Category: Proud Democrat

Mike Lee Suggests Merrick Garland Lead FBI

Pretty charming olive branch, Mike Lee. It feels like one of those dreams that’s too beautiful to live in this world, and I thank you for it.


Big Tent Manspread

It’s amazing when you think how much space the Democrat big tent would have if you pushed out the women who make up the majority of the party. Think how much room everybody would have to manspread! Paradise! What could go total tent collapse wrong?

Sanders and Perez Endorse Pro-Life Candidate; There’s Outrage; Perez backpedals; Sanders Chastizes Feminists

Go to hell, Bernie Sanders. My economic security is directly related to my ability to control my own reproduction.

It is not less important than your favorite issues. It is more important than your favorite issues, you ASS.

Give me part of your liver to eat and then maybe we’ll talk about your understanding of the situation.

Otherwise, fakey half apology not accepted.

Also “Heath Mello” sounds like a store-brand Mountain Dew knockoff he’s done an endorsement deal with. Just me? Heath Mello is the healthier alternative because it uses turmeric instead of yellow dye, plus bee pollen, and the caffeine is organically extracted from free-range guarana. Also it gets you pregnant. But only if you have a negative vibe, so be chill and it’s fine, you know?

[Note: Although I’m having fun with Heath Mello’s name in ways that seem insulting, I like the name. I like people with weird names. Look at my name. I could rally behind a Heath Mello.]

James says: I’ve always felt that misogyny was at the heart of not only Bernie’s big supporters (Bernie bros) but also his own progressively myopic world view.

Romie: Myopic is a good word. In his own voting record, he supports reproductive rights, so it doesn’t feel like hating women as much as not having the visceral sense that women exist with the same sharpness as real Americans. Like, he knows they do, but they’re kind of fuzzy and not within his field of focus most of the time.

I don’t know what the word for that is, although it seems like academic feminists have to have one. That thing where you never attack Hillary Clinton for being a woman, only for her choices, but you can’t see how her choices were sometimes constrained by being a woman. Myopic works for me, but if you have a flash of portmanteau brilliance, let me know.

Stacy: Mysoginopic? Mysognorant? I’m going to get this.

Romie: Mysognorant is delightful and fragrant.

Dwayne says: Part of the problem that we progressives are facing is our own infighting. We pick one thing and expect it to be the most important thing to everyone else, and when it isnt we try to tear everybody else down. We need to show that without reproductive rights women die. This is not hyperbole, it is the truth, childbirth used to be the largest killer of women. Without reproductive rights women lose access to education, and higher paying jobs. The list is endless. How do we show that this isn’t just a political push, but a push for real meaningful shift in society? Without trying to demean or destroy other progressive ideas.

Romie: It’s easy to fight for because it’s already a progressive idea. We’re not fighting for a shift, but the same things that are already in the platform: access to contraception, non-criminalization of abortion, healthcare that includes obstetrics, and childcare subsidies. Most of this already exists in law, including laws Sanders voted for, and is widely popular. It’s the people who want to roll it back who are the minority. It doesn’t make much sense to give ground to them.

But I think it’s a good idea to talk openly about the physical changes that happen to a pregnant woman, instead of thinking of pregnancy as a glowing smiley blond lady who maybe has hillarious morning sickness. Once you understand the danger, the need becomes essential – and on the other side, you stop worrying that poor women will just “take advantage of the system” by having a lot of babies to get benefits (because you really couldn’t pay me enough to have a kid if I don’t want to) so you get rid of one of the boogeymen used to attack anti-poverty programs.

Mindy: I happen to be a blond pregnant lady and am nowhere near glowing and smiling. I have extra pimples and a whole lot of bitterness and hostility towards anyone who thinks I should be glowing and smiling. Screw anyone who thinks the majority of lady people are gonna go through this bullshit more times than necessary for funsies and a few extra dollars.

Romie: You mean you’re NOT emitting internal light that makes everything go into sparkly soft focus? Are you sure there’s a baby in there? (On the plus side, you have double the blood volume of a non-pregnant woman. Double Blood! That is part of your pregnancy weight and a reason some women develop hypertension, but you could bleed so more than the rest of us and still be ok! It is an amazing superpower. Also, some of the fetal stem cells will pass to you and repair bits of your organs and make some of the fetal dna permanently a part of you, so no matter what hapens, you are now a chimera.)

Mindy: Yuck.

