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“Hey, Hillary: Smile, Girl”: An Unhappy Century For White Men, And It’s About To Get Worse

You know, the world would be a happier place if a girl would just smile more.

Just ask the guys on Twitter.

Now, by “girl,” I mean a former U.S. senator and secretary of state who is likely to be the first female president of these allegedly united states.

As for “the world,” let’s narrow it down. We’re talking mean men who apparently spend much of their day breathing into paper bags because they’re not even allowed to ask a secretary to grab them a cuppa joe anymore without someone from HR signing them up for diversity training.

What? No more office wife? Evidence of hell in a handbasket right there. Just ask them.

So now we’ve got this Hillary woman going all presidential on us. She’s everywhere. Giving speeches. Declaring victories. Starring in one town hall after another. How much suffering must a good ol’ boy endure?

“God,” they pray, “pick another name.”

On Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton did what even Hillary Clinton thought she wouldn’t do: She swept the primaries. Missouri (barely), Illinois, North Carolina, Florida — she won them and my home state of Ohio, which is in the Eastern time zone, people. Boy am I tired of (SET ITAL) that (END ITAL) question.

Clinton strolled her conquering self across the stage in Florida as results poured in, and she delivered a victory speech while some of the white guys in TV-land offered their critiques via Twitter.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “Smile. You just had a big night.”

Because nothing says “commander in chief” like a girlish grin for the camera.

Fox News’ Brit Hume: “Hillary having a big night in the primaries. So she’s shouting angrily in her victory speech. Supporters loving it. What’s she mad at?”

Well, golly. Let’s take a look at what she was saying.

This, for example:

“Our commander in chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it; engage our allies, not alienate them; defeat our adversaries, not embolden them. When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong; it makes him wrong.”

Banning Muslims? Torture? Rounding up immigrants? Where are the punch lines, Madam Secretary? If you can’t find a joke in this material, how will you ever make us laugh about the Islamic State group?

Or this:

“Our campaign is for the steelworker I met in Ohio on Sunday night,” Clinton continued, “who’s laid off but hoping to get back to work. It’s for the mother I met in Miami whose five children haven’t seen their father since he was deported. She dreams of a day when deportations end and families are reunited on a path to citizenship in America. And it is for the mothers I stood with in Chicago yesterday, who have lost children to gun violence.”

Not one smile during that whole paragraph.

See what he means?

Fox News’ Howard Kurtz tweeted: “Hillary shouting her speech. She has the floor; a more conversational tone might be better for connecting with folks at home.”

Uh-oh.

Kurtz’s follow-up tweet: “Getting attacked for saying Hillary shouted. Was not saying she was shrill. I’ve just heard her deliver more effective speeches.”

This reminded me of another primary night — the one two weeks ago, when MSNBC cut away from Clinton’s live victory speech so that three guys could talk about how she needs to speak more softly.

At a rally.

Okey-dokey then.

Politics is still a home away from home for women, apparently. Takes me back to a moment a couple of years ago when a Republican U.S. senator, who clearly had no idea that I was married to one of his Democratic colleagues, asked me what I do with my days.

“I write for a living,” I told him.

“Good for you,” he said, swinging his fist across his chest. The smile on his face made me think he’d misunderstood me to say that I had just learned how to make my own aprons.

Some men hear what they want to hear, and too many men don’t want to hear from women at all. This is an unhappy century for them, and it’s only going to get worse. One grandmother barreling her way toward the presidency is bound to work up all kinds of other women who’ve had it up to here with the catcall mentality of men who measure our worth by our ability to make them feel better about their limited view of us.

“Where will it all end?” they wonder.

At the White House, I’d guess.

I’m smiling as I say that. Does that help?

 

By: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Professional in Residence at Kent State University’s School of Journalism; The National Memo, March 17, 2016

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Hillary Clinton, Media, White Men | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card”: Boehner Offered Free Pass Out Of Shutdown Mess, But He Doesn’t Want To Take It

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s Monday night ruling temporarily blocking President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program provided a political lifeline for congressional Republicans. But whether or not they’re smart enough to take it remains unclear.

For weeks, Republicans have been hurtling towards another catastrophic shutdown debacle. Furious over President Obama’s immigration action, congressional Republicans devised an illogical scheme to fight back: They would separate the Department of Homeland Security from December’s government funding bill, and then use it as a hostage. Unless President Obama abandons his policy by February 27, DHS would enter a partial shutdown.

The strategy never had a prayer of working, for several reasons. President Obama has long since proven that he is done giving in to Republican ransom demands. Shutting down DHS would not actually do anything to stop President Obama’s deferral plan. And the American public was always going to blame the GOP for any shutdown crisis. (This was confirmed by a CNN poll released Tuesday, which found that 53 percent of Americans would hold Republicans responsible, while just 30 percent would blame the president, and 13 percent would blame both.) Unless they planned to never pay DHS workers again, the only possible outcome for the GOP was embarrassing defeat.

