Easter is a minor gift-giving holiday in the American calendar, and for the last year—and counting—President Obama’s Easter gift has come in the form of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. Last year, Ryan penned the “Roadmap,” a budget document for House Republicans that laid out their priorities for the long-term: deep cuts to existing social programs, deep cuts to Medicare, and big tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans. With the Tea Party at the height of its power, Republican lawmakers were eager to sign on to Ryan’s “right-wing social engineering” (to borrow a phrase), even if it was anathema to public opinion.
There are still elections ahead, and Mitt Romney still needs to accumulate the necessary amount of delegates, but in practical terms, the Republican presidential primaries are over, and Romney has won. Of course, this hasn’t stopped Rick Santorum from staying in the race, or—for that matter—running hard against the former Massachusetts governor. To wit, here’s his latest television spot:
If the Swing States Poll was bad news for Mitt Romney’s performance among women voters, then the latest Pew Research Center survey is even worse—among all women, the former Massachusetts governor trails President Obama by twenty percentage points, 58 to 38. Compared to McCain's campaign in 2008, Romney is underperforming by six percentage points.
Think Progress reports that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin was bombed. Somehow, I don’t think we’ll see Republicans call for a crack down on anti-abortion extremists and anyone who might look like them.
Republicans might choose a Latino politician to stand as their vice presidential nominee, but my hunch is that actual Latino voters will sense that opportunism from a mile away.
Ta-Nehisi Coates does a great job of debunking the idea—which has become prevalent on the right, in the wake of Trayvon Martin and surrounding activism—that African American leaders are somehow indifferent to crime within their communities. With a simple Google search, he offers examples—drawn from the last three years—of rallies and protests in support of efforts to curtail violence in predominantly black neighborhoods. Here he is with a little commentary:
For as distasteful as they might seem to the public, earmarks—when used in moderation—are an important part of the legislative process. They make compromise easier, and bolster the status of elected officials by giving them the ability to directly help their districts. Railing against earmarks makes for good politics, but as we’ve seen with congressional Republicans over the last year, it doesn’t actually improve governance. Which is why I’m glad to see that some Republicans are reconsidering their opposition:
It’s always an open question as to whether Beltway-based controversies spread out to the public at large. Etch A Sketch is an incredibly apt way of describing Mitt Romney’s persona, but so far, the comment has gone unnoticed by those who don’t follow politics for entertainment or for a living (two overlapping spheres).
If Trayvon Martin showed us that wearing a hoodie and walking in a gated community is enough to get killed as long as you’re an African American male, then Kenneth Chamberlain will shows us that death is also a fitting punishment if you’re an elderly veteran, sitting in your home, who had the misfortune of accidentally calling for help:
This, from YouGov, tells you everything you need to know about contemporary race relations in a single, compact chart:
For 66 percent of white Americans to agree with this statement—“Irish, Italian, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors”—there needs to be either large scale amnesia or willful ignorance about what happened in the previous 150 years of this country’s history.
Now that Mitt Romney has effectively won the Republican presidential nomination, major figures within the party have come out to endorse him and push the other candidates out of the race. Romney’s latest endorsement comes from House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, who—on Fox and Friends this morning—warned that the GOP primary could become “counterproductive” if it doesn’t end soon:
“We need to coalesce as conservatives” around a nominee, Ryan said. “The longer we drag it out the harder it is to win in November. … I am convinced that Mitt Romney has the skills, the tenacity, the principles and the courage to put America back on track."
“It is essential that faith leaders equip themselves with an understanding of immigrant rights, so they can share information with their congregations and provide immigrants with the confidence to regain control over their decisions and affirm their human rights.”
“Either way, stop blaming sex for misogyny. If all men wanted was women to fuck them more, the English language wouldn’t even have the word ”slut“ in it.”
Kevin Drum has a few smart thoughts on why conservative Christians might feel persecuted in a country that overwhelming identifies as Christian:
A century ago, something like 10% of the country belonged to a conservative Protestant denomination. That’s grown steadily ever since, and today it’s around 30%. So there’s really no mystery to explain here. Conservative Christians have become more outspoken and more politically powerful simply because they’ve grown more numerous. Sometime in the 70s, their numbers finally passed a threshold where they became a serious voting bloc, and they’ve been growing more powerful every year since then.
Lately, whenever I note a poll showing good results for President Barack Obama, I feel compelled to include a note about the reliability of polls this far out from the election—they're not particularly reliable—and the fact that other presidents who have been polling well have nonetheless gone down in defeat come November. The most salient example for this is President George H.W. Bush, who rode high in public opinion after the Gulf War, but was brought down by a rapidly deteriorating economy. It has never been hard to imagine a similar trajectory for Obama; the post-Osama bump, followed by a prolonged slide.
“The active and putrescent campaign of defamation now in full swing against this dead child is a reminder of just how little black life matters to some. No matter the facts, their deaths are always justified.”
It turns out that chocolate is connected to weight-loss.
Amanda Marcotte is right on about the offensive and racist comic published by UT Austin’s student newspaper.