Friday, November 18, 2011

republican primary...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the Republican primary, but for different reasons than I usually do.

Instead of the political stances of the contenders, I've been thinking about the party as a whole.  More specifically, does the party (or, should it) as a whole get painted by the crazy brush if they keep rallying behind crazies?

Here's what I mean--

Another Poll Confirms Trump as Republican Front Runner
Bachmann Emerges as Republican Front Runner
Rick Perry is Now the Republican Front Runner
Herman Cain's Surprising Rise to GOP-Front Runner
Newt Gingrich GOP Front Runner

People have written enough about the schizophrenia of the electorate, but that's not what interests me. What interests me is that BEFORE each of the previous has crashed and burned, the Republican primary voters have come out to extol their virtues and ability to lead the nation. Then, one thing or another happens and the candidate crashes and burns.  The problem is, the issue that causes each to crash and burn is readily apparent long before they each became front runners.

Look at Trump--he was clearly a ridiculous candidate as people were calling him the front runner. But, despite his crazy rantings and the fact he was clearly only trying to make money, the electorate still backed him in polls. Nothing changed AFTER the birth certificate release in terms of him saying or doing crazy things...nothing at all.

Bachmann--BEFORE Perry entered the race and her attribution of mental retardation to the HPV vaccine, she built up a years-long record of saying patently untrue and ridiculous things. Hell, her entire persona is built around repeating what she'd heard/read in email forwards as true and then not "refudiating" them once disproved.  She STILL managed to rise to the top as front runner with the backing of a large percentage of republican primary voters.

Then came Perry who BEFORE rising to front-runner status was a secessionist whose own book was filled with ridiculousness about income tax being unconstitutional and repealing the 14th amendment...but he STILL rose to the top before crashing under his own weight.

Cain's, not even ignorance (ignorance can be forgiven and shows a lack of exposure...Cain CHOSE to not know things or ignore them) something more insidious...shone long before he rose to the top. His 9-9-9 plan was utterly ridiculous and would have ruined the economy. But, he STILL rose to the top...

And now Gingrich, whose record of ridiculousness is longer than his Contract With America and who has flip-flopped more than a fish on land is rising to the top...

There are two options, either GOP voters seriously don't know what these people said or did in their lives preceding their run at the presidency or they know about it and don't care. The first shows a woeful ignorance and the second shows an ineptitude that's rather damnable.

Romney will eventually be the nominee, and Huntsman and Paul SHOULD have some weight behind them, but don't. The only explanation I can think of is that the general Republican primary voters at this time in America are backing ignorant and ridiculous politicians not as a fluke, but as a manifestation of a general belief.  What I'm trying to say is...the list above, complete (somehow simultaneously) with flip-flopping fools, dithering ignoramuses and dogmatic firebrands has gained the support of the majority of Republican primary voters at one point or another over the past seven months and should be taken to demonstrate the identity of said electorate.  To draw an analogy, think of religion. Anytime someone does something crazy in the name of religion, we all say, "well, that's not TRUE 'religion-X'" and that "religion X was hi-jacked".  But, at some point, when enough members of religion-X start doing or saying that thing, it should be proof that it's really not hijacked or bastardized, but IS true.  Likewise, the Republican party (unlike Conservativism) was hijacked...but now, the majority of Republican voters have tipped the scale so that it is no longer something un-true or is something altogether different.

Let's not, at this point, discount the negative contributions of those above, but rightfully paint the entire party with them as a brush...because they rose on the support of the people, the people should now carry their identity as a weight around their neck and, one hopes, it will drag down republicanism so Conservatism can again be a useful contributor to American political dialogue.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

proud of the past (if we ignore the present)

I found myself reading the GOP "Political Achievements" webpage today for no good reason (O.K. reason: I was looking for an outline of the now-dead GOP infrastructure plan).  I found it interesting...

The first, and most obvious, reason was that anything having to do with civil rights or recognizing that minorities have had a rough go of things in this country stops about seventy years ago.  The second is that even those things touts as "accomplishments" by the GOP website are now derided by the very people that are running for the GOP nomination for President.

The second thing is what I want to address here. So, I am quoting their website bullets (see their site here) and immediately below it are quotes from CURRENT Republicans about the same issues. My question, I guess, is does a current party have claim to "accomplishments" in its name if it has since turned its back on the very principles that made those accomplishments a reality?

