A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Right Wing Radio

I've stopped listening. They are getting seriously unhinged. It's actually rather disturbing to listen to of late-- so I've stopped. I think I'll check back after the elections, because they seem to be getting worn out carrying water for a Republican Party with no soul and no compunction. Torture is acceptable policy because national security trumps all. No matter how slimy a particular Republican is, you must vote for him, because otherwise the Dems might win control of Congress, and Nancy Pelosi is the Anti-Christ (I exagerate, but not by much. It is amazing the amount of venom Sean Hannity alone managed to sling at Nancy Pelosi in the 10 minutes I could stand listening to his... rant. Yeah, rant. Only word that really sums up his disjointed verbal tar and feathering of Pelosi).

Rush, always a preening windbag with somewhat tenuous familiarity with the truth, has gone completely off the deep end. Here are the two bits that have convinced me never to listen to, much less believe, Rush ever again. #1, a bumper plug for his show: "So smart, he'll do your thinking for you." That's probably not word for word, but it was the gist of the plug-- listen to Rush, so you know what to think. Ye gods. #2: Last time I listened, about 2 weeks ago, Rush was ranting about a recent study that found a new medical use for marijuana. I'm not certain (I turned on the radio mid-rant), but I suspect it was this study. Anyway, this is Rush's response (again, paraphrased, but the gist is DOBA):
Well, I'm not saying this is the case or anything, but it wouldn't surprise me if some, maybe most, of the scientists doing the study were toking. These peeeepuhl have an agenda, and they want to get marijuana legalised because most of them smoke it anyway. Now, again, I'm not saying these scientists DO smoke pot, but it wouldn't shock me if they did.
Mind you, he had not a single iota of evidence to support the idea that the scientists were on drugs, nor that they had an "agenda" to legalize marijuana, but since he wasn't "saying this is the case" I guess all this hypothesizing is okay, huh? What a maroon.

Hannity seems to have an unnatural fixation on Nancy Pelosi, as noted above, and nobody pounds the "Patriots Vote for National Security" drum harder than he. Tiresome. And inaccurate. Patriots vote for what they believe is best for their country-- and I am more and more thinking that single-party domination of all branches of our government is a very bad thing for our country. Because instead of focusing on the central points of that party-- smaller gov't, lower taxes, federalism, "speak softly but carry a bit stick"-- all the nutjobs are soundly baying at the moon because "their" party is in power and must fulfill all the nutjob desires. With relatively unfettered control, the party in power tries to push through all the piddly/odd crap that they know will never fly in a split Congress or a split Legislative/Executive power structure.

Which brings me to a more local level. In Milwaukee, we have a number of conservative on-air pundits, but the only one I listen to with any regularity is Mark Belling. Arrogant, sometimes mean-spirited, nearly always condescending, and belligerent to callers that dare disagree with him, he usually does offer some interesting commentary and, unlike Rush and Hannity, usually does not reflexively support the Republican Party. Rather, he usually supports conservative principles, and decries hypocrisy and stupidity on both sides of the political spectrum.

Not so much, lately. Lately, any national commentary-- the local stuff is still generally insightful and rational-- seems to be taken straight from the Karl Rove playbook. National security trumps all, if you are "soft" on terror (meaning you oppose torture or have reservations about any aspect of the NSA phone taps or have any reservations about the Patriot Act, or that you think the recent shift of power to the Executive branch might be a bad thing) you are unpatriotic and must not be allowed anywhere near elected office. If you are disgruntled with the horrible performance of the Republicans, you must vote for them anyway, because the Democrats would unquestionably be worse.

Key word being unquestionably, of course. We just know the democrats would be worse. Granted, there is no real evidence to support that, since the new reality of 9/11 is very recent and the Democrats haven't been in power since it happened. But Clinton did little or nothing about bin Laden back before we really understood the threat, so naturally, any and all Democrats would be as bad or worse.

The things that I find so distasteful about it all, because there are some good points mixed in with the dreck, are the ad hominem nature of the attacks-- Nancy Pelosi is this, Russ Feingold is that-- and the incredible shrillness with which the points are made. They are not thoughtful, rational explanations. They are strident and unreasoning bullet points with no room for debate or compromise. You must believe 100% or be cast out as unclean.

Not

Gonna

Do it.

