Elections are educational! 14 things we wouldn’t have known without Campaign 2012

Everybody seems to be so negative about campaign season. They hate the ads, they hate the mudslinging, they hate the lying, they hate the candidates.

Not me – I LOVE campaign season. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to learn stuff that not only didn’t I know before, but that I’d never learn any other way. Continue reading “Elections are educational! 14 things we wouldn’t have known without Campaign 2012”

When followers lead, the leaders will follow: Obama supports gay marriage

Here’s what I wrote last night:

On the other side of the fence, those of us who genuinely care about freedom and fairness are more outraged than ever. Outrage is motivating, and by the way, polls show that at least half of Americans support equality for LGBT citizens. It’s about six months until Election Day – how much mobilizing do you think we’re capable of?

Obama may or may not want the issue to go away, but from where I sit the religious right has today handed him a very large stick. Here’s hoping he has the courage and insight to use it on them. And let’s make sure that we, the people, make him embrace this, the most crucial civil rights issue of our generation.

Today, as if on cue, the president stepped up to the plate, big stick in hand. Continue reading “When followers lead, the leaders will follow: Obama supports gay marriage”

The Obama Doctrine and Snooki Nation: declaring victory and victory are the same thing

So, it appears campaign season is under way in earnest. Mr. Obama officially kicked off the festivities in Virginia and Ohio yesterday, and we saw our first Mitt-scorcher on Denver TV a couple days ago. I’ve been thinking about the Obama administration’s performance to date for a few months, and perhaps now is as good a time as any to summarize what I think has been the dominant theme of his presidency.

My home state, North Carolina, has a wonderful motto: esse quam videri – to be, rather than to seem. Continue reading “The Obama Doctrine and Snooki Nation: declaring victory and victory are the same thing”

Mitt Romney, Man of the People® Tour mysteriously blows an opportunity to score points with the womenfolk

We know that the Romney campaign is ramping up its attempts to lure female voters, and we were optimistic about the entertainment prospects of these efforts when, a few days, Mitt garnered the much sought-after Gene Simmons endorsement (which, now that Wilt Chamberlain is dead, is pretty much the gold standard of playa cred).

So we weren’t surprised to see Mitt on the stump wailing away at Team Obama.

Romney rebuts claims that he, GOP are anti-women
By Charles Babington
Associated Press / April 11, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn.—Presidential candidate Mitt Romney intensified his efforts Wednesday to rebut claims that he and fellow Republicans are insufficiently supportive of women, or even hostile to them. Continue reading “Mitt Romney, Man of the People® Tour mysteriously blows an opportunity to score points with the womenfolk”

Does Obama deserve a second term? Show, don’t tell…

Last summer I did some thinking about Mr. Obama and the 2012 election. Specifically, would voting for him again be a good idea? I offered up several scenarios where I pondered ugly realities – long and short term – and concluded:

In the end, I don’t live in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida so my vote isn’t likely to count. In that case I’ll be safe enough casting a protest vote for whoever lands on the Green ticket. If it turns out that Colorado winds up as a battleground state in a tight election, then I have some hard-core soul-searching to do.

Ultimately, though, I can’t shake the feeling that something dramatic, something earth-shaking, something seismic aimed at the very heart of the system is going to be required to break the cycle of corruption and incompetence and butt-ignorance that shapes the course of American political and economic life.

Continue reading “Does Obama deserve a second term? Show, don’t tell…”

Why won’t Gingrich quit when it’s obvious he can’t win? (I have a conspiracy … I mean, theory…)

You know that guy who comes over for the dinner party and then just will not leave? Everybody else goes home and he’s still there, talking about this hot girlfriend he had at camp one summer in high school. You drop hint after hint and he wonders if you have any more beer. You change into your pajamas and yawn in his face and he takes off his shoes and socks. There is no hint that he can be persuaded to take. You know that guy, and so do Republican voters.

Even in the Deep South, Newt Gingrich keeps gimping home in last place. It’s more than clear to anyone paying even a little attention that he is not regarded as viable by Republican voters, but even after 27 losses in his last 28 tries, he refuses to bow out.  Continue reading “Why won’t Gingrich quit when it’s obvious he can’t win? (I have a conspiracy … I mean, theory…)”

Who should replace Hank Williams, Jr. on the Monday Night Football Intro? How about Mitt Romney, Man of the People®?

If you recall, Bocephus is out at MNF, thanks to a joke that ESPN deemed over the line. But somebody has to sing an annoying, poorly customized intro before each game, right? Who, though?

I have an idea.

Lately Mitt Romney, Man of the People® has been touring the country, connecting with the Common Man. He’s connected with Northern auto workers, with the black folk, with NASCAR fans, with hillbillies, and just yesterday, he made important inroads with America’s football fans. Continue reading “Who should replace Hank Williams, Jr. on the Monday Night Football Intro? How about Mitt Romney, Man of the People®?”

Obama is talking the talk. Must be campaign season…

Yesterday, on Facebook, one of my friends posted a graphic of the president and this recent quote, which is making the rounds:

I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare…

And today, over at the Great Orange Satan, msblucow has an interesting poll up aimed at gauging how likely voters are to support Obama’s reelection bid in 2012. More to the point, why they are likely to vote for him (or not)? If you click through to the poll, there’s a series of questions that asks if the president’s actions on a series of issues make you more likely to vote for him, less likely, undecided, or do his actions and policies have no effect. Continue reading “Obama is talking the talk. Must be campaign season…”

Why is God telling so many Republicans to run for president?

