State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

RE: My congressman, Rep. Joe Wilson

As a native South Carolinian, I'm afraid I have to acknowledge that we've got a history of this kind of thing.

In 1856, one of Wilson's predecessors in the House, Rep. Preston Brooks of Edgefield, S.C., thrashed Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner with a cane in the halls of the U.S. Senate, leaving Sen. Sumner permanently disabled.


Montana’s possible right to die: A critique

The Montana State Supreme Court will rule today on a case that could declare the Treasure State’s constitution the first in the union to guarantee a right to physician-assisted suicide.

Plaintiffs believe Section 4 of Montana’s constitution, which declares, “The dignity of the human being is inviolable,” extends this right on the basis that terminally ill people lack access to this dignity. Setting aside the legal arguments and the practical difficulties of having such a right (see Zeke Emanuel’s excellent piece), there is also a more fundamental moral question at stake about the limits of individual liberties. If the court rules the Montana constitution guarantees the right to die, it will markedly overstep the bounds of personal liberty and unfairly infringe on a community’s right to affirm the value of life.


Visualize Glenn Beck

First, Sarah Palin took the podium with John McCain just one year ago. The shock, hostility, hysteria and denial among the defenders of the conventional seemed almost akin to that of the Native Americans when they first looked over the Atlantic and saw Columbus’s Tall Ships on the horizon. Then there was "Twilight" and a whole brand-new generation of arrogantly noble and great-looking vampires and their like 30 million swooning 13-year-old girls who had never even heard of Bob Dylan. (WTF?) And their 30 million boyfriends. Then there was Ron Paul. Then there was Mark Sanford, who first refused a federal bailout with the ridiculous claim that his boat wasn’t sinking. Then the April tea parties and Rick Perry and Ted ("Cat Scratch Fever") Nugent. Then those town hall disturbances; those blue-haired mavens packing Glocks.

And there’s more just ahead. Get ready. Visualize the Congress without Chris Dodd and with libertarian gold bug Peter Schiff in his place. Visualize California without Barbara Boxer and with Carly Fiorina in her place. Visualize John Oxendine, a 10th Amendment sovereigntist, as governor of Georgia. Visualize the movie "2012," which opens Friday the 13th, November, 2009. Visualize the end of the world. Visualize Glenn Beck.


Carly Fiorina Should Challenge Barbara Boxer

The salon journalists and late-night pundits who see ideas of governance as issues of style, like the new Versace line or the latest dish at Chez Panisse, have done a great disservice to the republic this last year in demonizing Alaskan Sarah Palin.

But on the other hand, this past year has been most innovative, as we have seen a resurgence of grassroots, Jacksonian-style and Jeffersonian ideals of governance. This is related to the pundits’ angst and furthers their contempt, because change is at hand and they are not part of it because change does not come top down, from the White House and its associated TV producers and press reps, as they would like it. It comes out of nowhere.

Don’t Be Fooled by Orchestrated Protests

Ah, Democracy! It’s inspiring to see it in action, when it works: informed citizens, gathering in town meetings to discuss and debate the issues in a responsible manner.

But, oh, Democracy! How ugly it gets when it’s manipulated and manufactured instead. Which is exactly what’s happening with today’s so-called “spontaneous” protests against healthcare reform.

The truth is, there’s nothing spontaneous about them at all. They are all staged protests, paid for by Washington lobbyists, trying to kill any healthcare reform legislation this year.

Uncivil Action

Remember the "Brooks Brothers Riot" in Florida during the Bush-Gore recount in 2000? All those screaming, fist-waving preppies, all dressed up to protest the counting of ballots. Of course, they turned out to be GOP operatives flown in for the “spontaneous demonstration.” A total put-up job designed to intimidate and to bully. Remember the Tea Party protests organized by Faux — sorry — Fox News? Again, nothing spontaneous or grassroots about that bunch.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not an opponent of good old-fashioned organizing. But what we saw this week in Pennsylvania with Sen. Arlen Specter (D) or in Texas with Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) isn’t civil action; it is more akin to mob creation. It isn’t moving the dialogue forward, it is designed to push forward the yellers and the screamers — fake outrage that disrupts other people’s free speech.

Xena, Buffy, Sarah Palin: Revenge of the Wolf Girl

Anyone who lived in New York City in the mid-’70s will recall the odd notice every day on page two of the city edition of The New York Times right above the Brooks Brothers ad. It was put there by a sincere group of Hasidim, bearded old-world Jews who had arrived from Russia not long before. Should Jews settle in one place or travel throughout the world? it asked. What is God’s will?

Conservative N.C. Shop Victim of PC Discrimination

For the better part of the past year (or more), shops, kiosks, sidewalk stands and special displays in larger stores have hosted an array of pro-Obama T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, hats — everything imaginable under the sun that could fit a photo of Barack Obama. I've often looked for the balance of a McCain or Palin paraphernalia section, only to be disappointed.

But at a North Carolina shopping mall, conservative political kiosk owner Loren Spivack is being forced to shutter his business because he sells pro-GOP merchandise. One of the entrepreneur's best-selling items is a bumper sticker that reads “Work Harder, Obama Needs the Money."

Every State a Free State

Nothing can separate us, for we are all that is left. — Smashing Pumpkins

I’m almost a little glad that Dallas quarterback Tony Romo has broken up with his attractive girl friend. Too bad for Tony but maybe he will be a little more focused this year. And I wonder about New England’s Tom Brady as well as Tom is married now to the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. Which is a good thing for him and the missus but how could you work?

Palin's Plans

This just in from The Washington Times — Sarah Palin is planning on stumping for conservative Democrats. But did somebody tell them?

"I will go around the country on behalf of candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label of affiliation," Palin reportedly said in an interview with the Times.

That's interesting, since our paper ran a story days ago about how Republicans facing tough reelection fights don't want Palin anywhere near their campaign trails.