Friday, November 30, 2012

Unlike The POTUS 16, This Blog Has Nothing But Malice (And No Charitiable Feelings) For Secessionists Of Any Vintage: 1860-1861 Or 2012!!!!

Calvin Trillin is the poet-in-residence of this blog. However, that said, a better version of today's poem would be:

We do respect your point of view.
We'll be glad to see the back of you.

Secession brings to mind yesterday's viewing of "Lincoln." In the final weeks of the war, the POTUS 16 answered the Rebel Peace Commissioners' demand that — if the Rebel states surrendered — they would be allowed to vote against ratification of the 13th Amendment. Ol' Abe answered them by sending Grant into Richmond and burning The River City to the ground. Finally, the script leaned too heavily on Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Plagiarist. If this is a (fair & balanced) final verdict on the treasonous doctrine of secession (whether in 1860-1861 or 2012), so be it.

[x The Nation]
A Short Message To Those Who Have Signed Petitions Asking To Secede From The Union
By Calvin Trillin

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at
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We do respect your point of view.
We’re glad to see the back of you. Ω

[Calvin Trillin began his career as a writer for Time magazine. Since July 2, 1990, as a columnist at The Nation, Trillin has written his weekly "Deadline Poet" column: humorous poems about current events. Trillin has written considerably more pieces for The Nation than any other single person. A native of Kansas City, MO, Trillin received his BA from Yale College in 1957. He served in the army, and then joined Time.]

Copyright © 2012 The Nation

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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.

Copyright © 2012 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dumbo/Teabagger Slogan For 2016: Quick! Get The Wite-Out?!

Call me -Rafael- Ted, says Senator-elect Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz (R-TX). Cruz is a ¡Vendido! who may try to sell himself to the pale Dumbos/Teabaggers, but La Raza won't buy it. If -Rafael-/Ted runs with the nativist pack as a Dumbo loyalist, he will be marked down as a one-hit wonder in (groan) 2018. In the meantime, Ryan Lizza considers the question o'the day for Lone Star Dumbos/Teabaggers: ¿Por Donde Vayas? If this is a (fair & balanced) consideration of Dumbo/Teabagger obsolescence, so be it.

[x New Yorker]
The Party Next Time
By Ryan Lizza

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at
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When historians look back on Mitt Romney’s bid for the Presidency, one trend will be clear: no Republican candidate ever ran a similar campaign again. For four decades, from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan through the two Bush Presidencies, the Republican Party won the White House by amassing large margins among white voters. Nixon summoned the silent majority. Reagan cemented this bloc of voters, many of whom were former Democrats. Both Bushes won the Presidency by relying on broad support from Reagan Democrats. In that time, Republicans transformed the South from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican, and they held the White House for twenty-eight out of forty years. Last Tuesday, Romney won three-fifths of the white vote, matching or exceeding what several winning Presidential candidates, including Reagan in 1980 and Bush in 1988, achieved, but it wasn’t enough. The white share of the electorate, which was eighty-seven per cent in 1992, has steadily declined by about three points in every Presidential election since then. At the present rate, by 2016, whites will make up less than seventy per cent of voters. Romney’s loss to Barack Obama brought an end not just to his eight-year quest for the Presidency but to the Republican Party’s assumptions about the American electorate.

Some interpretations of the election results by conservatives were particularly dark. Mary Matalin, the Republican commentator, wrote that Obama was a “political narcissistic sociopath” who “leveraged fear and ignorance” to win. On Tuesday evening, before the race was called, Bill O’Reilly, after acknowledging that “the demographics are changing,” offered the following explanation for an Obama victory: “It’s not a traditional America anymore. And there are fifty per cent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it and he ran on it. Whereby twenty years ago President Obama would have been roundly defeated by an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney. The white establishment is now the minority.” He added, “You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama.”

But far from Fox News Channel’s newsroom in Manhattan and the insular world of the Beltway’s conservative commentariat, one significant element of the Republican Party has for the past two years been grappling with and adapting to the demographic future that was so starkly revealed by last Tuesday’s outcome. On Halloween, less than a week before Election Day, I rode with Ted Cruz, now the senator-elect from Texas, who was folded into the back seat of a Toyota Corolla as an aide drove him from San Antonio to Austin. Cruz, who has a thick head of pomaded, neatly combed hair, is a former college debate champion and Supreme Court litigator, and is a commanding public speaker. That morning, he had addressed a small crowd of employees eating Kit Kats and candy corn at Valero, a major oil refiner whose headquarters are in San Antonio. As he told the story of his father’s journey from Cuba to Texas, the room fell silent. Cruz, who is forty-one, eschews teleprompters, instead roaming across the stage and speaking slowly and dramatically, with well-rehearsed sweeps of his hands. He is one of several political newcomers who offer hope to Republicans after a disappointing election.

In the car, sipping a Diet Dr Pepper while he talked about his background and discussed the future of the Party, Cruz was more down to earth than his Hermès tie and Patek Philippe watch suggested. He said that he had relaxed the previous evening at his hotel by watching “Cowboys and Aliens.” “It is every bit as stupid as it sounds,” he said. “But it actually has a really good cast.”

Cruz, a lawyer who was solicitor general of Texas from 2003 to 2008, combines a compelling personal biography with philosophically pure conservatism. He won his Senate primary in an upset, earlier this year, partly by adhering to the secure-the-borders mentality popular with most Texas Republicans. He promised to triple the size of the U.S. Border Patrol and to build a larger border wall than his opponent proposed. In January, when he is sworn in, he will become one of the most right-wing members of the U.S. Senate. A Tea Party favorite who also happens to be Hispanic, Cruz is viewed by many as a key figure in helping to transform the Party. According to exit polls, Hispanics, one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population, made up ten per cent of the electorate, their highest share in American history, and Romney lost the Hispanic vote to Obama by a margin of seventy-one per cent to twenty-seven per cent, the lowest level of support for a Republican since 1996.

