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Archive for April 2012

Perception and Politics. How the GOP and Democratic Party Have It AllWrong.

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Here are two statements.

1. Romney and Obama are in a very close race for the Presidency.

2. “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

The first of those statements paraphrases the current – early state – of the General Election campaign ahead. The second is from this article in the Washington Post.

The only way that both can be true, and they are both true, is to include a third statement – this one mine – to the mix.

3. Supporters of the Republican Party don’t know, or choose not to accept or be influenced by what the GOP has become and what it proposes for the country if it achieves the power to implement its policy platforms. They feel – quite simply – that they have nobody else to vote for because they perceive the other party is too “extreme”.

In other words, there is a profound disconnect between perception and politics.

Mainstream GOP supporters diverge from their party’s stated goals and yet continue to support them. And the proof? Courtesy of Frank Luntz, also in the Washington Post. To paraphrase, most conservatives are actually mainstream Republicans. Or to put it another way, the party may moved to the far right, but the body of its supporters – except on the fringes – have not.  The reason the GOP has moved to the right is that the fringe has hijacked the political center, courtesy of Grover Norquist and the Tea Party among others. The Whip is wagging the dog. The GOP has become its own mini police state, which enforces the new extreme positioning based on fear at the expense of the orthodoxy of old. Lugar’s orthodoxy, for want of a better phrase.

The mirror, however, does not apply in quite the same way to the Democratic Party.

The Progressive wing of the Democrats rails endlessly on social media and in Zaccotti Park, for changes that are unlikely to ever occur, but Obama and the Democrats in Congress far more closely match the centrist positioning of most Democratic leaning voters. But even though the Progressive fringe of the Democratic Party has had precious little success in altering wider party policy, it has been used, quite brutally, as a weapon to define the entire Democratic Party as “socialist”. And the mainstream of the Democrats, terrified of schism and divide and loss of support has not fought back to discredit the left.

The horrible truth for the politically driven is this. Most Democratic and GOP voters essentially believe versions of the same “American” thing. What prevents politics from moving into a post-partisan “American” haze is the GOP as a whole pushing rightwards, and the noisy Progressive wing of the Democratic Party pushing left, which prevents the mainstream of the Democratic Party from forging a more complete connection to voters beyond its base.

Or to put it another way, it’s the outliers in each party who are calling the shots and creating the ‘divide’, leaving the middle beholden to their perceptions of the other side. And those perceptions are forged by the fringes.

Now more than ever, America truly does need a third way, an “American Way”, and if it were able to overcome the cynical, entrenched, and legally supported power of the two party system, it could use the new power of the Internet to take control and free up our constitutionally gridlocked system.

Here is my humble contribution to The American Party platform. Feel free to chime in with yours.

Written by coolrebel

April 28, 2012 at 12:59 am

And this is racial profiling, Mr. Perry?

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So let me get this straight. A guy makes an illegal right turn from the left lane, then says that he did it because he’s famous and wanted to make sure he wasn’t being followed. Then the Cops get pissy with him because they don’t know who he is. Then another cop shows up, recognizes him and they let him go with their profound apologies. And this is racial profiling, Mr. Perry?

Hate to say it, but while racial profiling is clearly a problem that must be dealt with, it is not an excuse that a member of any minority can use when they’re justifiably arrested, pulled over or ticketed. Black people can and do commit crimes – just like white people – and should be arrested for it if they do.

What Tyler Perry did in this case was to arrogantly suggest that he was above the law, because he’s a well-known “filmmaker” (in the widest use of the term) whose “security detail” (don’t we all have one of those) suggested he make an illegal traffic move to find out whether he was being followed by photographers, fans or other undesirables. And when he got busted for his paranoia, and the cops thought he was jerking their chain for not knowing who he was, he decided it was because he was black that he got pulled over.  His poor, puffed-up ego just couldn’t take the thought that he wasn’t recognized. Needless to say, he was let go with a warning after a second car arrived and more cops did recognize Mr. Perry.

Seeing a golden opportunity to get some ink, Mr. Perry then used his out-sized influence to propagate his dubious version of story on social media. Reaching out to his millions of sheep-fans, who decided he must be right, Perry further fanned the flames of racial division, to cover for his own pathetic hissy-fit at the cops. His Facebook rant included the wisdom – provided by Mr. Perry’s mother apparently, that a black person should behave in the presence of a policeman in case they’re cuffed or shot or worse, something that, of course, doesn’t apply to whites, who can slap around a cop as they please and still walk off Scot free. What a lot of absolute tosh.

To make matters worse, Mr. Perry’s endless movies are successful precisely because they stereotype black people, digging the black community deeper into the very hole that it needs to escape in order to be free of the stereotyping that leads to, among other things, racial profiling. In other words, Mr. Perry, you are a hypocrite.

