Friday, March 02, 2012

GOP Can Barely Make a Peep About Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" after she testified before Congress about the cost of birth control, and said that she should film her sexual activity and "post the videos online so we can all watch."

People are shocked. I am not. This is Rush Limbaugh. You know what you're getting, and what you're getting a misogynist jackass. Anyone who is surprised by this is someone who wants to pretend that Rush Limbaugh is something that he's not.

But there is something else that Rush Limbaugh is: an important player in the conservative movement. A "giant", as Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) put it. The Republican Party is effectively unable to criticize him -- they're in thrall to him.

And so we see just how muted the GOP can be when one of its leading lights calls his political opponents "sluts": they say virtually nothing. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) demurs when asked if Limbaugh should apologize, instead offering a bland "it was inappropriate" (just as inappropriate, in Boehner's view, as Democrats raising money off the remark. Why, exactly, that is "inappropriate" behavior on the part of the Democratic Party at all -- much less to the same degree as calling a woman a "prostitute" just because she uses birth control -- is left unsaid).

Other conservative organizations are demonstrating the same cowardice. Rae Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women, "doesn't want to discuss [it]", calling it "a sideshow." Alci Maldonado of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly tried to change the subject to the (spurious) freedom of religion argument, and Frances Rice, chairwoman of the National Black Republican Association, refused to comment on Limbaugh's statement at all. Failed GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina managed to call the language "insulting" and "incendiary", for which she was called to the carpet by Red State editor Erick Erickson, who said Fiorina "just [does] not get it" -- "it" being that Limbaugh was being sarcastic (women -- no sense of humor, amiright?).

For the most part, it seems that the modern GOP can be divided into two categories. People who agree with Limbaugh that the vast, vast majority of women are sluts and prostitutes whose sexual activity should be a matter of public record. And people who don't agree, but are too afraid to challenge the emerging orthodoxy within their party's base.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Publication Announcement

David Schraub, Sticky Slopes, 101 Cal. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2013).

Obviously, this is exceptionally exciting, and particularly so given this early stage of my career. And it represents the culmination of the roller-coaster ride that has characterized the start of my academic career.

I had submitted Sticky Slopes to law reviews last fall, and gotten no bites (though it did reach final review at a very good secondary journal). That was very disappointing, and really shook up my confidence. Following that strike-out, I presented the paper here at the University of Illinois, and the feedback I got sparked a pretty substantial reworking of the paper, both in terms of new content and a new organizational structure. Most of that was done towards the end of last calendar year, and after some final tweaking (and some last minute comments), I sent it out against on President's Day.

From there, it was amazing. I got a couple rejections right off the bat (which always happens), but Friday morning I received my first offer from a stellar journal ranked in the top 20. I was over the moon -- kind of zero-to-hero, all at once. It was a far better placement than I ever dreamed of for my very first article, and, as my people put it, dayenu. But I dutifully sent out expedites, not really expecting anything more to come of it. Instead, I received a slew of positive feedback from some of the very best journals in the business. That turned into two offers from top ten journals, and I accepted California this morning.

It is not the beginning of the end, as they say, but it may well be the end of the beginning. I'm publishing in a great journal which seems very excited about my work. I'm thinking very seriously about going on the academic job market, and of course a placement like this -- well, it doesn't exactly put my destiny in my own hands, but it means I've done all that I could. And just to have that sense of ratification after all this time where this has been the dream, and suddenly it feels real, like it could actually happen -- that feeling is irreplaceable.

See y'all in print!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One-Statism as Wedge Issue

Gal Beckerman has a post up on a Democratic ad demonstrating that "Democrats will not cede Israel to Republicans". Here's the ad.

Obviously, I'm glad that Democrats aren't ceding this terrain. And the points made -- about how the Obama administration has in fact been excellent in terms of funding Israel's security needs and keeping Iran in check -- are important ones. But that's a defensive posture, and there's plenty of room for Democrats to go on offense.

