2016

2016


I’ve already written about the 2016 Presidential election, and Chris Christie, who already appears to be signaling that he’d very much like to be president after Obama.

Charming. Maybe, if Chris Christie is a good boy, we’ll look him over and kick his tires and see if he’s the man for the job, so long as we’re all still alive in 2016.

But, as I wrote in my previous entry: please God, don’t subject us to this yet!

I am one of those people who just want elected politicians to govern. I want them to state their goals, and work toward them, and compromise (as necessary) until those goals (or some form of them) are achieved. I don’t want it to be all about us/them, for at least two years, and preferably for at least four years.

But there are political junkies who are really only excited by the competition, by the us/them. Sadly, some of our best political commentators are among them. Chris Matthews is talking about 2016 almost every night; he’s already talking about the facedown between Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie, and what a great race it’s going to be.

You’d think that a man as smart as Matthews is supposed to be would realize that a lot of things can happen in four years. The parties often alternate the Presidency, for one thing. Also, the economy (while just beginning to show signs of recovery) isn’t quite well yet, and Europe is still teetering, which could bring trouble to the USA also.

Chris Todd on NBC is another one; he’s not as bad as Chris Matthews, but he becomes visibly excited when he starts talking about the chances of one side versus another. The late Tim Russert, with his little handheld whiteboard on which he wrote numbers and vote counts, was another. They all love the struggle, and the numbers, and the victory.

The rest of us get tired easily, and just want to know that our rights are being protected, and our retirement and health care aren’t in jeopardy. We don’t care so much who’s in office, so long as the right things are being done. We mostly understand that things keep inching forward. The War on Drugs is showing (very belated) signs of dying, or transforming into something more realistic – not a war on potheads, but an attempt to keep cocaine and meth off the streets, the really dangerous drugs. Gay identity and gay marriage are both becoming less of an issue and more of a reality. And, as the most recent election mostly demonstrated, while people in general deplore abortion, it’s a fact of life, and a necessity. Theology (AKA “personhood of the fetus”) can’t be used to determine public policy; if a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, it’s her choice, and no one else’s.

The old world dies, and we are born into the new world.

The birth pangs are painful.

Let’s not relive them, or pretend how they’re going to feel in four years’ time.

Let’s just try to get things done.

Okay?


Mitt Romney: the sour-grapes candidate

romney bribed with gifts


There were many times during the 2012 election when Romney appeared to have lost the election. One of the most significant was the 47% video:

So, from this, we learn that Mitt Romney believes that almost half the American people are unrealistic, selfish, and greedy.  They can’t be enticed to vote for him, so he won’t bother talking to them.

Whether because of this video, or for many other reasons, he lost the election.

Most Presidential candidates shut up promptly after losing the election. The exceptions are interesting. Nixon complained in 1961 that Kennedy had stolen the election. Nixon then roared back in 1968 (and six years later resigned the Presidency in disgrace, having committed most or all of the crimes he’d accused Kennedy of in 1960). Al Gore didn’t shut up after 2000, with good reason; he’d won the popular vote, and the electoral vote depended on Florida, which was (effectively) decided by the right-leaning US Supreme Court.

But Mitt Romney won’t shut up.

He said, shortly after the election, that Obama won because he promised “gifts” to his followers. Please follow this link to hear that the Salt Lake Tribune had to say about that.

A MSNBC commentator made a very sensible point about this recently: of course Presidential candidates offer us “gifts”! They’re called campaign promises! If I’m presented with two candidates, and one of them promises to end legalized abortion, eliminate “unnecessary” programs in the arts and sciences and education, and opposes gay rights – I will tell him that these are not the “gifts” I require.

Most lately, Romney’s son Tagg (I love that name!) has stated that his father didn’t want to be President in any case. As follows:

 

 

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to . . . run,” Tagg Romney told the (Boston) Globe. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.”

The Globe article also noted that “Tagg … worked with his mother, Ann, to persuade his father to seek the presidency.”

 

So what’s all this about? Did Mitt want the Presidency or not?

Perhaps, as the New Yorker recently remarked, the GOP really ought to have run someone for President who really wanted to be President.


The 2016 Presidential election

 


With what joy did I greet the day after the Presidential election! No more shrill television advertisements telling me that this candidate was a criminal and that candidate was a liar!

There was a very cute Facebook meme circulating that day and the next: a picture of a box full of kittens, with the caption: “Okay, Facebook! The election’s over! Time to get out the pictures of cute kittens!”

But it wasn’t more than a few days until we were told that Marco Rubio was visiting Iowa (for a friend’s birthday, naturally).

