Tuesday, April 30, 2013
As they used to say in the Old South, Mark Sanford is hiding behind Bill Clinton's skirts. (Or in this case, would it be pants?)
In last night's Congressional debate with Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, Sanford did his best to duck behind 42 when he asked, "Do you think that President Clinton should be condemned for the rest of his life based on a mistake that he made in his life?"
Just for the record, Sanford didn't direct that awkwardly phrased question to his opponent. He asked it of a debate moderator, which is really dumb. But then, since he isn't being politically enabled any more by his former wife and ex-campaign manager, Sanford has almost never been more stupid than he is now.
The bottom line is this: The Republicans have come full circle. From trying to hound Bill Clinton out of office for his private life, they're now using Clinton's bad behavior to justify their own.
The difference? Bill Clinton never lectured other people about how they should live. We cats will take the non-scold, any day.
(IMAGE: If Sanford loses next week as he so richly deserves to, we cats think the world will point to this photo as his game-changing mistake. As they used to say in the Old South and everywhere else, hell hath no fury like an ex-wife needlessly pissed off.)
Monday, April 29, 2013
As we all know, a basic law of the universe is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Okay, so that might not apply to this 2009 photo of President Obama — it's actually a trick of the camera — but it was the first thought that popped into our furry little heads when we read this: "For the first time ever, African-American voter turnout surpassed that of whites during the 2012 election."
It seems to us cats that this conclusion by a Brookings Institution-AP Election '12 analysis is another talking-head canard exposed. Remember when the pundits were breathlessly opining that there was no way Obama would match his supporters' 2008 enthusiasm? (Check out this idiot in particular.)
But here's what we also see: A Republican Party that's gone over the top, ripping up the Constitution, governing on the basis of urban legend and not fact, and deciding what it means to be an American on the basis of religion and race. All in the name of depressing Democratic turnout under the guise of halting nonexistent "voter fraud."
Instead, they drove more of us to the polls.
We cats call that equal and opposite, and we PURR. Now, can Organizing for Action keep those voters registered, sign up more like them, and get them to the ballot box in 2014? Stay tuned.
We cats couldn't open our print copy of The Washington Post this morning without being further bombarded with White House Correspondents' Dinner coverage. The after-parties! The stars! The jokes! The gowns!
The ridiculousness of it all. Goodness gracious, we thought we were done with this.
We'd be tempted to agree with the famous quitter from Alaska — did we just write that? — who railed that WHDC was "pathetic," which it is. But gosh, her rant went on so long, she became the mad, hurt girl who wasn't invited instead. (Or just the FOX "News" firee who's desperately trying to re-insert herself into the national conversation.)
Actually, FOX is partially to blame for WHDC's current idiocy. Tom Brokaw hit the nail on the head when he said, "The breaking point for me was Lindsay Lohan." Who was invited by none other than FOX's Greta van Susteren, by the way.
You know, we can halfway understand it when, in the interest of creating buzz, networks and news organizations invite actors who have played politicians or journalists in the movies or on TV. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kevin Spacey, fine. Michael Douglas and George Clooney, sure. Morgan Freeman, Joan Allen, Julianne Moore, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman also come to mind.
But Lindsay Lohan? Why would a drug- and alcohol-addicted young woman who will be hounded to death by the media for the rest of her days care anything about journalistic scholarships?
The WHCD needs to get over itself and figure out a new way to raise money for this worthy cause. And free up the President and First Lady for an extra night per year. We're sure they could use the time.
(IMAGE: Rachel Maddow's perfect solution: tending bar.)
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Okay, we cats aren't really going to write about hockey, even though the Stanley Cup playoffs are set to begin in a couple of days. It's just our way of saying that we think other things are going on in the world besides the silly "White House Correspondents Dinner."
(Jeez — the way the inside-the-Beltway crowd is preening, you'd think that the US didn't have any problems that need to be fixed. Still and all, though, if President Obama gets some zingers off at the Republicans tonight, we'll be satisfied.)
In the meantime, here are a few observations on recent news stories that we'd like to share:
So Barbara Bush says, "We've had enough Bushes"? We couldn't agree more. But doesn't this mean that George P. Bush will have to kill his grandma?
