Monday, January 27, 2014

Knocking Their Block Off

As America enters 'State of The Union' week, there's a general rule that news often gets kind of weird in the political media - and last weekend was no exception to that rule.

While former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee began the weekend doubling down on misogyny, another former Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, poked fun at himself and President Obama as he slow-jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress were dragging out tired and weak hostage threats on the debt ceiling, even as top Senate Democrat Patty Murray called their bluff. Meanwhile, the White House is actually having it's first ever  "Big Block of Cheese Day" this week - and if you don't know what that means, we'll explain it to you on Wednesday.

In this cacophony of unusual news, two very key stories from Irin Carmon and Greg Sargent really drove home how Republicans might be about to get their clocks cleaned in the 2014 and 2016 elections. Those stories highlighted critical differences between the political left and right that President Obama will likely feature in his State of The Union address Tuesday night.

In fact, President Obama already highlighted one of those issues last week, in another address - though as Ms. Carmon pointed out this weekend, you probably missed it.

Last Wednesday, President Obama gave an address on sexual assault and noted that Americans could and should do more to prevent it. While his speech wasn't solely about women, the President did speak about women, men, those in the LGBT community, and how safety and security from sexual assault should be the default level of expectation for all Americans. As Irin noted, the President didn't reference the "hook-up culture" or excuse anyone's actions. What he noted is that Americans have a tough task ahead of us in combatting sexual assault, but that Americans deserve that basic level of security from one another - and that together, we can and should make great strides towards that kind of security.

In a similar nature, Greg Sargent wrote about the way many Americans look at poverty and inequality, and how two recent polls from Pew Research and CBS News note how the majority of Americans and the Tea Party extremists look at poverty and inequality differently. As Greg pointed out, the polls prove that the majority of Americans see that the income gap is growing, and that virtually all Americans - except the right-wing extremists - want the government to help fight that massive economic inequality.

Indeed, on issues from unemployment insurance benefits to the minimum wage, while old-fashioned Republicans generally see some benefit in the government giving a hand up, the Tea Party extremists want to continue acting like brash braggarts, insisting that they don't need no help from nobody.

The differences between the two approaches to government on these two subjects, highlighted by Irin and Greg should be clear. The majority of Americans, including President Obama, believe that - together - Americans can still tackle major policy issues and make progress. The shrinking minority of terrified extremists on the far right, and the paranoid plutocrats who keep trying to exploit that fear both still insist that if we follow any sensible policies of working together, it might be the end of America or worse and they insist that having our government give anyone in need any help might rob them of their individual right to failure.

We hope that tomorrow night President Obama follows the lead of many of the women across America who are fed up with a Republican Party being driven by its right-wing extremists.

It's time to hit them square in the face with the truth: Americans want to work together - and we're tired of the bloviating, paranoid, ignorant buffoons from the far right blocking the way towards progress for everyone else.