Me, John, and Henry were sitting around a campfire this week end discussing current events. There was the special congressional primary runoff election, the Supreme Court overturning  most of the Alabama immigration “hate bill,”  and Alabama’s  huge mistake of not accepting Medicaid, so there was plenty to discuss. Which was the worst black eye for our region?

John voted for the potential threat. In our R+15 district, the Republican primary is, for all intents and purposes, the election. The Republican candidates in the primary (Bradley Byrne, patrician Republican turned “conservative Episcopalian” and Dean Young, follower of Roy Moore the “10 Commandments Judge”) answered a series of questions for the Guardian. The most interesting answers are as  follows:

Apart from the United States, which other country do you admire?

Byrne: Good question. Israel.

Young: I’m not a big world traveller, so I don’t know.

Leaving the question of gay marriage aside, do you believe homosexual people can feel the same love for one another as straight people?

Byrne: Yes.

Young: When you start talking about that, I don’t even know … Homosexuality is wrong, and that is just the way it is. Always has been, always will be.

Where was Barack Obama born?

Byrne: He was born in Hawaii and he has produced a birth certificate.

Young: That is what we call the $64,000 question! I have no idea! [When pushed for an answer:] Kenya.

Currently Young is ahead in the polls. Could it be that bad, we asked? Here’s Mr Young’s future intent  (as quoted in Politico)

During a recent radio interview, Young said listeners should get “a big ole thing of popcorn and a Big Super Gulp and lean back and turn on C-SPAN. Because I promise you, I will stand on the floor of the House and stand for the principles that we believe in that made this nation great.”

I agrees that it was a good way to make us look like idiots but we already had a winner in the immigration bill. Although we voted to criminalize “brown people” we have ended up with “employers must use e-verify.” In the words of one commentator this week-end:

After all the warnings and bad publicity and threatened boycotts, after the labor and expense of defending an obviously problematic law in court after court, Alabama ends up with something that looks almost … reasonable. It is a law that makes a strong statement about the importance of legal immigration, but does not over-reach for the sake of pure political posturing. Or pure meanness.

We could have had it all along. But Alabama would rather fight.

Henry was fixated on our denying a Medicaid expansion. He pointed to Dr Bronner’s Press Register article as evidence that we are going against our self interest in a huge way. As Bronner said, this should be a no-brainer but…

I couldn’t care less if you love or hate Obamacare! My dad would tell me “no matter what problems you have today, the sun will rise tomorrow.” But to stick our head in the sand and think we are helping ourselves or the 300,000+ Alabamians by rejecting the expansion of Medicaid is simply nuts!

Mostly, after several adult beverages, we decided people in the deep South just like being obstinate. But that may not be the answer, either. Paul Krugman, who won a Nobel Prize, says the problem is not that we vote against our self interest but that we vote to keep others “off the island.” In his words, “It’s relatively high-income Southern whites who are very, very Republican. Can I get away with saying that rich white trash are the problem? Probably not.”

So much for campfire wisdom…

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