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Posts Tagged ‘Democrat’

We need a Choice, not an Echo

The title for this post is the title of a book conservative author and media personality, Phyllis Schlafly, self published in her battle over the Equal Rights Amendment. Back then, she was worried that government regulation would rob women of their choice to stay home as housewives and mothers. It is an equally forceful title today. But one that has taken on new meaning. 

I just got back from Lincoln Days, the Republican Party’s convention here in Missouri. And one of the more memorable moments for me this weekend was when a woman raised her hand and said, “Republicans need to be proud to be Republicans again.” “Like Phyllis Schlafly said, we need a choice, not an echo.” The guest speaker at this luncheon was Sharon Day, who is co-chair of the Republican National Party. She talked at length about what the party is doing to recruit candidates and to open up the Party to women and minorities. Seated just down the dais from her was the Hon. Catherine Hanaway, a former U.S. Attorney and the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. If elected, she will be Missouri’s first female Governor.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting battle. Her likely opponent is a Democrat who used to be a Republican. He left over the party’s litmus tests and hard lines. Hanaway has opened up her coalition to include suburban Republicans as well as conservatives outstate.  A moderate in temperament and approach, Hanaway has consistently been a team player for the Republicans. And as a prosecutor, she has put child pornographers away and shed a spotlight on Missouri’s newest black eye, human trafficking. 

I drove down to Springfield on I-44, on a stretch of highway named after Gov. Mel Carnahan, a Democrat who died in a tragic plane crash in the midst of a heated Senate race against Republican John Ashcroft. I took note of that sign as I drove on while the audio version of the book, Faith and Politics, by retired Republican Sen. John C. Danforth, played on the cd player in my car. I was listening for inspiration because I wasn’t sure what I would find in Springfield. I tried to commit certain phrases to memory like, “faith is not politics,” and “reconciliation”.

After blogging as a relatively radical moderate Republican woman for the last two and half years, I needed to psych myself up because I wasn’t sure what kind of reception I might get or what reconciliation might look like. I needed to know it would be okay to say I am pro-choice, pro-gay and pro-stem cell in a state that saw some of its top scientists leave over laws that restricted medical research or that is currently debating whether to recognize the marriages of gay couples who were legally wed in other states. 

The wheel is just beginning to turn, even if Missouri Republicans are only in the most initial stages of change, at least in terms of their messaging. Sure, there is still the occasional recalcitrant who gets up and declares the Republican Party, “The Pro-Life Party.” My goodness. But overall, if there was an echo, it is that the national GOP is in the midst of some earnest, and some might say overdue, self-improvement. Yes, there are many women who are pro-life in that party, including Hanaway. But, there seems to be a growing acknowledgement that it may be time to acknowledge there are lots of other kinds of Republicans out there. Continuing to draw battle lines over women’s issues is just slowing the party down from its’ other work.

Voters will have a choice that they haven’t had in the past. Do they take the long view and get on board with the party that shut down the federal government over its’ opposition to Obamacare? Do they help usher in more female candidates and hope that these women can be more willing and flexible negotiators in reconciling the thorniest issues of our day? Will Republicans on the fringes put their differences aside over single issues, especially social issues, so they can focus on job creation?  If there was a message echoing from Springfield this weeked, it is that the Missouri Republicans have realized choosing to be more inclusive is the right choice. 

Is this the Conflict that leads to Change?

It’s an interesting day for any writer who wonders at the role bedroom politics, race politics, partisan standoffs and the politicizing of our planet are having on this generation. There are contradictions breaking out in each of these realms today that should give us all pause. And while on the face of it, each of the following news reports seems inherently at odds, the hope is that out of all this conflict and confusion, could come change. Let’s hope so. 

