Tag Archives: politics

A Note from the Past: My 2010 Election Post

This is a revised post from 2010.  So much of it is still relevant, but a lot has changed since then.  And not for the better.  I’ll repost it more or less as is and use it as a starting point for my current political thoughts as we get closer to the election….

 

I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days as we head to the 2010 election. For Progressive’s like me, it’s forecast to be a rough one who’s results may lead us backward as opposed to foreward.

And, once again, the South will lead us there. We’ve always been good at looking fondly backward in the South–whether the facts support it or not.  That makes for fertile ground for the Republicans.  I’ve always said:  “Republicans look backwards with Fear while Democrats look forward with Hope.

That got me thinking. Why is it the South is such a stronghold for the Republicans? Here are my thoughts:

  1. The South is heavy with fundamentalists and evangelical religions. These people have been played by the Republican Party like a cheap violin. Here is what I would say to them: Open your eyes. Under Bush, the Republicans controlled the government and did not ban abortion or execute any of the other points of your agenda. If they didn’t do it then, they won’t do it now. They are using you. Wise up.  
  2. There is a history of Patriarchy in the South that is not dead. Many people, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, still follow the leadership of local political leaders with little thought. They are used to being led without questions or taking time to check the facts because they think they “know” the person and he/she is “one of us.”  
  3. Education is not really valued by a large portion of Southerners. They are suspicious of the overly educated and think they don’t understand them. The Republicans are very good at playing dumb and coming off as one of the “good ole boys” while they use the votes of the poor whites in the South to channel money and benefits to their rich friends on Wall Street.
  4. Southerners resists looking at anything too deeply. Introspection is not valued in the South. Action is….The Republican’s play on this very well.
  5. Facts don’t mean much in the South. Truth has always been conceptual rather than a reality. Any region that can convince itself for over 150 years that the Civil War was about “states rights” rather than slavery is capable of any kind of self-delusion.
  6. The South tends to hate the idea of Big Government, even if they enjoy the benefits. They can over look little things like Social Security, Medicare, new bridges and highways, and insurance that covers pre-existing conditions and college kids. They somehow don’t make the connection that the federal government provides these things…
  7. Southerners value personal freedom above all else, as long as you are a straight white man.
  8. The President is Black and he’s a Democrat. To a large group of folks in the South, this alone is enough reason to vote Republican. Although you may never get them to admit it…

What can Democrats do to change all this and win the South?

  1. Learn to fight. The South and most of the Country values people who stand up for their principles. The GOP has Balls and the Democrats have Brains. You have to have both to win in the South.
  2. Push for independent, bipartisan redistricting commissions.
  3. Get out your message. We’ve got to publicize the benefits of the legislation we do pass and how it helps the poor and middle class as opposed to the Rich. The Democrats and The President have failed miserably at this for the few years. We have real achievements, but no one knows it.
  4. Take on the bullies at Fox News. We have got to make people realize this is not a news organization, but a propaganda machine that provides entertainment to the ignorant. We should be pushing companies not to advertise on Fox News. We should be telling the Management to turn it off in Public places like restaraunts and gyms.
  5. Call a liar a liar. This relates to number 1, but I can’t stress this enough. The Republicans look right in the camera and lie. And no one calls them on it. We have to start making people aware that there are things called “Facts” and stand up for them.
  6. Make this about Class Warfare. A class war is going on for years and most of the country just started to realize this. And the Republicans started it. Call’em on it. 
  7. Make it clear: Unless you have an individual income of greater than $200,000 or a combined Family income of over $300,000, there is absolutely no financial reason to vote for the Republicans. If you want to vote for what is best for your pocketbook, vote for the Democrats. The Republicans really only answer to the Corporations and the wealthy.
  8. Make Obama white. That’s about the only way you can get about 35% of white Southerners to support the Democrats. We have to focus on the remaining 65% of the South with open minds.
  9. Wait it out….The older, closed minded, prejudiced Southerners are dying off. The younger ones are more open minded,  better educated and have seen more of the world. These are the Southern Democrats of tomorrow.
  10. Make your Democratic friends vote. Even if you have to go to their house or job and throw them in the car and take them to the polls. There are more Democrats than Republicans in many parts of the South. The problem is Republicans always vote and Democrats don’t. If more Democrats would actually just show up at the polls, we would win a lot more races.

Those are my thoughts for now.

All I have left to say is:

If you are a Democrat, get off your butt and vote. There are no excuses.

If you are a Republican-why don’t you just book a spa day for Tuesday and let the election go? That would really be best for all of us….

