Tag Archives: Jim Banks

They Aren’t Even Pretending Any More

Jim Banks and J.D. Vance–two MAGA Republicans–have introduced a new bill, “The College Admissions Accountability Act.” It would create “a dedicated office for investigating race discrimination in college admissions.” A rightwing publication calls it  “the most dramatic effort yet to enforce the Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action.”

Wow…just wow.

As described in glowing terms by the Washington Free Beacon (the rightwing publication), the Act

would establish a special inspector general within the Education Department—separate from the Office of Civil Rights—to probe potential violations of the colorblind standard set forth in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which ruled that race-conscious admissions programs violate the 14th Amendment. The bill would also bar schools that flout the decision from receiving any form of federal aid…

The bill would create a new mechanism for applicants and university employees to file discrimination claims against admissions departments. Those claims would be investigated by the special inspector general—nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate—who could then recommend enforcement actions, including the revocation of federal funds, to the secretary of education and attorney general.

The office would also submit quarterly reports to Congress on the allegations it has received and what corrective steps have been taken. That means the secretary of education and attorney general, while theoretically free to ignore the office’s recommendations, would face public pressure to lay down the law.

Universities, meanwhile, would be at constant risk of humiliation if they adopt the sort of race-based policies that have become de rigueur throughout higher education. Though focused on admissions, the bill also covers “financial aid determinations” and “academic programs,” empowering the inspector general to go after scholarships, fellowships, and research programs that exclude non-minorities.

“The federal government has given the universities free rein to discriminate against white and Asian students,” Christopher Rufo, the conservative activist behind numerous state laws banning critical race theory, said of the bill. “Senator Vance’s proposed legislation will put a stop to this.”

Rufo, you will recall, is Ron DeSantis’ go-to guy on education…

The questions just ask themselves…like, where were these proud opponents of racial discrimination when it was Black kids who were being discriminated against? (Answer: Nowhere to be found.) And what happened to those intrepid conservative warriors  who were battling big government and regulatory over-reach? (Answer: It doesn’t count as over-reach if government is imposing policies that benefit White Christian guys.)

I note from the above description of the bill that these Paladins of Non-discrimination are also working hard to ensure that those greedy Black kids who somehow manage to get admitted don’t get any “extra” consideration when it comes to financial assistance. 

Given Banks hostility to LGBTQ Americans, I’m only surprised that he didn’t manage to work some homophobia into his new appreciation for having government oversight and “accountability.” (Of course, I haven’t read the entire bill…)

When the Supreme Court  handed down its decision on affirmative action, the Congressional Black Caucus warned that ending the consideration of race in admissions policies in higher education would have far-reaching, negative consequences. Even that Caucus, however, could not have foreseen the way White Supremicists have rushed to bully and threaten universities in order to ensure that Black applicants receive absolutely no “special” consideration. (And clearly, from the language of Banks’ bill, White guys hostile to Black kids will be the ones who get to decide what “special” consideration looks like.)

When I read the language of this bill, it prompted a twinge of nostalgia for the dear departed days of the “dog whistle.” MAGA Republicans like Banks have substituted a bugle for that whistle. 

Ohio is responsible for J.D. Vance (about whom Mitt Romney recently wrote, “I don’t know that I can disrespect someone more than JD Vance”), but voters in a Hoosier Congressional district are the ones who inflicted Jim Banks on the country. Now Banks wants to take his fetid brand of MAGA fundamentalism to the U.S. Senate. WE CANNOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN.

As Brian Howey wrote when Banks was supporting Jim Jordan for speaker, “Indiana has a history of Senate lions; Banks is a House hyena.”

We have a chance to get rid of Banks in 2024. Democrat Marc Carmichael is the antithesis of Jim Banks; he would be a Senator Hoosiers could be proud of. He actually wants to be a Senator for ALL Indiana citizens.

Go to his website. Volunteer. Send him money. Tell your friends. 

Help him defeat the hyena.




Someone To Blame

One of the most memorable scenes from any movie I’ve seen was one that occurred toward the conclusion of the 1995 film An American President. During a press conference, the current President (played by Michael Douglas) calls out his opponent–an eerily pre-MAGA character named Bob Rumson–by saying

We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character…

That scene is a vivid example of the way in which art–in this case, film–can illuminate life. Nearly 30 years later, the scene seems eerily prescient. 

In the movie, it was Bob Rumson. Today, it’s Elon Musk.

After Musk purchased Twitter– now renamed X– expressions of bigotry and anti-Semitism on the site increased significantly. Thanks to Musk’s chaotic administration, the number of advertisers and users had already been steadily dwindling, but advertiser departures exploded last week, after Musk endorsed a post blaming “Jewish communities” for pushing “dialectical hatred against whites” and promoting the white supremacist conspiracy theory that “western Jewish populations” are behind the “flooding” of countries with “hordes of minorities.”

