Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Last Call For The Webb We Leave

I've talked extensively about which Republican would be the next out of the clown car, but it seems petulance and gravity have caught up with Democrat (and I use the term loosely) Jim Webb in a big way.

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said he is "stepping aside" from the Democratic presidential race, leaving the door open to an independent bid for the White House.

"I’m withdrawing from any consideration of being the Democratic party’s nominee for the presidency," he said.

Instead, the former Republican said he would discuss the possibility of an independent run for president -- which is significantly more difficult and requires significant funding -- during the "next couple of weeks." He said he understands the "histories of independent candidacies."

"We'll just have to see what happens next," he said.

Webb served as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, but switched parties in protest to the Iraq War and ran for Senate as a Democrat in Virginia in 2006. He said today that he takes it “as a compliment” that his party affiliation has been hard to pin down.

“Some people say I am a Republican who became a Democrat, but that I often sound like a Republican in a room full of Democrats or a Democrat in a room full of Republicans," he said.

"More people in this country called themselves independents than Republicans and Democrats," he said today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., speaking with his wife at his side. "Our country is more important than a label. ... The other party in America is not the enemy."

So Jim has gone from the D side to the "Third Party screw the Ds side", possibly trying to Nader the Democratic nominee into another Republican president.  Won't that be fun?

Seriously, if Webb is trying to chase the No Labels nomination, he'd better hurry up.  Time is running out for a serious third party screw job attempt with the primaries being so early this year, and there's the matter of getting on the ballot in swing states where he can do the most damage to the Dems.

Get crackin' there, Jimmy.

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200

And go directly to jail if you want to go to jail so badly, Confederate flag fetishists.

Hundreds of Virginia residents were waging a new Confederate battle this month and refusing to give up state license plates with the flag on them. They say the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' recent recall on the controversial plates violates their rights, despite being essentially approved by a federal judge in August, WAVY reported
Next thing you know, they’re going to say you can’t wear blue on Monday … or you can’t wear yellow on Thursday. Where’s it going to end?” Kevin Collier, a commander with the Stonewall Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the local news station. 
He's not alone. Roughly 1,600 Virginians with Confederate flag-themed license plates received a letter from the DMV in September requesting they swap the plates for new, state-designed ones by Oct. 4. Only 187 people have done so, according to WAVY. Others simply sent back the new plates.

 Some people are just going to have to have the stupid beat out of them, I guess.

The plates had been allowed in Virginia for nearly 15 years, ever since a federal judge issued a 2001 injunction ruling that banning them would be discriminating against the Sons of Confederate Veterans and limiting their First Amendment rights. But the judge dissolved the injunction this past August, referencing a related Texas case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled plates should be considered government speech. 
Now, if caught on the roads with the invalid plates, drivers could be charged with a misdemeanor, MSNBC reported
Collier told WVEC his refusal was a matter of principle and family history. "I have a great-great-great grandfather who fought and died with the 5th Georgia Infantry. And his four brothers all died with him in the name of that flag," he said. "I will go to jail before I change those tags."

Welp, enjoy jail then, dude.  State gets to say what counts as a license plate.

Some people have to learn the hard way.

StupidiNews Focus: O, Canada!

Canadian PM Steven Harper and his Conservative party were trounced yesterday night by the Liberals, coming far back from third place to push aside moderate Tom Mulcair and the New Democratic party.  Canadian voters wanted real change from ten years of Harper, and with Justin Trudeau, they are going to get it.

Speaking in Calgary, Alberta, Mr. Harper conceded defeat but vowed to supporters that the Conservatives would rise again.

“The disappointment you all so feel, is my responsibility and mine alone,” he said. While Mr. Harper made no mention of his plans, the Conservative Party issued a statement saying that he had resigned as its leader.

The election became something of a referendum on Mr. Harper’s approach to government, which, in the view of his critics, has often focused on issues important to core Conservative supporters, mostly in the West, rather than to much of the population.

Dominic LeBlanc, a prominent Liberal member of Parliament who was handily re-elected in New Brunswick, attributed the party’s extraordinary revival, following a period during which many people forecast its extinction, to Mr. Trudeau, who became the party’s leader in 2013.

The focus of the campaign fluttered among issues, including a scandal over Conservative senators’ expenses; antiterrorism measures Mr. Harper introduced; pensions; the stagnation of the economy brought about by plunging oil prices; the government’s handling of refugees; the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact; and Mr. Harper’s attempts to ban the wearing of face veils known as niqabs during citizenship ceremonies.

The key to the Liberals' win?  Turnout baby turnout.

While the Canadian election was initially met with summer-vacation indifference when it was called on Aug. 2, the dramatic ending appeared to have attracted voter interest.

Turnout fell to as low as 58.8 percent in 2008 and was 61.1 percent in the last parliamentary elections, in 2011. The agency that supervises federal elections reported that 68.5 percent of the country’s 25.6 million voters cast ballots in this election.

News reports indicated that voters faced unusually long lines at some of the 66,000 polling stations on Monday. A rush of traffic temporarily overwhelmed the website of Elections Canada, the agency responsible for federal votes. 

Can you imagine how any Democrats would be elected here with 68.5% turnout?  It would be an absolute wipeout of the GOP and they know it.  But there's another reason why Trudeau did so well. Ed Kilgore explains:

One wrinkle in this campaign that center-left parties everywhere should note is that Liberals broke with the other two major parties in refusing to pledge a balanced budget, instead promising to run short-term deficits to finance needed infrastructure projects. 
Another possible ripple-effect from the vote is to cast a pall on the appropriation of American-style cultural conservatism by Harper’s Tories. It’s fitting that Harper’s last political acts as PM were to demagogue Muslim apparel and campaign with Rob Ford. 
And without question, the ejection of Harper is a boon to the Obama administration, especially on energy and environmental issues where Canada had become problematic in its resistance to climate change action and its advocacy of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In other words, the Liberals presented themselves as a clearly different choice from not only Harper's Conservatives, but from Mulcair's NDP as well.

There's a lesson there if Dems want to learn it.


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