Archive for January, 2012

I did not (as I usually don’t) watch the President’s State of the Union address.  I just can’t stand the grandstanding politicians that feel like they have to make their feelings known on every little point of the speech, whether it is by applauding and cheering or by making faces.  Yes, adults making faces.  I mean, you tell me?  Could Eric Cantor be trying any harder to make a face like he just smelled a turd?

Now had he made that face after the President’s awful spilled milk joke, then maybe that would be understandable!  I made the same face when I read it!  But no, that was just his ‘I disagree with this guy, I hate this man, why do I even have to be here?’ face.  You know, just in case somebody might get the wrong idea.

The constant applause/cheering interruptions are even worse.  This is a speech that never gets any flow and takes twice as long as it should just because the members in Congress feel like taking an impromptu vote on every thing.  (President: “Today…”, Congress: “Yay!!!!  It IS today!!!!!”)  Would it be so wrong for Congress to stay respectfully quiet and just let the President deliver the address?  There’s plenty of time for actual discussion (instead of applause, groans, faces) after the fact.

So anyway, that was my long-winded way of explaining that I didn’t watch the speech, I read a transcript of it instead.  My general impression is, as just about always with Obama, the man delivers a good speech.  When it comes to the general themes, there wasn’t just a whole lot I disagreed with.  We as a nation absolutely need to get back into the business of making stuff.  There is absolutely too much incentive for companies to move jobs to other nations.  We absolutely need to do a better job of getting the unemployed the skills they need to match up with the jobs that are available.  We absolutely need to invest into this country, into infrastructure and into education.  We need tax reform.  We need a smarter, more efficient government.

But I have come to terms with the fact that as good as President Obama is at delivering speeches, he is just not as good at pushing his agenda (at least his spoken agenda) through Congress and into law.  I think this is where Obama’s lack of experience bites him.  I think Obama sees his job as creating a general vision and setting priorities, then it’s up to Congress to draft up the specifics to fulfill that vision and work on those priorities.  And while that might be a nice notion, that’s not how things work in Washington.  One side is working actively against you, while the other side is too incompetent to help.

I believe this is where my frustration with Obama stems.  In the areas where I agree with him, he is unable to do much without Congressional action.  Now I do realize that it would be tough to do anything with this bunch we have right now (their low approval rating is well-deserved!).  But I do believe that a more experienced statesman could have perhaps squeezed a little more results even out of this group.  On the other hand, the areas where I don’t agree with Obama, those are areas where either Obama can act without Congressional action or where Congress chooses not to take action to prevent the President from implementing certain policies (this is mainly foreign policy/terrorism/civil liberty type issues).  So this is why he comes off as so bad to me, he has no obstacle from implementing policies I don’t like, while he gets stymied from implementing anything I do like.

But I am not sure where else to go.  It’s not like the Republicans are offering an alternative to those policies that I don’t like, and then of course they disagree with Obama’s policies everywhere else.  This is likely going to be a lesser of the two evils type of vote, and boy if the Republicans actually nominate Newt Gingrich, they are going to make that choice easy!

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I guess I need to educate myself on newts, since one somehow just won the South Carolina primary and did it in a big way.  Now I don’t understand why on Earth we would want a slimy amphibian to run this country, but since it is possible that it will win the nomination, I think it is only fair that I study up on the newts and try to discover what makes this individual species of newt special.

  • Most newts are characterized by a frog-like body and a distinct tail.  However, the species of newt being considered for President, known as the Gingrich, is characterized by a frog-like head and a distinct obnoxious personality.

The Gingrich

A frog

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Newts are typically fickle about their mating partners.  The Gingrich is no different.  The Gingrich will choose a partner.  However, as that partner ages and becomes sick, the Gingrich will search for a new, younger, healthier partner.
  • Newts are known to have the ability to regenerate its heart.  The Gingrich left his first partner while she was recovering from cancer and refused to support their offspring.  The Gingrich left his second partner after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and the doctor asked he not put any stress on her.  The Gingrich does not have a heart.
  • Many newts produce toxins in their skin secretions as a defense mechanism against predators.  The Gingrich produces sanctimonious anger as a defense mechanism against his predator known as the media, who often come armed with the truth.

I think it was important to produce this little primer about the Gingrich as I heard this morning that many South Carolina voters were like me and didn’t know much about it.  This is perfectly understandable as the Gingrich has only been found in the D.C. area for around 34 years and only managed to rise to the lowly position of Speaker of the House during his time there.  So yes, he’s a total unknown.  But now that I’ve done my homework, if it comes down to a choice between the Gingrich and the “muslim”, I think I’m going to stick with the “muslim”.   At least the “muslim” is not a icky salamander.

