Monday, November 19, 2012

News Nuggets 1110

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Polynesian endemic sea slug in the Tuamotu Islands.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Obama's Historic Myanmar Visit from ABC News
"Obama made history when Air Force One touched down at 9:35 am local time. The president, joined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was greeted by tens of thousands of people lining the streets of Yangon, including roughly 2,000 school children who stood shoulder-to-shoulder on this muggy day in crisp white shirts and traditional green longyis waving U.S. and Myanmar flags."

Almost everything else today relates to post-election analysis with special reference to the GOP.
False Allegiance: Today's Secessionists are Pledged Only to Discord from the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"The would-be secessionists are nothing if not impertinent. To register their anger, they have been using a White House website called "We the People," which allows Americans in the spirit of the First Amendment to petition the government for the redress of grievances. But there are grievances and there is what might be called poor loser syndrome with its imaginary grudges, which is closer to the case here."

Conservatives Must Forgo Secession & Other Fantasies and Work Within GOP (Michael Medved) from the Daily Beast
"Secession. Impeaching Obama. Forming a new party. All are a recipe for disaster, says Michael Medved. Instead, disaffected Republicans must redefine conservatism and push for new outreach to Latinos and others from inside the GOP."
These last two items focus on the nascent secessionist "movement" in the US that has emerged since the election.  Now, let me say up front, that I view proponents largely as a set of sour grapes cranks who are simply throwing a political tantrum.  However, I would also speculate that it is further evidence (if any was needed) that the GOP is in worse-than-average trouble.  Historically, there have been two substantive pushes for secession in US history.  Of course, there was the one everyone knows about that led to the Civil War.  The lesser known movement came during the War of 1812 when New England threatened to secede at the Hartford Convention.  The point here is that in both instances (for widely different reasons) they were early indicators of a MAJOR shift in the political party system in the US.  The Democratic Party's implication in southern secession led to 67 years (1865 to 1932) where the GOP had a near lock on the presidency.  The Hartford Convention so damaged the Federalist Party's national reputation that within ten years it had ceased to exist as a national party.  Now, I've not saying that the Republicans are in the same degree of danger -- but I have argued for some time that I thought our current configuration of the two parties (one deeply conservative/reactionary and the other ... basically everyone else) is undergoing a tectonic shift driven largely by changing demographics and social norms which have left one party at the short end of virtually every demographic stick.  I think this secessionist talk as simply one more indicator of a party in deep trouble.

Further evidence:
The Graying Religious Right (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast 
"Mark Silk declares that  "Republicans should be more worried about appealing to Nones than to Latinos":"

And more evidence:
For the GOP, It's Colorado or Bust by 2016 (Nate Cohn) from the New Republic
"Perhaps no state captures the challenges facing Republicans better than Colorado. The changes in the composition of the two parties over the last decade have almost exclusively worked to the advantage of Democrats ..."

And more:
Weak Teavangelicals (Chris Lehman) from In These Times
"Long-term trends in opinion polling suggest that the evangelical Right would have been hard-pressed to repeat the Kulturkampf clamor to the ballot box that Reed famously engineered to help George W. Bush over the top in 2004. For one thing, the movement’s pet crusades—bans on abortion and gay marriage—have shown little drawing power."

Republicans at a Crossroads (James Hohman) from Politico
"Republican governors are torn between essentially staying the course in the wake of Mitt Romney’s loss and a more proactive strategy aimed at radically shaking up their party in an effort to reach out to young and minority voters."

Why Republicans Want Mitt Romney To Go Away (Ben Smith) from Buzzfeed  
"Romney will carry the party's baggage off stage. “Toxic assets” into the bad bank of Mitt. ... There appears to be no Romney Republicanism to propagate. No Romney strategy to emulate. No Romney technology to ape. No generation shaped by his failed effort. And no Romney infrastructure to inherit, though he may still be asked to write and bundle quite a few checks..." "Romney is being erased with record speed from his party's books for three reasons."

