“Can’t Ebola just take one for the team and take out Obama?” — Angela Box, a third-grade teacher in west Houston was hopeful President Obama would catch Ebola. 12/05/14

President Obama “has long since concluded that pursuing dreams of reconciliation in his final two years in office is a fool’s chase. So he is offering an alternative model for 21st-century presidential success. It does not hinge on job approval ratings… His current approach does not depend on bipartisan deal making or good cheer… It does not even turn on protecting the political interests of his party… It turns, instead, on advancing the major policy goals that Mr. Obama embraced as a candidate. Through that prism, he continues to make progress.”– Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire 12/07/14

“The presentation also noted that the President of the United States had directed that he not be informed of the locations of the CIA detention facilities to ensure that he would not accidentally disclose the information.” —A curious note in the Senate’s report on torture pertaining to President George W. Bush.12/09/14

torture4“The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome. We’ve closed the book on it (torture), and we’ve stopped doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.” — Fox New’s Andrea Tantaros, concluding that the Obama administration are “fools.” 12/09/14

“As far as I can tell, we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for his stupid — and I mean absolutely stupid — comments. But worst of all, Dr. Gruber’s statements gave Republicans a public relations gift in their relentless political campaign to tear down the ACA.” — Rep. Eliha Cummings (D-MD) at the House Oversight Committee meeting. 12/09/14

‘Grubergate also reminds us, once again, of the sad state of political debate in America today. The Gruber video snippets were dug up by opposition researchers who pushed them to cable TV producers, who would rather smear the Affordable Care Act than report on how the law has provided secure, affordable coverage to more than 15 million Americans and significantly reduced the rate of increase in premiums and healthcare costs.” — Theda Skocpol in the LA Times12/10/14

“The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture.” — Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), calling for the current CIA director’s resignation. 12/10/14

“We don’t grapple with that here.” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) dismissing income inequality as a non-issue for Texans. 12/10/14

“She is one of the most conscientious and competent people I have ever met. She has an enormous capacity to analyze and solve problems. She has a work ethic that drives her to persist until the job is done and done right. And she has a record in the Senate of successfully working with both sides of our very combative political spectrum in order to accomplish goals that improve the lives of ordinary Americans … If I have the opportunity, I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton for President.” — Howard Dean 12/10/14 

“In 2003, a public statement by the White House that prisoners in US custody are treated ‘humanely’ caused the CIA to question whether there was continued policy support for the program and seek reauthorization from the White House. When it heard the word “humanely,” in other words, the Agency was not sure it knew what the President was talking about. It may no longer have recognized itself. — Amy Davidson in the New Yorker 12/09/14



1. 20 key findings about CIA interrogations

2. Stephen Colbert: President Barack Obama – to health in a handbasket


4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

6. The Borowitz Report: Cheney Calls for International Ban on Torture Reports

7. Politics Nation Cold Open – Saturday Night Live

8. Public Perception Wrong About Key Obama Issue

9. Fox News vs Healthy School Lunches

10. Hispanic approval of President Obama surges following immigration announcement

11. SNL Cold Open: A Drink at the White House

12. CIA contracted with torture instructors for $180 million and paid them $81 million

13. We Are the Most Unequal Society in the Developed World… And We Don’t Know It


1. Dianne Feinstein: Torture occurred, and we must own up to our actions

2. Doyle McManus: Torture remains a political football

3. LA Times Editorial: Torture report: Our post-9/11 shame, in stomach-turning detail

4. David Cole: Taking Responsibility for Torture

5. Mark Fallon: Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture

6. Paul Rosenberg: Now they’re trying to steal 2016: The demented GOP schemes to rewire the Electoral College and elect a Tea Party president

7. Laura Kipnis: A Deformed Woman: Hillary Clinton and the Men Who Hate Her

8. Ed Kilgore: It’s Time For Democrats To Stop Agonizing Over The South

1. 20 key findings about CIA interrogations

Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs listing 20 key findings. For a summary of the findings go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/national/cia-interrogation-report/key-findings/

