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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Party Afoul.

In Politics on November 19, 2012 at 9:45 am

In case you didn’t hear, Barack Obama was reelected as president. (I’m not sure how I would feel if you actually hadn’t heard until now. Simultaneously flattered and abhorred that Brief Wit is your only source of news?)

The postmortems have come hard and fast since Obama’s victory, like that scene in The Avengers where the Hulk punches Thor in Grand Central.

In his own dissection of the loss, Romney inelegantly echoed the “47 percent” version of himself by saying Obama bestowed “gifts” on demographic groups. What you call “gifts,” I might call “rights” or “decencies,” but hey, let’s not parse. (Even Newt gave him grief for it.)

In the end, what looked to be the case became the reality.

Yes, Mitt Romney was so obviously and easily cast as a tone-deaf robber baron at possibly the worst time in 80 years to be labeled that way. But Romney was not just a bad candidate for his own message, he was a bad candidate for the GOP’s message. And, like a riesling paired with a ribeye, the GOP’s message was not very palatable to begin with.

Indeed, the predominant feature of these campaign postscripts has been clear-eyed criticism of the Republican party, chiefly its issue stances and waning appeal to a changing population. The takeaway: the GOP has run afoul of the electorate.

As the analyses have fluttered out, one of the earliest and most succinct was also probably the most palpable portrait, from former Bush reelection adviser Matthew Dowd on Good Morning America. He said that the GOP had become a “ ‘Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ America.”

(I’m not saying it’s all over, but Sean Hannity’s already applied for Food Stamps.) Read the rest of this entry »

The Other Debates.

In Media, Politics on October 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

The presidential campaign is firing on all cylinders. If it were a Chevy Volt, it might actually have to stop for gas. President Obama and Mitt Romney will hold events in battleground states for the next 13 days, now that that their final debate is complete. But Monday’s wasn’t the final debate of the 2012 campaign.

There was another debate Tuesday night. No Obama, no Romney. No Biden, no Ryan.

CBS didn’t preempt NCIS (way too big a ratings winner) to show it to you. MSNBC didn’t offer special coverage in lieu of The Ed Show (if only) to bring it to you. And Fox News didn’t give The O’Reilly Factor a night off (and not simply because we all know Bill likes to do it live).

Instead, third party candidates for the presidency held a debate in Chicago. The only way to see it was to stream it online at

Four candidates from outside of the two dominant outfits attended: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson. The discussion was moderated by Larry King, who despite being irresistibly easy to make fun of, is credible.

King’s rationale for putting on his suspenders Tuesday was simple: “It’s a two-party system, but not a two-party system by law.”

While none of the candidates in Tuesday’s debate is a threat to win the election, that doesn’t mean they don’t pose a threat, per the AP: “Democrats and Republicans are keeping tabs on Johnson and Goode, two ex-Republicans who could be factors in key battleground states.” The New York Times also reported recently on how Johnson, who is on the ballot in 48 of 50 states, may affect the results in some of the battlegrounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Ensconcing The Gentleman From Wisconsin.

In Politics on August 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Did anyone tell Paul Ryan’s congressional staff that he has been selected as the vice presidential candidate for the Republican party?

Mitt Romney made it official six days ago, but there is still no mention of this pretty major development to his constituents in Wisconsin on his official Congress homepage, as you can see here, or in the screenshot above.

There is no word of it anywhere I can see, including on the “Newsroom” page, something that would otherwise seem to be a good fit for that section:

Read the rest of this entry »

The Hunt For Red November.

In Politics on August 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Early Saturday morning, Mitt Romney announced his pick of Paul Ryan to be his running mate.

Seriously Roms, the way into journalists’ hearts is not to make them get up early on a Saturday or cut off their vacations:

Besides, supposedly, the Congressman from Wisconsin needs his beauty sleep to boot:

And sorry Paulie, but as I recently learned, your new boss’s religion forbids drinking coffee! (Romney might lose the election on that issue alone if word got out.) So, good luck perking up on those 18-hour campaign days ahead. Read the rest of this entry »

(White) House of Lies?

In Economy, Politics on May 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

What in tarnation is going on? Since when did people in finance get defended in any real significant way?

Private equity, investment banking, and hedge funds were universally loathed in 2009 for collectively throwing us off a cliff economically in 2008, and (begrudgingly) the government had to, and was somehow able to, grab a hold of the ledge with one hand and start pulling us back up, with TARP and then the Stimulus. And now we’re going to elect someone from their ranks? Read the rest of this entry »


In Politics on May 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

I was out and about on Wednesday when an alert on my iPhone popped above the background picture to tell me that President Obama had publicly endorsed same-sex marriage. (Technological things like this still amaze to me.)

I’m embarrassed to say, my instant reaction was fear.

