Ever have a day when your mind simply refuses to focus on one thing at a time? I’m having one of those today; looking over the blogs and newswires, I’m seeing fifty different things that deserve total concentration, but my brain is acting like a dragonfly in a marsh, lighting from one frond to the next.
Screw it. If that’s how it’s going to be, I might as well play along.
1. I don’t know who to be angrier at about this one: Republicans for their stance or Democrats for not making a bigger issue of it. The question is over the minimum wage, and whether it is sufficient to support American workers. Anyone working a minimum wage job will tell you it isn’t enough, but a raft of GOP candidates have made statements recently that betray a staggering lack of empathy for the workers they pay lip service to. Linda McMahon, the GOP candidate for Senate in Connecticut, basically admitted she doesn’t know what the minimum wage is, but thinks it sucks anyway. GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller of Alaska thinks the minimum wage is unconstitutional, and West Virginia GOP Senate candidate John Raese thinks we should eliminate it altogether and go back to a supply-and-demand wage system that he seems to think worked so well “before the Depression.”
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What would you expect from a pig but a grunt, right? The problem is that some, if not all, of these birdbrained candidates are looking like almost certain winners in the upcoming midterm elections. The Brookings Institution did a poll on the subject, and found that nearly 70% of Americans support raising the minimum wage. That’s about exactly the same number of people who supported rolling back the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy…so of course, ther Democrats dropped the subject entirely. Why they don’t go wild on the minimum wage subject in these races is an absolute mystery, and it makes me crazy to watch them fumble away yet another ripe election issue.
2. Speaking of the upcoming midterm elections, I cannot escape the feeling that we are, as a nation, doomed. There are more demonstrably crazy and inadequate GOP candidates running right now than I have ever seen before, and yet the American people still seem poised to hand control of Congress over to them in November. How is it possible that we could have forgotten how bad things were under Republican rule not even two years ago? The RNC is doing a masterful job of blaming their vast and sundry mistakes on Obama and the Democrats, and thanks to the credulous coverage of the “mainstream” news media, those talking points appear to be sticking. Part of this, of course, is the Democrats’ inability to explain the good stuff they’ve done since Bush left. Part of this, as well, is the fact that they haven’t done nearly enough with the mandate they were handed. The rest of it, however, comes down to this: we are a nation of spoiled-brat amnesiacs, and that is a cancer on the country.
3. It has been said many times already, but it is worth repeating: the Tea Party is not some new phenomenon in American politics. The vast majority of people who identify with the Tea Party also cleave to fundamentalist evangelical Christianity, are against legal abortion, against gay marriage, and think government is too big. In short, they are the base of the GOP, the same base they were two years ago, and the same base they will be two years from now. The Tea Party is a confection created by big-money GOP donors and the “mainstream” news media, and they get coverage for the same reasons car accidents and police chases get coverage.
4. Speaking of the Tea Party, let’s talk about these guys and racism. Their leaders and candidates go out of their way to say there is no racism in the “movement,” but someone forgot to tell the Tea Party guy who has been selling “Yup, I’m a racist” t-shirts at their rallies. Oh, yeah, and someone also forgot to tell Rush Limbaugh:
This is a tough thing to say, because a lot of people don’t want to hear this, because it goes against everybody’s desire that we all be the same, that there be no pain in life and that there be no suffering and that everybody do well and that everybody have what they want and so forth.
But there is no equality. You cannot guarantee that any two people will end up the same. And you can’t legislate it, and you can’t make it happen. You can try, under the guise of fairness and so forth, but some people are self-starters, and some people are born lazy. Some people are born victims. Some people are just born to be slaves. Some people are born to put up with somebody else making every decision for them.
Yeah, that’s not racist. At all.
5. Christine O’Donnell is not a witch. Just so we’re all clear. This is what I mean about inadequate GOP candidates. That’s her whole campaign platform. Not a witch.