Michelle Bachmann recently advanced the idea that the new congress needs to go to Washington with a hand full of subpoenas to fully uncover and punish the criminal behavior of the Obama Administration. Why does she want to do this? Why does the Chairwoman of the Republican Tea Party Caucus think this is a good idea?
During President Clinton’s second term the GOP’s extreme partisanship led to impeachment proceedings and severely hampered the effectiveness of our government and its Chief Executive. This distraction may have made some political hay for Republicans but crippled our Chief Executive’s ability to focus on and deal with the growing terror threat Al-Qaeda was preparing to launch against our country. The GOP’s actions provided support, aid, cover and comfort to the terrorists and heightened our country’s vulnerability to attack. Perhaps we should investigate their activities and motives for effectively becoming a Fifth Column for the Evil Doers?
Earlier in the year, Ms. Bachmann’s suggested to Chris Matthews that we should investigate the UnAmerican activities of congress and senate members to root out and expose those who hate America and are actively working for its destruction. I’m not so sure about this; it may lead to the mass imprisonment of the Republicans who obstructed President Clinton’s ability to perform his duties as Commander and Chief. With the GOP gone it would be impossible to form a consensus to effectively govern the nation so I’m kinda lukewarm on this one. After all President Obama and the ruling democrats rely on the good will of the loyal opposition GOP party to show the country that democracy works and that we can all get along.
But because I don’t think Ms. Bachmann’s idea is a good one doesn’t make it bad. After all I’m coming from a pretty partisan place myself. So in the spirit of consensus building I’m trying to understand why she would propose such a thing. Though its a dangerous and scary place to visit, I have tried to get inside Ms. Bachmann’s mind to understand her reasoning why she thinks the congress should spend the next session investigating members for crimes against the republic.
I have comprised a list of 13 reasons as to why Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party may think this is a good idea for the country. Please feel free to add your own.
1. Because its fun to shut the Federal Government down (ask Newt Gingrich)
2. It will heighten partisanship to levels yet unseen
3. Obstructionism is their preferred style of governance
4. Dissent is dangerous to a democracy
(America is long over due for another round of McCarthyism)
5. Enemy combatants sitting in congress must be imprisoned
6. It will demonstrate reactionary street cred
7. Sean Hannity thinks its a good idea
8. Rush Limbaugh thinks its a great idea
9. Glenn Beck tearfully pleads to show no quarter to “Wilsonian Reprobates”
10. Compromise/consensus forming is for sissies
11. Its how Michele Bachmann Mans Up and shows her pair
12. It plays well on Talk Radio and to the rabid dogs in the TP howling for fresh meat
13. 2012 GOP can say we did our best under trying circumstances now give us the White House and Senate. We’ll finish the job. Rove calls it the Coup de Grace campaign. A final silver bullet to the head of the democrats, democratic consensus and Federalism paid and financed by serious 527 money.
You Tube Video: Edvard Grieg, In the Hall of the Mountain King
Risk: consensus, governance, democracy
The dismissal of Juan Williams from his correspondent position at NPR is a watershed event. Conservative pundits will be screaming about First Amendment rights and the abuses of government controlled media. Mr. Williams was fired by NPR for violating guidelines on a statement he made as a paid commentator on Fox News “The O’Reilly Factor.” When asked about the racial profiling of Muslim’s Mr. Williams stated:
“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country,” Williams said Monday. “But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
At first glance it seems to be pretty innocuous stuff. Mr. Williams citing his unease at seeing a woman of the veil on an airplane is well within his First Amendment right to do so. The fact that I consider Mr. Williams fear to be based on a prejudice that prejudges someone based on appearances is beside the point. Its synonymous with police officers stopping motorists on interstate highways because of their race. The crime of driving while black should not be sufficient to infringe a persons right to privacy or impede their safe passage. Mr. Williams has the right to express those fears and prejudices and I will defend his right to do so.
