Not religion. Not abortion. Not religion vs. humanism.
The issues fueling the culture war posing the greatest threat to the Republican party are immigration and economic security. They are what E.J.Dionne, the liberal voice of the Washington Post, sees as the "theater of combat" for the right wing of the GOP.
Dionne cites the farthest right nutcase within the GOP -- Steve King of Iowa (though give a nod also to Gohmert of Texas) -- for his remarks about immigrant children. King suffers from perhaps the worst case of moral incontinence (though he has plenty of rivals in the party).
So what makes immigration a stick of dynamite that could blow the factions of the GOP apart?
It is about national identity rather than religion and “transcendent authority.” It focuses on which groups the United States will formally admit to residence and citizenship. It asks the same question as the old culture war: “Who are we?” But the earlier query was primarily about how we define ourselves morally. The new question is about how we define ourselves ethnically, racially and linguistically. It is, in truth, one of the oldest questions in our history, going back to our earliest immigration battles of the 1840s and 1850s. ...Dionne,WaPo
It has always been there. There's not so much "wop" and "kike" talk now, but there are dozens of phrases and facial expressions that serve to separate us from "illegals." In Iowa and other areas where "illegals" give the economy a boost but challenge the moral fiber of "whites" it can get pretty shameless. Here in Texas -- at least in most areas of Texas -- all that has wound down and Spanglish is our language.
In the end, probably -- as Dionne points out -- the greatest challenge to the integrity of the Republican party is economic but, as he points out, really about morality.
Why is the hard work of the many, those who labor primarily for wages and salaries, rewarded with increasingly less generosity than the activities of those who make money from investments and capital?
Politically, this could be explosive. What is at heart a moral battle could rip apart old coalitions, since many working-class and middle-class social conservatives are angry about our shifting structures of reward. If issues such as abortion and gay rights split the New Deal coalition, this emerging issue could divide the conservative coalition. The rise of Pope Francis could hasten the scrambling of the moral debate, since he links his opposition to abortion with powerful calls for economic justice and compassion toward immigrants. ...Dionne,WaPo
The GOP hasn't absorbed the threat to the party yet. They don't quite see it. They suffer from a chronic failure that allows the left to retain a better position in the culture wars. Americans know they can count on the left for rescue in all kinds of hard times. The right is not into safety nets -- preferring a religion that dictates someone's gotta lose bad to make the rest of us feel good about winning. Not a good platform.
Politicians, like generals, often fight the old wars. (So, by the way, do columnists.) Recognizing how the theater of combat is changing is the first step toward mastering it. ...Dionne,WaPo
The Guardian reports on the problem with this:
Conservative Republicans spurned pleas from some potential presidential contenders this weekend for a new appeal to America’s working class, highlighting an internal disagreement over income inequality that has become an early dividing line in the party’s 2016 primary.
The 1,200 conservatives who gathered in Iowa for a political cattle call on Saturday cheered, whooped and applauded enthusiastically at speakers’ sharp criticisms of President Barack Obama’s response to Islamist terrorism, signature healthcare reforms and executive action on immigration.
Yet calls from Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Santorum, a former US senator for Pennsylvania, for the party to devote itself to poorer Americans who have been left behind by the country’s steady economic recovery, often met with silence in a theatre in Des Moines.
“We need to be the party of the worker,” said Santorum, to no applause....Guardian
According to the New York Times and New York's mayor -- and, of course, the National Weather Service. New York itself may "only" get 21 inches of snow (they got 26+ in 2006). Better than the two feet of snow for Connecticut (almost three feet on some weather maps). Whistling down the narrow canyons of central Manhattan will be 50 mile/hour winds.
This feels like an alert that is meant for all of us, not just New Yorkers. It has that "well, here we go" or "oops" feeling that says "and this is just the start.""
First, there's Hillary and money. Great slugs of money would bestow her campaign a kind of legitimacy mere popularity doesn't give. Except for those of us who are more than worried about the money's sources and the promises it buys.
Said one top Democratic donor: “It’s going to be like nothing you’ve seen. The numbers will be astounding.” ...PoliticalWire
It's almost a relief to read that things aren't all that certain for Hil. A few moments later, Political Wire reports, a reporter at the New York Times reminds us that "Few modern political figures inspire the animus that Hillary Rodham Clinton generates, and the cottage industry that opposes her never really goes out of business."
Evidently, Clinton's 2010 rival isn't about to make it easy for her either.
“At issue is the fate of the political equivalent of gold dust — the enormous email list, comprised of many millions of supporters and donors, that the Obama team has compiled over the course of his two presidential campaigns. The Clinton camp would dearly love to get its hands on the list, but there is no promise as yet that the president’s aides will comply.” ...TheHill
President Obama’s proposal to give workers six weeks of paid leave is meeting strong opposition from a group of people who annually receive thirty-three weeks of paid leave.
And, of course:
... They were confused by Obama’s challenge to try to survive on a full-time job that pays fifteen thousand dollars, since they all currently hold a part-time job that pays a hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars. ...NYer
And they only work 137 days a year. Of course, if they were actually working for their $174,000...?
Walker's speech had something for every element of the activist crowd. The governor touted his three victories over Democrats and recall win as well as his state-level education reforms. Each new policy he helped pass drew cheers: Voter ID laws, education reforms, tax cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood. ...TheHill
The Hill reports on the success of Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker (union and job destroyer), in Iowa's Republican melee. For sheer awfulness, Walker's closest rival is Ted Cruz who put on his Christian robes and did a number on the audience (unless CSpan made the whole thing up or I was experiencing a waking nightmare).
