The GOP and the Respect for Marriage Act

As I recently noted, the GOP performed miserably in the 2022 midterms because of a.) Trump, and b.) culture-war issues (specifically, abortion). 

The Republicans’ 2022 strategy—digging in their heels on both abortion and Trump—went against both public opinion polls, and the 1994 GOP playbook. (In the 1994 midterms, under President Bill Clinton, the GOP took back both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now that was a red wave.)

Which brings us to the Respect for Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act would bring about the federal recognition of same-sex marriage. This would prevent socially conservative state legislatures from invalidating same-sex marriage at the state and local levels.

To state the conclusion from the outset, I believe that Republican lawmakers should support the so-called Respect for Marriage Act…though my reasons are not as politically correct as some of you might think.  Continue reading “The GOP and the Respect for Marriage Act”

Can Trump sink the GOP in 2024, too?

Or will GOP voters finally wise up?

Donald Trump, announcing his plans to run for POTUS in 2024

Last week the Republican Party performed pitifully in the midterm elections. The midterms should have been a cakewalk for the GOP, given the sad joke that is the Biden presidency. 

I remember the “red wave” of 1994, when the GOP took back both the House and Senate during Bill Clinton’s first term in office.

Now that was a real red wave. Bill Clinton, moreover, was a far more credible and successful POTUS than the doddering Joe Biden will ever be. 

But then, the GOP had much wiser leaders in 1994. 

In 1994 the GOP was not controlled by either a.) a buffoonish personality cult, or b.) single-issue windmill-tilters.

The Republican Party lost last week on two issues: Trump and abortion. Continue reading “Can Trump sink the GOP in 2024, too?”

Delusions, skullduggery, and the red wave that wasn’t

Well, those of you who were hoping that sanity in government might be restored with the midterms are going to have to wait another two years. The much ballyhooed “red wave” was barely a trickle.

No, it was even worse than that. The Democrats have retained control of the Senate; this we already know. At the time of this writing, the fate of the House of Representatives is unknown. But it will likely come down to a handful of contests in California. 

You can blame the Democrats. You can blame gullible swing voters. But a stark fact remains: the Republicans brought most of this on themselves.  Continue reading “Delusions, skullduggery, and the red wave that wasn’t”

Make voting simple again

To no one’s surprise, former President Trump has alleged electoral chicanery in Arizona. 

After high-tech voting machine problems, a 70% increase in early ballots, and a count that stretched on for the better part of a week, the Democratic candidate, Mark Kelly, has come up with the votes needed to defeat his Republican challenger, Blake Masters. 

Former President Trump declared the result a “scam” and called for a do-over.

I’m not here to rule one way or another on the probity of the election process in Arizona. And like many of you (including many Republicans), I’m suffering from a major case of Trump Fatigue Syndrome (TFS).

Here is what I will say: Continue reading “Make voting simple again”

The ultra-modern, never-ending election

The first US presidential election I remember was the 1976 contest between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. 

I was in the third grade in November of ’76. I had bet my best friend, Randy, my lunch money that Ford would win. The Wednesday after Election Day, I went hungry and lost 35 cents. (That’s $1.79 in today’s money.)

I followed all of the subsequent elections from 1980 onward. I’ve always been a political junkie at heart. 

But here’s the thing: in all of the the 20th  century elections in my lifetime, the results were delivered in a timely manner. You could go to bed on a school or work night and know the results, without sacrificing too much needed sleep. Continue reading “The ultra-modern, never-ending election”

Russia, and a rebuke from a very old ally

Serbia, the country that dragged czarist Russia into World War I, now wants to reduce its dependence on Putin’s Russia, and draw closer to the European Union. So reports the Financial Times.

This is a major blow to Russia and Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as Serbia has close cultural and historical ties to Russia. 

But now Serbia clearly sees the West as a better bet. This is roughly equivalent to Canada choosing closer ties with China than with the United States. Continue reading “Russia, and a rebuke from a very old ally”

‘Ron DeSanctimonious’…WTF?

At a rally in Pennsylvania yesterday, former President Trump took a swipe at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a fellow Republican  who will face a reelection contest in less than 24 hours.

Trump called DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious”.

Clever, if the jab had come from a Democrat. But Trump and DeSantis are supposed to be on the same team. This is the most lamebrain thing the former president could have done. 

And, of course—the most egotistical and self-serving thing he might have done. DeSantis, after all, is polling high among GOP voters for the 2024 presidential nomination. He is the one Republican who could take the nomination away from Trump. Which he should. Continue reading “‘Ron DeSanctimonious’…WTF?”

On Oprah’s (surprise?) Fetterman endorsement

Television host Oprah Winfrey—who does not live in Pennsylvania—has endorsed John Fetterman in that state’s Senate race.

The media claims this is a “surprise” endorsement, because Oz appeared frequently on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the early 2000s, beginning in 2003.

The 00s were a different time, and that was a different Oprah Winfrey. The Oprah Winfrey Show aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. The show’s host was not overtly political until near the end, and most notably when Barack Obama first ran for president in 2008. Oprah publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton for POTUS in 2016. Continue reading “On Oprah’s (surprise?) Fetterman endorsement”

Should you be “political” on your personal Facebook feed?

