Friday, November 5, 2010
With the exception of our excellent military, Americans are a pretty soft bunch. This isn't an all bad thing, however. Whenever a disaster in the world happens, we get busy sending money. We have a network for taking care of disabled people that unrivaled throughout the world. Charities know that all they have to do is show an American an emaciated child, and the American will open their wallet.
But when it comes to politics, it is not a good thing for Americans to be soft. We are buying into the message that "civility" must trump the truth because we've lost the toughness that made this country great. We are horrified by "negative" or "attack" ads that candidates put out that in fact do nothing more than tell the truth about their opponent. Television personalities that make millions from pontificating about politics decry the channels that make their profession possible because these channels supposedly foster incivility. Our own President does everything he can to be seen and heard every day by every American, and then bemoans the "24/7 news cycle" that puts him on their airwaves.
Americans should not put up with this. The issues we need to talk about are being obscured by politicians trying to get the most positive media coverage by looking like the "civil" candidate. And look where that got us: John McCain, the media darling for years, ran a campaign that avoided asking the hard questions about Barack Obama and his policies, and Obama cruised to victory. We don't want to talk about Social Security's insolvency because the Democrats have made sure that any discussion of the subject is automatically characterized as frightening to older people. Americans, especially the Republicans, are being cowed by the very idea that they might be seen as uncouth when tackling the hard issues that we face.
This is unacceptable. Our Founding Fathers engaged in duels over political ideas. They put their lives on the line for the principles of this country. And they absolutely savaged each other when running for office. Don't believe me? You want proof? Here you go!
Keep this in mind the next time you hear that this election cycle was the most negative ever (which seems to be the meme every election year). We're pansies compared to our Founding Fathers.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Well, everyone and their cat is opining on the Tea-nami, so I guess I'd better too. If y'all are jumping off a cliff, I should be at the bottom to catch you! Also, just as a side note, cats really don't like tea.
Any analysis at this point must take into account that 2 Senate and 10 Representative seats have not been officially called (according to cnn.com's results tracker). Three-quarters of Washington's mail-in ballots are in, and things are not looking good for Republican Dino Rossi (again). Alaska's returned ballots are at the same point, with a large number of absentees (which would most likely be military) still to be counted. For the sake of decent politics everywhere, I hope Daddy's Little Brat doesn't get to keep her toy-er, seat. And I hope that Alaskans realize that the only reason the Republicans in the Senate let her keep her powerful positions (which was her only platform) is because they wanted to play nice. What a disgrace.
That being said, the Republicans did well Tuesday night. A sweep of the House that will go down in the history books. Taking back several Senate seats. Goading a Democratic president into admitting his policies didn't work (and giving Ed Morrissey a week's worth of Obamatuerisms). And although not every single Tea Party candidate won their race, the movement as a whole did well as they saw their platform of fiscal conservativism validated by the voters. (If you're keeping score at home, Sarah Palin is currently 52 for 82 endorsements, or 63.4%.)
Everyone's also got their "lessons" from Tuesday night, but I haven't seen mine yet. And my takeaway from this significant exercise in democracy is this: If you're a politician, you serve all the people, not just your core voters. In Marco Rubio's victory speech, he pointed out that not only would he serve the people that had voted for him, but the people who had not voted for him as well. The Democrats who (and some of the Republicans who got booted in the primaries) learned the hard way that Rubio's principle is a foundation for our democracy. Your representatives, whether you voted for them or not, have an obligation to listen to you once they're elected. And if they don't, we have the American tradition of "Throw the bums out!"
And, on that note, this guy is no longer representing the district we live in. Yee-haw!