Sometimes I Wish I Was a Republican

By James A. Kidney Most of the mainstream media identifies the Republican Party as one in distress, torn between the capital C Conservatives embodied by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and the radical flamethrowers encouraged by Steve Bannon and the actions, if not always words, of Donald Trump. But I wish I was a Republican.  I wish I could be unabashedly in favor of the rich while proclaiming I am looking out for the little guy.  I wish I could speak crassly of my fellow citizens on occasion and let inner prejudices out for a stroll.  I wish I didn’t worry so much about those same citizens as their economic condition deteriorates or look with anger on the very wealthy for whom enough is never enough.  I wish I could be blind to the damages inflicted on this great nation as a democracy is converted to a corporatocracy with the … Read more of this post . . .

Even Hitler Needed Friends

By James A. Kidney Hitler had Joseph Goebbels and Joachim von Ribbentrop.  Donald Trump has Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.  God help us. Goebbels was Hitler’s propaganda minister and a close associate.  Hitler named Goebbels his successor in his will. Goebbels actually had the title of Reich Chancellor for one day after Hitler died.  Then he killed his wife, six children and himself in advance of the Russian seizure of Hitler’s bunker. Nearly every ugly theme of the Nazi regime was supported by the thinking and actions of Goebbels. Ribbentrop, a close confidant of Hitler’s, was Nazi Germany’s foreign minister from 1938 until 1945.  He was executed after trial at Nuremburg.  He helped broker the Pact of Steel, an alliance with Mussolini’s Italy, and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union which Hitler later discarded. It is way past time to apologize for, or to be reticent in … Read more of this post . . .

Do The Republicans Stand For Anything?

Looking to Hookup With the GOP
Looking to Hookup With the GOP

By James A. Kidney

A year or two ago, I whiled away a half hour watching a British comedy series on one of the streaming channels about a fictional prime minister forced to

Available.
Available.

fornicate with a pig on national television to keep his job.  I found the episode too absurd to be funny, and promptly forgot the name of the show.  I didn’t watch any more of the series.

This was long before the Republican Party leadership came to embrace Donald Trump.

The mostly forgotten television episode came to mind as I sought to determine what it is that the Republican Party stands for now that it is about to name Trump its presidential nominee, likely with the nearly complete support of both the party leadership and its rank-and-file.

Trump is against much of what the party claims to favor. He is reliably contradictory on other issues the party stands for (try to pin him down on specifics about tax cuts or abortion).  He constantly puts party leadership in the position of defending the indefensible or wishing Trump’s juvenile insults would go away even as they are bleated repeatedly on cable TV.

Hillary Clinton (with Bernie Sanders) is right to say that all Americans should be afraid that Trump, with his immaturity, lack of intellect, absence of curiosity, thin skin and ill temper, could be President of the United States.  Trump’s candidacy is a threat to the country that goes well beyond party. Yet, the Republicans are falling in line to support him.

This is the same party that nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Say whatever you will about those candidates, no one had reason to believe they would behave erratically and irrationally if they achieved the White House.  One could disagree with all of the policies they favored and still  sleep comfortably, reasonably sure the country was safe and on a steady course, rightward, for sure, but within the norms of rational political dialog.

Not so with Trump.  Yet, the Republicans persist in saying he would be a better president than Hillary Clinton, or even the two former governors running as the Libertarian Party candidates. They seem ready to reduce the nation’s leadership to an international laughing stock, electing Milton Berle (I’m old) or Soupy Sales (still too old?) as president.

Exactly what principled purpose cherished by the Republican Party warrants the reckless notion of electing Trump president?

What, in other words, does the GOP stand for?  What drives these people?

Read more of this post . . .Do The Republicans Stand For Anything?

Let’s Get the Political Parties Out of the Presidential Election Process

By James A. Kidney Among many lessons of this miserable 2016 presidential race, at least one is inescapable:  Our current system of nominating candidates based on what is essentially a two-party duopoly has failed. We have two major party candidates, each of whom a majority of the voting public dislikes, whether they vote for the candidate or not.  Other than the elections of President Obama, it is difficult to find a quadrennial campaign since at least 1992 in which one of the two candidates was barely tolerated by the electorate.  Often, it has been both. Around the edge is the Libertarian Party, but history shows conclusively that third parties have not been other than mischievous, pulling votes from one party or the other, sometimes, as in 2000, with a direct impact on results, but usually to no effect whatsoever. Who awarded the Democratic and Republican Parties this plum assignment of … Read more of this post . . .

