Circus Maximus MMXVI: If you complain once more

15 04 2015

By the Fata Morgana, what is Peggy Noonan ingesting?

I don’t usually read Noonan—Charlie Pierce and Wonkette provide sufficient wrap-ups—but I caught an excerpt of her column in which she complains about the unfairness of the media:

Two points on the general feel of the 2016 campaign so far.

One is that in the case of Mrs. Clinton we are going to see the press act either like the press of a great nation—hungry, raucous, alive, demanding—or like a hopelessly sickened organism, a big flailing octopus with no strength in its arms, lying like a greasy blob at the bottom of the sea, dying of ideology poisoning.

Republicans know—they see it every day—that Republican candidates get grilled, sometimes impertinently, and pressed, sometimes brusquely. And it isn’t true that they’re only questioned in this way once they announce, Scott Walker has been treated like this also, and he has yet to announce. Republicans see this, and then they see that Mrs. Clinton isn’t grilled, is never forced to submit to anyone’s morning-show impertinence, is never the object of the snotty question or the sharp demand for information. She gets the glide. She waves at the crowds and the press and glides by. No one pushes. No one shouts the rude question or rolls out the carefully scripted set of studio inquiries meant to make the candidate squirm. She is treated like the queen of England, who also isn’t subjected to impertinent questions as she glides into and out of venues. But she is the queen. We are not supposed to have queens.

I honestly thought Pierce and the nasty good folks at Wonkette were exaggerating when they referred to her, uh, louche style, but now I’m wondering exactly how many lotuses she eats prior to laying down in front of her keyboard.

Marco Rubio had a pretty great announcement in that it made the political class look at him in a new way, and a better way. I have heard him talk about his father the bartender I suppose half a dozen times, yet hearing it again in his announcement moved me. I don’t know how that happened. John Boehner is the son of a barkeep.

I. . . it’s. . . Good goddess, who writes like this?

Okay, sorry, I got distracted by the vapors wafting off of her. . . thoughts. The real point in bringing this up is to bang away on one of my favorite pots: Fairness doesn’t matter in electoral politics.

It doesn’t matter if Noonan is correct in her assessment of the mild treatment of Clinton (she is not) and that GOPpers will be subject to the cruelest and most unusual punishment by the media (if only), because fairness itself doesn’t matter.

I get the complaints, I do—I hated Ronald Reagan and thought he skated from the ill consequences of his policies, and considered the press’s treatment of Al Gore juvenile (and I still don’t understand how Joe Biden gets away with what he does)—but in the long march to the presidency, the agita over media slights or mis-magnifications is itself misplaced.

Sure, it allows you (if you are Peggy Noonan) to fill column space with psychedaelia, but the candidates themselves can’t get bogged down in the media mire: whining about the news-meanies isn’t going to get the non-tribal voter to the polls.

And that’s the whole point of the campaign: to get the folks on your side to show up, and to prod those who aren’t on the other side (and maybe a few who are) to drag their asses to the polls and pull the level or draw the line or punch the screen for you.

Who knows, maybe in Noonan’s marmalade-sky world, slurring about fairness makes its own tangerine sense. But on that hard, hard campaign trail, it doesn’t matter.

Winning matters. That’s all that matters.

~~~

h/t Shakesville





Circus Maximus MMXVI

18 03 2015

We have a winner!

As previously mentioned, “Bread and Circuses 2016″ was in the lead as the theme name for the upcoming ongoing presidential campaign, but when I came across this phrase, I thought Yessss.

To inaugurate this chariot race, let’s (re) consider the contenders:

Republicans, short- to long-shots:
Jeb Bush
Scott Walker
.
.
Chris Christie
Marco Rubio
.
.
Legit politician, could affect debates/win a state or two, no chance:
Ted Cruz
Lindsay Graham
Mike Huckabee*
John Kasich
Rand Paul
Rick Perry
Rick Santorum*

The entertainment:
John Bolton
Ben Carson
Carly Fiorina
Bobby Jindal

Update: *Included in “legit” category only because have actually held office and have chance of affecting the chances of other candidates; otherwise would, like Jindal, be slotted as “entertainment”.

Democrats:
Hillary Clinton
.
.
.
.
.
Joe Biden
.
.
.
Martin O’Malley
Bernie Sanders
Jim Webb

Do note that this list is near-completely impressionistic, i.e., I did no additional work beyond the mostly-casual reading I’ve been doing of the race thus far. Jonathan Bernstein is a clear influence (even if I don’t always agree with him) in terms of the significance of the invisible primary, and I did look at Larry Sabato’s list in compiling this one—although, again, I don’t necessarily follow his line.

Look to the “Know Yer Politics” links to the right for more-than-just-horse (chariot?)-race coverage. In the meantime, get your togas cleaned and your sandals resoled: it’s gonna be loooong 20 months.





Let us entertain you

27 02 2015

Yes, it’s well over a year out, but I’ma itchin’—itchin‘, I tell you—gas up the theme that’s gonna take us all through the sorry mess that it our presidential campaign season.

(Just what I’m itchin’ is none of yo business.)

Anyway, I thought of “Barn-burner 2016″,  but that’s rather too square-dance-ish, don’t you think? “Flash Mob 2016″? Stale.

I then considered something throwback and classic, but I couldn’t figure out how to whittle down “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” into something both recognizable and workable.

Then I went waaaaay back and classic—Roman Empire back-and-classic—and “Bread and Circuses 2016″ is now in the lead.

My only hesitation is that, as a bread-and-roses (good thing!) socialist, the bread-and-circuses (bad thing) bit may be misleadingly close.

Still, it does have a nice ring to it, and it brings to mind bloody gladiatorial combat designed to distract us from what’s really going down behind the velvet curtains.

(She said, rolling her hands over each other. . . .)

Oh, and I could of course deal with the filter issue for “Clusterfuck 2016″ thru elision or asterixing, (Clusterfck or Clusterf*ck), but, honestly that word describes so much of our politics that it seems a shame to confine to merely one election cycle.

Anyway. The quest continues.





Wrecking ball*

26 02 2015

So, Company Man Scott** has decided that union-bustin’ = freedom-fightin‘.

In response to a question about how to defeat ISIS/ISIL, he Manfully*** argued that:

“We need have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message that not only will we protect American soil, but…freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need that confidence,” he said. “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.”

Yes, because union members and protesters are JUST LIKE TERRORISTS.

[redacted curse]

[redacted curse!!!!!!]

[redacted redacted cuuurrrrsssssssseeeeeHOOOOOOooooowwwwlllllll!!!!!!!!!!!}

