Saturday, November 10, 2012

More Saturday Male Beauty

Romney v. Obama By Religious Affiliation

I know it's a continuing theme that I have been on on this blog, but the demise of the Romney/Ryan ticket and many of the GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate tracks directly back to the conscious decision to hang the party's hopes and future on the Christianist and white supremacist base of today's GOP.  As we all know, it backfired in a major way.   Maddow Blog has some interesting data that shows that Romney lost every religious group other than Mormons and evangelical Christians.  Do the math - it is impossible to win the general election if one has written off every other religious segment of the population.  Even the efforts of Catholic bishops to threaten their parishioners with eternal damnation failed to deliver a majority of the Catholic vote.   The GOP has become a sectarian party and it is paying the price for subverting religious freedom for all but the most hard right Christian extremists.  Here are some highlights of the analysis:

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life published a report this week based on exit polling data, and I put together a chart based on its findings.    There's a fair amount of interesting data here, though the results among Roman Catholic voters are arguably the most electorally significant. In every recent cycle, Catholics have been considered a key swing constituency, particularly throughout Midwest battleground states, and President Obama narrowly won their support, 50% to 48%. It suggests Republicans' efforts to focus on contraception and reproductive rights had limited success, and the Bishops' lobbying largely fell on deaf ears.

Also note, while many on the right hoped 2012 would be the year that Jewish voters abandoned Democrats, that didn't come close to happening. 

For the purposes of classification, "Other faiths" became a catch-all for a variety of minority religious traditions -- Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others -- which on their own represent a very small percentage of the voting population. Their support for the GOP remains dismal.

And continue to keep an eye on the religiously unaffiliated -- one of the fastest growing segments of the faith population -- which includes atheists, agnostics, and theists who choose not to associate with any specific tradition. Their lopsided support for Obama reinforces yet another demographic problem for Republicans in the coming years.

[T]here was one curiosity in the results: Romney did slightly worse among Mormon voters this year than George W. Bush did in 2004.

A number of surveys have shown that the so called Christian Right is held in a dim view by a significant majority of voters.  Yet this is precisely the demographic the GOP thought would take it to victory.  It is time that the few sane people in the GOP stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Pundits say Republican Anti-LGBT Rrights Platform Cost Romney Election

Interestingly, two conservative pundits are making the argument that the GOP's anti-gay platform cost Mitt Romney the presidency.  By crunching numbers in certain key states, they argue that had the GOP not nearly completely alienated LGBT voters (not to mention much of the youth vote for the same reason), Mitt Romney would have garnered enough additional votes to swing the election results in those states.  Ohio is a case in point.  One can only hope that the powers that be in the GOP begin to realize that pleasing the Christofascists alienates more voters than it attracts.  With the growing acceptance of gays and gay marriage, the anti-gay platform will be come even more of a loser for the GOP.  If Republican Party truly wants to win at the national level, the first thing they need to do is kick Tony Perkins, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, et al, and the Catholic bishops to the curb. Here are highlights from Gay Star News on this analysis:

Two leading US conservative pundits have suggested that a different Republican stance on LGBT rights could have won them the US presidency.

Fox News contributor Ellen Ratner crunched the numbers and found that if Republican candidate Mitt Romney had managed to garner even 48 percent of the LGBT vote in Ohio he would have carried the key state.

‘Our calculations found that 48 percent of gay voters in Ohio equals 128,742 voters. Or 69,736 more gay voters than Romney actually received,’ Ratner wrote.

‘By our math, if Romney earned 69,736 more votes, he would have totaled 2,654,356 votes, and Obama would've totaled 2,622,125. Therefore, Romney would have won Ohio by 32,231 votes.’  Instead exit polls showed that only 22 percent of LGBT Ohioans had backed the Romney camp.
Ratner’s sentiments were echoed by The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, who wrote that same-sex marriage was ‘a battle that social conservatives have lost.   "That was crystal clear on Nov. 6. Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland handled gay marriage the right way in a democracy — proponents went to the voters, made their case and won the support of a majority of their fellow citizens,’ Rubin wrote.  .   .   .   .  as a national issue there is no other way to put it: The ship has sailed.

‘Conservatives don’t have to like gay marriage. But they campaign on it at their own risk. Holding onto an issue on which the federal government has precious little to say anyway is as foolish as opining on rape, abortion and God in a two-minute debate answer.

'Opposition to gay marriage by national officials is a political loser, which conveys to a majority of voters an out-of-touchness and lack of inclusiveness. It deprives Republicans of support from the gay community and makes it that much more difficult to reach out to young, urbanized voters.’

The conservative pundits’ analysis backs up a pre-election report by the Gallup polling organization that suggested hardcore support among LGBTs could deliver a second term to President Barack Obama
If the GOP is smart, they will not let Tony Perkins and similar extremist write much of the Party's platform in 2016.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

NOM To Blackmail Gay Friendly Companies By Fanning Anti-Gay Persecution in Middle East and India

The extreme moral sickness of the Christianists is frightening.  So is their willingness to put lives of innocent people at risk in their quest to inflict a theocracy on America and punish and vilify corporations that refuse to buy into their fear and hate based agenda. The foulness of the self-styled "godly Christians" is exemplified by the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") which seeks to stoke the flames of anti-gay persecution in the Middle East and elsewhere in retaliation against progressive companies.  Their first target?  Starbucks which has consistently refused to knuckle under to Christofascist demands.  Think Progress looks at NOM's foul agenda which I sincerely hope backfires and drives even more of the younger generations to walk away from the Christian label entirely.  Here are article highlights:

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) plans to expand its campaign to stoke homophobia abroad to undermine pro-equality American companies, according to audio of a conference call obtained by The American Independent. When asked during the call about Starbucks, which had spoken out against anti-gay ballot referenda, NOM President Brian Brown suggested his organization planned to intensify its campaign against Starbucks and other similar companies in countries where homophobia is pervasive:
Their international outreach is where we can have the most effect…So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this. These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.
This strategy is incredibly irresponsible: by associating Starbucks with gay rights in homophobic countries, NOM is singling out Starbucks employees for anti-gay abuse and more generally stoking anger towards LGBT people. The broader Middle East is home to three out of the five countries in the world where homosexuality is punishable by death.

