Ohio

The right’s sham Christianity: How an attack on John Kasich exposes the fraud

The right's sham Christianity: How an attack on John Kasich exposes the fraud

Gov. John Kasich (OH-R) | (Credit: AP/Tony Dejak)

Salon

Ohio’s GOP governor was the darling of the right — until he sought to help poor people, in the name of Christ

Could Republican Gov. John Kasich run for president? According to the Washington Post, he’s poised to, and he certainly seems to be among the better options out there, with the other obvious choices either clearly deranged (Ted Cruz) or totally uninterested (Mitt Romney). But conservatives have not been roundly pleased with Kasich, in part because he is evidently something of a committed Christian.

Last year, Kasich fought doggedly to expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio, extending healthcare to some 275,000 poor people. When queried as to why a conservative would push for expanded coverage, Kasich explained his reasoning thus:

“I had a conversation with one of the members of the legislature the other day. I said, ‘I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do, too. I also know that you’re a person of faith.  Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.’  ”

Conservative critics did not have a good answer. If Kasich’s challenge required a faith-based, well-reasoned critique of Medicaid to defend Republican animus, that wasn’t what it received. Instead, Kasich’s right-wing opponents produced a series of attacks that seemed straight out of the Richard Dawkins school of rhetoric. At RedState, for instance, Jason Hart complained that “Kasich leaned heavily on his Christian faith to push the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” and glossed over Kasich’s explanation of his Christian reasoning as: “anyone who opposes Medicaid expansion will have to answer for their opposition when they die.”

Of course, Kasich didn’t suggest that anyone who opposes Medicaid expansion will have to answer for such at the pearly gates; he merely pointed out that, at this point in time, Medicaid expansion is the only option for extending healthcare coverage to poor people in Ohio, making it the most sensible Christian option. Were there other options – that is, if Republicans had some small-government program that resulted in equal or better coverage – Kasich’s argument would fall out in favor of that. But as it stands no such substitute exists. It’s notable that misrepresenting Kasich’s Christian defense of Medicaid expansion remains a popular smear. Consider the National Review’s Avik Roy:

Roy’s lie is as glib as it is lazy, suggesting two simultaneous pathologies: first, that conservatives have mostly given up on an actual faith-based critique of extending healthcare coverage to poor people; second, that unless Christianity is acting as a helpful crutch to prop up libertarian fiscal policies, it’s more or less a joke.

True to form, the Wall Street Journal had an absolute field day making fun of Kasich’s Christian reasoning. “Believe it or not, there are still a few disciples with faith in an ObamaCare higher power,” the article titled “Medicaid and the Apostle Kasich” opens, and the faith-themed snark just rolls on from there. Both theologically tone-deaf and redolent with Hitchensian disdain of Christian thought, the piece sneers that Kasich “really must feel like he’s guided by the Holy Spirit” (perish the thought!), and sniffs that Kasich’s “government-as-thy-brother’s-keeper riff needs some moral fine-tuning.” But the most damning line is the last: “Republicans get a vote before St. Peter does.”

It seems this is where Kasich and his critics depart: For the governor, and for any faithful Christian, Christian ethics precede party politics. For some time the line from Christian politicians like Paul Ryan has been that their faith inspires their political affiliation, not vice versa. But the response of various conservative venues to a Christian argument that, while theologically orthodox and sensible, nonetheless reverses a cherished partisan position, suggests another situation of priorities.

Kasich’s sin is to present a vision of fiscal conservatism that is limited rather than necessitated by Christian ethics. His argument, despite what Roy, Hart and the Wall Street Journal would present, is actually sophisticated: He points out that Christian doctrine directly requires the consideration of the poor ahead of the interests of profit. It is not that Christian doctrine has traditionally held that any profit from business is wrong (though more radical strands have moved in that direction), but that excess wealth has generally been viewed by Christian authorities as acceptable only insofar as the needs of the most vulnerable have been met. This is foundational, ancient Christian teaching, ranging from the earliest church fathers to the medieval scholars and into the modern day.

Naturally, Kasich’s critics don’t bother to attempt a reversal on theological grounds. Instead they suggest, pace Hart, that there is some small-government solution directly at hand that Kasich has ignored. Yet they have roundly failed to produce it. If you could link to a policy proposal that better accomplishes the goal of ensuring the poor healthcare coverage, why sneer about “hating Jesus” instead?

