Al Franken’s Supreme Affirmation

by matttbastard

(Image: Al Franken for Senate)

Speaking as a long time SNL fan, I think it’s absolutely fabulous to see that the Minnesota State Supreme Court believes Al Franken is good enough and smart enough to represent the state as its junior Senator. Because, doggone it, people like him more than Norm Coleman (by a final margin of 312 votes).

Chris Cillizza notes that despite Franken’s celebrity pedigree (which, as Cillizza points out, helped swell Franken’s coffers throughout the campaign and subsequent legal battle with Coleman), the former writer/comedian cannily avoided the public eye while lawyers tussled–except to play the role of statesman :

When the race ended in a tie, Franken did something very smart; he stayed out of the spotlight. He was rarely seen or heard and when he did pop into public view it was during an occasional visit to Washington when he was huddling with potential colleagues and getting briefed on issues by potential staffers — in short, acting like a senator. He gave Republicans nothing to use to sow doubts about whether he was ready for the office to which he was headed. While Franken’s personal discipline did little to effect the legal outcome, it played a critical part in slowly but surely securing public support behind the idea that not only had he won but that he was ready to be a senator.

Also, many thanks to the beltway bullshit shovellers at Politico for once again picking up the trusty steno pads to help their GOP patrons explain how an historic victory for the Democratic party is–wait for it–actually good news for Republicans (ZOMG NO WAIS!):

Franken’s upcoming seating will give Democrats their biggest majority in the Senate in a generation, ensuring their party holds a 60-40 majority – enough to quash GOP filibusters if they stay united.

And with that, some Republicans see an ironic silver lining – Democrats have nobody else to blame if their agenda falls short even though that will be tough with an ideologically diverse caucus and the absences of Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who have been sidelined by illnesses. GOP strategists say it will solidify their argument heading into the 2010 elections that electing more Republicans would be a critical check on one-party dominance in Washington.

“The implications of this Senate race are particularly significant because the Democrats will now have 60 votes in the Senate,” said Sen. John Cornyn, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “With their supermajority, the era of excuses and finger-pointing is now over.”

The more things change…(oh teh irony, indeed)

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Dream a Little Dream Redux

by matttbastard

A dream fulfilled? Perhaps that’s just a bit presumptuous, as Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan observes, noting that today, as in Dr. King’s era, “black people [in America] have statistically twice the bad and half of the good things in life.” Tony Campbell chimes in with an additional note of caution, reminding us that “the inauguration of an African-American male is a good first step towards Dr. King’s goal; but it is NOT the dream itself” and advises that we not conflate Obama with Dr. King because the President-elect “is a politician and Dr. King never wanted to be one.”

The politician and the activist

But the sentiment expressed by USian people of colour in that CNN/Opinion Research poll is indicative of the heady optimism surrounding the impending inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. And I believe that if Dr. King had lived (oh, if he had lived) to witness this moment, he too would have been bawlin’ like a baby alongside Jesse Jackson on that fateful night in Grant Park; that he would have celebrated his 80th birthday by doing what he dedicated his life to (and made the ultimate sacrifice for): serving his community.

800px-lyndon_johnson_and_martin_luther_king_jr_-_voting_rights_act

So, on Wednesday, we can start preparing ourselves for the disappointment that, for a number of reasons, the chattering class has declared to be all-but-inevitable (and that some plan to intentionally cultivate and further by any means necessary). But today? Today is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, of celebration– for both the (likely fleeting) realization of American history’s long-delayed promise and the triumph of possibility redefined to perhaps boundless margins.

Yes, you damn right we did (and, even though we’re starting to drown the public commons with ridiculously overwrought superlatives, I still think it feels like the fucking end of Star Wars).

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Dear New York Times

Dude, c’mon.  Citing National Review propagandist Andrew C. McCarthy as an ‘expert’ in an article on the future of  US terror detention policy under Obama? That Andrew C. McCarthy–the one who infamously labelled Obama’s political philosophy as being “more Maoist than Stalinist”?

