Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Going Rogue

Former University of Delaware student and current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had his membership in the Republican Party revoked yesterday after offering public praise of President Obama during campaign season.  He has been ordered to return his membership beanie and all his Ronald Reagan memorabilia by noon tomorrow to avoid confiscation by irate party rank and file members. 

“It’s been very good working with the president,” Christie said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe on Tuesday.   “He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.”

On NBC’s “Today,” Christie said the president had been “outstanding” and FEMA’s response has been “excellent.”

“The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit,” Christie said. “I’ve been on the phone with him, like I said, yesterday, personally three times. He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything. And he absolutely means it.”

Christie is an avid supporter of Mitt Romney for President and was one of the first sitting governors to endorse the former liberal-turned-conservative-turned-moderate-turned-inside-out nominee.  His words of honest praise for a job well done by a Democrat were sure to be twisted into the truth by Obama, helping to reinforce the President’s image as a competent executive, particularly during times of national crisis. 

Republican National Chairperson Reince Preibus was quick to distance himself from Christie’s comments, calling them “offensive” and “reprehensible”. 

“The Governor is not speaking for the party.”

Karl Rove, former political brain of the Bush administration and known Satanic acolyte, went even further by denying that Christie had ever been a Republican in the first place.  In response to a question from a reporter today, Rove said, “He never gave a keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  You must have heard that on MSNBC, because we categorically deny that.”

Mitt Romney addressed the sudden expulsion of his former supporter from the GOP in a brief statement that read, “The Obama campaign continues its campaign of distraction by dredging up these old, out-of-context quotes from people whom I have never ever met.”

Somewhere in the distance, a cock crowed three times.

Christie was his jocular self when being told that he was no longer welcome in the Big Tent of Republican Extremism.  

“Well, I’ve been called a hippo before but never a RINO.  They’re all a bunch of numb nuts if you ask me.”

Water Gate 2012

Rumor erupted across the blogosphere this morning that President Obama was responsible for Hurricane Sandy and the accompanying devastation across the Eastern United States.  The rumor, which some describe as a “slam dunk” to be a fact, details how the President caused the disaster in order to improve his standing as a leader during a national crisis.  Administration officials flatly denied the allegations, characterizing it as more “anti-science rhetoric” from the Far Right.

Unnamed sources who claim to have knowledge of meteorology and inner White House dealings reported to other unnamed sources that they heard from someone within a government that emails were exchanged between noted inventor and climate manipulator Al Gore and someone else who might be the President, or maybe another person.  They were not sure, but it could be that Gore discussed changing the weather in great detail with President Obama in the run up to Hurricane Sandy, and this information would directly implicate the President in a massive conspiracy to cause weather-related tragedies as a tactic to steal the November 6th election. 

Senior Romney spokesperson Steve Doocey said, “There is no question that the only one who benefits from the high waters, the power outages and the property damage is this President.  His policies practically invited the storm ashore, and once again, who gets hurt the worst?  The most vulnerable and the most dependent among us, exactly his most reliable base of support.  How can those people not see that?”

He added, “Nothing more clearly demonstrates Obama’s disdain for private business than his appeasement of Mother Nature.  Look at Wall Street now.  The destruction there is a directly result of his lack of leadership on the weather.”

“If he has nothing to hide, then by all means he can come out and publicly deny that he changed the weather to his benefit.”

Donald Trump, self-absorbed campaign spokesperson for the Romney camp, saw the storm creation by the President as another excuse to "give stuff" away to those who did not earn it.

"What happens after a hurricane?  Free food, free shelter and free health care - the entitlement hallmarks of a Democratic administration.  And as a bonus, he has ruined my hair for the week."

A bevy of bloviated blogs opined that natural disasters put the President in an elevated position, one of leadership, one of caring and one of control.  They further argue that Obama used a calculated storm surge to buttress his position against the rumored Romney electoral surge. 
The allegations are gaining momentum on the Internet.  Anonymous conservative Facebook members posted heated comments about the Obama weather-fixing scandal.  Read one comment:  “We cannot be surprised that the liberal media has turned its attention towards the Obama storm surge.  I am certain that Chris Matthews is doing cartwheels in his hybrid.”

Another comment read, “This is what Al Gore wanted all along.  Now he can take credit for Obama’s storm.  Mark my words, he’ll be out there again in 2016.  The rising tide of this storm could lift his boat all the way to the White House.”

One poster on Twitter who went by the handle #6000-yr-old-earth, wrote, “This will be Obama’s Watergate – literally.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

Red Storms and Blue Storms

The latest polling data from the National Weather Service predicts that Hurricane Sandy currently has the momentum to win the campaign for Biggest Weather Disaster Ever.  The position of Biggest Weather Disaster Ever has a 4 year term before the public chooses a new, more recently remembered Weather Disaster.

The weather poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 10 feet of storm surge.

Republicans immediately pounced on the news as misrepresentative of the general weather trends of the last few weeks.

On Sunday, RNC Chairman, Reince Preibus, explained his party’s prevailing point of view of the new numbers.  “Stick your head out any window across the South and Midwest.  Yes, it’s cloudy and we expected that so close to November.  But it’s dry outside and nothing in these polls changes that fact.  When all the clouds of uncertainty have dissipated, we fully expect sunshine will rule the day.”

Speaking on Meet the Weather Press, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reminded viewers that this is another example of Republicans rejecting reality.  “How many flooded basements, how many overturned neighborhood trash cans, how many live remotes of Al Roker being blown across the sand will it take before the Republicans accept the reality of these statistical models?  This storm has the momentum and cannot be stopped, even by obstructionist Republicans with their golf umbrellas.”

