Tue, 11 November 2014
Fox News and the terrorist fist jab was unintentionally funny. The local Minneapolis television station and the secret gang signal became hilarious. The ethic itself is not always so humorous.
Take any accusation, rumor, or suspicion, and present it to a predominantly conservative audience as legitimate speculation. A large proportion of the public is led into a cocoon of comforting delusion.
Is Barack Obama really from Kenya?
Does Obamacare include death panels to decide when the elderly should die?
Is President Obama trying bring Ebola to the United States?
We report, you decide.
Mon, 3 November 2014
I have discovered, through introspection and my relationships with others, that most people have a low tolerance for injustice. When we encounter the unfairness of life, in little ways and great, humankind faces a great divide.
The hatred of injustice causes much of humanity to deny that it exists. Rationalization often involves more than simple inaction. Victims of injustice are sometimes victimized again in calloused attitudes. So we cheer for the giant who beats the little guy into submission.
But much of humanity recognizes the injustice that stares back at us. We know it exists. We know it is wrong. We know that subjecting the little guy to the mercies of the selfish and powerful is evil in motion.
That is why I am a Democrat.
That is why I will be voting today.
That is why I will be asking friends to vote.
Mon, 20 October 2014
I'm okay with negative ads. If they don't distort the facts, if they don't outright lie, if they are pertinent, if they don't grossly violate ethical boundaries, I'm okay with them.
I am a distinct minority. Voters are sick of negative ads. Poll after poll has demonstrated this to the point where it has become conventional wisdom.
Still, negative ads work. Most of the time. Not always.
They especially don't work when they are so over-the-top voters end up laughing at the sinister accusations.
Wed, 15 October 2014
Most general elections are zero-sum affairs. Winning does not depend on a candidate being liked. Winning depends on a candidate being liked more than the opponent. Sometimes that just means being disliked less.
Negative campaigns produce two negatives. Voters dislike the candidate running negative ads. Voters come pretty close to hating the opponent who is the target of negative ads. All things being equal, the candidate voters dislike wins over the candidate voters hate. A lot of voters hold their noses and vote for the nasty guy who ran the ad they didn't like to see.
That can be true of any campaign with two credible candidates. None of the above is not a real option. One of the candidate will win.
In South Dakota, a third choice might just kick over the chessboard.
Mon, 6 October 2014
News reports, analysts, and pundits flooded networks and print media with accounts of the Romney interview. It was big news.
The most significant item was mentioned in the interview, but was lost in the covereage.
It was overridden by the hot, hot question raised by the interview. Will Mitt run again?
News focuses on the unusual. In another era, the confession would have dominated. Today, it is scarcely worth mentioning.
Tue, 16 September 2014
It's the sort of thing that surfaces about every other week from regionally prominent Republicans. It represents a large proportion of a shrinking party.
Referring to people as anything other than human, with human feelings, with human worth, is wrong. It is wrong when the target is a black, or gay, or immigrant. The fact that this was not as widely recognized 60 years ago does not make it any more right.
Such ways of of talking and thinking come from those who are so used to the reinforcement of those of like mind, some political figures imagine the policies they espouse, and the terms they use to describe their own thoughts, will find the same approval from the general public.
Mon, 15 September 2014
104 former Republican office holders have joined to oppose the election of Republican governor Sam Brownback.
Republican Senator Pat Roberts might squeak by to re-election with a fraction of the vote, if Republicans can get opponents to divide between two other candidates.
But Republicans have nothing to worry about. After this election, Kansas voters will always stay Republican. Really, they will.
Sun, 7 September 2014
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) has been attacked, among other reasons, for no longer being a resident of Kansas. His declared residence turns out to be the home of supporters in Dodge City. He pays them rent.
As a voter, I'm okay with facing reality. Maintaining a full time residence here in Missouri while attending to a full time job in Washington is an untenable requirement. My bet is I'd feel the same way if I lived next door in Kansas.
But the insistence that our Representatives must work for us in Washington but can't live there continues. It doesn't happen every election season. Just enough to be an irritant.
I thought again it all again as I read about another scandal brewing in Maryland. The state gives tax breaks to residents. Tax officials are investigating whether a public official committed a crime by claiming to be a full time resident.
Now I have to rethink whether the Housing deal should always be a non-issue.
Fri, 8 August 2014
Mo Brooks and his assertion that white people are suffering as a result of minority advancement, not as a result of a playing field tilted toward the wealthy, comes from a zero-sum view of the world. That view is as common in history as influenza. It is especially identified with conservative reactions to every surge of progress since slavery days.
It isn't hard to exploit that view, especially when it is reinforced by an economy that has been slowed by a Congress dominated by the enemies of equality. A war against white people is a powerful lie to those who feel the effects of economic hardship.
Most analysts seem to think Democrats will win electorally just by waiting for outraged minorities, and those white people whose sensibilities are offended, to reach a combined majority.
A more immediate remedy may be a full throated expression of the truth. We ought to point out the truth because it is the right thing to do. In this case, it is also the smart thing to do.
A responsible populism on behalf of those working hard and still hurting would be justly aimed against those who dominate the halls of power and influence. A powerful falsehood can sometimes be met by a powerful truth.
Wed, 30 July 2014
The idea that opposition to the President is a natural result of some flaw in his own policy or personality is counter to documented evidence.
On the very night of President Obama's first inauguration, a group of top Republican lawmakers and strategists met. The country was in peril, teetering on the edge of a mammoth economic depression rivaling that of Herbert Hoover.
Hours into the new presidency, the conservative group decided to bring Obama down, no matter what it took. They determined they would obstruct, in every way possible, anything and everything the new President would ever, could ever, propose. It did not matter what, they would oppose it.
The newest mantra from the base is coming slowly to the surface of public discussion in Republican circles. This time, impeachment needs nothing more than a vague sense that something is wrong. There are no specifics. But the feeling is strong that all of the debunked scandals must still contain something of substance: Benghazi, the IRS, Obamacare, the economic bailout, something has to provide grounds for removal from office. The impostor must be turned out.