Tag Archives: Rick Santorum

Mr. or Mrs. President?

…..And They’re Off

America’s presidential sweepstakes have begun in earnest. Ted Hillary_Clinton_Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Hillary Clinton have all announced their intentions, with the likes of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and Rick Santorum all trying to figure out when the most opportune time for them to throw their hat in the ring. There’s one thing they all have in common, though. They’re “major party” candidates.

This means they’re somehow entitled to at least one news cycle’s worth of analysis about everything from whether and how they can win, to profiles of their spouses (except Bill Clinton. We know him). The others will get their respective places in the sun when the time comes.

In fact, media coverage of presidential campaigns has become formulaic to the point of numbing the brains of even the most obsessive political junkies. The rest of the population hasn’t yet tuned into the obligatory political spin. This is understandable, given the general election is more than a year away. But still, the form and substance of campaign coverage hasn’t changed much in decades. The reason? Money, pure and simple. The interlocking components of media, polling, and unfettered campaign contributions make starting the horse race early a virtual necessity.

Almost no one asks if the system benefits or hurts anyone, or whether it actually has to be this way.

Do most people in America know the name Jill Stein? It might surprise you to know she too is running for president. However, since she’s not running for the Democratic or Republican nominations, she doesn’t exist. Yet she ran on the Green Party ticket in 2012. Here’s a question for you. Who deserves more coverage, Jill Stein, or the person that finishes dead last in the Republican presidential sweepstakes?

jill_stein

There are those who think the current process of choosing who will lead the most powerful country on the planet is fine, and does not need fixing.

I disagree.

By focusing time and attention almost exclusively on the “mainstream” candidates of the two “major parties”, the media does a disservice to the democracy we say we have. That, combined with the Citizen’s United decision of the Supreme Court, have created a twisted political universe that shuts the average American out. And make no mistake. That’s just how the players in this game want it. All the players, that is, except you.  I’ve long believed that Americans deserved better coverage of presidential campaigns than we’ve come to accept. I’m thinking there might be some simple things just plain folks can do to cut through the clutter.

The most important one is this: Don’t form your opinion of any candidate based on a single source of information.  Compare and contrast candidate coverage from all forms of media, not just radio or television.

As you evaluate those who would be president, be clear about the priorities you have. Is one a higher minimum wage? Ironing out the kinks in the Affordable Care Act? Police brutality? Whatever you care about, candidates for president ought to be speaking out on them. If they don’t, why vote for them?

Is there are candidate or potential hopeful that you’re following? Or is it to early? You tell me.

 

 

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Obama Goes to the Mattresses

President Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night threw down a gauntlet Republicans won’t be able to cast aside simply by saying “he’s dividing us”. His basic thrust was that it’s time for American to actually be America, a challenge this country must embrace if we are to think of ourselves as a world leader. What was interesting, however, was the tack of GOP response to the speech.

Republicans, you see, are in a bind. The establishment of the party is very nervous about the direction the right flank is taking (they’re more scared of Newt Gingrich than Democrats are).

They also know that Mitt Romney, with his $10,000 bets and 15% effective tax rate has absolutely no empathy with the broad swath of the electorate they hope to seduce.
So they let the four presidential candidates and the House leadership say what they wanted, and put their faith in Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to respond. It was Daniels that tried to use the issue of divisiveness to paint the president as ineffective.

Yet a confluence of events rendered the Republicans impotent. When President Obama talked about a 30% tax rate for millionaires, he didn’t have to mention Romney, who does no real work other than run for president but is worth a quarter of a billion dollars. His attempt to portray himself as a captain of American industry through his stewardship of Bain Capital a decade ago hardly rings true.

At the same time, Republican bleating over the president’s defense priorities were made moot when two teams of Navy Seals freed an American and a Dane kidnapped and held hostage in Somalia.

For many, the Barack Obama of the past couple of months bears a much closer resemblance to the guy they voted for in ’08 than the Obama of ’09 and ’10. He seems ready to wield his power more frequently, and to circumvent Congress if they want to play the obstructionist games of the recent past.

The terms executive order and recess appointment will likely be heard more often moving forward toward the November elections. Ironically, the last hope the Republicans have is that the economy craters again, which is in fact a possibility.
That’s why President Obama crerated a new mortgage unit to hopefully guard against a new wave of foreclosures.

Make no mistake. This president is done playing. Now the real battle for the soul of America begins.

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What’s So Special About NY-23?

For those of you who aren’t political junkies, NY-23 is New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Until Recently, it was represented by John McHugh (R).

President Barack Obama chose him for a post at the Pentagon, setting up one of two races for congressional seats this fall (the other is California’s 10th District). Yet NY-23 has begun to capture the attention of the nation’s celebrity conservatives and Republicans like no other race in a long time.

NY-23 is a three way race, pitting Democrat Bill Owens against Republican Dede Scozzafava and Conservative Party candidate  Doug Hoffman.

DougHoffman
Doug Hoffman

Right wing Republicans like Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, Michelle Bachman, Steve Forbes, Tim Pawlenty, Dick Armey, and Rick Santorum have flocked to back…..Hoffman the Conservative! Oh yeah, and Congressmen John Linder of Georgia and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas have also jumped on the Hoffman bandwagon.

Newt Gingrich must feel awfully lonely. He’s about the only well known Republican retread backing Scozzafava.

What’s so important about a three way race in upstate New York? Why all this right wing firepower? I’ll hazard a guess.

For Palin and Pawlenty, it’s a chance to burnish their credentials with the conservative base both think they’ll need to run for president in 2012. For the others, it’s a test of conservative strength. It’s a chance to say all is not lost in Barack Obama’s America (you know, the one they want back). They’re banking that voters in upstate New York care about the Bachmans, the Forbes, the Thompsons, the who???

NY-23 is the right on what they hope is the comeback trail. How else top explain why this race threatens to eclipse both the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial contests?  Of course, the stakes are high. If all this right wing heft is brought to bear and their guy loses (Owens is currently leading in a couple of polls), what does it say about the true gravitas of the tea party wing of the GOP? Then, on the other side, maybe Doug Hoffman wins. That makes all these right wing Republicans kingmakers in a district most couldn’t find with a GPS. It’s also interesting to hear John Linder in particular bleat about backing Hoffman to end bipartisanship in Washington.

Hey genius, how do you think the seat opened up in the first place? John McHugh, tapped to be Army Secretary, is a Republican! If Owens wins, it will be the first time a Democrat has won the seat in 100 years. No matter what happens, this race has exposed a steel cage match for the soul of the Republican Party.

Do you think it’s worth the trouble, and if so, who will win?

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