American Politics Ever to the Right

Statue of LibertyAccording to The Hill yesterday evening, House Lawmakers Pull Immigration to the Right. That’s to be expected. As Idaho Republican Raul Labrador notes, “[There’re] a lot of things in the Senate bill that are right, but the reality is that the Senate is controlled by Democrats and the House is controlled by Republicans, and what you’re going to see out of the House is probably a more Republican bill.” There’s no problem with that thinking at all!

And that’s why it is so important for the Democratically controlled Senate to produce bills that maybe kind of sort of just a wee bit liberal. Instead, the Senate’s great compromise is that undocumented residents will be able to become citizens in a minimum of 13 years—that’s eight years of temporary legal status before they can get a Green Card. Compare that to conservative icon Ronald Reagan’s law: 18 months. Is this what we are supposed to think is a great liberal proposal? It isn’t even an acceptable liberal compromise. And that’s not even including all of the other right wing pro-business aspects of the bill.

But naturally, the House bill will have to be worse. According to The Hill, it will require 15 years. And remember, this is coming from a bipartisan group. What finally gets out of the House will be even worse. How about 25 years? 50 years? The maximum age that a human can live seems to be 124. So why not make it 125 years?! In fact, that would be perfect for Congress. They could pass a bill that doesn’t do a thing and still claim that they are doing something. A win-win!

Perhaps some day the Democratic Party will learn that if they put forward a proposal for a 3-year path to Green Card (which they could correctly argue is twice Reagan’s law), they might have ended up with a 5-year path. “But the Senate had to get past a filibuster!” Well whose fault is that? Regardless, even if they can’t pass legislation, the Democratic Party has to stand up and say, “We are for reasonable policies.” As long as they hurry to meet the Republicans in the middle, the conversation just moves further and further to the right.

And that’s how we got to this place. We need to get back to where we were in 1970 (at least). And we won’t get there by moving inch by inch to the right.

Yes Virginia, Obama Hates You

Obama NopeLast night, Obama was speaking to a group of wealthy donors. Unlike Republican politicians, Obama did not tell them what they wanted to hear. Instead, he told them, “Occasionally I may make some of you angry because I’m going to reach out to Republicans, and I’m going to keep on doing it. Even if some of you think I’m a sap, I’m going to keep on doing it because that’s what I think the country needs.” He also said, “Whatever our political differences, President Bush loves this country and loves its people and shares that same concern.” Let me put this into perspective.

When Romney was talking to his donors, he told them they were everything that is good about America and that people vote for Obama because they’re welfare scum who are just looking for a handout. In other words: pander to your base and attack the other side.

Obama’s strategy is different: tell your base you don’t care what they think and compliment the other side. This is, of course, nothing new. My favorite political slogan (which I think is quite true) is, “Republicans fear their base and Democrats hate their base.”

Obama doesn’t call us “fucking retarded” but he clearly does hate us and all our demands for liberal policy.

Low Expectation of Hillman Foundation

Sidney Hillman FoundationThe Sidney Hillman Foundation is a liberal organization that gives out prizes that honor “journalists who pursue investigative reporting and deep storytelling in service of the common good.” So what did they do? They gave a prize to Andrew Sullivan who is (1) a conservative, (2) not a journalist, and (3) does no reporting or deep storytelling. It is a scandal.

Back in January, Eric Alterman provided an excellent rundown of his career, The ‘Sully’-ing of American Journalism. He points out some of the people Sullivan has championed. First, there are the plagiarizers Stephen Glass and Ruth Shalit. Then there is the totally dishonest creator of the “death panel” myth, Elizabeth McCaughey. But best (worst) of all, there is racist and eugenicist Charles Murray.

More than this though, Sullivan was a neocon when it mattered and was considered “cool.” He was not only a big proponent for our unfortunate wars, he was very big on calling anyone who disagreed a traitor. He suggested that “the decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts” would constitute a fifth column in our noble fight against the vaguely defined bad guys of the world.

So why would Hillman give him an award? They claim it is for this tireless work promoting gay rights but they note that he’s been a strong supporter of President Obama. Obviously, support of the president isn’t necessarily liberal; it’s just not crazy. I will yield the point: Andrew Sullivan is not crazy. As for this work to promote gay rights, so what? This is just the Rob Portman effect. Sullivan is gay. He thus supports gay rights. Does this justify looking past everything he has stood for his entire career? Hillman thinks so:

For courage and constancy in the struggle for marriage equality, for the defense and advocacy of humane values, and for imagination and creativity at the digital cutting edge, we honor Andrew Sullivan and The Dish with the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism.

This is so sad. If there is one political issue I care most about it is this: liberals are bought cheap. We think getting a middle of the road president is a victory. Sullivan is indeed what we often accept as a liberal: someone who has socially liberal beliefs. But as I noted yesterday regarding healthcare, Sullivan is and remains a conservative. He says so himself. The Hillman Foundation clearly suffers from the liberal disease of low expectations.

Good Night, and Good Luck

Edward R. MurrowKing Edward II was born on this day in 1284. It is not known if he was really gay, but Christopher Marlowe certainly thought he was. His play is excellent, and the only reason I’ve even included the king today. Villain or hero Oliver Cromwell (I lean more toward hero) was born in 1599. The great physicist Wolfgang Pauli was born in 1900. I would have featured him today but I did Max Planck just the other day. Too many AustrioGerman theoretical physicists! Ella Fitzgerald was born in 1917. Blues guitarist Albert King was born in 1923. And songwriter Jerry Leiber was born in 1933.

Director Paul Mazursky is 83 today. Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon is 82. With a name like that, he ought to be a blues man. Al Pacino is 73. Idiot pundit Dinesh D’Souza is 52. Hank Azaria is 49. And Renee Zellweger is 44.

The day belongs to Edward R. Murrow who was born in 1908. I don’t know much about him. All I know about him is from watching Good Night, and Good Luck. Well, I know a bit more. He was a great man. Too bad about the smoking, which took his life at 57.


Here’s one of Leiber’s songs (co-written as always):