Thursday, November 7, 2013

Last Call For Liberals And Chris Bag O' Donuts

Chuck Pierce tries to figure out why almost a third of liberals voted for the Jersey Devil on Tuesday.

31 percent.

That's the number of the night, people.

That's the percentage of self-identified "liberals" that voted for Chris Christie, essentially endorsing the idea that he should run for president of the United States, since that was the real purpose of the New Jersey gubernatorial election yesterday. It certainly wasn't about who's going to be the governor of New Jersey, since Big Chicken is eighty-eight-and-out-the-gate as soon as the dust clears from next autumn's midterms, if not sooner. (All that talk about "Washington" in his acceptance speech was a pretty clear indication that the man has his travelin' shoes on already.) No, as soon as it was determined by the strategic geniuses in the Democratic party that Barbara Buono would be fed to the woodchipper -- and good on her for calling the duplicitous bastards on it last night -- the only issue in the election became whether or not you think Chris Christie should run for president. And 31 percent of the liberals who voted assented to that proposition. How the hell did that happen on a night when the state also kicked him squarely in the nuts by overwhelmingly reversing his veto of an increase in the minimum wage, a veto that is the perfect expression of everything Chris Christie stands for as a politician? If you want to know why actual liberalism continues to be a dead parrot in our politics, and why the only real political dynamic in the country revolves around a choice over whether we will drift slowly to the right or stampede headlong in that direction, look to that number.

BooMan, being from Jersey, explains that no, that wasn't it at all.

I am going to get myself in trouble talking about Chris Christie and New Jersey. First, you have to understand what it was like for a New Jerseyan to see the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, particularly down at the shore. I don't know what to compare it to, except maybe to how New Yorkers (and New Jerseyans) felt when the Twin Towers were suddenly missing from the Manhattan skyline. Maybe if Fenway Park were lifted up and thrown into Boston Harbor, then Bostonians would know how it felt. 
So, when Governor Christie started his "Stronger Than the Storm" ad campaign, it was a very feel-good moment. There he was, down at the shore, assuring us that we are going to rebuild it, that we'd get through it, that we were strong enough to overcome the devastation. It's what we wanted to hear. It's what we needed to hear. And it made everyone, including Christie's ardent political opponents, feel more favorably disposed to him. He wasn't talking about birth certificates and ACORN and Solyndra and Benghazi. He was working with the administration to get shit done.

That's what Charles Pierce doesn't get. But he'd feel the same way about Governor Mitt Romney if he was rebuilding Fenway Park. That's why so many self-described liberals voted for Christie. But it's also why the ad campaign was ethically dubious. Because it was financed with federal disaster-relief dollars. And Rand Paul is correct to raise questions about the appropriateness of a politician appearing in those kinds of ads in an election year. I think Paul opposes the ads regardless of who appears in them, because his tiny brain cannot understand the valuable role of marketing in reviving a destroyed tourism industry. But I agree with him that Christie got an unfair advantage in his reelection campaign by featuring himself and his family in feel-good advertisements that he didn't have to finance.

What I know is there's a lot of people who want to set up Chris Christie as the next McCain or Romney.  They think he can win nationally.  Of course, McCain and Romney both lost.  So the perception of Christie depends on whether or not you see him as national (as Chuck thinks there nothing local as Christie will resign to run in 2016) or local as BooMan does (and Christie knows he has no shot nationally and wants to go out on top).

Pierce has a point, but if Christie is the savior in 2016 and everyone "knew" Romney was going to lose, why didn't he "save" the party in 2012? 

What's different now?  Tea party still hates the guy.  He's still a bully and a jackass.  That'll play in New England, but not in Iowa or blood red South Carolina.

We'll see, but given where the GOP is now, Christie's heading directly for the fate of the last two Republicans who ran for President.

Mississippi To Hagel: Drop Dead

The SCOTUS decision on DOMA and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's Pentagon directive requiring all states to issue ID cards allowing same-sex National Guard couples to claim federal marriage benefits apparently doesn't matter to Mississippi that much.  Their response to Hagel?  Begins with F, ends with "and the horse you rode in on."