But still, Republicans went all in. One month ago, the House passed a bill linking DHS funding with blocking DAPA. Although it repeatedly failed to pass the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner insisted that “the House has done its job,” and has flatly refused to consider a clean funding bill. Meanwhile, even if the Senate somehow does pass a bill limiting Obama’s authority, the president would veto it. A politically catastrophic shutdown seemed increasingly inevitable.

So one might think that House Republicans would welcome Judge Hanen’s ruling as a get-out-of-jail-free card. With DAPA blocked, pending appeal, they could pass a clean DHS funding bill with a clean conscience, tell their constituents that the matter is in the courts’ hands now, and save the fight for another day.

But it’s never that easy with the Republican caucus.

Speaker Boehner’s reaction to the ruling suggests that he’s still committed to taking this all the way.

“The president said 22 times he did not have the authority to take the very action on immigration he eventually did, so it is no surprise that at least one court has agreed,” Boehner said in a statement. “We will continue to follow the case as it moves through the legal process. Hopefully, Senate Democrats who claim to oppose this executive overreach will now let the Senate begin debate on a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department.”

In case there was any doubt, Democrats are still not ready to begin debate on forcing a maximum-deportation policy on the White House.

“It’s perfectly appropriate to take this issue to court, but it is completely unacceptable for Republicans to hold up funding for the Department of Homeland Security while the case wends its way through the legal system,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “This procedural ruling, in our opinion, is very unlikely to be upheld, but regardless of the outcome Democrats remain united in our belief that funding for the Department of Homeland Security should not be used as a ransom by Republicans, period.”

Republicans clearly learned the wrong lessons from their last government shutdown, which they overcame at the ballot box in November. They are extremely unlikely to be so lucky again in 2016, when the elections will be fought on a much friendlier terrain for Democrats. On Monday night, Judge Hanen threw the GOP a lifeline; they’d be wise to grab it.

 

By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, February 17, 2015

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Andrew Hanen, DAPA, John Boehner, Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“We Were Strangers Once Too”: President Obama Announces Executive Order For Deportation Relief

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced plans to sign an executive order sparing up to 5 million unauthorized immigrants from deportation, arguing that congressional inaction left him little choice but to use his executive authority on the issue.

In the summer of 2013, Obama noted, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill on a bipartisan 68 to 32 vote, raising advocates’ hopes that an overhaul was in sight. But House Speaker John Boehner never brought the measure to a House vote, and Obama took Congress to task for its failure to act in his Thursday evening address. House Republicans, Obama charged, “refused to allow that simple vote.”

Until Congress moves on the issue, Obama said, the best path forward is executive action. In his speech, the president laid out a three-point plan. First, the U.S. will beef up border security and continue to focus on capturing unauthorized migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. The president will also establish incentives that will keep highly skilled immigrants in the country — a top priority for GOP-leaning business groups, Finally — and most controversially — Obama said his administration would “deal responsibly” with unauthorized immigrants already in the country.

Emphasizing that the U.S. would continue to deport immigrants deemed security threats, Obama said that he would order agencies to prioritize the most dangerous unauthorized immigrants for deportation. “Felons, not families” and “criminals, not children” would be the focus of U.S. enforcement efforts, the president said. The president referenced the nation’s immigrant history, saying, “we were strangers once too.”

The president’s plan expands the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for those brought to the U.S. as minors; the program will no longer have an age cap. More crucially — contingent on passing a background check — parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents who have themselves been in the U.S. for at least five years will be spared deportation. That protection alone affects an estimated 4 million people.

Obama cautioned that the changes do not apply to any migrants who recently arrived in the U.S. or those who may come in the future.

The president’s invocation of executive authority on the issue drew the ire of conservative Republicans, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said executive action would represent a “defiance of the people.” The president is poised for a showdown with the GOP over the issue when a unified GOP Congress takes control in January.

“The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half century,”  Obama said in his address. “To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Progressives cheered the president’s announcement.

“Today, parents who have lived here for years and had to constantly worry that they could be torn away from their children will no longer have to look over their shoulders. With House Republicans continuing to block immigration reform legislation in Congress, the president is taking a bold step that is fully within his authority to begin fixing the system,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a former Obama administration aide.

 

By: Luke Brinker, Salon, November 20, 2014

November 21, 2014 Posted by | Executive Orders, Immigration Reform, Presidential Powers | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Routine Partisan Lip Service”: Immigration, Impeachment, And Insanity On The Republican Right

Obstructing, denouncing, and demonizing Barack Obama are so central to the existence of the Republican Party today that its leaders simply ignore the real purposes of the president’s proposed immigration orders. So someone should point out that his imminent decision will advance priorities to which the Republican right offers routine lip service: promoting family values, assisting law enforcement, ensuring efficient government, and guarding national security.

Much of the argument for immigration reform, and in particular the president’s proposed executive orders, revolves around the imperative of compassion for immigrant families. That is a powerful claim — or should be, at least, for the self-styled Christians of the Republican right. If they aren’t moved by empathy for struggling, aspiring, hard-working people, however, then maybe they should just consider the practicalities.

America is not going to deport millions upon millions of Latino immigrants and their families to satisfy Tea Party prejudices, even if that were possible. Attempting to do so would be a gigantic waste of taxpayers’ money, an unwelcome burden on thousands of major employers, and an inhumane disgrace with international consequences, none of them good. It might or might not be “legal,” but it would surely be stupid.

