Monday, April 30, 2012
Here's a big bowl of pudding laced with proof.
Washington (CNN) -- Days before the one-year anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, top surrogates for President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took to the national stage to argue the politics of the attack.
Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs defended the campaign's use of the event in a recent Web video and in a speech from Vice President Joe Biden. Meanwhile, senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie characterized the political steps surrounding the death as a "bridge too far."
Team Obama released a video on Friday, partially narrated by former President Bill Clinton, that praised the president's decision to order the killing of the al Qaeda chief one year from Tuesday and questioned whether Romney would have made the same choice. Biden similarly questioned the former Massachusetts governor in a campaign-style speech on Thursday.
Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, said the video was "not over the line" and criticized comments Romney made on the issue during his first White House bid as "foolish."
The video quotes Romney in 2007 during his first White House bid, saying, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." Days later, he said, "We'll move everything to get him (bin Laden)."
There's a difference in the roles they would play as commander in chief, and I certainly think that's fair game," Gibbs said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
During his second White House bid, Romney has repeatedly praised the president for launching the raid on bin Laden.
Gillespie, a former aide to former President George W. Bush and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said utilizing the raid for political purposes is one of the reasons Obama has "become one of the most divisive presidents in American history."
"He took something that was a unifying event for all Americans, and he's managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack," Gillespie said in a separate interview on the same NBC program. "I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign."
These kinds of shenanagans are, in large measure, empirical evidence that the accusations about politicans being "out of touch" are valid and true.
Because "the American public" knows the difference between good and evil and has no problem with the extermination of evil, regardless of the name tag on the exterminator.
If an incumbent asking for re-election is, rightly, expected to be held acountable for all that he or she has not accomplished in the job they were given, then simple reason dictates that those things that have, in fact, been accomplished can, and should, be highlighted as well.
Here's politics in plain English...while childishly whining amongst themselves goes on over whether credit should be given where due for eliminating evil, you are not being given credit for having enough intelligence to decide for yourself.
Speaking of credit where due, by the way, Gillespie is absolutely right when he says "I think most Americans will see it as a sign of a desperate campaign."
He's just a little off on which side will get the blame they deserve for not giving you the credit you deserve.
Friday, April 27, 2012
"...Pshaw...This Is Nothing....I Can Make Scruples Disappear With The Push Of A Voting Booth Button...."
Take a little break.
And enjoy this little slight of hand/eye.
Still checking on the rumor that Congress is considering employing this technique to create the illusion of movement.
I'll get back to you.
Something to think about.
That might have you thinking for awhile.
Democrats, most often branded as liberal, are known to inhabit the "left" side of the political line of demarcation.
Hence the term(s), "from the left", "left wing", "left wingers."
Republicans, most often branded as conservative, are known to inhabit the "right" side of the aforementioned line.
Hence the term(s), "from the right", "right wing", "right wingers"...
...and Rush Limbaugh.
Meanwhile, the cerebellum is the largest part of the human brain.
It is divided into two parts.
The right cerebral hemisphere and the left cerebral hemisphere.
Creativity and artistic abilities come from the right side.
Logic and rational thinking come from the left side.
But here's the thought I was thinking will have you thinking for a while.
The right side controls the...wait for it...left side.
And the left side controls the...wait for it...right side.
One would think, given that conflict, we would never be able to function, let alone prosper and succeed.
But we do.
Politicians, as a group, on the other hand...
Here's politics in plain English...
We need to stop voting for candidates based on party.
And choose them for their individuality.
That's a no brainer.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The book is, simultaneously, soaked in both history and irony.
The history is obvious.
The irony coming up after this...
The potential for, at least, a half dozen treatises on the need for mass communicators, of any stripe, to be, if not technologically savvy, at least, able to create the illusion of cultural relevance is, obviously, at a needle in the red zone maximum here.
Taking a pass on said potential, here's politics in plain english...
"...Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt..."
Which brings us back to the aforementioned irony.
Given the author of those very trenchant words.
Monday, April 23, 2012
"you campaign in poetry...but you govern in prose..."