Cruz is a first-generation citizen. His father, Rafael, as a teen-ager in Cuba, fought alongside Castro’s revolutionaries against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. He was jailed and beaten by the regime. “My grandmother said that his suit, which had started out bright white, you couldn’t see a spot of white on it,” Cruz said. “It was just stained with blood and mud, and his teeth were dangling from his mouth.” Rafael left for the United States, and in 1957 started at the University of Texas on a student visa. He continued to support Castro. “He learned English very quickly and began going around to local Rotary Clubs and Kiwanis Clubs and speaking about the Revolution and raising money for Castro,” Cruz said. “He was a young revolutionary. He would get Austin businesspeople to write checks.”

When Castro came to power, in 1959, the elder Cruz quickly grew disillusioned. His younger sister fought in the counter-revolution and was tortured by the new regime. Rafael returned to Cuba in 1960 to see his family, and was shaken by what Castro’s Communist dictatorship had wrought. “When my father got back to Austin,” Cruz said, “he sat down and made a list of every place he’d gone to speak, and he made a point of going back to each of them and standing in front of them and saying, ‘I owe you an apology. I misled you. I took your money and I sent it to evil ends.’ And he said, ‘I didn’t do so knowingly, but I did so nonetheless, and for that I’m truly sorry.’ When I was a kid, my dad told me that story over and over again. To me, that always defined character: to have the courage to go back and apologize.”

Rafael made sure that his son entered politics from the opposite side of the political spectrum. In high school, Ted became involved with a group known as the Free Market Education Foundation, which introduced him to the writings of conservative economic philosophers such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Frédéric Bastiat, and Ludwig von Mises. Cruz travelled to Rotary and Kiwanis groups in Texas as his father had a generation earlier. But, instead of expounding on Castro, he competed against other teen-agers in speech contests; the contestants delivered twenty minutes of memorized remarks about free-market economics. He soon joined a spinoff group, the Constitutional Corroborators, and learned a mnemonic device for memorizing an abbreviated version of the Constitution, which he and other club members would write out on easels for lunchtime crowds of Rotarians or local political groups around Texas. By the time he graduated from high school, he had given several dozen speeches across the state.

“It was transformational,” Cruz said. “The two strongest influences on my life were that experience and the personal experience of my family’s story and my father’s flight from Cuba.”

Cruz already has had a remarkably successful career in law and politics. He is the first to point out that he has excelled at almost everything he has set out to do: the early speech contests (“I was one of the city winners all four years when I was in high school”); academics (“I was the first person from my high school ever to go to any Ivy League college”); his Princeton debate career (“I was the No. 1 speaker”); his time at Harvard Law School (“I was on three different law journals, was a primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, and an executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and then a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review”); his clerkship, from 1995 to 1996, for Judge Michael Luttig (“widely considered the top conservative federal appellate judge in the country”) and, from 1996 to 1997, for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist (“he and I were very, very close”); his five and a half years as solicitor general (“ended up over the years really winning some of the biggest cases in the country—year after year after year”); and his record of arguing nine cases before the Supreme Court (“it is the most of any practicing lawyer in the state of Texas”).

Cruz’s coming challenge is his biggest yet. As with other Hispanic Republicans elected recently—New Mexico’s governor, Susana Martinez; Nevada’s governor, Brian Sandoval; Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida—his last name and heritage, along with his conservative leanings, assure that Republicans will look to him to help lead them out of the demographic wilderness. He might even run for President in 2016. Though he was born in Canada, he informed me that he was qualified to serve. “The Constitution requires that one be a natural-born citizen,” he said, “and my mother was a U.S. citizen when I was born.”

As a senator from Texas, the largest and most important state in the Republican firmament, Cruz has a special role in the post-Romney debate. At the Presidential level, Texas has thirty-eight electoral votes, second only to California, which has fifty-five. It anchors the modern Republican Party, in the same way that California and New York anchor the Democratic Party. But, Cruz told me, the once unthinkable idea of Texas becoming a Democratic state is now a real possibility.

“If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community,” he said, “in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state.” He ticked off some statistics: in 2004, George W. Bush won forty-four per cent of the Hispanic vote nationally; in 2008, John McCain won just thirty-one per cent. On Tuesday, Romney fared even worse.

“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” he said. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’ ”

At the headquarters of the Republican Party of Texas, in Austin, an observer finds it difficult to take Cruz’s warning seriously. One wall of the waiting room is plastered with framed photographs of Republicans who hold statewide office in Texas. Governor Rick Perry’s face is in the center; surrounding him is the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the comptroller, various commissioners—which are powerful positions in Texas—and numerous judges. Every one of the twenty-seven statewide offices is held by a Republican, as are both U.S. Senate seats and twenty-four out of thirty-six House seats. At the state capitol, across the street from the G.O.P. headquarters, Republicans control the State Senate and House. Texas is essentially a one-party state.

But others share Cruz’s alarm that this could quickly change. Steve Munisteri, the fifty-four-year-old chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, whose father was an Italian immigrant, grew up in Houston and has been involved in state Republican politics since 1972, when Texas was solidly Democratic. Munisteri saw how racial politics transformed Texas, which gradually shifted from one party to the other when conservative white Democrats fled to the G.O.P. The exodus began in 1964, the year President Lyndon Johnson, the former Texas senator, passed the Civil Rights Act. “There goes the South for a generation,” he is said to have remarked, as he signed the bill into law.

Texas was slower than the other Southern states to see its politics invert. When George H. W. Bush was elected to Congress from Houston, in 1966, he was one of only two Republicans in the House delegation. Jimmy Carter carried the state in 1976. But in 1978 Bill Clements became the state’s first Republican governor in a hundred and four years. A young operative named Karl Rove worked on his campaign and joined his administration as a top adviser. Clements was voted out of office four years later, but, with Rove at the helm of his next effort, he returned in 1986. Since then, the state has become steadily more Republican. The election of the Democrat Ann Richards, who won the governorship in 1990 and served just one term before being defeated by Rove’s next gubernatorial candidate, George W. Bush, was something of a fluke. She had a narrow victory against a weak candidate, who, among other campaign missteps, made a joke about rape and during one encounter refused to shake Richards’s hand.