Musk tweeted “You have said the actual truth.” 

As a result, a stream of prominent brands halted their advertising. The departures included Disney, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Comcast, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent of CNN. Rather than responding to the exodus by apologizing, or by vowing to improve content mediation, Musk doubled down, blaming the Anti-Defamation League–and the Jews–for the platform’s problems and its greatly diminished value.

In true Trump fashion, Musk has sued Media Matters for reporting that company ads often appeared next to anti-Semitic content, asserting that the organization had somehow falsified the data. And Musk is threatening to sue the Anti-Defamation League, for daring to publish research documenting a striking increase in hate on the platform since Musk took it over.

Elon Musk issued a series of statements in which he has blamed secret manipulation by a Jewish organization for the destruction of the X platform, which was once called Twitter. Saying the Anti-Defamation League was the “primary” reason for falling ad revenue at X, Musk first threatened, then later seemed to promise to sue for damages.

That’s right. After months in which Musk has supported racist rants; encouraged hate speech; elevated literal Nazi propaganda; fired every Twitter employee in Brazil on suspicion of being too liberal; fired the entire company press office and the entire company communications department; decimated the team responsible for content moderation; terrified advertisers with chaos, irresponsibility, and perpetuating racism; and thrown away global brand recognition by renaming the whole platform to indulge a personal whim, Musk has put his finger on the real issue.

It’s the Jews.

Shades of Bob Rumson…

Permit me to suggest that the “real issue” with Twitter/X is a man-child with way too much money and an ego that won’t permit him to admit his own inadequacies and mistakes. 

Mmm…sounds familiar.

When you think about it, that clip from An American President applies far more widely than to Musk. It perfectly describes not just Trump, but most contemporary Republican candidates and officeholders. Today’s GOP policy-free “platform” can be entirely summed up by those same two strategies: playing on voters’ fears, and telling those voters who they should blame for whatever troubles them–immigrants, Jews, Blacks. It’s what MAGA is all about.

In Indiana, it’s the modus operandi of posturing incompetents like Todd Rokita, Mike Braun and Jim Banks. 

I guess next year we’ll see if that’s really the way to win elections…..it sure doesn’t seem to be the way to manage a successful social media platform…







What Is WRONG With Jim Banks? Many Things..

Among the things I just don’t get is why someone who doesn’t believe in government wants to be part of government.

Take Indiana Congressman Jim Banks. (Yes, please take him. Although why you would want him is a mystery…)

In the wake of the recent vote to keep the U.S. Government operating, the Washington Post ran an article identifying the 95 Representatives who voted no. Banks was one of them. Had the Democrats not bailed out the new Speaker by voting in mass for the continuing resolution, the measure wouldn’t have passed, and we would have had another government shutdown.

Right before Thanksgiving.

A shutdown would mean 3.5 million federal workers going without pay. A number of them– including over 50,000 airport security officers and 13,000 air traffic controllers–would have to come to work anyway, and work without being paid, because their jobs are considered critical to national security.

Federal criminal justice workers would also have to show up without pay–  criminal proceedings would continue. Civil trials, however, would be put on hiatus.

National parks and museums would close. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid payments would continue, but services would slow and payments could be late. There’s lots more, including the international implications of shutting down the U.S. government at a time when two hot wars are raging.

Jim Banks is an ultra-MAGA culture warrior who wants to be Indiana’s Senator. He’s a member of what the New York Times has dubbed the “Wrecking Ball Caucus.”

Members of that Caucus believe that most of the governing Congress does is–in the words of one of them–  totally unjustified. These hard-Right ideologues share an anti-government  perspective that has led to what the Times calls “a historically dysfunctional moment in American politics.”

Washington is in the grip of an ultraconservative minority that sees the federal government as a threat to the republic, a dangerous monolith to be broken apart with little regard for the consequences. They have styled themselves as a wrecking crew aimed at the nation’s institutions on a variety of fronts…

Defying the G.O.P.’s longstanding reputation as the party of law and order, they have pledged to handcuff the F.B.I. and throttle the Justice Department. Members of the party of Ronald Reagan refused to meet with a wartime ally, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, this week when he visited the Capitol and want to eliminate assistance to his country, a democratic nation under siege from an autocratic aggressor.

And they are unbowed by guardrails that in past decades forced consensus even in the most extreme of conflicts; this is the same bloc that balked at raising the debt ceiling in the spring to avert a federal debt default.

“There is a group of Republican members who seem to feel there is no limit at all as to how you can wreck the system,” said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “There are no boundaries, no forbidden zones. They go where relatively junior members have feared to tread in the past.”