Simply put, the process of being elected to office requires the sharing of lofty ambitions with those whose votes are being courted, inspirational visions of ideally endless possiblity, flowing phrases and oratory whose sole purpose is to simultaneously lift spirits and hopes, affirming allusions to those things Bobby Kennedy referred to when he quoted George Bernard Shaw "some men see things as they are and say why...I dream things that never were...and say why not?"
The process of actually being in office, though, requires an entirely different skill set.
Think of the campaign as the candidate's best efforts to put you in mind of a beautiful garden in the full bloom of all the wonder that life, and nature, have to offer.
And the actual day to day reality of governing as the shoveling of the fertilizer essential to any chance that any growth at all will occur.
Case, or garden as the case may be, in point.
The Romney economic plan.
Here's some summary points from the candidate's very own website.
1.The Federal Government Should Stop Doing Things The American People Can’t Afford, For Instance:
•Repeal Obamacare — Savings: $95 Billion. President Obama’s costly takeover of the health care system imposes an enormous and unaffordable obligation on the federal government while intervening in a matter that should be left to the states. Mitt will begin his efforts to repeal this legislation on Day One.
•Privatize Amtrak — Savings: $1.6 Billion. Despite requirement that Amtrak operate on a for-profit basis, it continues to receive about $1.6 billion in taxpayer funds each year. Forty-one of Amtrak’s 44 routes lost money in 2008 with losses ranging from $5 to $462 per passenger.
•Reduce Subsidies For The National Endowments For The Arts And Humanities, The Corporation For Public Broadcasting, And The Legal Services Corporation — Savings: $600 Million. NEA, NEH, and CPB provide grants to supplement other sources of funding. LSC funds services mostly duplicative of those already offered by states, localities, bar associations and private organizations.
•Eliminate Title X Family Planning Funding — Savings: $300 Million. Title X subsidizes family planning programs that benefit abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.
•Reduce Foreign Aid — Savings: $100 Million. Stop borrowing money from countries that oppose America’s interests in order to give it back to them in the form of foreign aid.
If pursued with focus and discipline, Mitt’s approach provides a roadmap to rescue the federal government from its present precipice. But that respite will be short-lived without a plan for the looming long-term threat posed by the unsustainable nature of existing entitlement obligations. Learn more about Mitt’s proposals for entitlement reform: [links to Medicare and Social Security]
2.Empower States To Innovate — Savings: >$100 billion
•Block grants have huge potential to generate both superior results and cost savings by establishing local control and promoting innovation in areas such as Medicaid and Worker Retraining. Medicaid spending should be capped and increased each year by CPI + 1%. Department of Labor retraining spending should be capped and will increase in future years. These funds should then be given to the states to spend on their own residents. States will be free from Washington micromanagement, allowing them to develop innovative approaches that improve quality and reduce cost.
3.Improve Efficiency And Effectiveness. Where the federal government should act, it must do a better job. For instance:
•Reduce Waste And Fraud — Savings: $60 Billion. The federal government made $125 billion in improper payments last year. Cutting that amount in half through stricter enforcement and harsher penalties yields returns many times over on the investment.
•Align Federal Employee Compensation With The Private Sector — Savings: $47 Billion. Federal compensation exceeds private sector levels by as much as 30 to 40 percent when benefits are taken into account. This must be corrected.
•Repeal The Davis-Bacon Act — Savings: $11 Billion. Davis-Bacon forces the government to pay above-market wages, insulating labor unions from competition and driving up project costs by approximately 10 percent.
•Reduce The Federal Workforce By 10 Percent Via Attrition — Savings: $4 Billion. Despite widespread layoffs in the private sector, President Obama has continued to grow the federal payrolls. The federal workforce can be reduced by 10 percent through a “1-for-2” system of attrition, thereby reducing the number of federal employees while allowing the introduction of new talent into the federal service.
•Consolidate agencies and streamline processes to cut costs and improve results in everything from energy permitting to worker retraining to trade negotiation.
Now, an overview of what all of that might mean, courtesy of Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press...
WASHINGTON (AP) — Reducing government deficits Mitt Romney's way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education.
