Search Results for "democrat"

9th 2011
Tips for toads: no one votes for smartypants

Posted under American history & bad language & class & Gender & race & weirdness

Both the enemies of Republican presidential candidates and the enemies of Democratic presidential candidates are indulging in yet another predictable, pointless food fight about intelligence:  who haz it?  Who don’t?  And why do we care about college transcripts from 40 years ago?

First of all, let me be among the first to confess that I was a smug smartypants back in 1999-2000 who just couldn’t believe that anyone with a C-average had the chutzpah to run for President of the United States in the first place, let alone that anyone else would vote for him.  Was my face red–for the next eight years!  Much to my surprise, I discovered that in the end, the smug disapproval of college professors didn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to political opinion in this country.  My bad!

Well, liberals as well as some conservatives are getting in on the action this time around.  First, Tenured Radical alerted me to the leaked Texas A&M transcripts of Texas Governor Rick Perry.  I completely agree with her that college grades are a foolish thing to prattle on about, especially considering that most Americans haven’t gone to college at all.  (It’s almost as clueless and pointless as noting that a candidate used the wrong fork for the salad course, or that he doesn’t know how to tie his own bow ties.  Maybe so, but the complainer looks and sounds like an insufferable snob.)  Then I read an article by Bret Stephens that suggested that President Obama is perhaps kind of dim because he keeps insisting that his policies are working when plainly they haven’t.  I don’t agree with the author that Obama is “stupid,” but I think it’s fair to wonder what’s up with a presidency whose main policy objective seems to be full employment only for Tim Geithner and friends.  Continue Reading »


25th 2011
Monday’s reading assignment: “What Were They Thinking?”

Posted under American history & wankers


Via Shakesville, Corrente, and pretty much every other political blogger today–go read Elizabeth Drew’s “What Were They Thinking?” which gives an overview of recent political history as well as her prediction that history will not smile on the political leadership we’re stuck with today:

Someday people will look back and wonder, What were they thinking? Why, in the midst of a stalled recovery, with the economy fragile and job creation slowing to a trickle, did the nation’s leaders decide that the thing to do—in order to raise the debt limit, normally a routine matter—was to spend less money, making job creation all the more difficult? Many experts on the economy believe that the President has it backward: that focusing on growth and jobs is more urgent in the near term than cutting the deficit, even if such expenditures require borrowing. But that would go against Obama’s new self-portrait as a fiscally responsible centrist.

There’s lots of interesting gossip and inside baseball about the President’s re-election maneuverings, the different goals of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Eric Cantor; and the recent negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.  I agree with her perspective for the most part, but the last sentence of the article strikes me as wrong:

This country’s economy is beset with a number of new difficulties, among them that recovery from the last recession remains more elusive than was generally expected, while the US is confronting a variety of international economic instabilities, especially the large debts and possible default of several countries in the eurozone, bringing on unpopular austerity measures. Recent experience with what should have been a simple matter of raising the debt ceiling, normally done with no difficulty, is reason for deep unease about our political system’s ability to deal with such challenges.

Saying that the “political system” isn’t up to the challenges of 2011 and beyond is pretty vague–what does she mean?  The U.S. Constitution?  The two-party system?  It’s unclear, but as I’ve said here before:  it’s a mistake to see President Obama’s failures or the failures of the Democratic Party as failures of the U.S. Constitution or the political system in generalContinue Reading »


24th 2011
Medicare eligibility: 65 or fight.

Posted under American history & jobs & the body & unhappy endings & wankers

Jeralyn Merritt explains her point of view on Medicare eligibility, which I share:

If President Obama backs raising the age of medicare, which won’t save the Government money in the long run due to the huge numbers of 65 and 66 year olds who will shift to Medicaid and who will break the backs of small businesses providing health care to elderly workers — and which will force middle class elderly workers who don’t have employer paid health care to pay premiums of ten thousand dollars a year or more for two more years, with huge deductibles and out of pocket costs, he doesn’t deserve a second term as Democratic President. Let him run as as Republican or go home to Chicago. He will have sold us out.

I am a knowledge worker who outside of voluntary gardening or home improvement chores has the privilege of working with my brain in a climate-controlled environment.  However, I have two elderly relatives who although mentally and physically disabled from infancy, Continue Reading »


11th 2011
Skype interviews to supplant big conference interviews?

Posted under conferences & happy endings & jobs & students

Lynn Lubamersky, an Associate Professor of History at Boise State University, makes a pretty good case for using Skype instead of flying faculty and grad students around North America to (usually) northern cities in early January:

[S]ome history departments like mine have tried Skype to do initial screening interviews, and I think that it is a much more humane and effective method of seeing who is best for the job. At first, I thought that using Skype was useful because it is free, but that we should return to the AHA when the economy improves. But now I feel that interviewing via Skype is a better way to find the best job candidates.

Why? Because job-seekers are not required to travel across the country and the world to pay for the opportunity to be interviewed, and they have more control over the presentation of self. Instead of all the candidates appearing relatively the same in a sterile environment, the job candidates interview in their own offices or even kitchens, taking the opportunity to position themselves to best advantage.

I’m with her entirely–using Skype saves everyone’s time, money, and carbon emissions to boot.  And I think the arguments about the greater economic justice for using Skype make it an absolute slam-dunk.  I’ve been on search committees that wanted to inteview people at the American Historical Association’s annual convention, but because of a candidate’s recent surgery, recent or impending childbirth, or perhaps because of plain ol’ poverty, some prospects were unable to meet with us there.

