Tag Archives: Election 2008

Get a Pike

Today, the NYTimes published a scathing article about the life and times of Cindy McCain. The sole flattering aspect of the article, a photo. I believe that the fourth estate seeks pikes for their political enemies. Historically, those who challenged the king would be displayed as an example at the Tower of London. Thankfully, we don’t live that nasty England of Olde.

The media however want the proverbial ultimate sanction-literal skewering of the Republican candidates. The metaphorical impaling of the Palins and McCains just falls short for the fourth estate. The blood thirsty reporters seek and search for more raw meat, not satiated  by display on their victims’ entrails. No, these vicious cannibals seek the hearts and spleens of their victims. 

The political debate between the two candidates receives less attention than the personalities and lifestyles of the Republican ticket and spouses. Reporters will rehash old information with a new spin or, at least, a new headline. You will note that the New York Times fails to filet the life of Michelle Obama. No, why would anyone do that, she’s the wife of the media darling. Still ironic that the media cannot see their lack of objectivity. The zeal to break down McCain and Palin is matched only by their strong desire to PROTECT Obama. Sad really. 

What’s worse, the media use McCain and Palin to extend their popularity and gain status within their estate. Sadly, they don’t realize NO ONE CARES who writes the story. You are all interchangeable. Each hates McCain and Palin; I imagine that every desk has a voodoo doll effigy of McCain and Palin on pikes. At some point reporters will all realize that the venom sounds alike and negative spin run together in a vitriolic rage. You will gain no readers or popularity or more importantly name recognition. Why not find a real story to write about? After the election, you will all be relegated to boring topics. Why not be creative? Oh, that would require you to work and get NEW information.

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Filed under 2008 Election, Media, News, Politics

On Fairy Tales and Role Models

As Sarah Palin’s nomination continues to foment in the media, many people comment both on the internet and in media about her qualifications, record, and personality. What strikes me about the commentary is not the content but what commentary is publicized by the media and whose opinions go unpublished.

Matt Damon’s very public comments calling Palin’s life a bad disney movie aired on cable news outlets. What distinguishes Damon’s opinion or John Voigt’s opinion from regular folks? How are these individuals more qualified to comment than the rest of us?

They are not. Conveniently for celebrities cameras seek them out and beg for comment. The educational background, political expertise and credibility of these folks remains unmeasured just like regular people. But the American public now sees the reverse of photog media frenzy that drove Brittany Spears to a mental hospital (among other things), the exploitation of the photog media frenzy by the subjects of the frenzy. Any famous person (usually of the liberal persuasion) now seeks out the cameras and the media to unload political diatribes.

How should the public respond to the foisting of political ideology from untested sources onto their election consideration? Any product or book mentioned by Oprah flies off shelves before the episode concludes. Senator Obama may not have received the same treatment from Oprah devotees as Oprah’s food guru. How does that translate to other celebrities? Hollywood packages characters for instant purchase at the local mall. Look like them, smell like them, you could even talk like them.

Do we really want to vote like them? What criteria make celebs a better political advisor than say the man who runs the convenience store down the street? Nothing. Celebs just look pretty and exercise for a living instead of punching a clock and attending to family matters.

At what point do you draw the line between seeking similarity and defining individualism? At what point, does one decide for themselves whether such a thing as a “good” disney movie exists and whether Palin’s political rise is a “bad” movie or just hokie in way that many regular people idealize?

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Sorting the Facts from the Rumors

As a result of overexposure to media hype and hourly news updates, I’ve decided to avoid the rhetoric and bravado until October 3. Hopefully by that date, the information will be thoroughly sifted and ACTUALLY fact checked.

Right now the media are thrashing about like drowning animals looking for life preserver. I am glad to let everyone else sort out the information.

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Progress?

As the 2008 Election campaign trudges on, the headlines from both parties highlight the sensational allegations and responses of each party. Shouldn’t the public be asking what plan each candidate has for the country? Shouldn’t each side issue position papers about the issues facing the country?

No, instead of the candidates driving the discussion, the media pushes personality issues instead of substance. If someone doesn’t start talking about the issues and details, everyone who votes will be gambling on the future. 

