Time for a Reset

I’ve had a longer post in mind that I just haven’t been able to focus enough to commit to paper.

For the time being, let me say this. I’ve been famous for making prescriptions for what ails Republicans. I attended a professional webinar two days ago where I was reminded “you can’t change other people’s behavior, you can only change yourself.” In that spirit, what can I prescribe to cure what ails liberals?

Whether or not you find it sincere, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal have all called for Republicans to reconsider their tactics in achieving their strategic goals. It’s called introspection.

I’ve noticed lately that the one thing liberals lack is introspection. There is a self-righteous belief in their moral superiority. It’s assumed. It’s ironic because that is the very thing we accuse of Republicans. I’ve watched MSNBC morph from a liberal biased network that tried to be fair to the bizarro-world twin of Fox News.

In a mid-term election year where Democrats stand to get an ass-whupping their strategy is still how evil Republicans are. Where is the introspection? Where is the effort to find ways to be more effective?

Over the next few posts I’m going to try some political introspection. The posts will be less frequent. Introspection is hard.


Shame on Liberals: Dead Kids and Drones

Predator_and_HellfireAs we approach the four-month anniversary of the senseless slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there is much talk in the media about our tone-deaf Congress ignoring the 90% of the country that wants stricter background checks on gun buyers. Indeed, we hear lots of statistics pointing to a majority of Americans favoring restrictions on type of guns sold, and size of ammunition clips. The fault my friends is not in Congress but in ourselves.

When I was a kid, the evening news was full of coverage of protesters marching outside the White House over the Vietnam War. Who’s marching now? There are those who say the most effective thing a citizen can do is call his Congressman or Senator. I don’t buy it. Politicians respond to two stimuli: money and discomfort. Don’t get me wrong. I am not calling for violence. I’m calling for good old civil disobedience. If you’re tired of hearing about dead kids, whether it’s in the cushy CT suburbs or the inner city of Chicago, chain yourself to the nearest immovable object outside Congress and stay there. Do it until the press comes to cover it. Do it until the police arrest you, again with the TV cameras watching. The notion that you can drown out the NRA’s money with a phone call to your representative is pure nonsense.

I might be accused of being the pot calling the kettle black. I’ve never protested in my life and probably never will. It’s just not where my abilities and talents are best invested. However, I associate myself with the liberal cause because I support those who DO have it in them to protest for change.

Our current predicament only highlights what nonsense Occupy Wall Street was. Yes I’m doing an about-face on that topic because a bunch of liberals camped out in a NYC park to protest “unfairness”. We’re great about belly aching about a concept but when it comes to taking decisive action on a specific topic like dead kids, nobody is camping out anywhere.

Getting back to the Vietnam war for a moment — back then we didn’t employ the cowardly combat method of sending remote control planes to bomb our enemies into kingdom come. Now, we kill enemy and innocent alike with no risk to our own men. Now we drop a bomb on a teenager because he had the misfortune of having a traitor for a father. Where are the protesters? When Senator Rand Paul recently asked the White House whether they felt emboldened to drone-attack American citizens on American soil, he got a hypothetical yes from Attorney General Eric Holder. Only after Paul pulled off the grand old tradition of a true stand-up filibuster did the White House back off a bit. And what did we hear in the media? Nothing to see here because Obama is a nice guy who would never abuse such powers. Fortunately there were those who, like Senator Paul, pointed out that we must control the office, not the man. Obama could go crazy. Obama’s successor could be a nut job. When you enable the office, you give powers to the man holding that office.

What does it say about the liberal cause that it took a Republican, Rand Paul, to take serious issue with our drone policy?

Maybe I’m being too hard on Liberals? Perhaps the Internet has become a proxy for real protest? Whereas the Arab Spring was punctuated by social media being a driving force for communication AND organization, here in the States, we “like” some post on Facebook and think that we have made a difference. Have we been lulled into thinking electronic protest can match the power of the NRA’s money or the strength of the military industrial complex?

Have we become too cute and clever by half? Last night Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote about the changing face of protest. He cited an “eat-in” outside the FDA where protesters brought and consumed a huge vat of soup to protest the FDA not demanding labeling of GMO’s in foods. Milbank argues that these folks are opting for persuasion over confrontation. I am left scratching my head. How effective is quaint persuasion with politicians whose pockets are lined with money from the food manufacturers? How effective is gun control “persuasion” with politicians whose pockets are lined with gun money?

