Thoughts and Actions

It is human nature to think wisely, and to act in an absurd fashion.

— Anatole France

This week everybody was still talking about the election aftermath

Republicans spent this week ignoring the good advice I gave them.

Mitt Romney is working hard to insure that his political career is over. In a conference call to donors, he explained away his defeat like this:

The Obama campaign was following the old playbook of giving a lot of stuff to groups that they hoped they could get to vote for them and be motivated to go out to the polls, specifically the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people.

“Gifts” like: a cut in student loan interest rates, an executive order doing much of what the DREAM Act would have done if Republicans hadn’t blocked it, making contraceptive coverage part of ObamaCare, changing the rules so that 20-somethings could stay on their parents health insurance, and — worst of all — offering the working poor the prospect of health insurance once ObamaCare fully takes effect. CNN’s Paul Waldman translated:

During his first term, Obama craftily carried out policies that helped improve Americans’ lives, thereby tricking them into voting to re-elect him. Diabolical!

Some foolish people say this is the “real” Romney resurfacing after shaking the Etch-a-Sketch in October. But like Barbie, Mitt Romney is a creation of his audience. Speaking to big donors brought back 47% Romney. If he runs in Massachusetts again, Pro-Choice Romney will reappear. When no one is looking, Mitt Romney does not exist.

I heard this joke: Post-election, a conservative talk-radio show was envisioning the next Republican nominee as the 180-degree opposite of Mitt Romney. Romney called in to say: “I think I can be that candidate.”

Joking aside, Mike Huckabee really said: “I regret the Republican Party’s complete abandonment of Todd Akin.” Me too, Mike. I wish all Republican candidates had loudly defended Legitimate-Rape Akin. I wish Romney had flown down to Missouri and stood arm-in-arm with him for a photo op. The Obama campaign would have paid Mitt’s air fare and provided a film crew.

And also not joking (“You think I’m joking? Think again.”), the LA Times Charlotte Allen proposes Sarah Palin as the cure for what ails Republicans. She’ll win back those blue-collar whites in Ohio, and women will vote for her because she’s a woman. I guess Bobby Jindal’s plea to “stop being the stupid party” is too idealistic.

I spoke too soon about Party officials not embracing the Obama-won-by-vote-fraud lie. The chair of Maine’s Republican Party is investigating reports that “dozens of black people” voted in rural Maine communities where “nobody in town knew them” — because it’s always suspicious when black people vote. Obama won Maine by over 100,000 votes.

Romney’s Wisconsin co-chair claims that it “absolutely” would have made a difference in the election if Wisconsin’s voter-ID law hadn’t been blocked by the courts. Obama won Wisconsin by 200,000 votes.

Sean Hannity concludes that fraud is the only possible explanation for urban precincts where Romney got zero votes. In August, an NBC/WSJ poll — whose African-American sample was probably about the same size as an urban precinct — showed Romney had 0% support among blacks.

Ohio Republicans are resuming the War on Women. In a post-election session of the legislature, they’re pushing a defund-Planned-Parenthood bill and a “heartbeat” bill that would outlaw abortion at about the six-week mark.

An election-eve poll by Latino Decisions shows Republicans have bigger problems with Hispanics than Marco Rubio or a comprehensive immigration bill can solve. 66% say government should “play a role to ensure that all people have access to health insurance”. Only 12% want the deficit solved by “spending cuts alone”, and respondents oppose repealing ObamaCare 61%-25%.

I think I know what’s going on here, and it has little to do with race. Have you ever met one of those Soviet-bloc immigrants who is a diehard conservative because he’s seen what happens when government runs everything? Well, many Hispanics come from places where five families own everything and nobody else has a chance to succeed unless the government forces the rich to give them one. They look at Republican policies and say, “I know where that road goes.”

… and General Petraeus

I can’t convince myself that Petraeus’ sex life has any news value at all. But the way the story is shaking out is illuminating several interesting side issues (like how invasive the FBI can be or the bankruptcy of the Pentagon’s “spiritual fitness” program) which I explore in Shadows Cast By the Petraeus Scandal.

… but I decided to write about gerrymandering and sports

But not in the same article. I mentioned last week that Democratic candidates for Congress got more votes than Republican candidates, even as the Republicans retained control of the House by a wide margin. My one-word explanation was gerrymandering. This week I flesh out How Gerrymandering Painted the House Red by looking at specific states — like Pennsylvania, where Democrats got more votes than Republicans, but Republicans control the House delegation 13-5.

If you missed ESPN’s “Ghosts of Ole Miss”, you can still catch it on NetFlix. It inspired me to write Race, Sports, and a Doomed Civilization.

… and you might find this interesting

Just anecdotal evidence, but there sure seemed to be a lot of people out shopping Saturday.

Privatization in action: If you’re a private prison company looking for a way to cut costs, why not subcontract to a gang?

Washington Monthly’s Kathleen Geier goes off on John McCain’s charge that potential-Secretary-of-State Susan Rice is “not very bright”:

so love that they went there. It’s maddening that this country is more or less run by old, white, out of touch, sexist, racist men like McCain and Mitt Romney, whose accomplishments, intellectual and otherwise, are dubious, and who reaped enormous unearned benefits from the wealth and connections they were born into. And yet these same people, rather than being humble about their own modest abilities and respectful of others who have accomplished so much in the world despite facing far more formidable obstacles, have the unmitigated gall to question their credentials.

The right does this time and again. Women and nonwhites in the public eye constantly have their qualifications and competencies questioned in ways that those of white men never are. No matter how glittering a person’s resume is, how dazzling their accomplishments are, if a prominent person is nonwhite and/or female, he or she is treated as an unqualified usurper.

A music video reminds us not to forget the true victims of the Class War.

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