Sarah Palin, David Letterman, Rush Limbaugh and American Politics

June 16, 2009 at 6:12 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

For the last year, many Americans have been incensed by Sarah Palin’s and Rush Limbaugh’s inflammatory remarks. The ad hominem attacks waged by these two on their political rivals and anybody who didn’t agree with their ideology have made them both the target of blistering counterattacks in the press and, especially, in blogs. I’m guilty of this behavior myself, even though I’ve tried to stick to the facts in criticizing them. It is unfortunate that, in our attempts to discredit and criticize people like Limbaugh and Palin, we become so much like them. David Letterman’s completely inappropriate insult of a teenage girl who happens to be Sarah Palin’s daughter was as unacceptable as anything Palin said during the campaign, and yet many people rush to defend Letterman simply because they hate Palin. The back and forth salvos of insults are in major conflict with the fundamental message of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and what he has tried to do since his inauguration. The most depressing part of this is that our behavior appears to be a basic part of human nature. Neither side of the argument can help themselves, nor do they really want to because they’re convinced that they’re 110% right in their views. The stridency that this certainty breeds is most evident in people like Limbaugh, but we all suffer from the malady. I suppose that partisanship is an unavoidable side effect of all politics. Self-interest is the driving force, whether it’s the desire to increase one’s radio show ratings and make ungodly sums of money, or attain political influence and power. The fact is, we can discredit the greedy charlatans and incompetents without resorting to their tactics. American politics needs to show a lot more maturity. The schoolyard mentality is not helping us “form a more perfect union.” The underlying message here seems to be that we need to try harder as a people to become less like our enemies, whether they’re spewing their hate in a press conference, radio sound booth, or village in Pakistan.

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The most dishonorable campaign in U.S. history

November 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm (John McCain: Lost Integrity) (, , , )

Something happened to John McCain in the early summer, just before the Republican convention. It was during this time that he was coerced by powerful RNC operatives to select a person he knew nothing about to be his running-mate. At that moment, McCain made a key decision: he would do and say whatever was necessary to win this election, even if it compromised his integrity and put the nation in peril. When he came to that conclusion, the tone of his campaign turned bitter and angry. His manic, thumbs-up gyrations seemed more like punches at some invisible opponent, and his smile became more grimace-like. The words “My name is John McCain and I approved this message” became a label that would stick to any insinuation, half-truth or outright distortion. McCain knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to “go negative”. It had nothing to do with “Country First.” It was all about “Campaign First” and victory at any cost. I don’t think Senator McCain has enjoyed this campaign, but it’s clear that Sarah Palin has wallowed in the adoration it has brought her. When she speaks at rallies, it’s like watching a stand-up comic who knows she has the audience in the palm of her hand and that every joke will work. It is telling that both McCain and Palin have chosen to exploit a hapless oaf who has turned out to be a pathological liar with show business aspirations. Joe-the-Plumber is a mythical character who has been co-invented by an out-of-work handyman and the Republican Party in an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the most uninformed, gullible voters in the country. That is where John McCain has pinned his hopes. If you’re going to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin, it is important that you understand what these candidates think of your critical skills and basic intelligence. Because they’ve been talking to you as if you have a 2nd grade education and believe whatever you see on television. While Barack Obama is saying that he admires John McCain’s courage and his service to this country, John McCain is casting suspicion on Obama’s patriotism, religious beliefs and integrity. When McCain loses this election, it will be because he showed the American people that he is not the man he has pretended to be for so many years. When the chips were down, it was more important to him to win his “victory” than it was to keep his honor and run a clean campaign.

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How will they concede?

October 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm (The Concession Speeches) (, , , , , , )