Romney also promises budget increases for the Pentagon, above those sought by some GOP defense hawks, meaning that the rest of the government would have to shrink even more. Nonmilitary programs would incur still larger cuts than those called for in the tightfisted GOP budget that the House passed last month.
Differences over the government's budget and spiraling deficits are among the starkest that separate Republican Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama. Obama's budget generally avoids risk, with minimal cuts to rapidly growing health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid while socking wealthier people with tax increases. It's all part of an effort to close trillion-dollar-plus deficits.
Romney, by contrast, proposes broad cuts in government spending, possibly overpromising on reductions that even a Congress stuffed with conservatives might find hard to deliver.
His campaign materials give relatively few specifics, other than a pledge to bring total government spending down to 20 percent of the U.S. economy by the end of a first term in 2016. That is roughly in line with where it was during Republican George W. Bush's presidency.
Estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put current government spending at $3.6 trillion, or about 23.5 percent of the gross domestic product this year, slipping to 21.8 percent by 2016.
The math can get fuzzy. But the Romney campaign says it needs to come up with $500 billion in cuts in 2016, the target year. Overall, Romney promises to shrink the government by about one-seventh when compared against the size of the economy.
The GOP front-runner suggests raising the Social Security retirement age and reducing cost-of-living increases for better-off retirees.
He generally endorses a plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to gradually transform Medicare from a program that directly pays hospital and doctor bills into vouchers for subsidizing future beneficiaries in buying health insurance.
Because Romney promises to protect current Social Security and Medicare recipients from cuts, he cannot get much savings from those programs by 2016. Combined, they are projected to make up about 44 percent of the budget that year. Interest costs, which cannot be touched, would make up an additional 9 percent of the budget, while Romney promises to add almost $100 billion to the Pentagon budget that year, based on his pledge that military spending reach 4 percent of GDP.
So what's left to cut?
—MEDICAID: The program now provides health care for about 50 million mostly poor and disabled people, including nursing home care for 7 of 10 patients nationwide. Obama's health care law sharply would sharply boost Medicaid enrollment to cover more people above the poverty line, a move that Romney promises to repeal.
Like House Republicans, Romney promises to transform Medicaid into block grants for states and shed federal supervision of it. He would cap the program's annual growth to inflation plus a percentage point. His campaign says the approach would unshackle states to innovate and, by the end of a decade, cut costs by more than $200 billion a year.
Advocates for the poor say the inevitable result will be that millions of people will be bounced from the program. An Urban Institute study last year estimated that Ryan's cuts would force between 14 million and 27 million people off of Medicaid by 2021. Romney's budget would make deeper cuts.
—DOMESTIC AGENCY BUDGETS: If Social Security is mostly off the table and current Medicare beneficiaries are protected, domestic Cabinet agency budgets would take a major hit in ways that could fundamentally alter government. The future growth of those discretionary programs funded through annual appropriations bills was already cut greatly in last year's deal to raise the government's borrowing limit.
At issue are these programs, just to name a few: health research; NASA; transportation; homeland security; education; food inspection; housing and heating subsidies for the poor; food aid for pregnant women; the FBI; grants to local governments; national parks; and veterans' health care.
Romney promises to immediately cut them by 5 percent. But they would have to be cut more than 20 percent to meet his overall budget goals, assuming veterans' health care is exempted. It's almost unthinkable that lawmakers would go along with cuts of such magnitude for air traffic control and food inspection or to agencies like NASA, the FBI, Border Patrol and the Centers for Disease Control.
"It's just not sustainable," said GOP lobbyist Jim Dyer, a former staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. "What do you want to do with the national parks? Which ones do you want to close? ...The only way it adds up is if you go after the big, popular stuff, and nobody talks about that now."
Among the few specific cuts listed in Romney's campaign literature are proposals to cut the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition, eliminate federal family planning money, privatize the money-losing Amtrak system and trim foreign aid.
—OTHER BENEFIT PROGRAMS: Like Ryan's budget, the Romney plan would also cut benefit programs other than Social Security and Medicare. They include food stamps, school lunches, crop subsidies, Supplemental Security Income for very poor seniors and disabled people, unemployment insurance, veterans' pensions and refundable tax credits to the working poor.
Based on the Romney materials, it's impossible to project the size of the cuts to such programs. Suffice it to say, they would be controversial.
"There's good reason why Ryan's budget and the Romney budget don't have details," said Jim Horney, a budget analyst with the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy priorities think tank. "If people knew what it would actually have to be done to accomplish what they're saying should be done, it's hard to imagine there would be widespread support for it."
No reasonable person, regardless of party stripe, would argue that common sense and good judgement need to be the first, critical criteria when it comes to how much of our money the government should spend and/or how they should spend it.
The problem, of course, is that common sense is not now, nor has it ever particularly been, either common or sensical.
And good judgement?
Well, there's a phrase that can easily knock "jumbo shrimp", "military intelligence" and/or "classic hip-hop" right out of the number one slot on the oxymoronic hit parade.
One man's "outrageously overpriced boondoggle" is another's "sound investment opportunity".
What is important in all of this, and what tends to get lost in the white noise generated by other more hot button issues like morality, religion, et al in a campaign at the Presidential level, is the day to day, real life results of the fix lurking in the midst of the philosophy.
Putting aside party passions in just one example...
Obama's plan would apparently make Medicare/Medicaid available to more people who would otherwise not be able to afford any health care.
Romney's plan would apparently reduce that availability.
The details, nuances and intracacies of a single issue, like health care, alone are enough to keep an entire city population's respective heads spinning for hours on end.
Here's politics in plain english...
One plan will keep your elderly aunt or uncle covered.
One will not.
If that seems like an endorsement of Obama and a repudiation of Romney, it is not intended to be.
It is, simply, an illustration of how important it is to listen to everything that candidates bring to our doors, along with the candy and flowers of courtship.
Because the phrase "we need to stop spending more money that we take in", while lacking a certain rhythm and/or rhyme, still has a poetic, lyrical sensibility about it.
A beloved family member without health care is the kind of prose all too often, and much too regrettably, found lurking in the lyric.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The problem is that, in politics, the squeak has a way of becoming background sound, as opposed to noise, much as the constant chatter of children is tuned out by parents who simply accept it as part of the upbringing process.
Here's a little squeak making the rounds.
A Democratic Fox News contributor on Monday told a tea party activist that she didn’t “know what the fuck” she was talking about on live television after she claimed that a federal government program to help impoverished children didn’t work.
The Fox News show Hannity returned from a commercial break during their Monday night panel, but instead of hearing host Sean Hannity speak, viewers were treated to Bob Beckel yelling at tea party activist Jennifer Stefano.
“You say that Head Start is a failure!” Beckel exclaimed. “You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!”
“Failure,” Stefano replied.
“I just can’t stand right wingers who just keep their mouths running all the time,” Beckel explained.
“Whoa!” Hannity interrupted. “We apologize.”
“I won’t apologize,” Beckel grumbled. “I’m not going to apologize. We’re not on the air.”
“Yeah, we really were,” Hannity insisted.
“Why were we on the air?” Beckel wondered. “Why are we not on the air now?”
“We are on the air now,” Hannity answered. “This is live television.”
“I’m sorry about using that foul word,” Beckel said, finally apologizing. “But the intent about it is still there. … And you should run your show a little better instead of having me get caught like that.”
“Typical liberal,” Stefano charged. “No personal responsibility.”
A 2011 report by the Department of Health and Human Services determined that the Head Start program to provide education, health and nutrition services had a “positive impact” on low-income children since its creation in 1965.
“Head Start has benefits for both 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the cognitive, health, and parenting domains, and for 3-year-olds in the social-emotional domain,” the report found. ” For 3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits, although access to the program may lead to improved parent-child relationships through 1st grade, a potentially important finding for children’s longer term development.”
The predictable, and not unreasonable, knee jerk reaction to Beckel's little outbust might be "tsk, tsk, temper, temper."
With a little "please don't say FUCK in front of the K-I-D-S, please" thrown in for good measure.
