State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn: The new paradigm

Two stars are born this season, Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn, Westerners traveling in righteous vengeance. She with the “author of all things” watching over her and a fine horse. He with true grit. The Coen Brothers in “True Grit,” this the greatest ever movie, return us to ourselves in the Western epic we last visited in 1968 after a 40-some year skywalk. And in our time their players, Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn, come to resemble two new and rising stars on the political scene, Elizabeth Warren and Rick Perry, governor of Texas. In Perry, Andrew Jackson has found his avatar. In Warren, Rachel Maddow has found her anti-Palin.


Why states' rights? America is at a sea change.

Grandma eating Alpo? This presidency will grow increasingly sordid. Will it bring a challenge?

Peggy Noonan on Friday:

“In the Old America there were a lot of bad parents ... But in the old America you knew it wasn't so bad, because the culture could bring the kids up ... Grown-ups now know you can't send the kids out to play in the culture, because the culture will leave them distorted and disturbed.”

Always in politics we expect the future to be like the immediate past, but it never is. That is generational wishing. Kennedy will be back, Reagan will be back, Clinton (Bush, Britney?) will be back because we think of them as immortals. When they ask England a hundred years hence when her drooling peasantry is rooting for potatoes why did Gordon Brown sell England’s gold in 1999, the answer will be because he, like at least half of his generation, thought Bill Clinton was a god.


Warren for Governor

I hope that when she finishes her gig at the new consumer bureau — which, in the words today of CNN Money, is “set to sail with no captain” — Elizabeth Warren remembers where she came from. She may be an “Oklahoma grandmother,” but I hope she comes back to New England. I’d love to see her run for governor up here. Because she returns us to something we left behind some time ago: a New England work ethic. Work ethic, self-reliance and rugged individual character were synonymous with Emerson’s New England and even Thoreau’s. But we, the Irish who commandeered the neighborhood over these past hundred years, had a somewhat different approach.


Perry adds TSA bill to special session

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) presented legislation for consideration this week in the ongoing 82nd Texas Legislature, First Called Session that would ban intrusive TSA pat-downs.

"We applaud Gov. Perry for presenting this legislation," 10th Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. "James Madison said states are duty bound to interpose when the federal government overreaches its constitutional limits. Nobody can argue that requiring citizens to get groped by a badged agent in order to get on an airplane doesn't step way over the line."


A states’-rights defense against Anthony Weiner: Virginia’s HJR 542 offers a solution to New York dominance

As more portraits of the artist as a young Weiner appear on the Web, the body politic becomes increasingly frustrated. President Obama said he would retire under the circumstances. Nancy Pelosi can’t get rid of him.

McClatchy Newspapers reports that a majority of voters in Weiner’s Queens-Brooklyn congressional district think he should stay in office. But Weiner’s New York is not the New York City where Grant rests nor where the Roosevelts shook the world for more than 100 years. Nor is it Isaac Bashevis Singer's or even Yogi Berra’s or Ralph Kramden’s. It is Mick Jagger’s and Jean Genet’s and Bill Clinton’s.


What’s next for the California GOP?

The ignominious fall of former governor and cheating husband Arnold Schwarzenegger is pretty pathetic in itself. As allegations of still more women who slept with the “governator” spring up (ahem), there’s one question that many political watchers should be asking — what’s next for the Republican Party in California?

I know what you’re thinking: “What does a Hollywood actor’s sexual peccadillos have to do with the state’s political party?” Nothing, if you look at the question that way. But let’s be honest, until Arnold Schwarzenegger came along in that 70-something person gubernatorial race over seven years ago, the state’s Republicans were floundering.


Poor form in Louisiana

Back in April, two Louisiana state Republican legislators introduced a “birther” bill, clearly to score some political points and try to make themselves relevant, I suppose. Specifically, the measure required that any presidential candidate seeking to be on the Louisiana ballot would need to swear out an affidavit that he was in fact a U.S. citizen, then offer a birth certificate to validate the claim.

Less than a week later, the office of Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said he would sign the bill if it made it to his desk.

I have just one question surrounding this issue. Are you serious?


‘The irrepressible conflict’

It is said with some fright here on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War that we face the same divisions again in red-state and blue-state. Demagogues like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow used the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War as an occasion to paint advocates of state sovereignty and the principle of nullification as racist “neo-confederates,” says a commentary from the Tenth Amendment Center. It is much the same as that which came out of New Haven and New York in the time preceding the invasions of the Old South, Texas and the Mormon lands.


The new paradigm: 'New 2012 GOP face: Texan Rick Perry'

“Keep going west,” — Dennis Hopper, “The Last Movie”

Pictures go a long way in explaining; how would Hemingway have done without the masterful beard or James Joyce without the severe Irish angles and heavy shadowing in his face? George Orwell said we are all responsible for our own faces by the time we get to 50: Your picture becomes your icon. Which is why George W. Bush may have gotten off to such a rough start. Posed cutting brush in a brand new cowboy hat, he brought to mind the “I’m a lumberjack” skit of Monty Python. Not a lumberjack, not a cowboy and not really a Texan.

It was a portrait of insincerity and the Republicans are still trying to work it through. The Bushes, try as they might, are plagued by this inauthenticity and don’t seem to fit or belong in Texas. H.W. had the same problem with the cowboy boots. Luckily, Jeb makes no claim to the West and so the traditionalists — the establishment; that is, the Eastern Establishment — hope today to bring it all back home with Jersey’s Chris Christie in front and Florida’s ex-Gov. Jeb as backup.


Nikki Haley: Ronald Reagan in a skirt?

With a memoir in the works, it's become increasingly clear that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has Sarah Palin-sized national ambitions, writes columnist Chris Haire of the Charleston City Paper. And he says he can’t stop writing about Haley, the formidable and elegant new Tea Party governor of South Carolina.

She brings a very distinctive character and a new vision to the South. Some of the Tea Party elements moving up to the 2012 primary season have a vengeance quality — Bachmann and Ron Paul — which accentuates the dark side of the movement. But Haley was a Tea Party figure there at the beginning and can bring in the positive elements of state responsibility and sovereignty without the faux-revolutionary jargon of Beck and Bachmann.