Another pertinent question, as we approach the midterms and their aftermath.

We’re talking here about your personal Facebook feed—the one that connects you to your friends, relatives, and perhaps some coworkers.

The odds are very good that roughly half of these people don’t share your politics. 

This might not be true in some cases. If you live in the heart of red-state country, and have no out-of-town friends or relatives, then maybe all your friends are conservative Republicans. Or perhaps you live in a purely blue state, like the People’s Republic of California, or Massachusetts—which is about as politically diverse as North Korea.

For everyone else, the odds are high that your friends, relatives, coworkers, and friendly acquaintances are both Democrats and Republicans, with some independents and undecideds in the mix.

Speaking personally: I live in southwest Ohio, which is fairly conservative on the whole. If the votes of my friends list were to decide the outcome of the next presidential election, well…let’s just say that some of you folks in Massachusetts and California would not be happy.

Nevertheless, my Facebook friends list includes some diehard Democrats. I come from an Irish Catholic background, and Irish Catholics are traditionally Democrats. Roughly one-third of my relatives voted for Biden in 2020.

I have a handful of high school friends who left Cincinnati after graduation, and moved to places like Massachusetts and California. Some of them, apparently drugged and brainwashed, have adopted the dominant political ethos of those places.

Others are liberal, despite growing up in conservative Cincinnati. The women in my Facebook group trend older, since I’m older (54) myself. Nevertheless, some of them are traditionalist in outlook, while others are Murphy Brown-style feminists. They’re all over the map.

And finally, I have a few Facebook friends who went off the deep end of Trump adoration in 2016, and have never come up for air. These folks think that I’m a liberal. 

Ergo, any political posts in my Facebook feed are sure to result in a Category 5 shitstorm. Especially in an election year. Continue reading “Should you be “political” on your personal Facebook feed?”

November 4, 1980

Forty-two years ago today, Ronald Reagan beat the incumbent Jimmy Carter in a landslide victory, thereby becoming our 40th President-elect.

Unless you’re at least 60 years old, you didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan. (I was 12 years old on November 4, 1980, six years too young to vote.)

And perhaps you wouldn’t have voted for him even if you had been alive and eligible to cast a ballot.

Nothing wrong with that. Reagan’s opponent, Jimmy Carter, was an honest and honorable man, even if he wasn’t a particularly effective president. (One of Carter’s handicaps was that he was a genuinely decent, genuinely idealistic man; and that often didn’t serve him well in the rough-and-tumble world where bad actors like the Soviet Union existed.)

This is a time capsule from a different America, and—in my opinion—a better America.

TikTok ban looming?

Yes, it might really happen this time, as evidence is mounting that TikTok actually is Chinese spyware wrapped in the Trojan horse of a trendy social media app.

Then President Trump attempted to ban TikTok in July 2020, citing similar security concerns. But the conversation was drowned out amid the other controversies of that very eventful year. Our business and media establishment, moreover, was in no mood to get behind anything coming from the Trump administration. Trump could have proposed a ban on the bubonic plague, and the commentators at MSNBC would have said, “Now, hold on just a minute…isn’t there something racist about that?”

We are now in a different world. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and China’s unwavering support for its Russian ally, there has been a fundamental shift in the American perception of the PRC.  Continue reading “TikTok ban looming?”

Voting early in Ohio

Ohio is one of the states that allows early in-person voting. Yesterday morning I went to the voting station in my county seat and cast my ballot. 

I was by no means the only person there, but there was no real line to speak of. A far cry from 2020, when I had to cope with an hour-long wait, and the line you see below. 

(And keep in mind: the above photo is not from Election Day. The above photo was taken on October 14, 2020.)

Ah, well. My part in the 2022 midterms is done. Nothing left for me to do now but await the outcome.

And, oh, yes…I have some definite preferences  and predictions regarding what those outcomes will be.

The price of Twitter, the price of hubris

I was skeptical when Elon Musk laid down $44 billion for Twitter, a business that has rarely, if ever, turned a profit. But, I thought, a man with Elon’s money must know more than a mere peasant like me.

Now the evidence is mounting that I was wrong…or, right. Elon Musk has committed a grave error of judgement. 

It all comes down the business model. Or, rather, the lack of one. 

Twitter has had a difficult time attracting advertisers for years. There are many reasons for that, including: a long-term hemorrhaging of users (since long before the Elon Musk deal, I should note), and a generally toxic environment. 

People go to YouTube to immerse themselves in their interests. They go to Facebook to catch up with friends. They go to Twitter to kvetch about the political party they don’t vote for, and to wallow in rage porn.

And to make matters worse, conservatives who do seek the self-torture of a Twitter-like platform mostly fled to Twitter knock-off sites like Parler in 2020. This happened after Jack Dorsey and his team banished anyone with political views to the right of Joe Biden’s. Since then, Donald Trump has entered the free speech social media fray with his Truth Social platform. This means lots of competition on the right for the “new” Elon Musk version of Twitter.

