Different strokes: O’Malley sings, Trump stings

Good morning Austin:
Yesterday was Martin O’Malley Day here in Austin.
Sort of.
The third wheel of the Democratic presidential contest spent the day in town:
Taping Overheard at KLRU.
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Having lunch with a Mexican immigrant family in danger of being split up if President Obama’s executive order is permanently blocked by a court suit initiated by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
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An evening fundraiser.
And just before that, a speech before an enthusiastic student audience at UT’s Hogg Memorial Auditorium, which ended with O’Malley, grabbing a borrowed guitar, and, with a touch of Pete Seeger, or maybe Raffi, leading the students in a rendition of the Passenger song, Scare Away the Dark.
Here is a low-quality video I shot of O’Malley’s performance
 
Here is a far higher quality video of another performance of the same song, which has evidently emerged as a kind of anthem for O’Malley.
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And here are the lyrics, which are pregnant with all kinds of meaning for a man running for president in this day and time.

So sing, sing at the top of your voice
Love, without fear in your heart
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

We wish our weekdays away, spend our weekends in bed
We drink ourselves stupid and work ourselves dead
And all just because that’s what mom and dad said we should do

We should run through the forests, we should swim in the streams
We should laugh, we should cry, we should love, we should dream
We should stare at the stars, and not just at these screens
You should hear what I’m saying and know what it means to sing
Sing at the top of your voice
And love without fear in your heart
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up, we can scare away the dark

Yeah we wish we were happier, thinner and fitter
We wish we weren’t losers and liars and quitters,
We want something more than just nasty and bitter
We want something real, not just hashtags and Twitter

It’s the meaning of life. and it’s streamed live on YouTube
But I bet Gangnam style will still get more views

We’re scared of flying, and swimming and shooters
But we’re all slowly dying in front of f*cking computers
So sing, sing at the top of your voice
Yeah and love without fear in your heart
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Ooooohhhhh

And the TV and papers, they fill us with fear
The icecaps are melting and Al-Qaeda is here
Now every curtain-twitching suburban is scared of every man that’s wearing a turban
You see, the unknown breeds fear, and fear breeds hatred
And hatred is everything that darkness created
When it came in the night, and it strangled the hope
So let’s open the windows and turn on the light

So sing, sing at the top of your voice
Yeah love with all of your heart
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Oh and sing, sing at the top of your voice
And love without fearing your heart
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Wow.

Yeah we wish we were happier, thinner and fitter
We wish we weren’t losers and liars and quitters,
We want something more than just nasty and bitter
We want something real, not just hashtags and Twitter

Well, at just about the same time the former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor was serenading the Longhorns, 860 miles away, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, a large crowd at Iowa Central Community College didn’t have to wish they weren’t losers because they were present for the EPIC RANT, a 95-minute, extemporaneous one-man show by Donald Trump that pushed the performance art of his campaign to a whole a new level, and left me wondering, if  he survives this, is there nothing he can do to undo himself.

(note: that’s Sam Clovis, who went from chairing Rick Perry’s campaign to being Trump’s top adviser, opening the show.)

From Jenna Johnson’s gripping account in the Washington Post.

FORT DODGE, Iowa — For an hour and 35 minutes, Republican front-runner Donald Trump vented about everything that’s wrong with this country and this election.

He said he would “bomb the s—” out of areas controlled by the Islamic State that are rich with oil and claimed to know more about the terrorist group than U.S. military generals. He ranted about how everyone else is wrong on illegal immigration and how even the “geniuses at Harvard” have now backed his way of thinking. He accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of playing the “woman’s card,” and said Marco Rubio is “weak like a baby.” He signed a book for an audience member and then threw it off the stage. He forgot to take questions like he promised. And he spent more than 10 minutes angrily attacking his chief rival, Ben Carson, at one point calling him “pathological, damaged.”

Gone was the candidate’s recent bout of composure and control on the campaign trail. As Trump ranted on and on, campaign staffers with microphones who were supposed to take questions from the audience instead took a seat, trying to cheer their boss here and there. The audience laughed at times and clapped for many of Trump’s sharp insults. But an hour and 20 minutes into the speech, people who were standing on risers on the stage behind Trump sat down. The applause came less often and less loud. As Trump skewered Carson in deeply personal language, a sense of discomfort settled on the crowd of roughly 1,500. Several people shook their heads or whispered to their neighbors.

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“Carson is an enigma to me,” Trump said. “He said that he’s ‘pathological’ and that he’s got, basically, pathological disease… I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease.”

Trump repeatedly said he doesn’t believe there’s any cure for such a disease, and he said he doesn’t believe that Carson was truly changed by divine intervention, as he writes in his book.

“If you’re a child molester — a sick puppy — a child molester, there’s no cure for that,” Trump said. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure. They can’t stop you. Pathological? There’s no cure.”

And yet Carson is doing well in the polls, Trump said in disbelief.

“How stupid are the people of Iowa?” Trump said. “How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

Here’s the Carson riff within the EPIC RANT.

 

My first thought was of Lonesome Rhodes, the fictional hero/villain of the 1957 film, A Face in the Crowd, played with crazed gusto by Andy Griffith, making his film debut.

It’s a magnificent movie.

I was hardly alone in making that association.

Says Rhodes of his adoring public:

They’re mine. I own them. They think like I do. But they’re even more stupid than I am … So I’ve got to think for them.

Trump asking Iowans how stupid they are is not exactly the same thing, but it’s not all that different.

And this is, apparently, real life.

From the original New York Times review by Bosley Crowther:

BUDD SCHULBERG and Elia Kazan, the writer-director team whose “On the Waterfront” manifested the rare congeniality of their skills, are doing a brisk encore in tracing the phenomenal rise (and fall) of a top television “personality” in their new film, “A Face in the Crowd.” This sizzling and cynical exposure, which came to the Globe last night, also presents Andy Griffith as the key figure in his first screen role.

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From the outset, when he is picked up as a drunken guitar-playing tramp by a female television reporter in an Arkansas town, he progressively dominates the TV audience to which he is expandingly exposed, the advertising agency representatives and the big industrialist by whom he is employed. He even is coming close to dominating a political faction and a Presidential aspirant when the rug is suddenly pulled out from under him by his girl friend, who throws a studio switch.

Meanwhile, he is demonstrating his eccentric personality—his gusto, his candor, his shrewdness, his moral laxity and his treachery. And, from the way his eyes narrow and his lips tighten, we gather he is demonstrating a thirst for power, when his loving and loyal discoverer decides that we’ve all had enough.

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We finally get bored with Lonesome Rhodes. Thus the dubious device of having his girl friend switch him on the air when he thinks he is finished with his program (and is scorning his public) is inane. This type would either have become a harmless habit or the public would have been finished with him!

Inane? I thought it was a pretty good device.

Here is what Rhodes says on the hot mic:

Those morons out there? Shucks, I could take chicken fertilizer and sell it to them as caviar. I could make them eat dog food and think it was steak. You know what the public’s like? A cage of guinea pigs. Good night, you stupid idiots. Good night, you miserable slobs. They’re a lot of trained seals. I toss them a dead fish and they’ll flap their flippers.

Back to Austin, here is the advisory from the O’Malley campaign about his lunch.

Governor O’Malley will join the Ramirez family, a New American family that would have benefited from the president’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) for lunch in Austin, Texas. This week, the 5th Circuit Appeals Court ruled in favor of Governor Greg Abbott  and the 25 Republican governors blocking President Obama’s DAPA program and the 2014 expansion of DACA.

Governor O’Malley spoke-out against the ruling and tomorrow, he hears first-hand how our inhumane immigration system and the ongoing court battles have impacted the Ramirez family

Governor O’Malley has committed to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority of his administration. While other candidates try to triangulate and make-up for past comments, Governor O’Malley’s bold, progressive immigration plan has been heralded as the most inclusive in the race. His record and proposed plan have earned him the title, “the Most Aggressively Pro-Immigration Candidate in the Race.”

The event is being organized by America’s Voice, United We Dream Action and the Center for Community Change Action/Fair Immigration Reform Movement as part of their DAPA Dinners campaign.

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First. Lunch –  chilaquiles and refried beans, potatoes, salsa –  looked and smelled great.

The conversation in the sweet little house in East Austin was obviously a bit  stilted – surrounded by reporters and camera.

But it was powerful.

The parents are not legal residents, though they could have secured their status under the DAPA executive order issued by Obama had it not been stymied in court, thanks to the lawsuit initiated by Abbott in his waning days as attorney general before assuming the governorship.

The youngest child, Abigail, is U.S. born and, therefore a citizen

The older children are covered by DACA and, in two-year increments, are safe here.

Maria Ramirez, 22, spoke first. She is student at UT and has an infant daughter, Scout.

O’Malley asked about the baby’s name.

It is from To Kill a Mockingbird, a favorite book, Maria said.

O’Malley lit up.

“My older sister, Eileen, looked just like Scout growing up, had that sort of cowboy thing, and my dad raised six of us, was a sole practitioner lawyer, so it was not unusual for us to get paid in cords of wood and  for people to show up at the door at all hours of the day and night. We used to call my dad Atticus. I was so angry, though, when they came out with that second book and redid the character of Atticus.

Maria agreed.

“I do remember growing up in Mexico we did kind of lived in poverty,” Maria said. She told how her parents went to the United States ahead of her and her sister. They were left with an aunt and uncle in Mexico.

Her uncle eventually delivered them to a coyote to get to Texas, and, she said, they had an easier time slipping in because “we were lucky enough to pass as white.”

“My older brother and sister, they had to physically cross the river. My sister saw people die trying to get here,” Maria said. She is crying. “I just feel so lucky not to have experienced that,  and getting here to see my parents.”

“I hadn’t seen my father in years, and it’s like, `Who are you? I know I love you and i know you’re my dad but i don’t know you.'”

 

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The walls of the house are almost exclusively decorated with large graduation photos. With the exception of the youngest, the other children all went to or are now going to UT.

O’Malley asked about the status of in-state tuition for so-called Dreamers in Texas.

“I think Texas was one of the last states to do that,” O’Malley said. “We call that the state version of the Dream Act in my own state.”

In fact, Texas preceded Maryland in enacting in-state tuition, and, for all the agitation on the issue, it’s still there. And Rick Perry paid a huge political price for defending in-state tuition when he ran for president four years ago, telling his rivals,  “I don’t think you have a heart,” if you oppose it.

From the National Council of State Legislatures in 2014

Currently, at least 18 states have provisions allowing in-state tuition rates for undocumented students.  Fourteen states provide these provisions through state legislation—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.  Two states—Oklahoma and Rhode Island— allow in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through Board of Regents decisions.

California and Texas were the first states to enact legislation in 2001. In 2002, New York and Utah passed similar legislation. During the 2003 and 2004 legislative sessions, Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois and Kansas all passed such laws. Oklahoma has since amended its law, leaving granting of in-state tuition rates to undocumented students up to the Oklahoma Board of Regents. The Board of Regents currently still allows undocumented students, who meet Oklahoma’s original statutory requirements, to receive in-state tuition. In 2005 and 2006, New Mexico and Nebraska signed undocumented student tuition legislation into law, and Wisconsin enacted a similar law in 2009, but then revoked that law in 2011. Maryland’s governor signed a law in May 2011 allowing undocumented students meeting the specified requirements to pay in-state tuition at community colleges only. Also in 2011, Connecticut enacted a law allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students. In 2013, four states, Colorado, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Oregon enacted laws allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students. Florida passed legislation in May 2014 and was signed by the Governor in June 2014. 

And, here, from PolitiFact Texas.

Also, when the Ramirezes mentioned Abbott’s leadership role in blocking the implementation of Obama’s executive orders on DACA and DAPA, O’Malley said that he had not realized that.

Huh?

It was in his press release.

It seems to me that O’Malley could have seized the opportunity to use the Perry and Abbott examples to point out how much the Republican Party has moved right on the issue of immigration, and offered some words of praise and warning about how Texas has been and can continue to be a model for its successful, blended Tex-Mex character, and ought not risk that now.

“If you get to be president, remember all the promises made, because we’re not people who come and take,” said the mother, Adriana Campos Rivera, her Spanish translated by an aide to O’Malley.

Abigail Ramirez, 13, spoke next. She was crying from the start.

 I live in constant fear of coming home from school and not being able to see my family, not knowing if I’m ever going to see them again.

And I have to live with that constant fear. And so do other kids.

You know, other people don’t realize that if immigration reform doesn’t happen, you know, millions of families could be split up, because every time I hear people say like, `Well, I’m glad they are going to deport all these people,” but they don’t realize it would affect other people.

I mean how would you feel if you came home one day and no one was there, an empty house and all you think is, oh, they just went out. But then, after hours and hours  of waiting, they never come back. I have to live in constant fear of that happening to me.

And I hear all these people say that people like my family take jobs and don’t pay taxes. But they pay taxes. They love this country so much they take jobs that no other people take. They build buildings basically risking their lives. And if something goes wrong, they’ll never be able to see their family again.

O’Malley: Well said, Abigail.

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“Why don’t i talk a little bit, share a little bit about myself,” O’Malley said.

I believe very, very firmly that our country is made better in every generation by the arrival of new American immigrants. And the beauty of our nation is that from people from all over the world, we become one nation because of our diversity. Our diversity is our strength. Our diversity is what allows us to build a great country.

And fortunately, I was raised in a home where my mom, most of whose people were German immigrants, and my dad, whose people were Irish immigrants, reminded, and made sure all of their kids knew, that all of us, except for our Native American brothers and sisters, all, at some point, all of us came from somewhere else.

During the seven years I was mayor of Baltimore, and the eight years I was governor, I always kept a sign from the 1890s on my desk, and it read – you know what it read? Help wanted, no Irish need apply.

So that’s the flip side of our history. That’s the sometimes ugly side of American history. But the good news is that in every generation, we find ways to overcome that, and we’re going to overcome this too, and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

And as one candidate running for president, I intend to be very clear of our principles as a people, that our enduring symbol is the Statue of Liberty, and not a barbed wire fence, or detention camps for women and children. Because it’s been my experience that on issues the people say are too divided, we can’t reach an agreement, that leadership matters, and when you call people back to the principles that unite us, that people come together, and things shift and things change and you can get things done.

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“I hate to interrupt,” said Paul Alexander, who is Maria’s fiance and Scout’s father. “You really nailed it on the head. You have to respect the dignity of every person.”

Grasping to find the right words, Alexander apologized.

“I’m distracted.

“You’re not distracted,” O’Malley said. “You’re thinking about what it would be like for your little girl to be in a detention camp. You’re very focused.”

Alexander:

We’re always brought up to believe to treat everybody like they’re your neighbors, right?

But a lot of people just don’t see the injustices that we’re placing on people. Just because of a silly line on a map, we’re treating them as less than human, in some cases. It’s really hard to see that unless you’re brought up in something like this, like Abby’s story, just that raw emotion, I never knew what that was like, and I still can’t even relate to that, and I’m lucky to call these people my family now.

O’Malley:

The good new is, when I talk to younger people, under 30, I rarely ever meet young Americans who think like Donald Trump. I rarely ever meet young Americans who want to bash New American immigrants, and for younger people in our country, the word “foreign” has become almost a bit of an antique word. There’s an awareness. And it’s more than geographic. I think it’s empathetic.

 

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Afterward, outside the house, O’Malley talked with reporters.

Asked about Trump’s promise to deport millions, O’Malley said, “It’s this close to ethnic cleansing and it’s not right and it needs to be called out”

If he were president, O’Malley said, “I would extend executive protection to even more people,” and make the process less expensive for those applying for legalization.

The idea of “parents being taken away from their families, from their kids, that’s not right, that’s not us, that’s not the United States. We’re better than that.”

And O’Malley said, of the Democrats, he has been the most consistently pro-immigrant.

Clinton will boast about she was for big fences and walls on the border, the border with Mexico, which last I checked, we had net zero immigration from, and then, in another context, she’ll talk about comprehensive immigration reform and compassion.

If you want us to be a more compassionate nation than you need to speak to the goodness within us and not the sort of cynical game  in which you say one thing to one crowd and use the term “illegal immigrants,” and then you turn around to another crowd, switch your messaging and talk about new Americans. I always talked about new Americans.

 

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On Morning Joe earlier in the week, Trump described how it would go down.

You’re going to have a deportation force and you’re going to do it humanely and fairly because you have some excellent, wonderful people,  some fantastic people who have been here a long time, but  don’t forget you have millions of people who are waiting on line to get into this country and they’re waiting to come in legally.

We have no choice. Otherwise we don’t have a country.

But President Obama told ABC”s  George Stephanopoulos.

The notion that we’re gonna deport 11, 12 million people from this country — first of all, I have no idea where Mr. Trump thinks the money’s gonna come from. It would cost us hundreds of billions of dollars to execute that.

Imagine the images on the screen flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their children, and putting them in what, detention centers, and then systematically sending them out. Nobody thinks that that is realistic. But more importantly, that’s not who we are as Americans.

O’Malley arrived in Austin to the results of the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

 

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“I’ve got them right where I want them,” O’Malley told Texas  Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith on Overheard.

As he explained to reporters yesterday”

Usually in the Democratic Party there is an inevitable front-runner who remains inevitable, right up until the first voters have a chance to express their choice, and that happens first in Iowa and New Hampshire, and then it’s off and running.

So I would look forward to coming back to Texas. But right now, most of my time is spent on the ground in Iowa and in New Hampshire, but after those early states, I believe this race is going to take a turn, the dynamic is going to shift and it will be a choice between a candidate from our country and our party’s past, that all of us have heard of, and a new candidate that mot of us are just meeting, and I look forward to that robust debate about our country’s future.

It’s obviously a very optimistic scenario, but I wouldn’t say utterly impossible.

His let’s-move-on, generational argument is a powerful one, especially if the Republicans appear likely nominate a candidate like Rubio or Cruz, both now 44. O’Malley is 52, Clinton is 68, and Sanders is 74.

And Iowa and New Hampshire are all about exceeding expectations, and that is a harder trick right now for either Clinton or Sanders, who have traded the lead in two early states. O’Malley doesn’t have to win to win.

At UT, O’Malley was presented with a campaign rap.
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Despite his relative youth, O’Malley seems an old-school Democratic politician and a happy warrior.

Meanwhile, back in Iowa, the Washington Post reported that:

Trump started the speech looking exhausted, his voice hoarse. This was his fourth state in four days. A sense of anger built as Trump listed off everything wrong with the country and everything wrong with his rivals. His voice got louder and stronger, his hands gripping the podium. He would be a unifier, he said, a winner. Then he wondered aloud if he should just move to Iowa and buy a farm.

“I’ve really enjoyed being with you,” Trump said as he drew to a sudden but long awaited end. “It’s sad in many ways because we’re talking about so many negative topics, but in certain ways it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful.”

I’ll let O’Malley play you out.

A Pogues cover.

 

And busking, in shorts, with a banjo.

 

 

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