Is anyone advising Mark Sanford? First, the famous Appalachian Trail hiker, in a weird full-page ad in the Charleston Post & Courier, reached new heights of narcissism. The ad was supposed to address his latest domestic travails but, in true Sanford fashion, it just served to stir the pot more. Then, he decided it would be a good idea to "debate" a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi. Gosh! Shades of Willard Mitt Romney's white board (and we all know how well that turned out). We cats think that Sanford is bumbling and clueless because this is his first campaign that his wife — oops, his ex-wife — Jenny hasn't managed.
Now that we know that Anwar Al-Awlaki inspired the Boston Marathon bombers, can we all just shut up about Obama droning the guy to death?
And while we're at it, why do the media keep rushing to get comments from John McCain on Syria? Having chosen Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, why does John McCain have credibility on any subject?
Finally, we cats find it interesting that four years after the birth of the teabaggers — and heading into a midterm election in which one assumes the Democrats to be vulnerable — the Republican Party still can't seem to find credible Senate candidates in Montana, Iowa and Michigan. We'll keep our paws on the pulse of these 2014 races — but so far, we feel more like PURRing than HISSing.
(IMAGE: "Ron and Don." If you don't already know, believe us, you don't want to know.)
Thursday, April 25, 2013
We cats are mystified as to why Americans aren't more outraged by workplace safety scandals.
After all, most of us are employees and not bosses. Most of us take for granted that, barring terrorist attacks, we'll come home in the evening from the factories and offices that we've gone to in the morning. So why isn't the nation up in arms about the violations committed by the fertilizer plant in West, Texas?
Is it because we're hopelessly indoctrinated in the Republican ideal of nonexistent regulation? Or is it that we all aspire to be owners, not workers?
Whatever the explanation, it's a mystery to us. We thought that all workplace safety issues would have been laid to rest after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911. But it appears that more than a century later, Americans still have a learning curve when it comes to employees — not to mention first responders and area neighbors — being screwed, or displaced, or killed, by negligent business owners. We cats HISS.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
We cats have refrained from all the 2016 speculation because it's silly. Goodness gracious, we're still trying to recover from our campaign exertions in 2012. But since the gun reform kerfuffles have engulfed Capitol Hill, we had a thought about West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
Because somewhere in Washington, a Republican political consultant is tied up in knots over the prospect of a Clinton-Manchin ticket in '16. Yes, even though Manchin-Toomey failed. Perhaps because it failed.
And it's pretty amazing that a West Virginian who has shot guns in campaign ads and who remains coy about who he voted for in 2012 could strike fear in the GOP's heart. But he could. Here's how.
First, let's assume that Hillary Rodham Clinton runs and gets the nomination. You'd have to figure that she would have a good chance to hold all the states President Obama won — and that by herself, she probably puts states like North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana in play. (Changing voter demographics alone likely put states like Georgia and Arizona in play, too.)
Add a country boy like Manchin to the ticket, and the Republicans could lose the spine of Appalachia — one of the last remaining, reliably red areas they've got.
Finally, gun reform and Manchin's attempted compromise not only gains him cred with worried moms, dads and grandparents across America, it also probably helps insulate him from objections by other Democratic constituencies — regardless of how he votes on other issues of concern to the base.
We cats realize there are a lot of "ifs" here, and we're not saying that any of this is going to happen. But it's worth having the Republicans lose sleep over it, right?
P.S. We cats are bullish on the gun issue. Why, just today we learned that GE Capital, General Electric's financial arm, has decided to stop lending to gun shops. We cats think this is pretty big. After all, GE is one of the nation's biggest defense contractors, so the company has many conservative friends. So the issue is alive and well — unlike those 20 kids and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
As much as we cats love it when Republicans fight with each other, we hate it when Democrats do. We had enough of that back in the '70s and '80s. But today we just can't help ourselves — we simply must dump our dirty litter boxes over the head of Max Baucus.
When Max voted to filibuster background checks last week, the whole world (including us) pegged it to his tight re-election campaign in Montana next year. But we couldn't have agreed more with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, who went after Baucus as an NRA-intimidated ninny who didn't even have the guts to answer his Capitol Hill phone. And we were truly wondering whether, if 90 percent of America wanted background checks, couldn't 90 percent of Montanans want them, too?
On the other hand, we were a little more sympathetic to Max, Mark Begich of Alaska and that Arkansas idiot Mark Pryor, all of whom have tough races in 2014. Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, less so. She's a freshman and 2018 is a long way off. But overall, we cats understand political reality, as distasteful as it is.
