“[It’s] a culture that values rap and destruction of community values more than it does poetry.”
Tim MurphyJan. 7, 2014 1:40 PM
In a promotional segment for his Christian conservative radio program, Right Side Radio, Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel blamed rising gun violence on a "hip-hop" culture that "values rap and destruction of community values more than it does poetry."
The comments were featured in a teaser for the program, which McDaniel hosted from 2004 to 2007, and recently flagged by the politics blog Darkhorse Mississippi. McDaniel, a state senator who has the backing of prominent tea party and conservative groups, is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran in June's Republican primary.
"The reason Canada is breaking out with brand new gun violence has nothing to do with the United States and guns," McDaniel said in this promotional sampler for his syndicated radio show. "It has everything to do with a culture that is morally bankrupt. What kind of culture is that? It's called hip-hop."
On Tuesday, Ohio businessman Ted Stevenot will announce he would challenge Gov. John Kasich in May's Republican primary. Stevenot is, by his own admission, a relative newcomer to state politics and has not run for a major office before. His main credential prior to entering the race was his 10-month stint as president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a statewide network of tea party groups. The OLC's agenda tracks closely with similar tea party groups in other states: It opposes the Common Core natural curriculum standard, it worries that the state's elected Republicans are too soft on President Obama, and it likes guns.
But the group has a habit of expressing its views in inflammatory ways. A photo posted to its Facebook page (see above) last January, shortly before Stevenot took over, compares Obama to a collection of notorious dictators, including Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler, because of their shared habit of occasionally appearing in photos with children. Another image recommends using assault rifles against "the people who try to take them away"—in this case, the federal government:
Ohio Liberty Coalition/Facebook
And here's the president of the United States, after being punched in the face:
Ohio Liberty Coalition/Facebook
Stevenot has accused Kasich of being too close to Obama, because the governor used federal funding to expand the state's Medicaid program. He's not leaving himself open to a similar charge.
In Michigan, "foreclosure king" David Trott is vying to unseat former Santa impersonator Kerry Bentivolio. Let the reindeer games begin.
Tim MurphyJan. 6, 2014 10:34 AM
In a year where business-friendly Republicans are lining up to challenge tea party renegades, the GOP primary in Michigan's 11th District defies political convention. In one corner is freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio—a former Santa impersonator and reindeer rancher who was elected almost by accident last fall after the five-term incumbent abruptly quit. In the other is David Trott, a lawyer who has been dubbed the "foreclosure king" of a state in which 38 percent of mortgages are underwater.
"It's one of the oddest primaries probably in the country," says Bill Ballenger, a former Republican state senator who runs the site Inside Michigan Politics.
If Bentivolio is Santa, Trott's political rivals are working to frame the challenger as something closer to Scrooge. "Whether or not we want to make an issue of it, his record is representing most of the major Wall Street banks and kicking people out of homes in the district," says Bentivolio's campaign manager, David Wolkinson. "I mean, this is where he made his money."
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the federal government is covering the vast majority of the cost of expanding Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance program for poor people, pregnant women, and infants. But conservatives in 24 states have blocked the program's expansion—and taken aim at anyone who breaks with the party line. Their newest target: Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who went around the state legislature last year to cover 275,000 more Ohioans. On Thursday, Ted Stevenot, the former president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a tea party group, announced he would take on Kasich in the May gubernatorial primary, provided he can collect 1,000 signatures by the end of the month. Per the Huffington Post:
Stevenot sent out a release late Wednesday night saying he would hold a press conference Jan. 7 in Columbus to make a "major announcement" concerning his candidacy. The announcement also noted that Brenda Mack of Canfield, Ohio, will be his running mate as lieutenant governor. She is the former president of the Ohio Black Republicans Association and the current president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation Ohio Chapter.
As my colleague Andy Kroll noted in May, conservative unrest over Kasich has been brewing for a while, with tea partiers even going so far as to threaten to form their own party to oppose him. But President Barack Obama won Ohio twice, and Kasich's signature anti-union legislation was soundly defeated at the polls. That puts the governor in a bind as he heads into what was already expected to be a tough re-election fight next fall.
Still, Stevenot isn't exactly Grover Norquist. The tea party leader has no political experience and only a very short history of political activism. At last count, had just 17 followers on Twitter. The big news here might not be that Kasich finally got a primary challenge—it's that the primary challenger is (at first glance, at least) so underwhelming.
Many words were spoken in 2013. Not all of them were created equal. Here is a brief, but by no means complete, guide to the words and phrases (and symbols, and parts of speech) we'd like to retire in 2014.
Please print this out and post it to your refrigerator or cubicle wall for convenient access.
"#." R.I.P., early Twitter feature. We'll bury you next to your friend, the FourSquare check-in.
adverbs. Ban all adverbs. They're mostly just gulp words, really.
"controversial tweet." There's just no way to make this sound dignified, and besides, it leads to think pieces.
"derp." It's been an emotional ride, but it's time to send this one off on the ice floe.
"disrupt." Luxury car apps aren't disruptive.
"Donald Trump is considering a run for…" No, he's not. He just isn't. And if you'd like to get him unearned publicity, you should at least get some stock options out of it.
"doubled down." Unless the candidate did it while biting into a delicious sandwich, let's just say the candidate "reaffirmed his/her position" on transportation funding or burrito drones or whatever we'll be discussing in 2014.
"...favorited a tweet you were mentioned in." No one has ever wanted to know this.
"gaffe." It's going to be a long-enough election year as it is.
"game-changer." What you're describing probably won't change the game. But if it does, would you want to spoil the moment with a cliche?
"Guy Fieri." What if we all decided to just never mention him again? Would he disappear?
"hashtag." This refers to the spoken utterance of the word "hashtag," often accompanied by air-quotes. People can see you doing this.
"hipster." Wearing glasses is not something people do because they're hipsters; it's something people do because they're nearsighted. People don't drink hot chocolate because it's a hipster thing to do; they drink hot chocolate because it's literally liquid chocolate. Yes, I wrote "literally." That's what happens when you use a word so casually and carelessly in think pieces as to render it meaningless.