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Biting the Ears Off the Race

The likely presidential nominee for the Republican party has proudly accepted the endorsement of a convicted rapist, the disgraced boxer Mike Tyson, gloating that “You know, all the tough guys endorse me.” This outrage du jour from the Donald J. Trump campaign won’t give any pause to his so-loyal-he-could-shoot-someone supporters, but we wonder how it will play with a majority-female general electorate that last time around was persuaded the far more gentlemanly Republican nominee was waging a “War on women” because he spoke of the “binders full of women” he had perused in a good faith effort to make sure the state of Massachusetts was being fair in its hiring practices.
This time around the likely Republican nominee has two cheated-on and thoroughly screwed-over ex-wives, a long and undeniable history of making outrageously sexist comments, ran strip clubs and beauty pageants, and clearly relishes the resulting sexist pig public image that already has him scoring disastrous disapproval ratings among women in every public opinion poll, so the Democrats’ work should be all the easier this time around. We’d like to think that a candidate’s praise of a convicted rapist and disgraced boxer who took two bites out of an opponent’s ears would even harm his chances of securing the Republican nomination, but this time around our party in in such a mood that at least a winning plurality will mouth the slogan that “at least he fights.”
Trump’s Nixon-era dirty trickster surrogate Roger Stone took time out from threatening any anti-Trump delegates with a visit to their convention hotel rooms and “tweeting” out racist bile to send a “tweet” suggesting that any criticism of Trump’s longstanding friendship with the convicted black of rapist of a black woman is somehow racist, and even Trump’s many proudly racist supporters will surely agree, but it seems unlikely to win over many black voters of either sex in the general election. Trump is still on the record calling for the execution of some black teens who were wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in Central Park some years ago, and the guy who boasts that he never settles a suit did settle a suit with the Justice Department over his racist rental policies some years ago, and although the Democrats always charge the Republic with racism their work will be all the easier this time around.
Trump’s so loyal-he-could-shoot-someone supporters seem to like the idea of the kind of tough guy that won’t take no for an answer and is willing to bite an opponent’s ear off, but they should remember that Tyson lost that fight to the nicer-but-tougher Evander Holyfield, and that during his stay in prison for a rape that he quite clearly did commit no matter how famous he was he got a tattoo of Mao Tse Tung on arm as well as that weird monstrosity that mars his already ugly face, and signed on the Louis Farrakhan and all sorts of other abominable ideas, and that his endorsement is nothing to be proud of.

— Bud Norman

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The Divided States of America

