Tag Archives: Tea Party

Missouri’s Senate Race

ALLISON REILLY: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was found last week to have not paid nearly $287,000 in back taxes on the usage of a private plane. Either way it’s sliced, the 2012 election doesn’t look good for…

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Jon Stewart and His Critics

JEFF MORROW: The vision of “reasonableness” I saw at the Rally to Restore Sanity wasn’t about chastising liberals and conservatives, or freeing ourselves of ideology. It was about ignoring the conflict-driven sideshows that thwart useful discourse, and it was about regaining perspective. The need to fit it into a left/right box shows how ingrained these habits are. Continue reading

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Election 2010: Personal Reflections

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: It’s a difficult time to be a Liberal of any kind in America right now. Most of us are in a very pensive mood, if not suicidal. There is a lot of sober reflection, and anger; a lot of heartbreak.

AKIE BERMISS: This past Wednesday morning reminded me oh-so-many things I thought I’d forgotten. I remember now the clear sense of sadness, impotence, and rage I felt when George W. Bush was elected in 2000 (I was just half a year shy of being eligible to vote). I remember the potent sense of unfairness I felt at Bush’s reelection in 2004. I remember the strange feeling of ennui that I had when, in 4th grade, we were forced to listen to Bill Clinton’s first inaugural address in class (I’d been a Perot defender at the time). All these mixed sorts of feelings of devastation. The sensation of having lost. But never before have I felt the urgency to go immediately back into the fray. Continue reading

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Stewart/Colbert Rally

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: In August, we had Glenn Beck’s “civil rights” rally on the Washington Mall, a serious event that nevertheless read as a satire of itself. In October, we’ll have Jon Stewart’s and Steven Colbert’s dueling rallies, satirical events that could, in fact, turn out to be quite serious. Stewart and Colbert are claiming to be having opposing rallies – Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity versus Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive – the two are pretty obviously aimed at the same goal: to expose the overblown nonsense coming out of the Tea Party and similar groups for, well, overblown nonsense.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I was running on the treadmill at the gym while watching the Daily Show last week when the announcement was made for the “Rally to Restore Sanity” in DC on October 30th. I actually did a victory lap right then and there, except in one place and going straight.
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Psychological Source of 2010 GOP Support

ALLISON REILLY: A Gallup poll from Sept. 3rd said that 38 percent of Americans would vote for a Republican who has not served in Congress over a Republican or Democrat who has. Along party lines, 63 percent of Republicans would vote for a candidate with no congressional experience, while 59 percent of Democrats would vote for a candidate who does has previously represented in Congress. I think that this phenomenon results from anti-establishment and anti-status quo sentiment from the right.

AKIE BERMISS: From the very same poll I draw a somewhat more dire opinion of the direction of American politics. Not only is the impetus one of change, it is one of somewhat radical change. And that change is not meant to be progressive — rather, it is deliberately meant to be REgressive. Yes, in every era there will be people who want things to go back to the simpler ways they were a couple of decades ago (whatever that may mean to that particular group in that particular time), but this recent ground-swell of anti-establishment movements is somehow different than what we’ve seen in the past. There is something more desperate in its call to arms. The people it has brought to the fore are not firebrands or revolutionaries or malcontents. There are a parade of wide-eyed patsies — few of whom have any business in 21st century American politics.

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Glenn Beck’s Rally

AKIE BERMISS: I scoff at nearly everything Glenn Beck does. I don’t like the man, the personality, or the message. I basically detest all that is Glenn Beck. I do think while, yes, being what most Americans would call a liberal. I believe that Beck’s overt message of Christianity and belief in God being requisite to being a true American is a perversion of both Christianity AND America. He is a fool’s fool. And that’s why, while I scoff at him, I worry about the undue influence he has. His ability to motivated hundreds of thousands of people to come out to Washington DC on the strength of HIS being there? That is my greatest worry. And perhaps our greatest failure as Americans.

ALLISON REILLY: Forty years after Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, we continue to quote and to teach his message in schools, in academic papers and in politics. Forty years from the Restoring Honor Rally, we still won’t know how many people attended, what Alveda King said or what Albert Pujols was doing there in the first place. Continue reading

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Immigration: Missed Democratic Opportunity?