Maybe it’s my deep-seated liberal bias, but, to me, saying that someone who gamely tried to peddle the not-quite-as-batshit-as-Obama-spawn-of-Malcolm-X rumour that Ayers  ghostwrote Obama’s memoir is merely “a former federal prosecutor who has generally supported the Bush administration’s approach to fighting terrorism” is rather misleading, to say the least.

I mean, really — imbuing this hacktacular right-wing conspiracy-theorist with anything resembling mainstream legitimacy would be akin to granting someone like, oh, say, William Kristol a prominent spot on the Times’ opinion page.

Oh, wait…

Well, at least this proves once and for all that there’s next-t0-nothing that one can be spectacularly, brilliantly so-wrong-that-it-fucking-stings about that will automatically disqualify them from ever being taken seriously by the puddle-deep gliberati of the MSM–just as long as one continues mingling at the right social events and dutifully paying his or her publicist.

cynically yours,

matttbastard

P.S. Here’s hoping y’all don’t pick Jerome Corsi to be Billy K’s token wingnut replacement.

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‘Magic Negro’ Cost/Benefit Analysis

by matttbastard

The other day, Howard Weaver sent out the following precient (if pithy) observation via tweet:

Politico sure seems to be ground zero for inside-the-beltway conventional wisdom.

Mhm, someone got a fresh new pair of cute Captain Obvious underpants for Christmas.

Regardless, I shudder to think what they’re spiking the cocktails with in Georgetown if the following Politico headline represents the “conventional wisdom” on the RNC’s recent racial follies:

‘Magic Negro’ flap might help Saltsman

Ok, yeah if by “help” one means “further paint the GOP into a demographically narrow corner,” then, sure–go Team Saltsman!

The big tent collapses under the collective weight of the stupid.

Josh Marshall brings the snark:

Wholly unable to confirm this, but I’m told the talk is now that Mike Duncan may have to perform in black face at the upcoming RNC meeting to remain a credible candidate for the job.

If one is to believe that the RNC officials quoted by Andy Barr are being sincere (and not simply taking the lead of Saltsman’s former boss by spinning like out of control centrifuges) The Party of Lincoln is now officially The Party of Jolson–which sure is a great way to reintroduce the tarnished GOP brand going into 2009: adopting what amounts to the I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-The-Southern-Strategy! Strategy. Of course, some of these doe-eyed grassroots bigots are likely the same strategic savants who thought George Allen was the *ahem* white knight best prepared to save the party from Bush’s long shadow in 2008. So, I suppose one shouldn’t be too surprised they would also consider this year’s ‘Macaca’ to be much ado about nothing.

Related: Adam Serwer schools various wingnuts  on what David Ehrenstein did and didn’t say in his now-infamous LA Times op-ed that served as inspiration for Shanklin’s “satirical” song.

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

by matttbastard

Elrod @ TMV on one of the other racist songs on that CD that Chip Saltsman handed out to the RNC, The Star-Spanglish Banner:

Did the GOP learn nothing by baiting Latinos the last few years? Is the GOP not content to lose Florida, Colorado and New Mexico? Must Arizona fall to the Democrats for the GOP to realize that anti-Latino bigotry is an electoral loser? What about Texas? If Latinos in Texas voted Democratic at rates they do in Illinois, New York and California, Texas would be on the verge of blue state status. Is this parody song designed to test the willingness of economically and socially conservative Latinos in Texas to stay in a party that mocks their very pretensions of Americanness?

No, apparently the GOP hasn’t learned a single effing thing from 2006 nor 2008. Hint: pushing divisive, appallingly racist humour stamped with the Limbaugh seal of approval? Not the way to expand the Big Tent.

Instead of rebuilding, the party seem to be doing its goddamndest to fully earn its marginalization as it plummets into political irrelevancy in a blaze of inglorious ineptitude and myopia.

