After yesterday’s post on Ashley Judd, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Mitch The Turtle’s seat up for election in 2014, I feel I owe you guys some background.
I live in northern Kentucky, just across the river from Cincy. KY-4 is depressingly red. My Congressman, Thomas Massie, is an extremely intelligent, MIT-educated, award-winning engineer. This means I know he’s smart enough to realize exactly what he’s doing when he sees fit to crack jokes about snow hampering DC climate change hearings, and he thinks Rand Paul and Justin Amash are the most awesome people ever because FREEDOM and LIBERTY. And as he’s only five years older than my 37, he’s probably going to end up my Representative for a very, very long time. In an alternate universe where the guy decided to not stick with the party of Luddite assclowns, I’d be honored to have someone like that in Congress representing me. Instead, he uses his powers for suck and awful. That’s got me down about the state of Kentucky politics.
Then throw in Rand Paul and Mitch, a Dem Governor who gives $60 million in tax breaks to a giant ark theme park that will probably crash and burn within the first couple years, and a bunch of other Democrats who know McConnell is vulnerable as hell and who are still too afraid of him to even attempt to run, and the fact that the only person even considering running (who happens to be the daughter of the state’s awful former Dem chair who basically put all these Blue Dogs in Kentucky in the first place) would be slightly to the left of Joe Manchin on her best day, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty depressed Zandar.
Yes, if Alison Lundergan Grimes gets the nomination, I’m backing her against Mitch 100%. I want him gone for all the reasons several of you pointed out in the comments yesterday. Any D is better than effing Mitch McConnell. I’m just bummed out because it’s the best (and looking like the only) shot we have against Mitch, and I know we could have done better. And yes, I believe Ashley Judd would have gotten her clock cleaned for the reasons I listed yesterday. Short of Mitch going the full Todd Akin with some Larry Craig on top, he’s going to most likely win re-election by double digits. He’s too smart of a political animal to make a moronic mistake like that.
I will proudly cast my vote for whatever Dem rises to the challenge to take on Mitch. I will volunteer for them and man the phone banks and help out in what ways I can on the ground here. But some days it feels like shouting into a black hole. I’ll persevere, because it’s the only way anything’s going to change for the better. It just pisses me off that we’re not doing everything we can here to maximize our opportunity against Mitch, that’s all.
The Other Bob
Judd might have lost, but the sexist shit that would have flowed from the McConnell supporters would have helped Dems nationally – again.
It would have been awesome.
Maybe now would be a good time to release those photos of Mitch and his rent boys.
Is Conway persona non grata for losing to Rand Paul in 2010? I thought, given that he was running as a Democrat in a red state during a Republican wave, he ran about as close as could have been expected. Would he be better than Lundergan Grimes as a Senator?
Bighorn Ordovian Dolomite
Zandar, all the reasons you cite are pretty valid, but maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that at least you’ll make the sad cartoon turtle work for it. And the reactionaries can’t be strong everywhere. Maybe diverting someresources to keep McConnel in makes it slightly more likely that they lose their grip on MIchele Bachman’s seat, or something.
GOod luck man.
But but but progressive change requires that we nominate someone who will lose by 25 points.
Just Some Fuckhead
Kentucky is like the Alabama without any of the redeeming qualities.
@The Other Bob: Do you really think any woman wants to be a sacrifice on the altar of the Democrats? The same ones who run away scared whenever Mitch the Turtle whines?
Keep fighting the good fight, my man, we’d all like to see the turtle retired to the swamp (AEI, probably).
And don’t be too sure your engineer congresscritter isn’t blinded by hubris. I’ve worked with engineers most of my career and there’s a significant cohort who believe that because they can design a pipeline (or…) they’re also a scientist, dietician, neurosurgeon, astrophysicist, whatevs. And a sub-cohort are fucking misanthropes (i.e., libertarians), which is why they became engineers to begin with. They’re the ones who get the VP slots and stock option buyouts with each acquisition.
The rest are perfectly reasonable people, and understand the need to hire scientists to do the sciency things.
I feel you. Last time the Republicans redistricted, I ended up with Darrell Issa. Ugh. I keep calling and emailing his office; I never get a human being on the phone and I never get an answer to any emails.
They’re not my favorite politicians, but why aren’t Chandler and Beshear eyeing the Senate?
I’m a fan of Ashely Judd and I would have loved to see her run and shake shit up over there.
However, the most damning thing I’ve seen yet were the accounts of her not being POLITICAL enough: schmoozing, talking to people, walking around shaking hands, trying to make direct eye contact with every person she comes within a mile of.
THAT is what wins elections. Politics is a full-contact sport. It’s one-on-one, retail, etc. It’s about PEOPLE, individual people, not issues. I’m damn glad that Elizabeth Warren got this, and continues to get it. Obama is almost by definition the best at this around today (duh, he’s got the top political job in the country; that’s no accident). Bush, as noxious as he was in so many other ways, was supremely talented at press-the-flesh politics. And Bubba, who swooped in to put an end to the Judd candidacy and clearly knows the score, is perhaps the gold standard master of this art. Never seen anyone who is better at straight-up politicking than Big Dog. Breathtaking.
So that’s why I have to say, oh well. Sucks that there’s going to be another DLC DINO to deal with, but that’s what it is.
The key here, if you don’t like the blue dogs, is to CHANGE THE PEOPLE WHO ELECT THEM. You can’t change the candidates. Voters get the candidates they deserve. You can educate the VOTERS to help them make better choices, however. Candidates do NOT do that. Activists do that.
So I’d say, if you’re stuck in KY or somewhere with a DINO, the misson is to educate your neighbors, helping them understand why, for example, tax cuts for the rich only make the rich richer, the earth was not created 5000 years ago, the planet is warming due to burning fossil fuels, and, most importantly, well-funded, top-notch public education is necessary in order for democracy to work at all. Because, your democracy is only as good as the education level of its voters.
Zandar, why the apology? This blog thrives on the left-center debate. Cole is the best at it. The thread was lively, that’s not a bad thing.
Watch Mitch get taken down by some State Assembly Bozo who thinks we should arm kindergartners to shoot evolutionists.
The GOP victory will only be low single digits.
Run Raylan Givens.
Can we enlist the grandkids of Duncan Hines? Doesn’t everyone enjoy cake?
Stupid, if your judgement is correct, would be a lot less scary here. Please tell me he’s a Dem sleeper agent.
My nephew and his wife are your neighbors, Zandar. And I used to go to Marydale for a writers’ conference every year. I’ve been in your neighborhood.
What’s amazing to me is how much this landscape has changed. This used to be farm country. Rich, fertile land where people grew crops and had cattle. This is what it was until fairly recently. But no more. Now it’s one gigantic fucking Amazon warehouse and transportation hub. Everything paved over and covered in these low concrete buildings to serve the bazillions of semitrailers that cart goods all around the country.
I have to think that a lot of what you see happening politically up there is in response to this massive change.
I live in Fuquay-Varina NC. My congressperson is Renee Elmers..
Could be worse buddy…
I know several engineers, who are big time climate change deniers. They think they know enough to point out all the flaws in the models, without realizing the basic underlying science of more CO2 in the atmosphere means greater Greenhouse effect.
If you said he was a geologist, marine biologist or some other field related to earth sciences, I can see how that would be shocking.
If you tell me a physicist or engineer is a climate change denier, I’m not at all surprised, they know enough to feel they are justified in being contrary to the folks in earth sciences.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
From what I understand, Ben Carson is a brilliant pediatric surgeon, and that ER arc with Glenne Hedley taught me that that’s the most difficult kind of surgery, and he’s a Creationist who in all blank-faced, calm sincerity equated gay rights advocates with NAMBLA.
And, while I don’t know Kentucky, I’m persuaded that an Ashley Judd run was a liberal bubble bowl of hope soup.
Of course you’ll support the Dem. You have to. But serious question: What Dem would be better? Who would have a chance in 2014 Kentucky?
Ted & Hellen
Pretty good, general definition of blind tribalism. The party itself doesn’t give two shits, but you personally are going to work your ass off. Why, exactly? To what end, other than making yourself feel good in a sort of “emo” way that is roundly mocked here as applied to your perceived enemies.
Oh well…have fun.
The Other Bob
Oh FSM no, but let’s face it, when the inevitable assholish and hypocritical comments came up about her posing nude and other stuff, we’d all watch with glee as the polls showed a widened gender gap nationally.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@The Other Bob: as Don Young showed, the haters can’t keep their hate contained, ’cause they don’t know it’s hatred and stupidity. See also, Mitch McConnell’s crack about Hillary as a “Golden Girl”, for which he also gets props for keepin’ it hep for the kids. Maybe Dennis Miller wrote it for him.