We are living in strange, strange times.

Embedded Link

Tyler Perry Pulled Over, Accuses White Cops of Racial Profiling via Facebook
Tyler Perry’s April 1 Facebook post about police pulling him over was no April Fool’s joke: The highest-paid man in entertainment is accusing a pair of white Atlanta police officers of racial profilin…

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Written by coolrebel

April 8, 2012 at 4:47 am

Posted in Google

Newt Reaches The End Of The Line

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Gingrich is done. Finally, after months of struggle, the GOP looks like its begrudgingly coalescing around its candidate. Newt fully expected to win this thing and to be honest, I thought he would too. But then Santorum erupted onto the scene, playing out the death-throes of a God fearing, blue-collar GOP that will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history. Now the chances of Romney not hitting the 1144 he needs are wafer-thin to none.

For all his baggage, Newt is a far stronger and more capable candidate than Romney will ever be, and I’m sure Rubio would have been only too happy to be his running mate. Luckily, for us on the left, that is not to be. There will be no spirited Presidential debates where Gingrich throws Obama back on his heels. There will be no radical Gingrichian ideas that come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. This campaign season is now going to be very, very, dull.

I’m pretty sure that Romney will be the next Bob Dole. And Gingrich is pretty certain he is too.

Written by coolrebel

April 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

Posted in Google

Is Marco Rubio Really Dropping Out of the GOP Veep Stakes?

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Marco Rubio’s decision to – at this point at least – remove himself from the upcoming internet sweepstakes on who Mitt’s going to choose as his running mate is a fascinating play. What could he be thinking? Here are two suggestions and one bonus implication.

Marco Doesn’t Mean It

Normally, politicians like nothing more than ink, more ink and even more ink, but Rubio is a pretty shrewd fellow. He wants the right ink. As a Tea Party favorite being associated with Romney isn’t exactly something that’s going to be get his base too excited, so he needs to play it cool. Being out of the running publicly, doesn’t mean that Romney won’t be begging him to be on the ticket, and it doesn’t mean that he won’t extract all sorts of nasty demands to “change his mind” and come on board. Romney without Rubio, means Romney and Ryan, the talisman of all the wrong messages that the GOP could send this fall.

Rubio Has Too Many Skeletons

You can bet your boots that the Democrats think they can paint Rubio as unethical. From some confusion and irregular payments his own upside-down mortgage, to misuse of Florida State funds, to his penchant for using credit cards from the State GOP to all sorts of dodgy lobbying and mutual back-scratching, Marco Rubio is no Mormon Saint. He’s also done his fair share of fiction on his back story. Perhaps he think that he needs more time to pass before he can call all his seedy shenanigans “ancient history”.

The truth is that Rubio’s ethical detours are probably not enough to prevent him passing a GOP VP vetting process, that’s rarely known for its excessive level of scrutiny. But there’s one last element in play here.

Rubio Thinks Obama Will Win

Let’s put it this way. There’s nothing worse for your political career than being a losing VP candidate. It’s usually a passport to problems, and often utter obscurity. Rubio is a young, rising star of the right. He’s got time to play his cards his way. He may well think that even with the advantages he’ll bring to the Romney campaign, the President will win the day. That might seem an overly pessimistic position, and a somewhat ironic one too. Rubio is vital to the Romney team. It will put Florida closer to a lock, and free up an awful lot of campaign time for the candidate to focus on the West and North East.

There’s something to be said for the notion that Romney’s position is weaker than his predictable blowhard outreach would suggest. A recent Marist poll in Wisconsin that showed the President up by 17 points, 52% to 35% over Romney. Of course the race would tighten, but Romney’s got some baggage that could definitely hurt his chances.

Firstly, the US economy, superficially at least, is on the mend. Secondly, the pressure for an attack on Iran has eased, which along with an economic slowdown in Europe and China, could will have a downward pressure on gas prices. Thirdly, Romney’s pandering to the right during the Primaries may continue to cost him votes among Independent women, millennials and immigrants, while his “private equity” raider past may come back to haunt him. Fourthly, The President’s team is making the right populist moves, while shoring up their “tough guy” stuff with the killing of OBL, and logging some good attack points against Mitt. Finally, the GOP backlash that brought them the House in ’10 has decidedly weakened, with the Tea Party dissipating as a force, and support for their trickle down debt-obsessed smoke and mirrors budget priorities is shaky at best. Standing and winning on a platform that attacks entitlements is tough-sledding.

All in all, Thereisnoplan thinks that Rubio is still a player, despite numerous but minor ethics issues. It’s unlikely that he’s going to get many better opportunities to get to the top of the shit-pile.

Written by coolrebel

April 5, 2012 at 3:39 am

Posted in Washington