In 2010, Munisteri, a lawyer who has had stints in real estate and as a color commentator for boxing matches, took over the state Party, winning the chairmanship from an establishment that had all but given up on appealing to Hispanics in the methodical way that George W. Bush did as the state’s governor from 1995 to 2000. Munisteri has the look that most political operatives seem to attain in middle age: rumpled, and filled with nervous energy. “I’m a natural worrywart,” he said.

He was suffering from an allergy attack, and while fighting back a fit of coughing he searched through heaps of papers strewn behind his desk and handed me some charts that foretold the demise of the Republican Party, first in Texas and then nationally. One graph showed four lines falling from left to right, measuring Republican voting trends in Texas. “Look at that; it’ll show you the decline of the Republican Party over ten years,” he said. Actually, there was a significant bump up in 2010, a gift from President Obama, who helped reverse the slide by energizing the Tea Party movement, but what frightened him was the downward slope of the lines from 2000 to 2008. There were fewer and fewer white voters as a percentage of the electorate.

“If I say to you, your life depends on picking whether the following state is Democrat or Republican, what would you pick?” Munisteri asked. “The state is fifty-five per cent traditional minority. Thirty-eight per cent is Hispanic, eleven per cent is African-American, and the rest is Asian-American, and two-thirds of all births are in a traditional minority family. And if I was to tell you that, nationwide, last time, Republicans got only roughly four per cent of the African-American vote and about a third of the Hispanic vote, would you say that state is Democrat or Republican? Well, that’s Texas. We are the only majority-minority state in the union that people consider Republican.”

Immigration from Mexico only partly accounts for the change. More than a million Americans have moved to Texas in the past decade, many from traditionally Democratic states. More than three hundred and fifty thousand Californians have arrived in the past five years; since 2005, over a hundred thousand Louisianans permanently relocated to Texas, mostly in Houston, after Hurricane Katrina. The population is also skewing younger, which means more Democratic. But Munisteri is more preoccupied by the racial and ethnic changes. He turned to a chart showing Texas’s population by ethnic group over the next few decades. A red line, representing the white population, plunged from almost fifty-five per cent, in 2000, to almost twenty-five per cent, in 2040; a blue line, the Hispanic population, climbed from thirty-two per cent to almost sixty per cent during the same period. He pointed to the spot where the two lines crossed, as if it augured a potential apocalypse. “This shows when Hispanics will become the largest group in the state,” he said. “That’s somewhere in 2014. We’re almost at 2013!” He added, “You cannot have a situation with the Hispanic community that we’ve had for forty years with the African-American community, where it’s a bloc of votes that you almost write off. You can’t do that with a group of citizens that are going to compose a majority of this state by 2020, and which will be a plurality of this state in about a year and a half.”

He told me that he had a slide that he wouldn’t show me, because he didn’t want Democrats to know about his calculations. He said that it depicted the percentage of the white vote that Republicans would have to attract if they continued to do as poorly as they have among Hispanics.

“By 2040, you’d have to get over a hundred per cent of the Anglo vote,” he said.

“Over a hundred per cent is not possible,” I offered.

“That’s my point!”

Munisteri travels around the country with his slide show, urgently arguing that Republicans will wither away if they don’t adapt. In the spring, he briefed Republican members of Texas’s congressional delegation. After half an hour, a congressman rose to summarize the material.

“What you’re saying is that if the Republican Party is not doing its job attracting Hispanics to the Party, the Party in a very short time nationally and in Texas will be toast?” Munisteri replied, “That’s it, Congressman.”

Munisteri has been doing all he can to begin to alter the trajectory of Republicans in Texas. One of his first projects has been to rebrand the Party. For years, Texas delegates to the Republican National Convention have worn cowboy hats and loud shirts paid for by the state G.O.P., making them instantly recognizable on the Convention floor and the subject of a disproportionate number of photographs. It’s not the image that Munisteri wants to project. “This state has a population that’s so much more diverse than the rest of the country is aware of,” he said. “Other people think there are cowboys down here and horses and it’s a bunch of Billy Bobs.” This year, he refused to fund the attire that his delegates regularly wore. “I said, ‘We’re not buying hats and shirts, because I’m tired of having to go to the R.N.C. and have everybody think we dress like that in Texas,’ ” he said. But the delegates rebelled, and some Republican donors decided to buy the outfits for them anyway.

Munisteri, who as chairman is not supposed to push his own policy ideas on the Party, has spent a lot of time trying to get Republicans to sound more welcoming to Hispanics. In one sense, he is simply returning to his party’s recent past. As governor, George W. Bush was a zealous advocate of reaching out to Hispanics. He supported bilingual education and was in favor of government services, like health care and education, for unauthorized immigrants. As President, he strongly supported an immigration-reform proposal that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally. He saw it as both business-friendly and as a way for the Party to attract Hispanic support and build a more durable coalition than relying disproportionately on white voters.

By 2006, the proposal had become anathema to most conservatives, who ridiculed it as “amnesty for illegals.” When Bush tried to push it through Congress, conservatives defeated it, following an often toxic debate that reversed all of Bush’s gains among Hispanics. In 2008, McCain, who had sponsored the Bush legislation, lost Hispanics by sixty-seven per cent to thirty-one per cent. In 2012, Romney, who had once seemed to support the Bush legislation, moved far to the right on immigration, calling on undocumented citizens to “self-deport” and attacking Governor Perry for signing legislation, in 2001, that allowed unauthorized immigrants in Texas to qualify for in-state tuition rates.

Munisteri advises Republicans in Texas to talk about Hispanics as an integral part of the state’s history, whose ancestors, in many cases, arrived in Texas long before those of much of the Anglo population. On immigration, he says, the Republican base needs “reëducating,” so that conservatives understand that immigration is essential to the country’s prosperity.

