It is the hair-splitting that most folks can’t stand when they read a column like the Rational Middle. The preachy and often nit-picky focus on details that aren’t very important in the grand scheme of things is a turn-off to many of us (yours truly included). We hate it when someone corrects our grammar (is it who or whom?), and we despise it when someone misses the humor in a joke because the joke wasn’t “accurate” (just shut up and laugh know-it-all!).
For several generations, we have hated math class and sentence structure with equal zeal. With each succeeding generation, we have forced the status-quo to move ever so subtlety away from precision. As a nation we have become sloppy. Facts are important only when they serve the proper master, and sources are valuable only if they can be manipulated. When a comic does the manipulation in pursuit of a joke, the act has value. When a politician or “journalist” does the manipulating, it has the capacity to slowly destroy the country.
Pot-committed. When you have bet so many of your remaining chips that you feel you must stay with a hand even when you know the odds are against you. This is a very real predicament in the world of high stakes poker, and it is where Senate Democrats and the President feel that they are with the reform bill.
But are they really? They have committed time and energy to this effort, but they have not staked out a real position in a political sense. Most of the members of the House who voted for the bill are safe for reelection, and the Senate hasn’t really done enough on the bill to be pinned down. Most of the country tells pollsters that they like the individual elements of the bills presented, even while they tell the same pollsters that they don’t like the brand the insurance companies have successfully slapped on the package. Despite this, enough senators have stepped forward to say that they won’t let the bill come to a vote without the good stuff being removed. As a result, the good stuff is gone. So why vote for it when it is not a good bill?
Football and politics have a lot in common; and by football I am mean charged-up and violent American football. Careful preparation and brute force are foundational elements for both “sports”. The ability to get the job done, regardless of ethics, feelings, sunshine, or puppy dogs is also prized in each arena. One tactical element existing in both politics and football that I cherish, is the misdirection play. The premise is simple; get the defense moving one way, and go in the other direction. Well-designed misdirection plays often feature another nasty (and fun) ploy, the trap block. The defender chasing the play is influenced into a block that he never sees coming. The hit, properly delivered, can have the tendency of making that player, well, less aggressive for the rest of the game.
Misdirection is run in politics all the time. In fact, it is run by all parties, in every legislative session, at every level of American politics. In football, the play is designed to influence and trap the opposition; in politics, the play is usually designed to influence the voter and trap the opposing lawmaker. Witness the last major funding authorization for the Iraq War under President Bush. Both Democrats and Republicans crafted funding bills, and both contained major items not related to the war. These items were traps for the other party, existing only to force lawmakers into a vote that they would have to defend in the next election. It is certainly something that informed voters should be aware of when considering the next negative ad campaign they see (from either party).
Gold. Panned for in ’49, coveted by pirates, and sold as a thin film on the worthless coins pushed on late night TV, gold still has control of our imagination. I would certainly love to have gold; about 100 pounds of the stuff would set me up just so. Yes sir, if I had 100 pounds of gold, I would sell it and take the cash.
“But why would you want U.S. dollars, when the dollar is losing value? Gold has a value all its own, dollars are only backed by trust.”
Recently, 10 years of emails were stolen from the servers of Britain’s East Anglian Climatic Research Unit. In a remarkable feat of opposition research, climate change skeptics have found perhaps two dozen emails that indicate academic impropriety. Since the first release of information, those folks and media outlets with an axe to grind against global warming have had the best days of their lives…and I don’t blame them. Most media outlets and political junkies (like yours truly), are more than willing to jump on the scent of scandal if it means scoring a point in a debate that we believe important.
As promised earlier this month; why I could be a Democrat. In the oldest and purist definitions of the labels, I am a liberal. I believe that the Constitution provides for a strong federal government with a mandate to provide the social and commercial framework for individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to succeed.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Just a little note to John Boehner and Glenn Beck…this is what we call, the Preamble to the Constitution. Take a moment to think about these words in the light of all that has been screamed by some about this country’s “departure” from the “founders intent”. That may a bit off-topic…but you know how I get sometimes.