Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to understand how politics works

January 11, 2011

Sarah Palin is not responsible for the shooting in Arizona. However, she is responsible for bad taste by targeting Giffords in that poster. Whether she could have been considered guilty of bad taste at the time of the posting is a different story. But in retrospect, it can be seen as in bad taste. And I guess that’s too bad for her. Her misunderstanding of how politics works and her own inability to assess risk in her political actions is her own fault. Had last week’s shooting not happened she might have gotten away with her tasteless posting. It is, in fact, somewhat rare for a politician to be assassinated in the U.S. She may have weighed the risk and decided it was worth using violent imagery to gain the necessary House seats for her cause, which, from what I can tell, is self-aggrandizement. She gains power by looking like a kingmaker but has no official gain in power if Giffords and the other targeted members lost.

But now she looks like a tasteless, terrible person and that was the risk that she took. It is not her fault that Giffords was murdered, but it is also not anyone else’s fault for thinking that what Palin did in the past looks horrible now. Hindsight is 20/20 but emotional reaction is much blurrier.

She really has no recourse now but to fight the accusations that she somehow contributed to the assassination attempt. However, she will forever be associated with the event in a bad way. Is it fair? Yes, it is. She should have assessed the risks of using violent imagery and she may have. Other politicians choose not to use such imagery and politically that looks very wise right now. But Palin may have influenced some extra people to vote against other members of congress on that map and those votes cannot be retroactively changed. This may be an example of winning the battle and losing the war but that’s how things work in politics.

Sometimes it works the other way. Richard Nixon might have been elected in 1968 because some crazy person killed Robert Kennedy. Had Nixon made some tasteless remark about Kennedy before the assassination, he might have lost through no fault of his own.

The facts are that Palin targeted Giffords with a crosshair symbol and Giffords was subsequently shot. It may be unfair to blame her for the shooting, but it’s also unfair to blame people for associating her with the shooting.

GOP strategy: Come up with ideas not good enough to persuade the Democrats; anything else is good

October 6, 2010

That’s the lesson to learn from Mitt Romney, who Jonathan Chait notices was endorsed by the National Review until the Democrats decided he made good policy ideas. Once Obama, Reid, and Pelosi adopted Romney’s health care plan, it was considered anathema and pretty much killed Romney’s chances of winning the Republican primary in 2012. Maybe that’s why the Republicans seem to be bereft of ideas. If they somehow persuade the Democrats to adopt them, they will be dirty. Or something.

It’s happening

September 3, 2010

There is apparently, a bit of concern among conservative evangelicals over Glenn Beck and his theology. This is no surprise. The only surprise to me is that it isn’t a bigger deal, though it may become one. Beck is opening himself up to a dangerous place. It’s almost as if he doesn’t realise how serious a threat Mormonism is taken to be among otherwise likeminded Christians.

I had the opportunity to ask a conservative protestant minister from Utah about the spirituality of Beck and his rally recently and the response was what I would have expected before getting a little confused by the underreported nature of the religiosity of it. That is, I got a very long rant about the craziness of Mormonism and its insidious evangelistic techniques. The pastor and his wife, who seem otherwise disposed to the conservative republican agenda and especially the low tax Tea Party talk (we had had a conversation about the “evils of Obamacare” and the tax code in Britain earlier) were not happy about Mormons using Scripture and the patois of evangelical Christianity in order to promote their own particular theology. Consider this tweet by Reihan Salaam:

Who else thinks Beck is more of a tent revivalist than a political pitchman, and that his ultimate goal is to win souls for the LDS Church?4:28 PM Aug 29th via Twitterrific

This will likely not end well for Beck. Or perhaps he is so savvy that he will know to change gears before it blows up in his face and people’s ministers start preaching against him from the pulpit. It might not make a dent in the size of his audience, but who knows.

Ironically, you know who might come to his defence in the end? Jim Wallis, who writes in an open letter to Beck:

I’ve been asked by people in the media if it matters that you are a Mormon. I unequivocally answer, no, it does not. We don’t want more anti-Mormon bigotry any more than we want the anti-Muslim bigotry now rising up across the country.

One interesting side note: In the conversation I had with the pastor from Utah, I asked him about Mitt Romney and if Glenn Beck might be making Romney more acceptable to conservative evangelicals. He said that he didn’t think that Romney would be a bad president and that him being a Mormon wouldn’t affect it either, but he sounded awfully guarded when discussing whether he would vote for him or not. “I suppose if he were running against a far left Democrat I would still vote for him.” Wow, there was nothing this guy said that suggested he would consider voting for any Democrat, but maybe Romney would do it. On the other hand, he certainly talked about Obama as if he were a far left Democrat, so maybe I’m being generous. No far left Democrat would ever have thought of Obama as one of them. He is merely a gateway for a far left agenda. Much like Beck is for Mormonism.