Republican Outreach Leaves Immigrants, Minority Groups Skeptical from Reuters via the Huffington Post
"He said it was still unclear if Asian-Americans and Latinos would be increasingly accepted as "honorary whites," which could align them more closely with the Republican party while perpetuating a black-white divide, or if the country would move toward a new, more multi-faceted view of race."
"Honorary whites" -- that's the first time I've heard this term.  But, boy, does it capture the tokenist, oddball character of the scattering of minorities that show up in the GOP.  

Republicans Say GOP Needs Revamp After Romney Defeat from Reuters via the Huffington Post
"The Republican Party needs to stop insulting voters and broaden its appeal after Democratic President Barack Obama won re-election this month over Mitt Romney with overwhelming support from Hispanics, blacks and single women, top Republicans said on Sunday. Comments made by two leading Republican governors and an influential U.S. senator on Sunday reflected the soul-searching taking place in the party after Obama's victory over Republican challenger Romney on Nov. 6."

GOP Plots to Prevent More Todd Akins from Politico
"Read their lips: no more Todd Akins. In the wake of the GOP’s Election Day beatdown, influential Republican senators say enough’s enough: Party leaders need to put the kibosh on the kind of savage primaries that yielded candidates like Akin — and crippled Republican prospects of taking the Senate in two straight election cycles."
Easier said than done.  As many commentators have noted, Tea Party types are the core of the GOP now -- and many of them took away fundamentally different lessons from this election cycle than their beltway and statehouse counterparts.

Obama Organization to Remain Active Nationwide (Mike Allen) from Politico 
"The Obama campaign continues to refine, update and expand its vast database, working the muscle to increase its value for 2014 and 2016. The organization wants to avoid a post-2008 lull, when Obama’s high command was so focused on building a government and staving off a depression that some in the grassroots network felt neglected."

Sullivan gets a two-fer today with this VERY HARD-HITTING piece (overdone at times) on the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal. 
The Vatican's Dead End (Andrew Sullivan) from the Daily Beast
"They actually think they still have moral authority. But moral authority has to be earned with each generation, and the corruption in the Vatican is so deep and so rotten and so incapable of self-reflection it has effectively created two Catholic churches in America..."

The Sad State of Zealots with Microphones (Leonard Pitts) from the Baltimore Sun
"They seem to have settled on a strategy of blaming the voters for not being smart enough or good enough to vote as they should have. Because America wasn't smart enough or good enough, say these conservatives, it shredded the Constitution, bear-hugged chaos, French-kissed socialism, and died. In other words, the apocalypse is coming."

ObamaCare Resisters, Get with the Program from the Editorial Board of USA Today
"The war is over, so find ways to make the Affordable Care Act work."
Sadly, I think the GOP (especially at the state level and in the courts) will continue to do everything they can to structurally poison this program at every step of the way towards its implementation.  What I suspect you will see is that the program will take much longer to fully implement ... and that it won't work or it will work poorly in a certain number of heavily-GOP states.  Rather than having a country where 40 million+ Americans don't have health insurance, what we will have is a country with 40 million+ Americans from deep red states that, for all intents and purposes, don't have health insurance.  If it goes this way, again sadly, the GOP will probably view it as a big victory. 

The Media’s Scandalous Polling Conspiracy (Michael kinsley) from the Miami Herald
"I would like to point out that the entire drama of a close election, as played out in the news media on Election Day and evening, is basically fake. Like broadcasters (including a young Ronald Reagan) presenting baseball games in the early days of radio, the television networks know who’s going to win the game and more or less how it’s going to play out, inning-by-inning."

In Recount, Allen West Falls Further Behind from Politico
Poetic justice.
"Florida Rep. Allen West’s reelection prospects grew dimmer Sunday, as a recount of early ballots showed him falling further behind his Democratic opponent."
Normally, I avoid postings or comments on right-wing media clowns like this one -- but this was too good to pass up!

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