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The RNC’s Vaudeville Routine

by matttbastard

Recognizing that the best defense is a good (straw-filled) offense, embattled RNC candidate Chip Saltsman fires back in time-honoured Republican fashion:

Liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn’t utter a word about David Ehrenstein’s irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they’re shocked and appalled by its parody on ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show,’ ” Saltsman said in a statement, referring to the op-ed article that reportedly inspired the song lyrics.

“I firmly believe that we must welcome all Americans into our party and that the road to Republican resurgence begins with unity, not division. But I know that our party leaders should stand up against the media’s double standards and refuse to pander to their desire for scandal,” Saltsman added.

Also, a big fat friendly ‘fuck you’ to former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell for cravenly putting party before principle:

“Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African American elected president,” Blackwell, who is black, said in a statement.

“I don’t think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them,” he said. “When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people.”

You know, it’s sad when Newt fucking Gingrich not only gets it better than Blackwell, but shows more courage (or, more accurately, pragmatic political awareness) by actually, y’know, speaking out, instead of offering tepid apologetics.

Apparently some folks are shitting bricks at the thought of getting Condi-Riced by the Free Republic set.

Regardless, all this is was likely just broad political Kabuki on the part of the aforementioned players: the RNC quietly launches a race-based attack on the President-elect, (white) party leaders act appropriately shocked! and simply appalled! in order to appease the chattering class, and the token black guy grants absolution to a defiant Saltsman (who subsequently gets to whip two favourite GOP hobbyhorses, Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Media).

Bottom line: after all the theatrics that have taken place over the past 24+ hours, everybody is once again talking about “Barack the Magic Negro”.

Update: Kevin is a lot more succinct than yours truly. ;-)

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Do You Believe in Magic?

by matttbastard

Carmen D puts the latest iteration of the “Magic Negro” controversy in broader context by revisiting an old post of hers on the original source of the conservative meme, a 2007 LA Times op-ed by author (and OG Vast Left Wing Conspirator) David Ehrenstein:

Ehrenstein seems to think that Barack Obama is perceived to be safe by ‘white America’. No way, it’s not that simple. The hard truth is that for many in America, particularly in the middle of the country and in parts of the south, there is no such thing as a non-threatening black man. We don’t hear about hate mail or death threats endured by Obama and his family. But don’t you think those threats are coming at a rate only the great Hank Aaron might comprehend?

I am so sick of individual black people judging the ‘blackness’ of other black people. It is simply a waste of time and energy that we, as a community, can ill afford.

Word–I’m also sick of that special breed of conservative white pundit and pol who eagerly latches on to anything negative (or that can be spun as ‘negative’) black people say about/to each other. Bloviating leeches like Rush Limbaugh, Paul Shanklin, Chip Saltsman, et al have apparently managed to convince themselves that conveniently subcontracting their racism to a dusky proxy (and/or disingenuously hiding behind the ‘satire’ bulwark) automatically absolves them of any personal responsibility for their actions. Well, we have already witnessed the logical political consequences of the GOP’s willful disregard for minority voters.

Their loss (literally).

To once again quote Oliver Willis, “[wingnuts] say things like this and honestly can’t see what the problem is.” Case in point: according to Think Progress, “more than 18 hours after the news about Saltsman broke, not a single Republican official has condemned his actions.” [Update: Mike Allen reports that current RNC Chair Mike Duncan, who is fighting hard to stay on top of the Grand Old heap, has wisely thrown Saltsman under the bus.]

Oh well. Political marginalization is a small price to pay for a little bit of innocent fun at the expense of oversensitive PC types who can’t appreciate “light-hearted political parodies” from a “conservative” perspective. Besides, there’s always the so-called Oogedy-Boogedy wing to keep the Republican Party solvent south of the Mason-Dixon while it (and those who slavishly adhere to its underlying political philosophy) languish in the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

Update 2: The Caucus reports:

[F]ormer Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail message, “This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.”

Yep, that muffled gurgling noise you heard was the death rattle of Saltsman’s RNC campaign.

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