Saturday, November 09, 2013

Quote of the Day: Bill Maher to Christians Who Have Traded Christ’s Message for "F*ck Off and Die"

Echoing a theme addressed in an earlier post, Bill Maher summed up the situation of "godly Christians" motivated by greed, hate and bigotry well when he asked when Christians in this country had swapped Christ’s message of love and tolerance for a philosophy of “F*ck off and die” toward people who aren’t like them.  Yes, the remark is blunt and even a bit crude, but it is 100% accurate.   Few people demonstrate more hypocrisy in America than the conservative Christian crowd other than members of the Republican Party who happily prostitute themselves to these people.  The Raw Story looks at Maher's to the point and honest assessment of just how horrible far right Christians have become.  Here are excerpts:

Friday night on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher asked when Christians in this country swapped Christ’s message of love and tolerance for a philosophy of “F*ck off and die” toward people who aren’t like them.

Showing an image of Congressional Republicans captioned “Cheap of faith,” Maher said, “New rule: It’s okay if you don’t want to feed the hungry or heal the sick or house the homeless. Just don’t say you’re doing it for their own good.”

“Don’t say you’d like to help but your hands are tied,” he continued, “because if you did, it would cause a culture of dependency or go against the Bible or — worst of all — rob them of their freedom to be sick and hungry.”

“Just admit you’re selfish,” he urged conservatives. “And based upon how little your beliefs mirror the actual teachings of Jesus, you might as well claim to worship Despicable Me.”

Maher cited reports over the last few weeks of people stiffing their servers in restaurants in the name of Jesus. One waitress at an Applebee’s got a note saying, “I give 10 percent to God” and therefore don’t have to tip. In another instance in Kansas, a table refused to tip their young waiter because of his “homosexual lifestyle,” which they said is “an affront to God.” They did admit in their note that the service was excellent, though.

Republicans in Congress and other nominal Christians in this country, he said, believe in charity, sure, “just not for people who need it.” Those Christians, he said, mostly seem to be Christians so they can tell other people who they don’t like to “f*ck off and die.”

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Dedicated to Douglas

Hawaii House Passes Gay Marriage Bill

Soon there may be 16 states plus the District of Columbia that afford gays full marriage equality rights as the Hawaii House of Representatives votes for gay marriage by a margin of 30 to 19.  Governor Neil Abercrombie has praised the House action.  He has previously promised to sign gay marriage legislation.  It is noteworthy that in opposing the measure, the Christofascists and minions of the Mormon Church trotted out the same old tired lies proving yet again that no one lies more than the self-anointed godly folk.  It's also ironic that the opponents of equality whined that the matter should be put to a popular vote.  Personally, I look forward to the day when far right Christians are an increasingly small minority of the larger population and then we'll see how anxious they are to have their own rights put to a popular vote. Here are highlights from Hawaii News Now:

The Hawaii House of Representatives passed a third reading of an amended version of SB 1, the "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013" late Friday night.  After hours of procedural delays, which involved motion after motion introduced by Representatives who have stood in opposition to same-sex marriage -- the House finally voted on the bill, passing it 30 - 19 with two legislators excused. 

Advocates of the bill, who flooded the mauka side of the Capitol Rotunda, erupted in cheers and tears of joy as they reached for each other hugging and kissing their fellow same-sex marriage supporters. Across the way on the makai side, opponents fell quiet after hours of chanting "Let the people vote!" -- many held hands and bowed their heads in prayer.

In a statement released by the Governor's office immediately following the bill, Governor Neil Abercrombie -- who called the Special Session -- said the following:
"I commend the House of Representatives for taking this historic vote to move justice and equality forward. 
"After more than 50 hours of public testimony from thousands of testifiers on both sides of the issue, evaluating dozens of amendments, and deliberating procedures through hours of floor debates, the House passed this significant bill, which directly creates a balance between marriage equity for same-sex couples and protects our First Amendment freedoms for religious organizations. 
"I applaud Speaker Souki, Judiciary Chair Rhoads, Finance Chair Luke, Majority Leader Saiki and the rest of the leadership team for their patience, fairness and hard work in shepherding this bill through the House. 
"I am confident that the Senate will address the bill in the same spirit. I look forward to a successful conclusion to this major step in affirming everyone's civil rights."

SB 1, House Draft 1 expands the bills original religious exemptions to protect clergy from refusing to perform wedding ceremonies and religious institutions from being compelled to allow wedding celebrations or provide wedding goods or services to a same-sex couple. 

SB 1, HD 1 now crosses over to the Senate, where officials confirm it will be taken up Tuesday, November 12 (following the Veterans Day holiday) at 10 a.m. 

If SB 1, HD 1 passes in the Senate, it will go into effect December 2, 2013.
Meanwhile, Virginia remains a theocratic backwater thanks to the past actions of individuals like Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain.  Thankfully, I suspect history will not view them kindly.

History Suggests Mark Herring May Prevail in Recount

With stories of missing votes in the Virginia Attorney General race such as the one in the Roanoke Times, Virginia sounds like some third world country.  The result is that it will probably be sometime in December before a confirmed winner is announced in the race.  Obviously, I am hoping that Mark Herring makes up the current deficit once provisional ballots and newly found ballots are fully counted.  As a piece in the Washington Post notes, history suggests that there is reason to hope that Mark Obenshain - a creepy Ken Cuccinelli clone - will go down to defeat in the end.  Here are highlights:

The Virginia attorney general’s race appears headed for a recount, with the latest results showing Republican Mark Obenshain leading Democrat Mark Herring by fewer than 800 votes out of about 2.2 million cast.

And according to a study by the group FairVote, Herring is currently well within the margin under which the race could flip in his favor.

The study shows the average statewide recount between 2000 and 2012 shifted the vote total by about 0.03 percent, with the largest shift being 0.11 percent.  According to the latest numbers, Obenshain’s lead over Herring is just more than 0.03 percent.

Now, it should be noted that the vote count will continue to shift as provisional and other ballots continue to be counted. But at this point, it seems a recount could indeed flip the contest to Herring . . . . .

Here are more details from the Roanoke Times piece cited above:
Fairfax County election officials focused on a faulty voting machine as the cause for an unusually low number of absentee ballots recorded in one of the county's voting districts.

The Fairfax County Electoral Board said it would meet Saturday to hear the results of an investigation into the apparent voting discrepancy and release the results of a canvass on Sunday.

Statewide, Republican state Sen. Mark D. Obenshain of Harrisonburg has a 1,272-vote lead over state Sen. Mark R. Herring, a Loudoun Democrat. But Herring won Fairfax County by a wide margin in Tuesday's election, 60 percent to 38 percent, and up to 2,000 votes could be up for grabs in the canvass.

Some 3,158 provisional ballots also remain to be certified statewide. Those ballots typically involve a voter who lacked an ID or voted in the wrong precinct. Local registrars have until Tuesday to certify those ballots, and the state has until Nov. 25. Either way the votes fall, each candidate is expected to seek a recount.