The situation in India, the other country NOM singled out, is also dire:
The majority of Indian homosexuals – many of whom still live with the parents – refer to their partners as “friends” for fear of being disowned by their families. Many are forcibly married off, trapped in a cycle of pretence and deception and facing social ridicule if they attempted to come out. And those who can live together do not advertise their sexuality, for fear of being evicted by landlords or preyed upon by the corrupt police who extort money from them on threat of exposure.
Under these circumstances, attempting to associate Starbucks with LGBT causes with said causes is doubly irresponsible. NOM is exposing employees to risk they did not voluntarily take on and potentially undermining the quest for the most basic of equal rights by painting LGBT rights as something foreign imposed by a Western company. That NOM is willing to take these chances with others’ lives and livelihoods — to “pay the price,” in Brown’s words — in an attempt to indirectly (and so far, unsucessfully) influence politics inside the United States speaks volumes about the organization.
Sadly, NOM is the true face of conservative Christianity nowadays.  It is something incredible vile and ugly.   It's agenda has nothing in truth about "protecting marriage" but rather is about the persecution and denigration of gays worldwide.  One can only hope that its foul activities accelerate the decline of Christianity in America and modern, educated nations where the deliberate embrace of hate, bigotry and outright ignorance is growing less acceptable.  As I have said before, if Hell exists, I believe Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher have reserved seats.

How the GOP Base Defeated Romney

I will admit that I am REALLY enjoying watching the shrieking and wailing going on amongst the Kool-Aid drinkers of the Republican Party who seem to be grasping for any explanation for the Romney/Ryan ticket's loss on Tuesday - they seem to be trying to ignore that they also lost seats in the Senate and House of Representatives as well - other than the simple truth: the majority of Americans simply did not want what they were selling.   They are having an even harder time accepting that things will likely be even worse in future elections if the GOP doesn't radically alter course.  They are however, correct that a majority of us want things: a separation of church and state; an end to racism and bigotry; an end to government intrusion into a private lives; equality under the law for all citizens gay or straight, male or female, white or non-white; an equal playing field for all citizens; and an end to special privileges for the wealthy and certain religious groups, to name a few of such "things."   Even once the GOP leadership belatedly accepts this reality, the perhaps biggest hurdle will be to wrest the party back from the extremists who have taken it over.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the way in which the extremist party base almost guaranteed a Romney/Ryan loss.  Here are highlights:

Before Mitt Romney lost the election, the Republican Party lost its head.  The GOP started the presidential campaign in the black cold of the Iowa winter, appealing to evangelicals and other cultural conservatives. Good people though they may be, they are no more representative of the typical American voter than the equally good people of Beverly Hills’s ultra-liberal precincts. Romney pandered. He would end funding to Planned Parenthood and he recommended making things so tough on undocumented immigrants that they would “self-deport.” Goodbye, Hispanics, and goodbye, many women.

The venue for that first contest and the field of candidates was the biggest break Barack Obama got. The entire Republican field swung to the right. One stupendously unqualified candidate after another took the early lead — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich.

The winner of the Iowa caucus, you might recall, was Rick Santorum, who had lost his race for reelection for Pennsylvania senator. He campaigned as an inquisitor, a stern and humorless champion of his own morality. He was against abortion — not just late-term. Not even in the case of rape or incest.

Now it will start all over. Santorum was in Iowa at least twice last month. A GOP that might have won the presidency had it earlier steered a middle course, will once again veer to the right. Zealots of one kind or another will run — and one by one become front-runners. The early contests will be held in the most unrepresentative of states. A debacle is looming.

About $2 billion was spent on the 2012 race, more than half of it, certainly, on Romney. The GOP would do itself — and the nation — a favor if the fat cats who put up this money started backing moderates and rebuilding the party. They could start by knocking Iowa and New Hampshire down the campaign calendar. They could begin in New York or Illinois or even Texas. Maybe that would encourage moderates to enter the race and not feel they’d be doomed by, perhaps, wondering out loud about abortion, same-sex marriage or immigration.

It took the GOP years to come to terms with the New Deal and the Fair Deal. It has taken the party a long time to come to terms with the necessities of modern government .  .  .  .  . Barack Obama never got the economy really humming. I don’t blame him for that. The unemployment rate always hovered around 8 percent. I don’t blame him for that, either. But these are the usual factors that doom a reelection effort. Mitt Romney could have won. He had the right opponent but the wrong political party.

Personally, I do not expect the GOP to get the message or learn a lesson.  Most of the rational moderates who might have led a rebuilding of the GOP - people like myself and many of my GOP friends of years ago - have simply fled the GOP out of revulsion over the extremism and hate and fear that came to dominate everything.  I don't see many of us ever going back.  And by alienating a strong majority of younger voters by embracing social conservatives and religious extremists, the GOP has an inadequate pool of from the younger generations to rebuild what the angry white religious extremists and white supremacists have destroyed.

Friday, November 09, 2012

More Friday Male Beauty

Rampant "Romnesia" Infects the GOP

In the wake of Tuesday's election results it is amazing hearing various conservatives who seem to be suffering extreme cases of "Romnesia" when it comes to their sudden memory loss as to things they previously said or stood by silently on as the GOP clown car and the pitchfork carrying Christofascists drove the GOP and Mitt Romney to defeat.  Andrew Sullivan has a roster of some of the more preposterous claims to conservative pundits that looks at some of the most insane of the electoral results predictions that can be found here.   In her defense, Kathleen Parker did write some point on columns reactions to GOP insanity and an almost intentional effort to alienate all by lily white far right voters.  One Example can be found here.  But then, she soon lurched back into GOP fantasy land as evidenced by this column.  Now, she has swung back in the direction of rationality conveniently forgetting her past columns and seeking to put the blame for the GOP crash on election day to the Republican Party - .i.e., the party base - rather that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and their failed ideas.  What she says - at least for the moment - is in fact correct.  One can only ask why she failed to continue to say it when it really counted.  Here are highlights from her column in the Washington Post:

The headline was inevitable: “What went wrong?”  Seriously?

The bubble in which most politicians and their staffs live is not just a metaphor, apparently. The answer has been so obvious for so long and in so many ways, one has to wonder what these people read in their spare time. Old issues of Boys’ Life?

If nothing else, one had to look only at the two political conventions. One was colorful, vibrant, excited and happy. The other was pale, moribund, staid and restrained. If the latter sounds like something in the final stages of life, you’re not far off.

Truth is often painful, and the days since President Obama’s reelection have been a salted slugfest. Amid the writhing, I rest my case.  Some Republicans stubbornly insist, of course, that the problem was that Romney wasn’t conservative enough. Really? In his heart, this may be true.   But the real problem is the Republican Party, which would not be recognizable to its patron saint, Ronald Reagan. The party doesn’t need a poll or a focus group. It needs a mirror. 

The truth is, Romney was better than the GOP deserved. Party nitwits undermined him, and the self-righteous tried to bring him down. The nitwits are well-enough known at this point — those farthest-right social conservatives who couldn’t find it in their hearts to keep their traps shut. No abortion for rape or incest? Sit down. Legitimate rape? Put on your clown suit and go play in the street.

Equally damaging were the primary leeches who embarrassed the party and wouldn’t leave the stage. Nine-nine-nine, we’re talking about you, Herman Cain. And Gov. Oops? You, too. And then there were Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann  .  .  .  .  Did they have a right to persist in their own fantasies? Sure. But not if they were serious about getting a Republican in the White House.

