Marco Rubio: The Eddie Haskell of Republican Politics

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (L) is interviewed by National Journal's Major Garrett during the Washington Ideas forum, at The Newseum in Washington October 5, 2011. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR2S9FR

I didn’t really grow up in the South, but then again, neither did Marco Rubio. (As all good geographers know, Miami is officially somewhere in the Middle Atlantic, in an indeterminate and ever-shifting place between Metuchen and Washington Heights, like the island from LOST.) But we both know the quintessentially Southern importance of good manners and due deference to elders. Marco is the Student Body Vice President who comes over and charms your mom by saying, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Cummings. You have a lovely home.” Which is why he can’t really be brought to say a bad word about a certain Manhattan real estate billionaire—“I’ve made a decision here with Donald Trump, you … [Read more...]

Transforming the Military Amidst Austerity: The 1970s and the All Volunteer Army in Jennifer Mittelstadt’s The Rise of the Military Welfare State (Part I)

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In 1974, in the wake of the nation’s retreat from Vietnam and the institution of the all volunteer military, President Gerald Ford and Congress agreed to end the long-standing G.I. Bill. It cost too much, critics suggested, particularly in an era of austerity. Moreover, veterans no longer needed it. In the context of a volunteer force, many argued, soldiers would make careers of the military and the adjustment to civilian life in peace time would not be so severe as to warrant the costly provisions of the bill. Needless to say, army leaders sharply disagreed, warning that the number and quality of recruits would decline. “I told you I could make the volunteer army work, but I never told you … [Read more...]

Dropping the Ball: The Problem With Sports Imagery in Political Campaigns

spiking the political football

The National Football League playoffs began this weekend, concluding with the Super Bowl on February 7th; conveniently sandwiched between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries. Competition and high drama are sure to ensue in each setting. The nexus between sports and politics is strong. For many, politics is sport -- complete with winners and losers. Yet, the stakes are so much higher in the political arena and unlike the NFL playoffs, over 200 million Americans actually get to participate in elections across the country. However, citizens are woefully ill-prepared to do so. Much of that blame is due to the candidates themselves and the simplistic imagery they use to frame policy … [Read more...]

Reagan Country in the Era of Donald Trump

Barry Goldwater Campaign Pamphlet 1965 courtesy William A Rusher Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Fifty years ago this coming November, Ronald Reagan emerged victorious over incumbent Governor Pat Brown in the 1966 California Gubernatorial race. Reagan trounced Brown by nearly one million votes, securing large majorities in Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California. Some 400,000 Democrats defected from their party to cast votes for Reagan, and he carried his fellow Republican candidates to office. “Virtually every GOP candidate for state and local office rode to power on his coattails,” wrote one of his most controversial biographers, Edmund Morris.[1] The 1966 gubernatorial victory set into motion what would be one of the most influential political movements of the twentieth … [Read more...]

Callbacks, Memes, & Guilty Pleasures: The Rest of the Best 2015

Dekalb County GA govt; but it looks so pure ...

"All we can do is stand and leer at the distance of another year." As 2015 comes to a close, ToM's writers provide that last, merciful blast of best of's from historical callbacks to new discoveries of older things, we aim to bring you info about life you really don't need. Charles Lee Best historical callback: The hysteria around terrorism and reactionary violence against Muslim-Americans  evokes the tragic case of Japanese-American internment, the struggles of inclusive citizenship and the troublesome notion of the permanent alien. Favorite discovery: Hassle-free membership plans at the YMCA (take that fancy gyms).  And modular synths.  But not necessarily together. [Editor's note: I … [Read more...]

Turkey Day ToM style: Food, Drink and Cultural Politics on Thanksgiving

berry-strike

So the last couple months haven’t been easy. International terrorism in Paris and Beirut along with the domestic variant in the U.S. (yes, shooting five people at a Black Lives Matter protest counts as does the slaughter of innocent church goers in Charleston, SC this summer to namely only two incidents), the first stages of a brutal (in nearly every way) 2016 election that promises to only get more debased, and well, Donald Trump. Be sure to throw in a depressing debate about Syrian refugees that seems like history is stuck in an endless hamster wheel of miserable repetition (see WWII and Jewish refugees and the Vietnamese in the late 1970s for two examples or you know the whole birth of … [Read more...]

Beyond the Valley: Demography, Failed Secession and Urban Politics in San Fernando Valley

Map of proposed San Fernando Valley Secession | Image: LA Almanac/Valley VOTE

When one thinks of San Fernando Valley, visions of ranch home subdivisions, shopping malls, and valley girls bound about the mind. In the second episode of season three of Entourage, "A Day in the Valley", Vince and his idiot chorus get trapped in SFV during a debilitating heat wave that threatens to undermine the success of his big action feature "Aquaman." The tone of despair present in the crew's intonation of "the Valley" says it all. More recently, the Comedy Central series "Workaholics" depicted the travails of three white stoners devoid of ambition, but not bong hits. Does anyone even remember the dizzy, faux documentary stylings of the 1990s Showtime series "Sherman Oaks"? In … [Read more...]

If Your Debate Lasts for More than Four Hours, Please Contact Your Doctor

It's love!

“I'm all lost in the supermarket/I can no longer shop happily/I came in here for that special offer/A guaranteed personality - “Lost in the Supermarket”, The Clash from London Calling In the marketplace of retail politics, all we’ve received in this early election season is “guaranteed personality,” lots of flopsweat—I’m looking at you Rubio and O’Malley—and dubious personality—need I even point fingers for the latter? If “Lost in the Supermarket” served as a sort of platonic love song from Joe Strummer to Mick Jones (Strummer wrote the lyrics, Jones arranged the music), the closest thing we got last night was Bernie Sanders’s cry in the night regarding Hillary’s modern correspondence: … [Read more...]

Congressional Conflicts: 50 Years since Hart Celler, the Long Arc of Legislative Immigration Politics

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In a recent New York Times editorial, Nicolas Kristof returned to an old saw, one he visited in 2006: the Asian American Model Minority paradigm/stereotype/myth (the latter part all depends on your individual inclination). Needless to say, a white guy wading into such waters elicited some reactions, both in 2006 and over the weekend. Anyone following prominent Asian American academics – Ellen Wu, Erika Lee, Arissa Oh, among others on Twitter could gauge that reactions were less than favorable: Lee even appeared on NPR to discuss the matter of immigration and “Model Minority” tropes over the weekend. During the roughly three and half minute discussion, the University of … [Read more...]

The Orange Menace and the Angry Snowman: A Cautionary Tale

I'm with menopausal

“Borderline/Feels like I'm going to lose my mind/You just keep on pushing my love/Over the borderline,” sang Madonna in the Gen X 1980s classic. In so many ways, last night’s GOP debate epitomized the Material Girl’s 1983 dilemma. Whether it was Mike Huckabee’s work as a bassist in a J. Geils cover band (“My Angel is a centerfold”… named Kim Davis), Teddy Cruz’s bizarre pronunciation of Ayatollah Khamenei—it sounded like Common Knee, who I am pretty sure was a Native American leader in colonial times—or Jeb! Bush’s uncanny Will Ferrell impersonation, the Republican candidates seemed to cross borders real and imagined all night. The orgiastic love fest for the late Ronald Reagan edged ever … [Read more...]

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