Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Last Call For The Mask Slips Again

The mask slips, and Republicans accidentally tell the truth about how they feel about people who look like me.  Today's contestant: GOP Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, up for re-election in 2016.

In a little-noticed interview last week, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) described African-American neighborhoods as areas that people in his state try to avoid. 
The comment, with its racial undertones, came during a sit-down interview with the Peoria Journal Star and followed a question about how to encourage business development in Kirk's home state. 
“I want to make sure we have elected people constantly looking at helping the African-American community,” Kirk said. “With this state and all of its resources, we could sponsor a whole new class of potential innovators like George Washington Carver and eventually have a class of African-American billionaires. That would really adjust income differentials and make the diversity and outcome of the state much better so that the black community is not the one we drive faster through." [emphasis added.] 

Wait, what?  So Sen. Kirk, you normally find yourself driving faster through black communities? Exactly why is that, especially since you represent a state with nearly 1.9 million African-American constituents?  Is it out of fear? Disgust? Anger?

"We" would like to know.

The notion that people hit the gas when driving through black neighborhoods is a common racial stereotype about urbanization and criminal behavior among African-Americans. The fact that an elected senator from a state with a sizable black population would make such a comment was deemed unfortunate by at least one African-American leader in Illinois. 
"I think what he was trying to say is, he was trying to relate that to crime. But boy, it was a poor choice of phraseology," said George Mitchell, president of the NAACP's Illinois State Conference.

No, Sen. Kirk was being honest about how he views the 15% of the state that is black.  He's afraid of them.

Perhaps he's afraid he'll be voted out of office in 2016.  I can't imagine his Tea Party antics are going over well back in Peoria, especially now that he has to go up against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Maybe Obamacare Has Something To Do With It?

Don't look now, but the percentage of American adults without health insurance just fell another full percentage point from last year.

The uninsured rate among U.S. adults declined to 11.9% for the first quarter of 2015 -- down one percentage point from the previous quarter and 5.2 points since the end of 2013, just before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. The uninsured rate is the lowest since Gallup and Healthways began tracking it in 2008.

The percentage of uninsured Americans climbed from the 14% range in early 2008 to over 17% in 2011, and peaked at 18.0% in the third quarter of 2013. The uninsured rate has dropped sharply since the most significant change to the U.S. healthcare system in the Affordable Care Act -- the provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance -- took effect at the beginning of 2014. An improving economy and a falling unemployment rate may also have accelerated the steep drop in the percentage of uninsured over the past year. However, the uninsured rate is significantly lower than it was in early 2008, before the depths of the economic recession, suggesting that the recent decline is due to more than just an improving economy.

Republicans can scream all they want to, but barring a complete disaster of a SCOTUS ruling in June (still possible, mind you) the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.  The percentage of uninsured adults in the US has dropped by a third, from 18% to under 12%, in just 18 months.  It will drop even more when red state voters finally get sick of picking up the tab for completely uninsured Americans and force Republicans to expand Medicaid in all 50 states

And I don't think that day will be that far off..

Other Side: Stopped Clock Is Right Alert

Today's Stopped Clock is pointing to Hot Air's Allahpundit, who sums up the Clinton campaign thusly (and is pretty much spot on).

Why would Hillary Clinton want to align herself with a guy whose average job approval rating hasn’t been above water in nearly two years? Lots of reasons. For one, the media’s going to wet itself every time she breaks with one of O’s policies. The juicy drama of Team Barack and Team Hillary feuding behind the scenes will be irresistible, notwithstanding the press’s rooting interest in her candidacy. The more stories there are like that, the more time Hillary will spend smoothing Democratic feathers instead of attacking the GOP. Not optimal. Relatedly, the big mystery of her campaign is whether she can turn out Obama’s base in the same numbers O himself did. Philip Klein has a nice piece about that today noting that, when it comes to black voters and young voters especially, Obama has set the bar awfully high. Every high-profile disagreement between him and her on policy raises the risk that O’s base will stay home, forcing Clinton to scramble to make up those votes elsewhere. I think she can do it: It won’t surprise anyone if the First! Woman! President! does better with women than even Obama did, and Bill has always done well with working-class whites and Latinos. Losing the “Obama coalition” doesn’t mean Hillary will lose, but it’ll make the race tougher for her. Better for her to hug O as much as possible and keep a stiff upper lip while the GOP accuses her of running for Obama’s third term, which they’re going to do regardless, than to run away from him and alienate Obama fans on her own side
Most importantly, though, embracing Obama’s record won’t hurt her as much as it would an average candidate running for a third consecutive term for his or her party in the White House. If, say, Martin O’Malley were the Democratic nominee, he’d be such an unknown quantity that his candidacy would end up as a referendum on four more years of Obama. If Joe Biden were the nominee, he’d be so closely identified with O already that he couldn’t distinguish himself if he tried. That too would be a de facto referendum on another term for the current president. The novelty of Hillary is that not only can she plausibly turn to Bill Clinton’s record instead of O’s as needed, but she herself is such a well known quantity to voters that she already enjoys quasi-presidential notoriety herself. This election won’t be a referendum on Obama, no matter how closely she hews to his agenda. If it ends up as a referendum, it’ll be a referendum on Hillary. And since she has no signature accomplishments as senator or secretary of state to tout, since her deepest political beliefs are largely a mystery to this day, any referendum on Hillary the politician inevitably becomes a referendum on Hillary the person. Viewed that way, endorsing Obama’s agenda is actually a shrewd and efficient way for her to check the box on having a policy platform. She’ll borrow a bunch from O, some from Bill, and of course some from Elizabeth Warren to make sure that the hard left doesn’t stay home next November. But the policies are largely beside the point: Anyone voting for Hillary will know that she’s to the left of the Republican nominee and probably a bit to the right of Obama on foreign policy. For most of the country that’ll be all they need to know and then they can proceed to the more important question of whether “it’s time” for a woman president and whether electing Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio would, as Team Hillary will insist, mean that birth control will disappear from American convenience stores overnight.

I have to admit this is the by far the most level-headed assessment of Team Hillary and the challenges that are before her that I've seen from the right.  It's brutally pragmatic and it's the advice I'd give her if asked (which thankfully I will never be, and should that ever happen I would be far more worried about the people running her show).

In fact, brutal pragmatism is exactly what I expect out of the Clinton campaign and a Hillary Clinton presidency.  Will anyone produce a better alternative?  Not on the GOP side.  The real question is whether any Democrats will.


Related Posts with Thumbnails