Tenured Radical on norming, not-normals, and justice

Tenured Radical has a boffo deuce of posts this week:  First, in “More Annals of the Great Depression:  What Divides Us, and Why,” she writes about the fact that the budget-crisis hill some of her colleagues want to die on is the (astonishingly generous!) tuition benefit at her university, although it is only for children of faculty members.  She writes,

I would like to point out that the loose coalition of the willing that does not consider this cut unthinkable is made up of gay people and straight people; the coupled and the uncoupled; the married and the unmarried; those who have dependent (or formerly dependent) children and those who do not. I mention this because one of the first things people make sure to tell me in particular is that they are not homophobic (you know what? If you feel you have to say this, you are homophobic. I didn’t bring it up, you did.) Several of the kinder scolds suggested that we who were not with the program would understand this issue better if we actually had children and better understood the sacred bond between parent and child. The most ignorant argued that the childless were not excluded from this benefit, and could access it any time we liked by having, adopting or inheriting children. Of all the unspoken assumptions, perhaps the one best masking itself as intellectual common sense was that we who are childless at Zenith do have a moral and ethical commitment to our colleagues’ children, because it is these children who, as adult workers, will earn the professional wages to pay for our government benefits in retirement.

In other words, because I haven’t had children, regardless of how much I have paid into Social Security over the years, I will become a welfare queen in old age. And as I sign my government checks over to the BMW dealership and the grog shop, it will not be just any children who support me in the style to which I am now accustomed, but the children of my Zenith colleagues. . . .

No, they respond: nothing will do but an unlimited benefit reserved exclusively for the children of Zenith.  Continue reading

Romanoff to challenge Bennet for Colorado Senate in 2010

wonka_gold_ticketWell, it looks like I won’t have to be the one to spark a Colorado Democratic primary fight after all:  Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff has filed papers to challenge our appointed U.S. Senator, “just one vote” Michael  Bennet. 

The two of them are both straight, white, male, Wonder Bread twins–neither of them could win a one-man charm contest.  Romanoff will have to run to Bennet’s left, which will be a good thing.  (And there’s plenty of room to swim around in over there!)  Romanoff’s background isn’t quite as posh as Bennet’s, and he has the advantage of having run and won several elections.  Accordingly, Romanoff has statewide connections with labor, Latinos, and the Dem machine–none of which Bennet had until last January, or has in any depth now.  (Most of his money has come from out-of-state–Daddy’s rich friends and the Old School Ties presumably swung into action for him, to the tune of $900,000!)  Continue reading

"LOL! You're fat!" Self-hating self-promotion and the future of the G.O.P.


Meghan McCain

24 year-old Meghan McCain was one of the few bright spots of her father John McCain’s presidential campaign last year, and she’s deeply concerned about what she sees as the Republican party’s lack of message for young people.  (And personally, I think she’s right–although it’s not like the Democrats have all that many prominent young leaders in their camp, either.)  Well, 44 year-old talk radio host Laura Ingraham has decided that a trenchant critique of Megan McCain’s ideas is beyond her, so she has resorted to name-calling, as in, McCain is “too plus sized to be a cast member on the television show The Real World.”  Nice.  Well, this is what you get when you advance the eminently sane argument that Ann Coulter is a nutter, not to mention an ineffective spokesperson for selling the G.O.P. to the younger generation:  ” I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. . . . if figureheads like Ann Coulter are turning me off, then they are definitely turning off other members of my generation as well. She. . . appeal[s] to the most extreme members of the Republican Party—but they are dying off, becoming less and less relevant to the party structure as a whole.” 

McCain is correct–the G.O.P. has a major youth problem, and based on conversations with my students, jumping up and down about gay marriage and Bill Clinton’s sex life in the 1990s is, shall we say, not the way to go, my friends.  The majority of people in their twenties don’t even understand, let along share, the animosity towards gay people and gay marriage that motivates the older end of the Republican base, and please recall–even 29 year-olds today were only eighteen when Clinton was impeached.  For better or worse, they just don’t care about the signal event that made the careers of right-wing pundits like Ingraham and Coulter.  Continue reading

A tale of two Senators

“Senator G” was appointed to the Senate by hir state’s governor because the previous Senator was invited to join the Obama cabinet.  Ze is white, 42 years old, is the parent of two children, was twice elected to congress, and has a public record of hir votes on the issues of the day.  What kind of coverage does Senator G get in the mainstream press?  Ze is called “Tracy Flick,” “unpopular among peers,” and anonymous sources are sniping at hir, saying that ze is known for “aggressiveness and self-confidence,” which alienates peers and senior colleagues who believe ze is “trying to leap-frog up the seniority ladder.”