Mr. Williams employer NPR also has a right to require that employees conform to certain guidelines that support the mission of a public news organization. NPR requires that its employees refrain from making public editorial pronouncements on public media outlets. It is understood that editorializing correspondents may injure or cause harm to the NPR brand as a trusted source of objective reporting. As such NPR is well within its right to protect its franchise by removing Mr. Williams from his position as a correspondent. Professional athletes and corporate executives all have clauses in their employment contracts that stipulate unbecoming conduct that hurts the company franchise is grounds for dismissal. NPR exercised that clause.
What is interesting about this event is the contrast of journalistic standards practiced by NPR and Fox. NPR receives some government funding and was originally chartered to assure that radio broadcast services would be available to the smaller rural markets ignored by commercial radio. Recently NPR programming consists of thoughtful up market features that has less mass appeal for profit oriented radio media outlets. Its news programing, All Things Considered and Morning Edition offered in depth reportage that is thoughtful, fair and balanced. It strives to be objective and for the most part is.
The contrast with Fox News is striking. Belying its marketing handle of “fair and balanced reporting”, Fox News is anything but fair or balanced. I find Fox News to be a consistent platform for the conservative movement and as such it’s reporting is hardly objective. Its commentators routinely express an opinion on the news that is editorial in nature. Fox News has built a profitable franchise on its editorial positions and its assemblage of commentators (Rove, Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, Palin) that eagerly express the political bias of its corporate parent News Corp. Fox News correctness has been vindicated in the marketplace of ideas as its corporate sponsors and large viewer ship endorses its editorial positions.
The complex amalgam of the commercial viability of media channels, the branding of ideas, news as objective reportage, editorialism as a media commodity and the subtle distinction of opinion versus news are issues laying at the heart of Juan Williams dismissal from NRP. Though fired from NPR for expressing an opinion that NPR thought unfair and hurtful to Muslims, Fox News awarded Mr. Williams a $3 million contract to expand his presence with the fair and balanced network. Clearly the free market of ideas confirms that Mr. Williams prejudice and intolerance toward Muslims advances the commercial interests of Fox News.
Its alarming that the value of prejudice and intolerance is rising and that major corporate brands like News Corp find it so intrinsically linked to it he price of its stock as a publicly traded company. Truly a disturbing example of bankruptcy of the free market of ideas.
You Tube Music Video: Mott the Hoople, All The Young Dudes
Risk: free speech, commercial media, objective reporting, prejudice
Is Sarah Palin the friendly and ever so lovely face of a new American Peronism? Is her resignation from office as Governor of Alaska the first step and necessary precondition of her coronation as titular head and leader of a new political party? Does it signal her desire to lead a movement that embraces the growing number of disaffected middle class Americans perplexed about their plunging standard of living and growing obsessively angered with insolvent and impotent government institutions inability to arrest the decline?
Everyday the institutions of government and constitutional law are being delegitimized by raucous Tea Partyers, abortion doctor assassins, family focus fanatics and political miscreants waving birth certificates screaming that they want their country back. We wrote about this back in October. Please allow me to quote from our McCain’s Know Nothings post of 10/11/08.
“Sarah Palin’s masterful use of the rhetoric of division and suspicion “who is Barack Obama?” has stoked the ugly side of America’s political angst. The lipstick wearing attack dog has done her job well. She has skillfully tapped into voter sentiment that is frightened about their economic security, fed up with the self serving lies of our political leaders and furious about their powerlessness to exercise control to stop the radical changes occurring in their lives. The stasis of Bush Republicanism is being washed away in a tsunami of world events that is accelerating the pace of change and cultural transformation. Palin promises to change our inability to arrest the changes that are overwhelming Americans. Sarah’s minions just want it to stop. They want it to go away. They want it to stay the way things always were. America is on top. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. They will accept nothing less then our full entitlement to the birthright of our American Exceptionalism; and unlike Easu we will not sell it or be tricked out of it by a fast talking Jacob that goes by the name of Barack.”