Max, though, has crossed a line. Vote against the grieving Newtown families, as he did, and then announce a week later that you're retiring from the Senate? We cats HISS. We cats SNARL. We cats rake our claws across his stupid face.
Three consolations here:
1. Now Max can vote for gun reform the next time Harry Reid brings it up. (Memo to Harry: You're on notice, bud.)
2. Brian Schweitzer. Can we make a donation to his Senate campaign today?
3. Relief. No more "what-about-Max?" hand wringing. And with the new poll that's out, how many Republicans are wishing Mark Sanford would follow Max's example and just quit already?
IMAGE: What a great thought: Schweitzer and Tester in the Senate from Montana. Shades of Mansfield and Metcalfe!
Monday, April 22, 2013
Now that the police have caught the alleged Boston Marathon bomber, is it okay if we cats slam a Beantown baseball legend?
We just can't resist, now that The New York Times has published an excellent overview of how Curt Schilling has swindled the state of Rhode Island out of $75 million in public loan guarantees for his failed video-game business venture, 38 Studios.
Yes, we know that the Times piece resists using the "s" word — in fact, it bends over backwards to say that Schilling truly thought his gaming biz would succeed — but we can think of no other verb when we consider the former pitcher's political views, which put him firmly in the Willard Mitt Romney "47 percent" camp.
"Schilling [has] spent no small amount of time in his career preaching the Republican mantra of smaller government and personal responsibility," Boston Globe columnist Brian McGrory observed last spring. "If hypocrisy had a face.... it would be that of old favorite Curt Schilling."
So, let us cats get this straight: Government helping other people is bad, bad, bad — unless you're some kind of Republican sports hero, in which case the public should pony up for your stupid ideas and then pay the price when you can't execute them. Boy, if this isn't a case of "You didn't build that," we don't know what is.
When he toyed with running for Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, Schilling cited his anger that elected officials' were "squandering" taxpayers' money. “How in the hell is this state broke?” he blustered. “Is there a larger breach of trust outside the family bond than that?"
Empty words from an empty suit. We cats HISS and, teeth bared, are ready to give this jackass a second bloody sock.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
We cats apologize for leaving the ever-creepy Mark Sanford at the top of the blog for so long — but we were on the road the last couple of days, for a conference at The Carter Center. You didn't know that they allowed cats to attend meetings there, did you? Well, they do.
The gathering was nonpartisan: a report to donors about the wildly successful programs that the Center conducts around the world, fighting disgusting third-world diseases and monitoring elections in developing countries. But occasionally discussions can revolve around politics, old and new.
This time, the subject was one of President Carter's most important accomplishments: two treaties that gradually returned control of the Panama Canal to, believe it or not, Panama. Those too young to remember this kerfuffle may be puzzled as to why it was controversial, but believe us, it was a really big deal in 1977-78. And right now, somewhere in right-wing blogosphere someone is probably still screaming about it.
Looking back, what strikes us most is how Congress managed to pull off approval of the treaties in a way that would be absolutely impossible today. In fact, some Republicans actually threw politics to the wind to cooperate with the White House, and we're sure that Howard Baker's leadership on the issue ended up costing him the 1980 GOP nomination.
The peaceful resolution of the Panama Canal is just one reason why the "Carter-is-a-great-ex-President-but-was-a-lousy-President" meme is a canard. We doubt that many Americans today would say that the canal would have been worth an invasion — and we're proud that our country fired no shots in anger while Jimmy Carter was President.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
We cats will ignore a couple of stories that are making us HISS today: The Senate's rejection of the background checks amendment to Manchin-Toomey, and the right-wing pouting that President Obama didn't attend Baroness Ding Dong's funeral in London. How much more pleasant to jump all over that idiot from South Carolina, Mark Sanford.
Sanford has gone from hiking the Appalachian Trail to skulking around his ex-wife's property using his cellphone as a flashlight. Which is a violation of his and Jenny's divorce agreement. Now that the cat is out of the bag on that, the National Republican Congressional Committee has cut Sanford's campaign purse strings.
Sanford's been reduced to claiming that he was trying to watch the Super Bowl with his son. What? And why did it take him 24 hours to issue this lamebrain "explanation"?
But that's the thing about Mark Sanford: The more he talks, the more questions he raises.
