If you want a change in Washington, vote for Democrats.
If you want a change in Washington, vote for Democrats.
As the Internet has proliferated, unfiltered views of our social institutions have become more prevelant. In the parlance of the analogy, never have we been more aware of the sausage being made. This has led to people who were previously unaware of the distastefulness of the making of the sausage to become quite disgusted with the process.
One major party chose between two expert sausage makers. One who promised that the sausage would be of higher quality, more plentiful, cost less for those who need it most. The other is one of the best sausage makers we've seen in our lifetimes. She promised many of the things he opponent did, and even more so once she was named her party's candidate for sausage maker in chief.
The other party chose between mediocre sausage makers, an expert sausage maker and several people who had never made sausage in their lives. That party decided the sausage making was so distasteful the only way to make it in any way acceptable is to select someone who not only had never made sausage, but holds the very concept of making sausage in utter contempt. This should suprise no one, considering the stance of this party for more than the last three and a half decades has been that the making of the sausage is the problem.
However, sausage is how things are run. Suasage protects us from our enemies. Sausage gets us from one end of our country to the other. Sausage ensures that our society functions.
So one party said to a nation sick of watching sausage be made, "Please, accept our sausage maker. She will make the best sausage we can possibly have. It won't be pretty. It won't be pleasant. It will be effective, and it will make the lives of the vast majority of Americans better."
The other party said, "Let's try letting someone who has no idea what he's doing make the sausage. What's the worst that can happen?"
One of those going on right now is putting unfortunate things Hillary Clinton has said up against the unfortunate things Donald Trump has said. There are lots of reasons the equivalences are false, but one difference inspired a clever turn of phrase for me.
There is ample video record of bother Trump and Clinton saying things their supporters would rather they hadn't. The difference is Clinton said these things five hairstyles ago, while Trump said them yesterday.
Which got me thinking. Political men tend to look substantially the same: wear the same suits, have the same haircut, etc., throughout their careers. They don't wear jewelry or obvious makeup, so that doesn't change over time to match current fashion either. A woman 20 years into her political career basically looks like an entirely person person.
Does this give women an unfair advantage in that the video record of some of their past peccadillos doesn't actually strike a chord with the public because the person they're looking at in those pictures isn't the same person they see today?
You get what you pay for.
There is a reason so much of politics is governed by conventional wisdom. We've had 228 years of a political system in place. Every election we tweak the norms a bit, sometimes more than other. But it's an unbroken line of people getting elected mostly by doing most of the things everyone else has done, perhaps peppering in an innovative idea or two.
The Trump campaign core ideology is that none of that matters. And we're seeing it does, in fact, matter.
The two most important Trump surrogates in the opening days of the convention were his wife and son. Bill and Chelsea Clinton will be speaking at the Democratic National Convention next week. I'm figuring the people involved in writing those speeches are pulling in high six figures for their work (which will certainly include more than merely the convention speeches).
Donald Trump loaned his wife not a political speech writer, but his executive assistant to help her with a speech.
I don't know who F.H. Buckley is (to be fair, speech writers operate out of the public spotlight), but he was so bereft of ideas he inserted language he'd previously published into Donald Trump Jr's speech. The problem isn't plagiarism. The problem is shoddy craftsmanship. A competent speech writer would never reuse his own published language in the most important speech his client has ever made.
And what's worse, is in the case of F.H. Buckley, the Trump campaign probably did pay top dollar. Trump is notoriously incapable of understanding the difference between expensive and quality.
The first word on everyone's lips is "boycott".
This is an easy one.
Not because "the athletes have trained hard" or because of any of the other reasons apologists (and some not so apologetic people) have floated.
Don't boycott because they don't work. The boycotts of 1980 and 1984 were absolute disasters on every level. Russia continued their offensive in Afghanistan for five years following the 1980 boycott. In fact, Afghanistan was so Soviet controlled that it participated in the 1984 Olympic boycott. Nothing was gained, and the West just looked bad. As for the 1984 boycott, well what was that supposed to do again? Not only that, but that left a twelve year hole in the Olympic record. None of the contests in either of those Olympic games are even remotely relevant in historical sport since the contenders who should have been competing were not able to face each other in any sport.
