Sunday, January 31, 2010

Same-old Same-old Change

Nothing like same-old same-old for the coming political perfect storm. If the state of the union address proves anything, it proves what has been going on is going to continue, or the more things change, the more they stay the same.

While Republican legislation can occur even without a majority as they march lockstep to advance their agenda, the Democrats had difficulties even with a super majority. Like herding cats, they move in a wild uncontrollable mass. They are still Will Rogers' party: I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat. God bless them, they haven't changed in seventy years.

The only thing new this year – so far – is the Supreme Court's decision to allow businesses and other groups with money the right to influence the next election with political ads. The political ads that will really be good will be the ones that look like the commercials for something else entirely. We will not see it coming, their hidden persuaders quietly tucked away, firing within our subconscious all manner of responses.

Perhaps the unrestrained financing of campaign ads will give the Republicans the congressional seats of their dream. However, I can't get away from Leno's shtick "How Long Will It Take". How long before the conservatives, including the right-wingers on the bench, realize they have opened Pandora's Box?

When it comes to same-old same-old type government, I believe the most effective is a Republican president with a Democratic congress.

We have just seen a Democratic president with a super majority in congress. Not a whole lot of difference when the Democrats just have a majority.

A Republican president with a majority in Congress is a process of undoing what the Democrats have done, and a Republican super majority is scary. No one wants a group that has a tendency to self righteously march lockstep to have a super majority.

A Democratic president with a Republican majority is the foundation on which gridlock is defined. If the new kid on the campaign ad block has any affect on this October's election, we might see this for the next two years at the least. Remember, all representatives have to run. All their seats are up for grabs. Even though it was a special election, Massachusetts proves they are no sure seats.

A Republican president with a Democratic congress is our best hope for getting anything done. Enough of those unherdable cats in the Democratic Party will cross over and support the Republican president to get needed legislation passed. Something that is not going to happen when the reverse comes true.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The 2010 Perfect Storm

Not a month has passed since my 2010 predictions and already my inability to see what is coming is apparent. While I don't mind missing the earthquake in Haiti, since natural disasters can and will happen anytime, I'm cut to my prognostication quick by the other political earthquake. The Republican upset in Massachusetts and the Supreme Courts decision to allow corporations and unions to pay for political campaigns ads for and against candidates will reverberate through out the rest of the year and I didn't see it coming.

Like a perfect storm, wouldn't you just know it would happen in an election year? The conservatives are already giddy with their triumph in Massachusetts, and now with the court's decision, the conservative businesses and CEO's can fill the airways with their brand of politics. While liberal geeks and technocrats may have been the first to realize the significance of the new invention, television as mass communications, the conservative cavemen finally caught on and have become its master.

How and why the Massachusetts quake occurred is the mystery in this political who done it. How much did Martha Coakley loose it and how much did Scott Brown win it? How much of the Fox News cool aide is being consumed in such a blue state? Supposedly, the great unwashed of Mass. objected to a national health care bill that was very similar to their state health care program currently in place? The pundits are trying to tell me the tsunami on the polls was over something they already have. Something is amiss here.

The quake in Mass. Is more about anti-government than anti-democrat or health care. Anti-government can go against Republicans just as it can go for them. But they don't see that. Drunk with celebration, feeling vindicated in there movement, they will rush into the fire thinking they are inflammable. In their drunkenness, they will get into the car and DUI on a complex highway.

And to string out the drunken metaphor, the court's decision makes DUI legal. However, as legal as it might be, drunk driving still kills, and that is what will bring the Republicans down. While the Democrats cannot organize, the Republicans organize way too much.

Democrats remind me of Mark Twain's story of the drunk returning home and stumbling repeatedly trying to get in his front door. Finally sprawled on his front stoup, he looks up and says, "God pity the poor sailors out at sea on a night like this!" If only Bush had the majority the Democrats still have, he and his movement conservative could have enacted their entire agenda.

