Women, Politics and Represention

C.Hayes photo 2012There’s something I need to get off my chest. It’s been weighing on me, and I want to come clean before the next election cycle: I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary. That fact is only controversial because I’m a women’s advocate by trade, and there are certain feminist circles in which anything less than full-throated Hillary support is tantamount to heresy.

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Oh Carolina

NCElectoralNorth Carolina. Seriously, what the hell? The state’s General Assembly has gone totally rogue since Pat McCrory was elected last November, leaving both the legislature and the Governor’s mansion in GOP control for the first time in over 100 years. Since April, Republicans have been on a legislative rampage that’s made the Tarheel State first the target of incredulous humor, then the object of widespread derision and, increasingly, the recipient of some serious Federal side eye. [Read more...]

Vaginas, Wetbacks and Gays: The Democrats’ New Coalition of the Ostracized

yeswecanMuch has been made of the Republican’s 2012 postmortem, in which they attempted to answer the pressing question, why does everyone think we suck? The conclusion they reached, that it was mostly a messaging problem, was so obviously misguided that Democrats could only chuckle in response: they must be missing the point on purpose, right? That’s the only thing that could explain such a shallow, obtuse analysis. [Read more...]

I’m Calling to Urge Your Support

When I signed on to be a full-time activist, I didn’t realize how many phone calls would be involved. I don’t have the kind of job that requires me to show up in person to protest things—I’ve probably done that twice in nearly a decade of anti-domestic violence work—mine is more a “sit and think about policy” and “write position letters” kind of a gig. But phone calls are another matter. During the course of the average week I receive huge volumes of emails of the “Take Action!” variety, and while my first response is to mutter “I took action by coming to work, what do you want from me?” I do still often feel moved to act as an individual citizen and dial those 1-888 numbers. A polite if rather stilted conversation ensues, in which whomever was lucky enough to answer the phone in Congress Member X’s office gets to hear me read (eloquently, one assumes) from the script provided by whomever asked me to call them. [Read more...]

The Kool-Aid is Not for You

So! That election. Funny how it wasn’t even close. And please don’t start yammering at me about the popular vote, because if we decided elections that way both sides would have run totally different campaigns (e.g., no one would have gone to Ohio, ever), and there are compelling reasons to think that Obama’s team would have been just as effective under those circumstances, and that Mitt Romney would still have been Mitt Romney, which carries its own consequences. [Read more...]

Wet Dog Democrats

Americans now gauge crisis levels by the number of memes generated.

“Today we are all Democrats.” As far as I know, nobody said this as they surveyed Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, but somebody really should have. Nothing like a catastrophic weather event to remind people that, oh yeah, maybe a strong central government isn’t the bane of humanity after all! Watching Republicans like Chris Christie fawning over Obama when his Jersey ass is in the fire and “government intervention” is suddenly more than a catchphrase used to rile up excitable right-wingers, is seriously galling.

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Happy Anniversary, Joe Biden (A Political Love Story)

I’ve been looking forward to the Vice Presidential debate ever since Paul Ryan’s candidacy was announced, because I fully expect that Joe Biden is going to eat that smirking plutocrat for lunch. The media narrative of Biden as America’s Daffy Uncle belies the accomplished legislator and ass-kicking partisan he really is. But so much the better; low expectations, plus Ryan’s entirely undeserved reputation as a policy wonk can only work to Old Uncle Joe’s benefit. He will smile genially, wave to the crowd, then rip Paul Ryan a new one. I cannot wait. I heart Joe.

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The Rulers We Deserve

Democracy is so annoying; it’s one of the reasons I don’t have a television. My TV-less life means I haven’t had to endure a single campaign ad this entire election cycle, and I am a calmer, happier person for it. Still, out of some misplaced sense of civic duty, I always watch presidential debates. But last night may have put an end to that for good. If we’d been smart, nobody would’ve shown up for that pointlessness, not you, not me, not my dog, and certainly not the candidates, both of whom looked like they would rather have been literally anywhere else on earth. [Read more...]

Shilling the Angel in the House

Because I am a glutton for a very particular kind of punishment, I just read the transcript of Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican Convention last night. I knew going in that Mrs. Romney and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the GOP’s lady-friendliness, but I was interested to see what use the Party would make of her. Given the absolutely banner year of crap the GOP has had with women’s issues, I assumed that her speech would try to repair some of the damage done by the Legitimate Rape Brigade  by distracting us with a few examples of times her husband’s party was not being overtly hostile to women. Couldn’t hurt, right? [Read more...]

Saudi Women Protesters “Brave”; U.S. Still a Total Wuss

Saudi Arabia is seriously the worst. Of all the many, many places on earth where it thoroughly sucks to be female, they rank impressively high. Basically women there have the legal status of minors, only permanently. Women can’t vote, they can’t go out in public unless accompanied by a man; they can’t even get a job without written permission from a male “guardian” which, what the hell? And as many now know because of last Friday’s protests, Saudi Arabian women are not allowed to drive. Anywhere, ever. I mean, they can, but they get arrested for it, which is a pretty good deterrent. When weighing the costs and benefits of a trip to the grocery store, I’m guessing “will go to jail” is a fairly convincing argument against running errands. [Read more...]