In his effort to tug the Texas G.O.P. into the future, Munisteri hired David Zapata, a young evangelical Christian from a border town, as his Hispanic-outreach director. And he has embarked on a micro-targeting project that uses consumer data to find Hispanics who don’t vote for Republicans but exhibit buying patterns that suggest they might be conservative, such as subscribing to Guns & Ammo or giving money to pro-life causes. Since 2010, he has succeeded in getting Republicans elected in some of the most Hispanic areas of the state.

Munisteri’s interest in making the Party a home for Hispanics and thus saving his party is partly a result of his own experience. He grew up in the state in the nineteen-sixties, when it was overwhelmingly white. “There was very little diversity at Anglo high schools,” he said. “And I’m not Anglo. When I was younger, not often, but enough, I was subjected to people who didn’t like me just because I was Italian. You don’t ever get to find common ground with other people if they think you’re prejudiced or racist against them.” He added, “If I overhear you tell a Wop joke . . . I mean, personally, I won’t vote for people that I think are prejudiced against Italian-Americans.”

Even though many Republicans agree that the Party must become more hospitable to Hispanics, there is little consensus on how best to do so and still qualify as conservative. Ted Cruz argues that Hispanics can be won over by appeals to traditional values of hard work. “I’ve never in my life seen a Hispanic panhandler,” he said, as we rode out of San Antonio. “In the Hispanic community, it would be considered shameful to be out on the street begging.” He added, “They have conservative values. Hispanics don’t want to be on the dole. They’re not here to be dependent on government.” He rejected the idea that Republicans needed to go back to the Bush-era policies on immigration. “I think those that say that, for Republicans to connect with the Hispanic community, they need to adopt amnesty and not secure the borders, I think that’s foolishness.”

Many Republicans in Texas suggested that the fact that Cruz is Hispanic is enough for him to win votes in that community. To prove the point, some mentioned Quico Canseco, a Republican who won a Texas House seat in 2010 in a Democratic district by running as a Tea Party conservative, and whose reëlection bid this year was closely contested. His district is sixty-six per cent Hispanic and spreads some six hundred miles, from San Antonio to the western edge of Texas. It includes most of the state’s border with Mexico. Like Cruz, Canseco, both in 2010 and in 2012, ran as an opponent of the kind of immigration reforms championed by George W. Bush. A few days before the election, when I interviewed Canseco, who is the son of Mexican immigrants and was born in Laredo, a border town that is ninety-six per cent Hispanic, he gave no hint of moderation on any of the immigration issues that have become so important to conservative Republicans in the past few years.

Canseco told me that he didn’t have any problem with how Romney talked about immigration, and he said that he opposed the Obama Administration’s policy on protecting some unauthorized immigrants from deportation. “I’m very much against open borders, because we are a sovereign nation, and I’m against amnesty,” he said. Instead of running on immigration reform, Canseco emphasized social issues. In the final stretch of the campaign, he mailed a bilingual flyer to voters which asserted that Democrats “said no to God” at their Convention, “want to provide abortions for underage girls,” and “want marriage to be between man & man.” The three accusations were illustrated with a picture of Jesus, one of a baby, and a photograph of two men kissing passionately.

But to speak of the “Hispanic population” is an oversimplification, akin to collectively describing the waves of immigrants that arrived in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as European-Americans. In Florida, Cuban-Americans tend to vote for Republicans and Puerto Ricans tend to vote for Democrats. In Texas, the Tejanos have deep roots in the state and tend to be more open to the Republican Party; the more recent immigrants from across the border are known simply as Mexican-Americans, who largely came to the United States after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, when Mexico established a robust welfare state, and are more commonly Democrats.

While Cruz and Canseco embrace a Tea Party approach to the G.O.P.’s Hispanic problem, elsewhere in Texas a different strategy is being tested. One afternoon, I met with Art Martinez de Vara, the mayor of Von Ormy, a town of thirteen hundred residents, southwest of San Antonio, which dates to the eighteenth century. His ancestors arrived in San Antonio, from colonial Mexico, in the seventeen-nineties. “I have family that fought at the Alamo,” he said proudly, as we sat in a local campaign office in a strip mall. Martinez de Vara is thirty-seven, with a Chris Christie-size midsection, and he has arguably been more influential within the Party than any other immigration reformer of the past few years.

In 2008, Martinez de Vara co-founded the Latino National Republican Coalition of Texas, now called the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans. “A lot of people don’t like the word ‘Latino,’ ” he said. “They find it offensive, or too Californian.” The group recruits and supports Hispanics to run at the local level in South Texas. In our conversation, he criticized both Cruz’s and Canseco’s approaches to their campaigns. When I asked whether Cruz’s Latin surname was enough for him to win over Hispanics, one of Martinez de Vara’s friends, Gina Castañeda, a political activist who manages local campaigns, interrupted us. She said, “In the Hispanic or Mexican community, there’s some—” She hesitated. “How can I say it nicely? They don’t like Cubans. Or Puerto Ricans.” Martinez de Vara agreed. “Even within Mexico, they look down upon Caribbean Hispanics,” he said.

But his real problem with Cruz and Canseco was their view on immigration. During Cruz’s primary against the state’s lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, Martinez de Vara and his group stayed out of the race. “We didn’t endorse,” he said. “They both competed over who was the most extreme on immigration, which we weren’t that interested in. It was about who was the most conservative.” He mentioned that among the jobs on Cruz’s long résumé was campaign adviser to Bush. “Cruz was part of the Bush team when it proposed immigration reform,” he said, noting with frustration how Republicans have flipped on the issue in recent years. “He was one of his chief policy advisers.”

Martinez de Vara argued that jobs, education, and crime ultimately are more important issues than immigration to Hispanics in Texas. Still, he insisted that Republicans have to move back to the pro-reform positions of the Bush years. “There’s a small faction of the Republican Party that opposes this at every level,” he said. “What are they proposing? A border wall? That’s massive confiscation of private property. We oppose that in every other context. It’s a big-government, big-spending project. We oppose that in every other context. Arming the government with greater police powers? We oppose that in every other context. This is big-government liberalism, and for conservatives it just makes no sense.”