JESSICA BADER: I agree that the Democratic Party should be embracing immigration reform, and to a large extent it is. President Obama supports comprehensive immigration reform, as do the party’s Congressional leaders and many of the rank-and-file members. It’s also a top priority of the liberal base. The problem is what the problem so often is – Democrats can’t present a unified message on a key issue because some of their most conservative members won’t go along with it.

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: It is past time the Democratic Party embraced immigration reform, not only because U.S. immigration laws badly need fixing, but also because doing so will drive a wedge into the Republican Party while simultaneously picking up lost Latino, Catholic, and – yes – even evangelical votes. Continue reading

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Primary Night: Reactions from MO, MI

ALLISON REILLY: No surprises in Missouri. Proposition C passed easily with 72 percent of the vote. I’m sad that Missouri has spoken out against the president’s health care bill, as Prop C was the first state statute put to a vote of the people, but the result was expected. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Congressman Roy Blunt will face off in the general election in November for outgoing Senator Kit bond’s seat. So Joe the Plumber’s endorsement for current State Senator Chuck Purgason didn’t help much. The Tea Party movement wasn’t Blunt’s biggest fan this time around, so it remains to be seen if they’ll warm up to Blunt come November.

DANI ALEXIS RYSKAMP: Michigan’s gubernatorial primary was wide open on both sides this year, thanks to term limits ending Governor Jennifer Granholm’s tenure. We Michiganders had our pick of five Republicans this year and two Democrats. Since Lieutenant Governor John Cherry dropped out of the race in January, we also had the first primary since 1982 in which a governor or lieutenant governor did not appear on the ticket. Continue reading

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Reflections on Shirley Sherrod

AKIE BERMISS: Let us take a minute and think about the amount of time that has elapsed since the first Shirley Sherrod video broke. Just about week ago the media/blogosphere was all a twitter over a video of the Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture[ speaking at an NAACP function and APPARENTLY confessing to having committed reverse racism. Just a week ago, but of course it seems like ages ago. What are we talking about today? Probably the final death throws of the not-so-important Wikileaks/Afghanistan story, right? I mean, before the Sherrod story broke, all the talk was about Charlie Rangel and the ethics committee. Before THAT scandal we were talking about how watered-down but symbolically-good the financial reform was going to be. We live in the age of the instant story, the instant story. The 24-hour news cycle and all the spin that is fit to print. Trouble is all this new coverage hasn’t led to MORE coverage or MORE news — its led to more coverage of less topics. Its almost fetishistic myopia.

JESSICA BADER: Of everyone even peripherally involved in the Shirley Sherrod saga, only three people – Sherrod herself and the white couple whose farm she helped save all those years ago – came out of it not looking bad in some way. In a slightly gentler universe, the story Sherrod had told at that NAACP function would be the inspiration for a saccharine Lifetime movie chock-full of important lessons. In the universe as it is, things took a far more depressing turn.
And so for a few days last week, Sherrod, the NAACP, Obama, and “reverse-racism” were the story burning on all cylinders. Continue reading

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Political Protests

AKIE BERMISS: I understand the idea behind protests. For the human psyche, there is something oh-so-alluring about standing up for what you believe in. Yes, something romantic about gathering with like-minded people in an act of conspicuous solidarity. Its really no surprise that protests are as popular as they are. A protest has everything a parade has (good weather, tons of people, signs and placards, music and shouting) but adds in a little good-natured self-righteousness. You can’t miss! Everybody (who agrees with you) wins.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Akie talks about the heyday of protesting. Maybe we can point to the Nixon Administration’s tactic, talked about at length on the brilliant Nixonland by Rick Pearlstein, of infiltrating anti-war rallies with violent actors to discredit the entire movement. But I am hard-pressed to think of the last protest that worked.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I’m feeling a little weird writing about the lost art of political protesting here, because I realize I’m being nostalgic over something I never fully experienced in its true form. Kind of like when I watch VH1’s I Love the 80’s and chuckle ruefully about TV shows that reached a height of popularity in 1982, when I was 1. Continue reading

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