But with respect to Lubamersky’s last point about the charm of seeing people in their home or work environments–I’m a little whingy about considering that at all when considering someone for a job: Continue Reading »


8th 2011
Barack Hoover Obama, I presume

Posted under American history & unhappy endings & wankers

Didja hear the latest awesome news about the U.S. economy?

Well, Kevin Baker called his shot about Obama more than two years ago:

Hoover’s every decision in fighting the Great Depression mirrored the sentiments of 1920s “business progressivism,” even as he understood intellectually that something more was required. Farsighted as he was compared with almost everyone else in public life, believeing as much as he did in activist government, he still could not convince himself to take the next step and accept that the basic economic tenets he had believed in all his life were discredited; that something wholly new was required.
. . . . .

Much like Herbert Hoover, Barack Obama is a man attempting to realize a stirring new vision of his society without cutting himself free from the dogmas of the past–without accepting the inevitable conflict. Like Hoover, his is bound to fail.

Continue Reading »


20th 2011
Education: too valuable to waste on non-voting unproductive non-taxpayers

Posted under American history & childhood & class & local news & students & wankers

Once again, something that would be a funny Onion parody, except that it’s on the level (h/t Tom at Romantoes.) And the “funny” thing here in Colorado is that it’s the Democratic Governor who has proposed slashing the K-12 budget! (Then again, he’s taking a much smaller whack out of the higher education budget, which has been the unencumbered piggybank the state’s been raiding for the past three years. That’s what counts as “good news” these days, I guess.)


28th 2011
“When our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.”

Posted under American history & bad language

I heard the speech tonight while running.  My short reaction?  State Department: 1.  Department of Defense: 0.  I think it’s a speech that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and human rights advisor Samantha Power are very comfortable with.

I thought the speech presented a convincing narrative for the intervention in Libya and a solid articulation of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.  Do I love the prospect of another open-ended occupation of an Arab or Middle-Eastern country (or any other country, for that matter?)  Of course not.  But I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect an American president to restrict his foreign policy to stamping out the flaming bags of poop left on the doorstep by the previous administration.  And Obama was elected with more of a mandate for his foreign policy vision than any president since. . . John F. Kennedy?  (That’s my guess.  In the twentieth century, most Democratic presidents have been elected for their domestic policy agendas, with perhaps the exception of Woodrow Wilson’s re-election and Kennedy’s “missle gap” strategy.)

This was the peculiar genius and daring of the Bush/Cheney regime:  they were unafraid to use their power, consequences beyond re-election be damned.  They knew that it was a lot easier to start wars than to end them, and to tear apart cities and institutions than to rebuild them, so they always knew which side they wanted to be on.  (And they were also able judges of the Democrats and the media, whom they knew would be too wimpy and internally divided to mount a serious and principled opposition in the face of a full-throated cry for wars of vengeance.)

Of course, hindsight is an infinitely wise judge, and how the “Obama Doctrine” is regarded by history will all depend on its effectiveness.  Continue Reading »


27th 2011
Geraldine Ferraro (1935-2011), bad girls, and good girls

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & Intersectionality & race & women's history

It’s been quite a week for celebrity women’s deaths:  first Elizabeth Taylor, and now the first woman to run for Vice President on a major party ticket in the United States, Geraldine Ferraro.  I thought of the several obits I’ve seen that Joan Walsh’s was the very best, bar none.  She’s someone who gets both the New York political and national women’s historical context of Ferraro’s life, her 1984 candidacy, and her unfortunate remarks about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. (Just go read Walsh–do it!  Do it now!) 

And now, something I should have posted in honor of Elizabeth Taylor but seems relevant for Ferraro too:  Continue Reading »


22nd 2011
Sexism at The Nation? Surely not!

Posted under American history & bad language & captivity & Gender & publication & wankers & women's history


Then don't bother writing for The Nation, darling!

Via TalkLeft, we learn that Katha Pollitt is (once again) shocked, shocked to find there’s sexism at the house organ of the so-called American “Left,”  The Nation magazine!

It’s been a long time since anyone seriously maintained that women in power, simply by virtue of their gender, are reliably less warlike than men—how could they be, given that men set up and control the system through which those women must rise? But apparently Nation blogger Robert Dreyfuss has just noticed this fact.

In a post entitled “Obama’s Women Advisers Pushed War Against Libya” (originally titled “Obama’s Women” tout court) he’s shocked-shocked-shocked that UN Ambassador Susan Rice, human-rights adviser Samantha Power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were keen on intervening militarily in Libya. The piece is dotted with arch and sexist language—the advisers are a “troika,” a “trio” who “rode roughshod over the realists in the administration” (all men) and “pushed Obama to war.” Now it’s up to the henpecked President to “reign (sic) in his warrior women.” Interestingly, the same trope—ballbreaking women ganging up on a weak president—is all over the rightwing blogosphere.

.       .       .       .      .       .      .       .      

[C]an you imagine a piece in The Nation titled “Black President Opts for Bombs” or “Qaddafi, a Man, Threatens to Massacre Rebels, Most of Whom Are Also Men”?

Misogyny—it’s the last acceptable prejudice of the left.  Continue Reading »


2nd 2011
And the wieners are. . .

Posted under American history & Gender & unhappy endings & women's history

Sausage party!

Who says the humanities are feminized disciplines?  Not the real he-men at the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Check out this list of the winners of the 2010 National Humanities Medals (h/t reader, commenter, and BFF Shaz.)  Notice anything, friends?  Click here–I’ll wait. 

Let’s go over the list of everyone who’s won a National Humanities Medal since its inception: Continue Reading »


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