Meanwhile, we cats will take a wait-and-see attitude on this whole NRCC no-more-money-for-you decision. As we recall, the National Republican Senatorial Committee cut off Todd Akin last fall. And then gave him money later when they thought nobody was looking.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
“There’s something that’s gone wrong and, as citizens, we should protest what happened in Connecticut," Tony Bennett said. "It should never happen again anywhere in the United States. And we should be the country that teaches the rest of the world that we, the citizens of America, want peace and not violence.”
Monday, April 15, 2013
Well, no wonder all the pundits were saying that Justin Trudeau would win yesterday's Liberal Party leadership race. They must have smelled something in cyberspace. After a groundbreaking online process in which non-dues-paying party supporters could cast a ballot for the first time, Justin walked away with, oh, just 80 percent of the vote.
And nearly 105,000 people voted — the most in any party leadership campaign, ever.
So today's a really big day in Ottawa. Because Justin will go up against Mr. Pillsbury Doughboy himself, Stephen Harper, in his first Parliamentary Q&A since being elected leader. (The last time they squared off didn't go so well for Harper, who Freudian-slipped and addressed Trudeau as "minister.")
We'll see what happens. But for the first time in awhile, Canadian politics has gotten interesting again. A young leader has stepped into his party's power vacuum and borrowed, we cats think, quite a few pages from the Barack Obama playbook. Not only is Trudeau a good organizer and a prodigious fundraiser, he's opened up the process and gotten new people involved. (Next up: Helping to write the 2015 party platform.)
In the meantime, though, here's something in Justin's favor that's grabbed our attention: Among his other major legacies as Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau made Canada more welcoming to people from developing countries. Today, those immigrants are in the True North, working, raising families, becoming citizens, and taking part in public life. And they know that it was all thanks to somebody named Trudeau.
The United States is not the only country in North America whose demographics have changed. And now, like Republicans, the Tories must try to appeal to voters who don't look (or think) like them. Good luck with that, guys.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
By Miss Kubelik
It's interesting how various political figures respond when outside forces bring pressure to bear.
Take the United States Senate, for example. A mere week ago, all of Pundit World was bullish on an expected GOP/teabagger filibuster of gun reform. But then a group of parents with moral authority came to Capitol Hill — and pinch-hit for the President in his weekly address — and suddenly, we have a debate on our hands. On the question of whether or not any more six-year-olds should be shot to pieces by madmen, Senators will have to vote yes or no.
Another example: lefty Canadians. With the Liberal Party set to announce a new leader tomorrow — a leader that everyone seems to expect will be Justin Trudeau — NDP chief Thomas Mulcair gave a real anti-Grit stemwinder at his party convention today. We cats wonder if Mulcair would have been quite so animated if the Liberals were set to choose someone in the mold of, say, Stephane Dion (who, bless his heart, always looked like a pharmacist in bad glasses).
However, count the Republican National Committee as a group of folks who refuse to respond to the changing world around them. In fact, quite the opposite. With a majority of Americans now in favor of gay marriage — with a high-profile Republican Senator committing a very public change of mind — with a former party chair coming out and strenuously lobbying fellow Republicans behind the scenes — and with a post-2012 GOP "autopsy" report recommending more tolerance and inclusiveness — RNC members meeting in California this week dug in and voted 168 to zero against marriage equality.
That's a unanimous vote, folks: 168 to zero. No "yes" votes from any Republican committee members from anywhere in America. No "yes" votes from New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, D.C., Washington State or any other places where gay marriage is legal; no "yes" votes from committee members who hail from cities with big gay communities like Atlanta, Miami Beach, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin or Asheville. No "yes" votes at all.
In short, it's RNC to Gays: Drop Dead.
We're not complaining, because it's good for Democrats. But we'll see how long these RNC folks can keep their resistance up. In the meantime, we cats PURR.
Are we all supposed to be surprised that Margaret Thatcher is as divisive and horrible in death as she was in life?
We cats sure aren't. Thatcher was no friend of the British people — no friend of anybody's, actually, except perhaps Saint Ronnie Reagan. But since we're lucky enough to live in America and not the UK, the worst thing about Thatcher's life and passing for us is that we're getting bombarded by photo after photo of her with you-know-who. Ugh.