Instead the Obama administration aims to relieve the terrible pressure on immigrant laborers and their children, and to direct resources where they will best accomplish national objectives, by deporting serious felons and other illegal entrants who may endanger security. By insisting on those broad yet clear distinctions, the president will protect the innocent and prosecute the not-so-innocent – exactly what he should be doing with the support of Congress.

Those wise objectives don’t interest the congressional majority, compared with the chance to rile their base by muttering threats against Obama. Just the other day, a tweet appeared under the name of Chuck Grassley, long among the dimmer members of the Senate, warning that the president is “flagrantly violating his oath” and “getting dangerously close to assuming a Nixonian posture.” For the Iowa Republican, that’s subtlety. In case you missed it, he was blustering about impeachment, and he isn’t alone.

Like so many of the familiar accusations against the president, complaints that his executive orders on immigration are “Nixonian” or “lawless” lack merit. Such orders are well within the recognized authority of his office, and considerably more conservative than the official conduct of some of his predecessors, such as George W. Bush – who issued about a hundred more executive orders than Obama has done so far.

With respect to constitutional principle, the camouflage favored by Obama’s antagonists, their flexibility is telling. The separation of powers only matters when they say so. They say nothing when the president uses executive orders to tighten immigration and deport more people than all his predecessors combined. Indeed, when the outcome pleases Republicans, then nobody needs to worry about executive overreach, let alone high crimes and misdemeanors.

Nor does a presidential executive order – even one granting “amnesty” to immigrant children – trouble the Republicans when a Republican president implements that kind of reform. When Presidents Ronald Reagan and then George H.W. Bush took action to keep immigrant families together during their respective administrations, refusing to wait for Congress to move, there was no barking from the likes of Grassley. (According to The Hill, the two GOP presidents made those adjustments following the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which created a “path to citizenship” for about 3 million undocumented workers. It was signed by the sainted Reagan.)

Republicans in the Senate and House have rejected every legislative opportunity on immigration, including measures to strengthen border security. That’s because they prefer partisan confrontation – and that is what they will get. The consequences for their party promise to be politically devastating – and still worse if they are foolish enough to believe their own rhetoric about impeachment.

 

By; Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, The National Memo, November 14, 2014

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Immigration Reform, Impeachment, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Feckless Coward”: Boehner’s Wimpiness Exposed, As Democrats Call His Bluff

I’ve been making the case that when it comes to immigration reform, John Boehner is a feckless coward who, caught between two bad political choices, is content to defer action indefinitely while engaging in empty excuse-making to save face. Thankfully, I don’t have to make that case anymore. John Boehner is making it for me.

For months now, Boehner has been arguing that the biggest obstacle to passing immigration reform in the House is that the Republicans just can’t trust President Obama to actually enforce the law when it comes to border security and deportations. This is a ridiculous standard on its face – the House GOP didn’t trust George W. Bush on enforcement, so it’s doubtful that any president could meet their maximalist expectations. And as my colleague Jim Newell points out, Boehner is essentially arguing against the passage of any legislation on any issue. If you can’t trust the president, why bother?

Faced with Boehner’s obvious bluffing on the trust issue, the Democrats called him out. Yesterday, Harry Reid offered Boehner a way around his crippling mistrust of the president: pass comprehensive reform legislation now, but tweak the bill so that it takes effect in 2017, after Obama has left office. “If Republicans don’t trust President Obama, let’s give them a chance to implement the bill under President Rand Paul or President Theodore Cruz,” Reid said.

Problem solved, right? Hah… no. Boehner’s office released the following statement shooting down the idea: “Such a scenario would eliminate any incentive for the administration to act on border security or enforce the law for the remainder of President Obama’s term.”

So Republicans can’t implement immigration reform now because Obama won’t enforce the law. But they also can’t wait to implement immigration reform because Obama needs incentives to enforce the law? Boehner has put himself in the position of arguing that he can’t act because Obama needs to be incentivized to do something he won’t do anyway.

Boehner is just making up reasons for why he can’t act on his own stated convictions and get immigration reform passed. It has nothing to do with President Obama and everything to do with Boehner not wanting to jeopardize his own grasp on power and his party’s chances to make gains in the midterms.

Brian Beutler points out that the threat of executive action to limit deportations further reduces the chances of reform passing, since it’ll agitate the hardline reform opponents in the House and make Boehner even more reluctant to act (if that’s even possible). Any move from the White House will be seized upon by Boehner and the Republicans as an out-of-control imperial president circumventing the will of Congress, and they’re far more eager to make that argument to voters heading into the midterms than to arrive at a coherent policy outcome.

That’s the reason Boehner is contorting himself into logical inconsistencies on immigration. Acting to pass legislation threatens to damage him politically. Inaction puts the spotlight on President Obama. And for all of Boehner’s talk about his commitment to immigration reform, he’s more invested in saving his own skin.

 

By: Simon Maloy, Salon, May 23, 2014

May 25, 2014 Posted by | Immigration Reform, John Boehner | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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