And to make matters even worse yet, many leftwing users of Twitter (they’re about the only people left on Twitter nowadays) are apoplectic about the Musk acquisition. They’re threatening to devalue the platform, either by leaving en masse, or by overwhelming the site with garbage content. (That last one might be tricky, as there is so much garbage content on Twitter already.)

Don’t laugh, though. It could happen. Once thriving social media sites have imploded in the past. Remember MySpace and Tumblr? Continue reading “The price of Twitter, the price of hubris”

21st-century America and political violence

Two instances of political violence this week: a Rubio campaign worker in Florida was set upon and severely beaten by a man who told him that Republicans “weren’t welcome” in the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi’s husband was beaten with a hammer. The crime seems to have been politically motivated. (It does appear, though, that the mentally unstable perpetrator’s ideas were a mishmash of whacky beliefs, from New Age nudism to QAnon.)

This type of thing largely did not happen in my younger years, even though the country was split, then as now, more or less evenly between the two major political parties. Even though there were controversial topics like abortion. (I’m in my 50s, and we’ve disagreed about abortion for as long as I can remember.)

I don’t want to get into a tit for tat on the question of “which side has the most crazies?” Events of the past few years have shown that there is plenty of crazy to go around in 21st-century America. By the standards of anything I’ve seen in my lifetime (I was born in 1968), America is on a batshit crazy bender right now. And that goes for everyone.

Trump voter beaten in Chicago in 2016

We should all be horrified by what happened to Paul Pelosi. We should also be horrified by what happened to the Rubio campaign worker, and the plot to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last summer…over abortion.

Everyone—if you’ll pardon my language—needs to calm the fuck down. That means the “my body, my choice” crowd, as well as the “abortion stops a beating heart” crowd. That means the MAGA folks, as well as the leftwing Democrats who are still “resisting” a president who has been out of office since the beginning of last year. 

These are the kinds of headlines you see right before a society slides into anarchy. And anarchy is where we seem to be headed. 

On John Fetterman’s fitness for office

Like many of you, I watched the painful debate between John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz. A few things stood out at me.

First of all, Fetterman clearly flip-flopped on the fracking issue. He was quoted in a newspaper as being resolutely opposed to fracking, yet he declared himself to be in favor of it while on the debate stage.

A politician, just like anyone else, can legitimately change his mind on a complicated issue. But to deny that one ever held a publicly stated position is to reveal oneself an opportunist and a liar.

The lie is obvious here. The opportunism only slightly less so. When Fetterman declared himself against fracking, this was to appease the environmentalist lobby. This is the same reason Biden came into office canceling pipelines and drilling rights: the appeasement of an important constituency within the Democratic base (and, more significantly, the Democratic donor pool).

Then there was the matter of Fetterman’s health. Fetterman has had diagnosed heart problems since 2017. He suffered a stroke this past May. Fetterman had a noticeable difficulty processing language. Even members of the Democratic Party’s mainstream media cheerleading squad, like CNN’s Jill Filipovic, acknowledged this.

This raises the question of Fetterman’s physical fitness for office. It is a question that voters should not be forced to ask. The Democratic Party, to be blunt about it, should have run someone else. But the Democrats have struggled to field candidates who have anything approaching a centrist appeal. This is why the Democrats ran Joe Biden in 2020, despite his frequent confusion and possible cognitive decline.

 Fetterman is the closest thing Democrats could find to a centrist for the Pennsylvania senate race. Although he came from a privileged background (his assessment—not mine), Fetterman affects a working-class demeanor. He wears hoodies rather than shirts and ties, to project the image of being an “ordinary guy”. 

Although Fetterman toes the Democratic Party lines on abortion and economic populism, he is grounded enough to recognize—belatedly—that his party’s anti-energy stance has backfired on the Democrats…not to mention everyone in America who drives a car, heats their home in winter, or relies on consumer goods transported by truck.

Fetterman is 53 years old. Not elderly, but not exactly young anymore. I’m 54, only one year Fetterman’s senior, so I know the age of 53 quite well. 

Fifty-three is an age that can go either way, depending on one’s underlying health. A year ago I was gaining some weight and acutely feeling my age. In the past six months I’ve dropped fifteen pounds and started running again. I feel like a nineteen-year-old again. Or—no—maybe a thirty-nine-year-old, on my good days. Once you pass the mid-century mark, you have some limitations. That’s just the way it is. The next decade—the next year—can no longer be taken for granted.

Fetterman is clearly in poor health. He could still have a reasonably long life ahead of him, if given time to recover. 

Suppose you’re a voter in Pennsylvania. (And possibly you are, if you’re reading this.) Even if you agree with Fetterman’s positions, and don’t mind his flip-flops on others, you must consider the question: Is it in the best interest of Pennsylvania voters—or Fetterman himself—to send a man with such serious health problems to the United States Senate? 

The Democratic Party, after all, could have found someone else to run, if only the Democratic Party had a deeper bench of candidates who would not send centrist voters fleeing in terror.