The combination of the unaccounted Fairfax County absentee ballots and the provisional ballots make it increasingly likely the successor to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli won't be known until the state certifies the vote later this month.

The GOP's Problem With Unmarried Women

Given the GOP's war on women in general, it is little surprise that Ken Cuccinelli lost the women vote by at least 9 points.  The big surprise was, however, that he lost the vote of unmarried women by 42 points.  Yes, 42 points.  This loss makes Mitt Romney's deficit with these women voters look good in comparison.  Apparently, Cuccinelli's obsession with regulating women's private parts - when he wasn't obsessing about gay sex - came back to bite him in the ass big time.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the GOP's growing problem with unmarried woman voters.  Here are excerpts:

The real problem for Republicans going forward is not women broadly but single women in particular. Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe spent most of his campaign time — and money — casting Ken Cuccinelli as a zealot on social issues like abortion and contraception in the just-concluded Virginia race.

[A]ccording to exit polls, Cuccinelli only lost female voters by nine points — identical to the losing margin for Mitt Romney among women in Virginia in the 2012 presidential election. (Romney lost women nationally by 11 points to President Obama in 2012.)

Where Cuccinelli did get swamped, however, was among non-married women where he lost by a massive 42-point(!) margin, according to preliminary exit polling. While Romney didn’t fare that poorly in 2012, his 29-point loss among non-married women in Virginia was more than double his losing margin among women more broadly in the Commonwealth.

Here’s the two-pronged problem for Republicans: 1) They aren’t winning married women by nearly enough to make up for their huge deficits among unmarried women and 2) There aren’t that many more married women than single women in the electorate to make up the margins.

(Worth noting: The married/unmarried divide isn’t just among women.  Cuccinelli won married men by six points but lost single men by 25.)

But, it’s clear from the Virginia data — as well as the 2012 presidential results — that Republicans must find a way to lose single women by a far less wide margin if they want to close a gender gap that it making it increasingly difficult for them to be a majority party nationally in presidential elections.
More reseach will need to be done, but perhaps the unmarried men and women are younger and, therefore, less accepting of Cuccinelli's - and the GOP's - religious extremism and regressive approach to social issues. 

The Obamacare Scandal the Most of the Media Is Ignoring

Joel Osteen has the largest church in America. He also declined to speak about the coverage gap.
I make no secret about the fact that I hold most far right Christians - the Christofascists, if you will - and the Tea Party Neanderthals in little more than open contempt.  To me, most of these "godly folk" are falsely pious, self-righteous bigots and they make the biblical Pharisees look like very upstanding individuals.  One thing that underscores this rank hypocrisy is the GOP base opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act which they derisively call Obamacare.  These greed driven, self-centered folks don't give the slightest damn about the millions of Americans who lack access to decent healthcare .   A piece at CNN looks at the situation and the calls by a few decent Christians to not treat countless Americans (especially minorities and those of different faiths) as disposable human garbage.  Here are some highlights:

The Rev. Timothy McDonald gripped the pulpit with both hands, locked eyes with the shouting worshippers, and decided to speak the unspeakable.

The bespectacled Baptist minister was not confessing to a scandalous love affair or the theft of church funds. He brought up another taboo: the millions of poor Americans who won’t get health insurance beginning in January because their states refused to accept Obamacare.

McDonald cited a New Testament passage in which Jesus gathered the 5,000 and fed them with five loaves and two fishes. Members of his congregation bolted to their feet and yelled, “C’mon preacher” and “Yessir” as his voice rose in righteous anger.

“What I like about our God is that he doesn’t throw people away,” McDonald told First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta during a recent Sunday service. “There will be health care for every American. Don’t you worry when they try to cast you aside.  Just say I’m a leftover for God and leftovers just taste better the next day!”

McDonald’s congregation cheered, but his is a voice crying in the wilderness. He’s willing to condemn state leaders whose refusal to accept Obamacare has left nearly 5 million poor Americans without health coverage. But few of the most famous pastors in the Bible Belt will join him.

Joel Osteen? Bishop T.D. Jakes, and other prominent pastors throughout the South?  Like McDonald, they preach in states where crosses and church steeples dot the skyline yet the poor can’t get the health insurance they would receive if they lived elsewhere. All declined to comment.
The coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges. If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance. But because they live in a state that refused the new health care law, they likely will remain among the nation’s uninsured poor after Obamacare coverage kicks in come January.

The coverage gap has been treated as a political issue, but there is a religious irony to the gap that has been ignored.

Most of the people who fall into the coverage gap live in the Bible Belt, a 14-state region in the South stretching from North Carolina to Texas and Florida. The Bible Belt is the most overtly Christian region in the country, filled with megachurches and pastors who are treated like celebrities.  All but two Bible Belt states have refused to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Is it anti-Christian for state leaders to turn down help for the people Jesus called “the least of these"?  

When these questions were sent to many of the most popular pastors in the Bible Belt, they hit a wall of silence. Virtually no prominent pastor wanted to talk about the uninsured poor in their midst.

Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in the nation, declined to be interviewed about the subject. So did Bishop T.D. Jakes. Their megachurches are both in Texas, the state with the nation’s highest number of people without health insurance.

Max Lucado, the best-selling Christian author who is a minister at a church in Texas, declined to speak; Charles Stanley, the Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia whose In Touch Ministries reaches millions around the globe, declined to speak; Ed Young Sr. and Ed Young Jr., a father and son in Texas who pastor two of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, also declined to speak.

The silence is not hard to understand. Obamacare is a polarizing political issue in the Bible Belt. A pastor who publicly weighs in on the subject could divide his or her congregation or risk their job.

[T]his position is impractical and unbiblical, says Ronald Sider, a longtime advocate for the poor and author of “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics."  Churches and charities don’t have enough resources to take care of an estimated 48 million Americans who don’t have health care. The Bible is filled with examples of God's fury over economic oppression of the poor, which Christians should regard as scandalous, he says.

There's much more to the article, some of which involves mealy mouthed excuses from pastors for why they are not speaking out.   The Gospel message calls one to be divisive at times and to call out hypocrisy and to identify wrongs being done to others.  With most of these pastors it is all ultimately about money and the bottom line.  They don't want to rock the boat because then their bigoted and selfish parishioners might stop giving money.  Nasty prostitutes are more honest and have more integrity than these foul pastors.  With every passing day I find myself wanting less and less to do with Christianity.  Or at least the version practiced by the "godly folk." They are truly horrid people. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Why Passing ENDA Should Be a Republican Priority

With the Senate's passage of ENDA - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - yesterday, the focus will now turn to the House of Representatives.  Sadly, unlike the Senate, the House (or at least its GOP members) is much more under the thumb of the Christofascists of the GOP base who desperately want laws that allow discrimination against gays to give justification to their ignorance and bigotry.  As gay rights have increased, it has become much harder for bigots and homophobes to point to state sponsored discrimination as proof that they are not in fact, horrible, nasty people.  An opinion piece in Politico by Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, lays out why the passage of ENDA ought to be a priority for the GOP if the party is true to its claimed principles.  Here are highlights:

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to protect gay employees from job discrimination with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. Republicans should support these protections, and I hope the GOP leadership in the House schedules the bill for a vote. It’s the morally right thing to do. No one should lose their job, or not get hired, because of their sexual orientation.

