Election Reports – Central States – 2/19/14

mike rossDemocrat Mike Ross is the former, six-term Congressman running for Governor of Arkansas. A conservative, Blue-Dog Democrat in a Republican-leaning state, Ross has certainly made votes that frustrate liberals and progressives. He co-sponsored, along with Republicans, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. He voted for GOP efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. He voted against the Affordable Care Act and for extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires. He was, reportedly, the only Democrat to accept money from the Koch brothers.

That’s not to say Ross has never supported issues important to left-leaning Dems. According to Ross’ site:

While in Congress, Mike worked hard to successfully pass increases in the minimum wage, increases in Pell Grants, cut student loan interest rates in half, passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to protect women in the workplace, expanded funding for children’s health care (AR Kids First) to include an additional 60,000 children, helped pass the single largest investment in veterans’ healthcare funding and fought off Republican attempts to privatize Social Security and Medicare. In fact, the first bill Mike Ross introduced in Congress was to tell Washington bureaucrats to keep their hands out of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Ross is a necessary evil for the party where, in most cases, only a conservative Democrat can win in a red state. Liberals and progressives had a favored candidate, former Arkansas lieutenant governor Bill Halter. But Halter dropped out last summer, pledging his support to elect Ross.

Last November, Jason Carter, state legislator and grandson to former President Jimmy Carter, announced he will challenge Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal in the November 2014 election. Carter did fairly well in a private Democratic poll taken last October, leading by 5 points or trailing by 8 points, depending on the questions asked. Deal has a 49% positive rating, but a majority of voters say they would rather vote for someone new than re-elect Deal.

Kansas has not had a Democratic senator since 1939, but Democrat Paul Davis hopes to change that in November. Davis is an attorney and currently the Kansas House of Representatives Minority Leader. Kansas has significantly more Republican voters than Democrats, so Davis will need to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans to win the seat.

Research by Doug Marquardt

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Tea Party First to Use “Teabag” and “Teabaggers” in Politics

There’s an article making the rounds today in which Joe the (fake) Plumber explains that he is now a union member working for Chrysler. He actually defends working for the UAW union because its “private”, while he still opposes “public” unions. I guess anything that’s “privatized” gets the right-wing seal of approval.

But much funnier than the flexible principles of plumber-boy is his complaint that one of his new coworkers called him a “teabagger” (my emphasis):

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Democrats and liberals, who are supposed to so tolerant and enlightened regarding homosexuals have for three or four years now, have been using a gay slur to describe people who they think are associated with the Tea Party.

Plumber-boy explains:

“Tea Bagger” has traditionally been a derogatory slur used to intimidate, put down, humiliate and otherwise taunt, smear, bully or just discriminate against gays – usually gay men – based on a sex act that gay men apparently made popular.

First of all, why do straight, male conservatives feel they are the experts in what is “traditionally” a “slur used to intimidate, put down, humiliate and otherwise taunt, smear, bully or just discriminate against gays”? Probably because they bully the LGBT  community every, stickin’ day. The struggle for gay rights is a struggle against the homophobia of conservatives, libertarians, and yes, teabaggers.

Second, it is actually the tea party that began using the verb “teabag” and the nickname “teabagger” in politics. The verb “tea bag” was first used by tea party protestors during the February 27, 2009 tea party protest in Washington D.C. (just 1 month after President Obama’s first inauguration).

the first use of "teabag" in politics was by the tea party

Wait a minute! Teabaggers want you to stop here. They claim lefties created “teabaggers” out of the use of “tea bag” in this sign and teabaggers never used the term to describe themselves. NOT TRUE. Keep reading …

The use of “tea bag” and “teabagger” by the tea party continued for months.

teabag sign teabagger hat
teabagging for jesus

Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey appeared on Fox with his teabags.

As you can see from the article “The Evolution of the Word Tea Bagger“, their frequent use of the verb “tea bag” and the nickname “teabagger” in language, protest signs, hats and bumper stickers continued for well over a year (try this Google search of tea bag images at tea party protests).

In this clip, that mean Rachel Maddow poked fun at their nickname in classic Maddow fashion.

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Some conservative bloggers blamed others for their new nickname.

IS “TEABAGGER” THE NEW “N-WORD?” No, but when I hear someone use it, I know that nothing they say on the subject is worth taking seriously. Either they’re deliberately using it as a sexual slur, or they’re too ignorant to be worth listening to.

