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Narrative

Barack Obama Playing BasketballIt never ceases to amaze me how a single event, action, or activity can be shaped to produce a narrative intended to spread a viewpoint or bias. Then again, we are humans, who have long had the capability to tap into anything and create a story. Tonight I’ve been thinking of sports. It’s fascinating how different athletic and sporting activities have been perceived and interpreted by a group of people, depending on their bias.

Take golf: When the subject of a game of golf is Barack Obama, the narrative is often of a weak, ineffectual, and distant man, seemingly unbothered by the current events, and perhaps demonstrating a dereliction of duty to his office. On the other hand, golf has long been the game of choice of the rich and powerful. We’ve seen it in a thousand movies: the golf course is where lucrative business deals are and tycoons show their power. I don’t doubt reality is much different. When you end up on a golf course a businessman, you have “made it.” But for politicians – at least in Obama’s case – the narrative is complete opposite. It’s not one that’s entirely undeserved, but it is interesting.

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The Future Electoral Fortunes of the Democratic Party

(Cross-posted from Poligazette)

dodd nancy_pelosi

We’re hearing a lot these days about the Republican Party.  We hear/read about where they’re were.  We hear a lot about where they’re supposedly going. Then we hear a lot about where they should be going, which is different depending on your exact political views.  It’s all exciting debate, and one that is necessary to ensure that the party is successful in the future.

What we don’t hear a lot about these days is the fortunes of the Democratic Party.  The assumption seems to be that there needs to be no discussion of this party’s future because they’re currently in power.  Yet, the actions of those inside the party, especially of those in positions of power, could have reverberations that affect the electoral success of the party come next year.  The only thing that is possibly more important than actions themselves is the response to those actions.

So far, the response to some of the scandals by party members has been pretty awful, and it could harm the Democrats in 2010.

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The ‘Ol Specteroo

Cross-posted from Poligazette

In Michael’s article on the Specter cross-over, regular reader c3 asks:

Just for the sake of discussion.  How is this different than what Joe Leiberman did?

I think what’s different between Specter and Lieberman is that, as far as I know, Lieberman hasn’t flipped-flopped between saying one thing and then doing another, while Specter has.  Yes, Lieberman himself flirted with the idea of becoming a Republican once upon a time, and was John McCain’s first pick for running mate last year, but he hadn’t spent months telling us that it would never happen and then suddenly did it.  I actually found Lieberman to be quite transparent with his thought process.  He went public with the fact he was considering it.

Specter is a different animal altogether.

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My New Local Politics Fix

It appears there’s an unofficial messageboard for Manchester politics.  My dad found this place in a newspaper letter to the editor tonight.  Basically, it hosts a bunch of Manchester politicians debating amongst themselves the issues of the town.

Check it out: http://manchestertalk.proboards.com/index.cgi

 

The Freeman Withdrawal and the ‘Team of Rivals’

Former Ambassador Charles Freeman withdrew his name from consideration yesterday after controversy arose regarding some of his positions on Israel, and financial ties to Saudi Arabia and China, through his position on the board of a Chinese oil exploration company and an allegedly Saudi funded Middle East policy group.

More change in Washington, I see.

Yea, I’m in the dissent on this one, but not because I’m some rabid always-blame-Israel anti-semite.

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Clarence Thomas and the Drug Company Ruling: Not Exactly Liberal

(Cross-posted from Poligazette)

Liberals are shocked!  Shocked, I tell you.  Why?  Well, a recent Supreme Court concurring opinion to a ruling that will allow patients to sue drug companies for injuries related to the drugs was written by none other than Clarence Thomas, that avowedly conservative justice.

Of course, without even having to read his opinion, this LA Times article tells you all you need to know about why Thomas supported the right to sue.  In short, he supports state law:

Four years ago, for example, the court, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy in the majority, upheld the power of federal agents to raid the homes of Californians who grow marijuana for their personal use — legal under state law but not federal law. Thomas disagreed. [...]

“If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything,” Thomas wrote in dissent. ” . . . Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other states to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens.”

Basically, Thomas is a federalist, a supporter of limited federal government interference into state affairs.  So, knowing this, his concurrence with the majority isn’t so surprising.

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Where the Funny Is, Will the Comedians Go?