The Wisconsin governor, in rolled-up shirtsleeves, paced the stage as he blasted big government and touted a long list of conservative reforms he's pushed through in blue Wisconsin.
The governor also showed a rhetorical flourish that's largely been absent from his previous campaigns, drawing the crowd to its feet multiple times.
"There's a reason we take a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not the 15th of April," he said, almost yelling as his voice grew hoarse. "Because in America we value our independence from the government, not our dependence on it."...TheHill
I don't think we've had much to celebrate on July 4 for several decades now.
Jack Fairweather, a correspondent for Bloomberg, has a new book out about the war in Afghanistan. He is less than flattering about President Obama's Afghanistan policies, but comes down hardest on the man who started a war "we couldn't win."
There was a fundamental mistake that was made in conflating the threat posed by al-Qaida with that of the Taliban. Al-Qaida was this international jihadist group that had already killed thousands of Americans. The Taliban was a much more local, tribal-based organization that ran a repressive regime in Afghanistan. You may remember that famous speech by Bush on September 20, 2001, where he said you’re either with us or against us. In setting up the rhetoric for what became the War on Terror, he lumped together al-Qaida and the Taliban. The U.S. military got rid of al-Qaida from Afghanistan pretty quickly, but then they started fighting and targeting, arresting, detaining, Taliban fighters. I think one of the great mistakes of the war, that’s not fully appreciated, was the way in which Taliban commanders who were ready to lay down their arms were riled up by U.S. actions. ...
President Bush said at the start that he was “not into nation-building” — but nation-building is what Nato tried to foster. Aid efforts were marred by waste and corruption, there was disagreement on whether to stamp out the growing of opium poppies (the attempt was an abject failure) and even within successive US administrations there was no clarity on military strategy, with Barack Obama reluctantly backing a halfhearted “surge” of troops in late 2009.
Even in mid-2010, intelligence adviser Derek Harvey — who ran a team of 89 analysts at US Central Command’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence — told incoming US commander David Petraeus: “Our political and diplomatic strategies are not connected to our military strategy . . . It’s not going to work.” That’s quite an admission after nearly a decade of war.
At some point we will have a clear picture of the costs of the Bush administration. The financial and human costs were staggering, considering what we "won" from that president's indefensible "wars of choice." The moral costs, though, will have been -- in the long run -- the most damaging.
Representative Barbara Lee of California may not wind up as our woman in Havana — disputing reports that she was seeking the nomination to be ambassador — but when she does leave Congress, there may be a nationally known liberal waiting to run for her seat: Markos Moulitsas.
Mr. Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal blog Daily Kos and a Berkeley resident, has told associates that he is interested in pursuing a run for elected office.
Mr. Moulitsas called Ms. Lee “a great congresswoman” and said in an e-mail that he hoped “she continues to represent me for years to come.”
“That said, my goal in life is to promote progressive values and policies,” he added. “How I accomplish that goal is always changing, and it will keep changing in large part based on the opportunities before me.”
Mr. Moulitsas is a prominent figure in progressive circles and would, as one of his associates noted, represent the same brand of pugnacious liberalism as embodied by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Masschusetts. ...NYT
Iowa's Steve King, you'll remember, is the House member who insults just about everybody and spares no disdain when it comes to Mexican immigrants.
This is, after all, a man who has compared immigrants to dogs and said of the undocumented, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that — they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” King once went to the House floor to show off a model of an electrified fence he designed to keep immigrants away from our southern border, noting that the current “would not kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.” ...PaulWaldman,WaPo
And that's just the start.
So why on earth would serious Republican presidential candidates flock to Iowa to be seen with Steve King? in spite of their need for votes from Hispanics? "Apparently, the fact that Steve King is from Iowa represents just too enticing a draw for the presidential candidates," Waldman writes.
Among those who will be attending this weekend’s confab are Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina — that’s eight presidential candidates. Other Republican luminaries who will also be there include Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump. Should be quite a party. ...PaulWaldman,WaPo
They're banking on the hope that Hispanics will, in the long run, forget about Steve King and his idiocy. Trouble is, those pesky Democrats are following them around with videocams.
They’ll be assembling files and video montages of every candidate pledging to turn back the immigrant tide. Even if the candidates are careful not to say anything too inflammatory this weekend, they’re still going to be asked later about why they went to kiss the ring of a guy like Steve King. ...PaulWaldman,WaPo
Quite apart from any other consideration, could you vote for people who are this dumb? who don't even have basic street smarts?
If it is to benefit the middle class, prosperity must be inclusive and in the current environment this is far from assured. If the US had the same income distribution it had in 1979, the bottom 80 per cent of the population would have $1tn — or $11,000 per family — more. The top 1 per cent $1tn — or $750,000 — less. There is little prospect for maintaining international integration and co-operation if it continues to be seen as leading to local disintegration while benefiting a mobile global elite.
The focus of international co-operative efforts in the economic sphere must shift. Considerable progress has been made in trade and investment. Less progress has been made in preventing races to the bottom, in areas such as taxation and regulation. Only with enhanced international co-operation will the maintenance of progressive taxation and adequate regulatory protection be possible. And only if ordinary citizens see benefit in an ever more open global economy will it come about. ...FinancialTimes/ht/Marketplace