The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Favorite Moments from the State of the Union Address


So the much-anticipated State of the Union Address has come and gone. Quite frankly, I'm not one for big grandiose, meticulously written and rehearsed, teleprompted speeches. Something about the staginess of it all makes it seemed contrived and lacking sincerity. I'm much more the Town Hall wrestling-match kind of guy. I like the unpredictability, and perhaps mayhem, of that particular forum. Nothing like catching a politician in an unscripted moment.

But I do love all the pomp and circumstance of these big televised government spectacles, replete with hokey symbolism and wannabe Monarchism. It's pure theatre. While they're often snarky and confrontational, as President Obama deftly demonstrated Wednesday night or as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) did back in September with his "You Lie!" outburst to Obama, they're absent the silly wig-wearin' screaming matches of the British Parliament, or the knock-down, drag-out mega-brawls of the Japanese (personally, I'd love to see Barney Frank knock the crap out of House Republican Whip Eric Cantor sometime).

To me, the real excitement in the State of the Union Address was not what was said onstage, but what happened offstage. So in no particular order, here's a few of my favorite moments from the president's address:

-When Obama promised to repeal the "Don't ask Don't Tell" ban of openly gay men and women in the military, the Generals looked more uncomfortable than if they were getting blown by Clay Aiken

-The Generals looking like 5-year-olds in a time-out when Obama said he's ending the Iraq War

-Nancy Pelosi looking like she'd been sniffing glue all night

-Joe Biden looking and acting more like Jason Sudeikis' "Saturday Night Live" Biden parody than his real self

-Personally, I can never get enough of Eric Cantor's smug smirk

-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) yawning just 5 minutes into the speech, looking like he was past his bedtime at 9:05. Are we keepin' ya up, Harry?

-The sheer ridiculousness of the non-stop standing, sitting, standing, sitting, standing, sitting.....it's like a freakin' Tae Bo video

-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) looking like he wanted to kill the president

-House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) squeezing his ass cheeks so hard to avoid laughing when Obama joked that he expected some applause from Republicans after mentioning tax cuts. C'mon John, you can laugh at the other side's jokes once in a while. They won't kick ya out of the caucus

-Nothing but crickets from the Republican section when Obama discussed tax cuts. Man, nothing shows the likelihood of true bi-partisanship more than conservatives silent over sweeping tax cuts

-The Supreme Court Justices looking as though they were in a collective coma

-Justice Samuel Alito looking like he had an Irritable Bowl Syndrome attack, and mouthing "not true," when Obama chastised the court for its recent ruling on campaign finance

-Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) looking characteristically constipated the whole night

-Watching the virtually silent Republican section looking like a bunch of spoiled rotten, defiant, mocking children bucking authority

-Watching Republicans oddly silent at the President's promise to make banks and financial institutions pay back all of their bailout money. Perhaps TARP actually stands for Totally Amoral Republican Posturing?

-Republicans having that "are you fucking crazy?" look on their faces as Obama asked them to join him in passing health care reform

-Obama fantasizing about bringing civility and bi-partisanship back to Washington. Poor guy probably also believes in the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny too

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Problem with Democrats


After the 2008 elections, in which Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats were swept into power in landslide victories, there was much talk of a new era of liberal domination in Washington. Just one year later. Obama's approval rating hovers at just over 50%, the party's lost Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat to an unknown Republican, and there's now talk of a 1994 Gingrich-like Republican revolution in this year's November midterm elections. I can't think of anything to say but...what the fuck happened?

What's happened is that, true to form, Democrats can't seem to get out of their own way. Unlike their counterparts on the right, the party leadership, from Obama on down the Congressional line, is comprised of a bunch of spineless, visionless, disorganized, pseudo-intellectual sailors sinking in a sea of their own delusion and denial. If you don't believe me, just consider this: Obama's health-care reform bill is just about dead all because one new Republican Senator, Scott Brown, is headed to DC. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other party leaders, no super-majority, no reform. That's it. Despite owning the White House, a 78 seat edge in the House and a 59-41 majority in the Senate, health-care is dead because of Sen. Phil A. Buster, Scott Brown. I mean, how lame can Democrats be? When the GOP feared losing Texas, it rushed into action and former House Leader Tom DeLay redrew the lines to give Republicans more votes in order to win. Democrats lose one Senate seat and its whole agenda is thrown into a coma.

Here's another example of why Democrats seem destined for failure. Consider what one leftie on Facebook wrote today about the recent Massachusetts special election: "Anyone who doesn't really work to get a job like that doesn't deserve and she (Martha Coakley) sat this one out. Brown, on the other hand, despite the President's foolish comments about his truck, worked his buns off." And more: "Hey hang on just a second before you all go off on us MA folks. I voted for Obama b/c we needed change & action, & I live in MA & proudly voted for Scott Brown last week b/c I believe again we need change & action!"

For Pete's sake, how much friggin' change do you need? How about voting for change and then giving those elected enough damn time to actually effect change before you toss 'em aside for more change? I'm no Obama groupie, and I've certainly done my fair share of criticizing him and the party. But he's not a miracle worker, and deserves more than one year to undue to massive damage caused this country during eight years of the Bush administration.

I'm sorry, but this "let's change again and vote for Brown" logic is shockingly convoluted. This isn't about the man's work ethic. Its about his politics, and where he stands on the key issues, and whether or not they align with yours. You don't vote for people because they work hard, or because someone else didn't. This is exactly the kind of misguided thinking and priorities that's wrong with Democrats and why they find it hard to obtain and hold power. While Republicans like to win elections, Democrats like to send messages. Call me crazy, but I'll vote any day for a lazy-ass pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, pro-health-care-reform, pro-gun-control, peace-loving, Wall Street reformin' Democrat than a hard workin' Republican with the exact opposite viewpoints.

I'm tired of Democrats sending messages, like the one they sent back in 2000 with their votes for Ralph Nader. The message then and remains, "Dear George Bush, welcome to the White House for eight years." The problem with Democrats is that they over-analyze and over-intellectualize everything to the point of defeat. And, they lack focus, unity and resolve. And when battling a ruthless opposition like the GOP, this is a recipe for disaster.

In this day and age, given the highly-charged partisan climate and what's at stake, if anyone puts work ethic before positions, they should be ashamed of themselves. People should be more concerned that Mr. Hard-Working Brown is now headed to D.C. to work hard at killing everything Liberals stand for.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Senator-Elect Scott Brown: The Male Palin?


An interesting thing is taking place in Democratic circles right now: the debate over whether newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is a frat-boy airhead who's nothing more than Sarah Palin with a penis, or, the next President of the United States ("45," as Jon Stewart even satirized the other night). Though it's surely way too early in "BrownWatch" to draw any firm conclusions, there are, however, some interesting considerations.

Let's start with the theory that he's little more than a lucky pretty-boy who often opens his mouth to change feet. As his two daughters Arianna (21) and Ayla (19) can attest, dear old dad sometimes says some pretty embarrassing things, as he did during his victory speech when bizarrely announcing that they were "beautiful" and "available." Or how about his assertion that it was "not normal" for gays to be parents. Or when he implied that President Obama was born out of wedlock. Fortunately for him, he's yet to say he can see Russia from Cape Cod. As a friend of mine who knew him at Tufts said, "he was just a big dumb jock" who the smart girls didn't take too seriously.

But it's the smart girls and boys in Washington, especially the Democrats, who probably should start taking "41," as he's now affectionately called by Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY), very seriously. And it's not because Sen. Phil A Buster (as I call him) is headed to D.C. to kill health care reform and all things liberal. It's because Brown has those intangible qualities that defy the odds and make him an unlikely winner. He's a very likable, charming, folksy guy who's very deftly created his successful pick-up-truck-drivin, "everyman" persona that's equally attractive to men as it is to women. To men, he's a real sports-obsessed guy's-guy who was probably the one who made them laugh in college with lampshades on his head and massive bong hits (think Tom Hanks in "Bachelor Party" or Will Ferrell in "Old School"). Someone who, like George W. Bush, "is one of us;" an intellectual non-threat. And to women, he's easy on the eye and is, well, a big dumb jock. You be surprised how, outside of Tufts, big dumb jocks are pretty popular among the ladies.

But make no mistake: at least at this point, Brown's no Palin. He may say some goofy things sometimes, but so did Bush, and he chilled in the White House for eight years. And so does Vice President Sen. Joe Biden, and he's a pretty powerful figure in Washington. With his law degree, his stint in the Massachusetts State Senate, and in what could now be an incredibly influential role in the U.S. Senate, Brown could grow into quite the formidable opponent to Obama in 2012. Honestly, with the sheer lack of sexiness and excitement in the GOP right now, if I were the party leaders I'd have started grooming this guy for a presidential run yesterday. Stay tuned. I suspect BrownWatch is going to get mighty interesting going forward.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sen. Phil A. Buster Turns Obama Into Mush


The day after Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown achieved the unthinkable by winning Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, President Obama has demonstrated exactly why Democrats just can't seem to maintain power for very long.

"The Senate certainly shouldn't try to jam anything through until Scott Brown is seated," said President Kumbaya, referring to Sen. Phil A. Buster, the GOP's gallant new hero, who is soon destined to turn the party's overall agenda--including health care reform, banking regulations, energy legislation, jobs bill--upside down.

Can you imagine during the mid-90's Republican glory days ever hearing George Bush telling Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Leader Tom DeLay to be kind and patient with Democrats and not "jam" anything through until everything's fair and balanced? And even if he did, could you imagine either of them listening? You see, this is what's wrong with the Democratic Party. Too damned nice. Always trying to be the bigger guy. Always vowing not to stoop to tactics of their conservative counterparts. Always hanging on to delusions of true bi-partisanship, convincing themselves that Republicans have an agenda other than to simply destroy every single measure the left proposes. Always holding out hope that The Party of No is really The Party of Sure, We'll Work with You. Never seeming to get it: that the GOP consists of mean-spirited, victory-obsessed ruthless propagandists who will do or say anything to win. The Democrats can self-righteously wear the honor and integrity badge all they want, but it ain't gonna make them winners.

I'm sorry, but it is truly unfathomable that with the White House, a 78 seat majority in the House, and a (albeit-short-lived) filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Obama and Democrats will likely end up with a health-care reform bill that looks and smells more right than left, and that's if the bill doesn't die altogether thanks to Sen. Buster.

Rather than sticking his head up his bi-partisan-deluded keister and urging Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid to wait for Brown to arrive in Washington to destroy his health-care bill, Obama should be urging Reid to drop the nuclear bomb and pass the damn thing under reconciliation after Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushes it through the House. Who cares what Republicans think. Just do it. Just like they would.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sen. Phil A. Buster Goes to Washington!


His real name may be Scott Brown, the right-wing truck-drivin' former Cosmo centerfold and Massachusetts state senator. But from now on, his name might as well be Phil A. Buster, the self-proclaimed "41st Senator" headed to Washington to wreak havoc on health care reform and the rest of the Democratic agenda.

It's taken President Obama and the Democrats in power just one year to unravel. In my wildest imagination, despite a general lack of confidence in the party and the belief that it is utterly inept, I thought it would at least take one full term to implode. But I suppose when your greatest skill is self-destruction, there's no better time than the present.

The left lies in stunned disbelief in the wake of Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts where Brown, a virtual nobody, has become an overnight somebody by stealing out from Democrats the Senate seat held by the iconic Ted Kennedy for 46 years in the nation's most liberal state. Poor Teddy. Perhaps he's sitting somewhere with Jack and Bobby, red-faced, veins popping out of his neck, fist-pounding the table in righteous indignation over how monumentally the party botched this election and tarnished his legacy. You can almost hear the brilliant sarcastic wit wrapped in that think Bahston accent: "Er, uh, congratulations Democrats...a Republican winning in Massachusetts is like, er, Barney Frank winning in Oklahoma. You've achieved the impossible." Goodbye, super-majority. Hello filibuster.

So now Sen. Buster will soon hop on his pick-up and head to D.C., gallantly riding into town like a superhero to the orgasmic glee of GOP head Michael Steele, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and the other bloodthirsty members of the Party of No. It's about to get very ugly around the Beltway.

Tuesday's election was as much a referendum on Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress as it was a humiliating defeat for the horrendously run campaign of Attorney General Martha Coakley. Despite his desperate last-minute campaigning in a state where he won by 26% last year, Obama could not deliver for Coakley. Voters simply said "thanks but no thanks" to the both of them. With his approval rating hovering around 51%, and with the recent GOP gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey, it's pretty safe to say Brown's victory now constitutes a movement. Get ready for Tea Bagger-boasting ad nauseum. The Democratic Party should be shaking in its boots as it heads into the 2010 midterms.

Now as bleak as Tuesday's loss seems, there's still time for the party to get its act together. The November election is 11 months away, which is an eternity in politics. Democrats need to craft a meaningful message for voters and back it up with clear results. There must be a de-emphasizing on health care and a major shift in priority towards the economy and job creation specifically. Want a winning theme, Democrats? Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Obama needs to relentlessly drill into voters' heads the successes he and the party have achieved in this area, taking the nation from 700,000+ monthly losses down to less than 100,000. His upcoming State of the Union speech should very clearly outline the progress that's been made on the economy, from stemming job losses to achieving GDP growth; from the success of his $787-billion stimulus package to the turnaround in the financial, auto and housing industries. He must instill confidence in the American people that if they stick with him and Democrats we'll see continued growth and expansion, and appreciable job creation. He must successfully remind voters that it was he and the Democrats who brought the nation back from the brink of financial disaster in the Fall of 2008. And, he must define Republicans as The Party of No. The party that voted against the stimulus, against the financial reform bill, against health care. The party that has not come up with one single solution of its own to help bail out the American people, who continue to suffer tremendously from the struggling economy.

For sure, there's plenty of time to right this sinking ship. That is of course if Democrats can get out of their own way.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Red Birkenstocks? Can Massachusetts Really Turn Republican?


New polls indicate that Republican Scott Brown is either pulling ahead or tied with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for the January 19th special election to fill the Senate seat held for 46 years by the father of modern American liberalism, Edward M. Kennedy, before his death in August. A loss by Coakley would be utterly devastating to the Democratic Party. A narrow victory for her is almost as bad in many respects.

Some perspective: Massachusetts is, by any measurement, America's most liberal state. In 2004, it became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Its citizens also voted in 2008 to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. Its entire Congressional delegation--ten Representatives and two Senators--are Democrats. Its governor, Deval Patrick, is a Democrat. In both state Houses, Democrats control 88% of the seats. President Obama received 62% of the vote in '08. Even the state's notable Republicans, such as former Gov. William Weld, have been Conservative-light. The label "Massachusetts Liberal" has become the political antithesis of "Southern Redneck." The state has become synonymous with Birkenstocks and Volvos, allegedly the chosen modes of transportation for the right-wing's much loathed granola-crunchin,' Save-the-Whales-y Kumbaya set. Let's face it: if Rep. Barney Frank were a state, he'd be Massachusetts.

Which is why the thought of Brown actually winning in Massachusetts seems about as likely as Frank winning in Alabama or Oklahoma. Not possible, right? But that's exactly what could happen on Tuesday if Camp Coakley cannot get its act together before then. Most critical at this stage will be voter-turnout: which party can drive more voters to the polls, literally and figuratively.

It would be quite a chilling foreshadowing of things to come in November's midterms if Brown miraculously squeaks out a victory or comes very close. Is it possible that after just one year in power the Democrats have become so inept that they could actually lose Massachusetts?

As the Monday holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday approaches, perhaps the Coakley team would be wise to remind the state's voters of the principles that they and the Democratic Party stand for, and those of Dr. King who, along with the iconic Ted Kennedy, would roll over in their graves if Brown is victorious.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Outraged Lily-White GOP More Upset with Sen. Reid than Prominent Black Leaders


Ok, here's the deal: a new book, "Game Change," just came out reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) said during the 2008 presidential campaign that Barack Obama was a very viable crossover candidate who was a "light-skinned African-American" with "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." And hence ReidGate was born.

Over the weekend President Obama received and accepted Reid's apology, and the Senate Leader has also been supported by several prominent black leaders including Al Sharpton; Rep. Barbara Lee, head of the Congressional Black Caucus; Attorney General Eric Holder; former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume; former Congressman and possible 2010 NY Senate Candidate Harold Ford Jr.; and countless others, both black and white.

But, according to the 99.5% lily-white Republican Party, these poor black folk are either too naive or forgiving or both to understand just how offensive and insensitive Reid's remarks are. Thank goodness, I say, that Republicans are there to stand up for their black brothers and sisters when those racist Democrats disrespect and disparage them.

"There’s a big double standard," charged GOP Chairman Michael Steele. Speaking on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, Steele, along with Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and John Cornyn of Texas, called for Reid's resignation and claimed there was no difference between the "racist remarks" of Reid and those that Democrats claimed Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott made in 2002. At that time, Lott had expressed support for South Carolina segregationist Strom Thurmond and his failed 1948 presidential bid:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Let's be very, very clear. There is absolutely no double-standard here. None. Zero. And it's highly offensive to compare the two episodes, in fact. Reid was praising Obama and calling for this young black man to run for president, saying he could win it all and promised his support, while Lott basically said America would've been a much better place over the years without all those pesky black people and their troublesome civil rights advances. Really, Republicans, Reid's and Lott's remarks have the same racist context? To the contrary, they're about as opposite in intent and severity as possible.

And while I am about as aghast at Reid's use of the word "Negro" in 2010 as I was in 1977 when my father innocently referred to our next-door neighbor as a "nice colored gal," it's important to remind everyone that we still have The United Negro College Fund in existence, and that NAACP still stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Neither of these two monumentally important institutions have changed their official name, and both remain part of the national vocabulary, no matter how outdated, generational and undesirable they are. In that context, ReidGate is truly a non-story...except for the one Republicans want and so desperately need it to be as a distraction from what's really important in America right now.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Democrats Must Combat the Swiftboating of Martha Coakley. Lead Narrows in Jan 19 Massachusetts Special Senate Election


Massachusetts voters will go to the polls January 19th in a special election for the deceased Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. While there's no panic button being set off just yet--Massachusetts voters have not sent a Republican to the Senate in 37 years--a new Rasmussen poll indicates that Attorney General Martha Coakley's once comfortable lead over her Republican opponent Scott Brown is narrowing. In a political year wrought with voter dissatisfaction with Congress and dwindling approval of President Obama and his agenda, Democrats should take nothing for granted. The left must hold onto this seat if it expects to pass Obama's health-care reform bill and other measures on the Democrats' agenda.

The special election is just 10 days away, and Republicans are pulling out all the stops to win or at least come close. A Coakley loss would be nothing short of devastating. A narrow-margin victory for her in this solidly blue state could be a chilling foreshadowing of things to come in November's midterms and thus empower conservatives even further. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) reports that the "American Future Fund, the guys who brought you the Swift Boat attacks against decorated war veteran John Kerry, are up with a $400,000 buy, smearing Coakley." Coakley's being portrayed as weak on terrorism, soft on immigration, pro-gay and pushing big tax increases. Democrats must win this state, and win big.

Please support Coakley's bid to continue the Kennedy legacy. Funds are needed immediately to combat the harsh attacks from the right. Click here to donate directly to the Coakley campaign or here to contribute to the DSCC. And please urge everyone you know in Massachusetts to vote Coakley on January 19th.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Conservatives Arrogantly Predict Democrats' Demise Despite More Republicans Retiring


The Republican spin-machine has been operating in overdrive his week. If you listen to GOP Chairman Michael Steele, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other leading conservative voices, 2010's midterm election is shaping up to be a veritable bloodbath for the nascent Democratic majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives, where Dems hold a 256-178 lead, and in the Senate, where the left currently holds its first 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in decades. And the reason for the right's euphoria? A slew of critical resignations by Democratic incumbents, including those announced this week from Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, and North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan. But what these Republican propagandists won't tell you is that in the Republican vs. Democrat retirement-score in the House and Senate, their party leads 14-11 and 6-4 respectively. There are also more Republican governors choosing not to seek re-election, and in the pivotal state of Florida, party chairman Jim Greer announced he's leaving amid a hotly contested Senate primary involving Gov. Charlie Christ and Marco Rubio. But the right's chest-beating continues unabated despite the party's mounting problems.

"The successes in Virginia and New Jersey combined with the last month of Democrat withdrawals, retirements, and switches, show that the Republican Party is solidly gaining momentum and is going strong into 2010," Steele's been crowing all week. "Whether these Democrats want to admit it or not, President Obama's government-run liberal agenda and their foolish decision to wholeheartedly embrace it has increased Republicans chances of regaining the majority..."

But Steele and his pied-propagandists are privately more likely concerned about the GOP's vulnerability in several key states where its incumbents are retiring: Florida's George LeMieux, Missouri's Kit Bond, Ohio's George Voinovich, New Hampshire's Judd Gregg, and Kentucky's Jim Bunning. The problems don't end there. Over in North Carolina, polls show that first-term Sen. Richard Burr is running below 50% against unknown Democratic opponents. That state has increasingly shifted to the left, with Democrats picking up two House seats, Kay Hagen's '08landslide defeat of GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and President Obama's electoral vote victory.

And while right-wingers like to point out the growing rift between liberals and blue-dog Democrats, there's an even bigger schism within the Republican Party between the hardcore "tea party" conservatives and the more moderate wing. This civil war threatens to undermine the GOP's real hopes for regaining power later this year, as evidenced by last November's special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District where tea-baggers and party leaders forced out moderate Dede Scozzafava in favor of hardliner Doug Hoffman, who lost to Democrat Bill Owens, giving the left its first victory in this solidly Republican district in over 100 years. As a matter of fact, in practically every special election last year Democrats were victorious. That should be of more concern to Steele & Company than who's retiring on the left. (Note: Dodd's retirement is actually a big plus for the party, as longstanding and very popular Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal should be able to retain the seat being vacated by the embattled and controversial five-term Senator).

The truth is, politicians on both sides of the aisle appear to be fed up with the ever-increasingly contentious, highly partisan climate in Washington. That they're throwing in the towel and looking forward to calmer pastures is of no surprise. And maybe all this excitement about retiring politicians could stoke serious discussion of term-limits. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing that worn out old codgers like Dodd, Dorgan and Voinovich move aside to allow some fresh blood to flow through the Beltway.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Is ABC's "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" Racist?


Critics of ABC's 6-year-old reality franchises "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" argue that the programming lacks quality, depth and genuine purpose, having produced only one marriage, that of 2003's Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter. There's also something else very noticeably missing: black people. Wat up with dat, ABC!?

On Monday's season premiere of "The Bachelor," hopeless romantic Jake Pavelka was presented with 25 beautiful, sexy gals from which to select his future wife, as he calls her. One after another they made their highly anticipated limo exit and awkwardly walked towards their dream-man (who unfortunately appears to have as much charisma as a gnat). One hopeful paramour even cheesily tripped right into Prince Uncharming's arms in what was clearly a staged damsel-in-this-dress moment. But not one sista in the whole entire bunch. Not a one. Not even a Hispanic chick. There was one Asian woman, but she totally freaked out poor Jake with her bizarre Vietnamese flirting, like she was Linda Blair in The Exorcist speaking in some demonic tongue. The over/under on her, btw, is not pretty.

The same glaring absence occurred on last season's "The Bachelorette," where Jilted-Jillian Harris had all sorts of guys--businessmen, artists, teachers...even several colossal assholes-- to choose from, but not one black dude. And only one Hispanic, Juan the Argentinian, but the only outwardly Latin thing about him is his name. Can't recall for sure, but I don't believe there was even a token Asian guy.

So what the heck is happening over there at ABC? Why the obvious conscious decision to keep the show lily white all of a sudden? Is there not even one smart, strong confident black woman that could've been vying for Jake's attention? Not even one successful, intelligent black man for Jillian? And I say this with a huge grain of salt, and a heavy dose of sarcasm, as the mere ethnic tokenism of these two shows over the years is insulting in and of itself. Out of 25 candidates, you'd think at least 20-30% would be black, Hispanic and Asian. Simply having one never made ABC inclusive.

For Pete's sake, in 2010 there's a black man running the White House, a black man heading the GOP house, but a black person can't get into The Bachelor/Bachelorette house? Did ABC think this glaring absence would go unnoticed? I think the public is owed an explanation.


On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.