Sarah, “the barracuda” has a whole mythology springing up about her even as her pronouncements concerning vigilant hockey momdom (daughters teen pregnancy), pit bull fighter to the end (resignation as governor), irascible maverick (support of bridge to nowhere), impeccable governance ethics (improper use of state government funds) all paint a very different portrait of the super girl from Alaska. Her identity as the all American girl, who worked, rose and battled an establishment with nothing more then moxie and good old values has captured the hearts, support and imaginations of “real American’s” willing to fight against those seeking to undermine the values and ideals of our uniquely God blessed land.
Palin’s timely resignation stole the limelight from the Michael Jackson funereal spectacle; a nonstop orgy of media affectation that refused to let MJ’s troubled soul depart in peace. Sarah’s announcement was a perfect foil and counterpoint to the ghoulish parade. Sarah’s photo op complete with overall fishing waders offered conclusive proof of how the still Governor of Alaska was working hard serving the needs of her constituents as her abandoned term of office was coming to a close. Sarah’s image of pulling in the nets bursting with sockeye could not have provided a more dramatic contrast to seeing MJ’s body bag being offloaded from a helicopter and placed into a ambulance for a trip to the Los Angeles morgue. It confirmed for her followers that Sarah’s way is filled with truth, light and a great catch as she stood beaming at the center of attention of a country obsessed with celebrity and a media that affirms their personal ethos du jour.
One of the reasons cited by Sarah for her resignation was that she was constantly under attack by the establishment. Sarah’s victimhood elicits empathy and a deep sense of identification from her countrymen. Middle America’s sense of victimization is quickly becoming its defining pathos. Home foreclosures, job losses, bankruptcies, community instability and spiraling taxes are combustible issues ripping apart the social fabric of America’s middle class. The crushing pain is being expressed in a growing chorus of cries that Sarah’s political antenna is accurately attuned to. In turn, Sarah’s minions understand and validate her victimization that they believe she will overcome and triumph if she remains true to real American values. Persecuted Christians exhausted from the prolonged war on Christmas feel her pain. Family value proponents that yearn for a constitutional amendment to define marriage so as to exclude civil rights for the LGBT community are down with Sarah. Uber patriots who are convinced that terrorist lurk in the quiet shadows just off Main Street remain willing to cede their civil rights. They also express a solid conviction to prosecute endless global wars as the only means to eradicate the terror threat staunchly stand with Sarah. Real American’s who live in a geography of anywhere USA that is not urban; or resides in an existential state of multicultural exclusion support Sarah. Those who are terrified by the hard edges of modernity and the difficult manageability of our complex society are arming themselves to the teeth to protect themselves from its ghostly specter take a cue from gun toting Sarah. And as Sarah’s supporters scream “drill baby drill” as a rallying cry to defend an expiring mode of life based upon the insatiable and unsustainable consumption of natural resources requiring the imperial projection of power and environmental degradation mindlessly shout “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah”.
Sarah, our self styled, self proclaimed maverick. American’s steep themselves in the mythology of the outside gunslinger taking on established power elites to effect change. But I sense an alarming correlation that is closer to Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” then Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. Individualism counts and boldness wins out in the end in Sarah’s political morality fairy tale. But I see little in the actual trajectory of her career or her political pronouncements that suggest that she is an unconventional politician willing to lay it on the line to take principled stand against the power elite. Sarah’s principled stances are driven by political opportunism rather then courage.
Yes, Sarah is a perfect victim. White, hockey mom from the rural region. Liberal elite city slickers hate her for who she is. But as Sean Hannity is fond of saying, “let you hearts not be troubled” because as the world continues to hate America for it’s values Sarah remains on watch. She is a sentinel of our arsenal of democracy protecting the common folk, Joe six packers and wannabe plumbers. This woman who rose to heights in this male dominated world got great legs, sports a nice dew and is quick with a wink and a smile. She has seduced America and as national dissatisfaction grows with governmental institutions unable to address economic malaise and cultural deterioration, nationalistic sentiment and Sarah’s popularity will rise. Unlike our current President, Sarah is American to the bone. Palin’s physical place of birth may have been Idaho; but her resignation as governor may have born her again as a new political force to be reckoned with.