More to the point, the GOP seems willfully clueless. There’s a reason there are so few minorities in the party. There’s a reason women scrambled to the other side. There’s a reason Hispanics, including even Cuban Americans this time, went for Obama. 

The way forward is about love, not war, baby. Women’s reproductive rights need to come off the table. As Haley Barbour suggested long ago, agree to disagree. Compassionate immigration reform, including a path to citizenship, should be the centerpiece of a conservative party’s agenda.

Marginalize or banish those who in any way make African Americans, gays, single women or any other human being feel unwelcome in a party that cherishes the values of limited government, low taxes and freedom. A large swath of conservative-minded Americans are Democrats and independents by default.

Mitt Romney would have been a fine president and might have won the day but for the party he had to please.

I disagree with Parker on Romney.  As I have made clear in numerous post the guy was a flawed candidate at best.  However, she is point on in terms of the sickness that plagues toe GOP.  It is too bad that she did not remain consistent in her criticisms -  especially early on in the campaign.  Or better yet, during the GOP primaries.  One thing is clear:  until rational conservatives get over their "romnesia" about their own behavior/statements, the GOP most certainly will not begin to reform itself.

HRBOR's “A Night to Remember” - November 15, 2012 at Tysinger Mercedes Benz

In what ought to be one of HRBOR's most amazing Third Thursday networking events ever, HRBOR members and guest will be gathering at the Mercedes Benz showroom of Tysinger Motors in Hampton, Virginia from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on November 15, 2012.  This will be an over the top event with Malvin, Riggins & Company, P.C., and Geneva N. Perry, Esq. of McDermott & Ward as co-hosts.  The event is FREE to all attendees, so for local readers this is an event not to be missed.  All that we ask is that those attending register at the HRBOR website noted below so that we can have a somewhat accurate head count.  Hampton Mayor Molly Ward, a signatory of the Mayors for Marriage Equality Pledge will be in attendance. There will also be a special prize drawing sponsored by Tysinger and a "signature drink" compliments of Malvin Riggins & Company.   Here are event details:

Tysinger Mercedes-Benz Main Showroom
2712 Magruder Blvd., Hampton, Virginia
Proudly Co-Sponsored by:
Tysinger Mercedes-Benz Hyundai
Malvin, Riggins & Company, P.C.
Geneva N. Perry, Esq. of McDermottWard 
You do not want to miss out on this spectacular event!Stay tuned for more details regarding this tremendous networking opportunity. 
Registration available through HRBOR’s website at
Member guests are FREE of charge for this event. 
2712 Magruder Boulevard
Hampton, Virginia 23666
757.865.8000 (T)
725 Middle Ground Boulevard, Suite 200
Newport News, Virginia 23606
757.881.9600 (T) 757.881.9617 (F)
Geneva N. Perry, Esq. of McDermottWard
2205 Executive Drive
Hampton, Virginia 23666
757.722.0611 (T) 757.722.1312 (F)
Hampton Roads Business OutReach (HRBOR) is a broad based coalition of LGBT owned and LGBT supportive businesses and professionals dedicated to the development, growth and advocacy of Hampton Roads and its LGBT community. By promoting an environment in which diversity can flourish, HRBOR is committed to the economic growth and prosperity of our members and our community.

Racist, Anti-Gay Christians: The Anchor Pulling Down the GOP

As the chart above puts in easy perspective, by pandering to far right white conservative Christians, the Republican Party has made itself toxic to non-whites.  Compounding the problem is the reality that the party's virulent anti-gay agenda (see prior posts about the GOP party platform) is alienating younger voters as well.  With its base dying off more each year and demographics surging toward non-whites - or at least those the Christofascists and white supremacists deem non-white - the eventual disaster for the GOP is all too clear.  At least to anyone not guzzling the GOP Kool-Aid.  A piece in The Week looks at this metastasizing problem for the GOP.  Here are excerpts:

Here's what is in your gut if you're a Republican. You know you should have won this election. You know that this election might have been the last election you should have won with the current collection of interests that make up your party.  .  .  .  .  what is to be done?

One piece of advice: Reject magical thinking. It is magical to think that the big problem with the GOP has to do with "narrative" or message or words. .  .  .  .  It's not about making other people like Republicans; it's about — sorry to say — changing the party substantively to address their concerns and interests.

The current Republican coalition is not going to win elections anymore. The replacement rate among white voters is much less than the addition rate among minority voters. There is nothing — nothing — you can do to make this reality go away. The trap of demography is steel tight.  

It may be that your party has to change its position on a few key issues. That's right. It has to change its position. Not "reposition."  Not re-message. Not dress differently. But simply change course

The party could take the teeth out of the immigration issue entirely by compromising with President Obama on immigration during the next term.

If Republicans drop their opposition to gay marriage, the chances that Democrats will continue to pick up majorities of new and young voters will diminish. Gay issues are the civil rights issue of the time. Many of these voters see the party's implacable opposition to equal treatment for gays and simply turn away. The GOP is killing itself by giving libertarian-leaning younger voters a reason to think that the party is held hostage by a loud minority.

Those voters are right. It is hard to imagine a GOP primary where Christian conservatives don't significantly influence the vote and the platform. Until you can imagine a primary where Christian conservatives and their anxieties and fears don't dominate the process, it is hard to imagine a pro-gay, pro-immigrant candidate breaking through. (Jon Huntsman, Jr.?)

The real trap is that there are plenty of Republicans who can win national elections, plenty of conservative Republicans, but that they cannot make it through the filter of the primary, which is not suited to the demography and realities of a modern society.

 Sometimes the truth hurts.  It doesn't make it any less the truth.  Convincing this to the Christofascists and white supremacists may prove impossible.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

"Ex-Gay" Counsellor Arrested For Molestation Of Two Young Men

When it comes to liars and snake oil merchants few exceed the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the "ex-gay" industry which shakes down vulnerable victims and/or self-centered parents of gays just as smoothly as Karl Rove conned his millionaire and billionaire (former) friends.  Like Rove, these "ex-gay" frauds and their "ministries" deliver nothing.  Adding to the hypocrisy is that many of these "ex-gay" proponents are  themselves gay as a goose.  And some, like Rev. Ryan J. Muelhauser (pictured at right), senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church, are anything but cured themselves.  Muelhauser has been charged with taking sexual liberties with those he was supposedly counseling to turn straight.  The sad truth is rather than engage in fraudulent "ex-gay" programs and bogus "ministries" gays and their families need to jettison the religious brainwashing and bullshit that makes them upset about homosexuality in the first place.  Every state needs to ban "ex-gay" therapy for minors as California recently did.  These "ministries," "clinics," and "counseling" are both fraudulent and harmful.  Huffington Post has coverage on Muelhauser's arrest. Here are story excerpts:

An ordained counsellor dedicated to 'freeing' people from homosexuality has been arrested on charges of molesting two young men over a period of two years. 