There have been scattered reports of rain and wind in some swing districts, but these most recent polls from the national Weather Service point to a dramatic shift in storm intensity these past few days.  The increased intensity has every statement from leaders being parsed and scrutinized for hidden messages designed to advance their storm agenda.  Even the President’s call for citizens in the storm’s path to “don their rubbers” was twisted into a call of support for unfettered access to contraception.

John Sunnununununu, Romney national Co-Chair, was unmoved by the weather polls and put it this way.  “Meteorologists always favor the dark clouds.  You can’t blame them for that.”

Democratic weather professionals cried foul, and pointed to Sunnununununu’s comments as representative of a larger meme within the opposition party.  Rep. Nancy Pelosi said, “If David Axlerod had said that weather reporters over-reported white winter snow storms, we’d be accused of dragging color into the race for Biggest Disaster.  Frankly, Governor Romney and his racist surrogate should apologize to those victims of storms.”

Sunnununununu did not back off his statement when challenged.  “I feel like a broken record, but it is a fact that these polls showing storm momentum oversample the coastal regions.  Of course the coastal regions will flood the pollsters with their enthusiasm for big storms.  We’ll see what happens on Tuesday.  One side is bluffing, and we will soon know who has the empty hand.”

Donald Trump agreed, and his opinion and hair were unmoved by the blustery predictions.  “If you dig into these numbers, the projected death toll is well within the margin of error.  In some polls of nightly weather forecasts, we’ve seen a flattening of the predicted death toll numbers, and property damage figures support that trend.  You won’t hear about that in the mainstream media.  I might add that we still do not know the origin of this weather system yet, despite repeated requests.  I want to get to the bottom of what these meteorologists are hiding.”

Democrats across the affected regions could do nothing but shake their heads.  “It’s windy, it’s rainy and voters are losing power by the thousands.  When will the GOP wake up and smell the standing water?”

Democrats like Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland contend that their embrace of the storm is based in science and fact while the Republicans are now so extreme that they can “deny a storm as the raindrops hit them on the head.”  O’Malley went a step further and added that the polls confirm what everyone already knows – this will be a Big Storm and mankind is to blame.

Republicans like Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia scoffed and countered that it is not settled science that storms are becoming more violent and more frequent because of man’s activities.  He argued that it could be that violent and frequent storms are actually causing global climate change.

“Look, it’s just as likely that all these tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards are changing the climate with their fury.  Correlation is not causation and fact is fiction.  We need more studies.”

One Republican voter, closely aligned to the weather industry, summed it up this way.  “If the polls are correct and Hurricane Sandy becomes the Biggest Weather Disaster Ever for the next 4 years, all hope will be lost.  We’ll start working right away to find a new storm to replace it though, don’t you worry.  There’s a new Armageddon out there somewhere, and we’ll find it.”

San Francisco Giants: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”
In other news, the Detroit Tigers, whose bats were allowed to go bankrupt, are requesting a recount of runs after being swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Navigating the path between the Far Right voting bloc of the presidential primary process and the independent voters who will ultimately decide the 2012 general election requires deft skills in campaign marketing.  No tool in the politician’s tool box is more valuable and more quotable than the stump speech.  The stump speech delivery and its content come to define the candidate for voters.  Mitt Romney knows this, and has tailored his messaging to reach voters across the political divide.

Here are a few talking points gleaned from the Romney stump speech that demonstrate how adept he is at courting everyone simultaneously:

The taxes paid by Americans are too high and they should pay less; and not enough Americans are paying taxes and should pay more.

The GOP favors bold, decisive action; the GOP rejects the Democratic approach of bold, decisive overreaching.

Once elected, Republican leadership will eliminate uncertainty in the marketplace; this will be accomplished on Day One, when Republican leadership will change everything that has been done over the past 4 years with something different that will be negotiated with Congress.  "Of course the numbers add up."

Obama has not conducted enough covert and secretive actions against our enemies in Iran; the GOP covert efforts against Iran will not be made public - you will never read about those in the news.

Obama ran on a failed platform of change; Romney intends to win this election by ushering in a new era of bigger change back to the old status quo that Obama replaced with his new status quo that he is now defending as the change he promised.

Obama is not working enough, spending time on vacation with his family when the country needs him; the country needs a President who represents family values and sets priorities of family first.

Republicans understand that women require more flexibility to gain equality with men in the workplace; as Governor, Romney allowed for workplace flexibility so the women could get home in time to make dinner for their families.

Obama has acted like a dictator in his conduct of domestic affairs; and as President, Romney would follow these same policies. 
Obama has been a Do Nothing President; Obama has done too much to change the landscape of this great nation.

Obama has done nothing to help this nation combat the jobs crisis; Obama has drained our bank account trying to combat the jobs crisis.

Obama is a secret Muslim; he spent 20 years listening to a preacher in a Christian church.

Obama is anti-business; he is accepting too much money from Wall Street.

Obama is the most divisive President ever, and he’s proven that by acting like a community organizer.

Obama promotes class warfare.  The lazy underclass isn’t taking personal responsibility and wants the wealthy job creators to bail them out!  Romney will end the War on the Rich.  Class warfare will end once the rich have won.

Romney knows from his business experience that you need a plan.  He has a plan.  He will cut government spending, and once elected, he’ll provide those details.  He will cut taxes, and once elected, he’ll provide those details.  He will protect families and strengthen the military, and once elected, he’ll provide those details.  These are his values, and he will not allow the enemy to twist his policy prescriptions into something they are not.  He am smart enough to know that specificity is not what we need right now.