Allowing people to be successful in their workplaces is an essential piece of individual opportunity and liberty. Working for a living is one of America’s freedoms. It’s a virtue to be encouraged — and supporting it is important to the future of the Republican Party. In an era in which the government often punishes hard work and individual success, this bill encourages it.
At its core, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is about individual liberty. All employees should be treated the same and be judged on their job performance. No one should receive special treatment, and no one should be fired because of their sexual orientation.

Since the 1960s, Congress has passed laws ensuring that employers can’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender — personal characteristics that have nothing to do with how well someone does his or her job. These laws are widely accepted throughout our society. Who among us today would say an employer should have the right to fire someone because of their faith or the color of their skin? The same sense of fairness and respect should apply to the hundreds of thousands of qualified, hardworking Americans covered by ENDA.

[A] strong majority of Americans (68 percent) said they favored a federal ENDA. Among Republicans, 56 percent nationwide supported the law, while only 32 percent opposed it. Additional statewide polling conducted by conservative pollster Jan van Lohuizen in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire confirmed those findings.

It’s a little sad that these questions even need to get put to a poll, but old ways of thinking sometimes take time to change. The time for this change has arrived. In fact, many in the business community, recognizing the importance of a qualified, skilled workforce, are well ahead of the federal government.

Now is time for the government to catch up so that nondiscrimination laws protect workers at all companies, not just some.

Politically, it’s about time for the GOP to do the right thing while acting in a more inclusive and welcoming manner. Republicans need to expand our appeal and earn the support of millennials. The younger generation of Americans views gay rights differently than our parents’ generation, and as was noted in an assessment of the Republican Party I co-authored following the 2012 elections, issues like this are gateways into whether young people see the GOP as a party worthy of support.

As for the question, "Who among us today would say an employer should have the right to fire someone because of their faith or the color of their skin?", the answer is simple: your typical Christofascist and Tea Party member.  As I have said before, these folks are not nice and decent people. 

Strongest Recorded Typhoon Hits the Philippines

Thankfully, the climate change denying Ken Cuccinelli was defeated on Tuesday.  But that doesn't end the larger problem of climate change denial in the Republican Party.  Last year super storm Hurricane Sandy wrought catastrophic damage to the east coast of America, particularly in New York and New Jersey.  Now, Typhoon Haiyan - which some are describing as the largest typhoon ever - has slammed into the Philippines with sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts of 235 mph.  The suspected cause of the storm's frightening strength?  Rising ocean temperatures.  A phenomenon being witnessed in the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Pacific Ocean.  Meanwhile, here in Virginia the GOP will not allow any studies to even use the phrases "climate change" or "rising sea levels."  Only "repetitive flooding" is politically correct in the insane GOP.  Here are highlights from the Washington Post on the disaster hitting the Philippines:

Huge, fast-paced Typhoon Haiyan raced across a string of islands from east to west — Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Panay— and lashed beach communities with over 200 kilometer (125 mile) per hour winds. Nearly 720,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes.

Due to cut-off communications, it was impossible to know the full extent of casualties and damage. At least two people were electrocuted in storm-related accidents, one person was killed by a fallen tree and another was struck by lightning, official reports said.  Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado said the super typhoon triggered landslides that blocked roads, uprooted trees and ripped roofs off houses around his residence.

Weather officials said Haiyan had sustained winds of 235 kph (147 mph) with gusts of 275 kph (170 mph) when it made landfall. That makes it the strongest typhoon this year, said Aldczar Aurelio of the government’s weather bureau.

By 5 p.m. Friday, the typhoon — one of the strongest storms ever — was centered to the west of Aklan province on Panay Island, 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Manila, after blasting the island resort of Boracay.

The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said shortly before the typhoon made landfall that its maximum sustained winds were 314 kph (195 mph), with gusts up to 379 kph (235 mph). Those measurements are different than local weather data because the U.S. Navy center measures the average wind speed for 1 minute while local forecasters measure the average for 10 minutes. 

Hurricane Camille, a powerful 1969 storm, had wind speeds that reached 305 kph (190 mph) at landfall in the United States, Masters said.

Virginia's Metro Areas Sealed McAuliffe's Win

Virginia is becoming two different states.  One consists of the urban areas in crescent running from the Northern Virginia centers of Alexandria, Fairfax County and Arlington and extending southward through Richmond before arching southeast to Hampton Roads (Charlottesville and Roanoke are islands off to the west).  The other Virginia is comprised of everywhere else. The new Virginia, if you will, in the large metropolitan centers is progressive in relative terms and the GOP standard mantra of God, guns and gays simply no longer resonates.  In the old Virginia, racism, religious extremism, and the embrace of backwardness still holds sway.  Ironically areas like southwest Virginia bemoan their economic decline in a modern world yet are unwilling to leave the 1950's thus compounding the exodus of those who are educated and yearning for a better life.  The Virginian Pilot looks at this divide that is only going to intensify.  Here are highlights:

The seeds of Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial victory blossomed in Virginia's population centers, where changing demographics are remaking the state's once-crimson political DNA.

Voters from Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and the Richmond area formed an electoral backbone that made the Democrat the first governor elected from the party of the sitting president in 36 years. Election deficits in those regions spelled doom for Ken Cuccinelli, and they suggest cause for concern by his party as the political muscle of those communities swells.

While Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling concedes external factors may have played a role, he worries Republicans are flirting with disaster if they make excuses instead of adjusting to a state becoming more Democratic. "Were not going to get this party headed in the right direction until we understand we have a problem," said Bolling, who split with fellow Republican Cuccinelli after the latter's supporters orchestrated a takeover of the party nomination process last year.

Bolling maintains that Republicans' problems go deeper than this election. He points out that since 2005 the party has won just one statewide contest for president, U.S. Senate or governor: Bob McDonnell's 2009 gubernatorial victory.  That was a red dot in a sea of blue outcomes over a span that saw Democrats claim the governor's mansion twice, Barack Obama carry Virginia twice, and the U.S. Senate elections of Jim Webb, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

A look at the electoral map helps explain how McAuliffe turned the state Democratic only four years after McDonnell won in a landslide.

In South Hampton Roads, Chesapeake and Suffolk flipped from Republican to Democratic. Virginia Beach, the state's most populous city, stayed in the Republican column by a slim margin - 47.6 percent to 45.9 percent. In 2009, McDonnell carried the city with 64 percent.