For the last two months, John “Reach Across the Aisle” McCain and Sarah “the Rogue” Palin have been accusing Barack Obama of a variety of unforgivable sins. He’s a socialist. He has terrorist affiliations. His background is suspect, as is his patriotism. He wants to tax and spend the country deeper into debt, and raise a “white flag” in Iraq. Most recently, Palin has even invoked the “C” word, implying that Obama’s fiscal policies sound like communism. This list goes on and on. If McCain and Palin believe even half of the things on their list, how can they possibly give the standard unifying and gracious concession speech on the night of November 4th? How can Palin go from pitbull to poodle in a matter of hours without looking like a complete hypocrite? What can either of these candidates say that won’t come across as grotesquely self-serving. McCain will see it as his swan-song, where his primary objective will be to repair the damage he has done to his own honor and future ability to work in the Senate. Palin will, no doubt, see it as her opportunity to launch her future political aspirations and demonstrate her stunningly ignorant assumption that she is now the brightest star in the Republican Party. I’m sure she’s too self-absorbed and high on herself to realize that the Republican Party is going to ditch her faster than a Jamaican sprinter. John McCain, who has spent the last year telling the country that he has a record of being bi-partisan, is now going to have to work with the Senate Majority Leader and, in some ways, the Speaker of the House, whom he has spent the last two months ridiculing in his campaign. After slinging so much mud in the final weeks of their campaign, McCain and Palin have dug themselves into a deep and slippery hole. Watching them try to climb their way out of it on the night of November 4th is going to be better than an episode of “Survivor”.

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Is Palin a “reformer”?

October 24, 2008 at 3:47 pm (Is Sarah Palin going to "reform" Washington?) (, , , , )

Not even close. She and McCain can use that term over and over again, but it still rings hollow when you look at Palin’s record in Alaska. Cronyism is a disease that George Bush suffered from, and it led to dozens of appointments of totally incompetent bureaucrats to key positions in government. The sole basis for their selection was either friendship or shared ideology. The particular expertise required to do the job they were appointed to do was irrelevant. Palin has suffered from the same condition. If you look at her appointments when she became governor, you can see an all too familiar pattern. One is particularly relevant. Palin’s choice for attorney general, Talis Colberg, stirred considerable controversy. A virtual unknown beyond her circle of friends in Wasilla, Colberg had a private law practice with no partners and little management experience. As attorney general, he now oversees hundreds of legal professionals. Colberg was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for his handling of the investigation of Palin’s actions involving her ex-brother-in-law– aka “Troopergate”. A Superior Court judge overruled Colberg’s move to block investigative subpoenas in the case. John McCain proudly states that his running mate will reform Washington. Based on her past and present behavior, it is doubtful that this is anything more than another empty campaign slogan designed for most gullible and uninformed voters.

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The John McCain campaign: Ignorance in action.

October 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

John McCain has recently implied that Barack Obama is promoting a socialist agenda. I see a few signs in my neighborhood which say “Vote Against Socialism. Vote McCain/Palin.” The ‘big lie’ strategy of the McCain campaign is, sadly, working on some people. McCain, and the few who believe him, don’t even know what socialism is, and they obviously have not read Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations”. Smith understood that capital accrues to the wealthy in a capitalistic system. In other words, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. He pointed out that the wealthy should pay proportionally more taxes in order to “cycle” the nation’s capital to bottom end of the economy. And this was long before the emergence of our Middle Class in the late 19th century. McCain and the Republican Party’s economic solutions, which give proportionally greater tax benefits to the upper income sector, including large corporations, ignore Smith’s warning that an expanding lower income segment, or “have nots”, can lead to a caste system and widespread political discontent, not to mention a radical deterioration of the nation’s infrastructure. What John McCain and his intellectually disadvantaged running mate have been saying in the last few days is nothing more than another despicable scare tactic which preys on the ignorance and lack of understanding in the most economically vulnerable members of our society.

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Do you want Todd Palin as your de facto Vice President?

October 13, 2008 at 7:16 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

One thing that was made clear by the recent report out of Alaska is that the First Dude, Todd Palin, considers himself to be part of that state’s government and feels free to behave as if he has some sort of voter mandate. His wife’s failure to restrain his behavior, or her implied support of it amounts to a form of subversion of Alaska’s electoral system. Now, among all of the other reasons to find this candidate unfit for the office she is seeking, we can add her husband, a man who has publicly announced his hatred of the United States government and actively participates in a movement to secede that state from the Union. It has been said that Todd Palin suffers from the hubris of a ‘big fish in a small pond’, throwing his weight around, intimidating public officials, and probably playing a substantial role in his wife’s decisions. It’s one thing to be an “outsider”, but it’s quite another to have this kind of personal agenda influencing or controlling the #2 spot below a man who would be the oldest ever to be inaugurated President. Those staunch Republicans who continue to insist that this woman is qualified in any way to hold national office are putting ideology and their political party ahead of the country.

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