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July 19th, 2014
thesmithian

"Elected officials…it can be Democrat, Republican, from any background, from any part of the country—take their oaths and all of a sudden are surrounded by people who only tell them what they want to hear…They only hear good news and become insulated from the public. Often they don’t even believe their own polling numbers because of their profound self-assurance. This kind of thinking can easily lead to arrogance and a sense of entitlement. Some people lose their moral compass. Some never had one…[Ray] Nagin ran for office with the best of intentions. His lack of political experience was a plus as a candidate, but a deficit as mayor. His fall has been a disappointment not only to the city but also to so many who supported him and had high hopes for him."

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"Elected officials…it can be Democrat, Republican, from any background, from any part of the country—take their oaths and all of a sudden are surrounded by people who only tell them what they want to hear…They only hear good news and become insulated from the public. Often they don’t even believe their own polling numbers because of their profound self-assurance. This kind of thinking can easily lead to arrogance and a sense of entitlement. Some people lose their moral compass. Some never had one…[Ray] Nagin ran for office with the best of intentions. His lack of political experience was a plus as a candidate, but a deficit as mayor. His fall has been a disappointment not only to the city but also to so many who supported him and had high hopes for him."

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July 1st, 2014
thesmithian
Foreign policy is being driven by two wings of interventionism: the human rights interventionists, largely Democratic, who wish to use military force to liberate oppressed people; and hegemonic interventionists, largely Republican, who wish to use military force to achieve political dominance in the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere. The vast majority of Americans, however, are by nature cautious about sending troops and ships here and there willy-nilly. They are not isolationists. They are realists. They know the lessons of history more than right and left ideologues.
June 30th, 2014
thesmithian

'He hit the black diners, barbeques and churches. The gentleman’s message: You know me. I bring home the bacon and will look out for your interests. The harsh, anti-government tea party will excoriate and eschew your causes. And the Democratic nominee can’t win a general election in a conservative, GOP-dominated state like Mississippi. They listened. Tuesday’s runoff posted a record African-American turnout in a Mississippi GOP primary. They didn’t stay home. They did not fall for the knee-jerk mantra, vote Democrat, Democrat, Democrat. Instead, African-American voters stepped up in their best interest. It was a sophisticated and strategic statement.'

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June 21st, 2014
thesmithian

…in the Cheneys’ contorted diagram of history, going to war is itself a victory.

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May 17th, 2014
thesmithian

'…as Obama has seen, there is a limit to what the White House can achieve on its own. But most of the obstacles in the President’s path today were not simply placed there by the framers of the Constitution; they are being deployed, destructively, as part of a Republican assault on governance.'

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April 17th, 2014
thesmithian

Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, didn’t start out Republican. She and her husband…had always been Democrats. But she’d long dreamed of running for office, and when word got out that she had her eyes on the district attorney’s seat, two local Republican activists asked her to lunch. At the meeting, the story goes, her suitors didn’t talk about party affiliation or ideology. They zeroed in on issues—taxes, welfare, gun rights, the death penalty. Afterward, Martinez got into the car, turned to her husband, and said, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.”

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Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, didn’t start out Republican. She and her husband…had always been Democrats. But she’d long dreamed of running for office, and when word got out that she had her eyes on the district attorney’s seat, two local Republican activists asked her to lunch. At the meeting, the story goes, her suitors didn’t talk about party affiliation or ideology. They zeroed in on issues—taxes, welfare, gun rights, the death penalty. Afterward, Martinez got into the car, turned to her husband, and said, “I’ll be damned, we’re Republicans.”

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March 21st, 2014
thesmithian
Paul Ryan’s claim to have made a mistake will be granted because he is white and male. The errors of prominent (as well as rank and file) African-Americans for example, are never excused away or viewed as aberrations or outliers. No. When black folks are ‘inarticulate’ or ‘misspeak’ the white racial frame deems such moments as indications of incompetence, or proof that people of color are somehow ‘not qualified’ or as ‘intelligent’ as white people. The white gaze does not view black Americans as individuals. When a black person makes a mistake it becomes the focus of a ‘national conversation’ about the black community, one in which ‘black leaders’ are forced to publicly explain and condemn the actions of other black people. There is not an equivalent ritual for white people. White conservatives and the white community will not be forced to condemn Paul Ryan.
March 19th, 2014
thesmithian

'…the RNC’s “Black Trailblazers” event at the Howard Theatre in DC was packed with black conservatives. But that will only get Republicans so far…'

They say they want black votes, but they are still trying to make it difficult for blacks to vote (see Ohio and … Wisconsin). They know their electoral salvation rests in the hands of Latino voters. They know that comprehensive immigration reform will secure it. But they continue to block any action on comprehensive immigration reform…

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March 12th, 2014
thesmithian

Erika Harold doesn’t fit neatly into the taxonomy of today’s Republican factions: She is not a middle-of-the-road Republican. Nor is she a neocon, a Tea Partier or a strict libertarian cribbing Ayn Rand quotes. She calls herself a constitutional conservative. She is anti-abortion rights, pro-gun, believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. She does not support marijuana legalization. She wants to repeal Obamacare. She also is against the death penalty…

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February 14th, 2014
thesmithian

Volkswagen wants to establish works councils at its Chattanooga plant…In Europe, these groups…collaborate on issues such as plant rules, work hours and vacations. In VW’s experience, cooperating with employees through these councils increases productivity and profitability. Because the councils discuss labor issues such as work hours, VW and the UAW have determined that to legally establish them in Chattanooga, the plant must be unionized. This is intolerable to the GOP.

bold, ours. more, here.

February 9th, 2014
thesmithian

'After the 2012 elections, when Repubs…spent more than $1 billion…failing to unseat Pres. Obama and win back the Senate, they concluded that they had fallen dangerously behind Democrats in…technology. Now, with midterm elections just nine months away, the right is investing tens of millions of dollars to match the interactive platforms, grass-roots databases and sophisticated data analytics that allowed Democrats to identify voters, reach them with precision and persuade them to vote.'

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February 9th, 2014
thesmithian

‘…the right-to-life movement cannot take credit for the decline in abortions. Since 2008, states have enacted more than a hundred laws related to abortion, most aimed at limiting access to the procedure. The researchers, however, concluded that the new laws, with few exceptions, had had little impact on the number of abortions. Instead, much of the decline is probably attributable to more effective contraception, some of it available through the federal funding…that Republicans like to rail against.’

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February 7th, 2014
thesmithian
Every new news item goes through a mechanized process, traveling…a flow chart designed to break down all information into one of just two types of product: meat for Republican readers, and meat for Democrat readers. Nobody else gets to eat. And even if you don’t mind one or the other, nobody can stand the same meal a million days in a row. It’s the numbing sameness and predictability that makes you crazy…
January 30th, 2014
thesmithian

…the president’s optimism is a welcome shift in tone. Many commentators and members of Congress seem to believe that trying to solve what has become a full-fledged jobs emergency is futile. And of course it would be in the Republicans’ interest to have the president fail. New York Times columnist David Brooks argues that most of those who will get more income through a higher minimum wage live in families that are not below the poverty line. This is said by some to be thoughtful criticism. To the contrary, it reflects a nation desensitized to the plight of its workers.

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art: drawing by Jane Nwagbo

January 29th, 2014
thesmithian

…what the vow of executive action…constitutes is a gamble that Americans…agree more with the liberal economic vision than the conservative one. The hope: If people support liberal economic policies like the minimum wage hike, they will support accomplishing them via executive action, won’t care about process, and will contrast this action favorably with Congressional Republicans, who will remain associated with Washington dysfunction and, by extension, economic pessimism.

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