All boycotts do is make the Olympics irrelevant, and an irrelevant Olympics certainly isn't going to advance the interests of anyone.
Now there are growing calls to move the Olympics.
Yeah, not going to happen. There are 184 days until the games begin. I met a woman in Vegas on one of my trips there. She was in town for an academic conference. It was supposed to have been held in Chicago on August 8 of that year. January 1 of that year, the organizers decided to pull out because of an unsatisfactory response to a labor dispute, giving them 220 days to find a new venue and get it set up. The only place that could handle that many people (~10,000) in that short a time was Vegas. There is no place in the world, not even Vancouver that just hosted the Winter Olympics four years ago, that can be ready to host a Winter Olympics in 184 days. No where. The choices are Sochi or no Olympics at all. It's that simple.
And finally it has been suggested that Russia be banned from Olympic competition as have been South Africa, Rhodesia, Afghanistan and India (though India's was very short and was the result of contested NOC elections and not national civil rights violations).
Of the options, I like this one the most, but don't see it as feasible for this Olympics, not because you can't ban the host country, but because you can't put a ban in place this shortly before an Olympic Games. However, I would say if things don't change, and certainly if any athlete, coach, official, journalist, spectator, and, most importantly, Russian citizen is in the merest way inconvenienced in the name of enforcing this anti-gay law during the Olympic fortnight, then the hammer of a ban should come down hard and heavy and keep Russia out of Rio in 2016.
Ultimately, my preference for this Olympic games is that everyone go. Everyone compete. And everyone be just as gay as it is possible to be without violating evenly enforced public indecency laws. Open the Pride House. Wear and wave whatever rainbow gear you've got. Make it a gay old time on the Black Sea.
I posted this as a comment on an FB link to an article about Rush Limbaugh losing his largest network. I was just so enamored of it I wanted it here for posterity.
The problem is there's plenty of windbags to take his place. He's become so compromised a voice of the right and at the same time the base and its squawking dogs have moved to the right of him that it isn't that the liberal left that finally did him in, rather he was consumed by the cannibals on his own side and will be replaced with someone, from our point of view, worse. This in no way lessens my delight in his demise.
The religious right has has had a lot more success lately with buycotts than they have with boycotts. Just look at JC Penny and Chic-fil-a for example. So now there are two more issues on the horizon that look like buycott opportunities: Enders Game and Russia.
I'm much more excited about the prospect of the former. Can you imagine the mind expanding effects on a whole generation of home schooled Steppford wives and husbands of being exposed to decent sci-fi? (And, yes, I'm assuming it'll be decent; we can only hope).
The latter has the possibility of being even funnier. Russian vodka is verboten in gay bars these days. I'm hoping to see the next Southern Baptist Convention stocked to the rafters with Stoli.
But for the moment, let's say that everyone who has signed that petition is a voting age Texan.
That means that 0.14% of voting eligible Texans want to secede from the Union. To put this in a certain perspective, 10,000 more people want the US to outlaw "offending prophets of major religions". But I'm very disappointed only 12,000 people wanted the White House beer recipe.
There is absolutely no excuse for this crap being taken seriously by anyone.
I've seen some of the more conservative voices I follow on various forms of social and other media crowing about this. Evidently they've learned nothing from the most recent election news cycle. The nation, and even the deeply red states, are steadily moving away from them.
The Republican Party is faced with a fundamental choice at this point; find a way to accommodate the views of the majority of Americans or cease to be an influence in the political arena.
'Cause taking your ball and going home hasn't been an acceptable answer since the ratification of the Constitution.
[Edited to add link to actual petition being discussed and to note the number's gone up to 30,000. However, they'd need 180,000 just to get to 1%, so not even all the billionaires in Texas are on board)
And almost all of that has centered on comprehensive immigration reform.