And Chris Matthews was talking about Hillary Clinton, and how she’s going to spend the next few years preparing for the 2016 election.

And then there was Fox News, which immediately began talking about the 2016 GOP hopefuls. (Stephen Colbert, drinking a cup of chamomile tea, did a wonderful spit-take over this, but I can’t find a clip of it.)

Well, who do you think (apart from Marco Rubio) would make a good GOP candidate?

Hmm. Someone tough-talking. Maybe a Northeasterner, which would (hopefully) screw up the Democratic lock on New England and the Northeast. Someone nationally known.

Who but New Jersey governor Chris Christie?

Yeah, I know. He doesn’t scare me much either. He’s a local flavor: he plays well in the Northeast, but maybe not so much in the South and West. He’s too noisy and angry, which aren’t really presidential traits.

But he would love love LOVE to be President.

Last week, when Hostess went out of business, he was asked about this. He blustered about it endlessly. Imagine, he said, what Saturday Night Live would make of it! Imagine how many laughs they’d get out of the fat Governor of New Jersey making comments about Cupcakes and Ding Dongs!

“You know,” Partner said prophetically, “he went on too long about it. He wants SNL to do something about it.”

 

 

And was Partner right?

 

 

In a big way.

Not only did Christie get mentioned on SNL, he appeared on SNL. (I wish I could show you the clip, but NBC is very proprietary. Follow this link to Hulu, and you’ll get there.)

Christie was very cute: funny and natural (more natural than some of their recent guests and hosts).

If I were a Republican, and the 2016 Presidential election were today, I’d vote for him.

But – geez – a lot of things can happen in four years.

So let’s just wait a bit, and enjoy our Facebook kittens and our cup of chamomile tea, shall we, kids?


Election 2012 post-mortem: people who want stuff


The Republicans, over the past few days, have been trying to figure out why they didn’t win the Presidency on Tuesday. More than that: they actually lost ground (especially in the Senate). The House of Representatives still has a Republican majority, but at least ten of the vicious Tea Party Republicans elected in 2010 got unseated.

Why did they lose?

Well, as a Democrat/Socialist, I know why they lost. But I was curious to see what they themselves thought.

Here’s a selection of theories:

–         Voter fraud. (We all know that Democrats excel at voter fraud!) This one was probably best brought forward by Donald Trump, who recommended that Romney voters march on Washington.

–         Fuzzy math. (Did you see the Wall Street Journal red/blue map? It shows vast swaths of red through Wyoming and Oklahoma and Texas, and tiny blue segments in NYC and Boston and Seattle. The clear implication: How can so much of the country have gone Republican, and still have lost? Apparently there are a lot of people who don’t understand math, or how voting works. We don’t vote by square mileage, as Stephen Colbert wisely pointed out.)

–         Voter intimidation. (Fox News, on election night, featured a suspicious-looking black man outside a Pennsylvania polling place, holding the door for people. A Black Panther! A terrorist!)

–         Bad polling. (Nate Silver, who appears to have perfected the art of probabilistic polling, was attacked during the pre-campaign months – Joe Scarborough called him a “joke,” and some other GOP hack called him “effeminate.” And yet he called the election with great precision. As Colbert said: “Math has a liberal bias.”)

But, most viscerally at all, let’s listen to Bill O’Reilly for a moment:

“We’re changing demographically. We’re changing our attitudes. We’re becoming more like Western Europe … and I’m not going to generalize about any ethnic group, it’s a mentality that pervades across society … some people are saying, ‘I don’t want to do it, but I want them to do it for me.

“Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.

“You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?

“The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.”

We are no longer all white. We are no longer all men, or all straight, or non-Hispanic.

I think that’s right, actually.

And do we want stuff?

You bet we do.

We want rights. Gay people want the right to get married. Hispanic people want the right not to be treated as second-class citizens. Black people want the right not to be treated the way Trayvon Martin was treated.

We all want stuff.

We just don’t want the stuff that Bill O’Reilly says (or thinks) we want.

We’re not Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens.” We don’t want money. We want rights. We want respect.

Does the GOP understand this? Most of all, do they understand it deeply enough to change their attitudes, and their party’s attitudes, for the next election?

We’ll see.

(Somehow, however, I doubt it.)


 

Lessons from the 2012 Presidential campaign


It has taken me a little while to compose myself after Election Night 2012.  Now that I’ve stopped screaming with joy, however, I’ve jotted down a few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks and months.

As follows:

Probably you shouldn’t try to redefine the word “rape.” It doesn’t make you many friends. (Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock: hear me?)

