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Category Archives: Political Theatre

Impeaching like it’s 1999

Jonathan Capehart rallies Democrats with the fear that a GOP-controlled House and Senate will impeach and remove President Obama from office.

Writing about Rep. Eric Cantor’s  (R-Va.) stunning primary defeat last week, I warned Democrats that the House majority leader’s loss was as much a wake-up call for them as it was for the GOP. Well, now I want to warn them about a very real possibility: President Obama will be impeached if the Democrats lose control of the U.S. Senate.

It’s a noble get-out-the vote effort, but is it a rational consideration? I suppose when considering the current state of the GOP, it’s rational to bet on their collective irrationality. In the forty years since President Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment, we no longer discuss the procedure on legal grounds of any sort but basically whether there are enough votes for a party to overturn the results of an election. At least with President Clinton, there was a lengthy independent counsel investigation and a corresponding official report that beat 50 Shades of Grey to the erotica punch.

So, the Republicans need an actual crime or at least a stained dress. Would they proceed without one? Who knows with these guys. The House has become a telenovela — we don’t even expect reasonable behaviors and predictable motivations. I do disagree with Capehart’s math regarding the Senate. Even if it flips to the GOP, they won’t have two-thirds of the vote to remove the president from office.

Actually, impeachment is a two-step process that starts in the House. All it takes is a simple majority of that chamber to approve a single article of impeachment against the president for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Once that happens, a president is forever branded as having been impeached. President Andrew Johnson (1868) and President Bill Clinton (1998) share that distinction.

I doubt the average high school student or even Game of Thrones-watching adult remembers Clinton was impeached or even who Andrew Johnson is (no, not the guy on the $20). The impeachment “brand” was so devastating to the Clinton brand that allowed his wife to successfully run for the Senate in 2000. And Bill Clinton is more an active public figure than his successor. He’s hardly hiding away in the shadows.

No, I think the true question is whether the GOP wants to do Obama the favor of impeaching him. Or maybe they just think that’s what you do to two-term Democratic presidents.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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“Man up?” Really?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who one presumes has speech writers, suggests that Edward Snowden should “man up.”

“The bottom line is this is a man who has betrayed his country, who is sitting in Russia, an authoritarian country where he has taken refuge. He should man up and come back to the United States. If he has a complaint about what’s wrong with American surveillance, come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case,” Mr Kerry said in an interview on CBS This Morning

There is nothing inherently noble or brave about having one Y chromosome and two testicles.

I doubt Kerry would have suggested that Snowden act like a “good white man” and return to the U.S., so can we please leave “man up” in the sexist dustbin?

 

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Defining “Nigger”…

Defining “Nigger”…

The police commissioner in Wolfeboro, N.H. stands by his use of a racial epithet to describe Barack Obama.

“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” (Robert) Copeland said in the email to his fellow police commissioners… “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

I have to say he doesn’t seem as friendly as the former police commissioner.

I’m curious as to how Obama “meets and exceeds” the official old person’s definition of a “nigger.” When more subtle bigots use the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Racist” code word of “thug” to describe a black person, it’s usually applied to a teenager who wears a hoodie (without the forgivable exception of being a Portland resident or CEO of Facebook) or to a trash-talking football player. But Obama has no criminal record, dresses conservatively, has two kids to the same mother to whom he’s still married, and has a job — it’s a crappy, thankless job, but like many other black men in a similar situation, he takes pride in his work.

So, if even Obama exceeds Copeland’s “criteria” for nigger-hood, then it’s probably a low bar. Chalk up another win for Affirmative Action, I guess.

About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents in the scenic Lakes Region, in the central part of New Hampshire, a state that’s 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department’s 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority.

Resident Frank Bader mocked those who took offense at Copeland’s comments in a state that prizes freedom.

“All this man did was express his displeasure with the man who’s in office,” Bader said.

Oh, this again? At least he didn’t directly mention the first amendment. Despite that one Chris Rock routine every white person has apparently seen and memorized, “nigger” is not a qualitative noun. It’s not like Copeland called Obama an “idiot” or a “liar” or a “moron.” “Nigger” refers only to his skin color. Perhaps Copeland believes that is condemnation enough.

 

 

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North Carolina Primary…

Clay Aiken’s opponent in the Democratic primary just died in his home.

A North Carolina textile entrepreneur locked in a too-close-to-call Democratic Party primary with former “American Idol” singer Clay Aiken has died.

