Yes, the new Confederacy has returned with Donald Trump leading the charge. Its not just the southern states this time. In 1850 much of the west was unincorporated territories. As rural states they appear to be on the Trump wagon and his particular brand of stoking xenophobic fears amongst white conservatives. Many pundits and countries (even China) have begun making comparisons to his rhetoric as fascist. Even Trump himself has invoked Benito Mussolini. Continue reading
Remember this ad from the Republican National Committee? ‘It’s Okay to Make a Change’. There is an underlying racist message within this ad that somewhat insidious. It basically says, “He tried (the President), you tried. It’s okay to make a change”.
The implication is that the President has been a failure and those of us who voted for him in 2008 made a mistake for voting for him. We are forgiven. It’s not a new message. The Republicans have been trying to paint the president as an ineffectual Jimmy Carter leader from the outset. It’s a strategy that has worked well previously. Carter was not actually a bad president, but perception is everything and the Republicans have shown through people like Karl Rove and Frank Luntz that they are the masters of creating perception whether the perception is accurate or not.
The attempt to negatively define President Obama is in the language that Republicans use and they are all on message. They either get the message through internal memos or from the ignoble and for all practical purposes, head of the Republican party, blowhard and bullhorn Rush Limbaugh.
In reality, President Obama has been one of the more effective leaders this nation has had since Lyndon Johnson. In an excellent article at the Washington Monthly, Paul Glastris writes:
Measured in sheer legislative tonnage, what Obama got done in his first two years is stunning. Health care reform. The takeover and turnaround of the auto industry. The biggest economic stimulus in history. Sweeping new regulations of Wall Street. A tough new set of consumer protections on the credit card industry. A vast expansion of national service. Net neutrality. The greatest increase in wilderness protection in fifteen years. A revolutionary reform to student aid. Signing the New START treaty with Russia. The ending of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
And all of this in the face of Republican obstructionism and not to mention getting us out of two wars and killing Osama bin Laden. Wikipedia has a compendium of notable presidential scholars and media experts, a series of polls taken amongst academics since 1948. Obama comes in at #14 While George W. Bush comes in at #34 out of 43 (technically we’ve had 44 presidents since Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms as the 22nd and 24th President). One could make the argument that President Obama should be exempt from this poll since he still has time left in office for that rating to change and historians often let a little time pass before rendering judgement.
Of course the whole point is moot since the President is going to serve a second term. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Republicans continue tarnish the President’s image for the rest of the term.
Vice President Joe Biden finally said it, albeit politely, when he called out Paul Ryan on his less than accurate statements.
“We Irish call it malarkey.”
Interestingly, the etymology of the word malarkey is unknown. It’s thought to be someone’s name. It showed up in the early 1920’s as meaning untruthful, to obscure or mislead but the word hasn’t been used much since the term ‘bullshit’ came into fashion. So Biden’s assertion that it is an Irish term is as likely as any.
Maybe it’s time for ‘Malarkey’ to make a comeback. Ever since Republican Representative Joe Wilson yelled “you lie!” at the President during a state of the union address back in 2009 it’s been open season for disrespect on Capitol Hill. But the term ‘liar’ isn’t something that’s bandied about carelessly. Calling someone a liar tends to shut down the conversation rather quickly. It’s the Godwin’s law equivalent of yelling ‘Hitler’ in a chat room. It’s an accusation that one is intentionally misleading others rather than just misstating facts without malice.
But how else to accuse someone that they are actually lying? Continue reading
It’s been a week since the first presidential debate and President Obama’s somewhat lackluster performance. Now it’s time for the clash of the number twos. Tomorrow night in Dannville, Kentucky Vice President Joe Biden and VP candidate Paul Ryan square off for the only Vice Presidential debate.
In the past, there generally hasn’t been a great deal of interest in Vice Presidential debates but following Mitt Romney‘s hard tack to the center last week that knocked the President off his game one wonders if Ryan will attempt a similar dodge as Romney.
This election’s debate promises to be one of the most watched VP debates ever. And it will probably be one of the more important ones as well. Previous debates have not really influenced the outcomes of elections but the President’s poll numbers took a dip immediately following the debate last week. Currently the consensus is the President and Governor Romney are tied. Continue reading
Big Bird drops in on Weekend Update
Of course one of the most memorable lines to come out of the Presidential debate was Mitt Romney’s assertion that one of the ways (in fact the only one he has actually articulated) in which he would offset the costs of his proposed 20% across the board tax cut was to quit subsidizing Public Broadcasting. It didn’t hurt that PBS’ Jim Lehrer was the moderator. Romney said to Lehrer:
“I’m sorry Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I actually love Big Bird. I like you too, but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”
Gliding right past the glaring China inaccuracy, The annual budget for Public Broadcasting is one tenth of one percent of the total budget. That’s not likely to make a big dent. Continue reading
Here’s a budget that screws the middle class
The president was half joking when he compared Mitt Romney to the reverse Robin Hood but truthfully Romney has selected his Sheriff of Nottingham. It should come as no surprise that Mitt Romney chose the Representative from Wisconsin Paul Ryan as his running mate for Vice President. Well, actually, it is a bit of a surprise. Most people thought Romney would choose somebody safe from a swing state. Most thought it would be Rob Portman from Ohio. Ohio is generally thought to be the tipping point state; the state that will likely determine the outcome of the presidential race. 538Refugees has long held that it would be Marco Rubio from Florida.
Why Paul Ryan? Perhaps the Romney camp sought to capitalize on the unsuccessful recall of Governor Scott Walker from last year. Maybe they think Wisconsin is a swing state despite conventional wisdom and polling to the contrary. Maybe they just want another pretty face on the ticket (no offense to Portman).
But maybe, just maybe, Paul Ryan is the perfect fit for Mitt Romney. Continue reading