Once upon a time a little-known state senator from Illinois gave a speech to the Democratic National Convention and wowed the delegates with a speech that famously declared “There’s not a black America and a white America and a Latino America and an Asian America, there’s the United States of America.” So stirring was his unifying rhetoric that the obscure state senator was elected President of the United States just four years later, and six years into his presidency the country seems more racially divided than at in any time in recent memory.
Take a close look at the polls around the country and you’ll quickly notice the glaring racial gaps. There’s a tight Senate race in Georgia partly because the Democrat is heiress to a political dynasty dating back to the days when that state was among her segregationist party’s solid south but mostly because she now somehow has the support of 84 percent of black voters to bolster her meager 23 percent support among whites. Another close race in North Carolina has the Democrat running neck-to-neck because she’s adding 87 percent of the black voters to her 30 percent share of the white vote. In Arkansas the Democrat is running behind with only 77 percent of the black vote added to the usual 30 percent of the white vote. The Democrat in Louisiana is behind her race because a mere 65 percent of the black vote is insufficient to make up here 20 percent support among whites. In California the incumbent Democratic governor is currently losing a majority of the white vote, but seems destined to roll to re-election on the basis of strong support from black and Latino voters. The same racial and ethnic disparities are apparent in states and districts where the minority vote is less consequential to the outcome of the elections, but even there the implications for racial comity between groups with such distinctly different preferences about how to be governed are not at all encouraging.
Various explanation for this racial divide have been offered, and one can choose among them according to his ideological preference. Democrats will insist that the federal government has not only been the guarantor of minority civil rights but also their political and economic benefactor, and that a minority of whites bravely willing to relinquish their historically privileged position provides the democratic majority needed to continues that government’s relentless expansion. Republicans will argue that the relentless expansion of government threatens individual liberty and the economic and cultural dynamism it creates, and when the vast majority of minority inevitably reject this arguments the few racists remaining among the conservatives will claim vindication for their belief that only white men are equal to the harsh demands of liberty. No matter the outcome of those close races, race relations will be further strained.
In the past several election cycles the Democrats have also benefited from a “gender gap” that saw the Republicans’ significant advantage among male voters overwhelmed by an ever more significant disadvantage among women voters, but those nagging poll numbers suggest that this time around the Republicans are still winning with men and have recently gained parity or even a small edge with women. The always implausible claim that Republicans are waging a “war on women” provoked laughter from the audience at a recent upstate New York congressional debate and have led Colorado’s Democratic Senate nominee Mark Udall to be widely known as “Mark Uterus,” and pre-feminist levels of female participation in the workforce workforce and other unsettling economic facts have caused many women to question the Democratic party’s solutions to their problems and consider the possibility that both sexes have an equal stake in increasing economic opportunities through free market solutions, so the Democrats have resorted to ever more incendiary methods to increase their racial advantage. In key states where the minority vote can be decisive the Democrats are raising the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, despite the evidence widely reported by usually supportive press outlets that the policeman acted in self-denfese, and Republican efforts to prevent voter fraud with photo identification requirements and other common-sense reforms are offered as further proof of the Republican party’s racism. These efforts are also likely to exacerbate America’s racial tensions, but staving off an expected Republican landslide in next weeks mid-term election is apparently a higher priority than unifying rhetoric.
This  stark disagreement between the races about how America should be governed won’t end with the mid-terms, and will probably be worsened. Republican majorities in the Senate and House will be all the more resistant to the policies that are proposed as righteous retribution to the country’s racial minorities, congressional Democrats who survive the white backlash will be emboldened to make more explicitly racialist appeals to non-white voters, and the free-market and free-individual reforms that would benefit everyone be more unlikely to happen.
The next presidential election will afford an opportunity for the Republicans to make their limited government appeals to groups that have disproportionately benefited from the relentless expansion of government, and we hope they’ll take full advantage. The pitch won’t alienate many whites, and we’re hopeful it will appeal to the self-reliant and freedom-loving non-white people that we resolutely believe are out there. Sooner or later the Democrats’ uneasy coalition of blacks and Latinos will begin squabbling over their unavoidable economic and political competitions, women will realize their fortunes are tied to the same economic conditions that affect men, and a policy of neutrality rather than preference will prove the only viable option. In the past several election cycles there has been a spate of stories about how the Republicans’ need to reach out women and racial minorities to remain competitive, but if the conventional wisdom holds up a week from now there will be stories about how the Democrats need to address their problem with white men, and to the event that limited government and increased individual liberty are a white male thing that will be good.

— Bud Norman

Happy Equal Pay Day

Tuesday was “Equal Pay Day,” by presidential proclamation, but we did not mark the occasion an appropriate observance. By habit we try not to pay anybody for anything, and on those occasions when we find it unavoidable we seem to wind up shelling out at least as much to women as to men, so there was no opportunity to address the sexist economic inequality that the president hoped to address with the holiday. We could have baked a cake, we suppose, but at the moment we don’t know any sufficiently put-upon women in need of the gift.
Still, we enjoyed watching the president make a fool of himself with his ostentatiously designated day. The day was so designated as a way to hype the president’s signing of an executive order to address a supposed gap in the pay between women and men, as the distaff side is supposedly making only 77 centers for every dollar earned by the more brutish sex, but even the ost reliably news outlets were disinclined to play along.
That hackneyed 77 cents statistic has been thoroughly debunked, for one thing, by numerous commonsensical economists who immediately noticed that it does not take into account the typically longer years that tend to be worked by men or the other relevant factors. Worse yet, the White House’s hapless spokespeople were forced to admit as mud when even the likes of The New York Times and The Cable News Network were asking about an American Enterprise Institute study that found the White House was paying its women only 88 cents to the dollar earned by its is menfolk. The sputtering responses are priceless bits of political humor, and probably not at all what the president intended.

They could boast that least they were better than that nasty old private sector, but the stench of hypocrisy was still easily divisible. The president had earlier given a speech about how the pay gap is “not a myth, it’s math,” but underlings with the unenviable chore of answering questions couldn’t rely on such catchy turns of phrase. The same math that yields the 77 percent figure for the economy at large yields the 88 percent figure for the White House, leaving the press secretary to protest that you need to take into account all those other factors that render the 77 percent figure absurd.

All of this was impolitely acknowledged even in the mainstream news reports, where it was also noted how neatly it plays into the “Republicans’ War on Women” theme that has served the Democratic party in recent years, but we’d like to get a few more far-right kicks in. It should be noted that sexual discrimination in pay has been illegal since Mary Richards griped about it to Lou Grant on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” way back in the ’70s, and that the president’s bold executive order does little more than nibble at the edges of the statute of limitations on job-killing lawsuits. Any put-upon women in need of our cakes already have plenty of legal recourses.

