Friday, September 17, 2010

Tom Tancredo Creates Sanctuary City, Sally Morris Disappears

David Brooks
Paul Krugman
Kirsten Powers
Bob Shrum
"Many of my liberal friends are convinced that the Republican Party has a death wish. It is sprinting to the right-most fever swamps of American life. It will end up alienating the moderate voters it needs to win elections.There’s only one problem with this theory. There is no evidence to support it." - David Brooks
"How did we get to this point? The proximate answer lies in the tactics the Bush administration used to push through tax cuts. The deeper answer lies in the radicalization of the Republican Party, its transformation into a movement willing to put the economy and the nation at risk for the sake of partisan victory." - Paul Krugman
"Every Tea Party candidate has been variously described as crazy, stupid, and on track to destroy America, if elected. Funny, that’s pretty much what was said about Barry Goldwater and his followers by the establishment. And yet, that didn’t stop him from reshaping the Republican Party and laying the groundwork for the Reagan Revolution." - Kirsten Powers
"The people who most revile President Obama — and the Republican leaders who enlisted them only to see their party hijacked by them — may assure an Obama re-election." - Bob Shrum

I like selecting quotes from the pundits I link to, as if they were having a conversation among themselves. Today we are talking about the results of the recent primaries, where tea party sympathetic candidates have won eight elections. That these people are seen as idiosyncratic characters espousing ideas that are farther to the right than Attila the Hun, provides the much needed and often under-rated entertainment value to the midterm elections. Unfortunately, for candidates like Sharron Angle, handlers came in and gave her a makeover, telling her what to say and where to say it, what to wear, even re-doing her website to make it more bland and less feisty.

Here in Colorado, conservative wonks are trying to use Dan Maes as a pawn, using his loner instincts and amateurish campaign to make him look ridiculous. He doesn't need their help; after lying about his past to make his resume look sexier, and then posting that lie on his web site, the GOP bigwigs are telling the voters that it is OK to vote outside of the Republican Party, because at least Tom Tancredo is a real conservative.

But Tom is really a self-serving opportunist who was too cowardly to battle against McInnis in the GOP primary, and he immediately jumped ship when he found that he could manipulate the spineless Constitution Party to make him their candidate. And no matter how often Tancredo whines that Denver is a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants in the best Karl Rovian manner, he fails to see that the word immigration no longer has such a fear factor among the electorate. Headless bodies are not showing up on the streets of Denver or in the fields of Colorado.

Local radio pundit and columnist for the Denver Post. Mike Rosen, published an embarrassing Politics For Dummies screed in yesterday paper. In it he describes the two major parties as containing these coalitions in the most cliche-ridden, lame-assed way: "The Republican coalition is an alliance of conservatives, middle- and upper-income taxpayers (but not leftist Hollywood millionaires and George Soros), individualists who prefer limited government, those who are pro-market and pro-business, believers in American exceptionalism and a strong national defense, social-issues conservatives and supporters of traditional American values.

The Democratic coalition includes guilt-ridden liberals, collectivists, labor unions, government workers, leftist academics, plaintiffs-lawyers, lower- and middle-income net tax-receivers, identity-politics minorities, feminists, gays, enviros, nannyists, and activists for assorted anti-gun, anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-military and world-government causes." Its definitions like these that drive people like myself batty enough to leave the Repubs in disgust and become Independents, Mike. Unfortunately, Mr one-trick pony Tancredo has picked up more support after this was published.

For myself, character does matter. I want to elect someone who is a bit naive and idealistic, not such a professional cynic, who will fight more for an ideal than to go along and take marching orders from above, and it doesn't matter if they are Republican, Democratic, or Independent. Although I get a kick out of Rand Paul (Hey, what kind of father names his kid after a conservative think tank? Guess if there were another brother, he would be named Cato?), I don't want someone as far out in the ozone to represent me. Since the tea partyers are first turning their anger on their fellow conservatives, maybe it would be wise to let them get elected to Congress and play their hand out. Two years won't hurt us much, it will only prolong the recession and joblessness, but once people realize that the wacko ideas don't work once exposed to real life problems, we will have gotten that particular catharsis out of our system and get back to finding pragmatic, moderate solutions... The attitudes of the so-called tea party reminds me of a joke, that they could be construed as the meter maids of politics, because as we all know, meter maids eat their young...

What a strange world we live in, all of this hateful banter back and forth with the Muslim world. I know that many people are scared of clowns, but it also appears that many Muslims are afraid of cartoonists. First, we had death threats against a Dutch cartoonist, ending with a couple of American women who were arrested while plotting to kill the cartoonist to prove how devout their conversion to Islam was. Now, we have a Seattle cartoonist who had to move, and change her name because of death threats from Islamic extremists: "A U.S. cartoonist who proposed an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” last spring went into a hiding after receiving threats from Islamic extremists, U.S. media reported. Molly Norris, from Seatle, went into hiding and changed her name and her identity with the help of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Ms Norris was "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity," the Seattle Weekly reported. "She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program," it said."

Is this any different from the death threats that Barack Obama receives daily, or from the threats that almost every public figure gets from time to time? I'd like to say that education is the solution, but we have as many angry people who are college graduates in the US, and who knows if the Muslim death threats are not coming from the middle class of Saudi Arabia, or Nigeria, or Egypt? I would be so bold as to put forth that the practice of meditation in a religious belief produces tolerance, clarity of thought, and a cooler heart. If more Christian churches and Muslim communities practiced meditation regularly, then we would have more respect for each other's religions, and there would be no burning of holy books or disparaging of prophets.

On the other hand, the Western tradition of poking fun at our beliefs has never caught on in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East. There has never been a Pakistani Lenny Bruce or an Iraqi version of the Daily Show. There are jokes, and one of the cleverest and funny people I have ever met is Iranian, and there is the tradition of Mullah Nasrudin stories that pokes holes in the fabric of organized Islam. With their traditions of strong, autocratic leaders, to make fun of them is to be put in jail or forfeit your life, and that attitude translates to the prophet Mohammed, who never allowed images of himself to be propagated for idolatry.



"The lady contributed to Mulla Nasrudin on crutches, but could not resist the temptation to preach to him. "It must be terrible to be lame," she said, "but think how much worse it is to be blind."


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