November 2012

Man, was that a great election or what.  And I have to admit, now that it’s all over, now that even the sour grapes hand-wringing from the Republicans is petering out, it’s been a bit of a coming down.  I’m going to miss the excitement and the celebration.  Most of my friends are relieved that the insanity is over, but I’m totally guilty of loving campaign season.

What are we left with now?  The fiscal cliff.  John McCain’s disjointed rantings in the halls of Congress.  The usual sex scandal.

I guess this is when the real work starts again and the real problems get handled, so I won’t complain.  But much like Mitt, I’m feeling a bit dishevelled and hungover these days.  2012 forever!


I’m back at work after Thanksgiving break and that can only mean one thing…listening to Glenn Beck in the morning for amusement.  This week, Beck went on for a while about how wonderful and peace-loving his followers are.  He recounted an anecdote about a book signing at which he was protested by mean-spirited, table-climbing Occupy radicals–and in response, his supporters sang Christmas carols.  He talked about how the liberal media will smear them and say they are horrible, when in reality, these are the good people.

I spent quite a bit of time after election night on The Blaze, Beck’s online forum, so something about this didn’t sound right to me.  And lo and behold, here are some quotes from Glenn’s peaceful fans:

“This country or at least half the people in it are a lost cause.  It doesn’t matter who wins at this point if we are forced to live with these vermin.  It’s time we start eliminating them now.”

“I for one will no longer give to charity in the event that my money would ever help someone who voted for Obama or worse someone who didn’t get off their lazy azz to go vote or decided that it didn’t matter.”

“I like Rush’s idea:  kick all of the Liberals out of the West Coast (and shoot them if they try to come back)”

“I’ve lost all faith in america I hope she burns”

“May the coming nuclear strikes hit the big blue cities.”

“Enjoy your trip to the concentration camp and don’t ask for my help, I voted for the American.”

About Californians:  “I don’t want to sound crazy, but why does it seem like they need to be contained or eradicated to control their disastrous spread.”

About libertarians:  “We might as well have shot them all to death.”

“Oh yeah, New York and New Jersey…have fun with the noreaster.  I hope you all freeze.  I hope the rats eat your children while they spread the plague to the dim-witted adults who for years have embraced left-wing politicians that have made your states the disasters they are.”

“I hope you’re regulars at soup kitchens because money troubles wrent your families apart.”

“I hope that Obama gets cancer.”

Ah yes, these are the good folks.  Now, I get that not everyone on The Blaze acts this way, but every discussion thread I went to on this site included multiple comments either threatening violence or wishing suffering and a slow death to those with opposing political views.  And these are the people I’m supposed to go to for Christian love…?

Links to the discussions I’ve culled these quotes from, if you’re brave enough:  here, here, here, here and here.


After the Republicans got their butts kicked in the election, they were supposed to search their souls and re-examine their message, or so we were told.  After all, a lot of voters had clearly found that message unattractive.  But while the GOP leadership has made some noises about changing course, that’s not the reaction I’ve seen so far from the conservative rank and file.  Rather than ask “Why don’t the voters like us?” they’ve been busy discussing the many reasons why they don’t like the voters.  Or voting, for that matter–at least, not too much of it.

Women were understandably repulsed by the bizarro Republican stances on issues like rape and contraceptives.  So now I’m hearing the familiar chorus of voices suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, it had been better if we had never given women the right to vote.  And this chorus includes some Tea Party women, who think their fellow females are simply not smart enough to vote correctly.  As far as I know, nobody’s been so dumb as to make the same type of comment about African-Americans and their voting rights, but Paul Ryan did mention those pesky “urban districts” and their high turnout this year.  You can bet that there are Republicans in local governments right now working on figuring out how to make voting even more difficult in those districts by 2016.  And speaking of urban areas, there are lawmakers in places like Ohio trying to change the way electoral votes are apportioned, so that they are divvied up one per congressional district, as opposed to winner take all for the state.  This would benefit more conservative rural areas and strip the cities of their population advantage.  As one angry Glenn Beck fan declared on The Blaze, “We gotta stop letting the blind masses in the cities control our fate!”

