mm484: Whiners, take back America from the crass

August 30, 2008
© Stephen Finn | Dreamstime.com

© Stephen Finn | Dreamstime.com

Mudge's musings

Seldom are the battle lines as clear as they are in election season 2008.

Establishment conservative versus up from the streets progressive.

Moneyed comfort (via marriage) vs. up from food stamps, self-made comfort.

Explosive, short-fused temper vs. articulate, Ivy League erudition.

Chiseled in stone libertarian capitalism vs. government as proper societal safety net capitalism.

Bomb first, ask questions later approach to foreign affairs vs. talk first, inclusive globalism.

Pandering to the women’s vote with a barely qualified vice presidential choice vs. persuading women that progressive positions trump empty symbols (Sarah Palin is this generation’s Dan Quayle) every time.

The marketplace is the proper solution to the crisis in health care vs. too many families forego medical care because health insurance is out of reach and this must end.

There’s no problem with the economy that ceasing whining won’t cure vs. the last eight years have been economically unpleasant for nearly everyone who has less than $5,000,000 a year in income, and downright catastrophic for far too many working people.

NYTimes economist Paul Krugman put it very well:

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mm416: Obama a pragmatic politician – we’re shocked, shocked

June 20, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would reject public financing for his campaign, after claiming this primary season that he would follow the lead of his Republican opponent. McCain had already announced (he had no choice, that well is pretty dried up for him) that he would rely on public campaign finance for the general election.

Obama is taking much heat from all sides for this change of position. For example,

nytimes

The Two Obamas

Op-Ed Columnist | By DAVID BROOKS | Published: June 20, 2008

God, Republicans are saps. They think that they’re running against some academic liberal who wouldn’t wear flag pins on his lapel, whose wife isn’t proud of America and who went to some liberationist church where the pastor damned his own country. They think they’re running against some naïve university-town dreamer, the second coming of Adlai Stevenson….

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mm388: Superpower to basket case — Thanks, lunatic fringe!

May 22, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Most everybody slightly to the left of Attila the Hun knows that there’s much amiss about the United States.

Seldom has yr (justifiably) humble svt encountered as bracing an analysis of why the U.S. has become the global basket case it is, as in Arianna Huffington’s book excerpt published in AlterNet.org today.

How did we get to this benighted valley? How did mainstream Republicans and Democrats of all stripes let it happen? We dropped the ball. Left a vacuum. And, of course, the fools rushed in.

alternet12

Right Is Wrong — How the Lunatic Fringe Hijacked America

By Arianna Huffington, Knopf Publishing. Posted May 22, 2008.

The GOP is now a dark, putrefied party of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh and Coulter. And we’re all the worse because of it.

The following is an excerpt from Arianna Huffington’s new book, Right Is Wrong.

The Radical Takeover

The most sweeping takeover of the new millennium didn’t take place among the telecoms or the big oil companies, or in Silicon Valley. It took place in Washington, but we can see and hear and feel its effects nationwide on our televisions, radios, and computer screens. And America is much the worse because of it. I’m talking about the takeover of the Republican Party by its own lunatic fringe, and the Right’s hijacking of America.

Ronald Reagan’s GOP has been replaced by the dark, moldering, putrefied party of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, and Coulter. Morning in America has given way to Midnight in America.

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mm358: Federalists. Whigs. Democrats?

April 24, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A funny thing happened on the way to Barack Obama’s coronation as the Democratic presidential candidate.

That’s if you consider Hillary Clinton funny.

She just keeps winning large elections in important states, the latest, Pennsylvania, the other day. It’s Hillaryus, to borrow an oft-coined a phrase.

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mm148: Is This the Democrats’ Chance to Become the Party for Grown-Ups?

September 21, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Daily political skirmishes make’s MUDGE‘s head spin. So we grasp hopefully at anything smacking of a long view: strategy instead of the hurly-burly of the latest fire-fight.

Bringing us to this fascinating perspective characterizing the two main U.S. political parties, published just before the Petraeus testimony.

nymag

Lost, stubborn, and surly, the GOP is rapidly rebranding itself as the bad-dad party. But can the Dems finally ditch their soft-mommy rep?

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

As everyone knows, the Republican Party has spiraled into disrepute. A whopping 20 percent of Americans have swung from positive to negative on the GOP in just three years, leaving pretty much only hard-core partisans in the clubhouse/bunker. It’s Iraq, of course—but not just Iraq. The GOP’s remarkable success at presidential politics the past 40 years has been a function of its “daddy party” image—happy to exercise military power abroad, unaccommodating of misbehavior and hard-luck stories at home, penny-pinching, can-do— in contrast to the Democrats’ “mommy party” M.O. of naïveté, mollycoddling, and profligacy. And the Republicans’ only shot at electing a president next year really does depend on pushing that old trope. Ken Duberstein, the Reagan chief of staff turned lobbyist and board whore (Boeing, Fannie Mae, etc.), insisted the other day that “the Republican Party continues to be the ‘daddy party.’ ”

But that is beginning to sound wishful. In fact, if the Democrats don’t blow it, 2008 could be the election that finishes off the pro-GOP salience of the tough-daddy-soft-mommy paradigm. Because the Republicans are being rapidly rebranded as a party of men who exemplify the least attractive, most pathetic aspects of the gender—they are the stubborn, arrogant, lazy, incompetent (Iraq, Katrina), hypocritical, crude, nasty fathers, Homer Simpson crossed with Tony Soprano, the kind of men who snarl and posture as old-fashioned patresfamilias but don’t come through when and where it counts. The GOP is becoming the deadbeat-daddy party.

