As governor, Mr Johnson showed that a non-ideological, pragmatic libertarianism can work as a governing philosophy. But neither full-blooded libertarians nor allegedly liberty-loving tea-party enthusiasts really care much about governing. Libertarians, accustomed to dwelling on the margins of American politics, participate in elections without hope of electoral success, if they participate at all. For them, presidential campaigns offer at best an occasion to preach the libertarian gospel to the wary public, and the more table-pounding the better.
Johnson’s style – relaxed, calm, patient – is ill-suited to the times. His principles and beliefs challenge conservatives and liberals alike while offering nothing to the nationalist rassentiment that pervades the Republican party these days. Ron Paul’s movement is, fundamentally, based on emotion; Johnson makes the mistake of trying to appeal to reason. That won’t work this year.
Gary Johnson by far is not the perfect candidate in my eyes but he looks better to me than Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Hermain Cain, and Ron Paul. The again, those aforementioned have just about the same chance (not much) of winning the nomination.
Robert Reich explains how the hypothetical presidential match-up between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama has dwindled from a 13 point lead for Barack to just 1 point:
Why is Mitt doing so well? Partly because Obama’s positions are by now well known, while voters can project anything they want onto Mitt. It’s also because much of the public continues to worry about the economy, jobs, and the price of gas at the pump, and they inevitably blame the president.
But I suspect something else is at work here, too. To many voters, President Obama sounds and acts presidential, but he doesn’t look it. Mitt Romney is the perfect candidate for people uncomfortable that their president is black. Mitt is their great white hope.
I wouldn’t take it so far with the race card. Mitt is somewhat ambiguous when it comes to policy, yes. However, he seems to be the same, plain candidate that was around in 2008:
I say this not because Mitt’s mind is the sharpest of the likely contenders (Newt Gingrich is far more nimble intellectually). Nor because his record of public service is particularly impressive (Tim Pawlenty took his governorship seriously, while Mitt as governor seemed more intent on burnishing his Republican credentials outside Massachusetts). Nor because Mitt is the most experienced at running a business (Donald Trump has actually managed a major company, while Mitt made his money buying and selling companies). Nor, finally, because he’s especially charismatic or entertaining (Sarah Palin can work up audiences, and Mike Huckabee is genuinely funny and folksy, while Mitt delivers a speech so deliberately he seems to be driving a large truck).
Funny things that no one else could make up (or live out).
Paul Waldman describes the lifestyle of a presidential candidate:
Running for any office, particularly president, requires putting part of your natural humanity aside. On the trail, you’re not allowed to have a range of emotions, or good days and bad days. You can’t be surly, or impatient, or bummed out, as all of us are every now and then.
The ability to sustain a particular kind of upbeat mood all the time on the trail can be a function of sheer will, or it can be a function of monomania. Either way, the trail reveals whether the candidates have it. A presidential campaign is a brutal slog. Try to imagine that for the next year and a half, you almost never got a day off (and that means you work weekends, too), you had to meet thousands of people and give hundreds of speeches, and everywhere you went, even when you were just talking to one or two people on a street corner, someone was videotaping you, with your every word being recorded. Also, people felt perfectly free to come up to you and tell you what a jerk they think you are. And you had to smile and act like you like it.
This was in response to an interaction Newt Gingrich had with a voter:
Dubuque, Ia. — Newt Gingrich got a not-so-nice welcome here today.
As he was getting ready to leave a speaking engagement Dubuque resident Russell Fuhrman approached him in the lobby of the Holiday Inn:
“Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself,” Fuhrman said directly to Gingrich.
Gingrich, visibly stunned, quickly moved forward to talk with other guests.
In case you were thinking of voting Newt Gingrich in 2012:
I actually agree with Newt; Paul Ryan’s plan, which caters to the rich and the corporations and rips to shreds programs for the poor, for mothers, and those in need, is radical. Unfortunately for Newt, he is running for the Republican nomination. He flip flopped on Libya as well. While I don’t see flip flopping as a problem (we all reconsider things), his party does see it as a problem.
OTB breaks this down:
So, Gingrich’s new defense is that David Gregory asked him a “trick question” and that he “misspoke.”
Gingrich is imploding. He’s imploding because he forgot that he’s not just a talking head pundit on television who can talk like a grand theorist and get away with it. He’s running for President, and trying to change your story on the fly doesn’t work in the era of YouTube.
Newt Gingrich has floated the idea of people being required to take a test to be able to vote. This eerily reminds me of civil rights era times where many African Americans could not vote because of poll taxes or hard as nails poll tests. Both of those tactics, along with KKK strong arming, were meant to keep African Americans away from voting. The South is still recovering.
Gingrich may be sincere, but with a PhD you would think he would know how sensitive this issue is to the fabric of America.
Newt Gingrich plays the old Rush Limbaugh game of dialing up racist anecdotes and then easily flops back into a defensive crybaby mode when called on them.
For a guy with a PhD in History, 2012 Republican nominee Newt Gingrich is pretty good at hyperbole (and overblown fear-mongering):
Republican Newt Gingrich told a Georgia audience on Friday evening that the 2012 presidential election is the most consequential since the 1860 race that elected Abraham Lincoln to the White House and was soon followed by the Civil War.
Addressing the Georgia Republican Party’s convention, Gingrich said the nation is at a crossroads and that the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama would lead to four more years of “radical left-wing values” that would drive the nation to ruin.
Gingrich also blasted Obama as “the most successful food stamp president in modern American history.”
For those of you thinking of voting for Newt (I once would have), check out this piece:
1985 Gingrich compares a disputed House election in Indiana to the Holocaust. “We have talked a lot in recent weeks about the Holocaust, about the incredible period in which Nazi Germany killed millions of people and, in particular, came close to wiping out European Jewry. Someone said to me two days ago, talking frankly about the McIntyre affair [in which Democrats refused to seat the winner of a House race until they'd conducted a recount] and the efforts by the Democratic leadership not to allow the people of Indiana to have their representative but, instead, to impose upon them somebody else, something in which he quotes [German poet Martin] Niemoller, and I have never quite until tonight been able to link it together—Niemoller, the great German theologian, said at one point: ‘When the Nazis came for the Jews, I did nothing…and when the Nazis came for me, there was no one left.’”
This is an epic quote from Rand Paul:
>PAUL: I was happy to see that Newt Gingrich has staked out a position on the war, a position, or two, or maybe three. I don’t know. I think he has more war positions than he’s had wives. [...]
There’s a big debate over there. Fox News can’t decide, what do they love more, bombing the Middle East or bashing the president? It’s like I was over there and there was an anchor going, they were pleading, can’t we do both? Can’t we bomb the Middle East and bash the president at the same time? How are we going to make this work?
Rand Paul continues to surprise me, especially with his shots at Fox News. I am starting to like him more and more.
H/T: Outside the Beltway
This reminds me of Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly – do they truly believe what they spout and support or is it all a political choice that brings them many benefits (money, for one!):
A few years later, having fathered two children with his high school math teacher (whom he had married at the age of 19), Gingrich returned to Georgia and launched his electoral career, running for Congress in 1974 and again in 1976. His incumbent opponent was John Flynt, an old-fashioned conservative Democrat best known for being on the League of Conservation Voters’ “Dirty Dozen” list of environmental reactionaries. Unlike many Georgia Republicans who sought to out-flank Dixiecrats by coming across as better-bred right-wing extremists, Gingrich ran to Flynt’s left, emphasizing environmentalist and “reform” themes, and enlisting significant support from liberal Democrats. Unfortunately for him, these were the two worst election cycles for Georgia Republicans since the 1950s (the Watergate election of 1974 and Jimmy Carter’s Georgia landslide of 1976), and he lost narrowly both times.
But then Flynt retired, just as Gingrich’s form of liberal Republicanism was falling out of fashion nationwide, in the run-up to Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980. When Gingrich ran for Congress again in 1978, this time against a more conventional Democrat, he reinvented himself as a fighting conservative focused on anti-tax and anti-welfare messages. He also burnished his conservative credentials by heading up a statewide group opposed to President Carter’s Panama Canal Treaty, a major right-wing (and specifically Reaganite) cause at the time. Gingrich won as a newly minted conservative, riding a conservative trend in his state and the country. It’s hard to know whether his earlier liberal persona, which seemed consistent with his private behavior and the polyglot crew of environmentalists he hung out with at West Georgia, or his later conservative incarnation was more genuine. But it is clear his turn to the right was well timed, and launched him not only into Congress but into a career as a national political celebrity.