Romney disagrees with Obama’s approach to foreign policy.  Announcing a date of withdrawal from Afghanistan in advance was a mistake.  Instead, he fully supports the December 31, 2014 deadline. 

Obama’s use of drones is a dangerous consolidation of executive power that in the hands of a Romney administration, he fully supports.

We should never outsource our foreign policy to another international body or another nation.  There should be no daylight ever between what Israel wants and our foreign policy.

We cannot compete in this global economy without raising our scores in science.  We need more scientists to disprove global climate change, debunk evolution, and determine once and for all that nicotine is not addictive. 
Obama has offered no vision for the future; the Romney plan is clear and unambiguous.  We will be strong and free if he is elected.  Jobs.

We can no longer afford to live in the past of the last 4 years; we need to live in the more distant past of the prior 8 years.

Well, after reviewing all of this, Romney is right – I’m stumped.

Friday, October 26, 2012

This is Why

For a few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the 2012 campaign’s closing argument as I would frame it.  I wanted to provide some rationale in a single post for my decision to support President Obama in this election rather than Mitt Romney.  Contrary to what some may believe, I do have valid reasons for my choice and I will share them here.

Since I am dependent on others for every idea I have ever had (I see myself as a victim, I am told), I will redistribute for you some excerpts from newspaper endorsements from around the country.  I am smart enough to know that professionals can sometimes phrase things better than I can…only sometimes:

Why Obama?

Tampa Bay Times
“Obama has capably steered the nation through an incredibly difficult period at home and abroad, often with little help from Congress.” 

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Obama's leadership has made a difference when it mattered most. His stimulus package helped avert an even worse economic collapse and initiated investments in education, manufacturing and green energy that should yet pay dividends. His commitment to a balanced path toward deficit reduction won't please the most zealous members of either party, but it makes sense for the nation. 

"Much of what beset America during Obama's first term lay outside his direct control. The bobsled slide into recession was in full motion when he took office. The economic calamity has been global; recovery, sporadic and weak. Obama's attempts to reach across the aisle politically were met with unbending resistance, even belligerence. 

"Consider a defining moment early in Obama's first term -- one with special resonance in Ohio: The outgoing Bush administration had used TARP funds to throw a lifeline to General Motors and Chrysler, but the two automakers were still at death's door. They wanted more cash and offered vague promises to change their ways. Public opinion opposed another bailout. Romney urged the companies to file for traditional bankruptcy -- at a time when private-sector credit was frozen even for healthy firms. 

"Obama told the companies to restructure using the Bankruptcy Court and set conditions for government financing: GM's chairman had to go. Excess plants and dealerships had to close. Chrysler had to be bought out by Fiat. Contracts had to be renegotiated.

"It was unpopular but gutsy. And it worked.” 

Denver Post

“Obama has moved the country in the right direction on school reform. On higher education, he has taken steps to address affordability through increasing Pell Grants and streamlining the student-loan process. His executive order that allows qualified illegal immigrants brought here as children a chance to pursue college degrees is a positive step — though much remains to be done on immigration reform.

"As commander in chief, he has demonstrated himself capable in a tough situation. He eliminated the military's discriminatory "don't ask don't tell" policy, limited this country's involvement in Libya while still playing a role in the ouster of Moammar Khadafy, and hasn't allowed the U.S. to be drawn into the Syrian civil war. He has remained a friend to Israel, but isn't engaging in war talk over the Iranian nuclear issue.“

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“And yet, Obama has often been his own worst enemy. 

"On stimulus and health care, in particular, he ceded too much freedom to doctrinaire Democrats on Capitol Hill and failed to engage the American people. When Republicans regained control of the House in 2010, he was slow to show that he had heard the angry cry from voters. Presented with a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by a bipartisan commission he appointed, he offered only a tepid embrace.”

Washington Post

(Obama) did not end, as he promised he would, “our chronic avoidance of tough decisions” on fiscal matters. But Mr. Obama is committed to the only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases. Mr. Romney, by contrast, has embraced his party’s reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up.”

Tampa Bay Times

“Among the Group of 7 industrialized countries, only three economies have climbed above the peaks they hit before the recession: Canada, Germany and the United States. France, Japan, Britain and Italy are in worse shape. So are Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece. Obama's economic policies clearly had a positive impact.”

Salt Lake Tribune

“Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.”

Why Not Mitt?

Philadelphia Inquirer

“Like a carnival barker cajoling a mark into spending the last bills in his wallet, the Republican Party is counting on Americans' not remembering that they've seen this trick before.

“GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants voters to forget their familiarity with the prize he's dangling before their eyes - a return to the disastrous economic policies that preceded the recession. Given that context, Romney's prize is no better than a fake pearl.

“The GOP would prefer the nation repeat history rather than remember it. Instead, remember unemployment rates above 10 percent; automakers going bankrupt; the stock market losing half of its value; the net worth of U.S. households plummeting; the nation losing 500,000 jobs in one month; the Dow Jones average losing 800 points in one day; hundreds of thousands of homes in foreclosure because people bought houses that they and their lenders knew they couldn't afford; banks collapsing because their debtors couldn't repay their debts, and neither could they.

"OK," say the Republicans, "President Obama was dealt a bad hand." Then they accuse him of failing to improve anything. That's simply not true. The recovery is weak. Too many families still struggle. But there are clear signs that the economy is picking up speed, including a lower unemployment rate that would get even better if those "job creators" sitting on record profits would get on the job and start hiring.”