In Northern Virginia, the state's most populous region, three counties - Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William - switched from red to blue. So did Henrico County in the Richmond area.

Together, the 5.6 million residents of those three regions account for more than two-thirds of the state's estimated 8.1 million residents. Not all are registered voters.  Two university communities also flipped: Albemarle County near the University of Virginia and Montgomery County, home of Virginia Tech.

An election-eve poll of Hispanic and Asian- American voters yielded some clues to how Virginia's increasing diversity helped the Democratic ticket. Done by two groups that support liberalizing U.S. immigration laws, it showed overwhelming majorities of those voters - 66 percent of Hispanics and 63 percent of Asian- Americans - breaking for McAuliffe, who endorsed a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country illegally.

Harry Wilson, a professor of public affairs at Roanoke College, said the demographic profile of this year's voters resembled that of the 2012 presidential election more than 2009: a declining percentage of whites, more minorities and a respectable turnout of young voters. "As the electorate becomes more diverse and younger, that clearly favors Democrats," he said.

Will the Republican Party of Virginia get the message and stop catering almost exclusively to religious zealots, white supremacists and those driven by greed?  I doubt it.  It will take more defeats to reinforce the message delivered in this year's elections.  It ultimately comes down to a choice between the past and the future.  The Virginia GOP clearly wants to return to the 1950's.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

More Thursday Male Beauty

McAuliffe Pledges to Sign Executive Order Banning Discrimination Against LGBT State Employees

Elections do make a difference as evidenced by Terry McAuliffe's pledge to sign an Executive Order banning anti-gay discrimination against LGBT state employees as soon as he is sworn in as Governor of Virginia.  Hopefully, the uncounted provisional ballots will put Mark Herring over the top in the race for Attorney General so that there will not be efforts made by the AG's office to sabotage McAuliffe's order.  The Washington Blade has details.  Here are excerpts:

Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe on Wednesday said his first executive order will be to ban discrimination against LGBT state employees.

The former chair of the Democratic National Committee made the comments during a Richmond press conference at which he announced members of his transition team that state Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) will chair. McAuliffe in April expressed support for such an executive order during a speech he gave at Equality Virginia’s annual dinner in Richmond.

“I will make sure that every single individual in the commonwealth of Virginia is treated fair and equal,” McAuliffe said at the time.

McAuliffe also highlighted his support of marriage rights for same-sex couples during the Richmond press conference.

Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish earlier on Wednesday categorized McAuliffe and Northam’s election as “a real turning point” for the state.

“The commonwealth has never before had somebody in the governor’s seat who so openly supports equality for all Virginians,” Parrish said. “Equality Virginia is excited to work with these leaders toward a state that is more welcoming for all families.”

Parrish conceded, however, progress on LGBT-specific issues will remain a challenge because a number of anti-gay incumbents won re-election. These include state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) who co-sponsored the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that voters approved in 2006.

“Unfortunately, the newly elected House of Delegates will continue to be a major road block to achieving equality in Virginia,” Parrish said.
Personally, I am happy to have an opportunity to talk with McAuliffe earlier in the election season and believe he is sincere in his support of LGBT equality:


U.S. Senate Pashes ENDA by 64-32 Votes

This afternoon the United States Senate passed an inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA") after rejecting an amendment that would have expanded the already too broad religious exemptions from the Act's scope.  Now, of course, ENDA faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives where the GOP members remain largely the puppets of the Christofascists/Tea Party. Here are excepts from Politico on today's events and the road ahead (NOTE: it is note worthy that GOP aides are outright lying about the supposed current existence of protections; they do not exist in 29 states.  I was fired in 2004 for being gay, so I know about first hand):
The Senate made history Thursday, voting 64-32 to pass landmark legislation extending workplace protections to the LGBT community.

The legislation now heads to the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) opposes the measure. GOP aides argue that the protections contained in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which bans workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation — are already enjoyed by American workers.

Democrats disagree — and noted that Boehner’s home state of Ohio is a state where such discrimination is not prohibited.
“The time has come for Congress to pass a federal law that ensures all citizens, regardless of where they live, can go to work not afraid of who they are,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, adding that many Americans are under the impression that ENDA is already federal law. “Well it isn’t already the law. But that is what they feel. Let’s do what the American people think already exists.”

Senate Democratic leaders and other chief ENDA backers launched a rhetorical campaign before the bill even passed, calling on the speaker to be on the right side of history. They believe that ENDA would pass the House if it were put to a vote.
“Anyone who is a student of history knows that our history books are littered with those public figures who said that we just can’t end that discrimination based on race, we cant end that discrimination based on age, based on disability, based on gender,” said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “Think about their place in history today, and I won’t recount their names. Speaker Boehner: Think about the party you belong to.”
As The Advocate reports, Senator Tammy Baldwin is making it personal and has called out John Boehner to allow a vote on ENDA in the House.  Here are excerpts:
Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to be elected to the U.S. Senate, offered a direct message to the man in charge of the House of Representatives — where she served from 1999 to 2013 — regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. 

Speaking with MSNBC Thursday afternoon just moments before casting her final vote in favor of ENDA, Baldwin delivered a straightforward plea to the Republican speaker, who has said he believes ENDA would lead to "frivolous litigation" and hurt small businesses, and also incorrectly claimed that it was already illegal to fire people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

"On the procedural side, I'd say what we said during the shutdown: Just bring it up for a vote," the senator demanded. "Because I feel that the House, if given the opportunity to vote up or down against discrimination in employment, against the LGBT community, that we'd win that vote. We'd win that day. And so that's what I'd say to Speaker Boehner: Just give it an up-or-down vote."
Least there be any confusion as to my views of John Boehner, I view the man as a peevish, self-centered ass who is more worried about prostituting himself to the forces of evil among the Christofascists/Tea Party than how he will be viewed by history.  Frankly, the most tawdry whore has more integrity than Boehner.  He is a small selfish man who will not be viewed positively by history.  His descendants will likely find him an embarrassment.

Quote of the Day: WaPo - Mr. Cuccinelli Has Only Himself to Blame

As noted in this morning posts, the blame game has exploded within the GOP for the Ken Cuccinelli's loss in Tuesday Virginia gubernatorial election.  The Christofascists/Tea Party are blaming the so-called GOP establishment while the establishment types are throwing responsibility for the defeat at the feet of the Christofascists/Tea Party.  Meanwhile, the poor loser, Ken Cuccinelli seems to want to blame anyone but himself.  A main page editorial column in the Washington Post looks at the accusations being lobbed by both sides within the GOP's very small tent.  The opinion piece also zeros in on the man ultimately to blame.  Here is the money quote:
Fundamentally, what caused Tuesday’s Republican wipeout was Mr. Cuccinelli himself and the record he compiled — a clear, consistent right-wing agenda forged over a decade in Richmond.