Well, it’s easy to see the direction this is going, and it’s not one of deep reflection.  Other lovely right-wing responses to the election results have been “Young people are too stupid to vote!  Let’s raise the voting age back to 21” and “Stop letting all the immigrants in!”  And, of course:  “They’re Takers who want gifts!”  Not a single “Hmmmm, why is it that Americans are not excited about voting for us?”  I suppose that only benefits my side, but it would be nice to have a decent opposition party–it would give me more options.  However, that kind of change would take some soul-searching.

Well, I sure live in exciting times.  The list of states petitioning to secede from the nation has now grown to forty.  And, much to my surprise, my home state of Oregon is on it.  Woot!  Secession party!

But…hold on.  How, exactly, is this going to work?  Oregon is a blue state.  Most of us here voted for President Obama–in fact, almost everyone I know voted for him.  So…where are we going?  I can’t imagine that most Oregonians want to separate themselves from the government they voted for, especially to form a new conservative state they don’t agree with.  Are just the people who signed the petition seceding?  Is a fragment of Oregon going to separate itself from the rest of the state?  I suppose if these are the same crazies who believe in birther conspiracies and legitimate rape, I wouldn’t mind them leaving, but it’s all very confusing.

Oregon isn’t the only place with this problem.  Since the secession list is now up to forty, this naturally means that quite a few states which went Obama on election night are on it, including California, Massachusetts, New York and Washington.  Good luck making that happen.

So I gotta think that the petition signatures were just a gesture of anger by those who don’t like the President, and that the signers knew their action would not really lead to revolution or secession.  It must’ve felt good in the moment, but what was the point?  I doubt that anyone at the White House website cared very much.  But I suppose that an online civil war is preferable to a real one, and I can be grateful for that.

Oh, look.  Somebody isn’t happy with President Obama’s policies.  Specifically, with his and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s education policy.

“This isn’t an education program…. It’s a sorting and killing program, and one we have to stop.”

Sounds pretty extreme.  Is this Glenn Beck ranting again?  Nope.  It’s President Obama’s best friend ever, the left-wing ex-terrorist Bill Ayers.  What else did he have to say about the President’s approach to education?  From the Chicago Maroon article:

He characterized Duncan’s program by three fundamental beliefs:  the idea that education is a market that should be privatized, the view that there is a single metric to measure student intelligence, and anti-union sentiment.

But, but…isn’t President Obama a radical Marxist/Muslim who spent his youth palling around with this guy and blowing up buildings with him?  Privatizing education and anti-union sentiment doesn’t sound very Marxist, does it?  And the President’s Communist friend doesn’t seem very happy with him.  WND and The Blaze have made a big thing out of the fact that Ayers congratulated Obama on his re-election win…but that open letter, again, mostly criticizes the President’s education policy and tries to prompt him to re-examine it.  Not exactly a love letter from a BFF.

Hey, I realize it’s easier–especially after the election didn’t go your way–to go back to portraying the President as a one-dimensional “radical” caricature.  Too bad he keeps failing at being that imaginary person, over and over again.

This edition of election day hijinks is dedicated to Karl Rove, who thinks Obama won due to voter suppression.  (And he suppressed the vote by…saying bad things about his opponent.  I thought this was normally called campaigning?)

It appears there was an online attack on election day in Chicago which shut down the Chicago Board of Elections website–the website voters could use to find out which precinct they needed to go to in order to vote.

From the Chicago Tribune article:

“We are investigating the possibility that our website problems this morning were caused by a malicious attack,” said Langdon Neal, spokesman for the Chicago board of elections. “We were overwhelmed by hits, and we know that a significant portion of them did not come from individual voters asking to find their polling place.”

He said many of the requests appeared to be coming from computer servers.

“We can tell by the way the requests are coming in and the volume….It’s behaving like a computer program and not like people with legitimate questions.”

And an interesting fact from Ezra Klein’s blog in the Washington Post:

Note that 16 percent of Obama voters had to wait longer than thirty minutes to vote Tuesday, versus only 9 percent of Romney voters, according to a survey by Hart Research.

In my own home state of Oregon, an election worker got in trouble for tampering with ballots.  She just so happened to be a Romney supporter and was marking the ballots to invalidate Obama votes.  Fascinating….since I thought the Democrats were the ones encouraging voter fraud.

