Monday, September 08, 2008

So Much Bullshit, So Little Time

I know I've been lax on the political blogging. Believe me, I've started and "saved as drafts" three separate lengthy posts on the issues, the bullshit floating around the news, and what I think of the economic, foreign policy, and social plans of the respective candidates. Problem is, there is just so much bullshit out there that it's tough to know where to start. Do I point out the crap, or analyze the facts? Which crap do I start with, and which facts? It's so frustrating that I've banned myself from looking at politics outside of specifically designated hours or I'm just going to get cranky.

In a conversation with Ellen (not Nelle, the other one) I determined that: 1) People who vote simply on commercials are idiots. If I could figure out how to take away their voter cards, I would. 2) There are a lot of idiots out there, based on how the numbers swing whenever new crap floats to the surface in campaign commercials. 3) No matter what I say, I can't raise the IQ of an idiot.

So, I will be trying to make myself post on politics. Not because I've any hope whatsoever of raising the level of the national conversation, but because I don't want to miss the opportunity to say "Toldja so."

Some ground rules:

Ground Rules
  1. Issues rule. No slogans like "Patriotism First!" or "Tax the rich!" If you're going to vote by slogans, you should really confine yourself to judging cheerleading contests. Identifiable problems and actual proposals for solutions are necessary for running the country. So it's a good thing to take the time to decide which issues are most important to you. Then read Obama's stated positions, and McCain's stated positions, and see who lines up best. Finally, go to McCain's voting records and Obama's voting records and see whether they back up what they say. Common sense side note: just because they voted for or against a bill doesn't mean they are for or against that issue. It could be that the bill was flawed, it had some special interest rider attached or was poorly worded. Candidates use that to say "so and so was against this" when it actually means no such thing. If they've voted incongruously to their stated position, google the bill and figure out why. Which leads me to my next point . . .
  2. Flip-Flops are not always bad. Apparently changing your mind is considered a bad thing in politics, and a candidate who dares to do so risks being compared to pancakes or denounced as a fraud. If you've discovered you're wrong on an issue you should stick it out until the bitter end and consequences be damned. Ooookaaay. May I politely suggest that this is the wrong answer? Reconsidering your position in light of new facts is actually a good thing. Political flip-flops, going with the popular view just because it's popular, are generally bad. However, even that comes with a caveat. After all, politicians are elected to represent the people. So it kinda depends on whether they've decided that the people were right all along, or if they've changed position just to come off looking good, and whether the popular view actually has any merit. So when a politician changes tactics, first check to see if it is an actual flip-flop, or if they're being mischaracterized. Then look at the issue - is it a no-brainer? Was it at the time it was said? Have new facts come to light? Is the timing suspect? Did they favor something that played to one special interest and then change their minds because they suddenly found a better group with more money to support them, or move from a local to a national arena so they threw the local interests under the bus? Which makes my next point:
  3. Character not caricatures. How many stupid stereotypes are perpetuated in the name of running a "character campaign?" McCain as a rich puppet for big business who will spend the next four years as Bush's ventriloquist dummy. Obama as the terrorist's best friend who will bloat government programs to the point of unrecognizability. Now we've got Palin, and it seems they can't figure out whether to make her out to be the female Chuck Norris, an offshoot of the Clampett family, or Phyllis Schlafly's long-lost twin. Or, if you'd rather focus on the positive, McCain as Rambo and Obama as the second incarnation of Dr. Martin Luther King. Poor Joe Biden must be feeling a tad left out of all this.

Having laid the ground rules, I'll start posting on issues. As time goes on, I will also try to point out who is passing around the most crap per column inch (or moment of commercial time), because the one place I find I can gauge character is by who tells the most self-serving half-truths, or lets their party do so in his/her name.

However, because I'm out of time (yep, I'm limiting time I get to spend talking about it as well) these will have to start on another post.

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