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Filed under Elections, North Carolina, Politics, Scott's Commentary, The South

Pollsters Worried FCC Chairman Doesn’t Care If They Go Out Of Business

This article on the Huffington Post relates to a new rule the FCC is working on to prohibit or limit autodialers calling cell phones.

A few thoughts:

  1. Auto Dialers are evil.  If you want to annoy me, at least have the nerve to underpay a person to do it and bear my wrath if I deem to answer.
  2. I question the ability of polls to survive anyway.  The only reasons we have a land line are a) for our alarm system and b) to have a number to give out that we never answer.  Don’t start calling my cell!
  3. I am assuming the only people who still answer pollsters calls are elderly people, lonely people and people without Caller ID.  Is this really an accurate, random sample?
  4. Do polls matter anyway?  I love this comment from the article:

Many pollsters are worried that the small ruling will have outsized impact, making it difficult to gauge public opinion on a wide range of issues. It could “create a political system where politicians can do whatever they want without knowing what the public thinks,” Mollyann Brodie, president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, told The Huffington Post. “It should be of grave concern to both our political leaders and the American public at large.”

Since when do Lawmakers pay attention to public opinion?  If they did we would have at least some basic Gun Control laws and be expanding, not putting at risk, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Lawmakers only care what their rich donor’s think.

I’m waiting for the election where all the polls turn out to be wrong and worthless.  I don’t think that’s too far away-autodialer or not.

More: Pollsters Worried FCC Chairman Doesn’t Care If They Go Out Of Business.

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Best of Enemies: Gore Vidal vs. William F. Buckley

Most people have forgotten about the debates between William F Buckley and Gore Vidal.  They were riveting television for the intellectual and political classes and turned into entertainment for the masses.  They are legendary in the Gay community for Buckley calling Vidal a “queer” on national television in 1968.

Many people see these debates as the beginning of the loss of civility in public political conversations.  I see them as the beginning of the end of civility, in general, when two such famously civilized men acted this way in public.

Some would say they were also, to a degree, the precursor to the Alexis/Crystal battles on “Dynasty” some years later.  A Cat Fight Supreme….

And it was the beginning of the move towards confrontational, partisan “journalism” that poisons the airwaves today by focusing more on entertainment value and opinions than on presenting facts.

But, I loved Gore Vidal and his writing.

And I can’t wait to see this documentary!

Review From Michael M. Grynbaum in the New York Times:

Before partisan panels, split-screen shoutfests and brash personalities became ubiquitous on cable news, there were two men who despised each other sitting side by side on a drab soundstage, debating politics in prime time during the presidential nominating conventions of 1968. There were Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr.

Literary aristocrats and ideological foes, Vidal and Buckley attracted millions of viewers to what, at the time, was a highly irregular experiment: the spectacle of two brilliant minds slugging it out — once, almost literally — on live television. It was witty, erudite and ultimately vicious, an early intrusion of full-contact punditry into the staid pastures of the evening news.

What transpired would alter both men’s lives — and, as a new documentary argues, help change the course of how the American political media reports the news. “Best of Enemies,” which opens July 31, makes the case that their on-screen feuding opened the floodgates for today’s opinionated, conflict-driven coverage.

More:   Buckley vs. Vidal: When Debate Became Bloodsport – The New York Times.

And here is the Trailer:

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Just When You Thought I Was Out….I’m Back!

Believe it or not, I’m back to this blog.

I state this publicly as insurance that I will follow through….

I needed some time away.  I focused on my other blog for a while….

But it’s time to come back where I started.

Thank you for your patience.

I originally started this blog to ironically address things that where lost as we moved to the 21st Century.  Then I realized, I was at risk of becoming a grumpy old man screaming at children to get off my lawn.  I never wanted to be that….

A lot has happened over the last couple of years to make me re-evaluate a lot of things.  I’ve changed jobs and careers.  I’ve lost some important people in my life.  I’ve rethought how best to address our political differences….

But I’m fundamentally the same.

How will  this blog be going forward?  I’m not sure….

I want to be kinder and gentler.  More open to dialogue about politics and less judgmental.  I mean well…It doesn’t do anyone any good to sit at home and scream at their TV- or vent on their blogs.  We need to talk to each other civilly and with an open mind and heart.

We need to listen to each other….

But if that fails, screw it.  I’ve never been shy about my opinions.

There is just too much insanity in Politics in North Carolina, Virginia and the U.S.A for me to keep my mouth shut.  This is what is making me come back.  I can’t just sit on the sidelines…

Circumstances pulled me back in…..