But — soft! What protest from yonder scepter'd isle breaks? It seems a whole lot of plucky anti-Thatcherites have started a campaign to drive the classic "Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead" song from The Wizard of Oz up the charts on British iTunes and the BBC's top five. They've succeeded so well that now, the BBC is caught in the midst of a censorship scandal — bowing to pressure from outraged Tories and playing only a few seconds of the song when it reports the story.
The Guardian compared the Conservative government to Communist China and hurled brickbats at the BBC. "Can it show The Wizard of Oz again?" the paper asked. "Can it only run the film after the 9 p.m. watershed? Must the announcer warn: 'This children's story contains Munchkin choruses that some viewers may find offensive'?"
We cats say, gee. Instead of a dignified send-off, which a truly towering and beloved leader (or a non-towering and lamebrain leader with a great PR campaign) would have received, Thatcher's death and funeral will be forever paired with political correctness, censorship and the term "ding dong." Or, to paraphrase the Munchkins: She will be a bust (be a bust) (be a bust) in the Hall of Shame.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
And now, for today's dose of Inside Baseball.
It appears that the Republican National Committee has squashed efforts to repeal the Silly Willy campaign's changes to party rules last summer. But one Romney regulation did crash and burn — the one allowing primary/caucus winners automatic control of their delegates — thanks to a restless band of Paulites and their wingnut fellow travelers.
In the words of POLITICO, "A nearly four-hour fight at the RNC spring meeting, which unfolded in a windowless ballroom of a fancy hotel, showcased the mounting tension between the establishment and movement conservatives...over the direction of the party in the wake of last November’s electoral thumping."
So, aside from the fact that we all love it when Republicans fight with each other, what does it all mean?
That even though Rancid Pieface did not face a serious re-election challenge as chair, he does not control the party.
That the GOP establishment in Washington doesn't control it, either.
That the party "autopsy" — which was exactly what we knew it was, a group of five insiders indulging in fantasy — will not pass easily as a package. The GOP will have to cat-fight over its recommendations one excruciating syllable at time. So they'll spend months litigating reform instead of prepping for 2014 or 2016.
Or, they could fight out the autopsy reforms during the 2014 and 2016 primaries — which will mean more protracted arguments, and more (not fewer) nutcase nominees.
Just another Akin-esque distraction from fixing the party! We cats PURR.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
For those of you who weren't around 45 years ago, here's an expose on Mitch McConnell's campaign manager's latest silly pronouncement.
We cats well remember the 1968 Democratic convention. We were only kittens — but how can you live outside of Chicago and not have escaped the beatings that Richard J. Daley's police inflicted on antiwar demonstrators (not to mention the "Clean for Gene" McCarthy kids who were, literally, innocent bystanders)?
Democrats convening to choose their nominee that year, after a tumultuous spring of assassinations and anti-Vietnam rallies, were trying to ignore what was going on outside the hall. Until Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, nominating George McGovern in the wake of Bobby Kennedy's murder, said this: "With George McGovern, you wouldn't have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago."
Well, suffice it to say, Mayor Daley went wild. And the Democratic Party proceeded to implode for the next 25 years.
So, here's what we cats say. If Abe Ribicoff had the guts to tell Democrats that they were totally effed up, Republicans have no right to use Ribicoff's language to cast blame for a manufactured "bugging" incident today. It's pathetic.
Sorry, GOP. But as much as Watergate belongs to you, "Gestapo tactics" belong to us. You cannot appropriate it — because unlike you, we're honest enough to admit when we've made mistakes. We cats HISS.
Did Mitch McConnell really call the taping of his campaign strategy meeting "Nixonian"? And with a straight face? We cats are doing a big eye-roll on this one. After all, last year, McConnell said of Chuck Colson — the man who famously declared he would have walked over his own grandmother to re-elect Nixon in 1972 — "Our thoughts are with....all who have been touched by the life and service of this extraordinary man."
Hm. So Turtle Face has gone from praising one of Nixon's biggest thugs to getting all faux-umbrage-y about Mother Jones's latest "47 percent" sensation. (Who taped the unpalatable strategy meeting in the first place, by the way, is still not known. We suggest that McConnell frisk his own staffers and advisers.)
Sorry, Mitch. We know it was 40 years ago, but the rule still stands: Republicans don't get to accuse others of Watergate-like tactics. Ever. And yes, that includes your hissy fit over the nonexistent Obama "enemies list." That's because no one on the Democratic side will ever rise to the crooked perfection of Nixon and his gang. Republicans have the corner on that stuff — for now and for always.