Because, it seems, the comedy of Christian sentiment opposed to conservative dogma is rote among right-wingers. Conservatives are smart to saturate airwaves with turf wars over social issues, wherein they’re more than happy to prop up Christian views; but Christian voters should be wary of the swiftness and viciousness with which conservatives seem prepared to dismiss even perfectly solid Christian reasoning altogether when it no longer suits them. If party policy is that the interests of the GOP precede the interests of the Prince of Peace, there’s not much room for negotiation.

Supreme Court Blocks Early Voting In Ohio

Z6efpgfaqlbiuizx6n1t

The Supreme Court Justices | no attribution

This gives us even more reason to “get out the vote” for the upcoming mid-term and 2016 elections…

TPM LiveWire

The Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the injunction — which was upheld by an appeals court last week — was divided 5-4 along ideological lines. The request was submitted to Justice Elena Kagan, who turned the matter to the full court.

The next step is for the lower courts to consider whether the Ohio law is valid on the merits.

Read the Court’s order, via SCOTUSblog.

 

Appeals Court Upholds Order Restoring Early Voting In Ohio

We3myzldyboeclp6nbtm

Ohio Gov. John Kasich | AP Photo / Tony Dejak

Score one for Democracy…

TPM LiveWire

The law, enacted earlier this year, scaled back early voting in the Buckeye State from 35 days to 28 days and scrapped “Golden Week,” when residents could both register and vote in the same week.

From here the state of Ohio can either seek a full court — en banc — ruling at the 6th Circuit or appeal to the Supreme Court.

“With the press of time, it is not clear that Ohio is going to bother to try to change this for this election,” wrote election law professor Rick Hasen of UC-Irvine. “But if and when this case gets to the Supreme Court, I expect 5 Justices could well adopt a much narrower definition of equal protection and the Voting Rights Act than offered here.”

Teacher Tells Student: ‘We Do Not Need Another Black President’

20081105_obamasmile_560x375

Barack Hussein Obama – 44th President of the United States

This is the 21st century yet certain groups would rather see this country return back to the 18th century.

Liberals Unite

The 24 hour magazine for discerning Liberals

A young, African-American boy in Fairfield, Ohio had his presidential aspirations stomped on when his teacher, Gil Voigt, repeatedly told him, “we do not need another black president.” Voigt has been suspended.

According to Fairfield school board President, Dan Murray, Voigt’s suspension is the first step in permanently getting rid of him.

“He was talking to some students and said some things that were racially insensitive. We take diversity in our school district very seriously with tolerance of people who are different. We just felt this teacher had crossed the line,” Murray said.

Source: Journal News

Oh, but in case you think the school board is reacting in a quick and timely manner, this is Voigt’s fourth time in front of the board.

(Superintendent Paul) Otten said Voigt had been reprimanded for racially insensitive remarks in the past. A report prepared by Assistant Superintendent Roger Martin lists four instances of discipline: A verbal warning in April 2008 for an “inappropriate racial comment,” another in November 2008 for “improper use of school technology” and a third in December 2013 for “inappropriate comments to students.” He also received a written warning last month for “failure to use adopted curriculum.”

Voigt, who works for Fairfield Freshman School, earns $73,566 per year, makes almost 75% more than the average Ohio state employee and toward the top of the range for Ohio teachers.

Voigt isn’t the first Ohio teacher to be disciplined for racism. On Halloween, Akron’s David Spondike took to Facebook to rant about a teen who urinated in front of some trick-or-treaters. He posted:

I don’t mind if you come to my neighborhood from the ghetto to trick-or-treat. But when you whip out your teeny dicks and piss on the telephone pole in front of my yard and a bunch of preschoolers and toddlers, you can take your nigger-ass back where it came from. I don’t have anything against anyone of any color, but niggers, stay out!

He claimed he wasn’t racist, though:

“Racism” implies prejudging, which is clearly not what happened here. Making any excuse for allowing one race to use a word and condemning another race for using the same word is institutionalized racism in and of itself, regardless of the justification used.

Spondike’s future is still uncertain and Voigt has 10 days from the time of notification to appeal his suspension.

H/t: TW

Least Productive Congress EVER – House Only Working 8 More Days This Year

house calendar 2013

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) | AP

The Huffington Post

Working during the holidays sucks. Luckily for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, they don’t have that much of it before the new year begins.

The House is only scheduled to work eight days between now and January 7, when members return for the second session of the 113th Congress.

