Category Archives: Election 2012

Soul Searching with Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt and David Plouffe visited the University of Delaware tonight as part of UD’s National Agenda Speaker Series. Steve Schmidt is one of my favorite Republicans and I’ll tell you why: Based off what he said tonight, he could have been the author of a post I wrote after the election calling for the Republican party to step up.

I’m not just saying that to flatter myself. I may no longer be a Republican, but I grew up as one and I still have a lot of friends and family who are red as blood. Moreover, as an American, I take it as a manner of national honor that we should have a political discourse that is fitting for our great country – and sadly that’s been missing from the GOP over the last few years.

There are good signs, though, that the GOP is waking up. While there is still some convincing to do, I think there are at least signs showing that this long winter of unwillingness to work together could be about to break. I have to give Michael Steele a lot of credit for being a class act over on MSNBC the other day as well as he talked about the need for a broadening of the Republican party, the GOP needs to “get outside of its comfort zone.”

I’m glad to hear a Republican finally say what so many of us have been thinking for the last four years: Republican leaders need to stand up to the Rush Limbaughs of the world and take their party back from people who may have some influence with the far right, but will never appeal to the rest of us. This “conservative entertainment complex”, as Schmidt terms it, is one of the greatest obstacles to our country moving forward – and by forward I don’t just mean that in the sense that we should advance Obama’s policies over the next four years and keep supporting Democrats, but in a much more general sense that we should move forward by relearning the art of compromise, remembering that we are “more than a collection of red states and blue states” but instead the United States. We should be able to agree on some things, like helping veterans as they return to civilian life or extending tax cuts for people who make less than $250k/year.

I noticed tonight, here in little blue wonder Delaware, that the biggest applause lines were all Steve Schmidt’s and almost all for bipartisan sentiments. There was applause for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest, sure, but not as much applause as there was when Schmidt calle for civility, for a new Republican party to retool and “soul search” (as I think was the most overused phrase of the night).

A Republican in Delaware got by far the most applause tonight in a room full of people that helped reelect Barack Obama and couldn’t be prouder of their own Vice-President.

The Republican party just suffered a huge loss, but every loss is an opportunity to retool and to bounce back.

If you can get applause in Delaware, surely you can win an election.

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Filed under Election 2012, Post-politics, US Politics

Why election day shouldn’t be a federal holiday

On a recent episode of the War Room, Jennifer Granholm suggested that we make election day a federal holiday to help make it easier for people to vote.

Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

Today being a federal holiday reminded me of it, and reminded me why it shouldn’t be a federal holiday.

Who gets federal holidays off? Government workers, office workers, some businesses. For the most part people who are in pretty comfortable positions in life. What about minimum wage earners? What about the guy stocking shelves at Wal-Mart? What about the barista at your local Starbucks? Retailers, service industry workers who generally make the least money in our economy don’t have federal holidays off and these are exactly the people who have the hardest time getting out to vote.

For this segment of the American population most likely to have a hard time voting, the most likely to be on the receiving end of harsh voter ID laws, the most likely to depend on cumbersome public transportation, a federal holiday would accomplish exactly nothing.

Instead, let’s set limits for the number of voters who can be registered to single voting location so that we don’t have massive lines like what we saw this year. Increase early voting, make mail-in ballots more accessible, increase hours.

Democracy is not a spectator sport, but we shouldn’t make it into an extreme sport, either.

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White People Mourning Romney

My boyfriend just shared this with me.

Amazing.

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Time for the Republican party to step up

I’ve had this conversation twice today, once with a fellow liberal and the other time with a fierce independent and we all three agree:

The Republican party needs to step up over the next four years if it wants to play a serious role in this country’s politics.

Four years ago, in the wake of the Bush presidency and after the failure of the McCain – Palin ticket, the party was hijacked by the Rush Limbaughs of the world and dragged impossibly far to the right.

The GOP’s position on things like abortion and immigration were revised so that what once had been moderate positions within the party were now considered outside the party.

With no apparent heir to Bush or McCain, the Republicans have given into the extreme wing of their party for fear of getting unseated by Tea Party candidates the way Christine O’Donnell destroyed Mike Castle’s chances at the US Senate here in Delaware or Lisa Murkowski had to run as a write-in candidate after getting defeated in the primaries by Joe Miller.

We saw this again last night: When you go too far to the edges, you may still win your party, but you’re not going to win the general vote. Dick Lugar would have won easily last night, but his unseating by Richard Murdoch winded up giving Republicans a pick-up in the Senate.

There is an alternative, though, to this crazy, fanatical version of the Republican party as it exists right now under Donald Trump.