— Bud Norman

Hooray for Hobby Lobby

None of our hobbies require the kinds of materials that are sold by the Hobby Lobby chain, and thus we have never so much as entered one of its stores, but it has nonetheless joined Koch Industries and the Wham-O Corporation as one of our favorite companies.
Hobby Lobby enjoys a stellar reputation for the quality and value of its goods, and by all accounts treats is customers and workers according to the highest standards of business ethics, but the reason for our newfound enthusiasm is the company’s legal challenge to one of the more appalling provisions of Obamacare. The widely hated health care reform law dictates that all companies provide insurance covering abortifacients to their employees, and the same Christian convictions that cause Hobby Lobby’s ownership to treat its customers and employees by the highest standards of business ethics also oppose any form of abortion, so the company has boldly vowed to take its conscientious objections all the way to the Supreme Court.
Even the most administration-friendly media are expecting Hobby Lobby to prevail, and we hope they are right. Compelling people with a moral revulsion to abortion is tyranny, as well as an absurd contradiction of the left’s self-righteous claim of being “pro-choice,” and if it is allowable within the constitution it is impossible to conceive what is not. The Supreme Court has already decreed that a constitution clearly intended to impose restraints on government power does not restrain the government from forcing individuals to purchase insurance they do not want or need, and if anyone engaged in commerce can be compelled to act against his conscience there are no limits.
An administration bent on enforcing the most disastrous provisions of its signature legislative accomplishment, except the ones that are most likely to hamper its party’s chances in the next election cycle, will expect to reap political advantage from its totalitarian power-grab. They’ll cite the case as an example of the opposition’s “war on women” to strengthen a grip on the young and unmarried women’s vote, portraying Hobby Lobby as a corporate villain working in cahoots with blue-nosed and moustache-twirling Republicans intent on inhibiting the consequence-free sex lives of the more hip-and-up-to-date segments of modern society, and they’ll no doubt find a susceptible audience among the younger female cohort. So far as we can tell Hobby Lobby has no rules regarding its employee’s sexual dabblings, save for a refusal to pay for its outcomes, but this will be of little matter to women who regard federal subsidies for their already affordable contraception expenses a natural right. We constantly assure our distaff Democrat friends how ardently we desire to live in a society where their sexual practices and contraception needs are none of our damn business, but they continue to insist that it be a matter of public policy.
Hobby Lobby’s admirably pro-choice position deserves support, and we’re almost tempted to take up scrapbooking as a pastime so we’ll have reason to patronize their business.

— Bud Norman

How to Handle a Woman

New York City’s municipal election isn’t the only naughty sex comedy on the political stage. Out in San Diego the mayor seems determined to demonstrate that the politicians on west coast can be just as tawdry as those back east.
Mayor Bob Filner has made comments to countless women that are so far beyond even contemporary standards of public decorum that feminists such as attorney Gloria Allred are calling for his resignation, which takes some doing some considering that Filner is a Democrat. Anthony Weiner, who resigned from his congressional seat after lewd photos of himself that he had sent to various surfaced and is now being pressed to resign from New York City’s mayoral race because he kept sending even lewder photos after his resignation, and Elliott Spitzer, who was forced to resign from New York’s governorship because of his penchant for prostitutes but somehow still leads in the race for New York City comptroller, are also Democrats.
We mention these men’s party affiliation not because Republicans would never engage in such crude behavior, but rather because it is always so prominently mentioned in media reports when they do. Weiner’s unfortunate name and the high office he seeks have combined to force more media coverage that his deeds would ordinarily merit, but Spitzer’s whore-mongering past has gone largely unremarked, and there’s a suspicion that Filner’s misdeeds have been getting attention because San Diego is one of the last bastions of California Republicanism, but in none of these cases have the media been quite so gleefully outraged as they surely would be if it they were all in on a Grand Old Party. There’s certainly been no attempt to tie the scandals together into proof of some party-wide pathology, which would surely be the case if they were Republicans.
Several journalists of our acquaintance freely admit the double standard but contend that it is proper, explaining that Republicans deserve the extra scrutiny and scorn because their party presents itself as the defenders of old-fashioned “family values.” Why the Democrats should enjoy a get-out-of-scandal card because they don’t even pretend to have any standards of personal behavior is never made clear, but in any case the argument has long outlived any truth it might have. Republicans rarely push the “family values” slogan these days, being more concerned with keeping the country from insolvency and other economic concerns, while the Democrats consistently accuse their opponents of misogyny and tout themselves as the defenders of womanhood.
Such hypocrisy is more galling than that of the misbehaving Republicans. the most Bible-thumping politician who gets caught with his pants down isn’t trying to make religion compulsory, but the silly sensitivity-training workshops that the average private sector worker endures and the civil liability laws that inspired them have been imposed by the Democratic party with the force of government. These laws and the new rules of sexless behavior have done some good, and the officious way they are often enforced has done some harm, but certainly the political that is responsible should be held to the same rules.
Those rules were dispensed with entirely for the benefit of Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and assorted other sexual miscreants whose stands on behalf of women’s rights were said to justify their behavior, so the occasional Democratic criticisms of Filner, Weiner, and Spitzer represent a welcome development. More pushback will be needed, though, if the Democrats want to revive their campaign theme of Republican “war on women” without looking ridiculous.