But “teabagger” was actually a nickname promoted by the tea party in the fall of 2010 when they sold “Proud To Be A Teabagger” badges at tea party events.

tea party button: proud to be a teabagger

In December, 2009 the conservative National Review tried to rewrite history to make themselves look better:

So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.
Some on the right are using “teabagger,” but mainly the word is a putdown from the left.
… people who use “teabagger” and such should be called on it, especially if they smirk. “What do you mean by that?” one might ask. “What do you mean by ‘teabagger,’ and why do you smirk?” In other words, conservatives want to introduce a little shame. And the responses of liberals could be kind of interesting.

LOL. The response I’d suggest would be, “Because its hilarious that you right-wing homophobes gave yourself a nickname that depicts a gay sex act!”

The National Review asked what conservatives should do about their unfortunate nickname; “fight it, embrace it, what?”

The late Andrew Breibart answered when he posted the video, “I’m Proud to be a Tea Bagger” on his blog.

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The all-time best compilation of teabaggers embracing their nickname is in this video, “Teabaggers Are We”.

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Throughout 2010, the tea party tried to prevent its use but it was way too late. The cat was out of the (tea) bag. Much like those who say there is no racism on the right while their conservative pals are proving them wrong, the tea party simultaneously complained about their new nickname while their own members embraced it. As usual, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Even in the face of all this evidence, some teabaggers are still trying to use their own nickname to shame others on the left. Its been reported that a teacher from Texas wrote a letter to the President complaining that:

I watched you make fun of tea baggers

When the President responded with

I do have to challenge you, though, on the notion that any citizen that disagrees with me has been ‘targeted and ridiculed’ or that I have ‘made fun’ of tea baggers

Baggers around the blogosphere cried foul over the President’s use of “tea baggers”. If the letter that’s supposedly from a Texas teacher is legit, the President was simply quoting the teacher’s letter, verbatim. Now, if the President wanted to “make fun of tea baggers”, he certainly has that right. Teabaggers have treated Obama like shit.

screw teabaggersWhich brings me to my final point; teabaggers and others on the radical right deserve NO respect. Whether its teabaggers or their cheerleaders Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter or Hannity, they have never shown one ounce of respect toward the LGBT community, minorities, women, or anyone on the political left. So, there’s no reason, whatsoever, for those of us on the left to show them any respect. They invented the nickname “teabagger” and now they take it as an insult, which is why I use the term, frequently.

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GOP’s Greg Abbott Vows to Campaign with Nugent Despite ‘Sexual Predator’ History

GOP’s Greg Abbott vows to campaign with Nugent despite ‘sexual predator’ history (via Raw Story )

Republican Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott this week said that a Tuesday event with Ted Nugent would go on, even after Democrats reminded him of the conservative rocker’s admitted history of sexual relationships with underage girls. The…

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Volunteers Needed at All Things Democrat!

All Things Democrat has immediate openings for volunteer Research Assistants to follow the 2014 Democratic candidates. See details at Jobs4Dems.com.

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Election Reports – Western States – 2/17/14

Ann Kirkpatrick: wiki commonsDemocratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is running for re-election in Arizona’s 1st District. She’s had a difficult ride in the red state, winning a House seat in 2008 but losing her bid for re-election to Republican Paul Gosar in the 2010 GOP sweep. For the 2012 election, redistricting essentially separated Gosar and Kirkpatrick, giving her the chance to run again. She won the seat, but some thought her vote on the Affordable Care Act reduced her support in Arizona and she squeaked-by with a 3 point margin of victory.

Kirkpatrick is seen as someone who fights for rural Arizona. She’s currently working to make permanent the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT) program, which brings in badly needed funding for vital services to counties in states like Arizona with large areas of nontaxable, federal land. Kirkpatrick has been endorsed by numerous officials in District 1 cities and counties. One endorsement from Greenlee County Sheriff Larry Avila:

Ann has experience as a county prosecutor, so she knows how important public safety is to a community. Her work has made Greenlee County better for our families and I look forward to having her continue fighting for us in Washington.

Kirkpatrick’s opponents maintain her support for Obamacare is a weakness. She surprised so-called “angry voters” by walking out of a 2009 town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act. It turned out to be a smart move; there may have been some “angry voters”, but most turned-out to be fake, part of a nation-wide harrassment strategy funded by teabagger groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks designed to show a phoney picture of overwhelming opposition to the ACA in town halls full of teabaggers bussed-in from other areas.

Kirkpatrick points-out that although she voted for the ACA, she has called attention to the problems with Obamacare. Kirkpatrick teamed-up with Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) to ask HHS Secretary Sebelius to look into the difficulty Arizonans were having with ACA enrollment (reminder: GOP Governor Jan Brewer went against her own party and approved Medicaid expansion under the ACA in Arizona). In response, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made adjustments that increased flexibility for enrollees.