2. Stephen Colbert: President Barack Obama – to health in a handbasket



“Those who served us in aftermath of 9/11 deserve our thanks, not a one sided partisan Senate report that now places American lives in danger. — Marco Rubio @marcorubio 12/09/14


“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary of the Committee’s report makes clear that acting without conscience isn’t necessary, it isn’t even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we’re fighting. We should be grateful to have that truth affirmed.” — Sen. John McCain’s floor statement about the newly released CIA torture report 12/09/14

4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Conservative Media’s Celebration Of Torture http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/12/09/conservative-medias-celebration-of-torture/201805

Rush Limbaugh Asks If President Obama, Not Torture, Is “A Stain On Our Nation’s Honor” http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/09/rush-limbaugh-asks-if-president-obama-not-tortu/201814

Fox Hosts: Torture Report Was Released To Distract From Obamacare http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/09/fox-hosts-torture-report-was-released-to-distra/201811

Limbaugh: Torture Report Released Today “By Design” To “Dwarf” Gruber’s Obamacare Testimony http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/09/limbaugh-torture-report-released-today-by-desig/201817

Sean Hannity Finds A Way To Make Eric Garner’s Death About Benghazi http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/05/sean-hannity-finds-a-way-to-make-eric-garners-d/201783

Fox’s Tantaros Blames NYC Mayor For Eric Garner’s Death: “What’s Next, Chokeholds For Big Gulps?” http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/04/foxs-tantaros-blames-nyc-mayor-for-eric-garners/201774

Right-Wing Media Parrot Rand Paul’s Absurd Assertion That Cigarette Taxes Are To Blame For Eric Garner’s Death http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/12/05/right-wing-media-parrot-rand-pauls-absurd-asser/201775

Fox Resurrects ACA “Death Panels” Myth http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/12/04/fox-resurrects-aca-death-panels-myth/201773

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“There are reports that President Obama has finally found a nominee to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. His nominee is named Ashton Carter. Which sounds less like a defense secretary and more like the member of a boy band.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The rain is giving much needed relief to California’s crops. By that I mean ‘marijuana.'” -Craig Ferguson

“In Washington, the U.S. House passed a bill unanimously. Every single member of both parties voted for it. What was it? To deny Social Security benefits to Nazis. So from now on, no SS for the SS.” –Craig Ferguson

“The acting director of the Secret Service, Joseph Clancy, said they may make the fence around the White House taller because of the recent security failures. When asked if he had any other ideas, he said, ‘Uh, make the sidewalk lower?'” –Jimmy Fallon

6. The Borowitz Report: Cheney Calls for International Ban on Torture Reports

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney on Tuesday called upon the nations of the world to “once and for all ban the despicable and heinous practice of publishing torture reports.”

“Like many Americans, I was shocked and disgusted by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s publication of a torture report today,” Cheney said in a prepared statement.

“The transparency and honesty found in this report represent a gross violation of our nation’s values.”

“The publication of torture reports is a crime against all of us,” he added. “Not just those of us who have tortured in the past, but every one of us who might want to torture in the future.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/cheney-calls-international-ban-torture-reports

7. Politics Nation Cold Open – Saturday Night Live


8. Public Perception Wrong About Key Obama Issue

“By 73 percent to 21 percent, the public says the federal budget deficit has gotten bigger during the Obama presidency. Here are the facts: In fiscal 2009, during the first year of Obama’s presidency, the deficit was $1.413 trillion. In the current fiscal year, the congressional budget office projects the deficit will be $469 billion, down from $483 billion in the budget year that ended Sept. 30. The deficit has been cut by two-thirds during Obama’s six years.” — Bloomberg Politics Poll 12/09/14 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-12-09/perceptions-blur-reality-when-it-comes-to-obamas-key-issues

9. Fox News vs Healthy School Lunches

Fox reported that school nutrition standards mean “the lunch lady is now a health czar.”

Fox host Sean Hannity predicted that the healthy school lunch program will lead to a nanny state, asking if “every American family need[ed] a dietitian appointed by the government.” 