Rev. Ryan J. Muelhauser, senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church, has been arrested for eight felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, the Isanti-Chisago County Star reports.
Muelhauser was connected with OutPost Ministry; an anti-gay ministry that proclaims on its website:
The Father's great desire for those struggling with same-sex attractions and other sexual and relational brokenness motivated Him to send His one and only Son Jesus to be the Way out of slavery to sin.
The pastor allegedly fondled two young men who were seeking to 'cure' themselves of homosexuality, as well as asking them to masturbate for him. As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
One of the men told investigators that Muehlhauser "blessed" him by cupping his genitals outside of his clothing several times and that Muehlhauser asked the man to masturbate in front of him for "spiritual strength." Muelhauser would also fondle the man at times. Their encounters occurred over a period of nearly two years.
If convicted, the pastor could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge, and a fine of $20,000. 

Conservatives and Billionaires Turn on Karl Rove

Perhaps one of the sweetest aspects of the 2012 election results is to have seen virtually all of the candidates backed by Karl Rove's foul Crossroads PAC go down in flames.  Living in Virginia one could help but hear the Crossroads ads - some of the most dishonest and blatant in their lies that I have ever heard.  Indeed, the Crossroads ads made Mitt Romney himself appear to be paragon of honesty in comparison.  In retrospect I suspect that the ads may have done more harm that good because anyone who paid the least amount of listening to other sources or a smidgen of fact checking could only see the ads as bald faced lies.  The election results indicate that contrary to Rove's belief, Americans are not all total cretins and morons - unlike the millionaires and billionaires Rove shook down for money that they might well have better burned based on the zero results Rove delivered.  The only short term winner apparently was Rove who no doubt paid himself very well along the way.  Here are highlights from a Salon piece that looks at the rising fury of those Rove played for fools:

Karl Rove helped pour $400 million of outside money into the 2012 elections. But since Republican candidates were walloped on Tuesday, the backlash against the Rove strategy is coming fast, and he has a lot of explaining to do.

Rove has alternately blamed Hurricane Sandy (“The president was also lucky,” he wrote in a Thursday Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. ”This time, the October surprise was not a dirty trick but an act of God. Hurricane Sandy interrupted Mr. Romney’s momentum and allowed Mr. Obama to look presidential and bipartisan”) and argued that if not for Crossroads, “this race would have been over a long time ago.”

But mostly Republicans are lashing out at Rove. Rick Tyler, an adviser for Todd Akin’s campaign, pointed to Rove’s management of his super PAC. ”Rove spends more for Republican candidates than the NRSC and the NRCC. He’s running things,” Tyler told BuzzFeed. He added, “Rove is definitely a problem.”

A Wednesday New York Times article highlighted Rove’s on-air meltdown over Fox News’ projection that Obama had won Ohio, saying that Rove’s refusal to accept the result “raises questions about his role.” Rove explained that his objections were based on memories of “premature calls” in 2000.

”The billionaire donors I hear are livid,” a Republican operative told HuffPo. “There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don’t know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing.”

Minnesota mega-donor Stan Hubbard told Politico of the call: “Obviously, somebody made a mistake and didn’t do things right. There’s no question about that.”

I will be honesty.  I find Karl Rove to be a foul and nasty individual by almost every measure not the least of which is his willingness to brazenly lie and  sow hate and discord.  One can only hope that after the Crossroads debacle he will be relegated to the political wilderness where he belongs.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

FRC Advocates Civil Disobedience; Claims If SCOTUS Legalizes Gay Marriage, "Revolution" Will Follow

The melt down and threats of civil unrest continue to erupt from the far right political class and Christofascists who just simply cannot grasp that a majority of Americans do not want the horrid antiquated fear and hate based version of America that they are peddling.  Among those leading the shrieking, whining and threats of violence is Tony Perkins, the white supremacist embracing head of Family Research Council, a registered hate group, who vented during a spittle flecked interview.  Right Wing Watch has details.  Here are highlights:

While discussing the string of election night victories for marriage equality today, Tony Perkins declared that if the Supreme Court legalizes it Christian conservatives will never accept it because, like abortion, they know that "it's unnatural for two men to be married." If the Court strikes down the anti-gay marriage amendments passed by various states over overrules the will of the people, Perkins warned that it could lead to "revolution" and "just break this nation apart"

Another one of FRC's talking heads was making statements encouraging Christofascist extremists to disobey the law in states where same sex marriage has been newly legalized.  It is yet another example of the Christofascists believing that they are above the law.  The Raw Story has coverage on this call to insurrection.  Here are story excerpts:

The senior vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC) said on Wednesday that the civil disobedience may be necessary to prevent same sex marriages after voters in several states approved marriage equality.

In an special broadcast titled “Election 2012: Aftermath & Aftershocks,” FRC president Tony Perkins told Senior Vice President Tom McClusky that LGBT marriage rights were still “morally wrong” even though pro marriage equality measures passed in Maine, Maryland and Washington. Voters in Minnesota also defeated a proposed amendment to codify marriage discrimination in the state’s constitution. 

“I think the term for a lot of things over the next four years, civil disobedience is going to come into play,” McClusky agreed.
As Think Progress noted, Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian leaders also called for civil disobedience against marriage equality when they drafted the Manhattan Declaration in 2009.

The Family Research Council (FRC) has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for its efforts to falsely link gay men to pedophilia.
One can only hope that these people will be held to obey the law of the land and duly prosecuted if they do not.  I for one believe that it is long past time that special deference and exceptions to religious extremists. Personally,  I'd love to see Tony Perkins behind bars.

Why Obama Needs to Play Hard Ball with the House GOP

It's only two days since from election day and already the House Republicans are making noise that they are going to engage in the same old bullshit that we saw for the last four years rather than work with President Obama and the even more securely held Democrat Senate.  What to do?  First, there needs to be a concerted campaign to educate the public as to why the GOP still controls the House of Representatives.  One word describes it: gerrymandering.  The Virginia 2nd Congressional district is but one example where the district was revised by the GOP held Virginia General Assembly in a bizarre and contorted way to ensure hate group almost guarantee Christofascist Scott Rigell was reelected. The examples go on and on.  Second, as a Business Week piece describes, Obama has the leverage on his side this time around and he needs to play hard ball to the maximum and constantly use the pulpit of the presidency to lay blame for obstruction at the feet of the House GOP and let them bear the consequences in 2014.  Here are some article excerpts:

At first glance, the results of the 2012 election look like a return to the status quo: President Obama was reelected, Democrats retained the Senate, and Republicans held on to the House. But don’t be fooled. The political dynamic of the next four years will be almost exactly the opposite of the last four.