So, here's my new tweak of my write-in an actually qualified candidate paradigm. Find someone of the opposite ideological bent as you. Tell them you're sick of it all and don't want to vote for any of the hacks running but you also don't want to "waste" your vote. Try to convince him or her to also write-in someone-- that way your two non-votes cancel each other out, just like they would if you both voted a straight party ticket on opposite sides. You both get to have a clear conscience of having voted for someone qualified and-- gasp!-- honest, while not having to worry that your non-vote was actually a vote for the other party.

Ideally, your "vote partner" would be in the same state as you, so that your elections match up as closely as possible. Same city would be even better.

So, watchya say, tc? Want to write-in my brother for Governor? I will if you will.

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Comments:
There was a woman who I used to work with who is of a liberal bend. She knew that I am conservative, and she brought up the upcoming election at one point (this was in 2004). She pointed out that her husband was also a conservative and that their two votes canceled each other out. At one point she mentioned that she had stated that point to her husband and told him that there was no real point for either of them to waste their time voting since their individual votes would cancel out the other's.

I asked her if they were not going to vote at all then, and she said that she was still trying to convince him that it was pointless. When I pressed on the issue of congressional candidates, state candidates, or local issues on the ballot, she said that was her husband's concern as well, but she still kept telling him it didn't matter. I asked if he decided not to vote for president, but only on the other offices and issues, if she would refrain from a presidential vote as well. She admitted that she would vote regardless, but she'd like to convince him not to so that her vote would count.

I won't take that chance. I'll vote for the candidate with the greatest chance of victory who most closely conforms to my views and political opinions, or, barring that, the candidate whose party most closely conforms to my views and political opinions. Political parties caucus together in the Congress, and they determine leadership positions in the committees and which issues that receive attention. Voting against a candidate who may not be completely in line with my views, but whose party is more closely in line with my views, increases the chance that more people who I disagree with on a broad scale will be in a position to decide on the tone and direction of the agenda that is followed in Washington.

That, and the liberal woman who I worked with in 2004, will make me look at my vote not so much as a punishment against what I have disliked from some politicians, but rather as a defense against what I most certainly disagree with.

Consider also that, if Coburn or Obama were up for re-election this year, that they would get the axe if enough of them followed your October 11th advice of, "If you don't follow my suggestion to write-in a candidate you actually think would do the job well in November, do consider just voting for the non-incumbent. Forget party affiliations, forget the week's hot button. We need new faces, new ideas and new attitudes in our government these days."

I'll do what I can to make my vote count the most towards my ideology, and I'll save my statements for the blogs and the bumper stickers.
 
Mojo is taking himself (I assume mojo is a he) way too seriously. I'm sure that comment will piss him off, but so be it.

I don't think most folks are monolithically conservative or liberal, and while I am not sure that I am going to sign up for vote trading anytime soon, I think that I would consider voting for someone of "the opposite party" if I felt like things needed to be shaken up. In fact, I've done so in the past, and I will continue to do so.

Perhaps I am a raving liberal for thinking that changing the status quo is sometimes a healthy thing?
 
I'm not trying to take myself too seriously, and your observation of such doesn't make me upset, Mama H.

I will still cast my vote for the candidate whose platform is closest to my views, or for the candidate who will caucus with the party closest to my views. I'm not going to cast my vote to stir things up or to send a message of disapproval.
 
There is some inherent trusting that needs to be done to make the "voter partner" concept work. You will never know if your opposite did as he or she promised and wrote someone in. But that's on them. You get to vote for someone a) honest, b) qualified and c) not irretrievably compromised by the entire political process.

Trust me, it feels good. But, if you aren't comfortable with it, that's fine-- I'm simply offering it up as a suggestion for people who don't want to "waste" their vote.

And Moj-- please note that I did not say EVERY single congressman and senator should be voted out. Just the turds, which amounts to about 80% or better, in my opinion. If you honestly like and trust your representative or senator, then by all means vote for him or her.

But if you don't, or if you don't know, I think voting for the non-incumbent or writing someone in is a better option than just sending the same donkeys to congress every two years. Congress NEEDS new ideas, new voices, new viewpoints to avoid becoming precisely what it is-- a cesspool of influence peddling cronyism where staying in power is more important than actually representing your constituents. You know, doing that job we elected them to do for us.
 
Nah. Your bro would make a lousy gov.

No middle ground-ness. Not willing to compromise, to sell out his ideals in order to achieve short-term gains....

...ummm, wait. That's integrity.

But I voted my way today, and it felt just as good as it ever did.

And I'm liking the results, too. I'm sure it isn't the same around here, but what they hey, you've still got Sensenbrenner...
 
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