Rush Limbaugh claimed government will monitor citizens as part of the “obesity problem.” 

Fox’s John Stossel argued that nutrition standards will allow the government to “dictate” who citizens are allowed to marry. 

The Daily Signal, an online publication of the Heritage Foundation, attacked Obama’s initiative as an attempt to “co-parent to your children” and described the first lady as “the self-appointed First Parent of the United States.” 12/09/14 Read more at http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/12/09/how-conservative-medias-attacks-on-michelle-oba/201820

10. Hispanic approval of President Obama surges following immigration announcement

Emory University political science Prof. Alan Abramowitz noticed something in Gallup’s weekly assessment of President Obama’s approval numbers: His approval among Hispanics has shot up by 14 points over the past two weeks. It’s now at 68 percent — the highest it has been this year, and at a level last seen in early 2013. 12/01/14 Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/12/01/hispanic-approval-of-president-obama-surges-following-immigration-announcement/

11. SNL Cold Open: A Drink at the White House


12. CIA contracted with torture instructors for $180 million and paid them $81 million

The agency contracted with two psychologists “to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations” for a $180 million fee in 2006; they were paid $81 million when the contract was terminated in 2009. Neither “had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in counterterrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise.” 12/10/14 Read morre at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/fivepoints/cia-torture-report-more-revelations

“The manager of Cobalt was recommended by the CIA Station in Afghanistan for $2,500 as a “cash award” for his “consistently superior work” four months after a terror suspect, Gul Rahman, died at the facility after being shackled to a cold cement wall.” — Forbes 12/09/14 Read more at http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2014/12/09/the-money-behind-the-cias-torture-program/

13. We Are the Most Unequal Society in the Developed World… And We Don’t Know It

When it comes to our ignorance of the pay gap, there are no blue states, no red states — only misinformed states of mind. We’re the Know-Nothings of inequality.

Most of us have no idea that our golden land of opportunity is the runaway leader among developed nations when it comes to inequality where, for every dollar earned by the average American worker, CEOs earned 354 dollars. This dubious distinction runs counter to American Dream that we’ve been indoctrinated with since birth. As a result, we reflexively think that America is epitome of democracy — the fairest most just and most upwardly mobile country in history. That makes it hard for us to account for why we are more unequal than all the other developed countries. 11/25/14 Read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/we-are-the-most-unequal-s_b_6171230.html

1. Dianne Feinstein: Torture occurred, and we must own up to our actions

There has been a suggestion in recent days that now is not a good time to release a review prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. But is there ever a good time to admit our country tortured people?

In the wake of 9/11, we were desperate to bring those responsible for the brutal attacks to justice. But even that urgency did not justify torture. The United States must be held to a higher standard than our enemies, yet some of our actions did not clear that bar. It is time to publicly examine how that happened.

The administration has known for months that this document would become public and has been making every effort to safeguard U.S. personnel and interests abroad. But the bottom line is, torture occurred, and we must own up to our actions and move forward.

We’re not perfect and there are some dark patches in our past, but what makes us special is that we recognize these evils, we come to grips with them and we fix them.

President Obama took important steps by prohibiting secret CIA detention and torture in his first days in office, and he has declassified important details about this program.

This report is the next step toward enacting major reforms to ensure something like this never happens again. 12/10/14 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-feinstein-torture-report-20141209-story.html#page=1

torture62. Doyle McManus: Torture remains a political football

The catalog of horrors contained in Tuesday’s report from the Senate Intelligence Committee ought to settle one argument for good: Yes, the CIA did use torture on suspected terrorists in its secret detention program a decade ago.

Not convinced waterboarding is torture, even though the U.S. military considers it that? Then try sleep deprivation, which the State Department calls torture when it’s used by other countries. The CIA kept some detainees awake for 180 hours, the report notes, “at times with their hands shackled above their heads.” Still not enough? Try “rectal feeding,” which has little to do with nutrition. And then there’s the case of Gul Rahman, the Afghan detainee who was stripped naked from the waist down and shackled to the floor of an unheated dungeon; he froze to death in the winter of 2002.

