Monday, January 20, 2014

Last Call For MLK Day Slavery Comparisons

Dear Republicans:

Quit comparing things that you don't agree with to slavery.  In fact, quit comparing anything to slavery that isn't slavery.  Period.

The Multnomah County Republican Party in Oregon was mocked last week for its plans to auction off a rifle in honor of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. 
And in attempting to explain the raffle in a press release Monday, the Multnomah GOP drew an ill-timed parallel to slavery, according to the Oregonian.

First problem:  auctioning off a firearm in honor of Dr. King's multiple calls for, you know, non-violent civil disobedience, some 45 years after he was assassinated by a firearm.  That's bad enough to the point of being massively offensive, and I have to wonder if anyone in the Mutlnomah County GOP even thought to pause and think that this might not be the best way to get your point across. 

Second problem:  your statement to the people who thought the auction was offensive:

"The great political issue today is whether or not the American people of all creeds and races will live free or live as slaves - slaves to their own overreaching government," the release read, as quoted by the Oregonian. "50 years ago, Martin Luther King's great speech was an appeal for freedom for African Americans. Today, those same words he spoke 50 years ago are an appeal for freedom for all Americans."

This is just horrible on several levels, which brings us to Problem Number Three, your "apology" to people offended by Problems One and Two.

“In our enthusiasm for celebrating Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Constitution, our Multnomah Republican Party issued a press release that was unfortunately easily misunderstood," the release read, as quoted by the Oregonian. "The GOP stands for individual liberty, lower taxes, smaller government and individual responsibility. We apologize if people were hurt by the message being marred by insufficient wording and/or cynical misinterpretations by those who disagree with us politically. We will certainly endeavor to communicate more clearly in the future, and learn and grow from this experience."

"We're sorry you misunderstood us, and that's your problem, not ours" doesn't count as an apology by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, it makes you a bunch of colossal assholes.

So yes, keep up that GOP rebranding effort guys, and keep telling yourselves the only reason African-Americans voted for Obama was because he's black, and not because you're a bunch of jackasses who think we're simply too stupid to see your "great truths" about Dr. King.

Formula For Disaster

When the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act as antiquated and worthless in 2013, they put the burden on Congress to come up with a new formula for determining which states would be subject to pre-clearance.  The problem is, the formula Congress is looking at means Eric Cantor and the GOP House would have to admit that voting discrimination still exists, and in Republican-led states.  He's not about to do that.

The House majority leader has been a rare Republican voice urging assurances that last year's Supreme Court decision to nullify core provisions of the landmark voter protection bill won't foster discrimination at the polls. 
Yet he's given no indication how Congress should proceed or what he would support – a vague position that will be tested now that specific legislation has been introduced with the backing of several prominent Republicans. 
Cantor's office said he's still examining the proposal, would require states with five violations of federal voting laws over the last 15 years to get pre-clearance from Washington before altering their election procedures. All eyes will be on the majority leader's response, which could be the make-or-break moment for the proposal's chances this year. 
There are compelling reasons for Cantor to get on board. As the majority leader, Cantor is on the front lines of the fight to increase the GOP’s control over the lower chamber in November. Republican leaders won't want to be seen blocking a bill designed to protect voters – particularly one with bipartisan support – especially at a time where they’re trying to expand their party’s minority outreach.
The bill also includes a sweetener for Virginians. Under the old provisions shot down by the Supreme Court, the Old Dominion was one of nine states with histories of voter discrimination required to get federal approval before they changed their election procedures. Under the new proposal – which aims to update the formula dictating which states are subject to the extra scrutiny – only four states would be forced to seek such approval. Virginia is not among them.

The states that would remain are Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, all states that have actively tried to suppress the minority vote and have been called out as doing so.  There's zero way Republicans in those states will go along, so Cantor will have a revolt on his hands.  On the other hand, if he doesn't bring this up for a vote, Democrats will be able to say "Well, which party really cares about voting rights?  It's not the GOP."

The GOP rebranding continues.

Another Bad Day For Chris Christie

Apparently the US Attorney's office invesigating GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn't want to wait until this morning to take Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer up on her offer to testify and provide evidence that Christie's office threatened to withhold Sandy relief funds from the city for political reasons.  Zimmer talked to the office on Sunday after coming forward on MSNBC Saturday morning, which means whatever evidence she does have is probably pretty explosive.

Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Zimmer said she was told by a member of Christie's administration that Sandy relief funds hinged on her support for a real estate development project and that the directive was coming directly from Christie. 
"She said that to me -- is that this is a direct message from the Governor," Zimmer said, referring to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who Zimmer said approached her in a parking lot in May to deliver the message. 
It's "stunning" and "outrageous," but true, the Hoboken mayor told CNN's Candy Crowley. "I stand by my word." 
Later in the day, she released a statement saying that she had met with the U.S. Attorney's Office for several hours at its request and provided the office with her journal and other documents. 
"As they pursue this investigation, I will provide any requested information and testify under oath about the facts of what happened when the Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project," she said.

Yeah, for the office to take evidence from Zimmer on a Sunday means things just got very, very real for Christie. In other news, other mayors are coming forward saying other "pay to play" deals were set up for Democrats who backed Christie ahead of last November's election:

Long Branch, N.J. Mayor Adam Schneider (D) on Saturday said he got "enhanced" access to state officials after he endorsed Gov. Chris Christie (R) during his re-election campaign. 
Schneider told the Washington Post that a few months after he endorsed the governor, he contacted his office about an issue he couldn't get resolved by the state utility board.

"I'm not talking to any more underlings, and I'm not being delegated to," Schneider told Christie's aides, a strategy that proved successful. "I got what I needed."

Just a reminder that Republicans who endlessly bleated about "Obama's Chicago machine" politics and "Detroit's culture of corruption" now have their own very real problem, and it's an entire state.


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