Sunday, April 14, 2013

Last Call

Class is in session as Melissa Harris-Perry rings up Sen. Rand Paul's visit to Howard University this week as what it was:  a self-serving stunt where Paul thought he would get a pass for just showing up.

After Democratic President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act–which were passed by the Democrats in Congress–and after those acts established the framework for black citizens to exercise the franchise and enjoy equal protection. After those Democratic actions, it was white Dixiecrats who left the party and found refuge among Republicans. Those who refused to support civil rights gains were clear that the best party for them in the modern era was the Republican Party.

So folks like Strom Thurmond and large majorities of white voters in Southern states became reliable Republican voters. Because they opposed civil rights. And Sen. Paul, you know a little about opposition to the Civil Rights Act, don’t you?

Even though you told a [Howard] questioner, “I’ve never been against the Civil Rights Act, ever,” Mother Jones‘ Adam Serwer correctly reminded us that in 2010, during an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, you said that even though you “abhor racism”, you do not support bans on discrimination by privately-owned businesses. And that, Sen. Paul, would mean those students from another historically black college, North Carolina A&T, would have just had to live with the private decision to deny them a place to sit at that Woolworth’s lunch counter. Maybe Republicans like you don’t count that as opposition to the Civil Rights Act, but I bet many Howard students do.

And as you said: “Yes. Alright. Alright. You know more than I know… And I don’t mean that to be insulting. I don’t know what you know… you know, I mean I’m trying to find out what the connection is.”

The connection is that Sen. Paul continues to embarrass myself and Kentuckians everywhere with the notion that students from one of the most prestigious historically black institutions of higher learning in the country wouldn't be able to completely see through his transparent nonsense, and challenge him on it in public.

You got called out, Rand:  by myself, by authors and pundits, by commentators and historians, and by the students present at the speech.   Paul came to Howard and gave his usual glibertarian spiel about how government is awful and destroying African-Americans and other minorities, all while distorting your own record. 

Your problem Rand is that you believe the federal government has a place in enforcing the patriarchy and privilege you enjoy so much by telling others that don't have those advantages that it's not fair that the government has its thumb on the scale trying to rectify the situation, which is an argument decades old and just as self-serving and mealy-mouthed now as it was then.

I don't buy it.  The students at Howard U didn't buy it.  Nobody really should.  And if your road to greater political office is going to go over the backs of women and minorities as you lecture how white men are the real victims in this country and that the rest of us should feel shamed into supporting you because "the antidote to racism is worse than the cure" while you're running a very real race hustle yourself?  I don't want any part of it.

Please remove yourself from the political spotlight.  You're giving the Bluegrass State and constituents like myself a bad name.

Ashley, Alison And The Turtle, Part 8

And the Progress KY story keeps getting worse.  Yesterday I pointed out how completely suspect Jacob Conway's word is.  He's the Dem party official who ratted out Progress KY as the folks behind the recording sent to Mother Jones.  Wouldn't you know it, he's now all but recanted a major part of his story...

Kentucky Democratic official Jacob Conway appears to be changing his story. After initially claiming that two members of the liberal group Progress Kentucky bragged to him about recording a private meeting of Mitch McConnell campaign aides, he has now said it's possible he spoke to only one of the activists about the tape.

The Courier-Journal reported Saturday:
In an interview with The Courier-Journal, Jacob Conway, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, said he is certain he talked with Curtis Morrison about the recording — but he may not have spoken with Shawn Reilly as he told members of the media Thursday.
I had a lot of conversations with both of them during that time period, and maybe I was just confused, and maybe Shawn never said anything,” he said.
Reilly's attorney had already refuted Conway's version of events. In a press conference posted by the Courier-Journal, Reilly's lawyer, Ted Shouse, said his client is innocent of criminal behavior and is "at most a witness to potential criminal activity."

Conway told the paper that he reached out to Shouse to say his recollection of the events may be incorrect.

This just keeps getting more and more insane, across the board.  Nobody involved in this fiasco is on the level, and the deeper this rabbit hole goes, the more I'm thinking this is a massive con job to assure the vulnerable McConnell another six years.

And so far it's working massively well for Mitch.

The Big Gun Down

I still think that gun legislation won't clear the GOP House, but there are now Republicans senators openly supporting it in the upper chamber (especially now that the bill has been stripped of 90% of its teeth or so), starting with The Lady From Maine, Susan Collins.

Speaking exclusively to NBC News, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is the first GOP senator to say publicly she will vote for the bipartisan compromise on expanded background checks for the sale of guns online and at gun shows.

Collins said "I do intend to support it" now that she has reviewed the actual text of the Manchin-Toomey bill and calls it a "reasonable" approach. Collins described the Manchin-Toomey effort as "a responsible break through from two people who have far better NRA rankings than I have." Both Sens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia and Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, hold "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association. Collins added she knows her yes vote and support is "not a popular thing in my state."

Again, the private sale loophole is definitely far short of universal background checks, and the federal enforcement increases of existing laws are all in another bill.  So the bill that started out with universal background checks, magazine size limits, limits on the sale of military-style weapons and increased enforcement has become some background check expansion on commercial sales only, and if Collins is backing it, there's a very good chance it'll make it out of the Senate.

That's it.

And it took 19 years for that.  It's an accomplishment, but it comes with the baggage.  And again, I put the odds of this making it out of the House at near single digits.  I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see enough Republicans -- and Democrats -- risking their NRA ratings for this.
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