The Cuccinelli record had nothing to do with job-creation or the state’s economic well-being or alleviating deepening transportation problems, all of which are central to Virginians’ well-being. It was mainly about bashing homosexuals, harassing illegal immigrants, crusading against abortion, denying climate change, flirting with birthers and opposing gun control. A hero to the tea party and a culture warrior of the first rank, Mr. Cuccinelli lost because he was among the most polarizing and provocative figures in Richmond for a decade. That made him the wrong candidate for Virginia.
It goes without saying that the usual far right talking heads will shriek and deny the truth stated in the Washington Post piece, claiming that the Post is a liberal propaganda machine.   But the Post isn't the only outlet placing the blame ultimately on Cuccinelli.  Here are some highlights from The Week written by Matt K. Lewiswho  writes for The Daily Caller which is anything but a liberal mouth piece:

To quote Don Corleone, "Never tell anybody outside the family what you're thinking."

Yet Cuccinelli went out of his way to tell everybody outside the family what he was thinking by literally publishing it. (And this wasn't some sort of touchy-feely, heartwarming biography that campaigns sometimes put out to soften up a candidate before running, either.)

In reviewing the book, Last Line of Defense, Politico touched on a fundamental problem: "Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli," James Hohmann observed, "has no intention of modulating his uncompromising conservatism to get elected governor. He just needs to explain it better than others have."

The "explain it" part is telling. Why? A maxim in political campaigns is that "if you're explaining, you're losing."

The obvious problem, of course, is that the political environment has changed dramatically in the last few years — especially in the Old Dominion.  It ain't George Allen's Virginia any more.
The cynical part of me hopes that the GOP doesn't get the message that the Christofascists/Tea Party need to be thrown overboard.   Only by further destruction to the GOP will the GOP donor class cease giving money to flawed candidates.  It make take a number of additional election cycles, but ultimately the Christofascists/Tea Party must be sent into permanent political exile if the GOP is to ever regain its role as a responsible national party.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Was The Virginia Election Was a Big Win for Obamacare?

Obsessed with other people's sex lives and with denying millions of Americans - and some 400,000 Virginians - from access to healthcare insurance, Ken Cuccinelli maintained even in his somewhat peevish concession speech that the Virginia election had been a referendum on the Affordable Health Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare.   Most Virginians I know show the election far differently, with most concerned about the economy and jobs, funding transportation improvements, or concerns over Cuccinelli's extreme positions of so-called social issues.  A piece in The New Republic argues that the Virgini election was in fact a victory for Obamacare.  Here are article highlights:

As the Affordable Care Act was about to go fully into effect last month, the New York Times ran a big front-page article highlighting the fact that millions of Americans would go uncovered by the law as a result of the Supreme Court decision making it possible for states to opt out of the expansion of Medicaid. Half of the states have made this choice, creating a confounding scenario in which middle-income people can qualify for subsidies to obtain private coverage but the neediest working poor, who were supposed to be covered by Medicaid, are getting no help at all.
“How can somebody in poverty not be eligible for subsidies?” an unemployed health care worker in Virginia asked through tears. The woman, who identified herself only as Robin L. because she does not want potential employers to know she is down on her luck, thought she had run into a computer problem when she went online Tuesday and learned she would not qualify.

At 55, she has high blood pressure, and she had been waiting for the law to take effect so she could get coverage. Before she lost her job and her house and had to move in with her brother in Virginia, she lived in Maryland, a state that is expanding Medicaid. “Would I go back there?” she asked. “It might involve me living in my car. I don’t know. I might consider it.”
Last night, the prospects for Robin L. and the estimated 400,000 Virginians who would be eligible under a Medicaid expansion brightened considerably. The gubernatorial election was won by Terry McAuliffe, who made the Medicaid expansion such a central part of his campaign that for a time he was even threatening to shut down the state government unless legislators included it in their budget. The expansion, which is now being studied by an ad hoc state panel, still faces big hurdles—the General Assembly remains firmly in Republican control . . . . Still, the odds of the expansion happening are infinitely greater with McAuliffe in the Governor’s Mansion than with the fiercely anti-Obamacare Ken Cuccinelli.

So, the election was a clear win for Obamacare, right? Nope, say the pundits.  . . . . I’m not sure when I last saw such a stark example of election spin and punditry floating away from the substantive reality of governing and its impact on actual people. There is no mention in these accounts of the greatly enhanced prospects for the Medicaid expansion in Virginia as a result of McAuliffe’s win. No, it’s all about the exit polls and what it might mean for Obama and the Democrats. But Obama’s not on the ballot again, ever, and the Democrats aren’t on it again for another year.

All we know right now is that after a very rough patch for the law, the guy who ran strongly in support of it beat a guy who was strongly opposed to it, in the most purple state in the country. And as a result, hundreds of thousands of working poor may get health insurance coverage. How removed from the reality of these people’s lives does one have to be to chalk up such a result as a loss for Obamacare?

What I find so very disturbing is that Ken Cuccinelli and the GOP base do not give a damn about people like Robin L.  They blather on incessantly about their "religious faith" and "Christian values" yet by their actions show themselves to be the antithesis of the Gospel message.  They are all modern day Pharisees.  They are NOT nice or decent people notwithstanding all their self-congratulatory false piety.

Joel Osteen’s Big Gay Problem

Illinois has approved gay marriage and it appears that Hawaii may not be far behind as well.  A Virginia has a newly elected governor who unabashedly campaigned supporting gay marriage.  The world is indeed changing.  With 15 states and the District of Columbia granting full gay marriage and numerous lawsuits challenging gay marriage bans across the country, the struggle against gay marriage may well be the Christofascists' Waterloo.  Hence their increasing efforts to export homophobia overseas in order to find new funding sources.  But not all of the self-enriching televangelists see their future in Russia or backward regions of Africa.  Salon looks at Joel Orteen's struggle to find a way forward without alienating aging Kool-Aid drinkers or killing the Christian brand in America.  Here are some article excerpts:

Joel Osteen has a problem, one that all Evangelicals in the U.S. are facing. The anti-gay position of mainstream Christianity has fallen out of favor with the public. Every reputable poll currently shows uncontested majority support for gay marriage. And the cultural shift happened more quickly than the churches can follow.

The Huffington Post’s Josh Zepps recently asked Osteen about this passage from his new book, “Break Out: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barrier and Live an Extraordinary Life”: “It doesn’t matter who likes you or doesn’t like you, all that matters is that God likes you. He accepts you, he approves of you.”

Zepps wanted to know if this included gay folks. “Absolutely,” Osteen offered without missing a beat. Evangelicals are notoriously tricky on the subject. It’s common theology to claim that God accepts absolutely everyone because being gay is viewed as an affliction, not an identity. What makes Osteen’s statement so unusual is his claim that God “approves” of gay folks.