During Obama’s first term, and particularly in the last two years, the Republican Party had most of the leverage. The GOP’s willingness to reject stimulus, default on the debt, and sabotage the nation’s credit rating—threats that shook financial markets—often put the White House at the mercy of the opposition.

In Obama’s second term, leverage will shift to the Democrats on almost every issue of importance. And that shift has already begun.

From his efforts to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich, close the carried-interest deduction, and enact the Buffett Rule, Obama failed in every attempt to generate higher tax revenue to pay for new spending and reduce the deficit. Obama confronted a Republican party determined to starve government and convinced that its path back to power lay in engineering his failure. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in 2010, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Republicans mostly held the line.

Now comes the payoff. The expiration of those cuts and the automatic reductions set to take effect at year’s end—the so-called fiscal cliff—mean that Obama and the Democrats can gain a huge source of new revenue by doing nothing at all. Republican priorities are the ones suddenly in peril. The combination of tax increases on the rich, higher capital-gains taxes, and sharp cuts in defense spending have congressional Republicans deeply worried. To mitigate these, they’ll have to bargain.

Despite their post-election tough talk, Republican leaders have dealt themselves a lousy hand. Obama can propose a “middle-class tax cut” for the 98 percent of American households earning less than $250,000 a year—while letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those earning more—and dare the Republicans to block it. If they do, everyone’s taxes will rise on Jan. 1. .  .  .  .  Democratic leaders in Congress believe the public furor would be too intense for Republicans to withstand for long.  Going over the cliff would also weaken the Republicans’ greatest point of leverage: renewing their threat to default on the national debt.

Right now, the Treasury expects to hit the debt ceiling in February. But if the cliff can’t be avoided, tax rates will rise and government coffers will swell, delaying the date of default—thus diminishing the Republicans’ advantage.

[L]everage has shifted from Republicans to Democrats. “The message of this election is twofold,” says Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Americans want us to come together around a balanced compromise. And the major issue surrounding the fiscal cliff that was litigated in the election was revenues—voters clearly sided with us. The president made it a campaign issue, and he won.

Where this tension could hurt Republicans most in Obama’s second term is on immigration, the other big issue sure to come to the fore in the next two years.  .  .  .  .  Obama could see coming, as any poll-watcher could, the demographic tidal wave that swamped Republicans on Nov. 6.

Republicans have become prisoners of demography, helpless to break free from the nativism of their activist base.  .  .  .  . Solving this problem and ending the party’s unconscionable voter suppression efforts stand as the Republicans’ two greatest challenges to broadening their appeal in the years ahead.  For Democrats, the picture is brighter. 

I sincerely hope that Obama and other Democrats hold tough and hold the feet of the GOP House to the fire.  Use a blow torch, in fact.

Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on The Mental Break Down of the Right

It continues to be entertaining - and a bit frightening as well - to watch the far right and Fox News, a/k/a Faux News, charlatans and snake oil merchants of the professional Christian set foam at the mouth and send out sheets of spittle in reaction to Barack Obama's reelection and the GOP net loss of seats in the U.S. Senate where gerrymandering could not be used to protect GOP incumbents.  One has to wonder whether at this point the GOP can save itself from the extremists who were allowed to hijack the party as the party leadership grasp at short term expediency rather any long term view.  Andrew Sullivan summarizes much of it very well:

These charlatans and money-grubbers have turned the broad tradition of Anglo-American conservatism into Southern Fried Fanaticism - and I wanted to see them crackle in their batter. They have replaced empirical doubt with unerring faith in an ideology that had its moment over thirty years ago and is barely relevant to the world we now live in. That faith has been cynically fused with fundamentalist religion to make it virtually impossible for the GOP to accept that women are the majority of voters in this country, that gay couples are equal to straight ones, that 11 million illegal immigrants simply cannot be expected to "self-deport" en masse by a regime of terrifying policing, that war is a last and not a first resort, that the debt we have is primarily a function of two things: George W. Bush's presidency and the economic collapse his term ended with.

This kind of total fanaticism about an ideology that bears no resemblance to Burkean conservatism is often called religious. But the truly religious person is not focused on the Electoral College math, but on living her own life the right way in accordance with the God she worships. She is not obsessed with policing society to keep the "other" at bay - the homosexual, the African-American, the Latino immigrant, the single mother, the young straight dude who is truly baffled by the anachronisms of homophobia and the belief that alcohol is less harmful than marijuana.She knows that living a good life is hard enough without controlling the lives and fates and dignity of others.

A political party can adapt and change; a fundamentalist religious party loses its entire authority if it admits error, because its message is based on religious texts that are held to be inerrant. The biggest obstacle in front of today's GOP therefore remains theo-political fundamentalism, and how it can be overcome.

A Message for Half-Wit Republicans Threatening to Emigrate to Australia

I've commented before on some of the cretins in the GOP who have threatened to leave America if Obama was reelected.  Most of the nations where they claim they'd go to - e.g., Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, etc. - have exactly the types of social policies the GOP says will ruin America.  Above is a reality check for those saying that they would go to Australia.  I guess Fox News doesn't provide much information on the real world.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Why the GOP Needs to Stop Fighting Marriage Equality

As the prior post indicates, Martin O'Malley of Maryland has embraced the emerging demographics of the future even as the Republican Party has focused more and more on a dwindling pool of angry white men, many of who are far right Christian homophobes.  With each passing election cycle, more of the GOP's concentrated white base is literally dying off.  The ultimate outcome ought to be as obvious as was the fate of the Titanic once it was clear that 5 water tight compartments were open to the sea.  One of the areas where the GOP is severely alienating the up and coming younger generations is through the party virulent opposition to LGBT rights and same sex marriage in particular.  A piece in the Huffington Post looks at the case for the GOP jettisoning its homophobia - and the Christofascists along with it - if the party seeks a long term future.  Here are highlights:  

[H]ere's some free advice to Republicans: starting right now, get off the "traditional marriage" bus as fast as you can. If today's election showed anything, it's that the demographic tide is turning against you. Big time.

Betting against basic human rights is never good for posterity, but it's no longer even good politics.  You already know the story: marriage equality passed by ballot in all three states that considered it (Maine, Maryland and Washington). And a constitutional amendment seeking to ban same sex marriage was narrowly rejected in Minnesota. True, the vote in those three states was close, but they were all wins just the same.

And more important, these votes deprive you of your strongest talking points: no longer can you blame "activist" judges or "rogue" legislators. And people have figured out that marriage equality laws don't infringe on religious liberty because such laws don't have to force clergy to perform a same-sex ceremony.

And there's more bad news for you: all the polls indicate that younger people strongly support marriage equality. Put another way, the electorate is going to be even more supportive of marriage equality four years from now. And even more four years after that. The writing is no longer just on the wall -- it's in the ballot box.

