Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Red All Over

The Tea Party reared its ugly head again in Indiana, ousting Republican Senator Richard Lugar in favor of right-wing extremist Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer, in a brutal Senate primary. Although Republicans are confident they can keep the Senate seat held by Lugar for 36 years, Mourdock is known for reactionary positions, endorsing the kind of spending cuts and social conservatism that normally scare mainstream Republicans and independents.  This gives Democratic Senate nominee Joe Donnelly, a pro-life, pro-gun congressman, an opportunity to take a seat Republicans have automatically won in this automatically Republican state. Mourdock is the kind of Tea Party reactionary that can change the fortunes of his Democratic challenger overnight, such as what happened in Delaware when Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell gave the state's voters reason to give Chris Coons a look. But while Donnelly can easily win independents and non-Tea Party Republicans, the question now is whether there are enough of them in Indiana to help him win. The truth of the matter is that no Democrat not of the Bayh family has been elected to the Senate from the Hooiser State since Vance Hartke in 1970.
But Mourdock might help Donnelly break that curse.  He (Mourdock) defines bipartisanship as making Democrats tow the Republican line and "inflicting" fascist Tea Party ideology into Democrats like bullets.
Meanwhile, North Carolina made the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman part of the state constitution, making it illegal to repeal the current law against gay marriage.  My mother once suggested that we move to North Carolina, because so many Northeasterners were moving there and transforming the state.  Actually, North Carolina has transformed them.  Former New Jersey and Connecticut residents have only become as conservative as native North Carolinians, and they were probably the same sort of stodgy, bigoted types who'd always populated the state anyway.  Folks in North Carolina are still angry about having lost the Civil War, and they're so backward they likely refuse to accept native son Zach Galifianakis as one of their own - not because he makes prurient comedy movies, but because he's Greek
It was in the aftermath of North Carolina's rejection of gay marriage - the thirtieth state to do so - that Barack Obama finally announced his support for gay marriage.  President Obama is taking a bold step forward by putting himself on the side of advancing liberty on the most important and most explosive civil rights issue of our time, and he's given the voters a clear choice between himself and Mitt Romney on the issue of who's better capable of defending such rights.  (Romney opposes gay marriage, the one issue he's never changed his mind on.)  While it may not exactly help him win Indiana again - it may have even cost him North Carolina - Obama has made it clear that this presidential election campaign will be about saying what he believes . . . and what he believes in.      

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