The problem is that no one in the Dem/lib universe has ever made the slightest effort to expand the universe of liberals into the red states. I’m not saying you could flip Kentucky. I am saying that it ought to be possible to get the percentage of red-state white people who vote R down below 90%.
Even a lot of red-state white people believe in raising the minimum wage and raising taxes on the rich and fixing infrastructure and having universal gun background checks. Hell, some of ’em even support gay marriage. They came around to our side on Iraq. Does anyone have any ideas how to get them to reconsider mandatory white Republicanism?
@Just Some Fuckhead:
Au contraire mon frère; you can take away my small-batch bourbon after you pry my cold, dead fingers off of the empty bottle.
Grimes would be better served running for the open seat in 2016- Rand can’t run for president and senate at the same time- I’m sure he figures he’s too big for the Senate anyway. She could win that race. Ashley would have at least opened up the dialogue, which now runs from good ol boy conservative to right wing. For now? I don’t see anyone. Crit’s talking governor, and Ben Chandler? Well, can’t say he doesn’t deserve the humiliation of another beat down.
He’s an engineer, not a scientist. You presume things about him and fail to understand that being an MIT-trained engineer doesn’t mean he’s liberal. In fact, I’d say engineers tend to run to the conservative side. Very hide-bound and traditional-values kind of people who think life and society have the same certainties as the mechanical universe in which they practice their craft.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
I grew up in the district Justin Amash now represents. At least he actually stupid enough to actually believe all that Randian hogwash, rather than smart enough to be able to tell what’s what if he wanted to. But still, I’m pretty bummed that he got re-elected, even though I don’t live there anymore.
He was too radical for the 2010 Congress and didn’t get any funding from the RNC, advocates moronic Randian policies, and yet, he still won in a walk. Doesn’t say much in favor of the electorate in those parts.
@Steve M.: this is basically what has happened to republicans in California. Outside of a few remaining strongholds, they’ve got no chance and they know it – especially with the new jungle primary.
But rebuilding the party infrastructure and convincing people to vote for someone they otherwise wouldn’t takes a lot of time, energy, and effort. And probably more than one or two election cycles too. It can be done, sure, but there don’t seem to be too many career types willing to do the heavy lifting. So instead we talk about red states and blue states that each side gets to take for granted and a few purple states that will decide all thugs going forward
Thanks for clearing that up. :D
I too get frustrated with mewling Blue Dog Dems, but anything would be better than McConnell or another Repub of his ilk.
A very shrewd comment, thanks. Especially insightful: “You can educate the VOTERS to help them make better choices, however. Candidates do NOT do that. Activists do that.”
By their commitment, focus, sometimes even physical courage, activists are the agents of change on whichever social/economic battle one chooses to wage. Of course, their efforts may be for ill as well as good.
Unfortunately, progressive activists are almost entirely excluded from or caricatured by corporate media platforms which can be powerfully effective means by which to educate voters.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Ben Carson was just on the Mrs. Greenspan show and he tried to apologize by saying that he thinks we gays and lesbians should be allowed to freely enter into contracts. That’s mighty big of him.
On Kentucky, I’m not even hopeful. That state’s politics has gone South ever since the heroic Dee Huddleston got thrown out. The best we can hope for is that Mitch gets beaten in his primary by a fire-breathing teabagger and that the Dems nominate someone who can win statewide.
On calling my congressman, he’s Mike Quigley, who’s an excellent down-the-line Obamabot, so there’s no need. I suppose I could call Mark Kirk, but I doubt if it would make much difference.
@Mary G: Yep, me too. I live in a gorgeous part of a gorgeous state and Darrell Issa’s my rep. I’m supposed to call Sen. Boxer, Sen. Feinstien and Darrell freakin’ Issa and urge them to support background checks? However, we at least have some real potential to send Mr. Issa off to K Street to join Brian Bilbray, FSM willing.
@Stella B.: Wait…Issa’s vulnerable??
@Stella B.: Your lips to FSM’s ears, as they kind of say. Kentucky is one thing, but it’s embarrassing to live near the coast of California amongst all the alleged liberal elites and still have one of these raving loons as our congresscritter.
ETA: I haven’t heard that Issa is vulnerable, but I am having coffee tomorrow morning with a friend who has been a Democratic activist for years without ever electing anyone and I am going to ask her how I can help. The problem is that there is a massive military presence between the Marines at Camp Pendleton and the navy in San Diego that tends to vote red all the way. Issa has been pretty much cruising at around 60/40 without breaking a sweat that I can see. Of course, 2012 was my first election with him, but there was absolutely no advertising or mailing or other campaigning at all where I live.