The House had 239 days off scheduled during 2013, and they have even more off days scheduled for next year.

The 2014 calendar for the House, released in October by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shows members will only work only 113 days. That’s down from 2013, when House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for 126 days. Only 107 days were scheduled in 2012.

As HuffPost reported in July, the 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productivein modern history. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been defensive of that report.

“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” Boehner told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in July. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”

Ohio Is Trying To ‘Suppress The Voting Rights Of African Americans,’ Congresswoman Claims

Most Americans knew this already but confirmation from an elected official adds a multitude of weight to the issues of suppressing early voting and the general election in Ohio…

Think Progress

Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D) has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to review two voting measures making their way through the state legislature that she claims could “suppress the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.”

The proposed bills (S. 238 and H.B. 269) would reduce the number of absentee-voting days by six, prevent newly registered voters from voting the day they register, and require voters to present valid identification — a driver’s license, a state or military ID card, or a passport — when casting a ballot.

In her letter, Fudge charges that the legislation violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which “prohibits any voting qualification or practice applied by the state which results in the denial or abridgment of the right to vote based on race.” “Recent estimates indicate that over 900,000 eligible voters in Ohio” lack the necessary ID, including as many as “one in four eligible African Americans,” the letter says. Same-day registration and voting “have recently been used at a higher rate by African Americans and lower-income voters.”

“With no indication that voter fraud is a widespread problem in Ohio, this proposal is a thinly veiled attempt to reduce the number of people able to exercise their right to vote,” she writes. “They are attempts to suppress the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities.”

Supporters of the effort argue that limiting early voting would free-up overstressed election boards “during their busiest time of year” and note that the legislation “allows for free photo IDs for people who can’t afford to purchase one and who are at or below the federal poverty level.”

“I think we can have a reasonable debate about policy here,” said State Sen. Frank LaRose (R), the sponsor of the early voting change. “To invoke the specter of a racial matter, I think, takes it too far. It is kind of shameful to do that. What we are talking about is a very modest reduction in the number of early voting days that still leaves Ohio as a leader in the nation, by far, for early voting.”

On Saturday, The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s editorial board came out against the limitation, writing that “absent compelling evidence of election fraud…there is no good, pro-voter reason to end the practice.” It also condemned a separate measure that would change absentee ballot rules.

During the 2012 presidential election, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) attempted to limit early voting to weekdays, and he defied a court order requiring early voting hours to be restored — although he eventually backed down.

Boehner proves the wrong point…

House Speaker John Boehner attempts to sign up for healthcare on the DC Health Link in Washington, November 21, 2013.   Boehner said on his blog that he was successfully enrolled after help from the DC Health Link help line.

The Rachel Maddow Blog

Thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that Republicans demanded, members of Congress will have to sign up for health care coverage through exchange marketplaces. That’s not really the point of the exchanges – they’re largely intended for the uninsured and small businesses looking to cover their employees – but GOP lawmakers had a political point to make, and this is the result.
With that in mind, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote a blog post yesterday, highlighting his own personal experience when he “sat down to try and enroll in the DC exchange.”
Like many Americans, my experience was pretty frustrating. After putting in my personal information, I received an error message. I was able to work past that, but when I went to actually sign up for coverage, I got this “internal server error” screen. […]
Despite multiple attempts, I was unable to get past that point and sign up for a health plan. We’ve got a call into the help desk. Guess I’ll just have to keep trying…
As it turns out, his willingness to “keep trying” was a good idea. Boehner, who is not yet eligible for Medicare, “called the DC Health Link help line,” and a “few hours later,” the process was complete. He’d signed up for health insurance.
Oddly enough, the Republican House Speaker didn’t offer any details about his new health care plan. One would assume that if he’d experienced “sticker shock,” or been stuck choosing a plan that cost far more than his current coverage, Boehner would have mentioned it. Indeed, he would have been eager to mention it, since it would advance his larger political goals.
So why was Boehner silent on this point? Probably because he was able to save some money on an affordable plan – despite being a 64-year-old chain-smoker.
This was supposed to be a little p.r. stunt, intended to reinforce the Republican message. It’s almost certainly why the Speaker invited a photographer to document him going through the process. And while it’s a shame Boehner was one of many who ran into website trouble, I have to say his experience doesn’t sound that bad – he called a help line, signed up for insurance, and likely saved some money, all over the course of an afternoon.
Are Americans supposed to hear this and think, “Quick, repeal this monstrosity before it crushes another person’s dreams”?

