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Posted: 24 Jan 12, 12:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Anybody watching?  Anybody care? I am an election junkie of sorts, and the US primary process fascinates me. I turned down an invitation to go to a movie last night to stay home and watch the first Florida debate, prompting my potential movie partner to call me "an enormous loser".  Ha ha.  That's a direct quote.

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Posted: 24 Jan 12, 13:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You're a loser for taking an interest in the political process? Sounds like your friend is the loser. Good on ya.

Here's all we need to know about US elections:

http://gawker.com/5875736/stephen-colbert-passes-his-super-pac-to-jon-stewart-announces-exploratory-committee-for-possible-presidential-run

It's hit a point where the comedians are the only people in mainstream media pointing out that the deepest pocket wins the nomination, and completely legally.

Ron Paul, although far from perfect, is the only one of the bunch who thinks independently. The rest are corporate shills speaking only scripted bullet points. But it doesn't matter. Obama has his second term nailed in. Romney is too moderate (and too Mormon) for the religious right, and Gingrich is too extreme for moderates.


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Posted: 24 Jan 12, 14:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As a Democrat, I can say I've been enjoying all these GOP candidates as they make their pleas as to why they should be the next Republican candidate for President.


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Posted: 24 Jan 12, 18:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



The Real Wizard wrote: You're a loser for taking an interest in the political process? Sounds like your friend is the loser. Good on ya.

Here's all we need to know about US elections:

http://gawker.com/5875736/stephen-colbert-passes-his-super-pac-to-jon-stewart-announces-exploratory-committee-for-possible-presidential-run

It's hit a point where the comedians are the only people in mainstream media pointing out that the deepest pocket wins the nomination, and completely legally.

Ron Paul, although far from perfect, is the only one of the bunch who thinks independently. The rest are corporate shills speaking only scripted bullet points. But it doesn't matter. Obama has his second term nailed in. Romney is too moderate (and too Mormon) for the religious right, and Gingrich is too extreme for moderates.

It was an affectionate enough "enormous loser" as these things go, so no worries. :)

That Colbert/Stewart piece was well done, wasn't it.  They are masters of the hilarious yet pointed.  It's fair to say the spending in American elections is staggering.  The number being lobbed around for Obama this time around is close to a billion dollars.  A billion dollars! Some wealthy person just gave a Newt Gingrich Super PAC  5 million dollars - twice - inside of a week or something, to essentially contest just two states in a primary. It's truly pretty amazing.  But these facts are not hidden, nor is the power of money in the system.  In a way it encourages voters to more critically assess the media they are being bombarded with, and perhaps assess it with some cynicism, which is potentially an antidote of sorts against the emotionalism most of us bring to voting decisions.  Then again, the advertising all that money buys usually appeals to the basest of emotions - fear, disgust, etc.

With virtually no stake in the outcome, I can take in all the fascinating dynamics of this race with a detached neutrality.   Such strikingly different personalities, with those personalities more than usual having become direct weapons of the campaign.   Romney as steady and dependable, but staid and stale as cast by Gingrich.  Gingrich cast by Romney as erratic and impulsive, but sees and sells himself as a fearless and limitless ideas man.  Obama has more likability by 7:00 am than both of them combined could amass in a month.  Rick Santorum, who is kind of nuts, plays the perfect principled underdog.  It begs the question, what ARE the qualities a President should have?   And does the answer to that depend on the particular challenges of an era, or are there fundamental things a voter will always respond to - like hope perhaps, and once the immediate drama of people furiously working to be the antithesis of something subsides, the best vessel for that relative constant wins?

The media is certainly flogging the Romney as too moderate and Gingrich as too extreme meme, but Gingrich has been clever if aggressive in relentlessly holding the media's feet to the fire.  Momentum cannot be underestimated as a force in politics and right now Gingrich has it, and blunted it only slightly if at all in last night's debate.   Will he lose it at some point?  Probably.  It's like a giant reality show, but with real consequences.  I'm not even kidding about that.  I think we have developed as a culture an extraordinarily short attention span and a tendency to seek  to be distracted and entertained by virtually all the media we consume.  People consciously or unconsciously like to participate even if only vicariously in these manufactured twists and plots and surprises that have become the staple of American television.  It's not surprising that we've had every single Republican candidate catapult into the number one spot, only to come tumbling back to earth. The media consciously or unconsciously fuels this because they have 24 hours to fill in any given day.  Will the electorate remember in time that this is a reality show with consequences?  I guess we'll see.

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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 02:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have been watching the Republican candidate debates and coverage off and on and I have to say I am shocked about the extent of ignorance and small-mindedness among them. Luckily, the worst candidates Cain and Bachmann already dropped out but it is still mindblowing how "speaking French" and knowing anything about foreign countries or the American constitution is regarded as disqualifying a candidate. I remember well how Newt Gingrich was a prime target of political jokes in the 90s and now he is the best the Republican party can offer - really sad.


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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 05:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I watched it too but I didn't really understand what was going on. What happened to the auditions? Why weren't they singing? Where was Simon Cowell? What number do we phone to vote them out?
They should have stuck to the old format. I doubt I'll watch the rest of this series.

fatty.

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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 08:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote:
I have been watching the Republican candidate debates and coverage off and on and I have to say I am shocked about the extent of ignorance and small-mindedness among them. Luckily, the worst candidates Cain and Bachmann already dropped out but it is still mindblowing how "speaking French" and knowing anything about foreign countries or the American constitution is regarded as disqualifying a candidate. I remember well how Newt Gingrich was a prime target of political jokes in the 90s and now he is the best the Republican party can offer - really sad.


Gingrich and Santorum are just as bad as Cain and Bachmann. Romney and Paul are less horrible than that, but I honestly couldn't imagine why anyone would vote for them. Romney is a slick, dodgy businessman, almost a caricature of the people we have seen *causing* the present economic structure, the 1980s Gordon Gekko-stereotypes of this world. Ron Paul has a very peculiar blend of states' rights dixiecrat-talk, paleo-libertarianism and small-government conservatism with a seasoning of subtle but disturbing White Citizens' Council.

Obama is no saint or prophet, but a Clinton or an Obama still beats a Bush. Someone like Romney will not solve any real problems, but would probably leave the country reasonably intact for his successor. Santorum or Gingrich would be very likely to plunge the country into a major war before their first term is over. They are truly dangerous men. Ron Paul, in an opposite move from Santorum and Gingrich, might be expected to turn away from the world a little too much, in a Fortress America kind of style, further endangering America's international position and national security. I realize the strangeness of this remark, but: at least three out of four *Republican* candidates pose a serious threat to the security of America (and, I might add, Europe, so I am not particularly neutral).


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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 13:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Seems like it is Obama's election to lose, although to be honest I'm not paying remotely as much attention this time as I did last time. It occurs to me that he really might be all the nice things people said he was when he won, but even bloody Superman can't get anything achieved with a destructive opposition constantly getting in the way. It's the same situation in Australia - we've got this 1950's throwback called Tony Abbott who's spent his entire time in opposition being as completely unconstructive as possible.

Dunno how it is in the US but all you can do in Australia now is hope that the littler parties get enough votes to stop the two big parties from doing whatever they want all of the time. It's disheartening to go to an election and come away thinking, "Not a single one of these people was worthy of my vote".


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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 17:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm more of a cat person myself. We were talking about dogs, right?

That was mean, here's my imput:

Romney.


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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 18:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



YourValentine wrote: I have been watching the Republican candidate debates and coverage off and on and I have to say I am shocked about the extent of ignorance and small-mindedness among them. Luckily, the worst candidates Cain and Bachmann already dropped out but it is still mindblowing how "speaking French" and knowing anything about foreign countries or the American constitution is regarded as disqualifying a candidate. I remember well how Newt Gingrich was a prime target of political jokes in the 90s and now he is the best the Republican party can offer - really sad.

It was my sense that the 'French' ad was less about leveraging xenophobia and more about tying Mitt Romney to John Kerry, who happens to speak French. Thus 'French' substitutes for a symbol - John Kerry - of what Newt casts as Massachusetts liberalism and elitism, rather than  the concept of worldliness as a whole.  Recall that Gingrich elected to pursue graduate studies in European History and holds a doctorate in the same.  That is a somewhat unusual choice for an American as Americans overwhelmingly choose to study their own history.  It doesn't serve anybody who wants any depth in their political understanding of the United States to dismiss these people as stupid or hold up their values as small minded and ignorant across the board.   To be sure America is an extraordinarily easy country in which to be insular to the point of detriment and to pickle ones brains in blind patriotism, but there is a significant slice of the electorate that are perfectly aware of the social democracies of Europe and the Commonwealth and perfectly sure they want nothing to do with either our values or our political systems.  This is a position that comes not from ignorance but from conviction and a deeply held evidence based belief (in their view) in American Exceptionalism.  When they do pop their heads up it doesn't help that they're most likely to perceive a rather shallow and callow understanding of their country in the often reductionist rhetoric of the foreign press and citizenry.   They don't really give much of a toss about Canadian scolds or European disdain, and in one sense, why should they?