Technology has provided us, the general public with faster information and more information. Has anyone bothered to filter that information and distill it down to what is useful and what is wasteful? Nope. We all get caught up in the drama. We’ll get the government we deserve, not the government we need.

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Choice Considered

Oprah, Hillary, and Sarah do not plow new ground. Each makes a choice based on standards and principles NOT based on how their choices will affect women as gender.

In the last 30 years, the visibility of women in U.S. popular and political culture has risen dramatically. As a grammar school student, I distinctly remember the importance of newly sworn in Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole and Astronaut Sally Ride. These three women held a place in my world because they were women on a stage where men dominated. These ladies provided hope for those who saw more men than women in politics, even for a 7 year old. Perhaps I could not articulate that at 7 but I do recall the roles they played in the world.

In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro cracked another glass ceiling. Amazing even to a 10 year old that Ferraro’s name appeared on all those signs with that guy who was running for president. Incredible.

Today, the media highlights a controversy between one of the richest people in the country-she happens to be a woman- and the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate-also happens to be a woman. Efforts to enlist a former presidential candidate-yep, a woman- to fight claims by the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate met luke warm success. How’s that for amazing.

Oprah Winfrey made a calculated choice to support Senator Barack Obama, after his several appearances on her show. Winfrey openly raised money for and introduced Obama to the world before he was a household name. Winfrey’s power to effect the choice of her viewers and devotees has been established by sales of any product, book or thing Oprah mentions favorably. I seriously doubt that Oprah will change her position related an interview for an active female Vice Presidential candidate.

Why would Oprah refuse such a lucrative, high profile interview? Oprah is a savvy public relations agent for Obama. An Oprah interview for Palin increases Palin’s exposure exponentially. Palin is personable and engaging. In Oprah’s format, Palin will be a rockstar. Oprah chose to endorse and monetarily support Obama. Oprah will not provide that platform for the McCain-Palin ticket.

The conundrum for Oprah will be what to do if Obama’s poll statistics are negatively impacted over the long haul. Oprah’s response to an overwhelming outcry to see Palin on the Harpo sofa: my show will not be used for politics. Does that position change when Obama needs a boost? How will viewers respond if she changes this position to help Obama? Based on news reports, some viewers have already tuned out. Others may follow suit and choose to tune Oprah out when there is no Palin interview.

Sarah Palin’s appeal and personality translated well during her initial introduction to the nation the day following the Democrat Convention. Should Palin accept an invitation to Oprah world? I’d say no. If Oprah would change position and invite Palin on her show, Palin would not receive the regular Oprah embracing interview. That is not to say Oprah would be rude or impolite, but this interview would not be the same style interview to which we are all accustomed. An Oprah interview with an uncomfortable Oprah would be a much larger crap shoot for Palin than regular Oprah. Palin, even if invited, would be well advised to decline that interview.

The assistance of Senator Hillary Clinton, now a reluctant partisan of Senator Obama, has been recruited to dig out of the sexist hole into which Obama and his campaign fell. Unfortunately for Obama, Senator Clinton sees the larger picture. In her speeches, Clinton fails to condemn Palin’s perceived flaws and rumored misdoings. Why? Clinton understands that the gender- and family-based mud she slings against Palin will be returned to Clinton like a boomerang the next time she runs for office. Clinton’s family life has never been perfect. The life and times of the Clinton union, memorialized in “Bloodsport,” showcases a life with human flaws. Clinton will not sink to the level Obama wishes, if only avoid equal treatment later.

Palin will need to answer tough questions. Oprah’s couch won’t be available until after the November election. Perhaps that’s how it should be. Tough questions posed by an unbiased, impartial interviewer might better serve the public and Palin herself.

The issues raised this week highlight another remarkable change in American society. Women speaking their minds either by feedback to Oprah or interviews with the media. Senator Clinton chooses what to say and how to present it without the necessity of following orders from Obama. Oprah makes all her own choices and articulated her reasoning behind those choices. Palin’s choices to challenge Alaskan establishment show her capacity for making her own decisions. Women dominate the media coverage of politics and it’s not just because they are women. Ain’t life grand!