In 2010, the platform of the Republican Party of Texas included some of the country’s most restrictionist language on immigration. It referred repeatedly to “illegal aliens” and called for an “unimpeded deportation process,” elimination of all government benefits to unauthorized immigrants, and the adoption of policies that would mirror the controversial “Show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s immigration law.

Early this year, Martinez de Vara and his allies from the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans decided that they would rewrite the state Party platform on immigration. “There was a minority in the Party that was vocal and basically hijacking that issue,” he said. “And so we took it to the convention.” The Republican Party of Texas’s convention includes some nine thousand delegates. They met in early June, in Fort Worth. Martinez de Vara pushed new language through a subcommittee on immigration that he chaired and then through a full committee. Munisteri, the Party chairman, made sure that the issue received a thorough hearing, a move that angered a significant faction of his party. The debate came down to a contentious floor fight in which the new language was challenged four times. Martinez de Vara rose at one point and delivered the soliloquy that he gave me about how building a wall and confiscating property was big government. “When I said that on the floor of the Republican Party of Texas convention,” he said, “with nine thousand of the most diehard conservatives, people who paid two or three thousand dollars to go to Fort Worth and participate, I got seventy-five per cent of the vote. Because they all know it’s true!”

The platform no longer refers to “illegal aliens” and no longer has any language that could be construed as calling for Arizona-style laws. Instead, it proposes a “common ground” to find market-based solutions and “the application of effective, practical and reasonable measures to secure our borders.” Rather than expelling eleven million immigrants, it says, “Mass deportation of these individuals would neither be equitable nor practical.” Most significant, Martinez de Vara won adoption of language calling for a temporary-worker program. At around the time that Mitt Romney was winning the primary by attacking his opponents for being too soft on immigration, the largest state Republican Party in America was ridding its platform of its most restrictionist immigration language and calling for a program to allow unauthorized immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally and work.

A few months later, Martinez de Vara and his group took the fight to the national Convention, in Tampa, where he knew almost nobody. His main antagonist there was Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and the leader of the movement to spread Arizona-style laws. Martinez de Vara wasn’t on the national committee, so he buttonholed sympathetic members in any way he could. “We had to hustle,” he said. “We were following people to the bathroom.” Although it was little noted at the time, Martinez de Vara and his national allies won the adoption of language saying that Republicans would “consider” a new guest-worker program. That language sits uneasily beside language about building a double-layered fence, stopping all federal funding for benefits for “illegals,” and dismissing the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Arizona’s law. “You have Kobach’s language alongside our language of a national guest-worker program,” Martinez de Vara said. “Which is huge. It was a massive shift. We got it in there.”

The victories have emboldened him. While Cruz and Munisteri and many other Republicans fret about losing the Hispanic vote, Martinez de Vara sees a future in which he and Hispanic Republicans like him inevitably take over the Party. He already talks about the Anglo population as a minority, one that will have to adapt to what’s coming in Texas politics. “If you’re coming from the Anglo community, you may be seeing the death of your party and your political power and the way you understand things,” he said. “You step on our side, the future looks bright. We know that we have so much in common with the Anglo community; we’re not going to alienate it. And in 2040 Texas will be ten per cent African-American, twenty-five per cent Anglo, roughly ten per cent Asian, and the rest is going to be Hispanic. We can build a governing coalition of conservatives among all those people. It’s just a different Republican Party than exists today.”

Back in the headquarters of the Republican Party of Texas, I visited with David Zapata, the state Party’s liaison to Hispanics. His parents are from Mexico. (When I asked him the name of their town, he said that he didn’t want it published. “The cartels,” he explained.) Zapata, who is thirty, didn’t learn English until high school; he speaks with an accent. His office was decorated with a photograph of George W. Bush and a Bush-Cheney campaign sign. There was no similarly prominent Romney memorabilia. “I’m a big Bush fan,” he told me with a smile. “Not for everything else—just for the emphasis that he gave to the Hispanic population.”

The Bush-family legacy looms over the Party’s relationship with Hispanics and may yet play a role in shaping it. As governor, George W. Bush won half the Hispanic vote when he was reëlected, in 1998. In Florida, his brother Jeb, the former governor of that state, who is frequently discussed as a potential Presidential candidate, was also popular. “Look at the Jeb Bush model, which is what we try to follow,” Munisteri said. “Jeb Bush got a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote in Florida than Marco Rubio, who is of Hispanic descent.” Next spring, Jeb is scheduled to publish a book outlining his views on immigration reform. In Texas, Jeb’s thirty-six-year-old son, George P., whose mother, Columba, grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, has recently become a rising voice on the issue of Hispanic outreach. In 2010, he started the Hispanic Republicans of Texas, a group similar to Martinez de Vara’s, which recruits, trains, and funds Hispanic Republicans to run for office. Bush works at a private-equity firm that invests in the oil and gas industry, but his allies in the state told me that he would likely run for statewide office in 2014, and the day after the election he filed the paperwork to do so. “He’s got the talent, and the name, and he’s Hispanic,” said George P.’s friend Juan Hernandez, a Republican consultant who works closely with him. “What a combination! A Hispanic Bush! And he’s moreno—he’s dark.” Bush’s policy views are opaque, but he has surrounded himself with immigration reformers. For instance, Hernandez has come under attack from conservatives for his liberal views on the issue. On the other hand, Bush endorsed Cruz in his contentious primary. He could serve as a bridge between diehard conservatives and immigration reformers in the way that his uncle and his father did.

Despite the doomsday scenarios outlined by people like Munisteri, the Texas G.O.P. is far ahead of the national Party in dealing with the future. Two strategies are being tested. One is the kind of Republican identity politics exemplified by Cruz: the Party can continue its ideological shift to the right, especially on immigration, and appeal to Hispanics with candidates who share their ethnicity and perhaps speak their language. The more difficult path would see the G.O.P. retreat from its current position on immigration and take the direction advocated by Martinez de Vara and the Bush family.