 

REPUBLICANS BLAST OBAMA’S SUPPORT OF THEIR IDEA

boehner-cantor-580.jpg

Borowitz Report

Moments after President Obama said he would allow insurers to continue health plans that were to be cancelled under the Affordable Care Act, leading Republicans blasted the President for agreeing with an idea that they had supported.

“It’s true that we’ve been strongly in favor of Americans being allowed to keep their existing plans,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “But now that the President is for it, we’re convinced that it’s a horrible idea.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) went further in ripping the President, calling Mr. Obama’s tactic of adopting ideas proposed by him and fellow Republicans “beneath contempt.”

“The President should be aware that any future agreeing with us will be seen for what it is: a hostile act,” he said.

Minutes later, White House spokesman Jay Carney helmed a hastily called press conference, hoping to stem the quickly escalating coöperation scandal.

“The President understands that he has offended some Republicans in Congress by agreeing with them,” Mr. Carney said. “He wants to apologize for that.”

But far from putting an end to the controversy, the President’s apology drew a swift rebuke from another congressional Republican, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who called it a “blatant provocation.”

“If the President is going to continue agreeing with us and apologizing to us, he is playing with fire,” he warned.

John Boehner On Debt Ceiling: Not Threatening Default Would Be ‘Unconditional Surrender’

The Huffington Post

Less than two hours after President Barack Obama turned up political pressure on Republicans to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president was looking for “unconditional surrender.”

“The president said today if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” Boehner said Tuesday. “That’s not the way our government works.”

The Ohio Republican addressed reporters just outside his office to rebut Obama’s earlier press conference. His message to the president was clear: The ongoing government shutdown and pending debt ceiling deadline would not be resolved without negotiations.

“It’s time to have that conversation,” Boehner said. “Not next week, not next month — the conversation needs to begin today. The long and short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation.”

Boehner ducked a question on what would happen if Congress found itself in the final minutes before a debt ceiling breach without an agreement, reiterating the need to talk.

Obama placed a call to Boehner earlier in the day, to reaffirm his position that Republicans should pass ‘clean’ bills, with no strings attached, to end the government shutdown and to increase the debt ceiling. Boehner said it was a “pleasant” conversation, but he was left “disappointed.”

House Republicans unveiled a new strategy Tuesday to deal with both the shutdown and the looming debt ceiling crisis: a bipartisan negotiating team, resembling 2011’s supercommittee, that would hash out a deal to solve both issues. Senate Democrats showed little interest in the idea, and plan to bring a clean bill to the floor this week that would extend the debt limit through the end of 2014.

“All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a conversation,” Boehner said. “There’s no reason to make it more difficult to bring people to the table. There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table. I’m trying to do everything I can to bring people together and have a conversation.”

Both Obama and Democrats said they would be willing to have that conversation, but only after Republicans reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the House Budget Committee’s top Democrat, also pointed out that Republicans did not include tax reform in the so-called negotiating team’s points of discussion, making the prospects of a deficit-reduction deal unlikely.

If no breakthrough is made in the next week, Congress will move dangerously close to the Oct. 17 deadline for the government to breach the current debt limit. Economists have warned the consequences of default may include sending stock and bond markets into nosedives and tipping off another recession.

Boehner said he agreed with the president that the consequences of default would be severe.

“I didn’t come here to shut down the government,” Boehner said. “And I certainly didn’t come here to default on our debt.”

BOEHNER ADVISES AMERICANS TO DELAY GETTING CANCER FOR A YEAR (Satire)

john-boehner-obamacare-580.jpg

The New Yorker – The Borowitz Report

In a special Sunday radio address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a health tip to the American people, advising them to delay getting cancer for a year.

“We’re involved in a high-stakes fight over our freedom from centralized government control of our lives,” said Mr. Boehner, speaking on behalf of his House colleagues. “You can do your part by delaying getting cancer.”

He added that heart disease, emphysema, and diabetes were among a laundry list of conditions that would be “patriotic to avoid for a year.”

“If you delay getting any of these things for the next twelve months, together we will win this fight,” he said.

In closing, he reassured the American people that in the event of a government shutdown, members of Congress’ health benefits would remain intact: “We want to be in tip-top shape to continue to do the excellent job we’re doing for you.”