Money doesn’t necessarily win elections.  When it’s quite evident that you’re trying to buy a House/Senate seat (McMahon in Connecticut, Hinckley in Rhode Island), you will probably lose. And Donald Trump publicly mocked Karl Rove for wasting millions of dollars of PAC money on candidates who lost. (As a Tumblr commentator said: Who knows more than Donald Trump about wasting money?)

Lying is very traditional in American presidential elections, but it’s getting easier and easier to disprove a lie. Probably people should try to lie less (or at least more cleverly). And they should not openly flout the fact-checkers.

 

 

In a state where people traditionally hate and fear state troopers (like Rhode Island, for example), the opposition party shouldn’t nominate a state trooper as their candidate. (Bye-bye, Brendan Doherty.)

 

 

Don’t make fun of your opponent. It makes you look small. (This one goes out to former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who insisted on belittling his opponent Elizabeth Warren as a liar, as ugly, as untrustworthy, as a “college professor.” It didn’t work, did it, Scotty?)

 

 

Do not, in your concession speech, imply that God made your opponent win in order to make the Apocalypse happen sooner. (Okay, Mr. God-be-the-glory Todd Akin?)

 

 

Don’t assume that gay marriage is a passing fad. Before Tuesday, every popular referendum on gay marriage had failed, and the Republicans / social conservatives were convinced they had a failsafe way to defeat gay marriage: bring it to a popular vote. Well, on Tuesday, four states voted, and three (Washington, Maine, and Maryland) upheld gay marriage. You can be sure the GOP will be less confident in future about this particular strategy. (So Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee can take their Chick-fil-A sandwiches and jam them up one another’s asses. And they can make sure those sandwiches are up there real tight, too.)

And finally:

The country is changing. We are more diverse, and more tolerant, as a whole. (A commentator in 2008, shortly after Obama’s first election, said that bigotry and intolerance in the USA would decrease over time, but (like seawater evaporating) they would become more concentrated and intense. I remember thinking this was a very wise thing to say. Now, after four years of concentrated intense vicious hatred of Obama and the liberal agenda, I see how prescient he was.) But we are not Sarah Palin’s America, and we are not Mitt Romney’s America (whatever the hell that was supposed to be about). We are a multicolored America. We do not care to be ruled by Christian law, or Sharia law, or any kind of religious law for that matter. We like our marijuana. We like being married to our common-law partners. We like Planned Parenthood. We like knowing that, if we become ill, we will not go into bankruptcy if we go to the doctor. We have no problem with electing women, and gays, and differently-abled people; in fact, we’re proud to be represented by them.

Let the right-wing nuts shriek about socialism and the Death of America, kids. They’ll tucker themselves out in a while, and we can have some peace, maybe even through Inauguration Day.

And I’m sure the 2016 campaign won’t begin before June or July of 2013.

(I plan to vote for Hillary. How about you?)


For Election Day 2012: Homer Simpson votes Republican!


I learned a lot from this clip. I already knew that Romney invented Obamacare. However: did you know that the government actually paid Romney taxes for five years? And that Romney has six wives, all named Ann?

Enjoy.

 

 

And vote, for God’s sake.

 

 


Paul Ryan; or, this year’s Sarah Palin


I should open this article by saying something nice about Paul Ryan.

Okay: he has pretty eyes.

Now on to some other issues.

Ryan is a “fiscal heavyweight.” He actually concocted a budget!

(Actually, budgets are easy to create; an intelligent ten-year old can put one together. Income should equal expenditures; if it doesn’t, then you need to spend less, or earn more, or some combination of the two. The question is: what kinds of things do we spend less on?

(Oh, that’s easy. The arts. Education. Social programs. Who needs ‘em?

(Not to mention health care – which, after all, is a non-issue, since (as G. W. Bush reminded us some years back), everyone can always go to an emergency room.

In any case, I don’t think Ryan is quite ready for the national stage. Take the following incidents as examples:

–          He appeared in a soup-kitchen photo op, madly scrubbing a pot. Turns out the pot was already clean, and the soup kitchen didn’t even want him there in the first place.

–          He made a personal appearance at a football game and made a long congratulatory speech to the quarterback. Except that it turned out he was the wrong quarterback.

–          Then there’s the whole issue of those workout photos. Remember that adorable picture of Sarah Palin wearing a bikini and holding a gun? Same thing. Except, of course, that the Palin picture was photoshopped, and the Ryan photos are real.

The Right likes to portray Joe Biden as Mister Malaprop. Perhaps they should have given their own VP choice another look this year. They have a history of choosing doofuses for the position, like Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin; I do believe they might have done it again.

But those eyes: it’s a day’s work just to look into them.


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