Washington Post

“The sad answer is there is no way to know what Mr. Romney really believes. His unguarded expression of contempt for 47 percent of the population seems as sincere as anything else we’ve heard, but that’s only conjecture. At times he has advocated a muscular, John McCain-style foreign policy, but in the final presidential debate he positioned himself as a dove. Before he passionately supported a fetus’s right to life, he supported a woman’s right to abortion. His swings have been dramatic on gay rights, gun rights, health care, climate change and immigration. His ugly embrace of “self-deportation” during the Republican primary campaign, and his demolition of a primary opponent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for having left open a door of opportunity for illegal-immigrant children, bespeaks a willingness to say just about anything to win. Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you’d worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office.

“So voters are left with the centerpiece of Mr. Romney’s campaign: promised tax cuts that would blow a much bigger hole in the federal budget while worsening economic inequality. His claims that he could avoid those negative effects, which defy math and which he refuses to back up with actual proposals, are more insulting than reassuring.”

Denver Post

“From running to the far right on immigration and women's health in the primary and then saddling his campaign with Rep. Paul Ryan's extreme and unrealistic budget, the Romney of this election cycle is not the man elected in Massachusetts. 

“Romney has said he will repeal Obamacare, yet insists he can keep its most popular provisions without fully explaining how he would pay for it. 

And his pledge to create 12 million jobs in four years sounds good, but Moody's Analytics has predicted that type of job growth regardless of who is elected.”

Salt Lake Tribune

“Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.

“More troubling, Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts (except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax deductions and exemptions is utterly meaningless without identifying which and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a balanced budget simply does not pencil out.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“All politicians change positions over time -- Obama in 2008 shifted his position on health care reform more to the center. But Romney's frequent changes raise questions about his core principles and make his lack of policy details all the more troubling. They make you wonder if he would stand up to the more extreme elements in his own party, especially to the House Republicans who undercut Ohioan John Boehner's attempts to negotiate a deficit and debt deal. 

“Romney's tendency to bluster on foreign policy provides more cause for doubt. With tens of thousands of young Americans still in harm's way in Afghanistan, the United States cannot afford to be drawn into new wars without clear national interests at stake or to sap its resources in further open-ended conflicts. The Benghazi killings reveal the risks of an "Arab Spring" in which terrorists have gained new weaponry and new freedom to operate. But these challenges require inventive diplomacy and international engagement, not slogans or swagger.”

San Antonio Express-News

“These shortcomings (Obama’s), however, don't justify a change in leadership, particularly when many of Mitt Romney's proposals — such as an across-the-board 20 percent cut in taxes and the elimination of unspecified itemized deductions — invite skepticism. So does his goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act without offering any meaningful replacement. In addition, the video of him behind closed doors dismissing 47 percent of the population as government-dependent slackers was disheartening and possibly disqualifying for anyone seeking the presidency.”

Tampa Bay Times

“In contrast (to Obama), Romney would transform Medicare into a voucher program that likely would force many future seniors to pay more for less coverage. He rejects raising even $1 of new revenue for every $10 in spending cuts, and he promises to cut taxes by $5 trillion but won't say which loopholes or tax breaks he would end to cover the cost. Meanwhile, he wants to reduce the federal deficit while increasing spending on defense beyond what even the Pentagon requests — even though the United States spends nearly as much on its military as the rest of the world combined. This fanciful math could only add up to deep cuts in spending on education and other domestic programs — and tax increases on the middle class.”

Salt Lake Tribune

“In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust. 


First and foremost, I do view the election as a choice between two visions and two approaches to national issues, and not as a referendum on the Obama’s Presidency, so given that framework, the choice was easy.  While Obama has not been everything I would have wanted or want now, the alternative is untenable.  The GOP in charge of the House and the White House would be a mistake. 

I stand for the reelection of President Obama. Mention my name at the polling station and receive an additional 5% off your health insurance.  Enter discount code MSRP.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some Party

It is quite easy to brush off the latest flap over God’s perceived role in rape that has come from the mouth of a GOP candidate in Indiana.  After all, this is just another attempt by the lame stream media to derail the Romney/GOP juggernaut on its unstoppable march to power, right?  This guy must be an outlier and the media is promoting his unfortunate, out of context remarks in order to benefit their favorite son, Barack Obama.

Forgive me, but there might be more to this one, and he might not be an outlier.  He might be main stream in his party.

To review, Republican Richard Mourdock, the U.S. Senate candidate in Indiana, argued in a debate two days ago that a rape pregnancy "is something that God intended to happen."  OK, this guy MEANT that the pregnancy, not the rape, was God’s will but it is nonetheless an interesting place to go when debating the policy of a woman’s right to choose.  Since Mr. Mourdock knows what God’s will is, either through firsthand knowledge or a whisper in his ear while he is sleeping, we should accept his position without question…or burn in Hell, and on that proposition he is firmly pro-choice.

His comments follow months of conservative male politicians using the violent crime of rape as a backdrop to highlight their ignorance.

From Steve Benen:

“In August, Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said women have special powers to "shut down" pregnancies caused by a "legitimate rape."   The same week, Steve King (R-Iowa) said he "hasn't heard of" women getting impregnated by a rapist, while Senate candidate Tom Smith (R-Pa.) said rape pregnancies are "similar" to out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

In September, Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) compared the Middle East violence in response to an anti-Islam video to a judge telling a rape victim, "You asked for it because of the way you dressed." Around the same time, Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) told constituents, "There are very few pregnancies as a result of rape."

In October, we learned that Roger Rivard (R-Wis.) thinks "some girls rape easy." Soon after, Rick Berg (R-N.D.) said rape victims shouldn't be allowed to terminate pregnancies, but refused to explain what kind of penalties he'd impose on women who got abortions anyway.”