In the 1960’s the people pushed the President. In 2013, the President is forced to push the people. Obama has to give speeches imploring citizens to make their preferences known on the gun issue. Why do we need imploring? Where is our passion? Where are our ethics? Where is our shame?


Photo by Brigadier Lance Mans, Deputy Director, NATO Special Operations Coordination Centre [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mourning in America

On New Year’s Eve, thousands of birds dropped dead mid-flight in Arkansas littering the streets. A similar mass fatality occurred in Louisiana. Scientists have struggled to explain what could have happened, guessing that perhaps the birds were scared by fireworks and went berserk flying into each other and trees and other objects. Everyone has missed the obvious explanation. The birds were liberals despondently anticipating today’s GOP takeover of the House of Representatives.

As Ohio Representative John Boehner accepted the Speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi, the party of “no’ transformed into the party of “not anymore”. Affordable health care: not anymore. Financial regulation: not anymore. Anything even slightly progressive to move our country forward: not anymore. Now of course, the barrier between the House’s sworn intent to turn back the clock and reality is a Democrat controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House. The “repeal” of the Affordable Care Act will be a symbolic exercise in scream therapy for the House but the Senate will never allow repeal. Even if enough crazy blue dogs team up with the GOP in the Senate, the President will veto the repeal and there won’t be enough votes to override the veto. This will be the first of many useless attempts at reactionary politics in the House. But the plot thickens even more.

One of my conservative readers commented the other day, “These new Republicans better not forget who put them in. We better get the budget we expect.” I had to laugh. It wasn’t one of my more optimistic days and I responded:

The GOP is going to disappoint you terribly. Here’s the deal.

The GOP of the Bush-era (the first six years) is the real GOP. You see there is no such thing as conservative fiscal policy anymore. We have a credit society … a debt driven society … a short-term satisfaction society. There are no grown ups anymore. This is not liberal; this is not conservative; this is a state of the current human condition.

A bunch of Tea Party folks will come into Congress on Wednesday and after a short honeymoon, the old-timers will tell the new guys to STFU and play the game the way it’s always been played: pork barrel spending and caving to lobbyists. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio will have their hands tied (assuming they were the real deal to begin with). John Boehner is old school. There will be no revolution under him and THAT my friends is what is needed right now. A legislative revolution on a par with what is going on in Great Britain.

Our fat spoiled society, underemployed by greedy bastard international conglomerates will go on just as they have for the past decade. The poor will stay poor, the middle class will become poor and the rich won’t know the difference and won’t give a damn. And all you suckers will identify with the have’s when you’re all a bunch of have-nots. You’ve said in the past that my allegiance to liberal politics will end me up in a trailer park in Gary, Indiana. Well my conservative friends, we’ll all be together one day in that trailer park where you can tell me face to face how effective your grand old party is. 👿

Clearly I wasn’t having a particularly good day. But unfortunately, I was also speaking the truth. Just within the 2010 campaign we saw radical Tea Party politicians like Rand Paul start to step things back a bit when they went from the primary to the general election. Do we really believe that after years of the House ignoring Ron Paul’s call for military budget restraint that suddenly his son is going to be taken seriously in the Senate? Who are we fooling? Look at our new Speaker. He’s been around since 1991. Boehner is going to bring fresh ideas to Congress and clean up waste and corruption?

There is not a lot to be happy about today. What is the prescription for liberals? I think our best course is to look at the good things the GOP wants to do, like cut the deficit and control needless spending and then hold them to it. Let’s not be obstructionist about good ideas just because they come from the GOP. Remember, idiot Republican Congressmen voted against stuff they once supported once Obama also supported it. We don’t want to follow that example. In the area of spending cuts, let’s push for serious Department of Defense cuts. Let’s make the conservatives truly share in this sacrifice they say we all must share in.

On Twitter today, the snark about John Boehner was in full bloom. Keith Olbermann tonight is fuming particularly noxious exhaust. I say we jump from the anger stage of mourning and go straight to acceptance. Accept who is in charge in the House and hold them to their promises to the American people. Our anger and disappointment from last November will be vindicated in the utter failure of the good old boys to get anything useful done. When the Tea Party patriots of the new House get a lesson in reality, it will be our turn to say:

How’s that hopey changey thing workin’ for ya?


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