As Speaker of the House, “Taliban” Dan Webster would hold America hostage

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 3.04.00 PMAs the dust settles on a crazy week, it’s looking more like Kevin McCarthy rejected the Republican party’s job as Speaker of the House, rather than being pushed out from the position. There had been rumors late Thursday and Friday, that party scolds would distribute evidence of an old affair McCarthy allegedly covered-up. There were also the troubling stroke-like moments of language impairment that could bode ill for someone vying for a “speaker’s” position.

In the final equation it looks like McCarthy got out while the getting was good. The Republican party is in a full core meltdown, and the few smart Republicans have gathered their canned goods and settled-in to their bunkers to watch the fireworks.

That can be a good thing for Democrats if the party can manage not to muss it up. We’ve not been sharp readers of the zeitgeist since about 2012, and with a major turn of the wheel like this, I’m hoping Dem leadership is taking the time to consult with social and cultural experts who can help them navigate the shifting landscape.

The Freedom Caucus grabbed the most headlines this week as they circulated a document outlining policy expectations, and process concessions that would limit the Speaker’s ability to make independent decisions. The extreme right wing of the Republican Party has taken over, and they want to permanently shut down government. No more debt ceiling increases they say. This used to be a pro-forma vote that reflected the reality of keeping up with interest rates. Now it’s being used in bad faith by these right-wingers to extract deep structural changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

You can find the Freedom Caucus document here. Here’s a link a must-read article by ThinkProgress on the document and how the GOP found itself in this mess.

This brings me to the second half of today’s post: Dan Webster, and his disappearing district.

It was also announced late Friday that many of Florida’s Congressional Districts would be redrawn according to the map provided by the plaintiff in the lawsuit (Coalition Plaintiff-1 Map). This map can be found here. The accompanying data is here.

This creates a very odd situation for Dan Webster. He might be the Freedom Caucus frontrunner for the Speaker position. And, the fact that he’ll likely lose his seat in 2016 won’t make him ineligible for remaining speaker. As a matter of fact, Howie Klein over at Down With Tyranny outlined a trajectory that would see Dan Webster return to Congress regardless of a loss in CD-10:

“…it appears that Webster is moving north. Fellow crackpot Ron DeSantis (FL-06: from just south of Jacksonville, through St. Augustine, Daytona Beach nd nearly to Cape Canaveral and inland to Palatka) is giving up his nice red R+9 district in a futile attempt to win Marco Rubio’s open Senate seat. The district includes John Mica’s original base of support and Mica, whose district is also becoming less Republican, is going to jump into FL-06, leaving FL-07 (Deltona, Altamonte Springs, Winter Park, Maitland and Oviedo) to Webster. It isn’t a safe Republican district but it is considerably safer than Webster’s FL-10.”

Strange days indeed. What’s even stranger is Dan Webster’s ideology. It’s no accident that he earned the nickname “Taliban” Dan. Right Wing Watch reports that Webster, has ties to the same ministry as the scandal-plagued Duggar family which follows Bill Gothard and his Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), which urges women to be submissive to their male family members in all things. As reported in Rawstory, Sarah Posner described Gothard’s views thusly:

“[S]ubmission is a central tenet of Gothard’s teachings. His evangelical critics have described the insular world of Gothard’s organization as “a culture of fear” and Gothard’s teachings as a “parody of patriarchalism,” the “basest form of male chauvinism I have ever heard in a Christian context,” and “anti-woman.”

Here’s the core of the War of Women revealed in black-and-white. It’s scripture for these guys, just like their characterizations of Sharia Law. This is how Taliban Dan earned his name, and this is who the Republicans have dug up to propel their party into the 21st Century.

Good luck with that. It might be their fantasy to break government beyond all recognition, but it’s NOT the vision the rest of us cherish. Holding civilization hostage is something that “other countries” do. We’re not having it here.




Brook Hines is a writer, photographer, activist and former alt-weekly publisher, as well as an award-winning advertising creative with more than 20 years’ experience crafting strategy in “words + pictures” for clients ranging from banking and financial services to radical nuns. She’s the Senior Political Correspondent for Progressive News Network, the Communications Chair for the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Outreach Chair for the Orange County Democratic Party, and the 2015-2016 Co-Chair of New Leaders Council, Orlando Chapter.

 All opinions offered here are her own, delivered from the perspective of social theory and cultural criticism. Political and media analysis through a progressive lens; owned by no one, and bound to piss everyone off, eventually.

awesome dogs couchYou can easily find Brook Hines on Facebook and Flickr. Read all of Brook’s articles here. 

These are her Italian Greyhounds, Trouble and Daphne. The smallest of the sighthounds, the Italian Greyhound is believed to have originated in Turkey 2,000 years ago, although mummified dogs similar to the “iggie” have been found in Egypt. 

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