Archive for the ‘Grand Old Hypocrisy’ Category

Should Government run like a business?

Do you agree that the primary purpose of a business is to sell a product or a service at a profit?
Do you think a government’s purpose, primary, or otherwise, should be to try to make a profit?

If you answered, ‘yes’ to question 1 and ‘no’ to question 2, then we can use those assumption to create the following proof.

Business = Profit
Government ≠ Profit
∴ Business ≠ Government

Does that simplify it enough?

Maybe they will they learn in ’16

For the second cycle in a row, the Presidential election feels decided before the leaves have even started to fall. I think there are obvious comparisons for Governor Romney to Governor Dukakis and Senator Kerry. (Maybe both parties should stay away from Massachusetts for a few decades.) However, if anything is to be learned from the current election, the next best comparison is usually the previous election. As losing provides far more lessons than winning, the lessons to be learned are for the Republicans. I have no hope they will learn them yet. They seems a stubborn bunch. They will get another moral victory at the midterms in ’14 to prove them “right” but unless they do something different, 2016 will play out like the previous two presidential elections.

The Republican nomination goes to a candidate that once appeared acceptable to independents and thus had a path to victory in a general election. However, over the course of the primaries, he is badly damaged from having to take so many extreme positions in order to shore up his right. Even after getting the nomination, he is viewed with skepticism on the right. So in a final bid for their support and in the only real and tangible way he can prove his fealty, he nominates a VP candidate the base can love. The problem is that the VP candidate loses them far more votes than it gains them. It’s not a game changer, it’s a game ender.

While it seemed obvious to me with the last two selections, you wouldn’t know it from the way they crowed over the picks in the right wing fever swamps. Senator McCain’s choice of Governor Sarah Palin was heralded. She was an instant hit on the right but to those not locked into the Republican brand, it became obvious she was completely out of her depth. I called her selection a disaster and loser within a day. McCain had failed the test. It took a little longer for others to get there but eventually it was clear she was more of a liability than an asset. With his selection of Representative Paul Ryan, Gov. Romney learned one lesson from the previous selection, don’t pick a blank slate, pick a serious person. But the main problem persisted, he still felt he needed to shore up his support on the right, he felt he needed a true believer. And he got one in Rep. Ryan, a serious ideologue, a true believer with a record. Once again the pick was heralded, another good looking, vibrant candidate to rally the base but this time, a smart one with a plan. While being a empty vessel was Gov. Palin’s vulnerability, Rep. Ryan is brimming over with ideas like turning Medicare into a voucher program. That’s why one of my first thoughts upon his selection was maybe his selection wins WI but it loses FL, and if Romney loses FL, he will lose this election. So while the right lapped up the selection, I waited patiently for things to play out. What they thought was a game changer was again a game loser. It’s taken a month or so but the numbers in Florida and specifically the polls on Medicare are heading in the wrong direction for Romney.

I am not actually suggesting the VP selections are the cause of losing these elections. They made close elections into significant losses and are the best evidence that the typical right wing, post-mortem on the election, “McCain/Romney wasn’t conservative enough,” misses the point. It’s not the candidates, it’s the extreme beliefs of the right that are the problem. Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney polled well enough prior to their party primaries. They seemed viable candidates in a general election and then the primaries began. Forced to tow a strict party line that essentially disavows science and is hostile to the growing latino population, their favorability among critical independents fell. That is, when forced to agree with and affirm what the far right base believes, they became less popular with everyone else. Then they both chose to saddle themselves with true believer VP candidates that best represented the far right beliefs. Positions that weakened the candidate by taking them during the primary.  And the losses got deeper. I repeat. The more conservative they tried to be to win the nomination, the worse their chances got in the general election Then selecting a deeply conservative VP candidate made their November defeat worse that it would have been.

2012 did add two wrinkles but these only serve to prove my point further. Belief is one thing. When it is translated into policy, that’s when the rubber meets the road. In January – March 2011, the 2010 victories in statehouse across the country bore fruit as the GOP-dominated legislatures went into session. But then these sessions brought terms like “transvaginal untrasounds” and personhood amendments to the fore. Coming in the middle of the primary season, the stink of extreme right wing agendas from capitals around the country stuck to the candidates and none more than the leading candidate, Gov. Romney. His numbers took a dive. The other wrinkle was in Tampa. For days, the focus wasn’t just on Gov. Romney it was also on the Republican brand. The GOP had days to talk directly to Americans. The convention culminated with Governor Mitt Romney all wrapped up in Republicanism. The result, a bounce to be certain, but a first to my eyes, a negative bounce. After nearly a week of the Romney and the Republicans show, Romney was worse off.

