I bet Rick Santorum is a very happy man right now.
Not only is he being treated like a rock star at this week’s CPAC conference, the big conservative political action committee get together, but President Barack Obama’s inept handling of the contraceptive rule for the Affordable Care Act just handed Santorum a big platform on which to really distinguish himself, not just from the incumbent, but from the GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney, whose record on contraceptive mandates more closely mirrors the president’s.
In fact, Romneycare’s mandates on contraceptives were exactly like Obamacare’s before this new compromise -- no matter that Romney is now decrying the Obama rules as “an attack on religious freedom.”
I bet Rick Santorum is a very happy man right now.
Same sex marriage is on the way to the Supreme Court, thanks to California’s 9th Circuit Court. The ruling, though, is super narrow -- it’s unlikely to create a federal right to same sex marriage. More likely, it’s going to allow states to continue the march toward same sex marriage equality and to create greater barriers to referendums rescinding legislature-approved same sex marriage laws.
One of the most curious things to come out of the Florida primary (where Mitt Romney won with less than 50 percent of the vote but somehow regained his inevitability), is the Republican version of the DREAM Act. Be certain that that as the GOP primaries wander into states with greater Latino and other immigrant populations, Romney and the others still running for president on the Republican ticket will be trotting this sucker out as evidence of their embrace of immigrants.
The big difference between the Republican proposal and the original DREAM Act? The GOP bill would grant legal residency to undocumented young people only through military service. It completely eliminates the option of gaining residency by going to college and earning a degree.
In fact, the Republican take on the DREAM Act is a game of mirrors, pure politics at the expense of the disfranchised. Most importantly, the GOP version is fundamentally unnecessary because citizenship for immigrants serving in the armed forces is already law in the United States.
How did this all happen? Well, in the first Florida debate, Newt Gingrich said he’d support a military-option version.
Occupy Wall Street may have started out as a global movement but, in the last few months, as numerous encampments became embroiled in turf wars that were more and more local in nature, it began to look as if some of the movement’s more agglutinating issues were getting diluted. Occupy Oakland, which is practically engaged in hand to hand combat with Mayor Jean Quan, seemed the poster child for this kind of parochial diffusion.
Last Saturday night, rioting broke out again in Oakland. On face value, it seemed the same as before: protestors trying to maintain a foothold on public space as an aggressive and widely discredited police force used excessive -- almost gleefully excessive force -- to keep them out.
Every single time a Republican primary rolls around, it’s the real test. Remember Iowa? It was going to separate the wheat from the chaff. But all it really did was get rid of Michelle Bachmann (not a small thing, but no one believes that was all the chaff).
Then came New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney -- under the illusion he’d won Iowa -- was going to make it two in a row, score a historic precedent, and prance to the nomination. New Hampshire was a test of money -- who had it, who didn’t. And all it really proved was that Jon Huntsman couldn’t get his dad to give him more of his millions to prop up his campaign (a campaign that was never, not once, about 2012).
Then there was South Carolina, where the strong, evangelical Republican base was going to take every sinner to church. And what that proved was that Newt Gingrich may be a Catholic convert, but he’s probably got a really powerful babalao in Miami. Only black magic can explain Gingrich’s continued dark rising.
Yesterday should have been Rick Santorum’s day.
The Iowa Republican Party, though desperate to make his rival, Mitt Romney, the official certified winner of its caucuses had to cough up that, in fact, it looked like Santorum had won.
“Resistance to giving me the birth certificate,” I texted my wife Tuesday from the brightly lit basement office of Cook County’s Office of Vital Records.
I was there to pick up our son’s official papers, vital for a million real world things, like a passport.
“Like they won’t give it to you?” she texted back.
“Correct,” I texted.
We’d heard a few stories of same sex couples getting the wrong info on their child’s birth certificate, but not about anyone having the document denied.
And that wasn’t exactly what was happening. But there seemed to be a hitch in releasing the document to me.
I’d arrived at the county offices, read a couple of chapters of a book while waiting in line, and had had a very conventional interaction until just before I’d texted my wife.
A funny thing is happening to Mitt Romney on his way to Florida: ¡He is becoming so aware of Latino voters, that he’s practically becoming Latino himself!
Oh, wait, amigos -- ¡Mitt is suddenly so Latino that he’s eligible for Mexican citizenship!
¿You think I’m kidding?
Although up to now about the only time he’s mentioned Latinos is to say NO (a word conveniently the same in both English and Spanish), in one of his last appearances in New Hampshire, ¡he dropped the little known fact that his dad was born in Mexico!
Yup, suddenly, Romney’s so one of us, he’s even spawned a pinche parody @MexicanMitt Twitter account (¡coño, broderrrrrr ... ! [Okay, fine, that's a little Caribbean ...]).
Honest, carnales, I’m not making this up. See, Mitt’s dad, the estimable George, was born in a Mormon colony in Mexico that had been established when the U.S.