When he signed the Civil Rights Act, Lyndon Johnson allegedly remarked that, "We have lost the South for a generation." But at least he was on the right side of history. That's not the situation you now face. Marriage equality isn't just right, it's good politics too.

Will the GOP take this advice?  Not likely.  Or at least not until GOP legislators and governors grow a spine and kick the likes of Tony Perkins, James Dobson and here in Virginia, Victoria Cobb, to the curb where they belong.

Martin O’Malley v. Bob McDonnell: The Democrat v. GOP Divide in Microcosm

An article in the Washington Post looks at the rivalry across the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland and their respective governors as well as Martin O'Malley's correct predictions on the outcomes of Tuesday's elections.   But the article also brings out the glaring gulf between the agenda of the Democrat Party and that of today's Christianist/thinly veiled white supremacist controlled Republican Party.  The Democrats seek to expand the rights and protections of citizens and stamp out discrimination while the GOP seeks to uphold discrimination and reduce the rights of citizens, especially those who are gay, non-white and female. Think I'm exaggerating?  Look at the last session of the GOP controlled Virginia General Assembly: the GOP sought to take women back 50 years in time in terms of being able to control their own bodies, defeated employment protections for LGBT Virginians - even those employed by the state and its agencies - and pushed through voter identification laws in an effort to disenfranchise minorities.  Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell presided over the entire travesty and only sought to lessen the horrific treatment of women when he realized his ambitions to be Mitt Romney's VP nominee were suffering.  In Maryland, Martin O'Malley presided over an opposite legislative effort to expand rights and protections.  Here are some article excerpts:

In their civil but pointed rivalry for cross-Potomac bragging rights, Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley scored a nearly complete victory over his Virginia counterpart, Republican Bob McDonnell, in Tuesday’s election.

O’Malley led his party to triumphs on four statewide ballot questions. He also used a new, gerrymandered electoral map to swipe a U.S. congressional seat from the GOP.

On two of the ballot questions, O’Malley helped win advances for Latinos and gay and lesbian voters. Both are important Democratic constituencies whose support should prove quite useful for an ambitious politician eyeing national office.

McDonnell failed to deliver Virginia, a critical national battleground state, for either Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney or U.S. Senate candidate George Allen.  .  .  .  . 

Romney’s overall loss to President Obama also marked a setback for McDonnell’s national ambitions. He had harbored hopes of being appointed to Romney’s Cabinet, ideally as attorney general.  Instead, the Virginian will have to listen politely while O’Malley boasts about the Democrats’ successes when the two of them appear — as they often do — as antagonists on national television political talk shows.

Moreover, Tuesday’s results suggest that McDonnell hasn’t done enough to nudge the Virginia GOP toward the political center. That’s partly because he is conservative and partly because his room to maneuver is limited by even more conservative Republicans in the General Assembly.
In any case, the party’s profile is hurting its prospects in presidential years when turnout jumps among minorities and young people.

Across the river, meanwhile, O’Malley is positioning himself to appeal to just those growing groups. He won big for Latinos by advocating successfully for the ballot measure known as the Dream Act. It allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland universities.

He won big for gays and lesbians — and boosted his appeal to the younger generation — with a historic popular vote endorsing same-sex marriage. “I think the results yesterday show that O’Malley can do very well in the coalition of the ascendant,” Eberly said, using a term popular with the Obama campaign that describes a political alliance among expanding demographic segments.

McDonnell (whom I have known since 1994)  has consistently sold his soul to the Christofascist led by The Family Foundation and those who are little more better than closeted KKK members who comprise the ugliest elements in Virginia - as did my former classmate, George Allen.  The good news is that these groups appear to be slowly losing power in Virginia.  One can only hope that with time today's version of the GOP will likewise soon find itself on the wrong side of history and out of power. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Obama Victory Brings Violence at Ole Miss and Far Right Fury

I have noted many times that a constant undercurrent of today's GOP and much of the 2012 campaign season at least from Republican candidates has been the message that some citizens  are not "real Americans" and, therefore, should be deprived of civil rights and even the right to vote.  Beneath it all is a  message that plays well with white supremacists and it is no coincidence that Romney/Ryan prevailed across the former Confederacy where racism remains alive and well.  This realty burst to the surface with the reactions to Obama's victory at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, and among various far right groups.  Huffington Post looks at these frightening examples of the extremism that is now normal throughout the GOP.   Here are some highlights:

[Yesterday's] lopsided results made it clear that this election had in no way been stolen.

But not so at Ole Miss, which last month marked the 50th anniversary of deadly segregationist riots. Shortly after midnight, several hundred mostly white students protested furiously, reportedly yelling anti-black racial slurs and throwing rocks at passing cars. An Obama/Biden campaign sign was burned before campus police broke up the crowd in Oxford. There were apparently no arrests or injuries.

The reaction to the reelection of our first black president from the radical right -- and that seemed clearly to include some University of Mississippi students -- ranged from sputtering rage and name calling to calls for a new Southern secession, mass emigration to Europe or even the breakup of the United States.

There was one thing large numbers seemed clearly to agree on: The changing racial demographics of our country, expected to lose its white majority by 2050, was key to the result.

"Welcome to a truly white minority world," wrote one commenter on Stormfront, the world's largest white supremacist Web forum, which is run by a former Alabama Klan leader. "The future is now. There is no denying this. The sun has set on humanity's greatest era: 1500-2000. ... [T]he only way to survive this war of Annihilation is separatism. ... [W]e have to choose regions or states."

The loss of a white majority in the United States has helped drive a truly explosive growth of the radical right in the last three years, and that now seems likely to accelerate. In recent years the number of hate groups has risen to more than 1,000, and the number of anti-government "patriot" groups has shot up from just 149 in 2008 to 1,274, according to research by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For months now, groups on the radical right have increasingly fretted about a possible Obama victory. Now that that has occurred, the radical right may grow more dangerous still. 

Remarkably, similar sentiments seemed to crop up in what is taken as the political "mainstream." Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, fearing an Obama victory, said last night, "The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff." At another point he said, "The demographics are changing. It's not a traditional America any more."

The anti-gay right reacted with fury, as well. In a long thread at the anti-government site Free Republic on the passage of same-sex marriage referenda, commenters were apoplectic -- and frightened. "Get ready for God's wrath," wrote one. "The people are choosing Satan's finest." "Fudgies win again," wrote another. "Incidents of HIV [to] rise again." And a third: "America is going to pay for its unbelief and its love of abortion and homosexuals. ... And IT DESERVES IT."

In fact, as pointed out on CNN's religion blog, the whole election was a "nightmare scenario" for conservative Christian leaders. Noting the approval of two same-sex marriage referenda, the reelection of a president who supported such marriages and the rejection of hard-line anti-abortion candidates, CNN said the election results "seemed to mark a dramatic rejection of the Christian right's agenda."