As Wufnik noted in his post last night, God has apparently advised Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and maybe Rick Perry to run for president. Which leads us to an obvious question: what the hell is God smoking? I did a bit of archival research and I think I have figured out what’s going on. This whole sequence is instructive, but the relevant part kicks in at around the 2:25 mark. Continue reading Why is God telling so many Republicans to run for president?

A quick shout-out: thinking and writing about our frustration with Obama

Here at S&R we try and generate as much original content as possible and, unlike a lot of blogs, we don’t dedicate much energy to linking other stories around the ‘sphere. Aside from Mike’s Nota Bene series, anyway. But earlier today three other outlets linked to my “Will you vote for Obama (again)?” piece, and since these places are trying to broaden what I think is a critical discussion for our nation, I thought I’d take a moment to say thanks and encourage S&R’s reader to backtrack with us.

Will you vote for Obama (again)?

One of my political lists broke out into an impassioned and occasionally contentious debate yesterday over a basic question: do you plan on voting for Obama in 2012? (Actually, the original phrasing was more along the lines of “how could you possibly vote for Obama in 2012?”)

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the conduct of Mr. Obama’s first term, it isn’t hard to understand where the question comes from.

  • He has continued Bush’s wars.
  • He has failed to close Gitmo, as promised.
  • Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? Don’t ask.
  • Race to the Bottom (or, let’s take Bush’s dumbass No Child Left Untested and double down on “accountability”).
  • He led the handover of trillions of dollars to the financial institutions that created the largest financial crisis since the Depression.
  • He has reasserted the government’s right to torture.
  • And now he stands on the brink of bargaining away Medicare and Social Security to the Koch Brothers’ towelboys in Congress.
  • To those who argue that this is the best he can do under the circumstances, the response is fairly straightforward: losing a fight is one thing, but surrendering before it starts is quite another.

Continue reading “Will you vote for Obama (again)?”

The American Parliament: our nation’s 10 political parties

Part two in a series.

Forgive me for abstracting and oversimplifying a bit, but one might argue that American politics breaks along the following 10 lines:

Conservatives, Progressives and the future of representative democracy: what would an American Parliament look like?

Part one in a series.

A little thought experiment for a Monday morning…

Over the past few years I have tried to make as much sense as I could out of the American political landscape. By nature, I’m a theoretically minded thinker, and the point of these exercises has been to try and articulate the structures, shapes, motivators and dynamics the define who we are so that I might develop better theories about why so that I might then think more effectively about how we might be nudged in a more productive direction. Facts → Theory → Action, in other words.

I have observed a few things along the way.

It’s time for progressives to forget about winning the battle and start concentrating on winning the war

It was Sun Tzu, I believe, who first suggested that in order to win the war, you sometimes have to lose the battle. This precept has been on my mind quite a bit since the results of the recent election began rolling in. For instance…

Earlier today one of my political lists was discussing the aftermath of the elections and pondering the future of the progressive movement, such as it is. In response to a couple of thoughtful comments I posed the following question:

In terms of what’s best for the country in the long run, which would be better:

  • Obama gets re-elected in 2012? Or,
  • Obama gets beaten in 2012, allowing Dems to realign and get started gearing up for 2016 assault on Mt. Mitt?

This is a cynical question, but it is not an insincere one.

The always level-headed Guy Saperstein made an important point: Continue reading “It’s time for progressives to forget about winning the battle and start concentrating on winning the war”

Democracy & Elitism: an introduction to the American false consciousness

Democracy+ElitismPart one in a series.

Is there a more radioactive word in American politics today than elitist?

Admit it – you saw the word and had an instinctive negative reaction, didn’t you? If not, then count yourself among the rarest minority in our culture, the fraction of a percent that has not yet had its consciousness colonized by the “evil elitist” meme. If not, you’re one of a handful of people not yet victimized by a cynical public relations frame that poses perhaps the greatest danger to the health of our republic in American history.

Pretty dire language there, huh? Perhaps we’ve ventured a little too deeply into the land of hyperbole? It might seem so at a glance, but in truth the success of any society is largely a function of the things it believes and how those beliefs shape its actions and policies. Continue reading “Democracy & Elitism: an introduction to the American false consciousness”

America and its presidents: what the fuck is wrong with you people?

Let’s begin with a brief Q&A with America.

Q: Let’s say you’re sick with a potentially deadly disease. Who do you want for a doctor?
A: The smartest, most experienced and highly qualified expert in the field.

Q: You’re looking to invest your life savings. Who do you trust to handle your money?
A: The brightest, most agile financial mind I can find.

Q: You’ve been selected to participate in a “private citizens in space” program. Who do you want in charge of building the rocket? Continue reading “America and its presidents: what the fuck is wrong with you people?”

Let the economy die?! Rushkoff’s goals are noble but his plan needs work

A couple of weeks ago author and NYU media theory lecturer Douglas Rushkoff penned a provocative essay for Arthur Magazine. Entitled “Let It Die,” the essay explains why we should stop trying to save the economy.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. Continue reading “Let the economy die?! Rushkoff’s goals are noble but his plan needs work”