While I think comprehensive immigration reform is important and ultimately the best way to extend the Republican brand into minority communities (provided they don't completely fuck it up, which isn't something I can assume they won't do), I can think of two things they can do relatively soon with little effort.
Get rid of the "English as official language" plank in their platform. Their "heritage language" fig leaf isn't fooling anyone. Yiddish is a heritage language. Spanish is the lingua franca of most of the hemisphere we find ourselves in.
Make Puerto Rico the 51st state. It's in their platform, “We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine.” They so freely determined. How about keeping a promise in your platform for a change?
If the party cannot on the one hand give up its juvenile language position and on the other hand fulfill what is perhaps the most mature promise in its platform it will never again be a serious contender for leadership in the United States. Certainly if those two simple changes are beyond their ability to contemplate, how do they expect to achieve comprehensive immigration reform?
I remember elections when I was a kid at the school gym. This was back when punch card voting was taking over from the "pull the lever" kind of voting. They always had a demo voting apparatus with candidates like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and the poll workers were more than happy to give a curious kid a punch card so we could vote at the "kids booth" (I don't think they ever identified it as such, but that's how we thought of it).
I'm annoyed by the immediate coverage of today's DOMA ruling by the 2nd Circuit Appellate Court. It took me about five stories before anyone bothered to mention the context of the actual case. It happens to be the Windsor inheritance case. While I understand the time constraints, I'd like to have some idea of the scope of the ruling. I highly doubt the headlines which trumpet the law being "struck down" are accurate. Rather, I expect some portion of the law was struck down. I'd like to know which one.
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
Since the ratification of the 22nd Amendment 9 Presidents have sought reelection (not entirely true, but Truman's an outlier in so many, many ways) and 6 have succeeded. (this includes Presidents who have assumed office from the Vice Presidency)
If you're running for reelection as President of the United States, you're 100% more likely to succeed than fail.
And I think last week aptly demonstrated why.
A major component of selecting a President is determining who is more "Presidential."
A candidate for President can try to demonstrate being presidential. A President doesn't have to try. He is President.
Even if Romney hadn't behaved like a petulant child rather than a man running for the Presidency of the United States, he wouldn't have been delivering the eulogy at the memorial for the only US ambassador to have been intentionally killed in the line of service since 1979.
There just aren't those types of opportunities available to Presidential candidates.
Of course, there are situations in which being President is a liability in precisely the same way. Some things you have to do, like pardoning your predecessor despite his having completely subverted the course of American democracy in ways that continue to damage our country to this day, make you look pretty bad. But on balance you're going to get a lot more chances to look Presidential than are going to bite you in the ass.
I think Michael Douglas said it best in The American President, "This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I *am* the President."
If you voted for George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008 you are in no position to argue facts and policies in asking me to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. You, like me, are a partisan who only votes for your party. If your political positions were evolving or malleable, you would not have voted for either of those people.
There's nothing wrong with partisanship. I'm partisan. I am a progressive liberal who's so socialist I recognize communism is a great idea until people get involved. Unless there is a change in political parties we haven't seen since the 1960s I will never vote for a Republican presidential candidate.
And I have every right, just as Republican partisans do, to express why I am voting the way I am voting. I have every right to express my opinions to people who have not made up their own minds.
What I will not do, nor will I tolerate any other partisan doing, is dressing up their wolfish partisanship in the woolly clothing of the undecided voter. One of the FaceBook communities that boils my blood on a consistent basis is I Pledge Allegiance to My Country, not My President. Where the hell were these people when George W. Bush was in office? If they get Mitt Romney elected, are they going to expose his flaws? Of course not. They're Republican partisans who are trying to elect their candidates. As soon as a Republican is elected president, they'll be back to demanding that no matter what you think of the man, the office must be respected despite having spent the last four years disrespecting that very office.
If you voted for Barack Obama in 2008, I'm willing to have a discussion about why you may not want to in 2012. However, that discussion is going to be heavily colored by the statement, "Don't tell me how Mitt Romney is going to be different than Barack Obama. Tell me how he's going to be different than George W. Bush." If you haven't got a cogent answer to that, then I've stopped listening.