As the death rattles of the Christofascists and white supremacists continue to progress, we need to expect the level of hysteria and the likelihood of far right violence to increase.   These extremists and hate merchants will not go quietly into political and social oblivion.

Yesterday Exposed Five Religious Right Myths

There is definitely some pleasure involved in watching the wailing and gnashing of teeth going on amongst the delusional elements of the GOP and the Christofascists.  Will the stunning defeat of the Christofascists, Tea Party and the billionaires and vulture capitalists burst the alternate universe bubble of the far right?  Probably not.  Nonetheless, yesterday's election results did expose some of the myths put out by the Christofascists as part of the plan to intimidate and dominate the political whores within the Republican Party.  Right Wing Watch looks at the myths that should no longer hold water with rational people.  Here are some excerpts:

Like other conservatives, many Religious Right activists predicted a big victory for Romney and Republicans in the U.S. Senate based on five myths they hold about the electorate:

Myth #1: Americans want a ‘True Conservative’

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody called the results a “nightmare for the GOP” and a “colossal disaster.” Of course, right-wing activists will be quick to declare that Mitt Romney, like John McCain, wasn’t conservative enough for voters, and that the self-described “severely conservative” Romney couldn’t effectively articulate or sell conservative principles. Their solution is that the next nominee must be a pure right-wing ideologue who emphasizes social issues, like Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum. Of course, if voters were seeking to support ultraconservative politicians, then Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock wouldn’t have lost their Senate races  .  .  .  .

Myth #2: Blacks will Defect from Obama over Gay Rights

Black conservative activists such as Harry Jackson, E.W. Jackson, William Owens, Patrick Wooden and Star Parker continue to tell the largely white Religious Right leadership that African Americans are defecting en masse from the purportedly demonic, Baal worshiping, anti-Christian and anti-God Democratic Party and will turn against Obama over the issue of marriage equality. Pat Robertson even said that Democratic support for marriage equality is a “death wish”  .  .  .  .  .  According to exit polls, however, Obama won African Americans 93-6 percent.

Myth #3: Hispanics are ‘Natural Allies’ of the Religious Right

Conservatives claimed that Hispanic voters, especially those who identify as evangelical and Pentecostal, are ripe for supporting Republicans.  .  .  .  .  Romney actually fared worse (27%) than McCain (31%) among Hispanics.

Myth #4: Catholics Abandoning Obama for ‘Declaring War’ on the Church

Heavy politicking from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and growing outreach to Catholics by traditionally evangelical Religious Right groups didn’t stop Obama from once again carrying the Catholic vote.

Myth #5: Evangelical Wave Waiting in the Wings

New groups such as the Faith and Freedom Coalition and United in Purpose/Champion the Vote boasted of grand plans to turn out a wave of evangelical Christians upset about health care reform and marriage equality.  .  .  .  .  Christianity Today notes that in swing states, self-described evangelical turnout was approximately identical or merely slightly larger as it was in 2008, and Romney’s support among evangelicals compared to McCain’s decreased in states like Ohio and Nevada.

The lesson? When  you hear politicians admitting that they fear the wrath of the Christofascists, you need to take the time to educate them on the objective reality of the world.   Increasingly, they are a paper tiger and their batshitery needs to be directly challenged.

The GOP’s Demographic Crisis

For far too long, the entire party building agenda of the Republican Party has been based on the politics of exclusion and fanning the hate and paranoia of white conservatives.  Along the way, the Party leadership sold the soul of the Party to right wing conservative Christians who only intensified the process by infusing religious extremism into civil law issues and making anyone who wasn't white and conservative Christian unwelcome in the Party.  I myself exited the Virginia Beach City Committee (where I had been precinct captain for the Alanton Precinct for 8 years) because the concept of separation of church and state seemed to simply no longer matter.   Now, the GOP may be beginning to reap the whirlwind that it deliberately sowed.  A piece at NBC News looks at the demographic time bomb that may have begun to go off yesterday:

What happened last night was a demographic time bomb that had been ticking and that blew up in GOP faces. As the Obama campaign had assumed more than a year ago, the white portion of the electorate dropped to 72%, and the president won just 39% of that vote. But he carried a whopping 93% of black voters (representing 13% of the electorate), 71% of Latinos (representing 10%), and also 73% of Asians (3%). What’s more, despite all the predictions that youth turnout would be down, voters 18-29 made up 19% of last night’s voting population -- up from 18% four years ago -- and President Obama took 60% from that group. The trend also played out in the key battleground states: The president won about 70% of the Latino vote in Colorado and Nevada, and he won 60% of it in Florida (a high number given the state’s large GOP-leaning Cuban-American population). On Monday, we wrote that demography could determine destiny. And that’s exactly what happened.

Obama’s demographic edge creates this dilemma for the Republican Party: It can no longer rely on white voters to win national elections anymore, especially in presidential cycles. Indeed, according to the exit poll, 89% of all votes Mitt Romney won last night came from whites (compared with 56% for Obama). So the Republicans are maximizing their share with white voters; they just aren’t getting the rest. And come 2016, the white portion of the electorate will probably drop another couple of points to 70%.

Republicans face a crisis: the country is growing less white and their coalition has become more white in recent years. In 2004, George W. Bush won [about 40 percent] of Hispanics. Four years later, John McCain, the author of an immigration reform bill, took 31 percent of Hispanics. And this year, Romney captured only 27 percent of Hispanics.”

Of course further aggravating the situation is the negativity many of the under 30 voters hold for conservative Christianity which is best defined by its hate and intolerance.  With 30 percent of the under 30 generations falling into the "none" religious category, the GOP's marriage to religious extremists is not a positive by any means.  I know I have beaten this horse many times before, but unless it changes, the GOP may ultimately become a permanent minority party.  If that happens, it will be much deserved and self-inflicted.

CMI Poll: 90% of Gays & Lesbians Vote for Barack Obama

A new Community Marketing Inc. poll indicates that LGBT Americans voted for Barack Obama at perhaps the highest rate ever received by a presidential candidate.  Not, of course, that Mitt Romney and the GOP party platform hadn't given a huge incentive to do so.  Here are some of the poll findings:

The Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) pre-election poll showed that 90% of gay men and lesbians voted for Barack Obama. . . . . LGBTs represent an estimated 5% of United States voters and an overwhelming majority supported the coalition that produced Barack Obama’s victory.

90% support for Obama was seen in all Battleground States. The LGBT percentage was just below the level that Obama received from the African American community.

Demonstrating the importance of the election, 95% of LGBTs indicated that they would vote in the election and 41% indicated that the had already voted before election day.

Final data indicated that 90% supported Barack Obama, 6% for Mitt Romney and 4% a third party candidate.   41% of gays and lesbians gave money to the Obama campaign.
 Given the closeness of some of the results, LGBT voters clearly were important to Obama's victory.  These finding also ought to show GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans that their organizations are increasingly a joke in the face of the radical anti-gay agenda of today's Republican party. 

