Friday, February 12, 2016
We cats have been waiting for days now for someone to point out the error in Baby Marco Rubio's robotic, anti-Obama talking point.
Specifically, it's the difference between what Baby Marco said ("Let us dispel with the fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing") versus what he should have said ("Let us dispense" with it).
But hey! All is not lost. Other people have noticed, too. So we're left wondering why the people in the strongly anti-immigrant Republican Party can't seem to speak American. We cats HISS.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
In a speech in Springfield today, President Obama bemoaned the negative, insult-laden tone of American politics — comparing the antics of 2016's over-the-top partisanship to the relative comity he enjoyed with Republicans as a member of the Illinois legislature.
"We didn’t call each other idiots or fascists that were trying to destroy America," Obama said, "because then we would have to explain why we were playing poker with fascists or idiots."
We cats agree. Having followed Presidential politics for more years than we care to count, we've been concerned recently that young people just getting involved in the process now think that the behavior of, say, Donald Trump and his fellow clown-car passengers is — well, normal.
Using profanity on the stump? Insulting and evicting reporters? Hating the government you're trying to get elected to? Demonizing whole groups of people, from immigrants to Muslims? Glorifying waterboarding? Opposing a woman's right to choose in absolutely all cases, no matter what? Lying about fetuses kicking on tables? Calling climate change a hoax? Building walls against the tired, the poor and the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free? Letting people on terrorist watch lists have guns? And most of all, blocking legislation simply because it was proposed by a President of the opposite party, even if it would (and did) benefit the country?
No, young political whippersnappers, none of this is what politics is about, or what got us fascinated in the first place. Back in the day, there was an unspoken, mutual agreement between the two parties that governing was something that was worth doing well — even if we had different opinions about how to go about it.
Today, though, we have to admit that even we understand how folks who aren't political junkies get turned off. It's discouraging, not just when you take stock of the unpleasant noise of 2016 — but particularly when you realize that a Democratic President can decisively win an election and still not enjoy the working relationship with the other side that his Republican predecessors had. If that can happen, what is this all for?
Were Democrats in 1980s and the 2000s chumps to put the interest of the country ahead of their partisan desires? Gosh, we hope not. But considering what Barack Obama faced in 2009, it's amazing that he got anything done at all. It's a cautionary tale for young people today who are just now throwing their hand into the high-stakes game of politics, elections and governing. We hope they take note, and we HISS.
Last night's Republican results in the New Hampshire primary were almost precisely what we cats had been hoping for to keep their nightmare race bollixed up: Trump way out in front, Kasich (who has nowhere else to win right away) in second, and the rest of the clown-car passengers stepping all over each other way back in the pack. And the icing on the cake? Baby Marco Rubio in fifth! As we said, exactly what we wanted.
So, we're pleased. But we couldn't do a New Hampshire wrap-up without these various and sundry observations:
John Kasich made a big deal last night about having run a clean campaign. (Let's forget for a moment — although Donald Trump has not — about the super-negative anti-Trump ad that Kasich's PAC aired in November before it got yanked.) Touting one's squeaky cleanliness may go over well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but not in the Land of Lee Atwater. They play dirty down there, and Kasich will need a new strategy, fast.
Well, so much for Baby Marco's "3-2-1" strategy. (Third in Iowa, second in the Granite State, first in South Carolina.) Instead, Baby Marco is Miss Colombia to John Kasich's Miss Philippines. Poor boy. How much will his many establishment donors in the Palmetto State help him there? We're thinking that he's so wounded now, he may be able to avoid being attacked for awhile — but on the other hand, another fifth-place result, or a poor fourth, could finish him off. So he's probably still a target.
If Chris Christie had any, um, guts, he would take a pass on South Carolina and just go camp out in Nevada for two weeks. But danger, Will Robinson: The Christie campaign had just $1 million in the bank at the end of January. We cats are wondering what happened to Home Depot moneybag Ken Langone's pledge to do "everything" he could to get Christie elected. "I’m particularly good at fundraising," Langone boasted. Whoops!