Gene says: The Democratic Party supports pro-life Democrats, but let’s kick Bernie when he supports a pro-life Democrat. Clinton’s VP pick was a pro-life Democrat. Wow is the hypocrisy ripe in here.

Romie: It’s not hypocritical for me, who is not the Democratic party but a Democrat within the party, to say I do not support pro-life Democrats or the supporters of pro-life Democrats. Also, Bernie isn’t a Democrat according to himself. Also, you have no idea whether any of the people here like Tim Kaine. But you keep tilting at windmills, buster.

I’m sure my insistence on my own bodily integrity will fade after enough people tell me I’m being a meanie to poor ol’ Bernie who will just crumble to pieces when he hears I think he’s wrong about something.

Bless that Bernie Sanders. I’ve been so selfish to say I need to know the government won’t force me to bear and raise children, putting my body and livelihood at risk. The real victim here is all the people who have had to read my harsh language blaspheming Our Only Savior.

Erin says: In addition to what everyone else has said, Bernie’s perspective posits a focus on the working class as distinct from reproductive rights, when the latter is actually inseparable from economic inequality and contributes to the cycle of poverty that economically disadvantages women in many different ways. His statements are like a reverse dog-whistle to people seeking to protect reproductive rights; they signal so clearly to the rest of us how myopic he is, while he and his apologists can’t see their blind spots. Gah!

Romie: What’s especially frustrating is that I get the argument “look, I’m endorsing this guy because he’s still better than his opponent, by a lot.” I’ve made that bargain plenty of times! If Bernie just said that and stopped, fine. But to have moral snootiness about it, and chide feminists for getting upset, like we’re the problem with our purity tests and nonexistent massive institutional power, and how dare we even so much as say “this sucks” – gross gross gross. Suuuuper condescending in the exact way that makes me think “hmm, this is not a compromise for you in the same way it is for me.”

Erin: Agreed. One benefit, if that’s the right word, of all of this: I just read a comment on another person’s post that the ultimate outcome here—Perez’s blanket statement that DNC candidates should be pro-choice, and an announcement from the mayoral candidate that he would not support policies that infringed on reproductive rights—are positive outcomes.

Romie: Yeah. It’s a good backlash. My main emotion isn’t a sense of betrayal as much as a desire to get incredibly loud to make sure the party platform goes where I want and stays there.

Erin: Agreed!

Belonging to either political party means getting to vote on more stuff

When journalists talk about President Trump’s approval numbers, they sometimes break out subgroups (“but among Republicans…”) which got me curious: how big are those groups? According to Gallup’s most recent survey (Mar 1-5), in response to the question “In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?” the U.S. is 26% Republican, 30% Democrat, and 42% independents.

In light of that, this is going out to my independent friends.

I belong to a political party; I’m a registered Democrat. Here’s what that doesn’t mean:

I don’t have to vote for Democrats if I don’t want to. I vote for whoever I think is best in each election, just like an independent.

I don’t miss out on hearing from Republican candidates. When local canvassers go door to door, they knock on my door, give me fliers, and answer my questions.

I don’t get hit up for fundraisers any more than I used to. Same level of ads and spam, pretty much.

I don’t have to pay any kind of membership fee. Nobody bugs me to show up for meetings or put signs in my lawn. (I bug them.)

Presumably, the same is true for registered Republicans. It’s pretty much the same as being an independent. Except…

We get to vote in primaries to select the candidates that run in the general election. We also get to vote for the people running the DNC or RNC, and the people who write the party platforms. If we’re worried that neither of the parties is accurately representing us and what we want, we have more levers to pull at least one of the parties closer to what we think is right, instead of leaving the big decisions to the super-partisan diehards.

Think about it. You could consider joining one of the parties in secret to preserve your independent mystique. You won’t get branded with a bumper sticker. What you’ll get is extra chances to goad a party that’s getting too far out there – or not far enough out there. If you want better candidates in the general election, this is how you get them.

And when it comes to the actual vote, you’re still free as free. Forever. Guaranteed by electoral law.

Checking in with Jon Ossoff

We’re about three weeks out from the special election in Georgia’s 6th district – the one to fill the seat of Tom Price (the guy who is now Trump’s Health Secretary, and doing a memorable job of it). So I checked in on Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who you may recall me saying about a month ago that I like.