Considering I’ve written about this issue in some form three times, that surprised me.

I couldn’t recall a time when I was in such moral agreement with a politician’s decision and yet so politically worried about a stance he had taken.

“How will he win the election now?” I thought.

In the hours after and few days since, my feelings have tempered, but something still lingers.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Better Question.

In Politics on April 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm

With his wins last night, Mitt Romney is building on a big delegate lead in the GOP primaries. Remaining contests linger, but anyone paying attention would bet their tax refund that Romney is going to be the Republican nominee. Still, it’s going to be great theater when Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich marshal their delegates and egos in slapsticky attempts to force a contested party convention this summer. Don’t forget, Ron Paul will also deliver a balls-to-the-wall speech if we’re lucky. Did I say theater? I meant sitcom.

Whether it’s Romney, or in the off-off-off-Broadway chance that Newton or Santo pull off the 16-to-1 political upset, we’re almost assured to see a familiar question dusted off once the general election campaign is underway. It was superbly asked by Ronald Reagan in his race for the White House in 1980. Reagan and Jimmy Carter had one debate, and Reagan twisted a knife in the incumbent with his closing remarks: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

(This is doubly impressive because as you can see below, Reagan must have stabbed Carter from like 20 feet away.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Nuanced Newt?

In Economy, Politics on February 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Are we six weeks into 2012 already? I’ve just been so strapped for time, what with January being National Braille Literacy Month and all. And of course now that it’s Febru-ANY, you can imagine why my schedule is packed.

Rest assured, I’ve kept tabs on the medio-political developments in this young Year of the Dragon. And the contest for the Republican presidential nomination remains front and center.

With his vigorous rejuvenations in the polls and support-sapping slides, Newt Gingrich is the Ra’s al Ghul of the GOP field. He has been around forever. On a respirator after the pointy barrage of negative ads hurled at him, he’s used the debates like a Lazarus Pit.

After an important win over frontrunner Mitt Romney in South Carolina, followed by a rough defeat in Florida, and a foregone loss in Nevada, he’s pressing on, marital baggage and all.

(By the way, I don’t believe Newt’s wife is a robot the way Romney is. Rather, I’m convinced Callista is actually controlled by a tiny alien inside her head, à la Men in Black.)

Gingrich has an uncanny ability to say the best possible thing in the moment to make himself look as favorable as is possible. Whether those comments also end up being absurd, insensitive, ignorant, or plain abhorrent, I leave up to you. Read the rest of this entry »

Promote ‘N Vote.

In Politics, Television on December 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

This Republican primary season has had over a dozen debates. You might be thinking, “That’s quite enough.” After all, voting starts in less than two weeks, in Iowa. Well, guess what, caballeros, depending on the list you look at, we just barely passed the halfway point of these rhetorical slugfests. ¡Que sorpresa!

Despite the onslaught of translucent podiums and ever-inventive, nearly exhausted ways in which production designers have toiled to erect a new interpretation of the stars and stripes on stage, we’re just. Not. Done.

In acknowledgement of the strong viewership they have attracted, the widening array of issues being discussed, and the rife cross-promotional synergies, may I present the remaining calendar:

VH1’s Divas Live! Debate

January 7, 2012

Hollis, NH

In this penultimate debate before the New Hampshire primary, the GOP candidates reiterate that strong, confident, independent women do not have a right to choose. Michele Bachmann deftly parlays one of her answers into an on-key verse from “I’m Every Woman.” To compensate, the men spout off about their wives, while claiming they clearly came out ahead of everyone else in the Iowa caucuses, even though they all basically ended up coming in a tie there. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Your Eye On The Wall.

In Economy, Politics on November 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm

We all know now that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators living in Zuccotti Park for almost two months were methodically uprooted by the NYPD Tuesday.

So what?

As I said before, I support the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but I’m not sold on all the tactics. Chief among these is the persistent inclination of a couple hundred people to live all day and night in, what is by most accounts, not just a pretty shitty excuse for a park, but also a pretty arbitrary spot.

It’s been noted by lots of onlookers: Zuccotti Park is not even on Wall Street. The park itself has no meaning to banker types, and most New Yorkers hadn’t even heard of it before September 17. It was selected as the rallying point for OWS because it’s an open space in the Financial District.

And yet, all day Tuesday and into Wednesday, peeved protesters plotted to take it back, rising and then falling with judicial rulings on whether they could re-colonize it with their gear.

As the Times reported, “one protester, Nate Barchus, 23, said the eviction from Zuccotti Park was likely to galvanize supporters… ‘This,’ he said, referring to the early morning sweep, ‘reminds everyone who was occupying exactly why they were occupying.’ ”

That’s exactly wrong!

Read the rest of this entry »