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Challenges of an Instant World

As oil prices rise and a bank fails, people line up for days to purchase the new Apple brand Iphone which has technical glitches that may inhibit the immediate use of the phone. Senator Barack Obama earlier this summer criticized a proposal by Senator John McCain to suspend the gas tax for the summer. In fact, Obama called the proposal “pandering.” Today, Obama seeing the merit of giving money to people who have increasingly less, proposes an “Energy Rebate.”

What would prompt a Democrat to seek to give money back? The realization that the people of this country have been conditioned to instant gratification. Obama and other liberals decry that new drilling would take too long to affect the price oil immediately. BUT none of them bothers to consider the LONG TERM. Leaders who lack vision caused this problem. 30 years ago domestic oil drilling was proposed. Had the drilling begun then, we would not be in this position. Thinking about the future instead of focusing on solving the immediate problem with a bandaid.

Obama’s new position exemplifies the challenges of 21st century campaigning. Citizens, accustomed to getting what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, demand politicians promise the world to solve the immediate problems. Americans lack the ability to plan, to consider the implications over the longer term. No, Americans will stand in line for an Iphone but they can not be bothered to put money away for retirement.

How did this happen? Initially, fast food: Have it your way. Then the big box stores: everything you could want IN STOCK. The trend even effected the news. First, USA Today purveyor of bite size mini news shortened the time necessary for reading the paper and omitted all the heady details from news. Then, cable news fed us news 24/7. All the news, whether it’s fit to air OR NOT.

Instant Gratification! A politician must dispense all things to all people whether he can deliver or not. The remake of Ocean’s 11 supplies an interesting contrast to instant gratification. Ocean and his team spent two weeks mapping out everything, monitoring schedules, essentially working out every detail of their heist. While I do not endorse burglary of any kind, the attention to detail and patience necessary to accomplish that burglary or any goal have disappeared from society.

Planning, thought and understanding of consequences enter the minds of few. This country was established by people with vision, people who could see the value of a new system of government. No one in government has vision of forethought these days. They only seek to gratify the populace’s immediate needs and expectations. 

Don’t blame the politicians. You voted for them.

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Inertia

As an observer of people and systems, I spend quite a bit of time railing against the inanity of government: local, state and federal. This weekend I found some perspective on the issue. Perhaps I am late to this realization but Newton and his law of motion “A body in motion tends to stay in motion; A body at rest tends to stay at rest” or something like that…(I studied History, Political Science and Law) inform my epiphany.

Government is a body at rest. Lethargy reigns. Stagnation remains the rule. Business, on the other hand, constantly moves. A business that remains stagnant becomes outdated or dies. Government abides no such constraints. The United States Constitution with its attendant amendments, statutes, regulations, and the several States, with their smaller government bodies exist because as a nation we have agreed that those should exist, not because these particular items are productive or marketable.

Taking this obvious revelation, consider promises made by the dominant party presidential candidates. Facing a governmental body at rest, i.e. a Congress trapped in quicksand, are the promises of change within the government realistic? Can one person in the executive branch effect change among 435 Congress members and 100 Senators in the legislative branch? Doubtful. 

The parties and the candidates persist in their promises to resolve oil prices, to fix problems with sporting games at varying levels, to green the environment, and to stop a war for which a majority voted. But business moves onward and upward. Oil companies, if faced with a tax on profits, will find a detour or go out of business. Quite simply, this country depends on capitalism for innovation and variety. The providers of innovation must make a profit or move on to another product. Unlike government, which takes it’s “profits” or “taxes” at the point of gun behind the shield of a badge, business must make money.

If the government nationalizes any industry for the purpose on moderating profits or imposes taxes to “punish” the businesses’ windfall, this country will be taking a dangerous step away from representative government and our basic foundations.

At this point, voters control must be focused on legislative branches of government at all levels. The presidential candidates once inaugurated, will have less influence over change than he had as a senator.  To effect change, real change, voters must find elected officials who will eschew the stagnation of government, but acknowledge that the stagnation exists. Voters must find elected officials who will combat stagnation and lethargy, not just spout hot air, while maintaining the status quo. Elect candidates who understand that innovation brings change, that status quo creates an unending quagmire.

Until the inspiration and innovation of business entrepreneurs find a way to impact government, this country will remain “at rest” and no amount of discussion about change will change the inertial forces at work.

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