But Tuesday’s report won’t settle that argument for everyone, alas, because — like so much else in American politics — it has become a partisan football. Five years ago, most of the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee decided that the investigation of CIA misconduct was a veiled attack on the administration of President George W. Bush, and stopped cooperating with the committee’s Democratic majority on it. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the report as “ideologically motivated and distorted.”

There were a few exceptions to the partisan divide on Tuesday. One of them, Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.), was a victim of torture himself, as a prisoner in Vietnam. He made an important point: Whether “enhanced interrogation” ever works is not the most important question.

“Torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use,” McCain said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “This question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.

“We have made our way in this often dangerous and cruel world, not by just strictly pursuing our geopolitical interests, but by exemplifying our political values, and influencing other nations to embrace them,” he said. “How much safer the world would be if all nations believed the same. How much more dangerous it can become when we forget it ourselves, even momentarily.

“Our enemies act without conscience,” McCain said. “We must not.” 12/10/12 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcmanus-torture-report-20141210-column.html

torture33. LA Times Editorial: Torture report: Our post-9/11 shame, in stomach-turning detail

Americans have long known that, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, the CIA subjected suspected terrorists to inhuman and degrading treatment that amounted to nothing less than torture. A Senate Intelligence Committee report released Tuesday documented that outrageous conduct in stomach-turning detail but also described new offenses to human dignity that border on the pornographic.

The document released Tuesday amounts to an indictment of the CIA and its political enablers that is no less shocking because many of the events it describes happened during the administration of President George W. Bush and would no longer be permitted. No doubt some of the committee’s findings about particular circumstances are open to debate. But defenders of the agency will have a hard time refuting its central conclusions, which are based on analysis of millions of pages of internal cables, emails and other communications, along with interviews conducted by the CIA’s inspector general.

The CIA detention and interrogation program was immoral, illegal, out of control and (the committee persuasively argues) unnecessary. President Obama’s admission this summer that “we tortured some folks” doesn’t begin to convey the appalling violations of human rights and international law cataloged by the Intelligence Committee. The officials who carried out these acts shamed themselves and their country.

In reacting to the release of the report, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that it “marks a coda to a chapter in our history” and noted that Obama “turned the page on these policies when he took office.” But there will be other presidents and other crises that might tempt them to look the other way while human rights are violated in the name of national security. For them, and for us, this report is wrenching but required reading. 12/10/14 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-torture-20141210-story.html

torture74. David Cole: Taking Responsibility for Torture

More than twelve years after the C.I.A. began torturing Al Qaeda suspects in secret prisons overseas, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today made public the executive summary of its sixty-seven-hundred-page report on the agency’s coercive interrogation program. The report has prompted loud objections from Michael Hayden, the former head of the C.I.A., and Dick Cheney, with good reason: it is a damning indictment of the Bush Administration’s approach to interrogation in the war on terror. The committee, which reviewed over six million C.I.A. records, based its report entirely on the agency’s own documentation of what transpired. The records depict a program founded on false premises, maintained for five years despite the absence of any evidence that it worked, and covered up by repeated falsehoods to the White House, Congress, and the American public.

The report’s central lesson is that when government officials abandon the obligation to treat human beings with dignity, that decision will corrode all that follows. Jeremy Waldron, a professor at N.Y.U. Law School, has argued that the prohibition on torture is absolute because it is central to the idea of the rule of law. The Senate report is a vivid confirmation of that insight. The C.I.A.’s decision to use torture tainted everything it did in connection with the program. What began as an effort to find out the truth about terrorist threats led to the C.I.A. repeatedly lying to cover up its own wrongs.

In one crucial respect, however, the Senate report falls short. By putting the blame for the program exclusively on the C.I.A., it fails to acknowledge that responsibility for it does not stop there. President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, among others, all signed off on the authorization to use enhanced interrogation techniques—tactics that, as President Obama and many others have said, any reasonable person would recognize amount to torture. The Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee share in the responsibility, for writing legal memos that gave the C.I.A. a green light to engage in patently illegal conduct. And while the Senate Intelligence Committee was undoubtedly misled about the details of the program, it failed to take action to halt it, even though it was fully aware that detainees were being illegally disappeared and waterboarded.

