TPM Cafe: Opinion

When South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, quickly supported by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, called for removal of the Confederate Battle Flag that flies on the Statehouse grounds in the wake of national protests following the terrorist attack on Emanuel AME Church, it represented an inflection point in the complicated relationship of the Republican Party with the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. It’s been especially complicated in the state that initiated the Civil War, and where for decades the dominant figure in the GOP was the party-switching former Dixiecrat candidate for president, Strom Thurmond.

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Yet again, House Republicans are taking aim at family planning. Last week, the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee released a budget proposal for fiscal year 2016 that would remove all family planning funding under the Title X program. The Title X program provides access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including cancer screenings, contraceptive care, STI testing and much more, for 4.6 million people.

The House GOP just declared war on it.

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I think I speak for many black people when I say that I’m wonderfully bored with white people’s obsession with policing whether or not it’s ever appropriate for a black person to use “nigger” and all its variances. The majority never really has a right to question the marginalized—but particularly when context is key. And yet, they do it anyway, again and again. This time President Obama is the target, but the intent is the same: to be caught up in a word rather than the crux of an argument about systemic racism.

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We live in an age where mass shootings are so common that there is now a template for politicians to plug in the victim’s names, the date and location of the massacre, and synonyms for words like “tragedy” and “horror.” In the last 36 hours, we've heard ersatz condolences filled with hollow words, anodyne phrases about "unimaginable" horrors.

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Kudos to whatever trickster thought it wise to poll Romney voters, asking them to rate how they feel about the Duggar family from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and how they feel about President Obama. The result—67 percent of Romney voters like the Duggars better than they like Obama—perfectly encapsulates one of the most troubling aspects of modern conservatism: the way that it’s ultimately about irrational tribal politics over everything else.

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One hundred fifty years ago today, the U.S. Army took possession of Galveston Island, a barrier island just off the Texas coast that guards the entrance to Galveston Bay, and began a late-arriving, long-lasting war against slavery in Texas. This little-known battle would endure for months after the end of what we normally think of as the Civil War. This struggle, pitting Texas freedpeople and loyalists and the U.S. Army against stubborn defenders of slavery, would become the basis for the increasingly popular celebrations of Juneteenth, a predominantly African-American holiday celebrating emancipation on or about June 19th every year.

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Last night, a white man (suspected to be 21-year-old Dylann Roof) entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, sat through an hour-long meeting, and then opened fire on those in attendance. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, was among nine individuals who were killed. Many are shocked at not only the grisly nature of the shooting, but also its location.

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From Jon Stewart’s gleeful celebration on The Daily Show to Stephen Colbert’s pitch-perfect parody, Donald Trump’s announcement of his campaign for the presidency has been met with the mockery it seems to deserve. Judging by the “content” of his announcement speech, Trump plans to continue playing the role of the extremist right-wing id that he perfected for a time during the 2012 campaign (during which he flirted with but never actually declared a run). At that time he mostly focused on voicing birther conspiracy narratives about President Obama; this year’s announcement included xenophobic assaults on Mexican immigrants and paranoid pronouncements about ISIS and China.

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Back when the first planning meetings for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign were likely being held, in late 2013 or early 2014, an analysis of rivals to his nomination probably looked pretty sunny.

There were a bunch of retreads from 2012, with the most threatening being the actual nominee, Mitt Romney, who occupied a position on the ideological spectrum and in the esteem of party elites uncomfortably similar to Jeb’s. There was the 2008 redux Mike Huckabee. There were the governors—Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Snyder—who had to get through reelection battles of varying difficulty.

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As pretty much everyone knows by now, it's been revealed that Rachel Dolezal is a white woman who not only has been passing as African American, but is also claiming her adopted brothers are her sons. The story is a complicated mess that brings up issues of race as biology or social construct and authenticity. Social media almost broke itself with memes, but just as quickly, people began questioning the mental health of Dolezal.

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Want to contribute to TPM Cafe? Email ideas for your pieces to us at talk@talkingpointsmemo.com

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