State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

America in creative transition to a new ‘center’: Govs. Rick Perry, Mike Pence, Sam Brownback lead the way

“The apocalypse is upon us,” says Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The loyal governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, slips into old school agit-prop: The Tea Party “pirates” and the Republicans are “recklessly holding our economy hostage.” 

Pirates and hostage-takers, terrorists too, says White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer. And Drudge cites, plaintively, fatalistically, headlines from abroad outlining the end of America. But perhaps the crisis and decline we are seeing today is the beginning, not the end, a crisis of creative transition of historic proportions: America is dying on the edges and awakening in the middle. Power is seeking a new center. In a free state, this will occur naturally. When politics blocks it, trouble inevitably follows. And it will get worse next week in the debt-ceiling crisis.

Read More...

Is Appalachia seceding from Baltimore? Is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula seceding from Detroit? What about Virginia?

I have yet to see "The Wire," but see if I can guess what it is about. I hear it’s great. It is a law and disorder contrast in one of those Eastern cities in which the tai chi balance of yin and yang has descended to 90 percent unfixable and terminal disorder and 10 percent compensating aggressiveness well on the road to local fascism. Like Philadelphia in the mid-1970s, when so many Pulitzer Prizes were won at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where if a visiting European innocently happened to walk from Temple University downtown to Independence Hall, she could very well be killed or brutally beaten. And the cops would beat and torture suspects and perps even to the death. One time they even bombed a neighborhood, killing 11 and destroying 65 homes. So many American places are like that now.

Read More...

‘30 Republican governors’: Mike Pence’s manifesto

Mike Pence absolutely gets it right. As reported in The Hill in August, Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) used a weekly Republican address to tout Indiana's state healthcare program as a conservative alternative to President Obama's signature healthcare law. 

"The Obama administration is creating confusion in the marketplace," Pence said. "It’s costing jobs, discouraging investment and making the future bleak for too many families.

“But there is an alternative to waiting on Washington, D.C., to come to its senses, and more Americans are realizing every day that the cure for what ails this country is starting to emerge ... not in our nation’s capital but in our nation’s state capitals.”

President Reagan reminded us that the states created the federal government, the federal government did not create the states, he said, and “All across this country 30 Republican governors are working hard to push back and preserve freedom.”

Read More...

Wendy Davis poised to change history in Texas

As the idiot debate unfolds in Washington about whether the U.S. government will be shut down by those the majority leader of the U.S. Senate correctly calls anarchists, mark Oct. 3 on your calendar as the date that will change Texas history, when state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) announces her campaign for governor.

From that date forward, Texas politics will never be the same.

CNN reported recently that a senior House GOP aide in Washington, criticizing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said Davis has bigger (fill in the blank) than Cruz! Davis has circulated a letter to her friends in Texas letting them know that on Oct. 3 she will make a major announcement about her political future.

Read More...

Senate needs a lesson from NASCAR; America needs a new internal watchdog agency

England, Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin and Neil Young are all joining up now with the nefarious Tea Party, teaming up in distaste of that spontaneous moment when the president woke up just a short time ago and decided to bomb Syria.

Just like Brig. General Jack D. Ripper in the 1964 classic "Dr. Strangelove" with Slim Pickens as Major ‘King’ Kong: “Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies.” The hippies say no. But he’ll always have Paris. And Bill O’Reilly. I’ve a suggestion: Make it against the law for the president to see the world outside our borders as his own magic garden to do with as he will.

Read More...

Wendy Davis and Julian Castro are the Texas future; Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott are the Texas past

The hour will soon arrive when Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) announces whether she will run for governor, and if she does, Texas politics will never be the same.

The challenges facing Republicans in Texas are similar to the challenges facing Republicans nationally, which is what I discussed in my new column about the battle between traditional Republicans and a new breed of old-idea Republicans I labeled the neo-confederates.

Texas will almost certainly go blue. The question is how fast. If Davis runs for governor, where she will be a fighting underdog with a real but long-shot chance of winning; and if Hillary Clinton runs for president, where she will have an even money chance of carrying Texas, the surge of Democrats in Texas will be accelerated. I emphasize that while Davis and Clinton are both pro-choice, they expand their vote with their long-term championing of issues such as pay equity, jobs, veterans support, and issues important to seniors, among many others.

Read More...

Who’s afraid of Howard Dean?

They are shrill. They say things no one else says. They live as far away from power as you can get without being someplace else, which might be considered running away.

They say kooky things, and possibly we only turn to them in kooky times: Howard Dean and Sarah Palin. Now, as The Hill reports, ObamaCare’s cost-cutting board — memorably called a “death panel” by Sarah Palin — is facing growing opposition from Democrats who say it will harm people on Medicare. And Howard Dean is speaking up. I hope to see him soon on "Dancing with the Stars."

Read More...

Texas voting rights abuses challenged by Justice Department: National battle escalates

In my latest column, I applaud the growing clout of women and the great collaboration of diverse groups, in Texas and nationally, in support of issues important to women.

The voting rights abuses by Republicans in Texas and nationally will now be the cause of a similar coalition. I fully support the bold move by the Department of Justice to initiate a frontal legal challenge, which I expect to prevail, against continuing voting rights abuses in Texas.

More cases in other states are undoubtedly coming. While Texas Republicans in Washington, led by Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and the state's GOP House delegation, alienate Hispanics by opposing fair immigration reform, Republicans in Texas, led by Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott, repeatedly attack the voting rights of Hispanics, blacks, seniors and countless other Texans.

Read More...

Eliot Spitzer will win (great), Carlos Danger will lose (great)

Eliot Spitzer is a serious man who will be elected controller of New York City and will be a nationally respected voice against financial greed and corruption.

Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. Carlos Danger in his formally secret sexual existence, is a vanity player seeking power who has a serious psychological problem and a habit — which continues — of lying about his problem while seeking public office.

Read More...

Rick Perry and Shelby County v. Holder

“To understand the depth of the damage that the Supreme Court’s June 25 decision, Shelby County v. Holder, has inflicted on the voting rights of African-Americans,” Thomas B. Edsall writes today in The New York Times, “ you have to measure it against the backdrop of the takeover of state legislatures, primarily in the South, by the Republican Party.”

The title of Edsall’s essay is “The Decline of Black Power in the South.” But we are a nation of states, not of tribes: North Carolina, New Hampshire, California, Texas, not generic and made-up tribes; white, black, Newyorican, gay.

When the Voting Rights Act came to the South, it came after a century of breathtaking poverty while New York rose to world economic dominance and before that the most horrific war the world had seen since the Second Punic War.

Read More...

Pages