I kind of agree with the conservative members of the court. Free means free to all. I believe in the ideal, but it's the implementation and practice that bothers me. Only a jaundice eye will detect the message in some political ads. 1984 here we come. We won the Cold War. We overthrew the communist and don't have to worry about a central government controlling everything we see and hear, and then we go and do it to ourselves – freely. We have met the enemy and he is us.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Looking for a Bush Moment

With the earthquake in Haiti sucking up all the news oxygen, the movement conservatives are looking for Obama to do a Bush Moment. If he would just fly over the island as Bush did New Orleans after Katrina, a photo of him looking over the devastation would be grist for the Fox New mill. The same Bush photo would be forgotten like terrorist attacks during the Bush administration are forgotten when they complain of the increase number of attacks under Obama.

Conservative bias: If the truth doesn't fit the goals of the movement, lie. If history does not justify the movement, rewrite it until it does.

If only Biden was available to send to Haiti. Damned that period of morning! He would be good for a gaff. The Fox New people can show the liberal news elite how they should have exploited Bush's verbal blunders.

Liberals are suppose to be the smart ones, the ones with the enlighten education, the tech savvy, trend setting, stylish leaders of the modern world, and yet, the conservatives out wit and maneuver them continuously. It's as if the Neanderthals caught the Geico gecko and ate it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Predictions for 2010

Time once again for the annual predictions for the year. But before we spin the coming year, let's review last year's predictions and see just how well we did.

Predictions for 2009:

1. Something will go wrong with the idealistic government that is being formed by the man selected because he offered hope for a change. It could be something brutal, extreme, and life ending for one or many, or it could be something slow, scandalous, and life ruining but a nonetheless end of what was hoped.

This didn't happen. The current low approval rating should be expected for someone who had such high approval when he began, but there were no brutal, extreme life ending event nor were there anything scandalous that brought the man or his party down. Democrats struggle to pass a health care bill even with a filibuster-proof majority is just Democrats being democrats – nothing new with Will Rogers' party inability to organize itself even when a super majority.

2. Although the full impact of the recession will be felt in the first half of
this year, by the end of the year, recovery will appear.

I believe this happened, or is happening. The slowness of the recovery makes it suspect, but the bale out of the economy worked. However, the job benefiting results have been the meanest of trickle -downs.

3. Our involvement in Iraq will continue for another year as we prop up the current Iraqi government, that is unless one or both of the following does not happen:
a. Something big and bad is going to happen. It always has in the
past. It could be like Tet in Vietnam, which by the way the Americans won, or like the Marine barracks in Lebanon, or something big, blooded, and laden with doom, gloom, and damnation.
b. A person or a group will feel they have enough power to take over Iraq and view the Americans as an interference, in which case the above action will be even more precipitous.

4. The current government in Afghanistan is so corrupted, that Afghanis will turn back to the Taliban because even though they are extremist in their government, they are at least not as corrupted as the current administration. This will reach a boiling point in Afghanistan and we
will be invited to leave. I’m not sure this prediction will mature this year, but that this will occur is a foregone conclusion. It is as written in the terrain of the land and the faces of Afghanis as it is written in books.

Neither number 3 with all its qualifications nor number 4 has happened - yet.

5. The prison at GitMo will be closed, or at least closed for all practical

Closed, no. Closed for all practical purposes, yes.

6. Alabama will win the college football BSC.

Got that one right.

Well I missed a lot. I though sure something would ruin Obama's administration but he and his advisors have made smart choices – given the choices they had – and kept the administration viable. Obama's decision to double down in Afghanistan jerked the rug out from under the conservative pro-war crowd, so they are only left with general liberal basing and a desperate game of fault finding, searching for anything to stick the Obama administration.

Predictions for 2010:

1. The Obama administration will end the year pretty much as it begins. Some sort of health care package will pass. Obama approval rating will improve just because he is able to hang on.

2. Iraq will continue with the U.S. maintaining a status quo that doesn't really exits, a farce that will end as soon as we leave.

3. The Afghanistan build up will appear a success but the hopelessness of the policy will also become known to anyone with any real intelligence.

4. The economy will steadily improve, jobs will begin to return, markets will end significantly higher than the beginning of the year.

5. Castro dies, this year for sure.

6. GITMO will close.

7. Alabama will with the college football BSC again.

Well there it is. This year I'm going for normalcy, good old Warren G. Harding normalcy. Instead of dread, doom, and events, I'm going same-old, same-old.

That's a sure sign something will happen. We'll see.