Confessions of a Self-Hating Liberal? Not Quite.


By James A. Kidney

Most candidates on the GOP side of this presidential campaign — at least, all of those who seem to have a realistic chance at winning the nomination — bring with them nightmarish visions of impulsive nuclear holocaust, indentured servitude to oligarchic multi-national employers, mass deportation, continued assault on government and unlimited financial rewards-for-nothing to the one percent.

Hoorah for liberals!  We are uniters.  We are lovers.  We hate no one.

But we love no one more than ourselves.  We are, after all, the most tolerant, the most kind, the most sharing. All should flock to our banners.  Our common sense and compassion are obvious.

You know who liberals are, don’t you?  They are you and me.  They are white people who are well-off, well-educated and focused on almost anyone but folks who have lost their jobs in manufacturing, mining and other industries, mostly located between the East and West Coasts.

That is the area also derisively known as “flyover country.”

Who Liberals Love — and Who They Don’t

A good liberal loves to show tolerance for anyone who is “different” from his or her own identity group, especially if the difference is an easily identified one.  Liberals want to help such groups, preferably by singling out their needs as the most pressing for the entire country and to ravish attention upon these needs by asking everyone else to concede to the rightness of the liberals’ chosen cause.

Once this call for tolerance and policies promoting inclusion was pretty much limited to groups with a history of racial oppression.  In the last 20 or 30 years, liberals have also included gender, disability (mental or physical) and other categories in their pantheon of hand-wringing concern.  Now, a good liberal (including me), wants to help the refugees of wars started by us.  Those people aren’t even Americans!

Read more of this post . . .Confessions of a Self-Hating Liberal? Not Quite.

Primary and Caucus Bits & Pieces

By James A. Kidney

Some miscellany on the current news ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

The bottom line, especially if you are tired of the nominating campaigns before the first votes are cast, is that there is a very good chance the whole thing will be decided in eight weeks or less.  (You can find a more pessimistic view here.)  Here are some fact-based observations below.

Here is a calendar of the primaries and caucuses in spreadsheet format for your use.

Why is Iowa Important to Republicans?  It Shouldn’t Be

It is a quadrennial surprise that Republicans give so much attention to the Iowa caucus.  The winner hardly ever becomes the party’s nominee.  Recent winners are Rick Santorum (2012), Mike Huckabee (2008), George W. Bush (2000 – there was no 2004 caucus since Bush was unopposed), Bob Dole (1996 and 1988 – there was no 1992 caucus since George H.W. Bush ran unopposed) and 1980 (George H.W. Bush).  So out of six GOP caucuses since 1980, Iowa voted for the winner only twice.  That’s only .333 percent – a good baseball average, but not a great prediction average.

By Barry Blitt
By Barry Blitt

The caucus is a better predictor of the Democratic nominee.  Obama won the 2008 caucus, amazing the political establishment that year and giving his candidacy instant credibility. Eventual nominees John Kerry and Al Gore won in 2004 and 2000, respectively.  But Tom Harkin ran away with the 1992 caucus (Clinton was fourth) and Dick Gephardt in 1988 (Dukakis was third).  Incumbent Jimmy Carter won in 1980, beating out Ted Kennedy by 28 percentage points.  So the caucus predicted the nominee in four out of six races.  That’s twice as steady as on the Republican side.

Candidates of both parties are inspired by Carter’s out-of-nowhere near-victory in 1976 (“uncommitted” beat him 37.2 to 27.6 per cent, but he doubled number three Birch Bayh’s vote).

 

These results demonstrate how Iowa is an infectious disease for Republicans, often voting for candidates with no national following, but doing better byt Democrats.  The reason is easy to explain:  Republicans in Iowa are rock-ribbed, with many of them also fundamentalist right wing.  Santorum and Huckabee, and perhaps Ted Cruz in 2016, are quite appealing to this base.  Jimmy Carter won much of the religious support in 1976, when the strongly religious and Republicans were not so closely identified with each other as they are today.  Democrats in Iowa, though nearly all white, align more closely with Democrats across the country, especially those residing in the state’s larger cities and towns.

The clear differences in party constituencies make Iowa a perennial purple or swing state in November.

Read more of this post . . .Primary and Caucus Bits & Pieces

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