If neither of these strategies succeeds, the consequences are clear. California was once a competitive state, the place that launched Ronald Reagan, but the G.O.P. there has now been reduced to a rump party, ideologically extreme and preponderately white. Republicans hold no statewide offices. After Tuesday, the Democrats also have a super-majority in the legislature, making it easier to raise taxes and overcome parliamentary obstacles like filibusters. In most accounts, the beginning of the Republican decline in California is traced to former Governor Pete Wilson’s attacks on benefits for unauthorized immigrants, which sounded to many voters like attacks on Hispanics. Farther east, in 2000 and 2004, New Mexico was one of the closest states in Presidential politics. In 2008, Obama won it by fifteen points. By 2012, it was no longer contested. Similarly, Nevada, which was fought over by both candidates this year, and which Obama won by six points, seems to have gone the way of California and New Mexico and will likely be safe for Democrats in 2016. The states aren’t identical: for example, California is more culturally liberal than Texas. But they all have growing nonwhite populations that overwhelmingly reject Republicans.

Demography is not necessarily destiny, however. The Democratic Party in Texas is leaderless and disorganized, ill-equipped to capitalize on the Republicans’ fear of their own extinction. Hispanic turnout is much lower in Texas than in other states with large Hispanic populations, such as California, and nobody seems to be moving aggressively to change the situation. “You don’t have one person trying to unify the collective energies of the Democratic Party with a goal toward putting a Democrat on the map statewide,” said Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democratic state representative who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

“There’s groundwork that needs to be done in Texas that simply hasn’t been done,” Julián Castro, a Democrat and the mayor of San Antonio, told me during an interview on CNN. He noted that whereas in California Hispanics vote at rates that are ten per cent lower than those of the rest of the electorate, in Texas Hispanics are twenty-five per cent less likely to vote. But he insisted that change was coming. “Within the next six to eight years,” he said, “I believe Texas will be at least a purple state, if not a blue state.”

Last Tuesday, the Democrats showed some signs of life. Zapata had given me a list of thirteen Hispanic Republicans I should watch on Election Day in Texas. Eleven of them lost, including Canseco. Cruz won, but his margin in Texas was the same as Romney’s, suggesting that he had no crossover appeal to Hispanic Democrats.

Like the G.O.P.’s contradictory language on immigration in its party platform, the two strategies for courting Hispanics co-exist uneasily. The debate in Texas is about to seize Washington. Obama has strongly indicated that he intends to see immigration reform—likely some version of the so-called dream Act, which would offer a path to citizenship for millions of unauthorized immigrants—passed in 2013. Before the election, Obama told the Des Moines Register that he was “confident” he could get it done, because “a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.” Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Republican senator from Texas whom Cruz is replacing, told me after the election, “A compromise on the dream Act should be easy to get done now.”

If Romney had won, his party would have been able to figure out this vexing issue from a position of strength. Instead, it will have to respond to the Democrats, who are certain to play the tensions within the G.O.P. One person who understands this is Cruz. When we arrived in Austin, at the end of our trip together, he revealed his simple recipe for success.

“I think every case in litigation and every argument in politics is about the fundamental narrative,” he said. “If you can frame the narrative, you win. As Sun Tzu said, every battle is won before it is fought. And it is won by choosing the field of terrain on which the fight will be engaged.” For now, the field belongs to Obama and the Democrats, and the storyline on immigration is theirs to lose. Ω

[Ryan Lizza is the Washington Correspondent for The New Yorker magazine, where he covers the White House and national politics and writes the magazine's "Letter From Washington" column. Lizza joined The New Yorker after working at The New Republic, where he was a political correspondent from 1998 to 2007, covering the White House and Presidential politics. He was formerly a correspondent for GQ and a contributing editor for New York. He has also written for the New York Times, Washington Monthly, and the Atlantic Monthly. Lizza graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.]

Copyright © 2012 Condé Nast Digital

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Copyright © 2012 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Splitting -Rails- Hairs

Full Disclosure: this blogger is going to a nearby boutique cinema (iPic Theaters at The Domain) tomorrow to see "Lincoln." Further Full Disclosure: this blogger attended only a single meeting of the Rock Island (IL) Civil War Round Table in 1966 and discovered that he didn't know squat about The War of the Rebellion/War Between the States. So, this blogger will see the film without a personal fount of knowledge: tabula rasa. The sole clinker about the film, thus far, is that the film script was inspired by the plagiarizer Doris Kearns Goodwin. If this is (fair & balanced) Teabagger conspiricist thinking, so be it.

[x New Yorker]
Lincoln Uncompromised
By Adam Gopnik

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at
(Click to embiggen)

Universal praise goes, rightly, to the Spielberg/Kushner/Day-Lewis “Lincoln”—though the exasperating American habit of praising the director as though he wrote the words, took the pictures, and applied the actors’ makeup and the spirit gum that holds on their (in this instance, sometimes very stagy-seeming) beards, persists. What directors do, as actual directors know, is to inspire the actors—often as much by silent trust as by specific instruction—and lead the team. All praise to the much-sainted Steven, then, but let us add a few words about, well, Lincoln’s words, so perfectly imagined and recast by Tony Kushner, and so perfectly inhabited by the great Daniel Day-Lewis, who in his last few roles has been acting on some other plane than any we have been familiar with before. (Though has anyone mentioned that his voice here—not high really, so much as a clear tenor and firm—as well as his gait, is uncannily like that of James Taylor?)

The best scene in the picture, from this doubtless prejudiced perch, is the one in which Lincoln explains why the anti-slavery amendment to the Constitution, in spite of apparently duplicating the Emancipation Proclamation, is essential. It’s a tortuously ornate courtroom argument, written fearlessly by Kushner in all its complexity, and delivered by Lewis at what in lesser hands might have been tedious length. The point is that, in Lincoln’s view, the Southern rebellion is not just wrong but manifestly illegal: the Rebels have no more actually seceded from the Union than a bank robber can declare his secession from the laws against bank robbery. Rob a bank and you’re still a crook, no matter what you may say about it; put a Confederate army in the field, and you’re still a citizen of the United States, just one who happens right now to be shooting at your fellow citizens and burning down their houses. This means, Lincoln argues, a little paradoxically, that the laws of the South as they existed in their pre-war state still apply and must be respected—since if one doesn’t respect them, or acts as though some fundamental breach or disjunction has actually occurred, then you undermine the whole premise of the absolute argument, which is not that secession is wrong and should be undone, but that secession has never actually taken place, because it cannot. Therefore, the amendment is absolutely necessary and supersedes the Proclamation—which has been justified as the militarily necessary seizure of contraband “property.” If Lincoln is right, then the slaves are still slaves despite the Proclamation, unless the amendment is passed.

