Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Last Call For School Of Hard-Right Knocks, Con't

And what I have predicted from the reactionary racists on the right over "critical race theory" has come to pass in Tennessee: white parents demanding accurate history of American racism be removed from the classroom entirely because it makes white students "feel bad".

Robin Steenman pulled her daughter out of public school over a mask mandate last year.
She's now in private school and misses public school. But Steenman is keeping her out not because of masks, but because of lesson plans she says make students feel bad about their race. 
"The school bus goes right in front of my house and my kid is dying to ride it," she told CNN. "But not until I have deemed that the curriculum is safe and will do no harm." 
Steenman is counting on a new Tennessee law to force schools to end that curriculum -- and ban at least one book in the elementary school library written from the perspective of Mexican Americans. 
The former fighter pilot leads a chapter of Moms For Liberty in this wealthy, Republican-leaning suburb of Nashville. 
She says her group has ballooned in size since April, from less than 20 parents meeting at her house to more than 3,000 connecting on Facebook. The chapter has grabbed headlines for belligerent protests at school board meetings. They have attacked a high school LGBTQ pride float -- one tweet wondered if students passing out pride literature were doing "recruitment." And another meeting featured a tirade by a Moms For Liberty member against a children's book about the lives of seahorses, which she said was too sexual. 
But the group's main concern is how American history is taught in school, particularly to younger kids.  
In a multi-page complaint to the state department of education filed this summer, Moms For Liberty says the Williamson County Schools curriculum violates state law because it includes "anti-American, anti-White and anti-Mexican teaching." 
In May, Gov. Bill Lee signed HB 580, a law aimed at banning so-called critical race theory from schools. Educators argue that critical race theory is not taught or included in the K-12 curriculum and is usually an elective class in college or law school. 
Section 51, part 6 of the Tennessee law makes lesson plans illegal if students "feel discomfort, guilt, or anguish." 
Steenman says the Williamson County curriculum makes students feel bad about their race, meaning the law should invalidate it. 
The Tennessee Department of Education declined a request for comment from CNN on the complaint.
And just like that, in five years, I predict national US history curricula will not include a word about slavery, the civil war or the civil rights movement, other than to say white people fixed all that, the end.

Time For Dems To Burn It All Down

With the House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Good Package scheduled for tomorrow, Josh Marshall says that House Democrats should be prepared to kill the bipartisan bill and force the Good Package through.

Back in 2004 and 2005, President Bush tried to partially abolish Social Security. There was huge pressure on Democrats to negotiate, to put up a counter-proposal, to get involved in the process to limit the damage. At the time, Republicans had unified control of the federal government. They could do the thing if they wanted to. Democrats finally settled on the right approach which was: no. No negotiations. No support. No nothing. Democrats couldn’t control the outcome. But they could clarify what was happening. Democrats support Social Security. Republicans want to abolish it.

In the event, Bush’s plan collapsed. Democrats were ready to lose well and that helped them win.

But it’s worth thinking through the alternative scenario. What if Bush had in fact abolished most of Social Security. That would have been a policy disaster for hundreds of millions of Americans. But if the Democrats had been part of it it would have been disastrous for them as a party. The cases are very different but there are some similarities to now. If the upshot of the Biden presidency is that Democrats delivered the votes for Kyrsten Sinema’s infrastructure bill vanity project and got nothing else it will be profoundly self-discrediting for the Democratic party in addition to being a disaster for the climate future and much else. Democrats and the White House need to be ready to kill the infrastructure bill.

It is perverse and bizarre since the Democrats, though tenuously, now have unified control of the government rather than being a beleaguered opposition with no holds on any levers of power. How we’ve gotten to the point that they cannot collectively control the outcome … well, that’s crazy. But that’s where we are. Largely because of Kyrsten Sinema. But look at what we’re talking about here. Is the reward for her betrayal having the party she is betraying passing her infrastructure bill? That’s too crazy to allow to happen. It is a basic element of life for individuals that we must strive to confront with dignity things we cannot control. It shapes who we are. And something similar applies to political coalitions and parties.

Now there are potentially lots of ways to skin this cat. Maybe the House passes the bill but Speaker Pelosi declines to send it to the President until there’s movement on the reconciliation bill. Or the President would hold it for a week himself. As has been the case throughout this maddening year there are just too many factors that aren’t visible to us. Democrats will have to rely on Nancy Pelosi and others make good decisions based on knowledge of details they cannot share. But to the extent we can be clear on goals, to the extent we must shape transitory tactics with a clear understanding of where we want to end up, a final outcome that is an infrastructure bill and nothing else is just not tenable. It leaves too many critical priorities unaddressed – especially climate – and makes a mockery of the whole Democratic coalition.