The Texas megachurch pastor has always been relatively soft on the issue compared to his colleagues, notably the Evangelical behemoth Southern Baptist Convention. In the past, Osteen at the very least claimed homosexuality was unacceptable.

Some Evangelical church leaders are already going the full distance and embracing change. The controversial minister Rob Bell, also a multiple New York Times bestselling author, announced full support for marriage equality earlier this year. But he didn’t end with the endorsement. He pointedly criticized  the Evangelical church for its role in anti-gay discourse: “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told, ‘We’re gonna change the thing,’ and they haven’t … And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.”

The anti-gay position is becoming increasingly problematic in churches given support for LGBT equality among young people, even including white Evangelicals. Ministers are being forced to either embrace a dying ideology or risk ejection from their churches. The “because God says so” answers derived from the Bible’s handful of homophobic passages are headed the way of biblical slavery defenses, and young Evangelicals aren’t buying. (It’s also of note that the nation’s largest Evangelical denomination, the previously mentioned SBC, was originally formed to protect the rights of slaveholders. They’re sorry now.

Complicating matters further is Catholicism’s recent tonal shift on LGBT issues, which could create a ripple effect throughout the Christian world.

It won’t be surprising when Joel Osteen, along with the rest of the Evangelical community, announces an Obama-style evolution on the issue. While some denominations will hold onto existing prejudice until the bitter end, most are likely headed the way of the Evangelical Lutherans. Until then, many Evangelicals across the nation will be forced into an uncomfortable gray area as church leaders furiously argue over an issue the rest of the country already decided.
Putting all one's future in aging anti-gay whites is not a good plan for the future.  At some point the need to change will be the difference between death of denominations and a chance to live on at least for a while in an ever more secular, gay accepting world.

Divisions in the Virginia GOP Intensify

In the wake of Ken Cuccinelli's loss on Tuesday, watching the Virginia GOP's circular firing squad is seemingly going to be most entertaining to watch.  Already it is clear that the Kool-Aid drinkers of the Party's Christofascist/Tea Party base will never concede that it was their nomination of extremists (and in the case of "Bishop" Jackson, a total lunatic) that lies at the root of the GOP defeat.  Hence, they will blame anyone and everyone other than themselves.  Meanwhile, the so-called GOP establishment types show little willingness to take blame for the doings of the far right loons.  The same holds true of the GOP donor class.  They will soon learn - if they haven't already - that you cannot reason with crazy people.  Their only real solution is to sit out several election cycles and allow the Christofascists/Tea Party to run the GOP into the ground before launching a coup to oust the "godly Christian" crowd and the white supremacist elements of the base. A piece in the Washington Post looks at the fray.  Here are highlights:

If lessons emerged from Tuesday’s vote, they were almost instantly lost in the volley of finger-pointing that began even before the polls closed. Republican Ken Cuccinelli II’s narrow loss, despite what opinion surveys had consistently called a comfortable lead for McAuliffe, left the candidate’s camp accusing national party organizations of abandoning their man in the closest major race in the nation this year.

Party officials said it was Cuccinelli who had failed to raise money from mainstream Republican sources skeptical of his hard-line rhetoric and uncompromising conservatism.

“The lesson is that a party divided is going to lose,” said Pete Snyder, a Northern Virginia technology entrepreneur who served as Cuccinelli’s finance chairman. “The Democrats weren’t happy with their candidate, but they were united. Ken Cuccinelli had to deal with Melrose Place.”

“A resounding defeat would have allowed the business wing of the Republican Party to make the case against the social conservative wing that we need to moderate our appeal,” Kidd said. “But with this result, the tea party wing gets the energy to say, ‘Well, we didn’t do as badly as you said we would.’ ”

Tea party activists indeed made that case, complaining that this was only the latest example of national GOP leaders betraying the grass roots.

Cuccinelli’s chief strategist, Chris LaCivita, said the Republican National Committee and other party groups had doomed the campaign by pulling back on their support when polls in early October showed the candidate losing badly. 

Even though Virginia’s population continues to grow more ethnically mixed, urban and transient, the state remains so evenly divided politically that the people who run campaigns often conclude that the path to victory lies in rallying their party’s core voters rather than reaching out to moderates.

The RNC warned after the 2012 election that Republicans could win only if they found a way to “in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming” to nonwhites, immigrants and young voters. “If we are not,” an RNC report said, “we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues.”

Tuesday’s exit polls suggest that Republicans have made little or no headway in appealing to nonwhites or single voters.

Some Republicans who steered clear of Cuccinelli during the campaign said privately that they had hoped for a clear loss to purge the party of its tea party flank and restore power to its more business-oriented, socially moderate core.

Cuccinelli grew incensed by what he perceived as disloyalty as he found himself unable to pay for TV ads to counter the Democrats’ relentless negative ad campaign, according to two Republican insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity about internal campaign conversations. That anger flowed into election night, when Cuccinelli refused to make the traditional congratulatory phone call to McAuliffe.

Despite Cuccinelli’s personal appeals to RGA chairman Bobby Jindal (La.) and RNC chairman Reince Priebus, the RGA decided against any major new investment, two Republicans said.  

As I said, it will make for interesting spectator sport.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Tears and Denial In The Cuccinelli Camp

I truly do not want to appear mean spirited or even cruel, but I find it nearly impossible to feel any real sympathy for failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.   So far, it appears that Cuccinelli wants  to blame anyone but himself - not to mention his extremism and obsession with controlling the sexual behavior of others.  Cooch has tried to say even in his concession speech that the vote in Virginia yesterday was a "referendum on Obamacare." Never mind that other than Medicaid expansion, there is nothing that a Virginia governor has any control over in the roll out of the Affordable Health Care Act.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the recriminations and self-delusion gripping the failed Cuccinelli organization.   Here are excerpts:

In a brutally negative campaign, McAuliffe pulled out his narrow victory with a massive financial advantage and by painting Cuccinelli as an extreme social conservative. The Democrat also took advantage of Cuccinelli’s refusal to condemn the Republican tactics that led to the government shutdown. The issue was particularly potent in Northern Virginia, where many residents work for the government or for government contractors.

By contrast, Cuccinelli sought to focus on McAuliffe’s business deals and to turn the race into a referendum on Obamacare, which Cuccinelli has steadily opposed. While the strategy rallied ardent Republicans to his banner, it also may have energized some Democrats. Carrie Thierry of Henrico told The Daily Beast that Obamacare was one of her strongest motivations for supporting McAuliffe. Although she has always had health insurance, she said, she knows many people who are not so fortunate and said it is important they be covered.
McAuliffe’s key advantage lay in social issues such as abortion and birth control. He capitalized on Cuccinelli’s record of taking deeply conservative positions on those issues, most notably his defense of Virginia’s ban on sodomy laws. McAuliffe’s ads emphasized Cuccinelli’s absolute opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and described him as anti-birth control.