Nor does accountability end there. We reëlected George Bush knowing that he had approved of waterboarding and torture. We have accepted President Obama’s contention that we should look forward, not backward, thereby absolving those who committed war crimes of any accountability. Criminal prosecutions are both unlikely and unnecessary, but some form of official accountability is essential. This report is a start, but as a polity we have not lived up to our own responsibility, to demand accountability for the wrongs done in our name. 12/09/1/4 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/taking-responsibility-torture

torture25. Mark Fallon: Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture

It’s official: torture doesn’t work. Waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, did not in fact “produce the intelligence that allowed us to get Osama bin Laden,” as former Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in 2011. Those are among the central findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation and detention after 9/11.

After reviewing thousands of the CIA’s own documents, the committee has concluded that torture was ineffective as an intelligence-gathering technique. Torture produced little information of value, and what little it did produce could’ve been gained through humane, legal methods that uphold American ideals.

I had long since come to that conclusion myself. As special agent in charge of the criminal investigation task force with investigators and intelligence personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding. And the Senate Intelligence Committee—which had access to all CIA documents related to the “enhanced interrogation” program—has concluded that abusive techniques didn’t help the hunt for Bin Laden. Cheney’s claim that the frequent waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “produced phenomenal results for us” is simply false.

The self-defeating stupidity of torture might come as news to Americans who’ve heard again and again from Cheney and other political leaders that torture “worked.” Professional interrogators, however, couldn’t be less surprised. We know that legal, rapport-building interrogation techniques are the best way to obtain intelligence, and that torture tends to solicit unreliable information that sets back investigations.

Yes, torture makes people talk—but what they say is often untrue. Seeking to stop the pain, people subjected to torture tend to say what they believe their interrogators want to hear. 12/08/14 Read more at  http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/12/torture-report-dick-cheney-110306.html#.VId4wIuzrxc

cheney-torture6. Paul Rosenberg: Now they’re trying to steal 2016: The demented GOP schemes to rewire the Electoral College and elect a Tea Party president

Republicans have only won the popular vote for president once in the last 25 years, a steep decline in their fortunes from the period from 1972 to 1988, when they won the popular vote every time but one–1976, the aftermath of Watergate. Add to that massive policy failures and demographic trends against them, and the motivations to cheat are overwhelming.

Republicans have been fiddling with various Electoral College schemes since at least 2011 (in Michigan and Pennsylvania), with an upsurge of interest in early 2013, following Romney’s disappointing loss. “How Romney Could Have Won: A changed system would mean changed results” was the title of a January 2013 National Review story, capturing the mood at the time. Romney needn’t have won a single additional popular vote, you see. Just divvy up Electoral College votes by congressional district, and voilà! President, President Romney, Mr. 47 Percent! “[F]or those frustrated over 2012’s results,” the story concluded, “it might be worth thinking about whether it’s time to overhaul the system itself.”

The buzz faded rather quickly, but now, post-midterm elections, it seems to be staging a modest comeback—and the GOP’s sheer desperation means it would be foolish to ignore this ongoing threat to our democracy. Renewed talk of rewrite schemes actually began even before the midterm election, according to a late-October story by Michigan political columnist Susan J. Demas, and a watered-down scheme emerged after the election, she reported, which would give most of the electoral votes to the statewide winner, but give some to the loser as well. “It’s like a participation trophy in pre-school tee-ball,” Demas wrote, “only Michigan is trying to build up the self-esteem of Republican wannabe leaders of the free world.”

Today we are headed for complete destruction of our constitutional order, driven by people who claim a unique relationship with the Constitution, unwilling and unable to change in light of the fact that they cannot win national elections anymore—and therefore determined to destroy national elections, one way or another. Will they try to steal the 2016 election? They’re already working on it. But that’s only the symptom, not the disease.