Elizabeth Warren for VP

July 29, 2010

I don’t know how he does it, but I think if somehow Obama got Joe Biden to change positions in his administration, picking Elizabeth Warren for Vice President would seem like a great idea. She is likeable, smart, comes from humble roots in Oklahoma. She was educated at state schools and moved her way up to Harvard. She taught sunday school. She’s not a career politician and people seem to trust her.

I also think it would totally undermine the Republican opponent, whoever he or she is. Any hint of sexism from the Democrats against a Sarah Palin would be countered by charges of sexism from the Republicans. There would be downsides, of course, not the least of which that it would look like political opportunism.

Also, I don’t know why she would want to do it and I don’t know how Biden leaves the position for another position without ruffling other feathers. For instance, Biden would seem to be best suited for Secretary of State, since his expertise seems to be foreign policy. But that position is being filled rather well by Hillary Clinton. Of course, secretaries of state often don’t remain so for 8 years (one term seems pretty standard), but it would be silly and stupid to ask Clinton to step down if she doesn’t want to.

Still, the more Elizabeth Warren in government the better.

I know I’m an elitist, but…

July 23, 2010

there is little in me that would allow for this type of activity from someone I would consider fit to run for President: (more…)

Who listens to heretics?

July 20, 2010

When I grew up in the South among conservative evangelical Christians, Mormonism was considered at best a heresy, but most people actually seemed to consider it a cult. We would notice who the Mormon kids were after baseball games because they were the ones who got the Sprites instead of the Cokes or Dr. Peppers. The few Mormon families at our school were known for being Mormons, much more so than Catholics were known for being Catholic or Pentecostals were know for being Pentecostals and I’m sure there were Jews at my school but I couldn’t name any off the top of my head because they were not as known for being Jewish as the Mormons were for being Mormons. The Mormons had their own book that seemed silly to us. They believed that Jesus came to North America and racism against blacks had actually at one time been institutionalized through the doctrine of their church. In short, no one stuck out more for being different than Mormons. And since I was very serious about my sheep and goat theology, Mormons were heretics in my mind and even in my conversations with friends.

This is why I find the feud between Glenn Beck and Jim Wallis and Glenn Beck and Union Seminary so strange. Beck is a Mormon. He has his own theological convictions. Wallis and Union are Protestant Christians and have their own theological convictions. The theological differences are fundamental, not quibbles about how to implement the Gospel in one’s everyday life. The Scriptures upon which Union and Wallis hold their faith are totally different than that of Beck. (more…)

Experience overrated for Presidential potential

July 16, 2010

Granted, there isn’t a lot of evidence to any study on what makes a good president like there would be on what makes a good senator or what makes a good CEO or point guard since there’ve been so few presidents of the US. On the other hand, the presidents that are considered great have not necessarily had much prior experience, which includes executive experience. (more…)

Marc Thiessen: Stupid

July 14, 2010

On top of advocating for war crimes and being an otherwise immoral whiner who seems like a real pill to be around, Marc Thiessen seems unable to read a poll. You know the phrase “lies, damn lies, and statistics,” well Thiessen seems uninterested in the statistics part of it. What a complete idiot!

Question: since I’m not a journalist, I don’t know how newspapers work, but doesn’t it seem somewhat important to have a fact checker for a newspaper? Even on the opinion section? It’s not an opinion that the poll Thiessen read said that Obama lost Jewish support. It flatly didn’t say that. Does the editor of the Washington Post Opinion section care that little about his readers to let stupid people who can’t read a poll get away with proving their idiocy by writing about poll numbers?

Which is more socialist? Professional Soccer or the NBA

July 10, 2010

I was reading over some previews for the World Cup final game and realised that the Spanish National team is made up almost entirely of two club teams. At one time, 7 players on the Spanish side play on Barcelona during the season. Now, look at the current Miami Heat roster and you have three guys who could play for the American national basketball team. The problem is that Miami currently has 5 players currently signed on the team with no cap space to fill out the roster with even a second tier player (their 4th and 5th best players are Mario Chalmers and Kenny Hasbrouk). (more…)

Why do people who don’t like soccer have to create some political reason to do so?

July 7, 2010

Forget about the fact that this guy doesn’t link to anyone that actually fulfills his stereotype. I’m sure some people would argue about the great diversity that exists in soccer over and against that of American sports, but that would be stupid because anyone with eyes knows that American sports are very very diverse. Nevertheless, this guy doesn’t actually link to those straw men, so let’s forget he didn’t.

Instead, I’m going to argue why I love the World Cup rather than why I think he’s wrong for trying to argue something I, as someone who probably fits his stereotype in other ways, never disputed. (more…)