It’s a tricky lawyers’ argument, and in a certain sense ignores the way winners make up the laws, as the winner makes up justice for the losers. It was, ahem, the theme of my 2009 book, Angels and Ages, begun in these pages as an essay about Lincoln’s language, that for Lincoln the law was the lingua franca, the heart and the spirit, of his life. He made that kind of close legal argument, ornamented by bald plain speech, the sound of liberal rhetoric. (Kushner and Spielberg, too bad, couldn’t slip in one of the best scenes from the negotiation with the Rebel commissioners, who play a big part in the film. One of the commissioners said, intending to underline the absurdity of Lincoln’s absolutist case, “You mean that we are rebels according to your view of the case and we are all guilty of treason and liable to be hanged!” Lincoln replied, simply and coolly and in a manner not even unfriendly: “Yes, that is so.”)

There is another side to the film that needs some airing, though. The movie is inspired by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s much and justly praised Team Of Rivals [2005]. But good books often cast strange shadows, and Goodwin’s account of Lincoln’s enormous instinctive shrewdness in managing his stroppy cabinet of prima donnas has been confused with the idea that Lincoln’s genius was for conciliation and compromise. This leads, in turn, to the notion that Lincoln was a kind of schmoozemeister, reaching out across the aisle, a sort of Tip O’Neill on the Atkins diet. It can’t be said too often, or too clearly, that the whole point of Lincoln is that he—and the Republican Party he then represented—marked the end of the policy of conciliation and compromise and cosseting that had been the general approach of Northern Presidents to the Southern slavery problem throughout the decades before. When the South seceded, Lincoln chose war—an all-out, brutal, bitter war of a kind that had never been fought until then. “Let the erring sisters go in peace!” the editor Horace Greeley recommended, and Lincoln said, “Lock the doors and make them stay.”

A rational case can be made that this was mistaken, or even immoral. A friend, himself no ally to racism, God knows, wrote after seeing “Lincoln” that the real question is “whether he would have embarked on the Civil War had he known that its toll would have been so unfathomably great.” And, the details of Fort Sumter aside, it was a war for the North to make. The South did not seek to conquer the North; it merely sought to withdraw. It was the North that acted like some deranged abusive husband: “You’ll never leave me, not alive!” How, my friend asked, could the slaughter that followed provide an object lesson in the glory of democracy? Many quavers and objections might be raised to the above: if any one side had been the provocateur, it was, after all, the South; more important, secession from the Union would have involved the unwilled secession from all hope of the black population of the South. Still, any honest account of Lincoln’s life and its meaning must turn honestly not around conciliation and its joys, but around confrontation and its horrors, even when the confrontation is necessary and the horrors can be seen as honors. Spielberg and Kushner attempt to raise the question of confrontation, in the visual language of the movies, simply by having Lincoln, unhistorically, actually tour the battlefield of Petersburg, with the dead bodies all still gory and in place.

And the right answer, the plausible answer, remains that of the Gettysburg Address: that what was at stake was not just Unionist self-aggrandizement but the idea of government by the people (the male ones, anyway), itself, and by act and implication, as the movie demonstrates, thereby the ultimate end of slavery. Slavery was always the question, and to insist that, had the South seceded in peace, its peculiar institution would have vanished on its own is to suppose an inevitability in history that history never provides. (I am always reminded, in this instance, of the final absurd title card in the Kubrick-Douglas “Spartacus,” which explains that though Spartacus’s rebellion failed, it pointed the way towards the eventual abolition of slavery—which indeed happened, about two thousand years later.)

In any case, the liberals in Europe did look at the American experience and say: that’s exactly what we want—the great John Stuart Mill first among them. Both the Reform Act, in Britain, and the rebirth of the French Republic in the 1870s, drew direct inspiration from the demonstration of the power of democracy in America to end slavery and keep itself intact. Mass death and mass dying seem no barrier to moral envy, as we might recall if we remember the Greatest Generation mania of the nineties. Wouldn’t Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” with its brutal images of mass slaughter on the Normandy beach, have told you that so much death and dying might not have been worth any prize, especially given that by that point Hitler was not about to cross the Atlantic? Instead, everyone looked at it and said, why can’t our generation be less prosperous and peaceful (and lecherous), and more like theirs, dying face down in the surf! They were heroes, it’s true—but we are right to recall that heroism has a real, not a rhetorical, cost. Lincoln was an uncompromising man who sponsored violence on a hitherto unimaginable scale; that he paid the highest price himself for the noble but hugely costly morality in which he believed is one of the things that makes his story still so fateful and, in its way, uncompromised. Ω

[In 1986, Adam Gopnik began his long professional association with The New Yorker with a piece that would show his future range, a consideration of connections among baseball, childhood, and Renaissance art. He has written for four editors at the magazine: William Shawn, Robert Gottlieb, Tina Brown, and David Remnick. Gopnik, born in Philadelphia, lived his early life in Montreal and received a BA from McGill University. Later, he studied at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts.  In 2011, Adam Gopnik was chosen as the noted speaker for the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Massey Lectures where he delivered five lectures across five Canadian cities that make up his book Winter: Five Windows on the Season (2011).]

Copyright © 2012 Condé Nast Digital

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Most Common Dumbo/Teabagger Given Name? Cliff !!!