If you don’t feel like reading all of that, this short bit sums it up:
ut the lesson of Gingrich’s early years is that he has a jeweler’s eye for a political opening and a willingness to transform himself as necessary to exploit such opportunities when they arise. This could be one of those times: Because the 2012 Republican field is exceedingly weak in ways that would benefit Gingrich, he could end up in a surprisingly good electoral position if he decides to run.
John Lewis’s memoir Walking with the Wind was a delightful read. After finishing Shame of the Nation, I needed either a break from reading for a week or a lighter read. I heard about Lewis’s memoir within Shame of the Nation as Kozol interviewed him. Little did I know that Lewis’s book was the perfect book for me to grab a hold of.
Walking with the Wind is a long read (503 pages) but is simple and accessible in its wording and approach. The story starts with Lewis’s upbringing in the rural Alabama town of Troy. Lewis grew up and attended college in Nashville where he became active in nonviolent protests. His belief in nonviolence for the attainment of the Beloved (not hateful, not violent, not uncaring, not unkind) Community (not separated, not polarized, not adversarial) was central to him then as it is now as he serves as Congressman for the 5th U.S. Congressional district of Georgia. His stances have often brought on the labels of “anti-black” or “soft” because of his integrated and nonviolent approach to democracy.
Lewis documents his first hand participation in the Nashville sit-ins, strikes, marches in Selma and Montgomery, and his work thereafter. He didn’t watch this stuff on TV, read it in the paper, or hear it on the radio: he was there. As he and hundreds of others attempted their first march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama (a 56 mile walk, by the way), he was clubbed in the head and landed a fractured skull. He marched with Martin Luther King Jr, Baynard Rustin, Ralph Abernathy, A. Phillip Randolph, and tens of thousands of nameless men, women, and children all for the sake of equal voting rights, equal usage of facilities (Boynton v. Virginia), and for the ultimate end of racism in the South. He worked for Jimmy Carter’s administration, helped Bobby Kennedy campaign, was called to private and group meetings lead by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and is the only House Rep today to of been arrested over 40 times.
What I enjoy about John Lewis’s character is that he holds no punches yet he isn’t judgmental. His book is not a polemic against likely enemies such as Newt Gingrich, George Wallace, plethora of racist southern elected officials, et al. He does call out those for being slow to act, for not upholding laws, and for what he sees as right and wrong. Ultimately, Lewis sees everyone through the eye of a key nonviolence movement tenet: everyone will have to deal with the decisions they make. Their conscience will bear that and he has no room to step in between anyone and their decisions. Much of his book comes off as him reporting the times, not opining every bit of it.
I felt that Lewis’s book dragged for the last 120 pages after the last of the marches ended and MLK / Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations. Walking with the Wind is well worth the read for anyone interested or intrigued by justice, compassion, nonviolence, and the piece they all hold in this puzzle known as America.
Here I go.
As the NY Times show, the GOP gained 60 House seats and 6 Senate seats. This was the biggest “shellacking”, taken from Obama’s wording, in 70 years. I don’t intend to spin this any which way but I want to look a bit at what could come from all this.
To start, Dave True blogged on this election here and here. As he mentions, this week is truly a hard one if you are a Democrat / Liberal / Progressive and a victorious one if you are a Republican / Conservative. It is unclear what the GOP controlled House can do with a Democratic Senate and President. Some may think back to 1994. However, this is far from 1994 in many ways. The pressure, to a moderate degree, I believe, will be on the GOP to 1) produce something of worth for their base 2) mount a surge for a president (they need a viable candidate first) 3) and figure out what to do with the differing ideologies between Republicans and the staunchly Conservative Tea Party.
For the first, they have put forth the Pledge to America. It is an ode to basic America; we don’t need no damn 1,000 page documents, give us it in them there plain language without the expert hoopla. The Pledge, however, could clash with Democratic Washington in terms of vetoes and votes. Even if the were to produce something of worth, I question whether their proposals would cut $100 billion in one year (this would be the most since 1963 when they first started tracking this) or even the debt in general over a course of time. I will go off in a bit on my views regarding the tax cuts for the rich. Be ready for that.