Although a reasonable argument could also be made that any kid awake and watching Fox News at nine PM eastern in probably not unfamiliar with that particular expletive.
The problem isn't the vitriol.
It's the volume.
Stefano squeaks "failure".
Beckel squeaks "fuck you".
Stefano squeaks "typical liberal".
Hannity just squeaks.
And the rest of us, more and more with each passing day, just tune it all out.
Because we've heard it all before. And again. And again.
Like the chatter of kids.
Who talk over one another without hesitation.
While not really accomplishing anything.
Here's politics in plain english...
We need discussion and debate that involve at least as much, if not more, listening than talking.
You'll know if that happens.
There won't be nearly as much squeaking.
Still and all, though, there's a limit.
Or should be.
(By Russell Goldman | ABC OTUS News)
Seamus, Mitt Romney's Irish setter who traveled with his young family strapped to the roof of their station wagon, "loved" those trips, despite once getting ill, Ann Romney told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.
Seamus' 1983 trip from Boston to a summer cottage in Ontario, Canada, inside a dog carrier lashed atop the family's Chevrolet, has become a regular barb in Romney's side and is routinely used by his critics to paint him as uncaring.
Mitt Romney told Sawyer that the Seamus attacks were the most wounding of the campaign "so far," but Anne Romney insisted the dog loved traveling that way and looked forward to trips.
"The dog loved it," Ann Romney said. "He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks."
Adding to the left's narrative that Romney had little compassion for the animal is a detail from the 1983 trip that Ann Romney confirmed to Sawyer. The dog became sick, defecating all over itself and the windshield of the car, leading Romney to hose them both off before they continued on the drive to Canada.
"Once, he - we traveled all the time - and he ate the turkey on the counter. I mean, he had the runs," Ann Romney said, laughing as she explained how the dog got diarrhea.
In a 2007 blog written during Romney's first campaign for the presidency, Ann Romney said the dog rode "in an enclosed kennel, not in the open air" and compared the experience with a person riding on a motorcycle or roller coaster.
Politics, by it nature, is a irrefutable example of Catch-22.
People can't really be expected to take the political process seriously, at least as it is presented to most of us most of the time, because that presentation seems to assume that most of the time most of us are stupid.
At the same time, anyone who isn't stupid is, by default, too intelligent to take the process seriously.
Especially when the process attempts to convince us of the relative merits, or lack, of a particular candidate for President of the United States by offering up that particular candidate's attitude about dog shit coating their windshield.
Putting aside any debate on the wisdom and/or cruelty of traveling around the country with the family pet tied to the top of the family truckster, a debate that would almost certainly cause cerebral hemorrhage in any PETA card carrier, while causing next to nothing in the way of a response from your average deep South F-150 with a gun rack owner, the lament hidden amidst the lunacy here is that media, first in the form of the Diane Sawyer's "in depth" questioning and, then, in the form of Russell Goldman's print furthering of the non-event, continues to do a disservice, not only to those of us who would really like to know about legitimate charater qualities of the people who are asking us to elect them, but to those people themselves as these all flash, no fire "news items" distract everyone from the job at hand and demean the serious business of trying to make sure the best (wo)man wins.
Allowing for the inevitable distraction that defecation tends to deliver, here's politics in plain english....
Disqualifying Mitt Romney as a potential President on the basis of this kind of blather is exactly the kind of thing that will validate the blather and do nothing to, ideally, some day put an end to it.
Because you don't have to know anything about politics to recognize bullshit when you hear it.
Or dog shit, as the case may be.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
"...As If The Gay Or Straight Debate Weren't Vexing Enough, Now We Have To Consider Curly or Straight, Too..."
The 2011 list is available here.
They missed one.
Stand by for it.
If the madness behind O'Reilly's method here isn't clear, allow me.
Apparently, Bill O' and his hearty band of shit stirrers feel it their civic duty to illustrate for us that Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and, obviously for that matter, the whole Democratic Party are not to be trusted or ever again taken at their word because, just as obviously, as evidenced by this shocking video evidence, the Congresswoman failed to keep hers.
Word, that is.