The House Majority PAC released a campaign video on the issues with Kirkpatrick and the ACA:

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Kirkpatrick is ready for the campaign and will receive support from state Democrats and the DNC. She has raised $1.2 million and still has around $825k on hand. Assuming she’s the nominee, her challengers in the general include Republicans Andy Tobin (Speaker of the Arizona House), businessman Adam Kwasman and cattle rancher Gary Kiehne.

Research by Doug Marquardt and S. Luther.

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Young Earth Believer Ken Ham Just Might Be Onto Something…

When Bill Nye and Ken Ham agreed to debate evolution some worried that the event would simply provide a forum for a fundamentalist to expound his anti scientific point of view.  The debate was also seen as objectionable for essentially allowing that the issue is debatable, which it really is not from the scientific point of view.

As it turns out, Nye did quite well in the debate.   The ultimate proof that Nye carried the argument is provided by none other than fundie televangelist Pat Robertson whose reaction to the debate was to implore fellow Christians to stop making a joke of themselves.  When a proponent of  fundamentalism loses Pat Robertson on issues of faith, they really have just lost the argument.

Ham’s reaction to Robertson was to essentially implore almighty God to remove the scales from the eyes of those who believe as Robertson does, and to bemoan the influence of the televangelist on his far flung audience.  I for one would echo Ham on this, but I’m not certain the results of Robertson reaching true enlightenment would prove satisfactory to Ham’s point of view on most issues.   Further, as long as Robertson maintains his fundamentalist outlook on the important issues of the day, (with the notable exception the Young Earth theory) I also agree with Ham that Robertson’s influence on his audience is truly unfortunate.

Robertson’s embarrassment stemmed from Ham’s defense of the young Earth theory, where by fundamentalist bible believers contend that the planet is around 6000 years old.  In order to forward this theory Ham finds himself defending another embarrassing belief.  Ham must contend that prior to the great flood of Noah that all animals were vegetarians.

“I have not spent a lot of time with lions, but I can tell they have teeth that really aren’t set up for broccoli,” Nye countered.

“Just because an animal has sharp teeth, it doesn’t mean it’s a meat eater, it means it has sharp teeth,” Ham answered

Surprisingly enough, Ham may have a point on this one.  I have stumbled over incontrovertible photographic evidence that Lions once did, and indeed still apparently may subsist entirely upon a vegetarian diet, which proof I hereby submit for the record:

A fundamentalist lion grudgingly proves the Young Earth theory.

A fundamentalist lion grudgingly proves the Young Earth theory.

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The Face of Planned Parenthood

As a young well educated professional struggling to find a job with health insurance today, I find myself in need of affordable healthcare. Even with my current health insurance, I cannot afford the best plan. So, where do I go when I need care? Planned Parenthood. Every time a politician opens their mouth to discuss defunding Planned Parenthood I get angry. Why do people say the right to life is so important to them when they want to take away a place that offers healthcare for millions of women? Is my life not important to them? The truth is they only care about the unborn. Once you are born their concern about your life vanishes. Not only is this hypercritical, but it is just ridiculous. The Republican party harps on the idea of a smaller government. A government that does not need to be  involved in the lives of its people. Last time I checked telling me what to do with my body is a bit of a privacy violation. A huge one in fact! What is the fascination with women’s health? Why do Republicans feel the need to be so controlling? There are far more important issues facing this country than where women get birth control and pap smears.

A pap smear is critical in the detection of Cervical cancer.  Perhaps those who want to defund Planned Parenthood would rather I just chance my health. The last time I went to the clinic, the staff counseled me on my blood pressure. Again, something that is very important to my overall health especially since cardiac issues run in my family. I have personally benefited from the services of Planned Parenthood, and so have other women in similar situations. If the Republicans met us, would they tell us to our face we don’t deserve care? Planned Parenthood is here to stay Republicans. The next time you bring up defunding, think of me. Think of a young professional who gives back to her community through volunteer work. The girl who supports her local businesses and entrepreneurs.  Leave women’s health alone and move on to more important issues. I have a few suggestions if you don’t know where to start.

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President Obama’s Little Noted But Epic Win

The passage through the house and senate of a clean debt limit increase bill has exposed deep divisions in the Republican party.  Ted Cruz’ stunt forcing Republican Senate leaders to vote in favor of allowing the vote to proceed has only earned Cruz deeper enmity from his side of the aisle.   John Boehner’s announcement that he would mainly rely upon Democratic votes with a few Republican crossovers was appropriately wrapped up by his weak rendition of Zippity Doo Dah as he exited the press conference.