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I, for one, am tired of the candidates produced by the top 1%.  Is this really the best we as a nation have to offer?  I say it’s not.  It is time to stop limiting ourselves to the top 1%.  It is time to turn to the other 99%!  As it so happens, there are…ahem….options.  Let me give you a rundown on just a few.

Vermin Supreme

Image

Pros:

  • Strong dental plan.  Includes winged monkeys acting as tooth fairies.
  • Strong supporter of scientific research.  Namely, he supports time machine research so we can go back and kill Hitler.
  • Promises a pony for every American.
  • Plans to promote zombie apocalypse awareness. Also supports converting to zombie energy.
  • Increased support from 2008 New Hampshire primary by over 2000%.

Cons:

  • Country’s electorate has bias against people who wear boots on their heads.
  • So far only on New Hampshire ballot.
  • Increasing his support by 2000% still only means 831 votes.  In other words, he trails Obama.  By a lot.

Campaign Slogan: Better teeth for a better America.

Stephen Colbert

Pros:

  • Has a national television show.
  • Has backing of a super PAC (Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, which has already purchased $10,000 of ads in South Carolina.)
  • Transferring control of his super PAC (to fellow Comedy Central newsman Jon Stewart) on television demonstrates more transparency than you would typically see from a PAC.
  • Campaign highlights absurdity of our current campaign finance rules.
  • A poll has him ahead of Jon Huntsman in South Carolina.  Seriously.  He’s also not far behind Rick Perry and Ron Paul.

Cons:

  • Has not officially entered race.  Only has formed exploratory committee.
  • Only has plans for South Carolina.
  • No clear path to get on South Carolina’s ballot.  South Carolina also doesn’t allow write-in votes.
  • Technically part of the 1%.

Campaign Slogan:  First to secede, first to succeed.

Dale Peterson

Pros:

  • Has that endearing Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino curmudgeon’s personality going for him.
  • Hates thugs and criminals.
  • Also not fond of stealing yard signs.

Cons:

  • Last campaign he failed to win Republican nomination for Alabama agriculture commissioner (finished 3rd)
  • Presidential campaign hasn’t seem to have gained any footing whatsoever.

Campaign Slogan:  It’s time to do a little more straight-talk, and a little less waltzing.

Mickey Mouse

Pros:

  • Manages to get thousands of write-in votes even though he has never actually ran for office.
  • Very popular with kids.
  • Major reason for success of large corporation (The Walt Disney Company).

Cons:

  • Has failed once again to show interest in running.
  • Supporters have not updated the Mickey Mouse For President website.
  • Mice may not meet the constitutional requirements for President.
  • May in fact be a fictional character.
  • Mickey Mouse Club might be a cult.

Yeah, yeah, this is a joke.  But so are many of the “mainstream” candidates.

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I am bothered by the disproportionate attention that the early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire get.  Let’s see, Iowa has 1% of this nation’s population while New Hampshire has less than 0.5%.  This is not to mention that a much smaller percentage votes (Iowa only managed a little over 122,000 voters, which as it happens is a Iowa Caucus record.  New Hampshire may manage to double that total.).  Yet these are the states that are “special”, they are representative of the pulse of the nation? Or is it really that they just happen to be first, so candidates have all the time in the world to campaign in these states and the media who need content (the easier, the better) is more than willing to provide the coverage?

New Hampshire has all of 12 delegates on the line this Tuesday (1,144 is needed to win the nomination).  But do you know how many delegates were on the line last Tuesday in Iowa?  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  Goose Egg.  That’s right.  So whether Mitt Romney won or Rick Santorum won or whoever, it was all meaningless.  The Iowa caucus vote is non-binding.  A separate vote held the same night chooses delegates…..for the county conventions to be held later.  Then the county conventions select delegates….for the State Convention to be held at even a later date.  Finally at that convention, sometime in June, delegates are chosen for the National Convention.  And those delegates can support any candidate they want.  Makes the obsessing over which candidate “won” in Iowa seem pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Now on the one hand, if the parties want to continue to let Iowa and New Hampshire have all this influence, perhaps that should be their prerogative.  But on the other hand, since they do decide to give these states extra influence in the nomination process, it’s not a stretch to believe that these states also gain extra influence over this country’s policies (ethanol subsidies anybody?).  So maybe it does matter.  Either way, it would just seem to me that a better process would either involve rotating the order of the primaries among the states or just having everyone vote on the same day (maybe a side benefit of this second option would be that it might shorten the election cycle?).

I expect both parties will get right on this.  Thanks in advance!  🙂

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