Not curly hair.
Although she didn't keep that either.
Couple of questions, though, do come immediately to mind.
First, does Mr. O' not have a single female on this staff who grasps, and could articulate, the time honored bipartisan concept of "a woman's prerogative"?
Second, really, Bill? This is all you got? Really? Seriously?
This blog remains committed to its goal of boiling down, to some form of simple to understand essence, the subtle nuances and intricate plot twists that our political process injects into the American blood stream.
So, as regards what Bill O' Reilly is offering us in the way of expose', here's politics in plain english.
One of two things is happening here.
Bill O'Reilly is an idiot.
Or he thinks you are.
Straight or curly.
Oh...and the word they missed that needs to be banished because of over and/or misuse?
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Explanation of canned laughter momentarily.
Washington (CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a conservative audience what it wanted to hear Friday, accusing President Barack Obama of leading the country away from the founding fathers' vision and "toward limited freedom and limited opportunity."
Explanation of canned laughter momentarily.
Washington (CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a conservative audience what it wanted to hear Friday, accusing President Barack Obama of leading the country away from the founding fathers' vision and "toward limited freedom and limited opportunity."
In an address to the National Rifle Association's convention billed by Romney's advisers as a launch of his general election campaign, Romney said Obama's attack on freedom is to blame for the country's slow economic recovery from recession.
"The Obama administration's assault on our economic freedom is the principal reason why the recovery has been so tepid -- why it couldn't meet their projections, let alone our expectations," Romney said.
While Romney remains short of the delegates needed to claim the Republican presidential nomination, his closest pursuer -- conservative challenger Rick Santorum -- dropped out the race this week and the two other contenders -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul -- have no realistic chance of winning.
At this writing, it is April 2012. Both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions are not scheduled to take place until late summer.
Four months away, give or take.
Barring flood, famine or an act of God, the two major political party nominess for President of the United States have been determined.
The Democratic candidate for Vice President has been determined.
All that remains, in so far as major convention business is concerned, is for Mitt Romney to choose his running mate.
A little research on the matter of convention cost uncovered the following information....
The averate, ballpark cost of putting on a major political party nominating convention is somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred million dollars.
A pretty pricey neighborhood, wouldn't you agree?
Any average person, possessed of any amount of common sense might be inclined to suggest that perhaps, given the obvious observation that the process, at least this time around, has made the need to have a convention academic, it might be worth considering forgoing that massive expense and doing the "offical" nominating and speechifying at , say, a nice ballroom at the Beltway Marriott, complete with balloons, streamers and, of course, those cool four sided cardboard things on a pole with the name of states on them.
And, of course, a nice spread could be put out.
Pigs in a blanket pretty much good for any occasion.
Then, the two parties would have between them, allowing for scaled down gathering expenses, even a few extra bucks thrown in the direction of the caterers (man, those pigs in a blanket were out of this world, don't you think?), somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred and ninety nine million dollars and change left.
Then, that money could be put where it can do some absolutely awesome good work...perhaps, be used to, oh, let's splurge, what do you say....build some amazing new schools...fund some day care centers....find a way to help parents with their kids college tuitions....
...you know....like that.
What a wonderful feeling of sacrifice and good works would wash over every single member of every single delegation that would have gone to those conventions and used up every single dollar of that two hundred million.
Here's politics in plain english....
Friday, April 13, 2012
When they really shouldn't.
(CNN) Yesterday on CNN, Hilary Rosen, a Washington insider who has advised many prominent Democrats, made the ill-advised decision to attack a fellow parent, a stay-at-home mother, by accusing her of having "never worked a day in her life."
The stay-at-home mother targeted maliciously by Rosen has successfully raised five boys, who all have their own families now and constructively contribute to society. This particular mother has battled cancer and multiple sclerosis.
This particular stay-at-home mom travels the country and speaks up on issues of importance to her and for her children and grandchildren's future. This particular stay-at-home mother is also a Republican, her name is Ann Romney and her message is resonating. Therein lies the reason for Rosen's vicious attack.