  • Republicans establish transcontinental railroad.
Republican Governors across the country killed rail projects in their states, and some killed projects in OTHER states.
  • Republicans passed the 14th Amendment.
At the Republican debate, not a single candidate said he or she did NOT want it repealed. Not one.
  • Republicans established Yellowstone National Park.
Maybe they were establishing National Parks in order to drill in them
  • Republican party first called for ending segregation in the military.
I don't have to outline Republican opposition to ending segregation in the I?
  • Republicans established Federal Highway System.
Republicans block President Obama's attempt to build infrastructure. (They submitted their own plan which did nothing to fix infrastructure and which blocked the government from regulating emissions.)
  • Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act.
Ron Paul, Republican Presidential contender, would have voted against it. Republicans attempted to amend it at last passing in order to gut its ability to affect change.
  • Republicans ended Segregation in Little Rock.
Here's a journal article on the re-segregation of the south. Republican school boards all over the South are attempting to dismantle busing and de-facto re-segregate. The fact that segregation isn't the INTENT but IS the outcome is, I think, beside the point.
  • Nixon goes to China.
This one's rich...from the Log Cabin Republicans (yes, gay republicans):
[Obama's] lack of resolve in enforcing international human rights law in China leaves the US looking weak and undermines our reputation in the international community
So, there you have it...a list that the Republicans can, and should be proud of. However, it is clearly a list that if a current Republican Party nominee for President were to run on would get him booted from the party faster than saying "I don't hate gays."  Not a one of the items listed above could EVER pass as a party platform issue today...not only that, but the current party would block every. single. one.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

workish things

List of random grievances from today at work:
1.       The IT guy can’t type—he pecks with two fingers. This is a clear indication he should NOT be working with computer.
2.       Said guy called me to his office in the cold and snow. When I asked, “Can you ask me your questions over the phone?” he answered in the negative. After putting on my jacket and making the long trek, he asked me, “I need your name and phone number for this paperwork.”
3., where Peter and I have our wedding website (a  new fangled thing that’s all the rage w/ the kids), keeps sending us “what to do before you get pregnant!” or “girls night out tips!” I feel as though they should develop something to filter out same-sex couples from emails that are clearly designed for mixed-sex.
4.       An un-named Lieutenant who is NOT in the field with us was called to bring us out some computers. He drove out and called me asking, “Can you come get them from the car? It’s kind of a far walk.”  Seriously.

rock, but don't sink, the boat

I saw Ari Fleischer the other night on Anderson Cooper. He was trying very hard to find the golden nugget in the political pile of crap that is the Herman Cain campaign and platform.  When it was pointed out that the 9-9-9 plan would be economic ruin, Fleischer’s response was basically (and this is a paraphrase) that the Republicans and Democrats have only argued about reforming the tax code to various degrees left and right while Herman Cain, at least, wants to trash it completely. 
Allow me to make an analogy: Democrats and Republicans want to steer the ship, but know it can only move left or right by degrees. Herman Cain wants to sink it.
I stumbled upon an article today which I thought explains well why this is a bad idea—many populist ideas are simply bad policy. With the advent of mass media, blogs, 24 hr news cycle, unfortunately, what we have is an electorate that ISN’T well informed, but well fed. We have the informational equivalent of a child who went from being starved to being stuffed full of twinkies. People think that because they are consuming more, they are consuming well. This, in turn, like a parasite that eats the brain of the host, has killed the Republican Party. What was once a party that was reality based and hoped to use the levers of government for the better has been taken over by a minority of people who hope to sink the ship.  In a self-reinforcing loop, the media and self-serving blogs reinforce that this new incarnation of the party is a valid form of government and the people push ever further rightward. 
These people provide simple answers that capture the imagination—they come as “outsiders” and people fed up with what is going on support them. However, they provide neither answers, nor solutions to anything. An article I read recently said,
But the question is, would empowering outsiders at the expense of the establishment tend to replace the Washington Establishment’s biggest policy errors with outside wisdom? Or would it more often gut sound-but-unpopular policy and replace existing errors with bigger errors?
The answer, it seems, is bigger errors. Herman Cain’s tax plan is a preposterous idea. Sara Palin’s entire governing philosophy is a joke. While we may be angry as a country at what has happened, the answer is to right the course, not sink the ship…hopefully there will be a valid second party to help us accomplish this. This isn’t to say the Republicans might not win—they might—but in their current incarnation, they are not a valid governing party and I genuinely fear what will happen if the Tea Party side of the family takes control of the government.