“We must continue to abide by the state constitution, and we will continue to refer applicants to active duty installations in Mississippi,” Mississippi National Guard spokesman Tim Powell said. 
Mississippi and the other states won’t provide the ID cards but will refer same-sex couples to federal installations to receive the identification. 
Mick Bullock, a spokesman for Gov. Phil Bryant, said Mississippi’s position is in line with state law. 
“The Mississippi Constitution clearly defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and expressly prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions,” Bullock said.

This is a losing battle, of course.  It was 50 years ago, and 150 years ago.

But Mississippi College Law Professor Matt Steffey said, “The most basic principle of our system of constitutional government is that federal laws trump state laws whenever the two conflict. So, certainly, the federal law prevails over the Mississippi law.” 
Steffey said the text of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution requires that all state legislators and executive and judicial officers take an oath to support the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

Why, it's our old friend, Mr. Supremacy Clause!  So good luck with this one, guys.  Nice way to waste taxpayer money too when you decide to take this to court and lose, too.

Enjoy the cultural inevitability, boys.

New Guy's A Bit Of A Douche

Cincinnati Mayor-elect John Cranley is wasting no time in pushing his promise to kill the city's streetcar project, twice approved by voters, and making friends with streetcar supporters.

The argument over Cincinnati’s streetcar didn’t end with mayor-elect John Cranley’s decisive victory in Tuesday’s mayoral election, but Cranley has a clear advantage in the fight.
They should immediately stop spending,” Cranley told reporters at his first post-election news conference at his Hyde Park home. “I mean, seriously, look who got elected yesterday. This is a democracy.”
The current city administration shouldn’t be “agitating voters” by continuing the project, Cranley said, maintaining that when the costs of future streetcar operating costs are added up, the costs of stopping are far less than continuing the project.

Of course, Captain Dick Move here left out the part where "agitated voters" approved the streetcar project on ballot measures not once, but twice.  And the cost to the city to cancel the project now may far exceed the cost of finishing it.

The city has spent more than $23 million on the project to date and would have to return $44 million in federal funding if it cancels the project. Cranley said he planned to speak with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett today about using the federal funding for something else. But $25 million of the funding, by law, must go toward public transit projects, so changing its use would take an act of Congress.

The city also said that the federal money already spent — about $2 million — would have to be paid back using city operating funds instead of capital funds set aside for the streetcar project. That would make the city’s budget deficit for next year even worse.

Before the election, Cranley dismissed that possibility.

Who said this? Some kid? What citation did they cite to make this absurd argument?” he asked. “If the federal funds are paying for something, presumably capital-related, and we’re paying them back, in essence, buying the goods that the federal government paid for, and that good is a capital good. So of course the capital budget can be used. The city’s allowed to build a road and tear up the road. Just because we don’t end up using the road doesn’t mean we can’t consider it a capital expense.”

So not only is Cranley an asshole, he's ignorant too.  And good luck getting this past the GOP House, John Boehner representing precisely zero people in Cincinnati itself.

Of course, there's the possibility that all the contractors working on the project now, and the organizations who backed it, will simply sue the pants off the city.

The city will have spent $26 million on the project by the time new leadership takes over at City Hall on Dec. 1, according to an Enquirer analysis. It could cost the city another $5 million if it loses a lawsuit against Duke Energy over utility relocation – and more litigation could be forthcoming from contractors and streetcar supporters.

“There has definitely been a buzz in the community about litigation,” said Over-the-Rhine resident Derek Bauman, co-chairman of Cincinnatians for Progress, a streetcar advocacy group. “Whatever we would have to do. I think it would be a huge mistake to stop the project – one the city could not recover from.”

So yes, Cranley's not only wanting Mark Mallory to pronounce the project dead now (in a giant screw you to streetcar supporters) but he's picking a fight that will almost certainly drag on for years and cost taxpayers more.

And did I mention he wants to put in a downtown shuttle system instead?

"The reality is that the people behind the streetcar have great love for this city. They want what I want – a vibrant, 24/7 downtown, Over-the-Rhine, and Banks. I think Hop on Cincinnati (a proposed trackless trolley) and things of that nature like downtown Denver – no one’s accusing Denver of being behind the times. And they’ve got a similar kind of thing. I think starting to work on something that’s affordable is something that can help unite the city."

Which he would have to get approved with two new Republicans on city council.  Awesome.  This guy is a piece of work.


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