The president of the company founded by 71-year-old Keith Crisco says Crisco died at home on Monday after an accident. AEC Narrow Fabrics President Robert Lawson says Crisco’s son notified company employees of the death.

Aiken was ahead by just 400 votes. If he holds on to that lead — I haven’t read anything that states whether Crisco’s death definitively hands the race to Aiken, the American Idol runner-up will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November. Ellmers rode the Tea Party wave in 2010. It’s uncertain at this point if she has staying power.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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Ukraine Shenanigans…

Fred Kaplan from Slate on the Ukraine situation.

A Romney administration’s response would have been to shout louder and get tougher (although corporate wheeler dealer versus former KGB agent seems a lopsided battle), which demonstrates to me how bad U.S. foreign policy has become in the past 20 years. It’s no longer whether we should get involved but how poorly we should bungle our involvement.

I also reject the notion that it’s perceived “weakness” that compels another country to defy U.S. interests. First off, Pee-Wee Herman could be president and he would still command the largest military in the world. It’s easy to speak loudly when you’re carrying other people’s sticks.

John Green helps you understand the Ukraine. In my younger and more vulnerable years, this is what I imagined 24-hour news networks would give us.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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Utah gets all up in your business…

From Raw Story:

Utah state Rep. Jim Nielson (R) says that he is sponsoring a bill to force divorcing couples to take classes because he says that men are often “surprised” when women want to end the marriage.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Nielson had filed a bill that would require couples to take part of mandatory divorces classes even sooner than the law required when Utah became the first state with the mandate in 1994. Nielson would like to see couples take at least half of the $55 two-hour classes at the beginning of divorce process.

While Nielson told The AP that he hoped the classes would reduce the divorce rate in Utah, he was even more specific about his goals earlier this month on an Internet show called DadsDivorce.com.

“The friends that I have that have gone through a divorce, most of the people that I know personally that have gone through that personally are men,” Nielson explained to host Matt Allen. “And my sense, at least from the men that I interact with, is that they’ve usually been surprised by the divorce request, by the filing.”

The women I know who have “surprised” men with divorces or break-ups had consistently made clear the problems in their relationships… but their spouses/boyfriends never listened or didn’t take it seriously until she — to quote the Gap Band — “burned rubber” on them.

Now, many of these men had every intention of seriously working through the issue in their relationships… as part of a formalized process with a clear end result (she comes back). They however either lacked the inclination or the ability to become more empathetic or engaged in the relationship on a consistent basis.

I call this the Romantic Comedy Myth. Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson or Ben Stiller or some other overpaid man child has spent the past 90 minutes demonstrating to their partner and the audience that they shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone but during the final 10 minutes of the movie, they make some grand declaration of love (showing up unannounced at her place of business with a mariachi band or rushing past security to board her flight out of town and tell her how he can’t live without her — failing to realize that his codependency is not her problem), and the credits roll as the couple kiss and make up. Fortunately, fiction and Fox News don’t have to reflect reality, so we don’t see the couple spiral back into the same problems.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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What the hell, Arizona?

From CNN:

Arizona’s Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

To borrow from the Robot Devil, this bill is as lousy as it is bigoted.

CNN’s interview with Rep. John Kavanagh who supported this bill is straight-up crazy. This guy is a legislator and he can’t effectively communicate how this bill would actually work any better than some random person interviewed on the street who isn’t wearing pants. Apparently, the freedom to be a religious bigot extends to independent contractors (wedding photographers) and small business owners but not to a waitress at a diner who doesn’t want to serve a gay couple. Huh? What possible legal principle is at work here to distinguish the two? Rep. Kavanagh claims the “burden” the religious feel when dealing with icky gay people has to be high, which taking pictures of drunk people dancing poorly at a gay wedding is, but refusing to rent a room to that newly married couple isn’t. That’s absurd on its face, because bed and breakfasts don’t allow children under a certain age so it’s not that much of a legal stretch, especially with this law on the books, for them to not rent to homosexual couples.

Of course, the gooey center of logic supporting the bill probably serves its purpose in making life miserable for gay Arizona residents and swell for local attorneys, who homosexuals can have on retainer to look into every discriminatory action they face. What a country!

We are tripping over dead kids from gun violence and that’s not enough for a gun bill. Arizona’s own congressional representative is permanently disabled after being shot in broad daylight in a public place and that’s not enough for a gun bill. But my god, someone might have to photograph two gay men slow dancing. Time to legislate!