Finally, yes, we would have loved it if Secretary Clinton had been able to keep Bernie Sanders below 56 percent. That would have given her half of the delegates. But the silver lining to the size of Sanders's victory (and of his war chest) is that there's really no excuse for him to skip South Carolina, as tempted as he might be to do so. If he goes all in there, will he have enough staff to go all in in Nevada at the same time? We're not sure.
A smart, intrepid campaign reporter would try to figure out where Bernie's Iowa staff went — but the more lazy narratives we hear, and the more overblown, simplistic, 96-point headlines we see, the more we realize that journalists like that are a relic of the past. We cats HISS.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
New Hampshire is going to the polls. But all anyone is talking about is how Donald Trump called Rafael Cruz, Jr. a naughty name.
The nerve! We cats are ready to HISS. No one running for President who isn't a cat has the right to use that word.
Happily, though, civility reigned in other places. Like Derry, New Hampshire, where this morning Secretary Clinton ran into the husband of one of her most off-the-wall, over-the-top, nutbag critics on the Republican side — and they chatted most amiably.
"Give my best to Carly," Clinton told Frank Fiorina. "Want to get a picture?" And they did.
Monday, February 8, 2016
So, was it a "gay" national anthem? Some people think so. Or that to have Lady Gaga perform The Star-Spangled Banner at last night's Super Bowl was a statement in and of itself.
To which we cats would say, "By whom?" Certainly not by the uber-conservative NFL, which — goodness gracious, don't get us started. Suffice to say that we were about to go on a rant about guys beating up women in elevators. But other things we remember include Commissioner Pete Rozelle's insistence that Detroit and Minnesota play on the Sunday after President Kennedy's assassination. Ugh. This is why, when the rest of the country goes mad over football, even we cats tune to the Puppy Bowl instead.
Since we missed Gaga's performance live, we checked it out on YouTube (and now, of course, we share it). Here's what we thought: That Lady Gaga has the voice, and the presence, and — clearly — the proper respect for the national anthem (no, it's not a "song") to thrill everyone who heard her. But at the same time, she was saying, "Isn't all this Super Bowl stuff over the top?"
At least, that's what we heard and saw. "Ain't I a stinker?" (Bugs Bunny's immortal line) came to mind. But whatever each of us took away from the performance, we cats join Tony Bennett and Julie Andrews in adoring Lady Gaga, and we PURR.
On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, we cats are gratified to see that some voters are realizing that the Republican agenda would send the country back to the 1950s. And they're speaking up about it.
Example: Baby Marco Rubio, coming off his terrible performance from Saturday night, had an awkward encounter in a Manchester diner today with a gay man who got in his face over marriage equality. "Why do you want to put me back in the closet?" the voter asked. Amazingly, Baby Marco did not reply with his robotic talking points about President Obama. We guess that some adviser finally told him to cut it out.
What Baby Marco did say, however, was ridiculous. "I don't. You can live any way you want."
Um, no. Baby Marco has pledged to appoint anti-marriage-quality justices to the Supreme Court to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. Which would mean that gay people would definitely not be able to "live any way they want."
Meanwhile, on the women's rights front, there's quite a kerfuffle going on on the Democratic side about the meaning and import of electing the first female President. We cats find this silly. Of course no one would vote for fools like Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorina or Joni Ernst or Meg Whitman or that drunk, Susana Martinez, or Mary Fallin or Marsha Blackburn or Barbara Comstock because they're girls. Gender does not override odious political positions.
However, hardly any light shines between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on policy. Honest to goodness — they agree on stuff a hundred times more than they disagree. Bernie may not be a Democrat, but there's a reason he caucuses in the Senate with us and not with the GOP. So while there could be other scenarios under which we'd be happy to feel the Bern, his lack of foreign policy chops and the fact that Hillary is a woman tilts us to her.
Yep. That, for us, is where Clinton's gender matters. It's not the deciding factor — just a really, really, really nice bonus. And as for the 20-something women who are supporting the 74-year-old guy, this blogger made our case better than we ever could. Please read it and PURR.