Wednesday, November 09, 2011

GOP gets an off-year whipping

Populism on the rise
If there remain any Republicans who have not, as yet, drunk the toxic, hallucinatory brew served up by the Tea Party, yesterday's nationwide off-year elections ought to serve as a red-flag warning.  To wit:  Union-busting, regressive tax cuts, voter suppression, and harsh social engineering measures aren't components for a winning political platform.

All across the nation, voters rejected reactionary policies, laying some good ol' populist paste on Republicans, who only 1 short year ago, strutted like bantam cocks prematurely counting their 2012 electoral chickens.
  • In Maine, voters rejected the Republican state legislature's attempt to ban same-day voter registration, which has been in place for 40 years.  Republicans know well that low voter turnout is good for the GOP, and they acted aggressively to make it harder for Mainers to participate.  Yesterday, voters executed the "people's veto" on the move in a stinging rebuke.

  • In Mississippi, voters killed an initiative, aimed at restricting abortion rights, that would have legally defined "personhood" as beginning at the moment of conception.  In Mississippi, no less!  Good ol' boy Haley Barbour, the state's Republican governor and a (supposed) anti-abortion advocate, expressed doubts about the initiative, which may have helped to kill it.  When a guy like Haley Barbour is uncomfortable with an anti-choice initiative, it is a sure indication that something is amiss.  (I've always said that the GOP does not truly want to overturn Roe versus Wade.  They need it to keep their base riled up.)

  • The sitting majority leader in the Arizona state senate, Republican Russell Pearce, who wrote that state's unconstitutional and xenophobic anti-immigrant law, was defeated in a recall election.  An historical first and a personal humiliation for Pearce.

  • And the big fight in Ohio:  a referendum to strike down a law passed by the Republican state legislature and championed by Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich.  The law curtailed bargaining rights for public employees.  It was the legislative centerpiece of Kasich's administration.  That fight went overwhelmingly against the governor.  By a two-to-one margin, Ohioans voted in favor of unions and collective bargaining.  (As one internet wag put it:  "Who'd've thought that attacking police, teachers, and firefighters would be unpopular?  Stay oblivious, Republicans.") 
Catchin' on, stupe?
So, with these decisive results, progressives can feel a little better about our nation's future. But only a little.  Because, remember, we have no friends in the White House.

President Obama will, no doubt, spin yesterday's results as a vindication of his policies and his administration, but that's just wishful thinking on his part.  These victories have come not as a result of his leadership, but in spite of it.  At every turn, Obama has not only accommodated the right-wing, but has promoted policies that have protected the oligarchy at the expense of the middle class.

How 'bout you, Mr. President?
If the results of yesterday's voting don't convince the President, at long last, that instead of impeding, he should maybe, you know, lead, I wonder if anything will.

1 comment:

Certifyablejo said...

Great piece Dade!