 

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Ted Nugent, the man the GOP still loves to love

Ted Nugent, the man the GOP still loves to love

The GOP’s tepid repudiation of Ted Nugent’s racist statements about Barack Obama continue to fail what they used to refer to on Law and Order as the “laugh test.”

Nugent, in a recent interview with Guns.com, called Obama, the product of a biracial union, a “subhuman mongrel.” Because these disgusting comments were not about his sexuality and rationalized by his religious beliefs, his Republican friends sort of, kind of rejected them.

“Ted Nugent’s derogatory description of President Obama is offensive and has no place in politics. He should apologize,” the Kentucky Republican tweeted Thursday night.

OK, that’s something. I suppose they’ll sever ties with a race-baiting clod, right?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN he disagreed with Nugent’s language but also didn’t rule out campaigning with him in the future.

“You’ve never heard me say such a thing and nor would I,” Cruz said. “I will note, there are reasons Ted Nugent – people listen to him, which is that he has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights.”

I suppose I’m not as encouraged as Sen. Cruz is by the thought of a racist who is a passionate supporter of gun rights.

Look, it’s not like this is a summer action movie and Nugent is the psychotic racist the hero has to recruit anyway because he’s the only one who can (PLOT DEVICE) the (PLOT DEVICE) before the (PLOT DEVICE). This is America. The GOP can surely locate another passionate fighter for the country’s right to self-destruct who isn’t a repugnant racist. Or at least isn’t a known one.

But if you thought Cruz was hard on Nugent, wait till Gov. Rick Perry gets a hold of him.

“That’s pretty tough words,” Perry said. “I wouldn’t have used those words. … I’m not going to get into this side of whether it’s appropriate or not. There are people who say things all the time. I mean, the idea that Ted Nugent said something that’s outrageous shouldn’t surprise anyone, he’s been saying outrageous things for a lot of years.”

Yes, Perry would have found more eloquent ways of impugning Obama’s heritage. And, gee, we already know Nugent is a bigoted jackass, so why are we complaining even if GOP politicians continue to embrace him?

And Perry really can’t take a stand on whether a clearly racist comment is appropriate? In fairness, people say (racist) “things” all the time, and Perry’s a busy man fighting gays and the Liberal War Against Religion.

After some pressure from Wolf Blitzer, Perry conceded that it was wrong to call the president a “mongrel.” Non-elected officials are apparently fair game. And just because a racist endorsed a GOP candidate for governor and will presumably continue his association with him is no reason to do something crazy like vote for the liberal woman.

“A comment by someone who has come in and endorsed him in the campaign I would suggest to you is not what this campaign is going to hinge upon, it’s going to be on Wendy Davis’s very liberal record,” Perry said. “I think this will be a news story or two and then we will get back to being focused on what the people of the state of Texas really care about.”

Texans don’t care about actual racists. It cares about the imaginary things they’ll say about Wendy Davis.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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Michele Bachmann says more dumb things…

Michele Bachmann says more dumb things…

Michele Bachmann discusses Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances.

If Clinton were elected, “effectively she would be Obama’s third and fourth term in office,” Bachmann said, calling Clinton “the godmother of Obamacare.”
But while Obama was “new and different,” Clinton is an old-timer who is less likely to excite voters, she said. Plus, she’s a woman, and she isn’t black, which Bachmann hinted is one of the reasons why people voted for Obama. “I think there was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt,” she said. “People don’t hold guilt for a woman.”

So, Bachmann thinks that people (presumably white people) voted for Obama because he’s black. It was guilt that drove them to elect Barack Obama over John McCain, whose vice presidential selection could have only been worse if it were Bachmann herself. This guilt also carried over to 2012.

Also, why do some conservatives have no problem saying, with a straight face, that liberals voted for Obama because of his race but deny that any conservatives voted against him because of his race?

Here’s a free clue for Bachmann: In the history of this country, racism and sexism have always trump any trace of guilt.

I consider Hillary Clinton eminently qualified to serve as president. I understand that many conservatives would disagree. However, if we’re considering her gender, I think it might behoove America to muster some excitement, throw on some pants, and finally arrive to a party attended by England, Germany, Argentina, Switzerland, Ireland, Finland, Lithuania, Costa Rica, Brazil, and South Korea that managed to elect a female head of state.

Of course, knowing America, if it ever did elect a female president, it would act as if it did it first — sort of like the history of rock and roll.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Political Theatre

 

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Gun Crazy…

So, another school shooting.

This is sadly getting far too routine.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Political Theatre

 

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