One aspect of the clean debt limit increase that has been given little attention is the total and final victory by President Obama over a tactic which Republicans have used continuously since 2011 to vex the President and cause ongoing economic uncertainty.   President Obama and a unified Democratic congressional caucus have ended the bad habit of governing by crisis. 

Until this victory, Republicans held the economy hostage on a regular basis, attempting to pass initiatives they could not pass under normal procedure or shoot the hostage.   The final defeat of this tactic is far more important to the nation going forward than the Republican civil war, even if the subject matter is not as titillating to cover.

Following several months of  media coverage of President Obama’s  falling poll numbers, sustained criticism of the ACA website and general carping at the President from the unhinged right, why can’t the MSM give the President credit for an epic victory and the final defeat of the main legislative tactic the Republicans used against him for the last three years?  One is left with the sense that if coverage of the Whitehouse does not include some sort of chortling about how Obama looks bad on the issue the story will be embargoed.  

If anything, more attention of this win by the President has been paid by Republicans bashing other Republicans for allowing it to happen than by the MSM giving the President his due.  

 It may be tempting to ascribe this oversight to the media obsession with the “horserace” of Washington politics, and right now all the attention is on who will win the civil war on the right.  But Democrats and President Obama finally defeating one of the most damaging tactics ever used to push an agenda is a meta victory in the grand scheme of our democracy, and should be worthy of far greater notice.

Posted in Barack Obama, Congress, Conservatives, Debt and Budget, Democratic Leaders, Economic Policy, John Boehner, Politics, Tea Party, Ted Cruz, The Economy, The Media | Tagged
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Jindal Goes Deepity

Daniel Dennet coined the word Deepity, and provides this definition: “[A] proposition that seems both important and true – and profound – but that achieves this effect by being ambiguous. On one reading, it is manifestly false, but it would be earth-shaking if it were true; on the other reading, it is true but trivial. The unwary listener picks up the glimmer of truth from the second reading, and the devastating importance from the first reading, and thinks, Wow!

Having twice titled Peggy Noonan the queen of the deepity, I have been looking forward to the time that we could enthrone a king to rule at her side. Bobby Jindal is making a mighty effort to win the crown as the king of the deepity.

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Biden: There Is No Republican Party

Vice President Joe Biden tells it like it is at the House Democratic policy conference:

There isn’t a Republican party. I wish there were, I wish there was a Republican party. I wish there was one person we could sit across the table from and make a deal and make the compromise and know when you got up from the table that the deal was done.

There is no — all you had to do was look at their response to the State of the Union, what were there, three or four?

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Virginia’s Marriage Equality Ban Struck Down by Federal Judge

Virginia’s marriage equality ban struck down by federal judge (via Raw Story )

The Virginia law banning same-sex marriage was struck down on Thursday by a federal judge, who ruled that it violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and argued that the law mirrored the state’s former ban against interracial marriages…

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Election Reports – Eastern States – 2/14/14

Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina is the newest target of Hagan, Kay 010809-18418-rb 0014Americans for Prosperity, the ultra-conservative group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. Despite not yet having an opponent, Republicans have already spent over $8 million on an attack ad campaign against her. Senator Hagan’s campaign has responded to the attacks, saying:

This is just another baseless smear campaign from a Koch Brothers-backed group that doesn’t disclose its donors, doesn’t speak for North Carolinians, and has a record of airing ads that fact checkers call ‘false’. The Koch Brothers have poured more than $8 million in North Carolina trying to buy a Senate seat because they know Kay will always choose the best interests of North Carolina over their special interest agenda.

Her full response, along with fact checks on all of the lies in the ad, can be found on her website. Senator Hagan also appeared on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes to discuss how her continuing support of the Affordable Care Act has been the focus of many of the attacks leveled against her.

Allyson Schwartz, Representative for Pennsylvania’s 13th District and candidate for Governor has received the endorsement of Adrian Shanker, former President of Equality Pennsylvania, who cited her unfaltering opposition to the state-wide ban on gay marriage since its creation in 1996. Schwartz responded to her second endorsement from former Equality Pennsylvania Presidents saying “Pennsylvanians are ready for a new Governor that will embrace equality, progress, and opportunity for every Pennsylvanian.”

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Representative of Massachusetts’ 3rd District, posted a picture on Twitter for what women really need this Valentine’s Day: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. 


Research by Julia Persinger

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