(Cross-posted from Poligazette)

There has been some concern, and rightly so I think, that the late night comedians: the Jon Stewarts, Stephen Colberts, and David Lettermans of the world would fail to criticize and satirize the new President once he got into office.  Jazz Shaw, writing for Pajamas Media, thinks that although the pace has been slow to pick up, the funnies at the expense of the new President are starting to appear:

Were they frightened? Had they simply spent so long attacking the Republicans that the idea of criticizing a Democratic president was beyond the scope of imagination? Or were they truly liberal, partisan hacks as so many of their critics had suggested? Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton were still being abused on a regular basis and the never-ending tale of Blago was a movable feast for all, but the digs at President Obama failed to appear. Instead, Stewart pilloried Fox News for having the audacity to criticize the White House and Letterman ripped into Michael Steele’s rocky start as RNC chairman. My hopes for bipartisan comedy goodness began to fade.

That may have begun to change this week, however. The first encouraging sign came when Stephen Colbert examined Obama’s new health care initiative and expressed his hopes that it would “cover him for the stroke he was going to have when he filed his tax return.” There may have been some veiled cynicism in that critique, but the real breakthrough came on The Daily Show when Jon Stewart heard about Obama’s plans for Iraq over the next few years. After railing against the war since before it began, this was clearly a bridge too far and Stewart came out swinging.

A few things that Jazz wrote at the end of his article make me think he’s hoping for a little much.

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Connecticut Legislator Introduces Bill to Re-organize Catholic Parish Administration

This one is interesting if only because it’s happening in my backyard.  Via The Secular Right, a state legislator (technically, a whole committee, via a Connecticut General Assembly procedure) has introduced a bill that would effectively strip administrative control of Connecticut’s Roman Catholic parishes away from their bishops and transfer it to a board of lay-parishioners.  The boards would have control over all administrative, financial, and legal matters of their parishes.  All religious matters would remain the purview of the bishop.

Who introduced it exactly, and for what reason, were a little fuzzy at first, but further investigation by the Greenwich Time reveals that it was apparently requested by members of a Darien chruch after their former priest stole $1.4 million to spend on lavish luxaries for himself, such as limousines, vacations, fancy clothing and jewlery, and a condo.  The bill is said to be introduced by State Senator Andrew McDonald, a Democrat.

There’s no question in my mind that the bill is unconstitutional, and if the General Assembly is smart, it won’t even make the floor.  It’d completely undermine state/church separation.  A vendetta by one church’s members over a bad apple of a priest shouldn’t change things for everyone else.

 

Wait…Moderates are Suddenly Surprised?

I’ve spent a little bit of time these past couple months lecturing liberals for their whining about President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.  They didn’t pay attention to his campaign, I said, hoping that all his tough talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan was just that: talk.

Now, as much as I don’t want to, I feel the time has come to turn my attention toward the moderates who voted for Obama and are now suffering buyer’s remorse after seeing the stimulus package and his budget.  So, as I said to the liberals: WERE YOU PAYING ATTENTION!?

One thing I noticed, particularly during the debates, is that Obama didn’t seem serious about cutting spending.  Just the opposite.  Despite that fact that we were going through some tough times, he had a long list of spending.  I didn’t tack McCain as too serious on the spending cuts, either, but Obama’s wish list seemed particularly lengthy.  I also found him fairly specific on his tax increase plans: $250,000 and above.

These are the kind of things that Obama talked about often and with great certainty, so I’m not entirely sure how these moderates missed them.  Or maybe they noted what he said but hoped that it was all rhetoric, just like the liberals on his Afghanistan and Pakistan foreign policy.  Yet, aside from a couple things, I’ve thought Obama to be pretty honest with his intentions.  It was this honesty that led him to tell Joe the Plumber to his face that he was going to tax people making more than $250,000, and to do what even John McCain couldn’t and say that an attack on Pakistan’s tribal region wasn’t off the table.

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll notice that since the election both of these things have happened.  Hey, I also thought that a bunch of Obama’s policy initiatives made sense too, but if you got so wrapped up in the hope talk that you ignored what he was saying on policy, maybe that says more about you than it does about Obama.

 

Rush at CPAC

Ah nothing like my lunch hour during a work-at-home day to blog.

So I finally got an opportunity to listen to Rush Limbaugh’s speech at CPAC.  I haven’t heard much Rush before, so going into it I was prepared to hate it all.  Coming out of it, I didn’t hate it, but also didn’t find much to which I could nod my head.

To me, his overarching message was basically that of “remain steadfast to core conservative principles,” “oppose bi-partisanship no matter what,” and “Democrats are destroying America.”  While I’m flexible on the first element, and might be able to somewhat believe the third (when you add Congressional Republicans to it), the second I believe is the wrong approach for conservatives.

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