Monday, October 27, 2008

Fiscal Conservatism

Where has this idea come from? The suggestion that the GOP represents a fiscally conservative form of Government, and the flip side being that Democrats will willfully squander the National Wealth?

Or is fiscal conservatism simply a metaphor?

Nary a day passes when I don't hear some reference or other to the idea that the Republican Party is a Party of fiscal conservatism. A Party of small government, and a proponent of the free market.

So how did that work out?

We have a record national debt, budget deficit spiralling out of control, financial markets collapsing around the world predicated on the US economic mess, and long established businesses failing across the country.

Meanwhile, education is lagging behind ALL the other industrialised nations, 2 million people a year are being bankrupted by healthcare costs, and still aren't getting healthcare, our jails are overflowing and we still shoot 30 000 of our fellow citizens every year.

So the Democratic Party has held the reins for the last 8 years, right?

This morning Paulson implemented the first part of the give money to our friends economic rescue package, when he nationalised took an equity stake in nine major banks. But that's not Socialism, oh no!, it's fiscally conservative.

In the last 25 years there has only been one budget surplus, and there has only been one Democratic President. The fiscal conservatives Impeached him. Our side, when they finally won a little influence, refused to Impeach the current incumbent, presumably because they recognised his fiscally conservative instincts, and didn't wish to set America on a path to Socialism; which could even end up with the Government taking over the Banks - heaven forbid.

In the end, I have concluded that fiscal conservatism is a metaphor. What it really means is keeping the wealthy few, very wealthy; and making damned sure that the poor remain so, under-educated, in poor health and with the constant worry about losing their jobs/homes etc.

The American Dream of owning your own home fits nicely here .... we can fiscally conservatively make sure that at least one third of poor peoples income goes straight back to the rich via their mortgage payments. And just to be mean on the side, we will charge them more in interest than we charge rich people.

So can we quit with perpetuating the myth? The GOP represents greed and division. Nothing more, nothing less. Suggesting, either positively or by not challenging the suggestion, that the GOP represents fiscal conservatism, is to play to their greatest talking point. Hammering them on this exposes the biggest lie.

Crossposted with discussion

Rank Incompetence

How would a McCain Administration run the country?

Let's examine a small part of his campaign .....

It is reasonable to assume that many of the Campaign managers, on the winning side of the aisle, will form the Executive staff in the White House.

These people will, on a day-to-day basis, be charged with running the country. While Congress is tasked with making laws, that is a process which is reactive, and rarely proactive, almost by definition. The Executive has to be responsive, on an immediate basis, and has also to anticipate.

Doing all of this requires that the Executive is staffed with able people. Folk who are knowledgeable and who possess good instincts, and have access to informed advice.

A key component of this is the application of finely tuned political skills and acumen. It isn't enough to be right more often than you are wrong; it is also important to appear to be right, and not be so unskilled that you do the right thing, but make it look bad.

Barack Obama passes this test easily, and we need have no concerns. Despite the most ferocious attacks on character witnessed in US political campaigning, he has appeared to handle it all very comfortably.John Kerry, arguably, came under an equally sustained personal attack from the SwiftBoat group. The differences are in how he responded. Equally arguable is that the attempt to link BO to terrorism was actually rather harder to manage. The ins and out of that are another debate.

Despite the vitriol, BO has, and continues to inspire ordinary Americans in extraordinary numbers. Witness his ground game. Barack Obama has, over the last two years, demonstrated an Executive competence unparalleled in it's efficiency and effectiveness.

Let's cross the aisle.

I only want to look at a single, topical, example of the executive talents of the RNC and the McCain Campaign. It is an example that goes right to the heart of managerial skills, with particular reference to their political skills.

Sarah Palin's frock, or frocks, and shoes, hair and other girl stuff.

How on earth did the campaign allow the cost of outfitting Saracuda to become public knowledge so close to the election? It is almost so bad to make me wonder if they are deliberately trying to sabotage their own chances.

If the Campaign had given me $150 000 (I wish), and asked me to spend it in such a way that it made them look as out of touch, and reckless as possible, I could not have done better than they managed themselves.

Where were the managerial skill? Where was the political acumen? Are these the people we will entrust delicate International negotiations to? This mindset is the same as "You are with us, or you are against us" school of thought, or more of the same.

I don't much care how much her frocks cost, quite frankly. It's a minor expenditure. But they surely realised that this trivial amount (Obama will spend upwards of $600 million), is probably the most politically charged expense of the McCain Campaign. Was it entirely beyond them to hide it? Jeez .... a $150k charge off to a marketing agency for "marketing expenses incurred" would never have been noticed. And if it had, and folk wanted it specifying, then the response "We'll get back to you with the details ..... call us on the 5th Nov. we're kinda busy right now", would have sufficed.

I am not advocating fraud and deception here. I am simply saying that the RNC and the McCain Campaign lacks the skills even to manage clothing it's VP nominee.

How on earth do they expect us to trust them to run the country?