After calls for her to apologize from both the left and the right, Rosen initially refused. But she caved to the building pressure today. In her apology she said, "Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
One oft heard lament heard, pretty much all the time but especially in the frenzy and fracas of an election year, is that far too much attention gets paid to the "mindless" day to day back and forths between candidates and far too little to the "issues that matter."
The whole "Hillary Rosen was mean to Ann Romney" matter obviously, in the clear light of day, NOT one of a matter that matters.
And while there is really no reasonable argument to made against the aforementioned lament, here's politics in plain english...
The little things get so much attention because so many of the big things are beyond our ability to understand.
A boss walks out to his secretary's desk, plops down a piece of paper and, in a passionate tone, berates her, "what is this on this expense report? FIVE DOLLARS for paper clips? FIVE DOLLARS?"
The secretary, summoning her best, most patient tone, replies, "what are talking about? You're the CEO of a multi billion dollar corporation...literally millions of dollars pass through this office every day and you're coming to me about five dollars for paper clips?"
The boss, still firm in his indignation, responds, "...millions and millions of dollars....I can't begin to have a clue about that....but five dollars for paper clips....THAT I totally undertand....."
Psychologists tell us that when we find ourselves in situations we can't control, we compensate by looking for things we can control.
Whether those things are really in need of any control or not.
Clearly, the complexities of a presidential campaign are dauntingly confusing enough.
Add in the slight of hand that office seekers throw in to the mix to convince voters to pull the levers on their behalf and you have a scenario that would befuddle Stephen Hawking.
Hillary Rosen being mean to Ann Romney, though....
...THAT we totally understand.
Pass the paper clips.
The premise, somewhat predictably given the title, was an interview show in which the host's comments/questions, et al always came generously coated with a dripping layer of...wait for it...
"So NICE to have you on the show tonight....just can't WAIT to hear you talk about your new NOVEL..."
You get the idea.
I mention it because as I pondered what to say in this, the inaugural piece of this new collection of pieces, it occurred to me that those of you who have been regular visitors to my other blogsites (Phelpspeak, Phelpsongs, The Center Line) upon discovering the launch of yet another site might be inclined to indentify with that SNL bit of days gone by.
Not to put words, either cordial or caustic, in your mouth, of course.
In the spirit of what it is is what it is, here's what it is.
I am, as any one who knows me will attest, not a professional politican.
Nor, I imagine, can I lay claim to being a professional pundit, analyst or counsultant.
Commentator? Well, now if you stretch the definition out to its extreme limit, allowing for anyone who "comments", then, hell, yeah, I'm a commentator.
Of course, by that definition, we're all commentators, aren't we?
Please hold your comments until the end.
This new blog has both a goal and a purpose.
One, oddly enough, not being necessarily related to the other.
The goal is to provide a perspective on the process politic to those who profess not to care, one way or the other, about that process but who, very often, feign disinterest in order to disguise their inability to comprehend it all.
I thought about calling it Politics For Dummies, but that seemed a little condescending.
Well, that...and that domain name wasn't available.
I snoozed and losed on that one.
Having a not quite expert, somewhat past mom and pop grasp of the concepts involved puts me, I think, in a unique position. A position in which I can, perhaps, shed some light for those who profess indifference but secretly crave illumination.
Hey, babe, I'm here for you.
And because I sincerely have no particular agenda to further, no aspirations to run for office, no particular ax to grind and no self gratuitous reason to convince you one way or the other about anything, I can, hopefully, be your Ricky Ricardo of political commentary, a fairly well read, arguably articulate every day kind of guy who is only more than happy to "...'splain it to you..."
That's the goal.
To have some fun.
Cause let's face it, kids, if we don't learn to laugh at some of this shit pretty soon, we're going to be looking for new and effective ways to end it all.
Again, hey, babe, I'm here for you.
So, let us begin. Let us do as the plain folk do.
And try to figure out just what kind of crap they're shovelin' at us now.
And, as the long ago glow of the 70's throws a soft light on the endeavor, I can almost see your faces and hear your voices in a Saturday Night Live mode....
Oh, boy. ANOTHER blog.
Just can't WAIT to hear what you have to say.