First, the Treyvon Martin case. Regardless of what you think about the arguments and evidence, the fact is George Zimmerman’s acquittal has left many African Americans feeling vulnerable. A jury ruled that Martin’s death was not racially motivated but whether you believe that or not, there is no doubt it still involved guns and vigilantism. And that Treyvon Martin would be alive if Zimmerman had not come out of his house because he thought the hooded African American teenager looked “suspicious.”  Zimmerman’s acquittal has also left Americans of all backgrounds questioning if the fact that we have an African American President has impacted race relations the way so many hoped it would? We talk a lot about the need for the Republicans to diversify and for the Democrats to move beyond race politics but this begs the question of how far we have to go.

Then there is the filibuster threat against the female Democrat nominated by Obama to head the EPA. Just a few days before the beginning of hearings on how to reform filibusters. A Senator who believes he is serving the needs of the people in his home state and isn’t blinking about the tactics he is willing to deploy to hold up Gina McCarthy’s nomination because he wants answers on a levee project for Missouri. If we demonize US Sen. Roy Blunt for his filibuster, how do we sanctify Texas State Senator Wendy Davis? Can you have it both ways? She was filibustering for women’s access to preventative health care. 

And by the way, that nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, once worked for Republican Governor Mitt Romney. is that another conflict? Or a sign that it’s time to de-politicize our concerns about the climate? 

Then there is Gloria Steinem telling the Wall Street Journal that, even though she isn’t personally supporting him, she doesn’t think Eliot Spitzer’s recent legal challenges involving that prostitution scandal should prevent him from seeking office. “He’s a very intelligent, talented man who made a mistake,” she said. “It’s up to the voters.” In some polls, nearly half of New York women said they thought both Adam Weiner and Eliot Spitzer’s transgressions shouldn’t affect their decision to get back in to politics.  The significance of who is saying this cannot be understated, Ladies. It’s Gloria Steinem. I wouldn’t quite call this the end of gender politics but I would say it is surprising. 

 

 

The Next Frontier in Gun Control is Mental Health

Moms are very resilient. And that’s a good thing given the huge whiff of air being let out of the balloon around gun control. It isn’t just President Barack Obama feeling like he got sucker punched by the U.S. Senate’s vote to consider expanded background checks. Which, according to this article in the New York Times, was just a gesture to begin with.  Click here for the full article http://nyti.ms/13jPSCx. It’s the general sense that something needed to happen but didn’t.  A sense that Moms were fed up and ready to engage to keep their kids safe. And who can blame them for feeling defeated when close to 90% of Americans support expanded background checks for gun shows and online sales and yet, at the end of the day, special interests and lobbyists held more sway than they did. Not even Gabbie Giffords, a gun owner, a second amendment advocate, a public servant who was shot in the head by a deranged voter, could sway the conversation. 

But I would like to say to all of you resilient Moms out there, don’t give up just yet. There is an effort underway that was crafted by a Republican and a Democrat working together. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan are pushing for better intervention for the mentally ill as a way to curb school shootings and other senseless gun slayings. The two have been looking into access and funding with an eye to identifying the shooters before they explode. The lone wolf who is in pain and whose actions seem to be the result of some sick and twisted – and tragically delayed – cry for help. Their ideas are not without controversy. A sure sticking point will be how to protect patient privacy laws around mental health while identifying and intervening to help the Adam Lanzas and James Holmes’ before they strike.  

Here’s an article worth reading, http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/293941-stabenow-urges-colleagues-to-support-mental-health-amendment

Also worth looking at today are both the President and Sen. Blunt’s recent press announces on gun reform. 

President Obama calls defeat on background checks shameful 

Sen. Blunt pushes better mental health intervention 

 

 

It's Muddy in the Middle! / Christine Doyle

It’s Muddy in the Middle! / Christine Doyle

Moderate Moms’ business cards are purple which is the color of compromise. Neither all Blue nor all Red, the message is we are defining ourselves as true Moderates. Yes, each of us may tend to vote mostly Republican or mostly Democrat but even that is up for grabs. Over the last year, here in Missouri, moderate Republicans, like myself, often felt like we embraced our party but our party didn’t acknowledge us. I was repeatedly told I was either a “self-hating Democrat” or an “Independent.” During a phone survey, I was asked if I identify as a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent. I said, “Republican” but I realized after I hung up, I should have said, “Independent Republican.”