Crossposted with discussion

Wandering around the Internet

I occasionally cruise (not in a wide-stance way) the Internet, and pop into various Forums to discuss all things liberal.

I am often taken aback at the vehemence, and sheer hatred I encounter. Often I simply back away slowly from my keyboard. Sometimes I don't.

Today I was minded not to, so I let them have it, both barrels, metaphorically speaking :)

They drive me nuts, so I come home, here, for reason and sanity

Ok, granted. I can't accurately say it until the votes are counted. However, this is not a too close to call situation.

So I can call it. If I am wrong, I feel confident that my crap blatherings will be pointed out to me

What some here are going to have to get used to is the idea that their failed ideology is being rejected on an unprecedented scale. They are being rejected and defeated. And you know what .... they don't understand why.

They don't get that America is about to elect that colored boy the next leader of the free world. They don't comprehend that America actually feels good about that. The best bit? This is not an *affirmative action election. Barack Obama will be elected, by many, because they feel he is the best man for the job, DESPITE the fact that he is black. Progress.

This isn't their America. They thought that Guns, religion and waving the flag was their perogative, and that Libruls were the enemies of the State. They have not even a glimmering idea that America has taken back the flag, is renouncing extremist fundamentalism (while embracing faith), and the issue of guns doesn't even rate in the top 10 things voters care about.

So they will thrash around, blind and clueless. At the same time twist associations, words and actions. They will make their strawman argument, and call argument blather, and ideas crap, because it is all they have left.

Their Dads taught them that when they were 18, and nothing since has encouraged them to be curious. To ask what is changing, and why. To begin to understand that there is a world beyond these shores, and that world is rapidly marginalising the US to an ugly sideshow, while the world keeps turning.

More and more the American people are realising they have been dumbed down, lied to and cheated out of the American Dream. And they are taking it back.

Y'all can .... er ..... blather and insult all you want. But come Nov 5th, some of you will need to re-assess. The America you believe in is leaving you behind.

Get on the bus, or get out of the way.

Crossposted with discussion

Can John McCain be remembered as one of the greatest American Patriots?

Is there now a way for John McCain to understand that the race is all over bar the shouting, and move to a position where he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest American Patriots.

I believe there is, and here is how:

Tonight is the second in the Presidential debates.

Here is one way it might go:


Thank you Tom, and good evening Senator Obama.

I am, tonight, going to be true to my Mavricky tendencies. I probably won't answer any of your questions in quite the way you might be hoping or expecting. But I do have a few words to say, and ask that, for the next few minutes, you allow me to address the American People.

My friends, and fellow Americans. Today, and for the last several days, it has become increasingly clear that America is reaching a turning point. I have run my campaign based on Change. Change in Washington and Change on Wall Street.

My opponent, Senator Obama, has run a similar platform, we differ only in the mechanics. Granted those could indeed be large differences, but all my career I have been known as a Maverick, so maybe the differences would be outweighed by the similarities.

This past week, Congress came together, with persuasion, for the first time in nearly eight years and passed Bi-Partisan Legislation that is, while imperfect, a necessary start along the road of recovery.

The key to this is, my friends, bi-partisanship. Reaching across the aisle in time of need in a way I have always tried to do often to the chagrin of my Republican friends.

Tonight I am going to use this time, in front of you, my 50 million American witnesses, to reach across the aisle again.

When Barack Obama entered this race he was not ready to be President. He was untried, untested, and unknown to the people who were being asked to entrust the future of themselves, their children and their Country to. This is no longer the case, and while I may disagree fundamentally with Senator Obama on many issues, he has clearly made his position known, and offered a choice to the voters.

I too have offered a choice. It is a choice of returning to fiscal conservatism, to defending the USA and to reducing the impact of Government on the lives of the Citizens except for where it is necessary. Many of these aspects of Republicanism have been lost in the last eight years, and I would seek to retore them.

But I have put my case, and steadily, but increasingly obviously, the American people, you, are seeking another course. I can continue, as my colleagues would wish, to continue to put my case, and continue to point to aspects of Senator Obama's character and experience that I might feel are worthy of further examination. This, my friends, would appear a little negative, almost by definition.

My race is run. I have made my case and been given a fair hearing. All the indications are that you, the American people, will choose another path.

It is my belief that America needs a 50 State Strategy at this point in our history. We need a President who has the backing of Congress, but, way more importantly, has the backing of the people of all of America, from the mountains to the lakes, and from shore to shining shore. We can not face the current economic crisis, not the demands abroad by dividing along Party lines. It won't get done, my friends, and you, the voters, are demanding that it does get done.

From tonight I am suspending my campaign. My friends this is an action that is going to bring me a great deal of criticism, but it's not about me, it never was.

I am going back home .... and when I cast my vote on November 4th, as I surely will, I will cast it for Senator Obama.

He would never have been my first choice for President. I think I have made that clear. But he is America's choice, that IS clear. I can serve America best by not spending the next four weeks attempting to denigrate and diminish the next and 44th President of the United States.