I’m trying to be less political on Facebook, so expect more political posts here instead.  But I realize there are other blogs that do politics much better than I ever could.  This will just be what catches my interests and makes me want to share or comment.  I don’t promise in-depth analysis, but I do promise lots of opinion.

Culturally, I plan to be just as judgmental as ever.  I’ll post about what I like and what I don’t…..

And I hope we can pick up the dialogue we suspended when I stepped away….

Again, thanks for our patience….

Let’s roll!

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North Carolina, in Political Flux, Battles for Its Identity

Very interesting article in today’s New York Times.  Well worth reading…

Here is a brief excerpt and a link to the full article:

 

The North Carolina of 2014, it seems, is neither red nor blue, but a shade of deep Dixie purple. It is a state where Republicans could retain control of the legislature for years, thanks to an aggressive 2011 redistricting and also because of white conservatives’ abandonment of the Democratic Party after years of post-Civil War fealty.

But it is also a state where a modern-day Democratic candidate like Ms. Hagan — or even like Hillary Rodham Clinton — may still dream of a statewide victory. African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, make up 22 percent of the population. Add to that a streak of true moderates, and the state’s white liberals, who can be found not only in the big cities of Raleigh and Charlotte, but sprinkled around the state — in the New Age boutiques of Asheville, the vegetarian-friendly cafes of Boone, the tech-sector office parks of the Research Triangle and in retirement homes from the Atlantic coast to the Great Smoky Mountains.

via North Carolina, in Political Flux, Battles for Its Identity – NYTimes.com.

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Scottish Separatism: The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Maggies Sins

The vote for Scotland to leave the UK, which barely failed to pass, kind of snuck up on me and I haven’t had the chance to really dig into.  I do find it fascinating….

There is a great article on the Huffington Post by Robert Kuttner that I’m finding to be a great place to start.

Here is a brief excerpt and a link to the full article.

 

Now commentators all across the spectrum are pronouncing that the old United Kingdom is as good as dead. The independence referendum failed, but in order to placate the Scots, London will have to concede far more regional autonomy. The regional parliaments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will gain far more power, leaving the awkward question of whether little England should get its own parliament too.

The Brits can thank Maggie Thatcher for all that. It was Thatcher who set the U.K. onto a course where British extremes of inequality rival those of the United States, and where valued public institutions are being tossed on the rubbish heap. It was policies set in motion by Thatcher and her successors that finally promoted the Scottish revolt.

via The United Kingdom Nearly Died for Maggies Sins | Robert Kuttner.

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Demographic Shifts That Are Sinking The Republican Party

There is a lot of good news for Democrats and bad news for Republicans in this article from ThinkProgress.org.  It makes it even more obvious how the GOP’s days in power are numbered.

I find the information on education and the value of a college degree especially interesting….

However, there are interesting facts relating to education and the value of a degree as well.  Here are a couple of excerpts and a link to the full article:

The 25 top counties for net Democratic vote gain include many of the most populous counties in the country. They include Los Angeles at the top, eight of the ten most populous (LA, plus Cook [Chicago], San Diego and Orange [CA], Dallas, Kings [Brooklyn], Queens and Miami-Dade) and 15 of the top 25 most populous. The rest, without exception, are large counties that include a major city or are urbanized inner suburbs of a major city. The magnitude of Democratic gains in the top 25 ranges from 1.2 million in LA down to around 140,000.

The top gainers for the GOP, in contrast, tend to be in much smaller counties on the periphery of metropolitan areas (“exurbs”). The top 25 GOP gainers include no county in the US top 25 in population and include only one in the top 50. And the magnitude of GOP gains in the top 25 is much smaller than those enjoyed by the Democrats. Indeed, the largest GOP net gain of all—90,000 in Provo county, Utah–is not only smaller than the 25th ranked gain for the Democrats (140,000) but also smaller than Democratic gains all the way down to the 61st ranked Democratic gainer county.

Democratic strength in dense areas is clearly one reason for the Democrats’ increasing electoral potency, particularly in Presidential elections. Conversely, the concentration of GOP gains in more lightly-populated areas limits their strength now and in the future…

AND

The report notes that 34 percent of Millennial generation 25-32 year olds have a four year college degree, compared to 25 percent among Gen Xers at the same age, 24 percent among both late and early Boomers and just 13 percent among those from the Silent generation. Millennials are also receiving the highest relative values from their degrees. A Millennial college graduate has median earnings of $45,500, compared to just $28,000 for a Millennial high school graduate. Back in 1965, the gap was much narrower: a Silent Generation college graduate earned $38,800 (2012 dollars) while a high school graduate earned $31,400.

via The Hidden Demographic Shifts That Are Sinking The Republican Party | ThinkProgress.

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