I have two examples of what I consider good leadership for the GOP to consider.

Firstly, Chris Christie. While everyone is obsessing over his ability to work with Obama following Hurricane Sandy, I think this a no-nonsense man who could teach some of the clowns in his party a thing or two.

Secondly, Rick Snyder. Michigan’s nerd. Although I haven’t always been the friendliest to our governor on this blog and I definitely disagree with some of his policies (EFM, anyone?), I think that Snyder is a smart man, a good leader, and he knows how to stay above the level of petty politics that has kept this country in a stalemate for the last couple years.

Today, Snyder reiterated his desire to stay away from “divisive issues” like right-to-work laws that House Republicans want to bring forward.

Earlier this year, Snyder said that he would not sign a bill passed by Michigan Republicans requiring voters to bring photo ID to the polls, correctly citing the confusion that it would introduce right before an election.

While other politicians are out pursuing blatantly partisan agendas, Snyder is doing a pretty commendable job working in a bi-partisan (maybe even non-partisan) manner.

To the rest of the GOP, you have two options. You can stay on course. You can keep racing to the right and trying to win elections by voter suppression. You will definitely still win some contests. You’ll probably hold the US House for a while, too. But you will continue losing races you should win when you pick candidates like Joe Miller, Sharon Angle, Todd Aiken, Richard Murdoch, or Christine O’Donnell.

Or you could step up and show that you have a role to play in our politics that isn’t purely contrarian. You could show us that you want to be answerable to the American people rather than the most extreme elements within your party.

Mitt Romney failed, in part, because the GOP is dominated by voices demanding a “severely conservative” candidate. But the United States is not the GOP.

Maybe it’s time to retool.

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Filed under Election 2012, Post-politics, US Politics

What gives, Rick Scott?

What gives, Rick Scott? Why are you afraid to let the people vote?

The Rachel Maddow Show is doing a great job covering the situation in Florida which is turning into a nightmare.

Check out these photos – lines here, lines there, lines everywhere.

Head on over the Maddow page on NBCnews.com for more coverage. People waited in line for one, two, four, eight hours – according to TRMS some people stayed there past midnight waiting to cast their ballots.

Rick Scott isn’t embarrassed, I’m sure, as long as Romney carries the state. We’ve already seen one Pennsylvania politician say as much about their own voter ID law, promising that Romney would carry the state thanks to their confusing, though now rejected, voter ID law.

We know what the goal is: Republicans have a weak candidate this year and are trying to rely on various tactics to keep people from voting, whether that’s mandating a government ID or cutting early voting. Of course there is nothing wrong with expecting a photo ID for people to vote; Republicans have been making this argument and you know what? It makes for a great sound bite. “You need ID to buy alcohol, you need ID to vote.”

The partisan games going on in big-time states that are going to matter tomorrow is stomach-churning, from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Florida.

Moments like these turn voters into heroes. Moments like these remind us all why voting is so important, no matter where you live, no matter your issues or your candidate we need you to participate in this great democracy of ours.

To all these folks in Florida and Ohio and across the country waiting in lines for hours, missing work or meetings, waiting for hours at a time, waiting until 1 am – you are my heroes. You are showing us that democracy is not a spectator sport, so don’t get comfortable, America. People are trying to make it harder for you to vote because they know that your vote matters.

Vote.

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A little perspective

It’s good to remember your place in the world. Injustice anywhere is inextricably linked to injustice at home, it is a threat to justice everywhere.

I feel privileged to fight against injustice with a relative amount of security in the United States. Cases of violence against gay men and lesbians occur – and occur with all too great a frequency – but there is little organized threat against us in most corners of the United States.

Not so in many other corners of the world. And hell, it’s not even “corners” of the world, but great swathes.

Just one news story. One out of so many others. The people of Lebanon, the people of Iraq, the people of Uganda, the people of X country, Y country, Z country.

We need more leaders like Hillary Clinton. A major reason why I am supporting Barack Obama’s re-election is because of the courage his administration has in spotlighting the need for equality. Mitt Romney’s promise if he gets elected to office? He won’t deport us or criminalize homosexuality.

If this becomes the U.S. policy – quiet tolerance at best – what does that mean for the rest of the world? Would Romney’s Secretary of State deliver speeches to the UN about the need for leaders to be out front, leading their respective countries on the question of LGBT rights? What would Romney’s election mean not only for us as the LGBT community in the United States but for our fellow LGBT siblings across the globe? Our progress is linked. We don’t make advances in isolation of one another and Romney’s election would be an inevitable setback for all of us.

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Filed under Election 2012, Injustice anywhere