The Moar You Know
I got him too. I say this until I’m blue in the face: WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN. USE ACTUAL PAPER WITH WORDS ON IT. I’ve written his office three times now and they write back, promptly. Usually with a form letter telling me “get stuffed, commie”, but they do. Everytime.
Emailing a politician is literally the biggest waste of time you can indulge in.
Ted & Hellen Says:
Maybe not everybody…
@Jebediah: I LIKE PIE!!
I live in N.KY. too and feel your pain. I never thought of Massie as all that bright. He seems like the kind of asshole who thinks he knows about everything because he has a degree in something. His campaign ads were friggin disgusting and he reminded me of an over-earnest Amway salesman trying to get the foot into the door. Unfortunately for the Commonwealth, he mowed Conway down.
On another note, any chance for a NKY-Cincy area Balloon Juice meet-up?
There is a large chunk of techno-libertarians in the mass of the technically minded. And while they are certainly more than capable of actually looking at history and objective reality, they simply choose not to and instead truly believe the horseshit.
So while your rep is almost certainly capable of knowing better, he may legitimately believe what he’s saying. I’m not saying he necessarily does. I’m just saying I’ve met many of those people. So he very well might.
There are also the ones who will readily admit that in objective reality, their personal needs are far-more-aptly aligned and met with progressive policy than bible-thumping-bedroom-legislating-corporatism, but insist that only libertarian philosophical purity is acceptable — damn history and reality.
Yet these same people see no hypocrisy in using said argument to wave off progressive candidates and then turning around and promoting/voting for Republican candidates who give good libertarian lip service but have the nasty habit of voting party-line-republican.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
This made a lot more sense to me when I learned that a lot of engineering curricula have dropped the requirement for a semester of thermodynamics. For the ones who have had it, the magic words “increased energy in a closed system” did make the lightbulb flicker, dimly.
@Steve M.: I lived in Letcher County Kentucky from 1987-1992. My local paper, The Mountain Eagle, endorsed Jesse Jackson for president. KY was still full of union folks back then. I am pained to realize that things have changed.
Yeah, me too. It can be so round and delicious.
Massie gets regular hagiographies in what’s left of the Cincinnati Enquirer. (Seriously, it’s now the size of The Sporting News…except the sports in it are two days old.) There was a front page story last week, I think, where Massie waxed rhapsodic about being labeled “Mr. No” because of his stance towards all the “unconstitutional legislation” that Congress introduces.
During his debates with Bill Adkins in the runup to the election, Massie threw that “unconstitutional” word around a lot, although he provides no basis other than the literal words are not in the Constitution. It seems to be loosely translatable as “anything I don’t agree with.” I wish Adkins had gone full Inigo Montoya on him.
@gnomedad: Unlikely. I know this type through my work. Smart sure, but pampered and blind to their white male privilege (and often bearing grudges agains women, minorities), and particularly prone to glibertarian nonsense because the lack empathy (especially for people not exactly like them) and whenever they imagine a better world, it’s one where it is specifically better for *them*.
Another Halocene Human
My Congressman, Thomas Massie, is an extremely intelligent, MIT-educated, award-winning engineer. This means I know he’s smart enough to realize exactly what he’s doing when he sees fit to crack jokes about snow hampering DC climate change hearings, and he thinks Rand Paul and Justin Amash are the most awesome people ever because FREEDOM and LIBERTY.
To be fair, science is beyond the ken of most engineers I know (except for EE’s and some, SOME (SOME!!) PhD engineers). It would be nice if engineers sought science degrees undergrad and THEN apprenticed to an engineering firm instead of going for a less than useless engineering degree, but I digress. Engineering is a profession for dull boys who want to be able to afford nice cars but whose families don’t have the capital to send them to pay your way grad schools like architecture, lawyering (can’t get a job, anyway), or doctoring (or too dull for doctoringing). And who don’t want to work outside or with their hands or who fantasize about swinging their dick at all the people who rejected them in high school or picked them last for sports so becoming an engineer or plumber or carpenter (which has similar skill sets intellectually, just a totally different uniform, also uneven income but potential to overall do better financially, really depends on how things work out and how you manage your career), so that’s out.
But MIT has lots of science majors and lots of polymath undergrads (I mean, aside from the legacy admissions who stay drunk and wash out), so shame on them.