Which means that even though he's trying to dodge sticky questions, Mitch McConnell still doesn't get to turn this story into the new Watergate. (And Alison Lundergan Grimes, prepare thyself.)
IMAGE: Rose Mary Woods does her best to convince people she accidentally erased 18 minutes of Nixon's "smoking gun" tape. Ah, memories.
UPDATE: Did we say the GOP had Nixonian tactics down to a science? Given what happened to Willard with the 47 percent, and the fact that no respectable campaign would ever conduct another meeting without sweeping the room for bugs first, why wouldn't the McConnell campaign have recorded itself and slipped the tape to Mother Jones? Nothing like being able to play the martyr to the evil lefties (and getting to whine about the Elaine Chao tweet again). Just a thought.
UPDATE #2: McConnell's campaign manager is channeling Abe Ribicoff! Now we know it's a set-up. Next topic.
Monday, April 8, 2013
How far the Republican Party has strayed from its roots. Not just because it has become the last refuge of intolerance and racism — after spearheading the war against African-American enslavement. It also has completely divorced itself from the spirit and thinking of its first elected President, Abraham Lincoln.
There are so many reasons that Lincoln would not be welcome in today's GOP, but we cats are particularly struck today by the notion of Lincoln's empathy. We know this from Doris Kearns Goodwin and other Lincoln scholars, who have documented the 16th President's unique ability to understand opponents' points of view.
As Goodwin wrote in Team of Rivals, Lincoln "possessed extraordinary empathy — the gift or curse of putting himself in the place of another, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires."
Does anyone in the Republican Party have this quality today? We cats think not. Because if they did, gun control legislation would be enjoying a cakewalk through Congress. Members would only need to hold meetings with Newtown, Connecticut parents, and look at pictures of the children slaughtered at Sandy Hook, and they would do the right thing. (Democrats, too.)
We cats hold onto the hope that, through their personal testimonies, the families of Sandy Hook will be able to forge change in Congress.
In the meantime, in the face of the NRA and its zillion-dollar lobbying campaign, we hope that our elected officials will remember this April that Abraham Lincoln, our most venerated President, was the victim of gun violence himself — and that, were he alive today, he would try to forge a compromise on the Second Amendment by appealing to the better angels of our nature.
IMAGE: Are we the only ones who think this 1864 portrait of Lincoln is incredibly sexy? Our phones are open!
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Well, all righty, then. The Canadian punditheads are predicting that the Liberal Party leadership race will be a "coronation" for Justin Trudeau — and folks are wringing their hands because J.T. offered more platitudes than policy in his speech at yesterday's party showcase event.
We cats won't comment on the role that platitudes have played in U.S. politics, except to say that, as Americans, we have no business being judgmental about them. Canadian voters, on the other hand, have more credibility when they insist on policy details.
However, we believe that Justin's approach to the leadership race is probably the right one. Get elected, for heaven's sake, and then take the fight with substance to the ever-unappealing Pillsbury Doughboy, Stephen Harper. If this sounds cynical, let us cats remind everyone that the Liberals are currently a third-place party. They can't afford to subsume themselves in internecine battles — but instead should choose somebody to rally behind, and go.
In our view, it would benefit them to pick a compelling, recognizable figure with a name. Why? Well, because the last time anybody was excited about who was Canadian Prime Minister was when Pierre Trudeau held the job.
To his credit, Justin was pretty up front about all this yesterday. "I know there are those who say this movement we’re building is all about nostalgia," he said. "That it’s not really about me, or you, or Canada. Let’s face it: they say that it’s about my father.
"Well, to them I say this: It is. It is about my dad...And our mothers. And yours. It’s about all of our parents and the legacy they left us. The country they built for us. Canada."
We cats would love to see a non-Tory government back in power in Ottawa. We hope that the Liberals can elect Justin and then figure out a way to work with the NDP to beat the Conservatives in 2015. We're happy to observe that even at this early stage, the pundits are saying that Harper has something to worry about. Which makes us cats PURR.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
The last few years haven't been kind to Canada's Liberal Party. Once a dominant force in True North politics, the party got slammed in the 2011 Parliamentary elections, reduced to only 34 seats. (A sad turn of events when one considers how unpalatable Stephen Harper and the GOP-ish Tories are.) We cats readily admit that the late, great NDP leader, Jack Layton, was a big factor in that race — but Michael Ignatieff, the Liberals' lackluster leader at the time, didn't help much, either.