It’s not constitutional hardball, actually. It’s constitutional beanball. Batter up? 12/06/14 Read more at http://www.salon.com/

7. Laura Kipnis: A Deformed Woman: Hillary Clinton and the Men Who Hate Her

Here’s what happened the last time Hillary Clinton ran for president: she drove men wild. Well, certain men. Especially certain men on the right. You could recognize them by the flecks of foam in the corners of their mouths when the subject of her candidacy arose. And they’re already girding themselves for the next time around, because there’s something about Hillary that just gets them all worked up.

But what exactly? Despise her they do, yet they’re also strangely drawn to her, in some inexplicably intimate way. She occupies their attention. They spend a lot of time thinking about her—enumerating her character flaws, dissecting her motives, analyzing her physical shortcomings with a penetrating, clinical eye: those thick ankles and dumpy hips, the ever-changing hairdos. You’d think they were talking about their first wives. There’s the same over-invested quality, an edge of spite, some ancient wound not yet repaired. And how they love conjecturing upon her sexuality! Or lack of, heh heh. Is she frigid, is she gay? Heh heh. Yes, they have many theories about her, complete with detailed forensic analyses of her marriage, probably more detailed than their thoughts about their own.

My point is that you can tell a lot about a man by what he thinks about Hillary, maybe even everything. She’s not just another presidential candidate, she’s a sophisticated diagnostic instrument for calibrating male anxiety, which is running high.

All biography is ultimately fiction,” Bernard Malamud wrote in Dubin’s Lives, his novel about a biographer. What would he have said about this motley collection of writers: all biography is ultimately a Rorschach test? The various Hillaries that emerge are fictive enough, yet clearly they have an inner truth for their creators. Each invents his own personal Hillary—from baroque sexual fantasies straight out of The Honeymoon Killers and girl-girl sexcapades, to big sis—then has to slay his creation, while paying tribute to her power with these displays of antagonism and ambivalence. They’re caught in her grip, but they don’t know why; they spin tales about her treachery and perversity, as if that explains it. Except that the harder they try to knock her off her perch, the more shrill and unmanned they seem. 12/06/14 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/ts/men-who-hate-hillary-clinton

dorothy-hillary8. Ed Kilgore: It’s Time For Democrats To Stop Agonizing Over The South

it is clear there was nothing the national party might have done to reverse the results in Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia or North Carolina this year. Just as importantly, unless you buy the dubious argument that the brief delay in the president’s executive action on immigration was purely a pander to “the South,” the national party did not really undertake any “concessions” to the South. So there’s no reason to swear off the South as an evil conservative seductress tempting Democrats to stray from the paths of righteousness.

Treating the South like the rest of the country makes the most sense for Democrats going forward. A return to presidential cycle turnout patterns should, in any close election, again make Florida, North Carolina and Virginia winnable for Democrats. The demographics of Georgia are making that state more “purple” every day, especially in presidential elections.

At the state level, much is rightly being made of region-wide Republican hegemony in governorships and state legislative chambers. Some of this is cyclical; Republicans have won repeated state-level “breakthroughs” since the 1960s across the South, only to see the tide recede after Democratic adjustments and/or their own malfeasance. But in general, what we are seeing is the consequence of the long-playing realignment of older southern white small-town and rural voters towards the GOP, buttressed in some states by traditional “mountain” Republicans; in others by wealthy tax-averse retirees; and everywhere by politically mobilized conservative evangelicals.

It’s math, not diabolical magic, and Democratic prospects will reach a tipping point whenever and wherever a majority can be put together from the building blocks of nonwhite, younger and professional white, “knowledge sector,” and pro-public-education voters. That already exists in a few states, could exist soon in a couple of others, and probably will never exist in some. Seeing “the South” as a set of discrete political opportunities requiring skill, good candidate recruitment, the kind of ideological “flexibility” accorded to any other region, and resources calibrated to the risk and reward, is the best approach for Democrats. All the regional mythology should be treated as gone with the wind. 12/10/14 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/myth-southern-democrats-stop-agonizing


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