But Steve Waters, a prominent Republican strategist in Virginia, said Cuccinelli was simply stabbed in the back by his own party. Waters said the narrow loss was the result of fellow Republicans who jumped ship to back McAuliffe or, in the case of Bill Bolling, the state’s GOP lieutenant governor, simply sat on their hands. Bolling’s actions were emblematic of moderate establishment Republicans trying to undermine conservatives in the party, Waters said, comparing the lieutenant governor to the Washington Republicans who didn’t stand by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in the government shutdown. 

The defection of many Republicans, particularly those in the donor class, helped McAuliffe put together a whopping financial advantage. He outspent Cuccinelli by $15 million before taking outside groups such as the League of Conservative Voters and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence PAC into account. McAuliffe also put together a far more effective ground operation than Cuccinelli, led by veteran Democratic organizer Robby Mook.

One silver lining for the GOP in Jackson’s shambolic campaign was the optimism that the Republicans could pick off Northam’s state Senate seat in a special election. But that paled in comparison to the costs of a statewide campaign with an outlandish, gaffe-prone candidate. By contrast, the tightly matched race for attorney general between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring was too close to call on Election Night and was poised for a recount.

The contrast between the two gubernatorial candidates was never more clear than in their Election Night speeches. Both cited Thomas Jefferson and the importance of principle. Cuccinelli expressed his awe at the possibility that he might have succeeded the third president as governor of Virginia. He then went on to emphasize the importance of “first principles” of constitutional government and said his philosophy when he first ran for attorney general was “if there are enough people in Virginia who share our commitment to those first principles, we can’t lose and if there aren’t...we can’t win.”.
McAuliffe, meanwhile, cited Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural speech in 1800, saying his own differences with Cuccinelli and the GOP were “differences of opinion, not differences of principle.”
I honestly believe that Cuccinelli needs a mental health care intervention.  It will be most telling to see how he deals with defeat and whether or not he will go even more fully over the edge.  

Quote of the Day: The GOP Insanity Will Continue

As noted in prior blog posts, I had seriously hoped for a major GOP defeat ere in Virginia, believing it is perhaps the only thing that might discredit the Christofascist and Tea Party elements of the GOP base, both in Virginia and nationally.  As Politico observes, the fact that Cuccinelli was not horrifically defeated has opened the door for the Kool-Aid drinkers to try to shift blame for the defeat from the toxicity of Cuccinelli, Jackson and Obenshain themselves to numerous other excuses.  Here are highlights from Politico:

Anyone expecting Ken Cuccinelli and the conservative wing of the Virginia GOP to lie down and admit defeat was disappointed Tuesday night.

After Cuccinelli’s closer-than-expected loss, the defiant candidate and his supporters said the election results were only a blip on the radar of the larger conservative struggle as they blamed the defeat on Obamacare and a deluge of Democratic attack ads. Some Cuccinelli backers privately steamed that the national party did not do more to shore up Cuccinelli against Democrat Terry McAuliffe and his enormous war chest.
The Republican candidate’s surprise showing touched off a round of recriminations among the GOP’s conservative and moderate wings — between Republicans who say Cuccinelli’s strict profile on social issues antagonized critical middle-of-the-road voters and those who say a good conservative candidate was tossed overboard by his party leadership. A lopsided Democratic victory might have given moderates a clear leg up in that debate; instead, the battle between the two factions over what – if anything – needs to change is bound to rage on.

Mullins blasted out-of-state Democratic money and media bias as the major sources of Cuccinelli’s problems in the race.  “Our candidates are decent, honest family men. They love their families, they love their God, they love their country and this commonwealth but for the last six months they’ve been nonstop demonized by Democrats,”
There's more, but North Carolina blogger Bob Felton suns it all up well:
Though sane people everywhere are doubtless rejoicing that Ken Cuccinelli lost yesterday’s gubernatorial race in Virginia, he lost by too little to decisively end his ‘public service’ career. . . .  . Tea Partiers will fail to understand that Cuccinelli is probably the only human being on earth that McAuliffe could have beat — he, also, is a slimy character — and probably conclude they just need to be more rigidly and unapologetically crazy in the future. This narrow defeat will energize, rather than demoralize, the crazies.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

The Virginia GOP's Alternate Universe

Image via Bearing Drift blog

I often read far right outlets under the theory that one needs to know what the enemy is up to.  The other day, I looked at Bearing Drift, a far right leaning Virginia blog that was shouting that McAuliffe's lead was shrinking and that Ken Cuccinelli would win the day.  The post in question even had an image  - see above - depicting the Democrats eating crow.  The mindset displayed is sadly all too typical of what now is the norm in the Virginia GOP and the national GOP base.  This morning, folks are eating crow, but it's the folks at Bearing Drift.  Here are some of the far right musings from Monday just past:

The questions at this point are simple.  We have 24 hours to go:

(1) Is Cuccinelli within striking distance?  
(2) Will Obama’s appearance in Virginia hurt or help T-Mac?  
(3) Is Sarvis really drawing down T-Mac’s lead?  
(4)  Finally, will turnout be above 35% — and will that turnout actually benefit (rather than harm) Cuccinelli given an irate base?

I think the answers to these questions are (1) yes he is, (2) it’s gonna hurt T-Mac, (3) Sarvis is helping Cuccinelli at this point, and (4) we may see higher than predicted turnout based on outrage over the Obamacare rollout.

I’ll be the first to man-up and admit it.  Cuccinelli’s campaign may very well may have the Governor’s Mansion fall directly into its lap thanks to a $600 million website that doesn’t work and an Obamacare plan that was every bit as awful as a Washington bureaucrat could dream.  Granted, there’s no possible way that Cuccinelli could have planned for it, but given the sandbagging from Bolling, the McDonnell “GiftGate” scandal that took McAuliffe’s dirty dealing off the table, the lack of fundraising, the complete lack of messaging… well, about time Cooch caught a break.

But is it in time?  Now there’s the question.

Monday is Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama.  Depending on which vision of the future you prefer… well, it’s Obamacare vs. Liberty.  How’s that for a setup come Election Day?
In the coming days, I expect that the analysis will shift and Cuccinelli will be deemed a goat and blame will begin to be attached to him rather than the positions espoused by the GOP base, especial the extremists at The Family Foundation.

