Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reading 2016's Tea (Party) Leaves...

I was catching up on news from the US when I came across this little gem from Rachel Maddow's. "best new thing in the world" segment....



As cute as this story is, and kudos to NC Senator Jackson for making the best out of a snow day. It does raise a rather sad point.     All those really worthwhile things that Jackson "passed" during his day of being a Senate of one,  wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing if  the rest of his Senate colleagues were there at work with him.    

The list of  things Jackson "voted on" during his marathon solo session,  are a  brief glimpse in the a land  of "might have been".  Had the voters of North Carolina not cast ballots voting against their own best interests.  Things like, education,  health care, environmental protection all are non starters with Jackson's Republican  counterparts.  So much so that lobbyists, sprang into action,  phoning the guy like mad. .  Apparently   fearing that those things MIGHT  (through some obscure loophole),  be passed be a single Senator,   

Such legislative impotence is not limited to the State level.   We just saw the Republican controlled  United States Congress cast its. 56th vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  (aka Obamacare). Yes   you read that correctly.   Other issues like climate change,  the threat of Islamic State,  the current measles outbreaks,  America's crumbling infrastructure, confirming a new Attorney General of the United States... all have taken a back seat to yet another vote, the sole purpose of which is, to try to  take away health insurance from more than 11 million Americans,  for no reason other than the hope of politically damaging President Obama. 



As we move into these last few months of relative quiet before the insanity of America's next Presidential Election completely consumes the media's attention.   Plans are being laid by would be GOP hopefuls in advance of the. Cirque du Insanity that will undoubtedly  be the. 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries .

Here in London last week,  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was in town,    Walker , who after a strong showing at the Iowa "Faith and Freedom"  rally last month, suddenly found  himself being touted as something of a GOP frontrunner as he arrived in London.   Unlike his fellow GOP hopefuls  Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal, it seemed that. Walker's visit here was going to be relatively gaffe free...  Then this happened.

video


Earlier that day,  Governor Walker had breakfast with a group of University of Wisconsin and Marquette University alumni here in London.   A breakfast that I attended and I actually had about. 18  minutes one on one with Walker, where we talked about a number things.  (Most of which isn't relevant for this positing,)  But what is relevant is this;  Make no mistake,  Scott Walker IS running for President.   Even if he hadn't  basically admitted as much during our conversation, (which he did...)   his "punting" on the question of evolution would have been an far more direct indication of his candidacy.

The Republican Presidential Primary process is one that can best be described as a clown car, careening wildly to the right, to the point  that it never actually manages to stay on the road long enough to go anywhere.    GOP primary voters are largely dominated by "tea party" conservatives.   I have blogged extensively about the origins of the Tea Party Movement  and it's impact on GOP politics.  The biggest of which is how it has turned the GOP Presidential primary into a full throttle race to the far right.

In the wake of 2008 and 2012, the conventional wisdom in  Teabagistan  was the reason President Obama was able to win (twice),  was due to the  GOP nominees not being  conservative enough.   So  as we head in to 2016 , the conventional wisdom is, to win the GOP nomination you have to out wingnut all the other wingnuts.

Hence Bobby Jindal's ridiculous claim of. Muslim "no go" zones in major UK cities.  Chris Christie's pathetic display of political twister as he tried to be both for and against childhood vaccinations., and now Scott Walker's desperate attempt to not have to say whether or not he believes in basic science. But Walker's attempts to appeal to the "Skeeters" of the GOP base hasn't stopped at just not answering questions.  

Scott Walker has decided to run against health care, and  against education.  Specifically,  public education and public school teachers.  Walker, who never graduated college likes to tout his "real world" experience to Tea Party Voters.   

Shortly before this London Trip, Walker got caught floating a  trial balloon that essentially advocated the dismantling  of  the entire University of Wisconsin System.  Then he had to try to spin a  lie that it was all some sort of "drafting error" in his budget when it was clear what he was trying to do.

 What is also very clear is,  the Walker Campaign truly thinks that this is a winning strategy with GOP primary voters, and the sad truth is , they are probably right. 

But to my friends who are teachers,  don't think you are alone in being targets for Scott Walker to use to woo Tea Party support.   Apparently. Governor Walker  is more than happy to chat me up over breakfast,  but should I or my husband Eric  be hospitalized while in Wisconsin. Allowing  us  to  visit each other would be a bridge too far.
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Madison – Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.    Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some – but not all – of the rights afforded married couples.

Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen refused to defend the lawsuit, saying he agreed the new law violated the state constitution. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, hired Madison attorney Lester Pines to defend the state.   Walker, a Republican, replaced Doyle in January and fired Pines in March. On Friday, Walker filed a motion to stop defending the case.

“Governor Walker, in deference to the legal opinion of the attorney general that the domestic partner registry…is unconstitutional, does not believe the public interest requires a continued defense of this law,” says the brief, filed by Walker’s chief counsel, Brian Hagedorn.   
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So in Scott Walker's America  it is perfectly ok to prevent two people who are legally married from seeing each other when one of them is  in the hospital .   (Of course,  it doesn't hurt that the one group the Tea Party/GOP base hates more than all those scary brown people is all those icky Gays.)  

Scott Walker may well be the GOP's 2016 Presidential candidate.   He thinks he will be.  He is counting on the Billionaire Koch brothers to put  nearly a Billion Dollars behind that belief.  Gov. Walker's  bromance with the petrochemical billionaires was brought into sharp relief back during the prolonged WI budget stand off, when he got caught out by a prank phone call from a reporter who claimed to be. David Koch.



Scott walker and his fellow GOP  2016 hopefuls are  also counting on GOP primary voters resonating with  attacks on reason and facts,     Because in  as any good resident  of Teabagistan will tell you,  facts are just another liberal conspiracy...