Looking good. A Georgia polling outfit, Opinion Savvy, has him almost certainly advancing past the first round, and being neck-and-neck in the second. (They’re using what’s called a jungle primary, where all candidates of all parties run against each other, and if nobody gets above 50%, the top two run off.)

Caveat: State-level polling does NOT tend to be as reliable as national-level polling. There’s less money behind it, there’s a smaller sample size, and there are fewer chances to test your method. However, Opinion Savvy has Ossoff at 40% that first round. That was a poll conducted before the health care bill was pulled on Friday, which is expected to move the numbers in…some direction. (Anybody’s guess.)

Wouldn’t it be cool if Ossoff got to 50% in the first round, done and dusted? Apparently, the online fundraising is making a difference, so if you have (or would like to) throw a couple bucks at the campaign, you can claim full credit for any victory that might happen in this area just north of Atlanta.

Robert Bork Was Borked Appropriately

I’m out of patience with the tired old fiction that all Republican judicial nomination nastiness is justified because people said mean things about Robert Bork in 1987. Bork was an ass. His nomination was a thumb in the eye of everybody in Congress who’d just kicked out Richard Nixon. Bork was the lawyer who defended Nixon and (unsuccessfully) argued that all the illegal stuff he did should have been allowed under the Constitution.

But sure I guess we should have appointed him for the rest of his life to a position where he could overrule Congress and prevent them from stopping another Nixon – would choose to give a paranoid president unlimited power, no matter what congress said, no matter how it violated the rights of private citizens, because he had a bizzaro-land divine-right-adjacent interpretation of the Constitution shared by approximately nobody.

It’s like if, I don’t know, you brought my abusive ex-boyfriend as a plus-one to my wedding, and then threw a fit when I told you I had a restraining order. “You” in this narrative is Ronald Reagan. If he was genuinely shocked by Bork’s reception and it wasn’t an intentional provocation, that’s the best argument I’ve heard that he was by that point affected by Alzheimer’s.

It is absolutely appropriate for Congress to attack the abnormal and dangerous political philosophy of a nominee chosen specifically to piss them off. The reason that hadn’t happened before wasn’t that congress suddenly became more radical; it’s that presidents hadn’t previously attempted such obscenely inappropriate (not to mention tone-deaf) nominations.

Incidentally, Bork was a creep who embodied the “not here to make friends” philosophy. He wasn’t doing himself any favors. If he was “brilliant” it was the kind of brilliance that makes clever arguments over wine about how black is really white and cruelty is the ultimate kindness. Watch some interviews sometime and you’ll see what I mean.

The whole bit where Bork was an innocent, persecuted by Democrat meanies just for sport, is a complete fabrication. I’m sick of hearing it. They were right not to confirm him. We should all be grateful.

Jeff says: It’s terrible that the word “Bork” has become a term used for unfair victimization. He was instrumental in Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, a particularly low point in American politics.

Romie: I try to pretend that when people use bork in that way, they’re making a reference to the Swedish Chef. It’s not true, but it lets me escape into reveries of the Swedish Chef singing “Danny Boy.”

Senator Whitehouse insists on transparency

There’s been a lot of attention (deservedly) paid to Senator Lindsey Graham’s dogged pursuit of information proving or disproving the Trump team’s connections to Russia, and by extension whether the FBI has behaved appropriately. But I want to give a shout out to his subcommittee co-chair, Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island who yes for serious is Senator Whitehouse.

Whitehouse is an ex-Attorney General, and his big focuses are campaign finance reform and mitigating climate change. He and Graham like each other and are both ex-prosecutors (Graham was with JAG), and I would 100% cast them in an inside-the-beltway spinoff of Boston Legal.

There have been quite a few articles that mention both of them, and inevitably it’s a lot of Lindsey Graham (and sometimes Chuck Grassley) laying everything out, and then right at the end there’s a quote from Sheldon Whitehouse, who notes he would prefer the requested FBI briefing (there have been several requests) be unclassified.

Because yes. If you are trying to put an end to blind-item rumors and anonymous sources, you need to be able to say things on the record. If you are worried the FBI is withholding critical information, and releasing that information based mainly on what is politically expedient, you want all the cards on the table. Visibly. Face up. So that we can make decisions in a democracy, all of us. Thank you for making sure to get that point in there every time, Senator Whitehouse.

Possibly I will insist all supreme court nominees be refused consideration unless and until they nominate one named Oval Office or Rotunda.