The latest lamestream media frenzy — now that the election that was too close to call, has been called — is fixed on The Fiscal Cliff. Will the USA plunge to its doom? Stay tuned after these messages for denture adhesive and ED blue pills. Michael Lind cuts to the chase and says that the crisis is imaginary. What a poisonous combination: the supply-side tax-cut idiots and the national debt/deficit wackos singing their schadenfreude and other light classics. If this is (fair & balanced) mass dementia, so be it.

[x Salon]
The Fiscal Cliff Is A Lie
By Michael Lind

Tag Cloud of the following article

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The need for a “grand bargain” involving taxes and entitlements — in the next few years, if not immediately — has moved to the center of discussion in Washington. But it’s the wrong grand bargain — and a very bad deal for Middle America.

According to the conventional wisdom, any grand bargain should be modeled on plans like the Bowles-Simpson plan or the Rivlin-Domenici plan — financing lower tax rates on the rich by closing tax loopholes and cutting Social Security and Medicare. In the aftermath of an election in which the candidates of the rich were trounced at the polls, America’s plutocratic conservatives might be satisfied with merely maintaining existing low tax rates on the rich, while capping loopholes and cutting Social Security and Medicare.

This entire approach should be rejected. It is based on two fallacies — first, that the existing low (or lower) personal income tax rates on the rich promote growth, and second, that America can’t afford Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the decades to come. A number of “astroturf” propaganda groups in Washington and elsewhere will be paid tens of millions of dollars in the next few months by the conservative Republican billionaire Pete Peterson and his allies to repeat these fallacies and get Beltway pundits and journalists to parrot them. But endless repetition does not turn fallacies into facts.

America does need long-term reforms to its entitlement system and tax system — but they have nothing to do with the specious reforms peddled by Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, Alice Rivlin, Pete Peterson and allied CEOs. In addition to regulating excessive healthcare costs, the United States needs a middle-class welfare state that is bigger, not smaller. It’s the restricted, elitist private welfare state that needs to be cut, not the universal public social insurance system.

Let’s start with the spending side. As the two charts below demonstrate, the U.S. is unique among advanced industrial countries in relying heavily on private social expenditures rather than public programs to provide economic security to its citizens:

(Click to embiggen)

Retirement security provides an example of the mix of public and private benefits in America’s welfare state. As Steven Hill points out, in most similar countries the equivalent of Social Security replaces much more of pre-retirement income than America’s Social Security program does. In the U.S., however, tax-favored private benefits — employer pensions, 401Ks and IRAs — are supposed to make up for stingy Social Security benefits, which today average a mere $1,200 a month. If the deficit hawks get their way, then even this pittance will be cut.

The problem is that America’s tax-favored private retirement benefit system is grossly inferior to Social Security. Everybody gets Social Security, but only a minority of Americans have employer pensions or 401K accounts. The costs of pensions have burdened many companies, while two stock market crashes in less than a decade proved how unreliable 401Ks and similar tax-favored private savings and investment accounts can be.

Even worse, unscrupulous money managers capture many of the returns from private investments for themselves via deceptive fees. With a growing population of elderly Americans afflicted by Alzheimer’s, the fine-print artists peddling deceptive retirement products will have a field day.

Any rational person, with no personal pecuniary interest involved, would conclude that we should expand the stable, efficient, low-overhead public part of America’s retirement security system — Social Security — while cutting back the failed, inefficient and unreliable parts — tax-favored employer pensions and individual retirement savings accounts like 401Ks. Instead, we are barraged with propaganda demanding that we cut Social Security, the successful public program, and expand the private savings alternatives like 401Ks and IRAs that have failed so miserably.

Why? The answer is that Wall Street wants to charge fees on as much of our retirement money as it can get its tentacles on. The well-funded campaign to partly privatize Social Security under George W. Bush failed. But the same forces want to achieve the same result indirectly, by getting Obama and enough conservative Democrats in Congress, along with the GOP, to cut Social Security. Their manifest objective is to compel Americans to try to make up the losses in public benefits by gambling more with their savings in mutual funds, from which hefty profits will be skimmed by overpaid money managers.

Medicare and Medicaid are different from Social Security, because they involve the very structure of the U.S. medical-industrial complex. But the basic policy choice is similar. Is the goal of reform to enrich fee-skimming middlemen belonging to the 1 percent by forcing Americans to channel their healthcare spending, like their retirement savings, through private corporations? Or is the goal to provide universal health security along with universal retirement security by the simplest and most efficient means?

Achieving the latter goal requires somewhat bigger government — but only on paper. Today the actual scale of government is disguised, because politicians and policymakers fail to describe tax-favored private health insurance and private retirement saving accounts as “government” or “entitlements.” In public discourse we need to expand the definition of “entitlements” to include the tax-favored private savings and health insurance that chiefly benefit the few, not just the public spending programs that benefit the many.

If our objective is what is good for most Americans, rather than what enriches parasitic middlemen, then we should reduce inefficient and inequitable tax-favored private spending on retirement and health benefits and use the savings to increase more direct, fair and efficient public spending, including an expansion of Social Security. The alternative of cutting public benefits while favoring private benefits through the tax code means bigger, guaranteed windfall fees for America’s bloated financial industry — forever. Ω

[Michael Lind is Policy Director of the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program and — most recently — the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012). Lind holds a B.A. from the University of Texas-Austin, an M.A. from Yale University, and a J.D. from University of Texas-Austin.]

Copyright &3169; 2012 Salon Media Group

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Getting To The Bottom Of A Colloquy Of Stupidity

Today, Tom Tomorrow's pair of typical Dumbos/Teabaggers return for some post-election analysis. It is the truth of modern political anatomy that all Dumbos'/Teabaggers' brains have shifted downward until the brain is connected to the external opening of the rectum. No wonder the typical Dumbo/Teabagger verbiage is akin to male bovine excrement. If this is (fair & balanced) colorectal neuroscience, so be it.

[x This Modern World]
Election Aftermath
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

(Click to embiggen — H/T to Daily Kos — or use the zoom feature of your browser) Ω

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow". His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly.

Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002.

When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political weblog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001.]

Copyright © 2012 Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

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