Why Republicans are the party of white people

Sam Tanenhaus in The New Republic:

But that history, with its repeated instances of racialist political strategy dating back many decades, only partially accounts for the party’s electoral woes. The true problem, as yet unaddressed by any Republican standard-bearer, originates in the ideology of modern conservatism. When the intellectual authors of the modern right created its doctrines in the 1950s, they drew on nineteenth-century political thought, borrowing explicitly from the great apologists for slavery, above all, the intellectually fierce South Carolinian John C. Calhoun. This is not to say conservatives today share Calhoun’s ideas about race. It is to say instead that the Calhoun revival, based on his complex theories of constitutional democracy, became the justification for conservative politicians to resist, ignore, or even overturn the will of the electoral majority.

This is the politics of nullification, the doctrine, nearly as old as the republic itself, which holds that the states, singly or in concert, can defy federal actions by declaring them invalid or simply ignoring them. We hear the echoes of nullification in the venting of anti-government passions and also in campaigns to “starve government,” curtail voter registration, repeal legislation, delegitimize presidents. There is a strong sectionalist bias in these efforts. They flourish in just the places Kevin Phillips identified as Republican strongholds — Plains, Mountain, but mainly Southern states, where change invites suspicion, especially when it seems invasive, and government is seen as an intrusive force. Yet those same resisters—most glaringly, Tea Partiers—cherish the entitlements and benefits provided by “Big Government.” Their objections come when outsider groups ask for consideration, too. Even recent immigrants to this country sense the “hidden hand” of Calhoun’s style of dissent, the extended lineage of rearguard politics, with its aggrieved call, heard so often today, “to take back America”—that is, to take America back to the “better” place it used to be. Today’s conservatives have fully embraced this tradition, enshrining it as their own “Lost cause,” redolent with the moral consolations of noble defeat.

The Last Clinic

Just astounding that we’ve allowed these extremists to chip away to the point where women have the legal right to an abortion, we just can’t find a place to have one:

The Last Clinic focuses on the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. It’s one of four such “last clinics” in the country, with the others in North Dakota, South Dakota and Alabama. They’re all hanging on by a thread — in the absence of a Roe v. Wade reversal, certain Republican legislators are settling for making it logistically impossible for most women in their states to get abortion services through various regulations.


“I knew [Mississippi] had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. It has very high STD rates and other kinds of issues, so I wanted to figure out why. And I also wanted to figure out why, in a state with all of those problems, were they trying to close down the only remaining abortion clinic,” says Crow.


That question lead her to Jackson, where she spent months interviewing clinic employees, patients, and pro-life activists as a way of understanding the complexities of a debate that’s been raging through the country for years.

Life after killing OBL

It still astounds me how we eat our young –how poorly we take care of the troops after using them. CJR has an interview with the Seal team member who killed Osama bin Laden:

“No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job,” Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”


But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:


Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.


Since Abbottabad, he has trained his children to hide in their bathtub at the first sign of a problem as the safest, most fortified place in their house. His wife is familiar enough with the shotgun on their armoire to use it. She knows to sit on the bed, the weapon’s butt braced against the wall, and precisely what angle to shoot out through the bedroom door, if necessary. A knife is also on the dresser should she need a backup.


Then there is the “bolt” bag of clothes, food, and other provisions for the family meant to last them two weeks in hiding.


“Personally,” his wife told me recently, “I feel more threatened by a potential retaliatory terror attack on our community than I did eight years ago,” when her husband joined ST6.

Pope to resign

Not out of an appropriate sense of shame, but because his health is failing, he will become the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he will step aside as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on Feb. 28, saying he no longer has the strength to carry out his duties.


Speaking in Latin, the 85-year-old announced his decision during an address at the “Concistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto”, a small event held early in the morning.


The decision makes him the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.


His statement was posted on the Vatican Radio website. Carrying out the duties of being pope required “both strength of mind and body,” it said.


NBC New Vatican analyst George Weigel gives his thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement of his resignation, and explains how a new pope will be selected.
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” the pontiff’s statement said.

He did advocate for some progressive causes, but they will be overshadowed by the ongoing child rape scandals.

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