On number 2, there are a plethora of candidates out there in GOP land openly moving or tip toeing towards the GOP nomination: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich (?), Sarah Palin (?), Herman Cain (??), and a handful of other Senators / Reps. Can any of them truly touch Obama politically? Maybe I am so far removed from the bullshit spin, but I see Obama as a very well thought out president through and through, a non-Christianist pick (there is a difference between a Christianist and a Christian, just as there is a difference between a Muslim and a Islamist), fair, and extremely smart. His grass roots will need to support him on this. With the recent mid term hit for Democrats, I don’t take it as a total blow directed towards Obama himself but to a large degree what is expected when it comes to voting during the midterms for a first term president, especially when the economy is quite grim.
Finally, Draino wondered the other day if the Tea Party will be thrown under the bus by the Republicans. If that happened, I wouldn’t be able to stop laughing. Just imagine that: a grass roots group being used for their political zeal to put a group of politicians in office only to be punked. Going back to 1994, Newt Gingrich had a plan, and by plan, he meant shut down Washington and lead towards a deeper sense of polarization. That backfired, had Bill Clinton looking like the good guy (he was nearly invicible, if you think about it), and as Paul Krugman believes, “may even deter the GOP from being too confrontational this time around.”
David Barton, Glenn Beck’s go to ‘history/constitutional scholar’, was one of the “experts” on the Texas Education school panel. This gets deep:
“David is, I think, the most important man in America right now,” Beck said in July, introducing one of Barton’s many appearances on his show. In addition to being a frequent TV guest of Beck’s, Barton is also one of three professors at Beck’s online school, Beck University. He was a member of the expert panel that created Texas’ controversial new history standards, which played down Thomas Jefferson and played up John Calvin. In September, he spoke at a rally for Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, where he was billed as a “constitutional scholar.” Later this month, he and Newt Gingrich will headline a meeting for Nevada pastors at a Las Vegas resort, meant to mobilize them ahead of the upcoming elections.
Let me pass some more tea or should I say karma:
The notion of karma comes with lots of new-age baggage, but it is an old and very conservative idea. It is the Sanskrit word for “deed” or “action,” and the law of karma says that for every action, there is an equal and morally commensurate reaction. Kindness, honesty and hard work will (eventually) bring good fortune; cruelty, deceit and laziness will (eventually) bring suffering. No divine intervention is required; it’s just a law of the universe, like gravity.
This gets scary when the fundamentalist, eye for an eye Christianism (not too different from the Satanically labeled nation of Islam: think about womans roles in society, their way of dress, as well as harsh judgments under the guise of “justice”) is actually being legislated within the second largest state in the USA as well as religiously televised on Fox News. Add to that the volume of text book purchases by the Lone Star state and the political/educational weight it possesses from that alone.
Religiously speaking, the common thinking below the radar is “I do not want to pay for my neighbors boondoggles”. Beyond this dilemma having always been part of our country (yes, before FDR and LBJ’s Great Society) as well as passing along cynical tea per say, this is an under the radar route to hardening ones heart towards the world, those struggling to get past racial systems that have lifted up whites and held down countless minority groups, and Gods will for justice, redemption, and caring for the least of thee (not simply serving at the feet, economically speaking, those making over $250,000 a year, or simply those qualifying for the Bush tax cuts). Where does the welcoming father of the prodigal son fit into these conservative minds? Is the father God or some pious, loving dad? I even have a hard time wrapping my head around that parable and the Christian ethics in question (shall I be harsh to that worthless person or should I care for them?). I could go down the theological road of “denying one self” to dominion theology to the Left Behind / rapture views.
In the end, I find it quite ironic when conservatives claim that liberals and progressives are taking over and ruining America. I even saw a somewhat offensive billboard in farm country this past weekend commissioning those reading it to “vote them out”. Is not their large swath appeal with the Texas school board and over the quasi-religious Glenn Beck show a take over in and of itself? Lastly, it seems to be a matter of time before the Tea Party implodes. It seems easy for them to ride on a high horse now while not having to put forth any policy suggestions (those by the RNC have been vague). Will they exist after the 2010 and 2012 elections still as one blended group?