Add to that the long lines and lack of early voting, most of it suspiciously focused on areas with high levels of Obama support…and the amazing thing is, we still won!  Yeah, we Democrats have been in quite the self-congratulatory mood over the past few days.  But if there was ever a time when we can congratulate ourselves for overcoming the odds, it would be now!


This one goes out to my conservative peeps, and there are a lot of you out there.  You’re my friends and neighbors and co-workers, and while our worldviews are very different, the conservatives I know are decent and responsible, and yeah, even compassionate.

Here’s what I want to say to you:  there’s no reason to freak out this much about the election results.  Democracy isn’t ending.  The world isn’t ending.  Liberal locusts aren’t raining from the sky.  I’m seeing a lot of talk of secession online, which I assume is just bluster meant to cover up hurt egos.  Where exactly are you seceding to?  You and I are stuck with each other in this country, whether we like it or not.

Also?  I know exactly how you’re feeling right now.  I remember hearing the election results back in 2004.  I remember being just as shocked and distraught.  “How could this guy have gotten re-elected?”  But we liberals survived eight years of Bush.  And you’ll survive eight years of Obama.  America has survived far more serious times, including a real civil war.  It has survived far more sweeping and bigger governmental programs being instituted than any Obama has proposed.  And after all the turmoil and change, it’s still America.  And it’s still a democracy.  A democracy which, by the way, worked exactly as intended on Tuesday.

I realize that you won’t believe me no matter how much I say it, but Obama isn’t about to usher in a new Communist era in the United States.  He’s not even progressive enough for most of us progressives.  And if by Communism you mean that weak sauce Republican health care plan which got passed into law instead of single payer, then that is one bizarre idea of Communism.  No, I feel pretty comfortable predicting that America will remain a firmly capitalist society.

And as always, the political process will remain a cycle.  At some point, another Republican President will get elected, and I will feel as if everything is coming to an end.  But that won’t be true, either.  Hang in there and trust me, your day will come again.  Unless you decide to secede before then–and that would just be silly.

So beyond the economy, beyond the contraceptives and bayonets, there is one question on my mind today:

Are we going to go to war again in the next four years?

I know Mitt has not explicitly indicated that he is planning to attack Iran, but with all of the back and forth on his views, how do we know to trust him?  Republicans do seem to enjoy the war thing, and there is a lot of pressure from Israel to help them out with this.

Unless we are directly attacked, I don’t want war with Iran, North Korea or anyone else.  I don’t want anyone I know to be in harm’s way for the sake of our grandstanding around the world.

I’m casting my very first Presidential election vote as a US citizen this year, and it is as much a vote against another war as it is a vote *for* anything.  I don’t actually believe Mitt will be that starkly different from Barack on the economy or social issues.  I even think Mitt is a smart enough politician–and one who wants to get re-elected–not to try to repeal all of healthcare reform.  But I don’t know what to expect from him on the foreign policy front. 

I guess all that is left now is to wait and see what happens.  But I cannot say it enough–your vote really does matter.  It could determine our future in the next few years, maybe even our very survival.  Go vote everybody!

Well, I know what I’ll be doing at midnight EST tomorrow.  I’ll be watching for the voting results from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.  The ten registered voters of the town are the first in the nation to vote at the stroke of midnight.  They will have one minute to cast their ballot, their votes will be counted within a couple minutes, and the results will then be announced to the country.  The Dixville Notchers will do their voting at a ski lodge.  Interestingly, the resort where the voting has usually been held is closed due to being renovated with the assistance of a sizable federal grant–I have no idea whether or not that might influence the results.

In 2008, Dixville Notch voted for Obama fifteen to six–the first time they voted for a Democratic candidate since 1968, according to Richard Wolffe’s “Renegade”.  This year, things sound a bit more dicey.  New Hampshire Republicans appear more fired up about Romney and the Democrats less excited about Obama.  (Also, the population of Dixville Notch has clearly declined–did the younger and more liberal voters move away?)

Early and absentee voting has probably stolen some of the thunder from Dixville Notch’s midnight vote, but I’ll still be waiting to see it.  Let’s face it, I live in a non-swing state on the West Coast, so anything the ten residents of that town do will be more suspenseful than my predictable Barack vote.