Theirs is also the party of moral righteousness in which the Reverend Ted Haggard, Congressman Mark Foley, and Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig were all, only a year ago, leading lights. And consider the personal backgrounds of the top Republican presidential contenders, who seem more mack daddy than Father Knows Best. Rudy Giuliani contrived to annul his fourteen-year-long first marriage to his cousin, then publicly cheated on his second wife, and now, having married his mistress, has alienated both his children. Notoriously alley-catting Fred Thompson impregnated the mother of his children in high school and then married a babelicious, 24-years-younger second wife—and, lacking much (manly, paternal) taste for hard work, has by all accounts let the wives push him along in politics. It’s ironic, and a bit awkward, that the only GOP candidate who’s had just one wife, Mitt Romney, is the Mormon great-grandson of polygamists.

And the next paragraph is the crux of the argument:

Although Hillary still has her swinger husband to worry about, she and he are still married, and indeed the three leading Democratic candidates, by comparison to most of the Republicans, are the very pictures of traditional family values—even-keeled, good providers, long marriages to just one spouse, children who evidently like them. They each ooze competence and seriousness. And indeed their party, when it has run the executive branch, has proved itself to be fiscally prudent and disciplined, the better-governing parents: Of the last seven administrations, the two with the smallest growth in federal spending were the Democratic ones, Clinton’s and Carter’s. And the biggest spendthrift? The current one.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Is This the Democrats’ Chance to Become the Party for Grown-Ups? — New York Magazine

From the perspective of a couple of typically post-Labor Day turbulent weeks later, we see the Democrats in typical disarray, the latest teapot tempest the MoveOn.org advertisement and the reactive Congressional censure.

One can only hope that, at least by comparison to the malodorous remnants of the Republican party, “the stubborn, arrogant, lazy, incompetent (Iraq, Katrina), hypocritical, crude, nasty,” the Democrats can indeed grow up in the eyes of the voters.

I’m not that optimistic. One clever Israeli politician once said of Israel’s nemesis, Yasser Arafat, that Arafat never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Democrats in a nutshell.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm117: The cure for the Electoral College that is worse than what ails us. – By Jamin Raskin – Slate Magazine

August 27, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

It’s back to the Electoral College. Summer’s over people, time to get serious again about the 2008 presidential election.

In case you’re a completist as is yours truly, previous stories on the subject can be found here and here and here.

slate The cure for the Electoral College that is worse than what ails us.

By Jamin Raskin
Posted Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, at 5:32 PM ET

Illustration by Rob Donnelly. Click image to expand.

It’s hardly news at this point that, as it works today, the Electoral College undermines American democracy. It does so in three fundamental ways:  First, it betrays the principle of majority rule, threatening every four years to deliver the White House to the popular-vote loser. Second, it reduces the general election contest to a matter of what happens in Ohio, Florida, and a handful of other swing states, leaving most Americans (who live in forsaken “red” and “blue” states) on the sidelines. This in turn depresses turnout and helps give us one of the worst rates of voter participation on earth. Third, because of its proven pliability, the Electoral College invites partisan operatives, legislators, secretaries of state and even Supreme Court justices to engage in constant strategic mischief and manipulation at the state level.

This last problem is about to make things much worse, as strategic actors try to exploit spreading discontent with the system by pushing “reform” proposals for purely partisan advantage. Thus, in California, top Republican strategists are now proposing a ballot initiative that would “reform” the system by awarding the state’s electoral votes by congressional district. Its real purpose is to break up the state’s 55 electors, which typically go to the Democrats in a bloc as inevitably as Texas, Georgia, and Oklahoma give their 56 combined electors to the Republicans. Following the proposed division of California’s well-gerrymandered blue and red congressional districts, it is likely that the 2008 GOP nominee under this plan would carry away about 20 electors. In one fell swoop, this would ruin the Democrats’ chances for winning the presidency.

This is very plainly not reform. It is tactical gamesmanship.

I guess I not surprised that the Governator’s party might be trying to game the system… What’s next? The native-born clause?

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The cure for the Electoral College that is worse than what ails us. – By Jamin Raskin – Slate Magazine

Are you as disturbed about this as I am?

And, now you don’t have to be more than slightly daffy about Michael Bloomberg to be frightened of a repeat of the supreme debacle of 2000, or worse.

High time to get behind National Popular Vote blogroll2 in your state, especially if your state is California, in the light of the above mischief.

This bears repeating:

Thomas Jefferson famously said: “We are all republicans, we are all federalists.” Today, at least for the purposes of creating a national election for president in which every vote counts equally, we should all be Republicans and Democrats, Independents and Greens and Libertarians. Why not put aside political party just for a moment to see if we can still work together to create a more perfect union?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE