Sunday, December 13, 2015

Last Call For Moderate Marco

The smart money, the pundits keep telling me, is on GOP Sen. Marco Rubio to emerge as the "moderate" Republican champion who will go on to win the nomination and eventually save the country from Hillary.  The reality of course is that there's no appreciable difference among Rubio or any of the other reactionary bigoted Republicans in the field, and Rubio keeps proving that almost daily as his Sunday interview with NBC's Chuck Todd on same-sex marriage showed:

MARCO RUBIO: I think it’s bad law. And for the following reason. If you want to change the definition of marriage, then you need to go to state legislatures and get them to change it. Because states have always defined marriage. And that’s why some people get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator. And in Florida, you have to wait a couple days when you get your permit. Every state has different marriage laws. But I do not believe that the court system was the right way to do it because I don’t believe–

CHUCK TODD: But it’s done now. Are you going to work to overturn it?

MARCO RUBIO: You can’t work to overturn it. What you–

CHUCK TODD: Sure. You can do a constitutional amendment.

MARCO RUBIO: As I’ve said, that would be conceding that the current Constitution is somehow wrong and needs to be fixed. I don’t think the current Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate marriage. That belongs at the state and local level. And that’s why if you want to change the definition of marriage, which is what this argument is about.

It’s not about discrimination. It is about the definition of a very specific, traditional, and age-old institution. If you want to change it, you have a right to petition your state legislature and your elected representatives to do it. What is wrong is that the Supreme Court has found this hidden constitutional right that 200 years of jurisprudence had not discovered and basically overturn the will of voters in Florida where over 60% passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage in the state constitution as the union of one man and one woman.

CHUCK TODD: So are you accepting the idea of same sex marriage in perpetuity?

MARCO RUBIO: It is the current law. I don’t believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it. And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.

This is nothing new of course, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and several other Republicans have come out and said that they don't believe that there is any federal jurisdiction over marriage.  The problem of course is that there's four Supreme Court justices who agree, and that conservatives only need to appoint one more justice in order to then annul thousands of same-sex marriages.

It would be chaos of course, but this is Rubio's stated goal, to stack the court.

Once again, please don't tell me that the Supreme Court "doesn't matter" or that keeping the slim hope of equality alive isn't worth voting for the Democrat you don't wan't over the Republican you know who will destroy it.

Cruzing To Get Trumped

With just seven weeks left until the Iowa Caucuses in February, Sen. Ted Cruz has picked up Dr. Ben Carson's support and now has a 10-point lead over Trump in Iowa, 31%-21%.  Two things: first, a majority of Republicans are backing the loudest, most bigoted Republicans in the race, and second, with the holidays now approaching quickly, there's not a whole lot of time left.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz now has a firm lead among likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers, according to the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday evening.

Cruz polled at 31 percent while real estate magnate Donald Trump — who regularly led most national polls — held a distant second place at 21 percent.

These results mirror those of Monday's Monmouth University Poll, which gave the freshman senator a five-point lead over Trump.

The top slot in Iowa has cycled among Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Cruz. Carson, once an evangelical voter darling, was almost an afterthought among Iowa Republican voters in comparison.

Carson polled at 13 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at 10 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) at 6 percent.

Cruz had the support of 51 percent of likely caucusgoers when asked about their first and second choices.

Bloomberg Politics reported this 21-point jump is the largest in the Iowa polls in the last five presidential caucuses.

The last Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll of Iowa voters was conducted in late October. Carson led at 28 points, followed by Trump at 19 points and Cruz at 10 points.

But they still tell me the smart money's on Rubio.

Sunday Long Read: Can't Move On

The Washington Post's Eli Saslow takes a look at the youngest victim of the Roseburg, Oregon shooting, Cheyeanne Fitzgerald, and a uniquely American group of people: mass shooting survivors.

This, she was realizing more and more, was the role of a survivor in a mass shooting: to be okay, to get better, to exemplify resilience for a country always rushing to heal and continue on. There had been a public vigil during her surgery, a news conference when she was upgraded from critical to stable and then a small celebration when she was sent home after two weeks with a handmade card signed by the hospital staff. “Strong and Moving On,” it had read.

By then, the college had reopened. What remained of her Writing 115 class had been moved across campus to an airy art building with windows that looked out on Douglas firs. They were forging ahead and coming back stronger, always stronger. That’s what the college dean had said.

Except inside the rental, where every day was just like the one before: Awake again in the recliner. Asleep again in the recliner. Cheyeanne dressed in the same baggy pajamas that hung loose and away from her wounds. She was wrapped in an abdominal binder that helped hold her major organs in place. Her hair was greasy because her injuries made it painful to take a bath. Five medications sat on the coffee table, next to a bucket she reached for when those medicines made her throw up. She couldn’t go back to school, or play her guitar, or drive her truck, or hold a long conversation without losing her breath, so she mostly sat in silence and thought about the same seven minutes everyone else was so purposefully moving past. The shooter was standing over her. The hollow-point bullet was burning through her upper back.

She wanted to talk about it. She needed to tell someone who knew her — someone other than a psychologist — what she’d been thinking ever since that day: “I just lied there. I didn’t save anybody. I couldn’t even get up off the ground.” But what everyone else around her seemed to want was for the shooting to be over and for her to be better, so they came to urge her along at all hours of the day and night.

In came the assistant district attorney with a bouquet of flowers and a check for $7,200 in victim restitution. “On to better days,” he said.

In came her best friend, Savannah, with a special anti-stress coloring book. “For your nightmares,” she said.

In came Bonnie, always Bonnie, rushing between the kitchen and the living room, her eyes bloodshot from sleep deprivation and hands shaking from a heart condition. “Think positive. Think positive,” she said, because a therapist had suggested that as a mantra.

In came one of her brothers, Raimey, 24. “Can I get you something?” he asked. And then in came her other brother, Jessy, carrying two large boxes and handing one to her. “A present,” he said. “Open it.” She lifted the lid and reached inside, removing what looked like a small gun.

She had owned guns since she was 6, when her father had given her a hot-pink youth model .22 for Christmas. She’d killed her first deer at 12 and another two years later. “A gun person all the way,” she had said of herself, and now she was fingering the trigger of what was not a real gun but a replica, a self-defense weapon designed to shoot lasers and pepper spray. Her palm found the barrel. Her index finger found the trigger.

“It’s got a nice feel to it, right?” Jessy said, as Cheyeanne began to think about the last time she had been this close to a gun.

“It’s small enough you could put it in your purse for school,” Jessy said, and suddenly Cheyeanne was smelling salt, metal and blood. It had smelled nothing like deer.

“Do you want me to set it up for you?” Jessy asked, and Cheyeanne shook her head. She put the weapon back in the box. “Not yet. Thanks.”

 I know I've put up a number of pretty sobering Sunday Long Read stories over 2015, but this one is probably the most painful to read.

America has failed Cheyeanne is so many ways.
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