Mindless

 

If you support both of us, you have no brain.

If you voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and you’re supporting Ron Paul in 2012, one of three things must be true:

– You jumped on the Obama bandwagon in 2008 without knowing much about the candidate you supported.

– You jumped on the Ron Paul 2012 bandwagon without knowing much about the candidate you’re supporting.

Or, the most likely answer…

– You jumped on the Obama bandwagon in 2008 and you’re jumping on the Paul bandwagon in 2012 and you don’t know a goddamn thing about the political system or either candidate you’re supporting.

I don’t intend to champion Obama nor to bash Ron Paul’s supporters here.  I only intend to point out how utterly fucking absurd it is to be a supporter of both of them. The only way for this to happen while maintaining any degree of intellectual consistency is to have completely changed your basic core beliefs in a matter of a few short years…and that’s, well, fucking absurd.

You can’t go from voting for a center-left, pro-choice, black guy to an extreme-right libertarian (except of course when it comes to women’s reproductive rights or the expression of one’s sexual orientation) who is a 9/11 truther, conspiracy theorist, religious zealot, and racial bigot. That does not make any sense whatsoever.

I’ve said many times, here and in other places, that I appreciate Ron Paul’s integrity and look at him as one of the most honest men I’ve seen run a political campaign.  He doesn’t pander and he has no qualms with bucking his own party.  Those are great things.

The rest of it though? Not so much.

Most of his policies, if you can call them that, fall somewhere in the range of impractical to impossible to enact. You can’t go from supporting Obama to supporting a guy who thinks it’s possible to disband the Fed and return to the gold standard, no matter how nice he makes it sound. You can’t go from supporting Obama to supporting a guy who thinks disbanding FEMA is a good idea and that people without health insurance should be left to die.  You can’t go from supporting Obama to supporting a guy who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion.

These aren’t rationally coherent positions to take.

Which brings me back to the original point…you either didn’t know anything about Obama, don’t know anything about Paul, or don’t know anything about either or how anything works.  Most people will fall into the third category, and it’s the most logical and obvious reason why someone would support both candidates for president, since you can’t really support both of them if you’re truly knowledgeable about both of them.

While Obama and Paul couldn’t be further apart on almost every actual policy issue they do have some similarities in what we could call the “ethic” of their campaigns.

Both have a strong appeal to young voters and both have a strong social media presence.  Both embody “hope”, just in different ways.  Obama actually preaches hope of rising to a better sort of politics – post-racial, post-partisan,etc…  Paul embodies the hope of the individual to dictate their own course in life and the idea that many young people have that if they do their best, things will work out.  They’re both able to make very powerful connections to young voters because of this.

This is where it becomes important to note that both of these appeals are generally mindless.  While it’s certainly nice and admirable to support and follow both of these ethics, it shouldn’t be enough to be choosing the leader of the free world on either.

While I fully support Obama’s reelection, I don’t support people who voted for him based on their feelings that he just agreed with everything they believed, apart from any knowledge about his positions.  If you voted for Obama thinking that he was going to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan when he campaigned on a military surge there, or because you thought he was going to legalize marijuana, or any number of other policy positions that people pinned to him without knowing what he was actually campaigning on, you are your own biggest problem.  (You’re also your own biggest problem if you think marijuana legalization is a critical political issue.  Not that I don’t support it, I do.)

And if you’re voting for Ron Paul because he’s the rage-against-the-machine, tear down the establishment, reform Washington guy you think he is without realizing who he actually is, without knowing what stuff he plans to do, and without recognizing what things he plans to do that he simply cannot do, you’re going to be your own biggest problem again.

If you voted for Obama in 2008 and you’re tearing him down right now to build up the candidacy of someone you don’t know anything about, congratulations, because you’re fucking yourself twice.

You just helped elect Mitt Romney.

Promise Me You’ll Never Die

Grover Norquist would have sex with a tax cut.The recent right-wing bullshit extravaganza that was the (entirely fabricated) debt ceiling “crisis” brought to light a growing problem in American politics, that of the signing of campaign pledges.

Powerful lobbyists, PACs, etc… have candidates sign pledges to do a whole range of things, from refusing to raise taxes to oppose abortion at any cost to emphasizing their own marriage vows.  In every case, it’s ridiculous – it is the opposite of mature, intelligent thought and you can argue that it’s antithetical to the Constitution and to their oath of office.

In the oath of office, Congress members “swear to protect and defend the Constitution” and “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office”.  Nowhere in the oath or in the Constitution is there a part where it says you should pledge your undying allegiance to a lobbyist or to a general principle, regardless of how that affects the rest of the country.  It’s absurd that it’s allowed, far more absurd that it’s a common and acceptable practice.

One of the key pledges that caused so much stress in the past couple of months while the Tea Party and other irresponsible Republicans held a gun to the nation’s head, nearly forcing the first default in our history, putting the nation’s credit rating in great jeopardy (it still is), and wasting valuable time arguing about something completely specious rather than fixing the nation’s actual problems, is Grover Norquist’s tax pledge.  Norquist, who heads a group called Americans for Tax Reform, convinces nearly every Republican in the House and Senate (even at the local level) to sign his pledge which states that they will oppose every single potential tax increase and every single instance where a tax deduction will be removed.

That’s right.  Like brainless zombies, nearly every Republican has vowed in a written pledge to oppose a collection of policies regardless of their effect on the country.  If there were a law that was able to promise eternal peace with a 1% tax hike on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, it wouldn’t be able to get through Congress due to Republican opposition.  Either that, or they’d have to go against their pledge, and then Norquist would make absolutely certain that that Congress member will lose their seat.  Makes sense, right?

Continue reading

Welcome, Republicans; Addendum

Following up on the discussion of Mitch McConnell’s statement to The National Journal that, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”…

Apart from the absolute and unequivocal cynicism it takes for the Senate Minority leader to say something like this, which shows a total lack of the sort of responsibility one should possess when one is granted an office of public service, it basically flies in the face of everything they claim to be true about Obama’s agenda.

If they are correct that Obama’s agenda – of, you know, socialism and gay pride – is in opposition to what the country wants, wouldn’t the best way of proving that point be to let them do it and not try to hold up the agenda with every trick in the book?

Continue reading

Welcome, Republicans

"Strategery."

Common knowledge these days is that the Republicans are poised to make significant gains in the House and Senate next Tuesday in the midterm elections, largely due to a sweeping feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction with the entire political landscape – financial uncertainty, unemployment, and the media meme that the current administration and the Democratic led Congress are ineffectual, despite the fact that they have accomplished quite a bit in the past two years.

Assuming that it’s true that the Republicans win big next week, the next step (one would think) is for them to take on the job of governing the country, which Constitutionally, would require them working with President Obama.

Just one problem – the word  “bipartisan” only matters to them when the only power that the voters allowed them to cling to after the 2008 elections was the filibuster, which they used a record number of times in the past few years to shut down anything that signified real progress or reform.  When the Obama administration or the Democratic Congress are about to make any serious headway in achieving pieces of the agenda that won them so many elections in ’08, the Republicans use filibuster threats to dilute any legislation to the point where even passing an historic health care bill looks like defeat for the President.

Continue reading

Unrighteous Indignation

Not the problem.

Stephen Colbert appeared in front of a congressional subcommittee today to testify about undocumented immigrant workers – in character, as his Bill O’Reilly-esque satiric “self” from his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

And it made people’s heads explode.

Republicans are mad, because that’s what they do.  The media is mad because that’s what they do, too.

The appearance was very clearly a PR stunt to draw attention to what is a truly important issue, you know, if you care about the economy or human rights.

Continue reading