Condi Conservatism

From “Party of Strivers,” David Brooks, NYT:

“I see what the G.O.P. is offering the engineering major from Purdue or the business major from Arizona State.  The party is offering skilled people the freedom to run their race.  I don’t see what the party is offering the waitress with two kids, or the warehouse worker whose wages have stagnated for a decade, or the factory worker whose skills are now obsolete.

“The fact is our destinies are shaped by social forces much more than the current G.O.P. is willing to admit.  The skills that enable people to flourish are not innate but constructed by circumstances.

Government does not always undermine initiative.  Some government programs, like the G.I. Bill, inflame ambition.  Others depress it.  What matters is not whether a program is public or private but its effect on character.  Todays Republicans, who see every government program as a step on the road to serfdom, are often blind to that.  They celebrate the race to success but don’t know how to give everyone access to that race.

The wisest speech departed from the prevailing story line.  It was delivered by Condoleezza Rice.  It echoed an older, less libertarian conservatism, which harkens back to Washington, Tocqueville and Lincoln.  The powerful words in her speech were not ‘I’ and ‘me’ — the heroic individual.  They were ‘we’ and ‘us’ — citizens who emerge out of and exist as participants in a great national project.

“Rice celebrated material striving but also larger national goals — the long national struggle to extend benefits and mobilize all human potential.  She subtly emphasized how our individual destinies are dependent upon the social fabric and upon public institutions like schools, just laws and our mission in the world.  She put less emphasis on commerce and more on citizenship.

The Most Upsetting Poll of All

A Suffolk University/USA Today poll* shows that the 90 million eligible voters who aren’t likely to vote favor President Obama by two to one.  Those who are unregistered and unlikely support Obama over Mitt by 43 to 14%.  Those who are registered and unlikely support him over Mitt by 43% to 20%.  These people would guarantee the President not just a win, but a landslide.

Exactly what are you people doing on November 6?  The World Series will be over (congratulations to the New York Yankees), it’s too late to Trick or Treat and too early to cook your Thanksgiving turkey.

One and a half million of your fellow citizens will be on active military duty that day, and another million and a half will be in the reserves, all willing to give their lives to protect your ass, including your right to vote.  But you can’t be bothered to drag that sorry ass to your local polling place.

You are ninety million poor excuses for Americans.

* Cited by “Dark Road to the White House,” Charles M. Blow, NYT:

A Sikh, An American

From “A Sikh Temple’s Century,” Bhira Backhaus, NYT:

“The Stockton Gurdwara in California — the first Sikh temple in the United States — is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.  Immigrants from Punjab, India, purchased the lot on Grant Street in early 1912.

“Once in a while, I bring out a black and white photograph of the gurdwara taken a few decades later.  The members of the early families fan out on the steps leading up to its main entrance.  I scan the faces, picking out my mother, my sister, brothers, cousins, aunts and finally, myself.

“On Saturday nights, when my white girlfriends were off to the movies on dates, I drove my mother to the nearby gurdwara for quiet evening services.  I would roll my eyes as I changed out of my jeans into a salwar kameez outfit that I prayed no one but my Indian friends would witness me wearing.  But I can recall very clearly the comfort of having my mother sitting beside me during the service, her bowed head draped in a white veil, the feeling of peace that washed over me when the hymns and chanting began.

“Eventually I left, in pursuit of an education….  And I married outside the Sikh community, causing a painful breach with my parents that had just begun to heal when they passed away.  But when they reached out to me at last, I understood that I still belonged to the community, always had.

“The Sikh communities in California have flourished over the years.  When I visit home now I am impressed by how comfortable the new generation seems in this country, whether they are developing advanced medical therapies for patients or dancing late into the night to bhangra beats.  They have chosen to preserve their heritage while moving forward in the world.

“But people still sometimes ask me, why can’t they assimilate more?  Dress like us.  Talk like us.  Perhaps, some seen to believe, that would prevent the sort of tragedy that happened in Wisconsin.  I never have an easy answer.  But I do know this:  to wipe away what has come before, who we have been over the centuries, also means to forget who our own mothers and fathers were.  It means that how they conducted their lives — the families they raised, the homes they built — didn’t matter. It denies us that basic human impulse, to remember their stories, the unique timbre of their voices.  It would be as if they had never existed at all.”

Cantor Coddles Crazies

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) desperately wants John Boehner’s job as Speaker of the House.  He is pure ambition, with no concern for truth, fairness, or decency.  To further his ambition, he’s all too happy to coddle the many crazy members of his caucus, like Michele Bachmann.

Boehner criticized Bachmann’s absurd accusations that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin is secretly working for the Muslim Brotherhood, calling those accusations “pretty dangerous” and saying that Abedin “has a sterling character.”

But Cantor?  Asked by Charlie Rose what he thought about the Bachmann/Abedin shamefulness, Cantor took the coward’s way out, choosing popularity over patriotism, saying, “I think that her concern was about the security of the country.”

Cantor is unfit ever to be Speaker of the House, he shouldn’t be Majority Leader, and he shouldn’t even be a congressman.



Imagine you’re shopping at the grocery store.  You’re almost eight months along in your pregnancy with your third child.  Suddenly you’re arrested by the local government and, after being imprisoned for four days, taken to a hospital where you’re given a shot to cause an abortion.  You go into labor and hope the baby will somehow be born alive.  But hours later you deliver a dead baby, whose body is all black and blue.

This happened to Pan Chunyan in the province of Fujian, China, last April.*

Despite having to listen to Mittens singing “America the Beautiful” and lying about the President, we don’t have it so bad.

Actually, we have it better than any other people in the history of the world.  And we will even if Mittens wins.


* “Pressure Grows in China to End One-Child Law,” Edward Wong, NYT

Bachmann’s Opponent Talks Camels

Michele Bachmann’s bizarre claims that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s top aide, is an agent for the Muslim Brotherhood are hurting her in her home district.

Jim Graves, who is running against Bachmann for Congress, said that even Republicans in the district are turning against her:  “A lot of Republicans say, ‘This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.  We just can’t afford to have this uncertainty and fear mongering and McCarthyism.'”

Uh-oh, he’s talking about camels?  I’m sure Bachmann will take that as a sign that he must be working for the Muslim Brotherhood too.


Huma Abedin-like Scandal in Tennessee

It’s not just Huma Abedin coming under attack by the batshit wing of the GOP.

In Tennessee, Republican Governor Bill Haslam is under siege by the crazies in his party for appointing Samar Ali to be international director of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

Ali, who grew up in Tennessee as the daughter of two Arab Muslim doctors, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (where she was president of the student body)  and Vanderbilt Law, worked in private law practice, and was a White House Fellow.

No one is questioning her qualifications for the job, they are questioning her loyalty to the United States!

This garbage is coming from the same source as the Huma Abedin attacks — ultra-right fringe character Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy.

How Low Can They Go?

Mitt surrogate and former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu said today, “I wish the president would learn how to be an American.”

I wish John Sununu would learn how to be a decent human being.

As they keep sinking to new lows, folks like Rush “Obama hates this country” Limbaugh and Sununu are going to find themselves in China.