Ken Cuccinelli Against Modernity

I am still waiting to see voter turn out numbers, but I suspect overall, they will show apathy and/or over confidence among likely Democrat voters while the Kool-Aid drinkers came out in force.  That said, how did Ken Cuccinelli still manage to lose the election in a once bastion of Republicanism?  A post on Andrew Sullivan's blog (Sullivan holds no love for McAuliffe, by the way) sums it up as a campaign against what modern, future looking voters want.  Here is the relevant quote

[Cuccinelli] chose the campaign path that offered the most resistance from 21st-century constituencies. For instance, already vulnerable to suggestions he was overly involved in people’s bedroom activities (he’d sent an volunteer to monitor a George Mason University sex fair and said the state should regulate gay sex), he opted to set up a website to advocate for the restoration of the state’s sodomy law, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003. And critically, given the extension of the franchise to women just 93 years ago, McAuliffe was able to target Cuccinelli for supporting transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions because Cuccinelli supports transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.
Cuccinelli is a reactionary theocon of the Catholic variety, a type gently reprimanded by the current Pope. Par exemple:
“My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. … They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.”
 I hope Cuccinelli's political future is over.  I also hope he gets some mental health care help - and comes to terms with his raging internalized homophobia.  I still suspect that he's a closet case.

Herring Now in the Lead; Take Aways From Virginia Elections

Virginia Attorney General Race: With three precincts still out, Mark Herring now has a roughly 600 vote lead over Mark Obenshain. One can only hope that, even if the gap narrows, Herring will come out the victory.  Virginia does not need a Ken Cuccinelli clone in the Attorney General's office where he could run a sabotage campaign against much needed progressive measures in Virginia.  

Is There a Message for Republicans?  With the win by Terry McAullife being narrower than expected, the big issue is whether or not the Virginia GOP will get the message that nominating darlings of theocrats at The Family Foundation and/or the thinly veiled white supremacists of the Tea Party is not the way of the future.  Personally, I suspect not.  The insane base of the GOP will continue to live in its bizarre alternate reality and pressure the Party to continue to nominate those who are in need of serious mental health care help.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at some possible "take aways from yesterday.  Here are highlights:

* Virginia isn’t for social conservatives. Ken Cuccinelli beat McAuliffe among voters who said the economy was the most important issue and among those who named healthcare as the biggest priority.  But, among those who said abortion was their most important voting issue — roughly one in five voters — McAulliffe crushed Cuccinelli by something close to a two-to-one margin. (Worth noting: Virginia voters were given four options to choose as their most important issue, only one of which — abortion — involved a social issue.) Half of Virginia voters said that Cuccinelli’s position on issues was “too conservative”  while fewer than four in 10 said he was “about right” on the issues. What those numbers tell us is that McAuliffe’s efforts — primarily through a blitz of campaign ads in northern Virginia — to paint Cuccinelli as a warrior for the social conservative movement worked . 

* The Republicans’ un-married people problem: Cuccinelli carried married men and married women by single digits. But, he lost among unmarried people by massive margins.  Unmarried men favored McAuliffe over Cuccinelli by almost two dozen points and unmarried women by more than forty.  The only solace Republicans can take — and it’s not much of one — is that Cuccinelli’s dreadful performance among unmarried voters was significantly worse than that of Mitt Romney in Virginia in the 2012 presidential election; . . .

* The Virginia white vote is eroding, rapidly: In 2009, 78 percent of the Virginia electorate was white — and Republican Bob McDonnell rolled up a 35 point win over Democrat Creigh Deeds among white voters. Four years later, the electorate was only 72 percent white and Cuccinelli led McAuliffe by 20 points within that demographic group, according to exit poll results. That trend of white voter erosion is nothing new.

* Republicans don’t need independents; they need moderates: Despite Cuccinelli’s loss, he actually won among self-described independents. At the same time, he lost by more than 18 points among self-described “moderates” — further proof that these two categories are hardly the same thing. 

* The path forward is clear for Republicans. They just have to convince their base: Christie’s win, contrasted with Cuccinelli’s loss, could hardly provide a starker contrast for the GOP and a clearer message about how it wins in the future. Exit polls showed Christie winning among women and running even with his Democratic opponent among Latinos. If Republicans could emulate that in other states, they would win just about all of them. Christie is a pragmatic, conservative politician who won a massive victory in a blue state; Cuccinelli was a very conservative tea party-esque candidate who lost to an unheralded opponent in one of the nation’s premier swing states. Tea partiers often argue that Republicans can only win presidential races with a true conservative on the ballot. The problem for the broader GOP is the definition of a true conservative has become increasingly stringent. . . . this message has often fallen upon the GOP base’s deaf ears (think Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, Christine O’Donnell, Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin) and it likely will again.

* And/but…Chris Christie ran as the un-Republican: Christie’s victory was much more about the Chris Christie brand than the Republican brand.  He spent very little time talking about his Republican credentials and much more time talking about his own accomplishments in the state. And the data in the exit polls proved that while New Jersey voters like (love?) Christie, they don’t like his party much. Just 38 percent of Garden State voters had a favorable view of the GOP while 58 percent had an unfavorable one.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Terry McAuliffe Wins Virginia

Governor elect McAuliffe

I am most pleased that Terry McAuliffe has apparently won the gubernatorial contest in Virginia.  My only regrets are (i) that the race for attorney general remains undecided with the insane Mark Obenshain currently slightly ahead, and (ii) given the narrowness of McAuliffe's win, the vile extremists at The Family Foundation will likely not be booted into the political wilderness where they belong.   As noted earlier this evening, the election results reveal a huge divide politically between the rural areas of Virginia where hate, bigotry and racism continue to thrive and the urban areas of the state which are poised to embrace the future. The Washington Post summarizes the election results:

Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and former head of the Democratic National Committee, captured the Virginia governor’s seat Tuesday, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli II, the state attorney general whose conservative crusades made him an icon of the tea party movement, according to preliminary results.

With 95 percent of the precincts reporting, McAuliffe edged ahead of Cuccinelli by about 25,000 votes, or about 1 percent. By 10 p.m., Edison Media Research, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News had projected McAuliffe as the winner.

The Democrat was far ahead in Northern Virginia, according to early returns, while Cuccinelli had strong support in the central and western portions of the commonwealth. 

Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, was projected to defeat Republican E.W. Jackson, according to exit poll results from Edison and early vote returns.

Mark Obenshain, the Republican candidate for Attorney General, led Mark Herring by 2 percent, with 94 percent of the precincts counted.

For Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, the election halted his rise as a Republican party star. 

The Republican held a commanding lead among white voters, according to the poll, though they were voting for him at a lower rate than they did for Gov. Robert McDonnell in 2009.

As the governor’s race began, Cuccinelli sought to focus on the economy, steering away from the divisive social issues that had made him well-known. But McAuliffe kept reminding voters of Cuccinelli’s views, using his massive fundraising advantage to inundate the airwaves with ads focusing on Cuccinelli’s opposition to abortion, among other issues. By the early fall, polls showed McAuliffe leading Cuccinelli by 24 points among likely women voters. 

There will be plenty of post mortems.  I wish more Democrats and moderates had gotten off their asses and voted.  The GOP ticket deserved to be totally crushed.  That it wasn't speaks volumes about the apathy of many Virginians and the religious extremism and racism of those who voted for Cuccinelli and Obenshain.