Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
From the failure of the Farm Bill to the ups and downs of Immigration Reform to last-minute, late night anti-abortion bills— it’s been a wild ride lately. And, the craziness is not likely to stop any time soon.
Here are a few recent news stories highlighting [Republican] men behaving badly in the Congress and multiple state legislatures. Heavy sigh…
All Eyes on Battle Between Texas Legislature and Pro-Choice Protesters
The Texas House approved the draconian anti-abortion bill that was stopped a few weeks ago by State Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster. The performances of three women are worth note. (Quotes form MS. Magazine Blog.)
A Republican who dared to vote “No” with the Democrats and said…
Now is not the time to play political football with women’s health. Abortion … is a constitutionally protected right.
A Democrat railed against the Republicans who would not allow even rape or incest victims to get abortions after 20 weeks and said…
When a person is raped, a woman is raped, they don’t go and see whether or not it’s a Republican woman or a Democratic woman or an independent woman, the rapist just rapes a woman. And I don’t want to force them to have to use a coat hanger [in a] back alley or use a knitting needle or use a feather or take turpentine. I want to make sure that the law allows them that option.
A citizen who was removed from the Legislative Chambers but managed to say this first…
Thank you for being you, Texas legislature. You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us. And no matter what you do for the next 22 days, women and their allies are coming for you.
You can see her whole testimony here before the Texas Rangers forcibly removed her.
Now that both chambers of the Texas Legislature have passed this anti-choice Legislation, it goes to Governor Rick “protect-the-fetus” Perry’s desk for a signature. From the Arizona Daily Star…
“Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life,” said Gov. Rick Perry, who will sign the bill into law in the next few days. “This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health.” [Emphasis added.]
The Decline of North Carolina
In 2013, Republicans took control over the state government of North Carolina. This editorial in the New York Times chronicles North Carolina’s dramatic decline after just a few months under total Republican control. Here is a taste of the “grotesque damage” that Republicans have created in a few short months. From the New York Times…
In January, after the election of Pat McCrory as governor, Republicans took control of both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since Reconstruction. Since then, state government has become a demolition derby, tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot.
The cruelest decision by lawmakers went into effect last week: ending federal unemployment benefits for 70,000 residents. Another 100,000 will lose their checks in a few months. Those still receiving benefits will find that they have been cut by a third, to a maximum of $350 weekly from $535, and the length of time they can receive benefits has been slashed from 26 weeks to as few as 12 weeks.
The state has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country, and many Republicans insulted workers by blaming their joblessness on generous benefits. In fact, though, North Carolina is the only state that has lost long-term federal benefits, because it did not want to pay back $2.5 billion it owed to Washington for the program. The State Chamber of Commerce argued that cutting weekly benefits would be better than forcing businesses to pay more in taxes to pay off the debt, and lawmakers blindly went along, dropping out of the federal program.
At the same time, the state is also making it harder for future generations of workers to get jobs, cutting back sharply on spending for public schools…
We’ve seen this “blame the poor” meme repeated by Republicans at all levels– from the US House of Representatives to the Arizona Legislature. Instead of starting jobs programs or boosting the economy, what does the NC Legislature do? Take money out of the pockets of people who can least afford it– the poor and the unemployed.
On the abortion front, NC legislators have been infamously attaching anti-abortion measures onto totally unrelated bills– like the one outlawing Sharia Law and another one on motorcycle safety. (Oh, yeah, that makes sense.)
Food Stamps Cut from Farm Bill
Like petulant children offering a middle finger salute, Republicans in the US House of Representatives took food stamps and other supplemental nutrition programs out of the Farm Bill and passed it. You’ll remember that a few weeks ago the Farm Bill was defeated in the House because the bill included dramatic cuts to food stamps a
nd schools lunches– while increasing subsidies to agribusiness. Well, just to show us (and those uppity poor people), they eliminated the supplemental food programs but kept the pork barrel spending for agribusiness. From the New York Times…
Democrats denounced the bill as a naked attempt to make draconian cuts in the food stamp program.
“A vote for this bill is a vote to end nutrition in America,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, called the House measure “an insult to rural America.”
Anti-hunger groups called passage of the farm bill without the food stamp program a disgrace.
“Today’s vote is the latest smoking gun that the House majority isn’t truly interested in deficit reduction,” said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “They’re interested in supporting special interest groups over hungry Americans.”
The House got so out of control during this “debate” that Republicans booed Congresswoman Corrine Brown when she dared to quote the Bible to them. (Kind of embarrassing when one of those heathen Democrats quotes the Bible to Bible-thumpers behaving badly.) From The Raw Story…
Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday threatened to strike a Democratic representative’s words from the record and then booed her after she shamed them for cutting food stamp funding from the farm bill.
“The Bible says, to whom much is given, much is required,” Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) observed during debate over whether funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) should be stripped from the farm bill. “And this is a sad day in the House of Representatives. Shame on the Republicans! Shame on the House of Representatives!”
After an objection from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA), Speaker pro tempore Kevin Yoder (R-KS) ordered Brown to “suspend” and “be seated.”
“Excuse me,” Brown replied, glaring at Yoder. “What did I say that was incorrect?” [Emphasis added. Watch the fiasco here.]
Does Anyone See a Pattern Here?
Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he didn’t care about the 47% of Americans who were just moochers, people who feel entitled to government assistance. Although it has been obvious for many years that the Republican Party stands with 1% (and not the 99%), it was shocking to hear Romney’s crass take on the poor, the elderly, the disabled, the wounded, the hungry, the young. Blinded by ideology and religiosity, Republicans in the Congress and in State Legislatures across the country are unapologetically goose-stepping to the same marching orders. If you’re not a straight, white man, you’re not only unimportant, you are worthy of scorn and ridicule— and not worthy of governmental assistance, even for basic food needs.
In closing, I offer this provocative article from the Huffington Post: Why the GOP Is Running Into a Political Box Canyon — And Political Marginality. The author lays out one issue after another in which the Republican Party is marginalizing itself by being out of touch with the majority of Americans– choice, gun control, immigration, climate change, voter suppression. From the Huffington Post…
Despite warnings of some of its wisest strategists, the GOP is racing headlong into a political box canyon — and potential political marginality.
On issue after issue, the GOP has veered far from the mainstream of the American electorate. Worse, they are swimming upstream against a tide of changing demographics — and an electorate with ever-increasing numbers of young voters from the “millennial generation” that polls show is the most progressive generation in half a century.
So far, at least, efforts to “rebrand” the GOP have simply collapsed. And even though most Americans are primarily concerned with jobs and the future of the economy, the GOP leadership in Congress insists on focusing on cultural issues that pander to a narrow segment of the electorate — and are downright unpopular.
They seem to be practicing the politics of “subtraction” — which is not a good plan if you want to achieve an electoral majority.
Will the Republican strategy of “subtraction” prevail? Can they knock enough Americans off the voter rolls to keep their gerrymandered stranglehold on state legislatures and the Congress?