See, NOW He’s an Angry Black Man.

The media always jumps at the chance to describe Black men as angry, many times missing the mark. Now that congress turned its back on the 90% of Americans who wanted something as simple as background checks (which many already thought was law) Obama’s pissed and so are we.

On today’s #TWiBRadio, we talk about a failing senate, athletes who should leave political statements alone, and the psychic liberal media that speaks through Family Guy cutaways.

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And this morning on #amTWiB, #TheMorningCrew – discusses the continued investigation into Michele Bachmann’s 2012 campaign, Gabby Gifford’s moving piece on gun legislation, and a scientific discovery on Black America’s Y-Chromosome.

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What Obama’s Up Against

Not-Romney is one candidate with two heads, one of which is very large.



Nate Silver thinksthe GOP primary is going to be a long, protracted race, noting that it bears a “resemblance to something like the 1984 Democratic contest or the 1976 Republican race.” Mondale won in 1984, and Ford beat Reagan in 1976, but both primaries were close calls, and neither Mondale nor Ford inspired their respective parties.

Still, I’m not sure either one had as abysmal an outlook as presumed front-runner Mitt Romney does in this race:

Meanwhile, the two not-Romney candidates – Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – are nipping at Romney’s heels making sure that neither one has any real chance at stealing the nomination.

And of course Ron Paul has his base of support which will likely neither grow nor dwindle in the coming months.

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An anti-war, anti-union, anti-stimulus, anti-safety-net candidate

Okay, as is often the case I have done some serious thinking after getting some very good push-back in the comments and from some of the other authors here and elsewhere over my Gary Johnson posts. First of all, I think it’s important to note that I did not say I would support a Johnson candidacy, only that I’m tempted to support the most viable anti-war candidate that comes around. Probably the best argument against supporting Johnson is this: supporting a candidate based on a single-issue alliance is not as effective as supporting a cause.

It’s also more dangerous because if that cause becomes too embodied by that candidate, then the rest of his ideas – like abolishing the Fed, for instance – can then become conflated with the good cause as well. And so you weaken and undermine those ideas by associating them too closely with the bad ideas of the candidate you supported. You see this with Ron Paul, who has very good and decent positions on foreign intervention and the security state, but who is way off in crazy Austrian land when it comes to economics and goldbuggery.

It’s important to build up support for these ideas from the bottom up rather than from the top down. If you want a more anti-war, civil-liberties-based liberalism than you have to argue for it, work with activists to build up grass-roots support for those policies, and vote for local and state candidates who support those ideas. Making a deal with the devil may be a dramatic and appealing way to register one’s dissent, but it’s more than likely counter-productive. A show of support for Johnson’s anti-drug-war policies is just as easily taken as support for slashing public support for healthcare and education, or for busting public sector unions. As someone who really thinks it’s high-time for some form of single-payer health insurance in this country (and the ACA for now) and who supports public education against this constant barrage of corporate reforms, a vote for Johnson would be a vote against things I care deeply about.

The trick, then, is making a vote for Obama go as far as possible. Because I am fundamentally opposed to his foreign policies also, and to his escalation of immigrant deportations and medical marijuana busts and the ratcheting up of the TSA. I think you can support a candidate and still be a vocal and persistent critic. So that is what I will aim to do.

PS – you can email me here or follow me on Twitter here. I have posted a full-excerpt of this post at Forbes.

An Anti-War Candidate

I think mistermix makes some very good points regarding a Johnson administration and the inherent handicaps of politics over reality. My point here is simply that presidents do have a great deal more influence over foreign policy than over domestic policy. For instance, I think Obama has been a pretty extraordinary president on most domestic issues. His expansion of healthcare access is the most significant liberal achievement in decades, hands down.

Two points: 1) There is no way in hell Johnson gets the nomination. So maybe this is all just mental masturbation to begin with. But 2) I think it’s important for people who care about issues like the War on Drugs, or our interventionist foreign policy to somehow make those in power listen. I like Obama, as far as politicians go. I think he means well, which is more than I can say for most of his potential 2012 opponents. But I’m not happy with a third war and I’m not happy with the drone operations in Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I think a lot of the bad powers that the Bush administration expanded, Obama has either expanded or at least continued. This is a problem for me.

Ditto for the drug wars.

But in many ways I think Johnson is a terrible choice for president in spite of his good policies on drugs and military intervention. I have never heard that he is a creationist and I think that’s little more than a rumor (if someone can link, then by all means…) but he’s downright radical on spending issues, on healthcare, and on a number of other issues I think are tremendously important as well that I disagree with Johnson on. The drug war and the Middle East wars are life and death issues, so they sit right at the top of my priority list – but so is healthcare, and I think people like Johnson or Paul Ryan have bad ideas for healthcare reform, ideas that could badly effect the welfare of millions of American citizens. I would prefer a liberal non-interventionist who would campaign on ending the drug war, expanding healthcare, and so forth.

So there’s no easy answers here. There’s no perfect candidates obviously, and even the ones we like for issues A and B may be horrible or just horribly disappointing on issues C and D. When it comes time to pull the lever, we make as honest a decision as we can – and often that means compromising our values in the least painful way possible. Such is politics.

Is the education reform tide turning?

I find that many of my posts at American Times are pretty cynical – what with the apparently coordinated assault on teachers form one state to the next – but there has been one piece of good news lately: president Obama has come out agains the current standardized-testing regime. This is good news for public education in America. It’s also good news for teachers – standardized tests have become the first weapon of faux-accountability wielded against our nation’s educators. And as this recent report from USA Today shows, far from holding teachers accountable, the current testing craze simply incentivizes cheating, while making education and learning boring.

I’ve been pretty critical of this administration’s education reforms – Race to the Top has been little more than No Child Left Behind Part Deux. But if Obama means what he says about testing – and I have no reason to suspect otherwise – then perhaps we’re witnessing a real sea-change. I certainly hope so.