McAuliffe, hyper-active and brimming with energy himself, needs someone calm and experienced presiding over the Senate, someone who can be an anchor, a steady hand capable of pushing through what will undoubtedly be red-flag-anathema legislation to conservatives, and that clearly is Senator Ralph Northam. Without a politically experienced hand at the helm of the Senate, McAuliffe's agenda could well be toast.
I understand progressives' fascination with Aneesh Chopra, I feel the same pull myself, I understand how Chopra wants to re-define the office of Lt. Governor, and agree with him in that respect. He is brilliant, with stunning new ideas---- just not right now for this election. There should be a place for him in the McAuliffe administration, and I believe he should eventually serve Virginia in state-wide elected office, he is too valuable to waste.
HEIRS OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT
In the 21st century, the Amendment's "well regulated Militia" and "right to keep and bear Arms," has been broadened from a "collective right" into a demand for an "individual right" to unlimited firepower in the hands of private citizens, mostly thanks to lobbying by the National Rifle Association. The unspoken hidden subset of this individual right is the right to insurrection (against the national government). Without the insurrection theory there can be no rationale for a civilian in America to own an arsenal of assault weapons with huge magazines.
I believe it is easy to see the continuance of those Southern state militias, that is slave patrols, in the night riders of the KKK, and in most of the skin-head militias today; the insurrectionist theory is in full bloom among today's states' righters. They vigorously deny any racism, but are clearly the heirs of the plantation culture of the original states' righters in Philadelphia in 1787 in their deep suspicion of the federal government. For most of them, their new home is in the Republican Party and its fringes.
Today's American NRA gun enthusiasts and their opponents, gun control advocates, are parsing every word (and comma) of the Second Amendment to make their cases, and thus determine public safety policy. We are even presented with re-written history and made-up historical narratives, based on twenty-seven words:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
To most Americans, these words conjure up visions of minutemen rushing to the defense of liberty at Lexington and Concord; it is assumed that must be why the Founders inserted a "well-regulated" militia in The Bill of Rights. This misleading myth has cooked in the American collective consciousness for years, reflecting what Dr. Carl Bogus, writing in the 1998 UC-Davis Law Review called the judicial "collective rights" theory, in which the Second Amendment "grants people a right to keep and bear arms only within the state-regulated militia."
What's missing from the debate are two other bedrock myths beloved by conservatives: personal responsibility, and the profit motive--- two equally sacred themes running through American political discourse. Consider how the conservatives demand that people take "personal responsibility" for their retirement, think about the "makers" and "takers" and how the right wing dismisses the poor as slackers. Also, consider how they believe that everything society needs can be provided by private enterprise for a profit---- if there is no profit to be had, then society must not need it. We use taxes and tax loopholes to encourage behavior we think beneficial for society as a whole. So, why not apply these principles to the gun debate?
That pragmatic set-up has apparently run its course. It has collided with the non-negotiable demands of the modern Republican party, a party convinced it alone is possessed of the holy Truth, about which it would be a fatal mistake to compromise, if not an outright sin. To a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, all other parties are unpatriotic and have no legitimacy. That is, Republicans are no longer simply a traditional "conservative" party; they appear to be both authoritarian and more like a religious cult than a political party. Most observers have been reluctant to come right out and say it, but the truth is, the dominant faction in today's Republican Party can only be described as an American version of fascism.
Why does the good Lord keep arranging black swans to swim suddenly into view to lend Barack Obama a helpful nudge? How else to explain the two latest----the arrival of Hurricane Sandy just in the nick of time, enabling him to pose theatrically as a competent, caring President (such an obvious contrast to Republican George W. Bush and Katrina), thus providing an unfair boost before the final poll in November, the only poll that counts? Even worse, the weather then turned out fine all day on November 6th, so all those people-not-like-real-white-Americans got to the polls in time, and had no inclement weather to discourage their standing in line, waiting to vote.... Why couldn't Sandy have arrived a few days later?
And now, the fiscal cliff! No matter how hard Speaker Boehner tries, he cannot seem to convince the country that Obama is not negotiating in good faith, and that Obama is really the one who is forcing America over the cliff and into another recession. Once again, Obamaluck holds. Almost everyone in America has just seen the movie "Lincoln," which is all about how President Lincoln managed to push the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery through Congress in 1865 near the end of the Civil War. Almost every viewer has the same take-away; they saw how Lincoln never compromised his principles, never negotiated away any significant morsel, but instead used extreme political jiu jitsu to collect the votes he needed to achieve his greater purpose. So now, the public cannot be spun by Boehner into turning on Obama as he hangs tough on the fiscal cliff---- the voters see Obama as Lincoln, fighting for his principles, forcing Tea-Party-Republicans to agree (oh, the horror!) to raise the tax rate on the wealthy, while extending tax cuts for the middle class in order ro achieve his "balanced" attack on the deficit. It's enough to make even the staunchest Republican wonder if God is not on their side after all. No wonder Senator DeMint is bailing out. Oh, the horror!
You might think Obama's strong win was proof that the voters re-approved his message and his accomplishments in his first term; the election could be regarded as a referendum on Obama and his "liberal" policies. Not so fast. Already, we hear The Establishment pundit class stating in no uncertain terms that we are still a "deeply divided nation," half and half, with the always-to-be-expected insistence that, well, Yes, Obama won, but... but half the country voted for Romney, so, of course Obama must now "move to the middle," and compromise with the losers--- who, remember, lost. This demand was not, so far as I can remember, imposed upon George W. Bush, who was appointed to his first term not by the voters but by the Supreme Court; he governed as ferociously as if he had received an overwhelming mandate, and charged off down an utterly disastrous road
The next day came one analysis after another from upset liberals, disappointed supporters, and know-it-all pundits, some piling on with criticism of President Obama's "passive" or "listless" performance, some rationalizing that "the President just had a bad day," some pointing out that Obama plays a masterful "long game," and was giving Romney rope enough to hang himself (witness the new attack ads based on Romney's lie-a-minute self-contradictory statements), and all of them taking note of Romney's rudeness, his bullying behavior, and his refusal to play by the rules. All have agreed that Obama does not debate well, and never has; all have agreed that Romney was hyper-aggressive, domineering, and, some hinted, may have illegally used hidden notes which he smuggled on to his podium (an as-yet-unconfirmed accusation).
Upon reflection, I believe the debate offers two very interesting subliminal narratives, one for each side. They are not mutually exclusive; one, both, or neither may have been deliberately employed, and each delivers a powerful psychological punch, if, as I believe, politics is power, and is a form of warfare.
The Bush doctrine on torture as national policy, once disclosed, "ignited a heated debate," one in which Republican Senator John McCain tried to codify limits on torture in our domestic statutes, over strenuous objections from the Bush administration. In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled against Bush, holding that the Geneva Conventions applied to wartime al Qaeda prisoners---- but I suspect that some forms of torture did continue under the Bush regime, excused by a kind of picky bureaucratic hair-splitting.
Mr. Lot smiled a lot, pointing out, "We have had at least 16 versions of our marvelous plastic politician, and the general public has never noticed when we modified or replaced one version with another, so it will be no different this time. " He distributed copies of a condensed "Story of Romney-Bot" to the press corps: