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High-Fives and Dope Slaps: Warren calls out Obama, Kerry calls out Christians

Posted by Alex Pearlman  March 27, 2012 05:58 PM

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john kerry.jpgBy Jeff Fish

Once again, this week, I've doled out a high-five to both Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren -- the former for another pair of legislative accomplishments that adds to an impressive list for the freshman senator, the latter for her outspoken support for and willingness to once again buck her party when it comes to marriage equality.

But Warren didn’t get off that easily this week; I also had to give her a dope slap for her stance on immigration. Don’t worry, Elizabeth, you’re not alone. Deval got one, too, for his inaccurate representation of the state’s job numbers.

Rounding out the week is a high-five for John Kerry, because he reminded us that Jesus wasn’t a far-right nutjob like so many of his biggest fans.

High-Five: Scott Brown notches a pair of legislative wins. Brown has been taking full advantage of the power of incumbency in elections this week, getting two more legislative achievements under his belt. The first piece of passed legislation is the STOCK Act, a bill to ban insider trading in Congress, which passed the Senate with a 96-3 vote. Technically, the passed bill is the weaker House version, not the Senate version that Brown sponsored; still, it’s good to see that something is being done to curb corruption on Capitol Hill, and Brown was a big part of making it happen.

Brown also co-sponsored a jobs bill that would allow small startup investors to bypass some Wall Street rules. The measure, which passed 73-26, is a good move to help foster growth among small businesses. Wall Street's many rules and regulations should be there to stop the largest corporations from abusing their power (which they don’t), not to get in the way of small businesses trying to make it in this economy.

High-Five: Elizabeth Warren calls on President Obama to support marriage equality. Warren has already proven that she’s willing to buck her own party when necessary, but to do so to the President of the United States is pretty gutsy. In an interview with the Washington Blade, Warren called on Obama to “evolve” his position on marriage equality from allowing civil unions to allowing full-blown marriage. The response? Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, told the Blade that the president “appreciates” Warren’s opinion, but there are “no new updates” to report.

And of course there aren't, not right before an election. But I think the way Warren said what she said was interesting, implying that Obama would eventually come out in support of gay marriage but that he just isn’t there yet. I hope and think she’s right. Obama obviously will not show support for gay marriage during an election year, but afterwards, what would he have to lose? If Dick Cheney favors gay marriage, I can’t imagine that Obama doesn’t.

Dope Slap: Warren's views the same as Deval Patrick's on illegal immigration. Like Gov. Patrick, Warren opposed the Obama-sponsored Secure Communities Act, a program aimed at deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes while also making sure those who report the crimes aren’t deported. I don’t take a hard-line stance on illegal immigration; it’s a delicate matter that has to be handled carefully. But I don’t think this bill is unreasonable. It’s not targeting all illegal immigrants, just the ones who commit crimes.

Dope Slap: Patrick’s job creations claims are inaccurate. Patrick, a prominent Obama surrogate, has spent the last few months touting Massachusetts’ stunning job growth -- fifth in the nation. But a new report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says otherwise. The new data show that the state has dropped to 41st in job creation. Andy Bagley, director of research and public affairs for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told The Boston Globe that the Patrick administration was using data that began in August 2009, a low point in the the state’s economy, to make it appear that things have improved more dramatically than they really have.

Anyone can bend statistics to work in their favor, so I’m not surprised that the Patrick administration did so. They’re not the first, and they won’t be the last. The real dope slap is the fact that Patrick is standing by his statistic when it's clearly been proven wrong.

High-Five: John Kerry talks to students about Jesus’ charity. I was caught a little off guard when I saw the Fox News headline, “Kerry tells students Jesus was a liberal?” (As per usual, the headline was sensational and blown out of proportion.) Kerry told a group of students at the Christian Gordon College that many Christians forget that helping the poor was one of Jesus’ main focuses and that Christians should support universal health care because “Jesus did not help just the sick who could afford to pay for it."

In this country, Christianity is closely tied to conservatism, but it shouldn’t necessarily and doesn’t have to be that way. Kerry was right to point out those facts. Too often, Christians and members of other faiths, both in this country and around the world, twist their religions to focus on things that shouldn’t be issues -- like the contraception debate, for instance. It just goes to show that religion and politics are both too complicated to align one sort of faith with one political belief.

'High-Fives and Dope Slaps' is TNGG Boston's weekly politics column, written by Jeff Fish.

Photo of John Kerry by Center for American Progress Action Fund (Flickr)

About Jeff -- I'm a senior at Suffolk University, majoring in journalism and political science. I'm the editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, The Suffolk Journal, and I did a six-month co-op at The Boston Globe. I love politics, reading, movies, TV, and anything pop culture. My mind is a font of useless knowledge.

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