Perhaps rape victims in Rick Berg’s America should be detained by the government for the entire 9 month gestational period, lest the woman try to take matters into her own hands.  It follows that masturbation must be considered assisted suicide and similarly banned. 

The quotes above are just the past 3 months of commentary.  These ‘gentlemen’ are not outliers.  They are representing the viewpoint of their party, so much so that Mitt Romney has no problem endorsing Richard Mourdock and offering only a tepid statement of disagreement with his words.  (This is the same Mitt who demonstrated those 'leadership qualities' by saying about Rush Limbaugh calling a private citizen a "slut", "Those aren't the words I would have used.") Should Mitt win and these ‘gentlemen’ win, these are the viewpoints that will guide policy in the United States. 

83% of Americans believe it should be legal to terminate rape pregnancies.  I hope I never have to weigh in on such a horrible decision in my lifetime, but I also hope that the victim of violent crime should be allowed the choice to make that decision, not the government.  I hope they choose life, but that is not my call.

I think it’s God’s will that these guys not get elected.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Forward Thinking

This is a draft version of something that could appear in print after Nov. 6th.  Just planning ahead: 

As you read this today, our long national Presidential campaign nightmare is either over for 2012 or has just begun for 2016, depending on your party affiliation or your susceptibility to coded campaign messages of fear.  We either have a new President or the same President, but either way, I am looking forward.  As I write this today, I do not know the winner, but there is no sense in waiting until the last minute to consider the 2016 field.

Like all the real junkies out there, this election ended for me right after Newt Gingrich suspended his campaign.  The laughter died on that day.  I have moved on to 2016 and it cannot start soon enough.  I anticipate binders filled with contenders for the nomination in both the Democratic and Republican Party primaries (more if Obama is coming to the end of a 2nd term).  All you need any more is name recognition, the cult of celebrity, and a billionaire gambling benefactor and you can be a credible option for Leader of the Free World.

There are some candidates that we can expect to run in 2016 regardless of who is President the next 4 years.  Biden will run.  Hillary will run.  Lyndon LaRouche, if he is alive and I don’t know if he is without checking Wikipedia, will run.  Ron Paul or one of his descendants will run.  Trump will tease that he is running all the way up until the ads are booked for the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice XXLVI: Lost in New York.  

So who are the candidates to watch for 2016?  And more importantly, how do I gauge their chances?

Tim Tebow:  He’s got everything.  He’s developed a base of support in the South (Florida), the West (Denver), and the Northest (New York).  He’s got matinee idol looks, a rabid evangelical fan base, and no public position on any issues beyond virginity.  He’s promoted his own lack of sexual experience so much that you could say he’s taken on a missionary role in favor of virginity.  His wildcat campaign will work for a few months until more experienced opponents learn how to defend against his offensive attacks.  I know he’s a winner, but on the national stage, he’s bound to fumble.

Bruce Springsteen:  The Baby Boomers love his music and his working class values, and they tend to be reliable voters every cycle.  You can’t win without the women’s vote, and women love his cute little tushie.  After years of arguing Obama’s citizenship status, no one will question The Boss’ birth certificate.  His commitment to diversity is the stuff of legend ever since “the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band”.  He’s a liberal with crossover appeal to the Reagan Democrats who love their American muscle cars.  If he won the nomination, you’d watch that convention, right?

Big Bird:  His campaign will take flight on the wings of his message regarding public financing of campaigns.  This yellow fowl has a history of working with disaffected poor angry men, like Oscar, as well as gay community advocates, like Bert and Ernie.  He should be able to dominate the world of social media since he was a pioneer in the art of tweeting.  In a crowded field of Presidential hopefuls, a candidate has to be able to stand above the fray during the endless televised debates, and who better than a 7 foot bird?  He will need to be prepared to answer questions about his gender identification.  No one is really sure at this point.

Yosemite Sam:  In the post Citizen’s United campaign world, we finally have the first 100% transparently corporately sponsored candidate.  Warner Brothers will re-introduce Sam to the 21st century nation as the “rootinist, tooninist, shootinist bob tailed wild cat in the west” who is ready to take on “any one of you lily livered bow legged varmits” who want the nomination.  He is anti-immigration, pro-gun lobby, and a logical successor choice to reignite the Rick Perry coalition.  His rallies are well attended by fans hoping to see Sam fire his guns at the ground and levitating himself for just a second.

Rick Perry:  The Texas governor will quickly realize that the field can only handle one cartoon character at a time, and will bow out before the race begins once Yosemite Sam grabs the mantle of heir apparent to the throne of misinformed Texan with national ambitions.

Kim Kardashian:  Once you’ve had sex on the Internet, no one can accuse you of a lack of transparency in your positions.  Fun-raising should not be a problem for her. 

Michelle Bachmann:  She’s not really running.  She’s just on a book tour disguised as a campaign…or a campaign disguised as a book tour.  It’s so hard to tell.

Fact Checkers:  Fact Checkers will run as a group under the misguided assumption that the public is hungry for realism and truth.  Fact Checkers will develop a small cult following, but with a slogan like “Our Pants Are Never On Fire”, they can only go so far in a serious political campaign.  Crossroads GPS will crush them with an avalanche of attack ads before the Facts gain any traction in the polls.

Hillary Clinton:  Well she sure as hell isn’t going to sit at home and baby sit Bill.