But to the hardline right wing, the problem is still that Gov. Romney isn’t making the full throated case for conservatism. When the video emerged of Gov. Romney writing off 47% of the population as takers, the response from the hardliners was that he should be making this case, louder, every day in the public square. While that might be cathartic, how out of touch with reality do you have to be to suggest a political strategy that writes off nearly half the population? A part of the population that actually includes a good bit of your constituency liker seniors and veterans. If the aim is to win the election, that seems a pretty poor strategy.

Rep. Ryan suggested that this is a choice election and if so, maybe Gov. Romney isn’t the best one to represent that choice. Yet whenever, America gets a real glimpse of what the choice is, they choose the Democrat. The far right just refuses to see it or acknowledge it because their candidate wasn’t “conservative enough.”

The only way out of this cycle is for the far right to finally get their guy on the top of the ticket in 2016. As the Republican Party usually nominates the 2nd place finisher from the previous primary cycle, maybe 2016 will be their year as that would make Senator Santorium the standard bearer. Sen. Santorium would be the perfect candidate to represent true conservatives. He could take their message across the country from school gyms to meeting halls. From New Hampshire and Iowa to the GOP convention hall. His message could save the Republican Party… by leading them to their worst Presidential election loss since  Barry Goldwater in ’64. Maybe then they’ll realize it’s not the candidates, it’s that the GOP has gotten too extreme and is out of step with the majority of Americans.

 

 

Republicans take a stand on stimulus

by bk

With the country on the precipice of economic disaster and just when we need most to increase public spending, Republicans have suddenly found their long lost “fiscal conservatism,” I present two editorial cartoons that nicely sum up how that sounds to me.

Adam Zyglis
The Buffalo News
Feb 11, 2009
Mike Keefe
Denver Post
Feb 12, 2009

So deficits for war with Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, totally fine but running deficits to try and prevent the complete failure of our economy, not allowed.

Nice priorities, GOP.

Update:

Thought this quote from Andrew Sullivan was very apres pos,

“A Republican party that added more than $30 trillion to the future debt in a time of boom has no credible answer but raw partisanship for opposing $800 billion in the swiftest downturn in employment since the Great Depression. That’s the bottom line. The party that campaigned for eight years on the principle that “deficits don’t matter” has no good faith standing to oppose a measure that provides the minimum to ensure some kind of bottom in the looming depression. To take their fiscal conservatism seriously at this point and in this crisis is to engage in some kind of instant amnesia.” <link>

an Ol’ Joke, updated for an ol’ man

by bk

What’s the difference between the McCain Campaign and the Titanic?

The Titanic had a band.

After the MI decision, I think it’s time to start watching for the rats jumping ship. That is a sure sign of a boat that’s going down. I know we’re not over the finish line yet but desperation has a way of feeding on itself and I think we’re approaching that point faster than we may realize, so it’s just a matter of looking for the tell tale signs.

Here is the video that inspired my post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWCGzS7E_IM

Gov. Palin Can Speak

by db

And she can speak fairly well, attacking all the while. That’s a good thing.

Because if she has time to attack (both the media and the Democratic ticket), that must mean she’s not the victim the McCain campaign had been suggesting she was over the last four days. And that must mean she can handle it when we attack her lightweight experience and hypocrisy.

Fair is fair, Governor.

Winning and Losing in 24 hours or Less

by bk

So pardon me for calling the election on September 2 but within the last day the first polls, showing Obama with 50%+, started showing up. I’ve long held that lots of America’s choose not to decide until after Labor Day. They can’t be bothered to, it’s just not in their blood like us partisan types. Every cycle just as the decidedly undecides starting tuning in to make their decision they use two events to judge the candidates – the convention acceptance speech and the Presidential candidate’s first executive decision on VP candidate. Some of the more serious undecides will watch and listen to everything, others will judge it by how others in and out of the media seems to perceive it. Depending on the year, the undecides may make the difference in a close election or simply pad the margin of victory. Ultimately, I believe turning out the base is the most important thing and by all measures the Democratic base is more enthusiastic this year than the Republican base so I’ve felt for awhile Obama would win and I’ve been looking to the undecides to provide the margin of victory. But that hasn’t been showing up in the polls yet so I’ve seen and heard a lot of hand wringing among Dems I know. It’s a natural reaction to how the last couple of elections have unfolded and I’m sure it will last until Obama takes the oath. But when the story of the 2008 Presidential Election is written, I believe the turning point will be fully encapsulated within less than 24 hours, the night of August 25th and the morning of August 26th.