Thank you, and may God Bless America.

Crossposted with discussion

The beginning of the end?

The news cycle is, as most are agreed, a 24/7 beast. Today's hero can quite easily become tomorrow's villian.

Over the past many months now we have all witnessed the MSM giving a virtual "free pass" to the McCain Campaign, allowing him corrections, where we just know that Obama would have been taken to task.

Then we had the DNC, and we all felt great. And so we should. We were treated to the rare sight of a man of conviction, ready to lead his country. And he is, and he will.

Then came the RNC, complete with Sarah.

And the news cycle shifted. Sure there were murmurings, but they were buried under an avalanche of lipstick. Then the murmurings grew, and grew, and are still growing.

Not content with riding the crest of the Palin Wave, the McCain Campaign thought they could lie with impunity. They had no reason to believe any other than that their lies would be accepted. Maybe the odd minor "correction" would be needed but hey, who was ever going to see it?

Well now ..... Karl Rove, advisor to the Campaign saw it, and called it right there on Republican Central (aka Fox News). Tucker Bounds got another beating from a girl on Republican Central (aka ... you got it).

When Foc News is calling the Campaign "Liars", then they are so far in the soft and smelly they are in danger of running out of oxygem

The New York Time is calling their shit
The Washington Post is calling them
CBS has been running their "Reality Check" for weeks

These are but a few, and they are definitely Mainstream. No longer is the McCain Campaign being given carte-blanche to lie and cheat. Sarah Palin can make a meal out of refusing to cooperate with an investigation (Has the Alaska Senate taken Impeachment off the table?), and McCain can suggest that Obama is criticizing American Workers because he doesn't agree with him (John McCain)and they can do it for the next 50 days.

But the writing is on the wall. The wheels are falling off and the lies and excuses are just beginning to sound desperate and feeble. As evidence for this I offer the fact that even Fox News is noticing; and I am wondering if the Right are preparing the way for throwing him under a Moose and preparing for 2012.

It's not over. It won't be over until the polls close on the 4th November. But at least THIS news cycle offers a clearer view of the winning post.

Barack, Joe, keep at'em, you can see the whites of their eyes.

Crossposted with discussion

Leave the kids alone

I have mixed feelings about some of the comments I have read here and elsewhere about Bristol Palin.

Bristol is a news item, not an issue. She really isn't a National news item, she is simply another example of a failed education policy, or she is just another pregnant teen. Either way, she has my sympathy. Both for her plight, and for the feeling I am left with that she has little access to advice that considers only what is in her best interests, given the statements of at least one of her parents.

Bristol's personal misfortune is a National news item not because Dkos put her there, but because her mother did.

Whatever the motives, the most charitable being that Mom broke the news in a controlled manner, before it broke anyway, the fact remains that Mom making this statement was NOT in her (Bristol's) best interests. They would have been better serve by Gov. Palin deflecting such questions with "this is a personal family matter, not relevant to the Campaign". I might have suggested her adding that any media intrusion would be rebuffed regardless of any consequences to the Campaign.

But no, Sarah Palin took the stage and told the World that her daughter was pregnant. Please shoot me if I ever do anything like that to my kids.

But Bristol Palin is only one example. We all coo'd over Malia and Sasha on Monday. They are too cute. But they too were put on National Television by their parents. Chelsea Clinton was Internationally known and recognised at an early age. The Bush twins also.

Don't think for one minute that Barack and Michelle Obama didn't fully understand that portraying the whole of their family was a vote-winner. I have some sympathy with the Obamas in this. There is a large wedge of US opinion that feels that they have a right to know about a politicians family, kids and all, and somehow the Obamas might appear "not American enough" were they to be kept out of the public eye. Those unreasonaable charges are enough to persuade even the most protective of parents that some appearances are necessary.

On the other hand, I am left with the distinct impression that questions about a pregnat 17 yr old Malia would be met with a MYOFB. At least I hope so.

Bristol Palin is not an example of how her Mom's policies or beliefs are a failure. The generic statistics suggest that abstinence only education is ineffective, but her story is a personal one, and should remain so. However, Sarah Palin making an announcement inevitably links the story to her political position. She made her daughter the story, not those who discussed it.

It is wrong that politicians, any of them, feel it necessary to prove to any section of American society that they are good, wholesome, productive parents. Family matters are private, and the children of our Leaders should not have to have the ills of their parents bestowed upon them. It isn't the fault of the politicians, it is that part of America that demands to know about private family matters .... those who feel that a man or woman shielding their kids has something to hide ... those who hold the public man/woman to a standard none of us has to meet in our own lives ... they are to blame.

Ok, I like cutesy pics of kids. I like kids. I have five and I love to show them off. And I do, to family and friends. I will never have to show them off to a Nation, to get a job. I am grateful for that because, in the end, it is their lives, and they would get precious little say in the decision.

Crossposted with discussion