“Senator B” was appointed to the Senate by hir state’s governor because the previous Senator was invited to join the Obama cabinet.  Ze is white, 44 years old, the parent of three children, has never held elective office but has held several jobs won through family and old school connections, and is a complete cipher as to hir positions on the issues of the day.  What kind of coverage does Senator B get in the mainstream press?  When ze held an “open house” to “get to know” people–because ze has never, ever campaigned or won a single vote in hir lifetime–a local paper reported that “the senator was mobbed by well-wishers delivering congratulations as well as citizens with concerns they wanted [B] to hear. A table of brownies and cookies disappeared during the first hour of the three hour event.Continue reading

New York is saved, but is Colorado ready for a Senator with Locust Valley Lockjaw?

Kirsten Gillibrand will be New York’s next Senator–well done, Governor Patterson.  As for Colorado:  You be the judge.  (Scroll down to hear the interview of January 19, 2009, “Michael Bennet Gears Up for the U.S. Senate.”)

Bennet continues to be the beneficiary of awesome press.  Gee, I wonder if a Latino or Latina with his background would be given such a free pass?  Not really, I don’t–because of course, there are no Latin@s with his background–not until Latin@s are presidents of most prestigious colleges and universities, dominate the financial sector, are an overwhelming majority in all three branches of the federal government, and can steer their children successfully in following in their footsteps as the ruling elite.

Last night on 30 Rock, Tracy Morgan’s character had a funny line about “white myths,” such as the notion that diet is causally related to diabetes, “or Colorado.”  Well, Colorado’s ruling class is a white reality.  Governor Bill Ritter:  keeping Colorado safe for white male privilege!  With Dems like this, who needs Republicans?

CK nixes Senate bid to attend to ailing uncle


Seriously?  Why not the “I need to spend these last few years at home with my teenaged children” excuse?  (Via Valhalla at Corrente.)  Here’s the key graph in the New York Times article:

On Wednesday she called Gov. David A. Paterson, who will choose a successor to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her concerns about Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s deteriorating health (he was hospitalized after suffering a seizure during President Obama’s inaugural lunch on Tuesday ) prompted her decision to withdraw, this person said. Coping with her uncle’s condition was her most important priority, a situation not conducive to starting a high profile public job.

Whatever.  Senator Kennedy has a wife, he lives in Virginia and Massachusetts, and he doesn’t have any minor children to look after, so I’m unclear about the services that Caroline Kennedy thinks she might might offer him.  What does “coping with her uncle’s condition” involve?  I suppose if that’s a deal breaker for you, then you really shouldn’t be in the Senate.  (Hey–Gerald Ford was President while his wife was seriously impaired, and John Edwards pursued his latest White House bid after wife Elizabeth’s cancer recurred.  What’s so rough about an ailing out-of-town uncle?)

UPDATE, 1/22/09:  Hey–don’t complain to me!  Senator Kennedy doesn’t like the fact that he’s being used as an excuse by his niece, either.  (Via The Daily Beast.)

UPDATE, 1/22/09, evening:  Aaaaannd, amateur hour just rolls on and on, doesn’t it?  I can’t believe this.  (And yes, I’m talking about Gov. Patterson as well as Kennedy!  Please, everyone:  tell “your people” to STFU already.)

Daughters and political dynasties


Like his two immediate predecessors in the U.S. Presidency, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Barack Obama is the father of daughters and only of daughters.  In fact, there are now (at least as of Tuesday) six U.S. Presidents since World War II who were the fathers of daughters only:  Harry S Truman (Margaret), Lyndon Johnson (Lynda and Luci), Richard Nixon (Tricia and Julie), Bill Clinton (Chelsea), George W. Bush (Barbara and Jenna), and Barack Obama (Sasha and Malia).  The other six postwar presidents–Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush–all had children of both sexes.  None had Only Eisenhower had boys only, and only one (Bush) has sons with prominent careers in electoral politics.  (I suppose radio talk show host Michael Reagan is in politics, loosely speaking, but I’m talking here about involvement in electoral politics.)  Am I missing anyone in this list? 

We’ve only had two presidents whose sons also became president.  (And look how that worked out for us, with Mr. Worst and Mr. Second Worst President ever!)  Longtime readers know that I am opposed to nepotism and the creation of American aristocracies, but I recognize that wealth and a famous name are highly useful in launching a career in politics.  I wonder who the first daughter will be to follow her father into the White House?  (Or her mother?  Nah.  Not in my lifetime!)  A few of the women listed above have been active in politics because they married into political families–Julie Nixon Eisenhower is married to David Eisenhower, the grandson of the President after whom Camp David was named.  One married a politician:  Lynda Bird Johnson Robb is married to Chuck Robb, a former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator.  But no daughters have chosen to become pols.  Most seem to cherish private life after their parents leave the White House.