Is it all about power?

Folks in politics and who talk about politics often accuse others of just trying to gain power. I understand this notion, but I’m not sure what kind of power people are talking about most of the time. Money? Sure. I can see that. Decision-making? OK. Feeling like you’re somebody special? I can understand all of that. But it seems like, maybe for one group more than another, those goals put people on very strange sides of arguments.

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Are we at a turning point in history?

None of us has the ability to perfectly predict what current event will be meaningful one hundred years from now. Some things are easy (the attacks on 9/11 for instance), but others are much harder to predict. It’s starting to feel possible, maybe not yet likely though, that we’re witnessing a real split in the republican party. In a simplified version of reality, the party has two groups. It has the classic republicans who feel strongly about free-markets, deregulation, private solutions over government involvement, individual responsibility, low taxes, and those kinds of things. These are the fiscal conservatives who are more likely to be socially liberal, or at least agnostic on social issues. The party also has the social conservatives. This group is where the white nationalists thrive. This is the group that is anti-immigration, feels the “fabric of America” is slipping away (which I can’t explain other than America becoming a more diverse pool of ethnicities), they have, or at least had, strong opinions about morality and decency, and this helps fuel their dislike of “gay culture” that they see as flamboyant, gratuitous, and indecent. At the same time, they balked at the way the government made them be fair to minorities. They way the government had anything to say about the way of life (that was great for them, even if less so for others). People who felt that we were once the base of the democratic party, but found themselves without a satisfying political home when the democrats became the party of civil rights, and stopped being the party of the KKK. That’s when the adoption of the southern strategy and the inclusion of the Reagan Democrats paid off, and brought a big win for Reagan. His characterization of government as something to be feared hit home, and his attacks on the welfare queen driving a Cadillac fit well with their feeling that they were being pushed out of the society they once dominated. And the party has balanced these two groups ever since, and somehow managed them well. The fiscal conservatives seemed to become more socially conservative and the social conservatives became more fiscally conservative. They had a comfortable balance. Trump is disrupting that.

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The impervious president

We’re in very strange waters, and this makes it so difficult to predict the future. The President has survived things that would have decimated politicians in the past. He insulted John McCain, and specifically attacked his experience as a war hero, yet supporters, even those in the military, stood by him. He bragged about sexual assault in a more vulgar way that we’ve heard from most politicians. He threatened to use the justice department to jail his political opponent if elected. He blamed President Bush for 9/11. And all of that was before he got elected. Any one of those would have destroyed the candidacy of any normal candidate, but Trump wasn’t a normal candidate. Likewise, there have been so many things that would have crushed a sitting president, and it doesn’t seem to be doing too much harm to him.

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Demonizing Hillary

My wife has enormous influence on me. I listen to whatever she says, and am often convinced to change my view, at least slightly, because of something she said. On the twentieth anniversary of our marriage (today, August 3rd, 2016), it is, therefore, appropriate to write a brief note about a recent change in my thinking about the 2016 elections.

This change is a good one; good in the sense that it lets me live my life feeling less disgust for other people. That makes me happy, because feeling disgust for anything is not pleasant in any way. So what changed? My view of Trump voters.

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A delayed response (at least here)

Eugene Slaven wrote a piece at the American Thinker that set me off, big time. I ranted about it on Facebook  a few days ago, and intended to cross-post it here, but never got around to it. Better late than never.

The piece, “Since when does the American left believe America is great?” incited this rant from me, that, in hindsight, wasn’t even harsh enough.

This. This is the kind of shit that makes me so angry. Rush Limbaugh and his kin like to talk about angry liberals…if he’s talking about people like me, we’re only angry because of bullshit like this.

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The GOP Platform

A lot is said about republicans and what they do and do not believe. We can consider how many republicans do and do not agree with certain things, but in the end, the party has a platform, and the platform is on record now. I think it’s worth taking a look…and doing a little fisking (actually pseudofisking, there’s no way I’m covering every single phrase in the damn thing, it’s just too long and a lot of it doesn’t warrant comment anyway). Here goes!

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We didn’t start the fire…or did we?

Jeb Bush has dropped out of the GOP primary, leaving behind Ohio Governor John Kasich as the last of the more “establishment” choices in the GOP primary. Some might say that Rubio is “establishment,” but he’s not your typical GOP presidential candidate — maybe more like the typical candidate than Trump or Cruz is, but a young Senator like Rubio doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of the GOP standard bearer like Bush, Dole, McCain, or Romney. It’s a different year indeed. George Will wrote a piece not too long ago accusing Trump of damaging the GOP. I can see Will’s point, and I sympathize with him, but I don’t think that Trump’s message would resonate if the support for it didn’t already exist. I think Trump is revealing something that already exists in the party, but I don’t think he deserves credit for actually causing the damage. I think that rests on the heads of the party itself, particularly in the way they’ve acted over the past seven years. Let’s go deeper.

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