Tag Archive: Republicans

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the gun violence goat

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

After the Parkland, Florida school shootings last Wednesday that left 17 dead, most of them schoolchildren, one of the people who comes off looking the worst is Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio. Let’s look at Rubio’s responses to the Parkland shooting:

First, Rubio offered prayers, as Republicans typically do. However, Rubio’s version was to admit that his previous prayers did not work:

When it comes to gun violence, think, pray, vote

Republicans’ dream? Lady Liberty holding a gun instead of a torch.

After another deadly school shooting involving an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, this time in Parkland, Florida, Republicans responded with their usual calls for “thoughts and prayers.” Perhaps the worst offender was Florida’s own U.S. Senator, Republican Marco Rubio, who proved that his previous prayers didn’t work:

However, when Rubio and other Republicans want something on any other issue, from tax cuts to taking away a woman’s freedom over her own body to military spending to taking away our affordable healthcare, they don’t pray, they vote. That’s just what Americans should do here.

The Republicans’ latest loaded phrase on immigration

London Heathrow Airport immigration poll.

Republicans are well-known for their loaded words and phrases. Being against abortion becomes “pro-life.” Discrimination against gay people becomes “religious freedom,” and so forth. Word pairs crafted by Republicans, such as “death tax” or “death panels,” can contain a tremendous amount of framing, that is, staking out an argumentative position merely in the way one refers to something. Republicans are also adept at the next step: repetition in lockstep to make such phrases stick, which artificially swings the discussion of the issue in the Republicans’ favor. It is no surprise therefore, that the Republicans, including Donald Trump in last night’s State of the Union address, are using another such loaded phrase, and that it appears in discussions about immigration, a Republican favorite hot-button issue.

Why the end of the Trump Shutdown is good for Democrats

National Park closures during 2013 government shutdown

Today, Senate Democrats and Republicans agreed to end the federal government shutdown (known as the “Trump Shutdown”) and keep government running until February 8, by which time Congress hopes to vote on a new long-term spending bill. In return for their agreement, Democrats got a six-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that Congressional Republicans had let expire last September. Furthermore, the agreement includes a promise by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which Donald Trump ended last September. The agreement can be seen as a net win for Democrats, and they should portray it as such.

Democratic framing guru says stop talking about Trump’s tweets

Thinking about Twitter

This blog was founded on the principles of Dr. George Lakoff, former Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and the sometimes official, sometimes unofficial messaging and framing guru of the Democratic Party. Last November, we covered an intriguing question Lakoff raised in his blog: “Why are you a Democrat?” Therefore, we are especially interested in Lakoff’s recent piece, where he tells Democrats to stop sharing, repeating and talking about Donald Trump‘s tweets.

2018 brings calls for Democrats to focus on winning Congressional elections

U.S. Senate under Republican control

2018 has begun, and it is an election year. While so-called “off-year” (Congressional, state and local, but not presidential) elections often garner disappointingly low voter turnout on the Democratic side, calls have already emerged for Democrats to focus, and work hard, on winning back one or the other houses of Congress, or both. For example, yesterday, progressive website Crooks and Liars published a piece entitled: Take Back The House In 2018, But Don’t Forget The Senate! At the same time, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean tweeted:

Both of these suggestions, focusing primarily on the House or the Senate, have merit.

Alabama Senate victory shows Democrats they must work harder

Roy Moore rides off into the sunset

Last Tuesday, Democratic candidate Doug Jones won a stunning upset over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama U.S. Senate special election. Jones’ win was remarkable given that this Senate seat went over 97 percent for Republican incumbent Jeff Sessions (who early this year left to become U.S. Attorney General in the Donald Trump administration) the last time it was contested in 2014. The Democrats did not even field a challenger to Sessions that time. There were several keys to Jones’ victory, each of which shows that the Democrats can beat the Republicans at the voting booth, if they work extra hard on several fronts:

By pressuring Senator Al Franken to resign, Democrats defeat themselves

U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota

Following increasing pressure by Congressional Democrats over allegations of sexual impropriety, U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota announced his resignation yesterday. Democratic pressure put only or primarily on Franken (as well as Democratic U.S. House Rep. John Conyers) to resign is a politically grave mistake. At a critical time in history for America, the Democrats are now in a circular firing squad, setting themselves up for defeats of their own making.

Now is not too soon to talk about gun violence

The Knotted Gun

The shootings by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas on Sunday night were the deadliest in modern U.S. history. 59 people are now dead, with over 500 injured. And yet, on Monday, Trump White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked if Donald Trump was now discussing whether new gun laws are needed, replied that “it would be premature for us to discuss policy” so soon after the killings. Sanders’ reply is similar to what many conservatives and the National Rifle Association say when confronted with mass shootings of civilians involving semiautomatic or, in this case, automatic, weapons. They are wrong for a couple of major reasons:

The sad, selfish argument against healthcare

Senate GOP Healthcare bill

In the current debate over Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, one of the saddest arguments to be heard is the one that goes, “why should I pay for someone else’s healthcare?” Such an argument gets many things wrong at once, both intellectually and morally.

First, the entire concept of insurance is a pooling of funds and risk, so that everyone is literally paying for someone else, and vice versa. For example, in South Florida, one is told that car insurance rates are high for all residents because there are many claims due to the large number of tourists getting into trouble with rental cars on unfamiliar roads. Many local residents would rightfully object to paying higher rates for others’ accidents, but that is how insurance works. The idea, however, is that costs are kept down by pooling the risk, for example, such that middle-aged drivers might pay more than they get back in claims, but when they are both very young and very old, they are much more likely to have more claims, so the system balances out. Similarly, the Affordable Care Act (based on a conservative idea from the Heritage Foundation and first implemented by Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts) incorporates premiums paid by younger people, who generally have fewer claims, going more to older and sicker people, but such young people of course could get into a serious accident or become sick themselves any time, plus they are likely to have more claims as they age. Thus, the idea of “why am I paying for someone else?” may only be true for a brief moment.