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Posted: 25 Jan 12, 19:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Zebonka12 wrote: Seems like it is Obama's election to lose, although to be honest I'm not paying remotely as much attention this time as I did last time. It occurs to me that he really might be all the nice things people said he was when he won, but even bloody Superman can't get anything achieved with a destructive opposition constantly getting in the way. It's the same situation in Australia - we've got this 1950's throwback called Tony Abbott who's spent his entire time in opposition being as completely unconstructive as possible.

Dunno how it is in the US but all you can do in Australia now is hope that the littler parties get enough votes to stop the two big parties from doing whatever they want all of the time. It's disheartening to go to an election and come away thinking, "Not a single one of these people was worthy of my vote".

American Democrats and Republicans are essentially on different planets right now.  There is a deeply, deeply held sense on the Republican side that the country is on the wrong course.  Right or wrong they seem to have taken the midterm election as a mandate for destructive opposition.  Compromise is a nice fuzzy word that doesn't always translate into a good goal. If you genuinely see some action or result as grievously wrong why would you work towards making it only half wrong? I don't think you would. That, along with all the usual desire for personal and political power and influence, is the current Republican mindset I think.

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Posted: 26 Jan 12, 10:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As an historian, I might add that Newt Gingrich completely, utterly sucks at the discipline. He just can't approach sources properly, and often forces his own views onto characters and events he is supposedly analyzing.


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Posted: 26 Jan 12, 10:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You would think that the Republicans, with 3 years to try, could have come up with something to end the Socialist movement in America... but it's become downright laughable.  Have we fallen so low that these debates are about as entertaining as American Idol and elicit the same reactions?   "Yeah, he sucks"...  "what an idiot"...  and my favorite, "Oops.".

You can bet that Michelle Obama has already picked out the new curtains and silverware.

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Posted: 26 Jan 12, 11:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote:
You would think that the Republicans, with 3 years to try, could have come up with something to end the Socialist movement in America... but it's become downright laughable.  Have we fallen so low that these debates are about as entertaining as American Idol and elicit the same reactions?   "Yeah, he sucks"...  "what an idiot"...  and my favorite, "Oops.".You can bet that Michelle Obama has already picked out the new curtains and silverware.


==========================================================
Socialist movement in America??

You're just like the old people we've seen at rallies with signs reading "Keep the government out of my Social Security" and "Keep your hands off my Medicare"


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Posted: 26 Jan 12, 12:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote:
You would think that the Republicans, with 3 years to try, could have come up with something to end the Socialist movement in America... but it's become downright laughable.  Have we fallen so low that these debates are about as entertaining as American Idol and elicit the same reactions?   "Yeah, he sucks"...  "what an idiot"...  and my favorite, "Oops.".You can bet that Michelle Obama has already picked out the new curtains and silverware.


Socialist movement? Do you even know what either of those words mean? Because if you do, that's not the impression you're conveying in this post!


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Posted: 26 Jan 12, 13:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm still wondering if he's an actual person or a paid propagandist with a script of talking points.


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Posted: 26 Jan 12, 22:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Micrówave wrote: You would think that the Republicans, with 3 years to try, could have come up with something to end the Socialist movement in America... but it's become downright laughable.  Have we fallen so low that these debates are about as entertaining as American Idol and elicit the same reactions?   "Yeah, he sucks"...  "what an idiot"...  and my favorite, "Oops.".

You can bet that Michelle Obama has already picked out the new curtains and silverware.

Even with the current troubled climate there are probably insurmountable forces that favour the incumbent. I think it would be enormously difficult in the end for the requisite number of people to turf America's first black President, who still maintains significant personal popularity, after one term. I think that may be some of the reason for the lack of a really stellar candidate. Romney's running essentially by default and Gingrich I think genuinely sees himslelf as a transformational change agent at a defining point in American history. Anybody unburdened by establishment expectations or somewhat grandiose visions has probably been wise to bide their time until 2016.

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Posted: 27 Jan 12, 10:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



thomasquinn 32989 wrote: As an historian, I might add that Newt Gingrich completely, utterly sucks at the discipline. He just can't approach sources properly, and often forces his own views onto characters and events he is supposedly analyzing.


How can you compare Gingrich to Stalin?  That's just irresponsible posting.... if that's the point you're trying to make here.

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Posted: 27 Jan 12, 10:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

That's pretty far-fetched. Nonetheless, this may get interesting..


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Posted: 27 Jan 12, 11:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Not quite awake yet Bob?  He's clearly trying to point out that his Dad didn't serve in 'Nam so he'd have to pay for Juan's health care.  And on a family website!