If I were cutting a Democratic campaign ad, I'd start by pairing up text and speeches from Republicans who are one-staters and radical left and Islamist speakers calling for the same thing. I'd quote Jewish groups condemning that position as intrinsically hostile to Israel, and probably include a map showing Israel fading away into one indistinguishable state. Then I'd use the "call so-and-so and demand that they support Israel and reject a one-state 'solution'".

One-statism is the Democratic Party's ultimate wedge for keeping Jewish pro-Israel voters out of Republican hands. Why don't they use the damn thing?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Forget This

The JTA has an interesting report on a trip taken by several American Congresswomen to Israel and Palestine, sponsored by J Street. The women met with a wide array of locals, ranging from Palestinian workers to Israeli peace activists to settlers.

But what might have been most striking was the statements made by the settlers. The Congresswomen drove out to Shiloh, a West Bank settlement that almost certainly will not be part of Israel in any peace deal.
“I’m holding the Bible; Shiloh was our first capital before Jerusalem and it has layers and layers of history,” Tzofiah Dorot, the director of Ancient Shiloh, told the women. “This is the heart of Israel and I don’t see a future for the state if you take the heart out.”

All of the women said they were sure that their settlements would remain part of Israel.

“This is our homeland, the homeland of the Jewish nation -- period,” Tamar Aslaf told the delegation. “A Palestinian who lives here is welcome to stay. It’s his home but it’s our homeland.”

Several of the settlers described a scenario in which Palestinians could stay in their homes but not receive national or voting rights. That drew a sharp reply from the congresswomen, five of whom are African Americans.

“Some people would call that apartheid,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the only white congresswomen on the trip.

“It’s easy to sit in your comfortable house and decide what is good for the Jews,” Dorot responded. “I’m begging you to see that we’re not pieces of Lego you can move around. This is life and death. We all need to think out of the box. I’m asking you to forget about the two-state solution.”

Now we shouldn't generalize. The type of person who lives in Shiloh is not a carbon copy of Israeli society has a whole. We of course know that there are Israelis who support a two-state solution and those who oppose it, and likewise for Palestinians.

But the statements are nonetheless revealing. Most obviously, of course, is the fact that some of the settlers explicitly forward as a "solution" the permanent political inferiority of Palestinians -- a complete non-starter for anyone who cares about human rights and human equality. With due respect to Dorot, the policy of the global community towards Israel is not solely about what is "good for the Jews" but rather about achieving justice and equality for all persons (though the interests and rights of Jews are of course important components of this). But the explicit call to abandon a two-state solution is, if anything, more striking. The vast majority of the Jewish community -- including important institutional actors like the ADL and AJC -- do not just oppose a one-state solution, they find it fundamentally outside the contours of what it means to be "pro-Israel". As David Harris of the AJC put it, "The one-state idea is a recipe for Israel's destruction. Those promoting this proposition ... are not remotely offering a peace option."

I entirely agree with this assessment. And here it helps us draw important lines. If we are to say, as I think we should, that "pro-Israel" cannot encompass one-staters, then the Shiloh settlers are as much a threat to Israel's democracy, security, legitimacy, and longevity as any other one-stater. And they shouldn't be treated any differently.

Need More Beaver!

I am not surprised there is a parody out there entitled "Joustin' Beaver". I am surprised that it is not pornography.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's All Politics, Baby

The Daily Caller floats a Clarence Thomas presidential run. Obviously, this is "clever, outside-the-box!" punditry at its most ridiculous. But my favorite part is the little bait and switch they do over Thomas' political position.

On the one hand, they use his judicial record to demonstrate how he'd energize conservatives with his "opposition to environmental regulation and his free market philosophy.... [and] that he’s against abortion, gay rights, and limits on prayer in school." On the other hand, when faced with the inevitability that Democrats will, you know, cream him over the radical positions he's taken on these issues, they retort that "Thomas has a trump card. Those were not statements of his personal political positions, he can say, but merely interpretations of the law." What a fabulous little rope-a-dope that would be!

The real irony is that, at least for some of the above positions, the latter may well be right. I have it on good authority, for instance, that as a matter of policy Thomas is pro-choice, and his "uncommonly silly" dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas indicates similar views about gay rights. Somehow, I think the right would be less excited about that.