More Americans tuned in for Barack Obama’s speech than tuned in for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and the American Idol finales. He spoke to those who could be convinced, the 70%+ who believe we’re heading in the wrong direction. And they got a speech that knocked down the patriotism attacks while making the attackers look petty, they got policy proposals and soaring and flawless rhetoric, and they got to see a man they could believe could be President. The expectations were high and he still managed to surpass them; he passed the test.

The very next morning, the other shoe dropped. McCain had named Sarah Palin as his running mate and across America a collective, “WHO?” rang out. Over the course of the next 2 days, it became obvious that McCain’s team hadn’t done the most basic of vetting. The choice was instinctual and a political sop to the base. In another year, that might have been okay but not considering recent history like the rush to war and the move to privatize social security, and recalling Republican appointments like Michael Brown, Harriet Meirs, and Alberto Gonzales, it was all too familiar and in 1 fell swoop it undercut McCain’s main argument against Obama and re-inforced Obama’s main line of attack on McCain, that a McCain Presidency would be more of the same.

There are only really two parts to the VP decision as far as the voting public is concerned. Number 1 is the heartbeat question. Are we comfortable with this person being a heartbeat from the Presidency? And number 2 and more importantly, what the choice says about the Presidential candidate. Context is very important. Quayle was an obvious sop to the right as the right was starting to really flex its muscles. But he had been in Congress for 12 years and the Senate for the previous 6 and Bush was a sporty, healthy WASP. McCain is a 72 year who has twice battled skin cancer and Palin is the 2 year governor of Alaska with prior experience as mayor of a town of 7,000. Barack Obama’s choice of Sen. Joe Biden was a serious choice who could easily step in to the Presidency at a moment’s notice. Barack passed. Outside the 28 Percenters, those that absolutely can’t see past their partisan blinders and still support Bush, John McCain’s choice was clearly questionable and no one believes she’s ready to be a heartbeat from the Presidency. So on the first test of a President McCain, McCain failed and he failed the same as Bush, playing to the base and playing politics with the future of America.

On the night of Thursday August 25th, Senator Barack Obama showed America a vision of its future. On the morning of Friday August 26th, Senator John McCain showed America a vision of its past, the past 8 years. Within that short time, John McCain lost the election and Barack Obama won it.

At least, that’s how I believe it will be remembered.

527s in 2008

by bk
I saw a comment on TPM by KD that suggested that if Obama hadn’t stopped the 527s, he’d be in a better position and it got me thinking about whether that’s right. I think KD is wrong and we’re actually better off so far in 2008 without the 527s because it’s harder to fight a proxy battle.

McCain’s attacks are coming from McCain not some third party “Citizens Against Celebrity” group, which is actually comprised of 5 billionaire Republicans. It’s his attack ad not some citizens exercising their First Amendment right so he can’t disown the attacks while allowing the attack to continue. Thus, he can’t enjoy the benefit from going negative without taking the hit for having done it himself. This is why I think we’ve seen the polls return to about where they were before the celebrity ads started. There was an initial benefit but then the backlash balanced it back out after another week.

Also when the attacks come from McCain directly, Obama’s campaign has only to confront McCain to respond instead of trying to take on a faceless 527. And so they are able to respond with the ads they did which point out 2 hypocrisies – the hypocrisy of the celebrity charge from McCain, of all people,and his hypocrisy in going negative as he so often said he wouldn’t. And because Obama didn’t go negative first, he’s simply responding to McCain’s ads, I believe there will be less backlash for Obama than for McCain.

If that’s the case then this will work out to a net gain for Obama and it will be very much because it wasn’t a 527 group shooting from the woods but rather John McCain, himself, in broad daylight. So everyone knows who did it and Obama has a clear target for returning fire.

My Int’l Travel Never Goes This Well

by db

When it comes to international travel, I’m the bizarro Barack. Sweat drips from my forehead as I haul tail down some concourse, inevitably the wrong one; I dehydrate with endless cups of bad airport coffee and I’m only over-hydrated when all nearby facilities are closed for cleaning; I check bags the day the conveyors break and don’t when I have a bottle of cologne with me that’s a half-liter too big to scan. Yep, I’m that guy. Sen. Obama: No mess here. This is one presidential candidate who travels well.

I knew this was going to be a well-organized tour. The Obama advance team, from where I sit, has always been stellar: signage in the right place, audience well-positioned, mikes set to the right levels. But a trip through the middle-east and europe is no multi-county tour of Ohio. Plus, with wall-to-wall coverage guaranteed, there was little room for error. Thus far, you could not have asked for a better executed trip.