So, long story short, the Liberals have been plunged into tortured bouts of soul-searching that we're tempted to compare to the Republicans' in America, but won't. (Nobody's in as bad shape as the GOP.)
And why are we cats bringing up all this Canadian political minutiae? Because this is a really big weekend for the Liberal Party. The leadership race is on — which means that if the party ever gets its act together and wins a majority of seats again, the leader they choose now will become their next Prime Minister. And today is the official 2013 LPC Leadership National Showcase in Toronto — sort of a Canadian version of the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner. There'll be lots of gladhanding, politicking and speechifying. Then, from 5 p.m. until April 14, party members nationwide will be able to vote online for their next pooh-bah. Neat!
But we're not sure anybody would care about all this if it weren't for Justin Trudeau. At 41, with five years of MP-ship under his belt and having beaten a brawny Tory Senator in a charity boxing match last year, Justin the Buff is fighting again — this time, to bring the Liberals back from oblivion.
There are a lot of knocks on Justin that might sound familiar to us Democrats: He's too young. He hasn't proven himself. He's just a celebrity, a fundraising machine. He has a funny name. (Okay, not "funny," per se, but one that carries a lot of negatives as well as positives.)
But they don't seem to be getting much traction. Heck, a recent poll showed that Canadians thought Trudeau was getting a free pass in the leadership race — and they don't care! In fact, a Liberal Party led by Justin would beat the Tories in a hypothetical election today.
So, this latest Trudeau bears watching. How do we cats know? Well, his URL is, simply, justin.ca. No further explanation needed. Can you imagine a Harper website at "stephen.ca"? We didn't think so.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
First, President Obama said this about Kamala Harris:
"She is brilliant and she is dedicated, and she is tough, and she is exactly what you'd want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake."
Only then did Obama add that Harris was "the best-looking attorney general in the country."
Not only do we cats think that's true, we'll take that over condescending "not-a-bad-looking lady" comments any time.
Before we cats left town for the spring holiday, we heard some dour proclamations in the media that the whole gun-reform movement was stalled. And that, despite its bad behavior since Sandy Hook, the NRA's influence was as strong as ever.
Politicians, the pundits averred, would always wimp out on the issue as if — well, as if they had guns to their heads.
So why are we seeing headlines like:
"Lawmakers in Connecticut Approve Gun Limits Bill"?
"Colorado Governor Hickenlooper Signs Landmark Gun-Control Bills"?
"Passage of Maryland Gun Bill Hands Governor O'Malley Major Victory"?
Hm! On this 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, we're cautiously happy that things are moving forward — despite the naysaying of Pundit World. You know what? We cats are sick and tired of Pundit World.
But most of all, we're wondering when someone will call out Wayne LaPierre and the NRA on their desires to arm the world. Especially now that Texas DA Mike McLelland — who carried a gun 24/7 since the January 31 murder of his deputy — was shot 20 times in his home over the weekend.
Looks like that whole "good guy with a gun" scenario doesn't work after all. We cats HISS.
Monday, April 1, 2013
We cats don't understand why anyone in the Republican Party should listen to Ed Gillespie. As we recall, Mr. Chinless was brought into the Willard Mitt Romney campaign as the resident grownup who was going to help Willard "win."
And he did a heckuva job at that, didn't he? "We're going to have a great celebration here tonight," Gillespie told the Romneybots in Boston on election night. Whoops! (Dick Morris was fired from FOX "News" for being that wrong. Why does Ed Chinless still get to opine on that same channel? Why do Republican campaigns still pay him the big bucks? We wonder.)
Anyway, Gillespie has defiantly stated that no way, Jose, will the GOP ever countenance marriage equality. Privileges like hospital visitations will have to do. "We can do those things without having the government sanction same-sex marriage," Gillespie said. Hm. Since there are more than 1,000 benefits that opposite-sex married couples currently enjoy that same-sex couples don't, enacting that many new laws to help gays sure sounds like Big Government to us.
Well, never mind. Because we're all supposed to believe Ed Gillespie because he's such an expert on everything.
Actually, the world should give Gillespie the hook. Not just because he's an idiot — but because as Chairman of the Republican National Committee, he presided over the Bush-Cheney re-elect-us-fear-the-gays hatefest in 2004. We cats HISS.