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

The Obama Realignment - Will the GOP Get the Message?

It will take days to sift through all of the analysis and data from yesterday's election.  But one thing is clear: Obama won re-election because he once again put together a coalition of those too often treated derisively and as something less than full citizens by today's Republican Party: women, blacks, Hispanics, gays, and younger voters.  I have saying for a long time that the GOP is engaged in a slow form of political suicide and last night was another step toward a much deserved death.  There simply are no longer enough angry white, male, homophobic, evangelical Christian voters to win at the national level.  And the demographics should clearly tell this to anyone not sticking their head in the sand and/or drinking the GOP Kool-Aid like some of my former GOP cohorts from years ago. And the demographic trend is spreading to the state level even here in Virginia.  A column in the New York Times looks at Obama's victory and the GOP's self-inflicted loss.  Here are excerpts:

When you do it once, it’s just a victory. When you do it twice, it’s a realignment.

The coalition that Barack Obama put together to win the presidency handily in 2008 looked a lot like the emerging Democratic majority that optimistic liberals had been discerning on the political horizon since the 1990s. It was the late George McGovern’s losing coalition from 1972 finally come of age: Young voters, the unmarried, African-Americans, Hispanics, the liberal professional class – and then more than enough of the party’s old blue collar base to hold the Rust Belt for the Democrats.

The Republican Party, left for dead after 2008, revived itself, and at many points across the 2012 campaign season Obama’s majority coalition looked vulnerable. Its policy victories seemed to teeter on the edge.  And the Obama coalition was vulnerable. 

But the lesson of the election is that the Obama coalition was truly vulnerable only to a Republican Party that took Obama seriously as an opponent – that understood how his majority had been built, why voters had joined it and why the conservative majority of the Reagan and Bush eras had unraveled.

Such understanding eluded the Republicans this year. In part, that failure can be blamed on their standard-bearer, Mitt Romney .  .  .  .   .  he was ultimately defeated less by his own limitations as a leader, and more by the fact that his party didn’t particularly want to be reinvented, preferring to believe that the rhetoric and positioning of 1980 and 1984 could win again in the America of 2012.

You could see this belief at work in the confidence with which many conservatives insisted that the Obama presidency was not only embattled but self-evidently disastrous, in the way so many voices on the right sought to raise the ideological stakes at every opportunity, in the widespread conviction that the starker conservatives made the choice between left and right, the more votes they would win.

But even less starry-eyed conservatives — like, well, myself — were willing to embrace models of the electorate that overstated the Republican base of support and downplayed the Democrats’ mounting demographic advantage.  Those models were wrong about 2012, and they aren’t likely to be right about 2016 or 2020.

Tuesday’s result ratifies much of the leftward shift in public policy that President Obama achieved during his first term. It paves the way for the White House to raise at least some of the tax revenue required to pay for a more activist government and it means that the Republicans let a golden chance to claim a governing coalition of their own slip away.

[T]here will come a day when a Republican presidential candidate will succeed where Mitt Romney just failed.  But getting there requires that conservatives face reality: The age of Reagan is officially over, and the Obama majority is the only majority we have.

Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on What Yesterday Means

There will be many more battles to move the nation forward towards equality for all citizens especially here in Virginia where the Republican Party increasingly is synonymous with religious based bigotry, thinly veiled white supremacy and homophobia.  But, perhaps time will show that yesterdays election results, including the votes on gay marriage referenced in the prior post, were a seismic event that politicians and political parties can ignore only at their own peril.  Andrew Sullivan sums it up this way:

[O]ne felt something tectonic shift tonight. America crossed the Rubicon of every citizen's access to healthcare, and re-elected a black president in a truly tough economic climate. The shift toward gay equality is now irreversible. The end of prohibition of marijuana is in sight. Women, in particular, moved this nation forward - pragmatically, provisionally, sensibly. They did so alongside the young whose dedication to voting was actually greater this time than in 2008, the Latino voters who have made the current GOP irrelevant, and African-Americans, who turned up in vast numbers, as in 2008, to put a period at the end of an important sentence.  That sentence will never now be unwritten. By anyone.
That's not to say the Christofascists and the racists in the GOP will not try to roll back time.  I just hope their defeats become more numerous and decisive.

Marriage Equality Wins Across the Board

Candidly, I never believed that it would happen, but last night marriage equality prevailed in every state where it was on the ballot: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State.  And it prevailed despite huge amounts of money thrown against LGBT rights by the National Organization for Marriage, the Catholic Church hierarchy, and the Knights of Columbus, and their active dissemination of utter lies and falsehoods denigrating LGBT citizens.  One can only suspect that this morning, Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins and the morally bankrupt Catholic bishops are acting not only like someone peed in their Cheerios but defecated in them as well.  NOM can no longer crow that no popular vote has ever affirmed same sex marriage - yesterday it happened four times.  The message to the GOP if anyone who is still a Republican is sentiment is that the bad old days of win by gay bashing, race baiting and Bible thumping are ending.  Here are highlights from the Star Tribune on what was perhaps the biggest surprise of last night:

The proposed marriage amendment to the Minnesota Constitution fell short of passage early Wednesday morning, according to the Associated Press.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the amendment had the support of only 48 percent of voters. Support for the ballot measure trailed the combined "no" votes and blank ballots by more than 100,000 votes, an amount that seem insurmountable with so few votes left to be counted.

"You dug down and fought for love, with love," Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told hundreds of amendment opponents gathered at the RiverCentre in St. Paul late Tuesday night. "You understood compassion. This wound up being one of the most inspirational things that's ever happened in Minnesota. Minnesota is going to be the state that's going to show the country exactly what Minnesota values are all about."

"We're for equality," Dayton said. "We understand the Constitution of the United States, we understand the founding premise where all men and women are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and those certainly include the right to marry the person you love."

As for Maryland, Virginia's neighbor just across the Potomac, the Baltimore Sun has coverage.  Here are highlights:

Marylanders made history Tuesday as they voted to make same-sex marriage legal — a question that had been defeated each of the 32 times it had been on the ballot in other states.

"To Maryland's children – please know that you and your families matter to the people of our state," Gov. Martin O'Malley, who pushed for the law, said early Wednesday in a statement declaring victory. "Whether your parents happen to be gay or straight, Democratic, Republican or Independent, your families are equal before the eyes of the law."

The Free State joins six others and the District of Columbia, which have allowed same-sex marriage. Local courts can begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in January.

One can only wonder whether the Republican Party of Virginia will get the message from these four states and Romney's defeat that either the GOP leaves its 11th Century thinking behind or it faces a slow but unalterable death.  Allowing The Family Foundation's Victoria Cobb to rule the Virginia GOP like some dominatrix is going to be more of  a losing proposition with each passing year.