As one Democrat puts it, “The clowns are running the circus.

Banks is one of the clowns. He enthusiastically endorses Trump, which is no surprise–he  also  voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, confirming his distaste for small-d democratic self-government. 

Banks has been dubbed “Focus on the Family’s Man in Washington,”and has been described as a “man who prizes ideological purity over pragmatism.” Banks supported loudmouth disrupter Jim Jordan for speaker, and Banks and his wife, Amanda, both worked in Focus’ in-house public policy division.

Jim Banks is a frequent guest on programs by the Family Research Council, founded by Dobson in 1981, and he joined Trump and other Republicans at September’s FRC-sponsored Pray Vote Stand Summit, where he spoke on “De-Woking the Pentagon.” Trump endorsed Banks’ 2024 Senate run at the event.

Amanda Banks serves as vice president of education at Family Policy Alliance, which was founded by Dobson in the 1980s and now oversees a network of conservative family policy councils in 40 states. FPA has taken the lead in enacting anti-trans legislation and other measures in GOP-led states.

I began this post by wondering why someone like Banks–who has  shown no interest whatsoever in the nuts and bolts of actual governance, or in doing his job–wants to be part of an institution he despises. 

Stranger still: why does a man who doesn’t think government has the authority to fund parks and pay air traffic controllers believe that same government has the authority to force women to give birth and forbid doctors from treating transgender children?

Why are zealots like Banks willing to use a government they are trying to demolish to impose their cultural, religious “anti-woke” views on other American citizens?

Tom Nichols Says It Best

I try never to miss an article or book by Tom Nichols, who writes for the Atlantic. He has a way of distilling observations into pithy statements that resonate with me (Probably because I agree with them…) A recent essay was particularly “on point.”

Nichols was addressing the situation in Congress, a situation that–sorry for my language–can only be considered a complete and utter shit-show. He began by dismissing the punditry’s seeming belief that the chaos and egomania on display are a betrayal of the Republican voters who voted for these buffoons.

The ongoing drama over electing a speaker of the House is not about governance. It’s about giving Republican voters the drama-filled reality show they voted for and want to see—even at the expense of the country.

Evidence supporting this view is abundant here in Red Indiana, where voters have returned culture warriors like Jim Banks to the House. Banks has enthusiastically supported Jordan, and is one of the many un-productive, anti-“woke,” theocratic and anti-woman fringe characters so beloved by the GOP base. He’s not the only one, but he is one of the worst.

Nichols takes a hard look at the current hard-to-believe debacle that is the Republican caucus:

Like many Americans, I have been both fascinated and horrified by the inability of the Republican majority to elect a new speaker of the House. I admit to watching the votes like I’m rubbernecking at a car wreck, but perhaps that’s not a good analogy, because I at least feel pity for the victims of a traffic accident. What’s happening in the House is more like watching a group of obnoxious (and not very bright) hot-rodders playing chicken and smashing their cars into one another over and over.

As I watch all of this Republican infighting, I wonder, as I often do, about GOP voters. What is it that they think will happen if Jim Jordan becomes speaker? Jordan has been in Congress for 16 years, and he has almost nothing to show for it. He’s never originated any successful legislation, never whipped votes, never accomplished anything except for appearing on Fox and serving up rancid red meat to his Ohio constituents and MAGA allies.

And therefore, as speaker, he would … what? Order up more impeachments, perhaps of Biden-administration officials? Shut down the government? Pound the gavel and prattle on for hours in his never-take-a-breath style? (Jordan’s the kind of guy who probably would have interrupted the Sermon on the Mount.) Perhaps from a position of greater power, he could more effectively assist Donald Trump in undermining yet another election in 2024.

If the continuation of this governance nightmare seems incredible, Nichols points out that it is the consequence of the GOP’s devolution into a White Christian Nationalist cult focused exclusively upon performative signaling and utterly uninterested in governing.

The disorder in the GOP caucus is not some accident or glitch triggered by a handful of reprobates, but rather a direct result of choices by voters. The House is a mess because enough Republican voters want it to be a mess.

This accusation might seem unfair: Jordan is just one member from a super-red (and blatantly gerrymandered) district, and many of his Republican colleagues are furious about this humiliating bungle. But right-wing voters have shown no inclination to punish people such as Matt Gaetz and other political vandals; indeed, Gaetz and his like-minded colleagues are rapidly becoming folk heroes in the Republican Party.

Nichols admits that it isn’t much consolation to recognize that Republicans like Jordan and Banks are doing what their voters want them to do, which is presumably bring government to a halt. After all,  their antics endanger us all.

But to treat the GOP as merely dysfunctional is worse than a distraction; it is a fundamental error that offers the false hope that a mature and governing majority is somehow within reach, if only Jordan or Gaetz would get out of the way….