If it’s the BIF and nothing else, kill the BIF


Democrats appear likely to opt for Plan B, which is to raise the debt limit in the reconciliation process. But if so, they have another option: They can try to use reconciliation to effectively nullify the debt limit, which if it works would end this nonsense for good.

What just happened makes this option newly relevant. Indeed, what Democrats themselves are thinking about what just happened forcefully argues for giving this option serious consideration.

Punchbowl News reports that Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democrats are steamed because McConnell is forcing them to raise the debt limit, which is all you can do in reconciliation, rather than suspend it, which is politically easier:

Schumer and his fellow Senate Democrats remain furious about McConnell’s handling of this issue, although there doesn’t seem to be much they can do about it. Yet it’s impossible to overstate the level of frustration among Democrats right now. Democrats say McConnell is cynically using this issue to force Democrats up in 2022, such as Sens. Maggie Hassan (N.H.) and Mark Kelly (Ariz.), to vote for a debt-limit increase.

But if this is a problem, then there is something that can be done about it. David Super, a law professor at Georgetown, has suggested that Democrats use reconciliation to tie the size of the debt limit to whatever is necessary to cover the national debt at any given moment.

Before, Democrats had an understandable reason for refraining from this. They didn’t want to use reconciliation to deal with the debt limit at all, because it will complicate passing their multitrillion-dollar social policy bill.

But now, if Democrats may have to use reconciliation on the debt limit anyway, why not consider using the process to nullify it?

Dems are terrified. The last time they moved on a big stimulus package and big social plan, they were butchered in Congress and in states, leading to the current Midwestern realignment towards the GOP. States Obama won in 2008 like Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and came close in like Missouri and Kansas are now blood red, along with thousands of state legislature seats. Democratic state parties were wiped out of a dozen states, on a semi-permanent basis.

But Obamacare was the right thing to do. It could have been far better.

This time around, the compromise option is a loser. If Dems wait around for the rules to line up correctly and proceed with a timid, minimal response, then yes, they will lose 40, maybe 60 House seats and 4-6 Senate seats.  Maybe more. That's a guarantee.

But if they kill the debt ceiling garbage fire and pass the Good Package, well...

They just might pull it off.

Retribution Execution, Con't

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp failed to deliver the state into Donald Trump's win column, and then had the unmitigated gall to say that no, the elections for President and for both senators were not stolen. As such, Donald Trump now wants Kemp gone by any means necessary, even if that means voting in Democratic challenger and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams as governor of Georgia.

Donald Trump is escalating his fight against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, and state Republicans fear it will give Democrats a stronger foothold in the key swing state as next year's midterm elections loom. 
The former President's criticism of Kemp now includes hyping Democrat Stacey Abrams as a preferable alternative to the GOP governor, whose crime against Trump was staying out of his attempt to overturn the Georgia 2020 election returns. 
"Having her, I think, might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know what I think," Trump said Saturday at his rally in Perry, adding later, "Stacey, would you like to take his place? It's OK with me." 
Party leaders worry a divided Georgia GOP next year could hand Democrats the governor's mansion and help them keep a Senate seat in a year when Republicans should do well. And the former President's quasi-endorsement of Abrams reveals the diffidence among party leaders about how to proceed. 
"I think the most notable part is the quiet of everyone in the GOP in Georgia," said Erick Erickson, an Atlanta-based talk radio host. "No one agrees with him. No one is endorsing it. But no one is vocally pushing back, either." 
At the same time, the battle in Georgia reveals the larger war for the party's future and what role Trump occupies in it. 
The former President is doing his part to try to shape this future in his own image in Georgia. He has endorsed a slate of Republican candidates for statewide office in competitive primaries. Several of these attended his rally in Perry last weekend, including Herschel Walker for US Senate, Burt Jones for lieutenant governor and Jody Hice for secretary of state. 
"I do not see how the governor can unite the party without reconciling with the former President," said one longtime Georgia Republican operative. "This is not a question of fairness. It is a question of reality. Kemp needs the party united in 2022." 
But other Republicans in Georgia say demanding total loyalty is a risky proposition for a decidedly purple state that Trump lost in 2020. And the stakes for the GOP are high, with the US Senate race in Georgia potentially determining which party holds the majority after next fall's midterms. 
"Trump could prevent Republicans in Georgia from riding a massive anti-Biden wave that could put them almost where they were pre-Trump," said a second Republican operative from Georgia. 
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican and vocal critic of Trump's false claims about the 2020 election, wrote in a CNN op-ed last week that Trump threatens to "hijack our great state for his own selfish agenda." 
"It might make for good theater, but it is setting back the conservative movement. If we keep it up, we are looking at another four years of President Biden calling the shots," Duncan wrote.
So yes, Trump is both willing to load up his GOP endorsements based solely on loyalty to helping him steal elections, and he will punish those who do not by replacing them with Democrats. The Trump party is all Trump, all day, all the time, forever.
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