Hopefully the 2016 campaign ramps up soon.  Without any NHL hockey, things are going to be pretty slow around my house after Nov. 6th. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hedging My Bets

 Soon, our long national nightmare is over.  The 2012 Presidential election votes will be (by November 7th, if there is a God) mercifully tabulated and the results announced and accepted by a skeptical public.  With the exception of the years 1824 and 2000, Americans are pretty good at getting these elections done on schedule.  We may not always count every vote, but we are sticklers for closure. 
As I write this, it is still October and my binder full of predictions is missing in action.  As I write this now, I have to be ready for any possible outcome.  When it comes to paid political writing, I can be severely bipartisan.  I will accept just compensation from the Far Right blogosphere or from Rachel Maddow (or 72 cents on the dollar if I write under my popular pseudonym, Sue Da’Man).  Capitalism has no party affiliation. 

I have to be ready to appease Red America or Blue America if I want more Green in my little corner of America.  So I have prepared 2 likely inaugural narratives that I can sell to the Left or the Right depending on the election’s outcome. 
January 20, 2013 – Specially drafted for The Drudge Report

A great darkness descended over the nation at 12 noon today as “American” citizen Barack Hussein Obama once again perjured himself by taking the sacred Christian Oath of Office while resting his clenched fist on what some described as a worn copy of the Koran.  Thousands of dependent onlookers recorded the proceedings using their government issued cellphones with premium data plans, and they cheered wildly in assorted languages as Mr. Obama read from his teleprompter a litany of proposals designed to further reinforce the national mood of victimhood.  The mob was especially ebullient as he called for a period of “national healing” after the bruising campaign, a veiled reference to his secret plans to further nationalize the health care system.  Local looting was kept to a minimum.

Witnesses told of United Nations troops surrounding the Presidential motorcade as his taxpayer financed limousine wound through the blighted streets of the Democratically controlled nation’s capital.  Upon arrival at the Inaugural Ball, the President and a group of supporters wearing festive red bow ties, absent any noticeable flag lapel pins, were whisked into the ballroom for an all-night celebration of secular values punctuated by a redistribution of heavy hors d’oeuvres. 

In related news, 30% of the nation’s physicians walked out of hospitals and care facilities today in mass protest of increased workloads; hundreds of Catholic churches in key swing states for 2016 were shuttered pending an IRS investigation into illegal campaign proselytizing from the pulpit; and new Supreme Court Justice Bill Clinton was seen feeling the pain of innocent bystanders along the inaugural parade route. 

I think that will capture the Red State mood after an Obama victory.  Now, what can I sell to Blue State readers?

January 20, 2013 – Specially drafted for Daily Kos

A great darkness descended over the nation at 12 noon today as former liberal, former moderate and newly born again conservative Willard Mitt Romney presented his paid receipt to the American people and accepted his purchase of the Presidency of the United States.  With his fingers noticeably crossed as his right hand rested on what some described as a worn copy of the Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal, he recited the Oath of Office as members of the oligarchy looked from their specially constructed skybox perches.  President Romney, speaking without notes or a hint of shame, repeated his campaign promises to demonize immigrants, remove the shackles of public responsibility from small business owners, and encourage freedom for women who want to stay at home, bear fruit and multiple.

At his privatized Inaugural Ball, the champagne flowed as lazy onlookers huddled for a glimpse of the new President through the makeshift chain link fence erected to keep foreigner invaders and Obama supporters away from the proceedings.  From the electrified security perimeter, a stuffed Big Bird could be seen hanging in effigy near the dais.   The 1% of the 1% of the population that was invited to the celebratory gala cheered as it was announced that Romney’s personal accountant was able to write off the national debt by completing a few forms and shifting the assets of Ft. Knox to the Cayman Islands.  Romney, a practicing Mormon did not share in the champagne toasts but was nonetheless incoherent for the entire evening. 

In related news, drug stores across the nation experienced a run on contraceptives, anticipating the pending ban on their sale and distribution; Secretary of the Treasury nominee Sheldon Adelson was admitted to Cedar Sinai Medical Center complaining of acute euphoria; and the Department of the Interior announced that tree-hugging environmentalists have been added to the Endangered Species List.

So I am ready for anything.  I win either way.  Do you? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Binder Clips

After 90 minutes of nationally televised discussion on energy policy, tax reform, and competing philosophies of governance, there is only one memorable takeaway.  Mitt Romney has flipped through binders filled with women.  We are truly an exceptional nation.  The rest of us need a reliable Internet connection and a quiet room, but Romney’s got 3 ring binders for his viewing pleasure.  Must be a generational thing. 

Thanks to the MSRP exclusive connection to WikiLeaks, I have access to the unedited transcripts of the Romney debate rehearsal that took place the day before last night’s 2nd Presidential Debate at Hofstra University.  In the transcripts from his practice sessions, we can see how Romney’s reference to “binders full of women” was not a spontaneous gaffe, but a well vetted potential response to any question on women’s issues:

(Romney Campaign Manager) Matt Rhoades:  OK, Governor, we’ve practiced dropping the word ‘failure’ into all of your standard responses.  Now let’s prep for a specific issue.  There’s a good chance you’ll get a question related to women’s issues, and we need to close that gender gap.  Your answer needs to be strong and sensitive.  You need to fire up the base without alienating independents.  You need to be non-specific but excessively wordy.  Ready to give it a go?

Romney:  No problem, Matt.  Watch me bitch slap ol’ Barack with this answer.  Hey, is that cellphone recording this?

Rhoades:  (using a falsetto voice) Governor Romney, what will you do as President to improve the lives of women in this country?

Romney:  (clears his throat) Unlike this President, I respect women and their ability to drive this economy.  You know, in Biblical times, the women did the heavy lifting.  They often walked around the village with big jugs, sometimes balanced on their heads.  These women and their jugs are an inspiration for me and thinking about those jugs reminds me just how capable the gentler sex can be in making our economy work, which President Obama hasn’t.

Rhoades:  Well, Governor, I think the reference to the Bible could play well to the base, but the image of jugs may not resonate the way you intend.   Can you get something in there for the undecided voters?

Romney:  OK, I can try another tack.  (clears his throat)  Unlike this President, when I was Governor in Massachusetts, I strongly supported gender based set aside on our hiring procedures, particularly for members of those groups who suffered systemic discrimination and have been historically underrepresented in the workforce.  Therefore, I insisted that qualified women applicants for positions in my cabinet be placed ahead of similarly qualified men.

Rhoades:  Um, that might be a bit too ‘technical’ and the main stream media might twist that into support for affirmative action.

Romney:  That’s malarkey.

Rhoades:  Yes, sir, I agree, but let’s try to craft an answer that shows more of your human side, your soft, metrosexual side.  We need those soccer moms on November 6th.

Romney:  OK, how’s this?  (clears his throat)  I am glad you asked about my support for women in our society.  Unlike this President, I love women.  I married one in Massachusetts, and as you know, I have the choice in that state to marry otherwise, and I’ve supported her for over 40 years.  My father before that supported his wife, and my grandfather before that supported his 5 wives, so my track record of support is clear. 

Rhoades:  Well, that does humanize you some, but I think you still need to reach those who feel like victims, those who won’t take personal responsibility for their lives.  If we can just win a few of their votes, we can win this whole thing.

Romney:  I try not to worry about those people, but I can try.  (clears his throat)  Despite all of our progress in gender equality over the years, we all know that women have unique obstacles to overcome when trying to reach the American Dream.  Beyond their regular monthly God-given struggles, too often men have looked beyond a woman’s qualifications and focused solely on their appearance.  Candy, I know that must have been difficult for you.  But your success at CNN among vastly better looking competition proves that with the right attitude and the help of a sensitive, caring entrepreneur who knows how to create jobs because he’s done it, women can achieve great things.  (pause)  I think I nailed it that time.

Rhoades:  Well, I still think we can simplify that answer and provide a more specific story about your experience in helping women directly.  How about talking about the women in your cabinet when you were Governor?  You could say something like “I went to a number of women's groups and said, "Can you help us find folks," and they brought us whole binders full of women."  Nothing says business leader like the image of qualified women in binders.

Romney:  How about I change ‘binders’ to ‘hard drives’?  That’s more modern sounding.

Rhoades:  Too sexual.  Don’t be ridiculous.  Binders.  That’s the ticket.

Romney:  Binders.  OK, I’ll go with your choice.

Rhoades:  That reminds me – don’t use the word ‘choice’ during the debate.  Say ‘freedom’.  We need the white male demographic, too.

Yes, America, in a Romney administration, nothing says equality like being just another page in his binder.  That’s gender justice, 8 ½ by 11 style.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Everything Must Go

It was inevitable.  The Obama campaign online merchandise bazaar is closing down at the close of business November 6, 2012, win, lose, or draw.   The same is true for the Romney site I assume, but they haven’t admitted as much to me via email notification yet.  Neither has Obama officially, but I can read between the lines.  Obama it appears is planning for the future.  “Forward” to savings!  My email today included an invitation to visit the site for specially marked sale items, and the first sign of sale prices starts the slippery slope towards closing the doors.

I’ve been in retail.  I know what that means.  Everything is full mark up, then discounted, then liquidated.  No returns after such and such date.  No exchanges.  Everything must go.  Merchandise with a date on it is always an iffy proposition, and campaign swag tends to reference the election year.

So I visited the Obama online store while I still could to see what I could learn about the campaign:  

Women’s cut logo short sleeve shirts were marked down by 33%.  Could the gender gap be closing and Obama needs to pander more for the women’s vote by offering such deep discounts?  If the soccer moms aren’t shopping on his site, this could be an electoral bellweather.

The designer section (yes, the site Fox News told me was for the welfare queens and food stamp recipients has a designer section) included Diane Von Furstenburg bags, on sale.  The flag motif tote was originally priced more for the 1% than for the 47%, so it should come as no surprised that inventory was not moving with sufficient velocity.  Besides, burning a $50 flag bag seems excessive, even for a progressive. 

I was surprised to see a $25 Obama logo golf ball set.  If there was a candidate who did not need to provide the public with reminders about his love for the game of golf, it’s Barack.  It would be like Romney selling rooftop dog carriers or custom car elevators on his site.  At some point, a consultant has to step in and explain the power of perception in politics to the e-commerce team.

Speaking of rooftop dog carriers, may I interest you in a youth size Bo the White House Dog sweatshirt?  How could you vote against a candidate with such a cute four legged companion?  The only thing missing with this special offer was a retro vinyl copy of Devo’s latest single “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro!”  

Obama 2012 has gone all in on the pet special interest groups.  You can buy dog bowls, dog collars and dog leashes all that show your support for Renewed Hope and More Change.  This Halloween, shoppers will shell out an estimated $370 million to costume their dogs, so perhaps the campaign is barking up a lucrative tree with this merchandise strategy.  Psychologically it’s a short trip from Man’s Best Friend to Your Best Friend in the White House. 

In contrast, the Romney campaign completely ignores the registered voters who like to accessorize their pets and they do so at their peril.  .  In a dog-eat-dog political world, you’re either the lead dog or the view never changes.  Perhaps a consultant did steer Mitt’s team away from any dog references on his site, lest the GOP web surfer be inadvertently reminded of poor Seamus on the roof.