~~~

*I was initially thinking of Emmylou’s “Wrecking Ball”, but those for Miley Cyrus’s version—“I came in like a wrecking ball”—would work well, too. That video, tho’—huh.

**I do try to be at least somewhat mature in my presidential campaign posts, but as I’ve mentioned, Walker brings out the worst in me. Given the various names/descriptions I had considered before settling on this one (for this post, at least), “Company Man” seems downright neutral. I will try to bring my Howling Badger under control, but please understand that this is as much restraint as I could currently summon. Especially after a shitstorm like this.

***Yeah, yeah, big tough guv then has to whinge (yet again!) about his words being taken out of context and the media’s out to get him, sniffle-whimper-pout. You can take on unions and terrorists, but reporters are apparently too much for you.

****No, I don’t have anything quadruple-asterixed, above, but not for nothin’, I’m still in the market for a good 2016 campaign theme. I was thinking “Clusterfuck 2016″, but I do prefer a title that’s not going to get hung up naughty-words filters.





Love me, love me, say that you love me

23 02 2015

I am all in favor of Rudy Giuliani’s continuing contributions to our nation’s political discourse.

Anything that helps to reveal  what a shit Scott Walker is is allllllll right by me.

~~~

Does this post indicate incipient Walker Derangement Syndrome? Only if he wins, people, only if he wins—and you’d better believe I’m gonna do. . . um . . . something. . . to . . . kneecap his chances.

I really don’t need to spend 4-8 years howling into the wind.





An army of me

12 08 2014

I’d really like to see a woman president, I would.

And I have a certain admiration for Hillary Clinton, I do.

But if asked if I would support her over other, to-be-determined, Democratic candidates, I would not.

The thinking behind this interview is a big reason why.





Just gonna have to be a different man

17 06 2014

I am admittedly ambivalent on the prospects of Hillary Clinton running for president.

I’d dearly love to see a woman president, but if I thought Russ Feingold had half a chance in Hades of becoming prez, I’d vote for him in a New York minute.

She’s just too. . . conservative for me to get hepped up about her.

(That said, if she’s the nominee, you can be damned sure I’ll vote for her over Ted Cruz or Rick Perry or Scott Walker: “voting while sighing” is preferable to “smashing an icepick thru my eye socket”.)

In any case, she’s received a fair amount of (mostly negative) press on her tetchiness with Terry Gross, and, honestly, her inability to give a decent answer to mildly skeptical questions about her “evolution” on gay marriage is ridiculous. She changed her mind, it’s clear she changed her mind, and yet this woman who had adopted a wonderfully FuckIt attitude while Secretary of State somehow froze up when confronted with that known aggressor Gross.

Not that it’ll matter. She might get some grief about it in the primary, but chances are her opponents will also have “evolved” on the issue and will be unwilling to press her too hard. If she makes it to the general, it won’t matter at all: many Americans who today favor same-sex marriage probably had the same views about the issue in the 1990s as Clinton did, and thus won’t hold her changing views against her.

Hell, they might even feel reassured by her vagueness about exactly when and why her views changed, not least because the course of their own change is similarly vague.

Those of who pay attention to politics often want some kind of consistency or thru-line in their candidates and politicians; we want, in some weird kind of way, for them to be better than us—or, vainly, for them to be good enough to deserve our support.

But we’re not normal—most people don’t pay attention to politics—and it’s not at all clear that the characteristics we prize or deplore in politicians matters much to the folks who don’t tune in to the race before that last Labor Day before the election.

And for better and for worse, they’re the ones who’ll have the final say on who the next president is.








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