The icing on the cake, though, has been the McCain’s non-stop carping about, of all things, the media’s supposed infatuation with Obama. Beside the fact it sends a clear-cut signal you have nothing to talk about and are drenched in increasingly visible flop-sweat, it’s just plain sad. What makes it more pathetic and laughable is that it’s coming from John McCain. This is a guy of whom Chris Matthews recently said “We are his base.” That’s right. The media is McCain’s base. No matter how egregious the gaffe, they are always there to skip over the embarrassing moments. No matter how blatant the flip-flop, they crown him with the title “maverick.” It doesn’t matter that even to this day (and I mean that seriously — there were two serious screw-up’s from McCain today both under-reported), they give him every benefit of the doubt. No. That’s not good enough for the McCain people. They decide their coverage isn’t good enough. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

But that’s all good.

Don’t tell the McCain campaign they could be spending this time explaining their plans to get the country out of the economic abyss it’s enjoying or whatever it is that “Dr. Phil” Gramm feels we’re whining about. Nope. Let them go on bashing the media. I’m sure that will help cut through the noise of the million some odd people who will show up to Sen. Obama’s speech in Berlin or the fact the Prime Minister of Iraq pulled the rug out from under their “endless surge” strategy. It may do neither, but at least it would display some seriousness about his positions on the issues and, who knows, it might change some voters’ minds. But do me a favor, don’t tell them that. Tell them it’s all the media’s fault.

How to shut-up a Ron Paul supporter

by bk

Had enough of these self-righteous Ron Paul supporters? I made the mistake of getting into a discussion with one the other day. After trying to explain that while there are great kernels of truth in what Ron Paul says, the devil is in the details and the details of libertarian philosophy are problematic to say the least. This was the response I got:

The ten reasons not to vote for Ron Paul that you cite all have positive sides that you fail to mention. When one is against something, the other side is that that person is for something else.

The something else that you fail to mention involves things that appear to be alien to you – things like freedom, liberty, the right to be left alone, protection of our rights, right to property and to use it in any way you see fit that does not interfere with other’s rights, right of contract, right to keep what you earn without government stealing it from you to give it to someone else that is too lazy to earn for themselves, etc, etc.

I work hard every working day, and would truly like to keep what I earn for support of my family. I believe in our Constitution. I believe government should protect my God-given rights and not steal from me. I believe that government shouldn’t be telling me what I must do at the point of a gun.

Your research was done with a very limited point of view. I suggest that you re-assess.

God bless.”

Well I won’t stand being lectured by a Ron Paul fanatic. It’s like a born again Christian getting into a discussions with a theologian and lecturing him. Not that I am some great political scientist, but I didn’t just find religion. I’ve been interested in politics since I was at least 9 years old and I used to do a Jimmy Carter impression. When I went to college, I declared my major of Political Science on the 1st day and never changed it. In fact, I powered through it and added a second major in Government because it’s what I enjoyed studying.

So let’s just say, I went kinda ballistic on the guy. But the plus side is, it ended the discussion and I haven’t heard another word from him. So if you’re wondering what it takes to shut a Ron Paul fan up, here is what worked for me:

“…I was a political science and government policy and procedures double major in college and a political junkie to this day so I know very well what I am talking about. What’s your base of knowledge?

Ron Paul says some true and enticing things about the “Constitution and freedom” and I’m a big fan of the “Constitution and freedom” but those are broad talking points and not the details. When you break down the policy preferences, libertarianism is not a governing philosophy, it is a non-governing philosophy that believes in a weak to non-existent federal government. That is the last thing we need in this modern day and age. Without a strong federal government, we would still have segregated schools, women would be dying from back-alley abortions in 2/3rds of the states, people in rurual areas would have no mail, the Tennesee Valley Authority would never had been created to bring electricity to little town throughout the south, we wouldn’t have the National Institutes of Health conquering polio and small pox and we never would have had the clean air and water acts of the 60’s and 70’s so we would have waited till “the free market” dictated to companies that they should work on polluting less. These are but a few of the thousands of positive things done by the federal government that would never have occurred with Libertarians.

After the current adminstration’s attacks on the Constitution, which I am very concerned about, RonPaul is especially attractive but he’s not the only remedy, he’s just the only one you like.”

Well, Newt So Much

by db

Check it. Newt’s out. Like so many other GOPers, he was apparently worried about who was going to keep him in wingtips and tax-deductible first class fares.