I think you can go too far, however.  The “I Purr for Michelle” cat collar on Obama’s site is a tad risqué for the FLOTUS.  I think they’ve jumped the shark with that choice.  When the jokes write themselves, it’s time to pull the product off the shelves.

I considered buying the $40 grill spatula with the circle horizon logo and 2012 cut into the flat end.  It’s perfect for the angry white suburban male on your list this season.  Pair it with an apron from Romney that reads “Grill, Baby, Grill!”, and you have the makings of the perfect bipartisan cook-out.

There is a glaring omission on the Obama site.  No hats, no caps, no head gear of any kind is available.  I don’t know what this means but I am certain that Newt Gingrich can explain its’ historical connection to hatless socialists who staged the Kenyan Uprising of 1826.

The glaring omission on the Romney site was the absence of a designer section.  It could be that the fashion industry has turned up its’ collectivist nose at the vulture capitalist from Massachusetts, or it could be that anything that reminds the shopper that Mitt has more wealth in his walk-in closets than you have in your 401(k) could be spun into a negative for the candidate. 
I love end of season sales.  The inventory must be cleared out to make room on the Internet shelves for the Chris Christie 2016 elastic waist gym shorts and the Hillary Clinton 2016 nutcrackers.  Holiday seasonal shopping always seems to come earlier and earlier, doesn’t it?

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Agony of Defeat

The Washington Nationals suffered one of the most devastating last minute turn of events in the history of recorded team sports.  It may be time to consider relocating the franchise in Charlotte, NC.  The region can no longer support the weight of a major league baseball team after Friday night.

In the annuls of epic collapses, the 9-7 loss in Game 5 of the Division Series could be an instant classic, and I mean that in a bad way.  I can only think of 4 other comparable stories that saw all-but-certain final victory snatched from a fan base.  The Portland Trailblazers blew a 16 point 4th quarter lead against the LA Lakers in a 2000 Game 7 Conference Final, but the NBA is fixed, so that doesn’t count.  The Music City Miracle is pretty darn close.  The relocated Titans from Houston pulled off a trick play that propelled them in the NFL playoffs, but that game was close throughout.  The Nats suffered a slow drip culminating with the final deluge of pain. 
Mariano Rivera failed to protect a 9th inning lead in 2001 against Arizona and it cost the Yankees a ring.  Maybe that was more devastating and unexpected, but let’s face it.  No one would pretend that the Yankees weren’t overdue to suffer a stinging loss like that.  That leaves me with only that French guy choking a 20 stroke lead on the final 2 holes at the British Open a few years ago.   The image of him all alone wading in the water hazard with his pants rolled up, now that’s the agony of defeat.

That’s it.  Nothing else compares.

Bill Buckner you say, Red Sox Nation?  That was a Game 6 and you still had another chance for ultimate redemption.  Steve Bartman you say, long suffering Cubs fan?  That was a Game 6 too, and you still had Game 7 with Kerry Wood on the hill.  The Miracle at the Meadowlands?  Not a playoff game. 
The day before in the 9th inning on 10-11-12, on the 13th pitch of the at bat, Jayson Werth hit his 14th career post season home run to win Game 4 for the Nationals.  The 9-10-11-12-13-14 magic was at work. We could count on it.  There was more than hope.  There were high expectations.  Having won Game 4 in such dramatic fashion, after being without a team in Washington for 37 years, after losing the baseball franchise twice to relocation, after several 100 loss seasons, after 8 innings with the lead, it was our time.  It was our time, but it was our time to learn about patience and suffering and the Curse of Teddy.

Thomas mercifully fell asleep in the 7th inning and did not witness his team unraveling at the seams.  He slept through Edwin Jackson giving up one run.  He snored while Tyler Clippard served up the home run ball that cut the lead to 1 in the 8th inning.  I considered waking him after Kurt ‘Clutch’ Suzuki provided what I assumed was the winning insurance run in the bottom of the 8th to give the home team an insurmountable advantage. 
The poor kid did open one eye for a brief moment when the banging of my head against the Man Cave wall interrupted his slumber.  He was groggy enough that the full impact of the moment didn’t destroy him.  He was protected like the drunk who is so relaxed at the moment of impact during a violent collision that he can walk away unscathed.  That was my tired boy.  He was too incoherent to be permanently scarred.  He was able to walk away to bed under his own power, but he’ll be sore the next day, I knew.  It was a violent crash.

There was a slight sigh of relief from me amidst the carnage.  I had promised to take Thomas to an NLCS game.  That morning, standing room only tickets were available on StubHub for the low low price of $100 each.  As every parent knows, a $100 ticket means $200 (times 2), plus parking, plus hot dogs.  The Nats defeat swung my balance sheet in my favor by about $250, so with that in mind, I thought I could sleep.  The Nats lost but I was richer for it.

Before bed, I need to unwind with a final fix of political news.  On my regular site visit to one of the rolling electoral vote trackers, for the first time all campaign season long, Mitt Romney had crested above 206 (fairly) solid electoral votes.  For 5 months now, his projected votes were ping-ponging between 191 and 206, depending on the latest data.  On this night of the Washington’s untimely demise, another comeback seemed to be in the making.

I went to bed, hoping that Obama/Biden will not play the Drew Storen role on November 6th, and be forever remembered for handing a last-minute victory to the competition. 
Hey, Barack, on Tuesday night, no gopher balls, OK?  There is no one warming in the bullpen for you and there is no “next year”.