If you are someone who cares about the bottom line and is concerned about how we are going to pay for government services going forward, we like you. Because all of the compassion in the world doesn’t matter if we can’t figure out how to pay for it. If you are someone who is tired of the fight around social issues and would like to “agree to disagree” on abortion, we like you. Personally, I agree with Massachusetts Republican Senatorial Candidate Scott Brown who said, “abortion should be safe and rare.”  But, I would never presume to tell someone else what would be right for them on as delicate an issue as abortion.

We applaud that Congressional Republicans are coming around or shall we say, “coming out,” on gay rights. Because, just like abortion, no one is telling you you have to be gay or have an abortion just because you can tolerate someone else’s right to do so.

I read recently that it is impossible to hold to two opposing thoughts. Says who? Why can’t it be okay to have federal standards but local control of our schools, to be pro-choice but respectful of people’s individual religious beliefs, to agree states have the right to opt out of medicaid expansion if the money isn’t there and to provide business with the incentives to fill in the gap by creating bigger pools with greater purchasing power.  While at the same time saying we cannot be a country that turns its back on its sickest citizens by denying them access because of pre-existing conditions. Why can’t you agree Planned Parenthood plays an important role in educating inner-city teens about safe sex without worrying you will be labeled pro-abortion. You can’t because you’ve been told you can’t by Congress and the media. But if ModerateMoms plays one important role, it is to say, you can. We can give the politicians political cover until it is safe for them to say what they really think.

We are also debunking the myth of what Republicans and Democrats can and cannot talk about. Moderate Republicans can talk about guns. But, in a way that leaves both pro-gun and anti-gun reform groups feeling safe. It sounds really touchy-feely but the truth with guns is that it isn’t the gun itself but the feeling attached to it that can be so dangerous. A socially marginalized troubled youth feels powerful when he opens fire in a movie theatre. A law abiding citizen feels safe when he keeps a gun in his house to protect his family. A gang member feels he has to shoot or be shot. A recreational hunter feels relaxed when he spends a day shooting duck. School shootings, rapid fire magazines and assault weapons make many Moms feel very unsafe. But so does the idea of a one Connecticut paper wanting to publish the addresses of the homeowners who own guns after Sandy Hook. What?

I really believe the only path to progress for our country is going to be to let people decide what works for them, whether that is a town, a county or a state. And for us to acknowledge that the recovery is going to come by rebuilding our local economies. It’s important, too, that we start to be able to work with the other side. A Democrat asked me the other day who a moderate Republican’s opposition is and my initial response was, “The Tea Party.” But the truth is the Tea Party deserves a lot of credit for bringing the current embrace of fiscal reform to light. Democrats are rightly suspicious of the far Right and view the Republicans’ attempt to be more inclusive of minorities with great suspicion. But that isn’t really fair either. While moderate Republicans like me really like how inclusive of gays and minorities the Democrats are, I don’t like the suspicion with which all Republicans are viewed.

Jon Huntsman’s departure from the 2012 elections … or not?

NPR’s Jon Elving has raised the question of whether the recent news about Jon Huntsman’s departure from the race for the Republican nomination is really the last we’ll see of him. He wonders whether Huntsman could emerge as the nominee for the Americanselect.org. Americans have spent the last year asking themselves, “who is Jon Huntsman?” Now the question is, “what is Americanselect?” And could Jon Huntsman be on the ballot this November if he is nominated at Americanselect’s convention? That convention is an online effort to get an alternate candidate elected whose nomination will come from real people and not through either of the major parties, Republican or Democrat. Check out the following link: http://youtu.be/Tp3Hn6BSy5s to learn more.

Americanselect is a secure process that will allow voters to use the internet to nominate candidates. It was started by one wealthy investor and has been supported by others whose names have so far not been disclosed. With 40% of voters identifying as Independents this year, this is already shaping up to be an interesting year. But this concept of a digital revolution that circumvents the media and traditional nominating process, could make it a radical one.

NPR on Huntsman’s departure from the race for the Republican nod

40% of voters identify as Independents