— Bud Norman

Sexual Counter-Revolutionaries

We rarely look to Raquel Welch for political insights, and more often to look to her for other reasons, but the famously voluptuous actress recently offered an observation that explains a great deal about some recent controversies. She told an interviewer that “I think we’ve gotten to the point in our culture where we’re all sex addicts, literally. We have equated happiness in life with as many orgasms as you can possibly pack in, regardless of where it is that you deposit your love interest.”

The interview appeared in Men’s Health, a publication not ordinarily on our reading list, but we happened upon it while checking the Drudge Report for the latest news about the Republican party’s war on women. Sure enough, there was a headline announcing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s charge that “Extremists ‘Want to Control Women,’” but the picture of Welch, still a 50 megaton sex bomb at the age of 72, caused us to temporarily interrupt our research and indulge in the interview. We simply couldn’t control ourselves.

When we returned to the more serious fare, we found Clinton boasting that she has “made women a cornerstone of American foreign policy,” and instructed her diplomats to “partner with women to find ways to engage and build on their unique strengths.” In the same speech to the “Women in the World Summit” in New York City, Clinton compared the plight of women in countries such as Tunisia, where “extremists will try to strip their rights, curb their participation, limit their ability to make choices for themselves … They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies,” to the plight of women in America, adding that “Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example to the entire world.”

We have no idea what Clinton was talking about when she alleged a conspiracy to control how women dress and act, unless she’s talking about the fashion industry and Hollywood, which are not Republican strongholds, but we assume that the part about women’s health and bodies is a reference to the recent contraception coverage flap. The Democrats want every worker’s health insurance to pay for contraception, even if they work for a religious institution opposed to the practice, and the Republicans’ reluctance to go along with this plan is being called an act of war on women.

It is indeed hard to believe that American women who have to pay for their own contraception are quite so oppressed as the women of the Middle East, where forced marriages, genital mutilation, honor killings, and similar outrages are commonplace, but many people will no doubt believe it nonetheless. Not a single person we are aware of has advocated banning contraceptives, and we note that Clinton could not identify who “they” are, but no matter. Simply by declining to pay for another person’s contraception the Republicans have once again demonstrated what sexually repressed moralists they are, and it will be easy for the more fervent imaginations of the left to see it as the first step towards a nightmare dystopia of enforced pre-marital chastity and compulsory motherhood.

Why this constitutes a war on women is unclear, however, because it has been our observation that men are at least as avid about contraception and the sexual license it affords. The Democrats apparently regard it as good politics to be seen as the party of women’s rights rather than the party of do-it-in-the-road libertinism, but they might be missing a bet by not broadening their appeal. We suspect that a presidential candidate whose stump speech was Rodney Dangerfield’s famous closing lines in “Caddyshack,” promising the cheering crowd that “We’re all gonna get laid tonight,” would do quite well in modern America.

Much of liberalism’s current popularity, especially among the young, is based on its loving embrace of what no less a liberal than Ralph Nader once called “gonadal issues.” While the left is quite comfortable with the government telling people what kind of light bulbs to use, what health insurance to buy, what to pack in a child’s lunch bag, and any number of choices that were once left to individual men and women, they’ll always stand steadfast against any restrictions on sexual behavior. For many people, especially the young, sexual freedom is the most important kind. The economy sputters, gas prices rise, another trillion is added to the national debt, but at least the Democrats aren’t going to keep you from getting any action.

Neither are the Republicans, of course, but neither will they contribute to your expenses, and that’s likely to cost them a few votes. It might win them a few more, though, because there’s still a constituency for a more genteel sexual sensibility, or at least one that doesn’t become a burden on the taxpayers. Even Raquel Welch, who has done as much as anyone to promote interest in sex, declared in her recent interview that “I don’t care if I’m becoming one of those old fogies who says, ‘Back in my day we didn’t have to hear about sex all the time.’”

Bravo, Miss Welch. Let us hear less about sex, and more about the economy, gas prices, the national debt and other titillating topics.

— Bud Norman