The twists and turns of the Trump years, in which many elected Republicans became big spenders, critics of law enforcement, and apologists for the Kremlin, illustrated that MAGA voters have almost no interest in anything like conservatism, or even in coherent policy. Instead, they want to indulge resentments and grievances that have little to do with government and everything to do with boredom and dissatisfaction in their own lives. A few years ago, I wrote a book about how such voters project that anger and sourness onto everything around them. Their ennui spurs their desire to see chaos, so they argue that the existing order needs to be shaken up, or burned down, or defunded.

Republican voters want entertainment, not governance.

Send in the clowns? Don’t bother–they’re here.


No More Dog Whistles…

Indiana contributes more than its share to the crazy caucus of the House of Representatives. Our state’s intrepid culture warriors not only close ranks with the far-Right “lawmakers” (note quotes) intent upon blocking  anything close to actual governance, they are also happy to advance their bigotries publicly.

No more “dog whistles.” Just good old Hoosier White Supremacy.

Take Jim Banks. (Please!) In addition to his vote to shut down the government and his efforts to form an “anti-woke” caucus, he and Greg Stuebe (R-Fl) are coming after the accreditation of colleges and universities.

And why, you might reasonably ask, would they be doing that?

Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Greg Steube (R-FL) urged Congress to take action to reform the college accreditation process to combat diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements from accrediting agencies.

In a Washington Examiner op-ed Wednesday, the two Republican lawmakers, known to be among the most conservative members of Congress, argued that the college accreditation system has become politicized with diversity, equity, and inclusion requirements and that congressional action is needed to solve the issue….

Banks and Steube are both members of the House Anti-Woke Caucus, which they said was launched in part because of the state of higher education. The two lawmakers, along with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), introduced the Fairness In Higher Education Accreditation Act earlier this year, which would ban accrediting agencies from requiring commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion from institutions seeking to be accredited.

Well, yes, I suppose efforts to combat historic discrimination and bigotry could be considered “political”–at least, if you are one of the far-too-numerous Americans who are trying to take the country back to a time when only straight White Christian men were considered “real Americans.”

“Credit” where it’s due: Banks doesn’t limit his bigotry to racism. He’s also a rabid misogynist/forced birther– 100% anti-choice with zero exceptions. (Evidently, if a ten-year-old is impregnated during a vicious rape, it’s God’s will…) During his time in Congress, Banks has endorsed a federal abortion ban, called the overturning of Roe v. Wade a “joyful day,” and supported imposition of a travel ban that would criminalize women who leave a state to access an abortion.

In an interview with a conservative Fort Wayne radio host, Banks touted such a travel ban–and went on to say, “there’s much more that we must do, that we need to do, that I’m going to fight for in the House, and when I get to the Senate, I’m going to fight for there in a bigger way as well.”

That certainly tells Hoosier women what’s at stake in the upcoming campaign for U.S. Senate…(You can donate to his Democratic, pro-choice rival here.)

And we shouldn’t forget Banks’ homophobia, demonstrated by his despicable attacks on trans children. The far-Right “Family Policy Alliance” has praised him for his introduction of a mean-spirited bill that would effectively prevent doctors from assisting children diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Senator Tom Cotton (AR) and Congressman Jim Banks (IN-3) have introduced federal legislation to protect vulnerable children from transgender interventions, the Protecting Minors from Medical Malpractice Act. The legislation provides minors a private right of action to sue the medical professionals who perform their “transition” procedures for 30 years after they turn 18…

Here at Family Policy Alliance, we firmly believe that hurting children deserve real help, not the harm of experimental hormones and irreversible surgeries. That’s why we authored our Help Not Harm legislation to protect children at the state level. Now, Congressman Banks and Senator Cotton are boldly taking that language to the federal level to protect children around the nation. We heartily support them in this effort.”

Rep. Banks noted of the legislation, “This is such a common-sense bill, and FPA’s been on the front lines advocating for this legislation at the state level, which is where we pulled ideas from to write the federal version of this bill.”

What kind of person considers it “common sense” to over-rule the considered and difficult decisions of medical professionals, their patients and patients’ families–to insert government into the doctor-patient relationship in order to ensure that vulnerable children abide by his Christian Nationalist beliefs?

The answer is: the same sort of ignoramus who would say–as Banks did in October of 2016, according to Wikipedia–“I believe that climate change in this country is largely leftist propaganda to change the way Americans live and create more government obstruction and intrusion in our lives.”

For a guy who opposes “government intrusion in our lives,” he’s sure willing to use government to limit women’s rights, interfere with health care for LGBTQ youngsters, and prevent colleges and universities from battling discrimination.

Georgia has Margery Taylor Green. We have Jim Banks.

What an embarrassment……