Monday, October 27, 2008

A Party Reflects its People

Around here, Republicans seem far more likely than Democrats to resort to petty, vindictive bullshit. They steal or smash campaign signs for Democratic candidates far more often than their own banners are despoiled.

The relentless theft of Obama signs inspired one voter to make one of her own.

In 2004, the vandalistic Republican element put nails in some Democrats' driveways before a candidate rally in town. This was in addition to relentless sign theft and destruction. Then there's that whole phone-jamming thing from 2002.

Ah well. Our Founding Fathers decided that government by argument was the best way. People argue in the style they find comfortable. For some it's finely honed rhetoric. For others it's a brick through a windshield.

Monday, October 20, 2008

When stimulating your economy...

Remember, should you experience the dollar being up for more than four hours, consult your doctor of economics immediately.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Lesson of Joe the Plumber

Celebrities and politicians know all too well the hazards of opening your mouth or even being seen in public in this era of ubiquitous video. This Joe guy spoke articulately and at length with Barack Obama, on camera, and now he's a chew toy in all the media. If he was a plant bythe McCain camp, maybe he's been compensated for his trouble. If he was really just a citizen speaking to a candidate, he really got his chance on the soap box...and then some.

Joe! Boxers or briefs?!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First you have to get their attention

Watching the Senate Agriculture Committee hearings on the crisis in the financial services industry, I see theories I've held for years borne out in testimony. This dates back to the 1980s. Surprise!

The $700 billion we just threw at the problem simply constitutes the two-by-four between the eyes that the citizenry and their elected representatives needed to draw their belated attention to the magnitude of the rot.

As one senator observed, "These instruments [credit swaps and derivatives] exist just to make money off of money. Why not just ban them?"

Indeed. The money business attaches itself to the real economy in the way that ticks and leeches attach themselves to other creatures. Something then eats these parasites, giving them a place in the food chain, but if they did not exist the food chain would go on, and would be a happier place.

Of course the food chain analogy raises uncomfortable images when applied to the economy. Who is getting eaten? Who wants to be the dumb, numerous herbivore feeding the speedy, clever predator? Step away from the analogy after disposing of the ticks and leeches.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On their metal

A news report just said that Sarah Palin has "galvanized" the Republican Party. Too bad we need something stainless, not galvanized.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hunker down for the final month

Time to dig a hole to hide in and pull a rock over the entrance until Election Day. It's getting ugly out there.

I had a theory about a year ago that whoever took over after George Bush would only last one term. Everyone is eager to have the messes straightened out. The messes are bigger than four or eight years can undo, even under the best leadership. Bush's detractors often dislike him for opposite reasons, meaning that no single ideology will quiet all the restless citizens.

On the other hand, this campaign has demonstrated that every candidate is flawed. George Bush's administration has given us a new model for how bad an executive branch can be. The voters have lower expectations than ever before. We may simply have entered a new era of symbolic mass executions in which we heave whole blocs of elected officials at every opportunity. I can't begin to detail all the unintended consequences I can imagine from a culture that thinks citizen responsibility begins and ends at the voting booth. At the same time I can understand the frustration busy citizens feel when trying to decipher complex issues and send intelligent messages to their representatives at any level. It's so much easier to flush as many of them as possible down the toilet and hope that whoever replaces them somehow manages to run things to our satisfaction without having to be steered in any way.

With so much information now available on line, voters can be pushed by uncharted currents filled with messages tailored closely to individuals and small groups. Single-issue and narrow-interest voters can be reached more efficiently by these methods.

The actual candidate who reaches office will never be better than a mixed blessing. So enjoy the anticipation of perfection while you can. Anything is possible until events prove otherwise.