Climate science is not easy to grok, so if your science-fu is weak, I could easily see an engineer, whose major skillset consists of looking up experiential values in a giant table and plugging them in, and then abusing members of the public during mandatory public comment meetings, making dick-brained “hur hur snow means no global warming” jokes.
My dad is a climate scientist. I’ve been surrounded by “the controversy” my whole life. These dudes used Crays in the ’80s. They had to build their own fuckin’ computers in the ’90s. Just to model–MODEL–a halfway useful picture of the weather. Wars raged for years about the meaning of global climate data and what was causing the undeniable global mean temperature rises. This shit is hard. Of course, by the early 90’s the main global warming deniers were shills for the petroleum industry and many of the big unanswered questions were getting resolved scientifically. Yet if your source was the MSM it sounded like scientists were more divided than ever. What a joke.
Many engineers are rabid libertarians and consider themselves ‘skeptics’. Real skeptics have now termed this “denialism”, but you should have seen the shitshow when Skeptical Inquirer (the periodical that used to focus on people who claimed to bend spoons or hunt ghosts) did an issue on global climate change deniers.
Remember that huge list of “scientists” which was passed around denying AGW? Most of them were engineers.
An engineer’s training most certainly does NOT include the theoretical basis of what they do or looking at the big picture. It doesn’t include much modeling (I mean, I’m sure a few academic engineers do this… I understand there is a ground finally, FINALLY modeling traffic AND CHECKING THEIR WORK after, what, a hundred FUCKING years of hand-waving that it was just like water in a pipe, something engineers know tons about, humans driving cars in traffic NOT SO MUCH, I mean it involves HUMANS so that puts the engineers out of their element right there), it certainly doesn’t include that degree of math skills. (And don’t let aeronautics engineers lie and tell you otherwise. Although they must learn more physics than most.)
They don’t have the skillset to even evaluate what they’re hearing, but it would be bad news for their mode of employment (generally employed by growth/sprawl industries, also big polluters), so they have a vested interest in questioning it and enough intellectual small man syndrome (the women too) to use their credentials as a battering ram to shut up others.
At least others naive enough to think an engineering degree qualifies them to pontificate on climate science.
Also, too, never saw as much cheating in any academic environment as I did at engineering school. So even the credentials they have are a joke. Is it any surprise that for example in the last 18 months TWO Amtrak station projects executed by local governments have had to be reworked or rebuilt at great expense because these mental midgets could not figure out (freely available on the internet!!!) the width and length of an Amtrak Superliner consist. A 4th grader could handle the math involved. And these pukes have a computer to assist them. W. T. F.
Note: at one time a lot of buildings like that were built by skilled craftsmen. They tended to fuck up a lot less and their buildings looked 500% better. If you “professionalize” and then cosset this person in an office where they never get sunlight and they never interact with the people who will have to use the building and they have a standing grudge against the people who will build it and hate them and won’t talk to them… no wonder. No wonder at all.
///wow, that was a deep vein of rage
@Another Halocene Human:
I’d say the principles aren’t that hard to understand (unless you head is situated in a body cavity of negligible insolation), but the details are so complex that you pretty much have to be a pro to judge the evidence. I claim to be pretty scientifically literate, but every so often a paper will crop up that gets the deniers’ attention as a deal-breaker. I’ll try to be “open-minded” and look at it, and can find nothing wrong with it. Except if you’re a pro you’ve seen the argument a zillion times before and understand, in context, why it’s wrong. So my “shorter” is: I can explain the basic mechanisms to you, and the people who spend their professional lives examining the details agree that it’s happening.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Another Halocene Human: Wow, that WAS a deep vein of rage.
At one time, I would have argued that your characterization of engineering education is a fairly recent thing. I’m leaning more and more toward the belief that the university I started at, and that my husband graduated from, was unusual even for its time. They were fond of saying that the difference between a technician and an engineer is that the engineer understands the science behind that table of numbers. But then, we had to take the same 200-series physics as the physics majors.
Oh, and anyone who tells you they were supposed to model traffic like water through a pipe is talking out of their ass. We weren’t modeling traffic like that 25 years ago.
Oops, in my post above (#39) I wrote that Massie mowed Conway down. I should have written “Bill Adkins” instead of Conway.
The local rag, the Cincy Enquirer, tends to treat Massie like some kind of small govt. messiah without ever questioning his insistence that most of the bills he votes against are “unconstitutional.” What an enema-bag.