Posts Tagged ‘Election’

Election 2010: Insiders vs. Outsiders

February 3, 2010

Politics in 2010 has become a battle between the Insiders vs. the Outsiders. As in, “Send me to Washington so I can put an end to ‘politics as usual'”. The problem with that logic is that politicians don’t change Washington; Washington changes politicians.

This November’s election is building up to be a campaign against all the incumbents. Incumbents are always blamed for not getting anything done because, duh, they are the ones with the jobs to do so. But incumbents are not inherently bad–the system is. With the filibuster, and career politicians, and the internet exposing every “misstatement”, how can anyone expect anything to get done? If a Republican or a Democrat wants to vote for something from the other party, they can’t do it for fear of losing their job. Because of our entrenched two-party political system, American politics have turned into one big Coke vs. Pepsi battle: both are essentially the same product in different packaging. And both of them fear the rise of a third competitor.

Voters tend to talk about “throwing the bums out”, but whenever we get a chance to do so we fall back to our inbred political positions and vote for the candidates we think we know. Two examples of this surfaced in the Illinois primaries last night.

In the race for the US Senate seat once held by Barack Obama, Illinois has decided to send one of two political insiders to DC in the fall: State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) and US Representative Mark Kirk (R). Giannoulias is indeed a DC outsider, but he is a political animal with a slightly tainted background from when he ran his family-owned bank into trouble with loan regulators. And Mark Kirk has been in DC for a long time with deep roots as a supporter of the W/Cheney administration. Whomever IL elects in November, they will be sending a political INSIDER to Washington.

It has been said that President Obama was not supportive of Giannoulias because this country is very anti-banking these days, and Alexi’s background in that industry will be like feeding chum to a shark tank when Mark Kirk’s ads begin to break. And no doubt the Giannoulias campaign will show many pictures of Kirk hugging W to remind voters of his right-wing voting record from last decade. The voters will wind up sending one of these two bad options to DC (my prediction: Mark Kirk will win), and nothing will change.

There’s an old saying that the “voters get the kind of politicians they deserve”, which is so true. We talk a good game about changing politics, but we keep sending the same politicians back to work. Politicians will never change the system–only the voters can do that by electing outsiders. So until the voters of the US become fed up with the underperformance of our elected officials and decide to send real outsiders to Washington, we have no one to blame but ourselves.


Ok, I’ll say it: Al Franken for President (one of these days).

December 19, 2009

It’s time to take Al Franken seriously. It is for me anyway.

Al Franken was Stuart Smalley, and today he is the Junior Senator from the state of Minnesota. Although elected in 2008, he wasn’t actually sworn in until July 7, 2009. He was too busy defending his victory over wannabe chad-counter Republican Senator Norm Coleman. The GOP hates Franken so much. They hate how progressive he is. They hate that he’s another Harvard-educated liberal. He was born in ultra-liberal New York City, and raised in “St. Jewish Park” (St. Louis Park), MN. Franken is Harvard-educated (he majored in Political Science), creative, charming, famous, rich, adored by the millions of fans he’s entertained since the 1970s, and he’s Jewish.

He sounds like the GOP’s biggest nightmare.

I always laughed my head off whenever I saw Franken, I mean “Senator Franken”, do his Stuart Smalley routine. I always knew he was smart, and he really caught my attention with Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat, Idiot. He was good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it-I always liked him. But I didn’t realize he had guts.

And then he kicked lame Joe LIEberman’s butt back to his desk. Watch the 2.5 minute video HERE.

Al Franken told Joe LIEberman to sit down and stop talking about his self-centered, hypocritical viewpoint on healthcare reform as soon as he hit the customary 10-minute limit. He didn’t even give LIEberman a Hanukkah gift of an extra minute or two. I love it.

And get a load of John McCain acting all put off by Senator Al Franken doing what he had every right to do–deny LIEberman any extra time to speak by refusing to honor J-LIE’s request by unanimous consent. John McCain is Mr. Anti-Pork, and he talks about preventing waste, and then he wastes precious time on the tax-payer’s dime talking about procedure and proper behavior in the Senate, and BS like that, instead of talking about fixing healthcare. John McCain is the epitome of Old School, with the emphasis on old.

So Senator Al Franken has the brains, the guts, the politics, the money, the charisma, and the first real legitimate shot to be the first. Jewish. President. Ever. That’s my opinion. Would he be in the Democratic Party, or will he christen the Progressive Party? Will Obama give Franken Joe Biden’s Vice Presidency to re-capture the progressive wing of his base and win reelection, thereby allowing Al to gain incredible perspective and experience as the apprentice to the most powerful job in the free world?

From there anything is possible.

Election Day 2009

November 3, 2009

It’s the first Tuesday in November, so that can only mean one thing: time to vote. But for the vast majority of the US electorate there is nothing to vote on today. NY, NJ and VA have some important elections and Maine has a gay marriage issue to vote on, but outside of that what does election day mean when there is no President or even a mid-term to go to the polls on?

Today’s election results will provide America with a barometer of where we all stand after just one year into Barack Obama’s Presidency and the Democratic takeover of the Congress. Some call it a referendum on the President. Others call it a measure of the GOP’s power. It’s kinda like taking the PSATs–the results will tell us how best to prepare for 2010.

2010 will probably be one of the ugliest election years in American history. The Tea-Baggers will be losing their minds all year. Democrats will be running scared if they don’t get healthcare reform signed into law, and even if they do they’ll have a lot of problems if a bill passes that doesn’t make the Liberal/Progressive base happy. Rush Limbaugh will flap his gums for months about Obama and Socialism (will it morph into Communism by that time?). Glen Beck will lie about anything he can. Keith Olbermann will get nastier and angrier. Michael Steel will spout stupidity and insanity. Joe LIEberman will flip-flop on everything. And the gang over at Air America radio will rake in the ratings. But what about the voters?

That’s why today is the most important off-year election ever. By the time all the results are in tonight we will know how the country feels about Barack Obama much more accurately than the public opinion polls show. Have the Conservative lies and smears sunk in and caused the reform-minded voters on this country to lean towards the right? Or have they backfired and made voters turn to the left in disgust?

If VA, NY’s 23rd district, and NJ all vote Republican today does that mean the Democrats are in trouble next year? Yes AND No. Somebody once said “the numbers don’t lie” and that’s just as true for election returns. But while those numbers don’t lie, they can be deceiving. From a Democratic perspective, no matter what happens today will be good news for Democrats. If they get beaned in NY/NJ/VA then they will get confirmation that their agenda is off track and it will be a warning sign that they have some hardcore explaining and campaigning to do to their base in 2010.

However, if the Democrats do well today (and here’s also hoping everyone in Maine voted “no” on repealing gay marriage), then we will all know that the Conservative dirty work of 2009 has no traction, and we can expect to pound them into oblivion in 2010.

So I will personally be kicking back tonight and watching the news for all the returns–for clarity of vision in 2010. Because in this case, as Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) said in Raging Bull, “If you win you win, if you lose you still win.”