • Other: 2%
  • Undecided: 18%

Scott Brown v. Bob Massie

  • Brown: 45%
  • Massie: 29%
  • Other: 3%
  • Undecided: 22%

Scott Brown v. Setti Warren

  • Brown: 46%
  • Warren: 28%
  • Other: 3%
  • Undecided: 23%

Scott Brown v. Alan Khazei

  • Brown: 45%
  • Khazei: 30%
  • Other: 2%
  • Undecided: 21%

In most cases we’d say an incumbent under 50% in a bid for re-election was in trouble; but we’re talking Massachusetts about here. It’s not exactly fertile ground for Republicans. All in all, this is good news for Brown and Republicans. His favorability rating is at 54% and his unfavorables are very low. But his potential Democratic oppoents have relatively low name ID.

Republicans need to hold on to this seat to take control of the Senate, which they seem to be poised to do. But keep an eye on Elizabeth Warren, she is going to make it an interesting race.

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