politics.salon.com — One of the burdens of blackness, W.E.B. DuBois famously wrote, was facing down an omnipresent question from the wider society: “How does it feel to be a problem?” I’ve been wondering lately if white people might soon understand what he meant. Both the right and left suddenly have a lot of complaints about white people, particularly the so-called white working class. With all this hand-wringing about white people, what should the president’s strategy be in 2012? I think it should be what it’s become since the summer: a full-throated commitment to building an economy that works for everyone, backed by a government that’s run for everyone, not just for the 1 percent. The passionate President Obama who told the United Auto Workers on Tuesday that he backed the Big Three rescue plan because “I believed in you!” can win re-election – and if he can’t win back a majority of the white working class from the GOP (and he probably can’t), he can do as well as he did in 2008, and maybe better.
huffingtonpost.com — Rush Limbaugh did not apologize to Sandra Fluke. In his ten line "apology" statement to Fluke he devoted all of two lines to a tepid, kind of sort of "I made a mistake" pronouncement in branding her "a slut." In the rest of the statement he railed against alleged sexual promiscuity at taxpayer expense. The only reason that he swallowed hard and even hinted at slight contrition to Fluke was because for the first time in decades of spewing hate and insults against blacks, Latinos, women, and gays, several sponsors bailed and more openly expressed nervous jitters over bankrolling the talk show demagogue. If they have a modicum of decency and bottom line sense they'll cut bait on him too. But Limbaugh, no matter what, won't stay away from hate. The reason is simple. It was hate, insults and personal vilification that put Limbaugh on the talk radio map more than three decades ago.
prospect.org — As much as some Republicans would like to believe otherwise, the fact is that this primary is dragging down the party. Unlike the 2008 Democratic primary—in which two formidable candidates fought hard, debated substance, and energized voters around the country—this year’s GOP primary has been defined by clownish vanity candidates, divisive bickering, and an unlikable front-runner who—so far—has “won” by not losing. None of this has done much to help the Republican Party. According to the latest survey by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 40 percent of adults say that “the GOP nominating process has given them a less favorable impression of the Republican Party,” compared with the 10 percent who have come away from the event satisfied. What’s more, when asked to describe the GOP primaries in a word or phrase, 70 percent (including 60 percent of independents and half of Republicans) reach for something negative.
washingtonpost.com — Political consultants tell candidates to be authentic — to “be yourself.” In Mitt Romney’s case, that might not be such good advice. Once again, for what seems like the umpteenth time, Romney is being crowned as the presumptive Republican nominee. His victories in Michigan and Arizona took much of the wind out of Rick Santorum’s sails; Newt Gingrich is lost at sea; and Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul. As long as Romney keeps winning, talk of some kind of a deus ex machina plot twist at the convention — someone just like Jeb Bush surfaces, but with a different last name — remains pure fantasy. Given the Romney campaign’s huge advantages in money and organization, and given the has-been nature of his opposition, the only reason he hasn’t wrapped this thing up is the “authenticity” issue: Not just “is he a real conservative” but “is he even a real person,” in the sense of having some idea of how most Americans live.
washingtonmonthly.com — For much of the last year, Republicans have been saying constantly that all they have to do is to focus monomaniacally on the economy and they can't lose in 2012. But somehow or other, they don't. When the Catholic bishops went ballistic over the administration's contraception coverage mandate, the air was filled with Republican cackling over the epochal, victory-sacrificing mistake Obama had made. The GOP presidential candidates were all over the issue, shouting about this unprecedented threat to religious freedom. Now that the controversy hasn't turned out like they anticipated it would, suddenly Republicans are pretending they never cared about it to begin with. The simple truth is that the GOP's conservative "base" cares passionately about "cultural issues," is constantly rewarding candidates who exploit them, and has elevated to totemic status blowhards like Rush Limbaugh who palpably want to return to the patriarchal mores of the 1950s.
huffingtonpost.com — This is a warning to Republicans politicians: Women are watching you! Whether you are running for President, Congress or for the state legislature, you may be feeling very self righteous and comfortable, kind of like the old days when men were men and free to say things out loud about women that for years now have been relegated to locker rooms. Like that funny Rush Limbaugh who said, "If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch." Ha! And even though the dispensing of contraceptives has been legal since 1966, you may think the time is just right to make it controversial once again. But I have news for you. The women are paying attention, and we are not laughing.
truth-out.org — Republicans win by stressing their superior ability in standing tall, defending the United States against its enemies, and steering the ship of state in the right direction. They don't win campaigns on social issues such as contraception or abortion. For a couple of weeks, Americans have been listening, with some incredulity, to Santorum denouncing the separation of church and state and saying he "threw up" when he read John Kennedy's speech endorsing just such a separation in 1960. So does Santorum want America to become some sort of snooping theocracy with no bedroom free from its intrusions? Santorum seems quite blithe at the prospect. And over in the other corner is a Mormon, active in his faith and secret rites. Is this a recipe for victory in modern America? What we could be witnessing is the death of the Republican Party as one capable of winning a national election, since its active base are right-wing nuts of the sort Romney has been groveling to across the past months.
truth-out.org — Say what you will about this era's Republican presidential candidates; they at least have chutzpah. Millionaire blue-blood George W. Bush pretended to be a down-home cowboy. Two-time divorcee and longtime Washington influence peddler Newt Gingrich struts around preaching about traditional family values and insisting he's a D.C. outsider. Now, topping them all is Rick Santorum, who last week declared that only "snobs" support efforts to make a college education more accessible to all Americans. Santorum, of course, has not one, not two, but a whopping three separate degrees, two of which come from public universities, courtesy of the "Big Government" Santorum now claims to loathe. Hypocritical -- and dare I say, snobbish -- as it is for someone with such a pedigree to attack President Barack Obama's college affordability initiatives, Santorum did inadvertently stumble into a significant question.
truthdig.com — The Republicans want to make the presidential race about values, which they define as returning the nation to Victorian morality, laissez faire economics and a heavy dose of conservative Christian theology. As Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich compete for conservative Republican votes, they have subjected us to rehashing long-settled issues, such as contraception, abortion and in Santorum’s case, separation of church and state, stay-at-home moms and the worth of higher education. Even more depressing are the Romney, Santorum and Gingrich plans for the future, as best illustrated by Romney, the current favorite to win the Republican nomination after his victories in the Michigan and Arizona primaries. In Michigan, where he won the popular vote narrowly but split the delegates with Santorum, he outlined his crimped vision in a post-Michigan-primary speech.
prospect.org — The implications of Mitt Romney's Michigan win are still being parsed, but the calendar leaves little time for the campaigns to rest. Super Tuesday is in less than a week, and a total of 437 delegates in 10 states is at stake. The media have coalesced around the idea that Ohio is the only race that matters. The candidates have followed their lead. To a certain degree, the focus on Ohio is understandable. It's a general-election swing state, and polls indicate it's also teetering between Santorum and Romney ahead of Super Tuesday. I'm far more interested to see how things play out in the three Southern states holding primaries next Tuesday. The Bible Belt is the traditional anchor of Republican politics, defining the identity in the party much in the way Northeastern liberals influence the policy agenda of Democrats. How Romney is received in the South on Super Tuesday will have implications for how the candidate maneuvers the primaries and fares in the general election.