Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012 - Election Central


I wonder how different the Republican presidential race would be if we let the candidates spew all the racial and sexual slurs they want. I suspect a lot of the pretense would melt away very fast. It might be worth it.

"They should throw out all the bums. Start over fresh.”

"Then what?"

“Elect leaders who respect the Constitution, like Ron Paul.”

“Ron Paul? Isn’t he one of the bums you want to throw out?”

“Why would I want to throw him out?”

“Because he’s an incumbent, and you just said they’re all bad.”

So why dwell on demanding photo IDs at the polls? Well, it's actually a stroke of political genius. See, as long as civil rights has been a thing in the United States, right-wing conservatives have done all they can to subvert the voting power of minorities, women, the poor and other undesirables. Poll taxes. "Literacy" tests. Arbitrary questions with impossible answers. Misinformation campaigns offering the wrong election date. The expunging of alleged "felons" from voting rolls, whether they did anything or not — or just happened to have the same name as a convicted felon. All of these were effective means to Block the Vote, but these days aren't the coolest actions. So now it's the claim that voters need a state-issued picture ID. At least now they can say they're concerned about voter integrity with a slightly straighter face.

If you don't like President Obama, fine. But stop pretending you ever did.

“Along the line, something happened. It no longer was enough to make a tidy profit — it became a holy duty to wring every possible dollar out of an enterprise. Entire industries cropped up, devoted exclusively to helping companies retain money. Firms made money solely on the idea that they knew how to retain money. And guess what? The money wasn’t in producing! Production is expensive. But you know what helps line pockets? Cutting back!

The GOP today is a collective of rich, white, older, ultraconservative males interested only in maintaining the status quo. They have the wealth and the power and they want to keep it that way. They are not interested in youth because the future does not matter to them. They scoff at environmental issues, education, poverty, infrastructure — the very problems U.S. youth will have to address in the years ahead. And the next generations will do so with an undercurrent of progressive thought. Yes, you will always have conservatives, liberals, libertarians and other ideologies in society, but they will coexist under more progressive norms than past generations.

“Let’s rap for a minute. [Pause for laughter/gasps.] You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here before you today. Well, I think it’s important to reach out to every voter. Some accuse me of being out of touch with you people. But nothing could be further from the truth — why, I’ve been in the black all my life. My ‘baby daddy,’ George Romney, was an auto executive in Detroit. Some of his best friends made ’64 Impalas.

The no-difference argument is ultimately a way of patting yourself on the back for being superior, while aggressively avoiding any heavy lifting. In other words, it's a copout. It would be smarter to say, "While I wish we had candidates less driven by money and politics, our choice in November is between Obama and Romney. And I'd definitely rather see one in office than the other, if for no other reason than to pave the way."

(To the tune of "Hold Me" by Fleetwood Mac)

R-Money, R-Money, R-Money
R-Money, R-Money, R-Money

When Rush Limbaugh says Barack Obama cannot relate to the American experience, what he's saying is that the American experience is a static thing, and is something Rush is qualified to judge.

So just what is The American Experience? There are many, many answers. No, strike that — there's exactly one: "Whatever someone experiences in America."

In most states, an ID card costs money. Even where it’s free, it requires a trip that itself costs money. DMV offices are nowhere near as ubiquitous as polling stations, and that presents a problem for many people. In my hometown, the closest DMV station is on a frontage road off the interstate (on the northern edge of the city), which is hard to find even in a car (and is a treacherous trek on foot). Unless we’re willing to put a free ID station on every block and go door-to-door taking IDs for people (many of whom may be too old to have all the required documents), then this amounts to a poll tax. A poll tax, you recall, was one of the main methods used to keep blacks from voting in the 20th century and is now illegal everywhere.

There are two kinds of people who don’t vote: those who stay home out of ignorance or apathy, and those who see it as a bold and defiant statement. The first kind needs education and awareness. The second kind needs a reality check.

Think of it this way: if you’re not voting because you think you’ve figured it all out, aren’t you just guaranteeing one less informed vote? Since you’re so high on your horse, shouldn’t you want your voice counted as much as those you so adamantly decry?

By Cort Rory
If these donkeys (asses?) had any integrity, they’d spend these three days in Charlotte flagellating themselves with whips, apologizing to voters and resigning. Every last turncoat one of them. Though it’d look like the Republicans bent them over if they did that. And that would just be pathetic.

A man proposed to his girlfriend at the RNC. I saw this as one of those “awww, cute” segments on the news. My immediate thought was, “glad they don’t want to deny this happiness to gays.”

Ian: "To put it simply, Biden killed. Instead of fulfilling my prediction that he’d unleash at least one gaffe for the ages, the vice president channeled his inner Bill Clinton — mixing cutting wit with an assured command of facts and figures."

Clem: "Paul Ryan showed he is going to make a superb vice president when Mitt Romney wins in November. Yee-haw!"

Now I don’t mean to go off on a rant here, but Romney is America: white, corporate and graying at the temples. He’s the love child of Donald Trump and John Wayne’s portrayal of Genghis Khan, which gives him the experience and authority to ban gay love (and contraceptives). Mitt’s a Latter-day Saint, and like the Saints, his team’s likely to get one win in the debates. But do the debates really matter? After all, Rutherford B. Hayes had a particularly memorable barnburner back in 1876, and he still pulled a proto-Carter.

"I’m going to vote for either Obama or Romney; I just can’t decide which.”


“Yeah. Why, is that weird?”

“It’s just that I didn’t think people like you existed.”

“What kind of car do you drive?”

“I drive a Scion.”

“Drive him where?”


“Your scion. Where do you take him? He’s gotta be pretty young. Horse-riding lessons?”

“No, Scion is a brand of car. Made by Toyota.”

“Ah, never heard of that one."

One thing’s for sure: I don’t think I could have made it through an Obama concession speech. It would have been poignant, fair and no doubt an assurance that everything was going to be OK. I would have just broken down — for the country, but also for him. Because there’d definitely be a feeling of, “He deserved better from us. We don’t deserve him.”

“Stuff” doesn’t count if it’s what the rich want. See, they deserve “stuff,” which in turn means it’s not “stuff.” But if the middle class needs “stuff,” then by God it’s “stuff.” And how dare the Democrats pledge to honor the social safety net? And how dare the voters actually consider voting for the party that has helped them and promises to keep on helping them!

Watching Romney throughout the campaign, I always felt that he wanted to win more than he wanted to be president. It's also how I felt about George W. Bush in 2000 — before 9/11 and after Katrina especially, he governed as if he knew he was in over his head. This seems to be the recent common thread for Republicans. I guess that's what happens when a party is beholden to birthright in selecting its candidates.

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