Author Archives: Matthew McLaughlin

About Matthew McLaughlin

Dissecting and editorializing the "news" of the Grand Old Party.

if you can (or can’t?) see the writing on the wall

Instead of lambasting the entire GOP today, I think it is important to give praise where praise is due.  Eight Republican Senators bravely crossed party lines to vote their conscience on Saturday and repeal the severely flawed and immoral policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

  1. Richard Burr of North Carolina
  2. Mark Kirk of Illinois
  3. John Ensign of Nevada
  4. Scott Brown of Massachusetts
  5. George Voinovich of Ohio
  6. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  7. Olympia Snowe of Maine
  8. Susan Collins of both of Maine.

Let’s hope this ushers in an era of social progressive-ism that will one day break down all barriers that the LGBT community face on an everyday basis. Sure, there will always be holdouts like John McCain, but that is no different than Strom Thurmond fighting against the desegregation of the military in 1948.  Old people with bigoted ideas won’t change but when the nation begins catapulting forward and socially conscious people like Olympia Snowe join the ride, John McCain and Mitch McConnell will be left behind to grow old, insignificant and sad.  I think McCain’s already there.

if you are blindly prejudiced

DADT died today. Even after exhaustive surveys, in-depth reports and almost across the board endorsements by otherwise conservative military officials, the Republicans still just don’t get it.  In the latest polls, over 67% of Americans and a majority of soldiers are against the policy that forces gay and lesbian Americans in the military to lie about their sexual orientation. Not only is this decision by the GOP a politically disastrous move, it is also mindbogglingly stupid to force a procedural military policy that the military itself is decrying. McCain even said earlier that he would make his decision based on an in depth military study–which he got and quickly dismissed.

What gives?

Prejudice is blinding. It’s not an intellectual exercise that requires inner debate and reasoning, it’s ingrained. And just like their disbelief of global warming, there is no debate or rational argument that will change their minds. They just believe it no matter how much evidence is stacked against them. They believe deep within themselves that homosexuals are unfit to serve because of the perverse lifestyle they choose. If these Republicans had their way, they would pray the gay out of ’em right after they got their hair buzzed before basic training.

This recent rise of anti-intellectualism in the GOP is frightening — and not surprisingly it seems to be neatly paralleled with with the rise of Sarah Palin. The fight against intellectuals and reason is an ancient one that promoted systemic human rights abuses (see: The Crusades).

All being said, this is a fight that progressives can feel good about. While there seems to be an increase in the popularity of constitutional conservatism, socially we are a country moving to the left. Polls indicate Americans are quickly and increasingly supporting gay rights but, like usual, the GOP is three steps behind.

if you are enjoying the show

Ed Schultz is fired up... against Obama?

There is no surprise that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP held middle class and small business tax benefits hostage in order to win an extension of the upper class Bush tax cuts. This was expected. My surprise is the embarrassing reaction by almost every progressive pundit and ideologue. While it is disheartening to me, Boehner and the rest of the GOP are sitting back with a glass of Merlot laughing at us.

The anger from the professional Left is so inappropriately over the top that, to an outsider, it would seem as if Obama just committed  an act of genocide. The fact is, as progressives, we need to figure out who we are and who we want to be. I always looked at the the Dems as a party of pragmatism, rationality and intelligence. Gut reactions, emotional decisions and macho hardheadedness was always the realm of the GOP, solidified by George W’s “gut” reaction to invade Iraq.  Now many on the Left are starting to sound remarkably similar to the blowhards on Fox News.

While the GOP’s decision to hold middle class tax benefits hostage was reprehensible, the President’s difficult compromise was the right decision. Without this deal, there was little chance the GOP would grant tax cuts for the middle class or extend unemployment for a record 13 months. But instead of heralding the positive points of this plan, now the Liberal pundits are vehemently attacking the President for compromising. This will achieve absolutely nothing.  Politically this can be a powerful statement from Obama to an independent base that is sick and tired of the venomous fights between the Right and the Left. Here is a man that rises above petty divisions.  Here is a President that is not playing the game in Washington, but making sure the unemployed millions have food on their tables.

Instead of focusing their energy on that, the professional Left (Olbermann, Maddow, Press, Schultz…) attack their own President. A President who has achieved a historic compromise by extending unemployment to record levels. A President who was able to keep progressive tax elements in place. A President who refuses to allow gridlock to destroy the economy.

Obama’s too intelligent to fight a war that he knows he can’t win and too compassionate to allow millions of people to go hungry.  To him, that’s worth the $700 billion the GOP is adding to the national deficit. The pundits and Liberal lawmakers who criticize Obama on this compromise are either ignorant or cruel. Is it really more important to look tough than to help people? To these people ideology is more important than pragmatism, practicality and compassion.

Get over it.  It takes more guts to compromise than quarrel.

if you’re still fighting Marxism

Steve King

Bachmann isn’t alone in her desire to investigate politicians’ “un-american” activities (as she mentioned in a Chris Matthews interview earlier this year).  Now Representative Steve King from Iowa is contemplating whether or not it would be a good idea to reinstate the House Un-American Activitees Committe — that congressional committee made famous by the McCarthy hearings. He claims that the committee helped curb “the ugly spread of Marxism in America” and that he thinks it is a good process and would “support it.” Because, as we all know, Marxism is a real issue right now.  Forget the economy, unemployment or even Osama Bin Laden; instead, let’s interrogate those commie bastards!

If I seem obsessed with the Right’s apparent plan to wage a new war on Communism, that is because I am.  The McCarthy hearings were once seen as an ugly stain on the fabric of our nation. They were divisive, dangerous, and arguably unconstitutional.  To revisit these old practices is almost as reprehensible as suggesting that only landowners should have the right to vote — as Tea Party leader Judson Phillips remarked during a radio show this week. In an article last month, I made the point that the GOP is using the evil Communist bogey man the same way it did half a century ago — to scare the ignorant and elderly in our society into believing that  if a citizen isn’t mindlessly nationalistic, they are unfit to call themselves American. And if the election was any testament, it worked.  Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

In the coming months we will see other Conservative Republicans come out of the wood work to impose their brand of propaganda on the unwitting public. Whether it be a “Manchurian” candidate or the perceived threat of Communism from within our own borders,  the more things we as a populace have to be scared of, the more we behave irrationally and allow our emotions (not out brains) process information.  And since almost the entire GOP platform is irrational, they will keep pumping fear into the hearts of the ignorant masses and have a strangle hold on their base — the uneducated.

if you hate business regulation but promote people regulation

It is widely speculated that when the GOP gains more power over the FCC that Net Neutrality will be off the table.  The principle behind neutrality is that regardless of how much a user pays or what isp he chooses,  he gets the same level of access to the internet.  In its current form, the beauty of the internet is that it is an inherently even playing field for essentially everyone in the country.  Without neutrality, big business will run rampant with corporations controlling access to content thereby turning the information superhighway into the information turnpike.

This is yet another example of the GOP’s hypocrisy in ideology.  The internet as we know it now is a capitalist’s dream; it provides equal opportunity for anyone to open a business with little or no cost and make money based on ingenuity, drive, and work ethic.  While this seems part of the Republican’s own platform, their decisions on net neutrality will expose the fact that the GOP is not the party of personal responsibility, capitalism and entrepreneurship, but rather the political wing of corporate America.  Are we so short sighted that we forget Joe Barton apologizing to BP?  They want government to get out of our lives, but have no problem imposing government regulations on individuals who want to access something that is essential to personal freedom.

What the debacle with DADT, marijuana reform, and the Patriot Act has taught us is that the GOP (and some shameful, conservative Democrats) is not interested in having government stay out of our lives — they want to control what we smoke, what we say and who we fuck —  and now they want to give corporations the ability to control free thought and information.  All said, Joe Barton and Chairman Mao have more in common than one might think.

What is deregulation?  Merely individual regulation.  The expulsion of personal liberty.  And with the demise of net neutrality, we are beginning the slow decent to the corporatization of the most liberated space in all of humanity.

if you don’t believe in global warming because God won’t let it happen.

God is apparently speaking to the top Republican on environmental and energy policy. While the majority of the GOP deny global warming on purely selfish grounds (Barton vs. squiggly pigtailed lightbulbs), John Shimkus has a far more divine reason.  And he is rather optimistic:


“The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a Flood. I do believe that God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.”


In Shimkus’ mind, global warming should go the way of cave men and dinosaurs: a nonexistent, scientific fable.  While most intelligent people understand the idiocy of evolution deniers, they have somehow wormed their way into our [southern] public school systems with the intelligent design craze.

Unfortunately, this is what I see next for global warming and anything environmental.  We will soon see a push by the GOP (led by the Christian Conservatives) to abolish the teaching of global warming in schools.  Or at least to offer an alternative.  Possibly something like intelligent earth design?

Everyone has a right to their own faith.  But I don’t want government run as a leap of faith.  There is far too much at stake.  Regardless, it has been proven over and over again that smart energy policy is good for the economy — just look at the car industry.

So while it may be true that we, as human beings, will have a very difficult time destroying the earth itself, we can certainly do a good job in killing each other living atop it.  Mr. Shimkus, you are right, we probably will not destroy the earth, but that doesn’t mean we won’t destroy each other.  Or is that not in God’s plan either?



if you bite the hand that feeds you

In a new Huffington Post article, it came out that GOP Senator, John Ensign, requested and received one million dollars in health care funds even though, during the health care debate, he was a leading voice of Republicans opposing health care saying, “the Democrats’ health reform bill violates the Constitution of the United States of America…I don’t believe Congress has the legal or moral authority to force this mandate on its citizens.” Regardless, he used the funds that he decried. Unfortunately, blatant hypocrisy regarding federal funds is not a unique problem for the Right who quietly — and compulsively — accept funds that they protest in public. Governors Rick Perry, Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty and Bob Riley all criticized stimulus and health care funds while, at the same time, accepted millions from the federal government. While I feel obliged to point this out, I am certainly glad they accepted the checks as no state should suffer because of an individual’s political and ideological stubbornness. Yet some do; watch and see how many red states will sue to opt out of the health care regulations in the coming years.

It’s even worse in congress with countless Republican lawmakers running their mouths about earmarks, yet taking home record pork at the same time. Is the GOP really all about reducing the deficit? If actions speak louder than words, not in the least. Not that I think the deficit needs to be reduced at a time when the government needs to be pumping cash into the economy. There will be plenty of time to talk deficit reduction once we have the economy stabilized.