You Tube Music Video: Madonna, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina
Risk: politics, Peronism
The captain of Team Alaska has quit in mid season to the astonishment and dismay of many. At a press conference yesterday, the irascible Sarah “The Barracuda” Palin said she dished her last assist to the states inside big man Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell. Fans and teammates of Sarah the Barracuda are miffed wondering how the talented point guard and team captain could just walk away after driving to the hoop for the last time.
Elected by fans only two years ago, the Barracuda has had enough. The game got to her; pointed elbows, hard fouls, and a nagging slew of injuries, stresses and minor hurts led her to chuck in the towel. According to some, “The Barracuda never seemed to live up to her self proclaimed abilities as a high scoring tough team leader who could always be counted on to be a game changer. The Barracuda said she would always bring her A Game; now she just quit and took the ball home with her. What a loser.”
In last Novembers contest against the powerful Chicago Machine, the Barracuda was outscored and outclassed by a much more seasoned team. During the contest, the Barracuda at times seemed confused and way out of her depth. It was readily apparent to many that she was not ready for prime time big time. Though she did well well with Hockey Mom’s, plumbers and guys named Joe who drank six packs of beer; her gaffs and inexperience showed on the court. This started a reversal of the Barracuda’s fortunes that she never really recovered from and her season went into a tailspin.
Though the Barracuda quit on Team Alaska she is expected to join Team Fox. Team Fox would love to have the Barracuda on its team. Filled with many liberal media pundits like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Karl Rove; Fox is looking for a conservative voice like the Barracuda to create a more fair and balanced presentation of its news, reportage and editorial offering.
You Tube Video: Harlem Globetrotters, Sweet Georgia Brown
It was painful to watch Mr. McCain’s last town meeting. An older women took the microphone to speak about her fear of an Obama Presidency. She said that she read that Mr. Obama was an Arab. Mr. McCain took the microphone back from the woman before she could complete her thought. I guess she feared that Michelle Obama would change the Lincoln Room wallpaper to Arabesque patterns to match the architecture of the Grand Mosque of Cordoba and that the Whirling Dervishes would perform at all future White House events.
McCain was forced to give a Marc Anthony soliloquy. “My friends, I must say that my opponent is an honorable man. And he really is an American, Sean Hannity checked his papers. Twice.” McCain’s supporters were miffed and looked on with unbelief as their candidate went on to explain that Obama was actually a family man with two kids and a wife. His supporters shouted “say it ain’t so John. Don’t believe the lies of the liberal media that paint Obama like a regular American. We know the real truth. He doesn’t even like hockey!”
All week we have seen McCain’s supporters express their exasperation because “That One” has a lead in the polls which many fear their candidate may not be able to surmount. With incredulous unbelief they can’t understand how the America of their understanding might elect a terrorist loving closeted Muslim whose deep hatred of America will compel him to quickly raise the White Flag of surrender and preside over the destruction of the Union. Low information voters rely on demagogues to confirm their prejudices and fears with a few well placed words. Cultivating low information voters by speaking down to them with hate speech will yield low returns. So as our country struggles to confront drastic challenges and problems McCain’s Know Nothings implore him to show more courage of his convictions and go negative in his next debate to save America from an Arab President.
Sarah Palin’s masterful use of the rhetoric of division and suspicion “who is Barack Obama?” has stoked the ugly side of America’s political angst. The lipstick wearing attack dog has done her job well. She has skillfully tapped into voter sentiment that is frightened about their economic security, fed up with the self serving lies of our political leaders and furious about their powerlessness to exercise control and stop the radical changes occurring in their lives. The stasis of Bush Republicanism is being washed away in a Tsunami of world events that is accelerating the pace of change and cultural transformation. Palin promises to change our inability to arrest the changes that are overwhelming Americans. Sarah’s minions just want it to stop. They want it to go away. They want it to stay the way things always were. America is on top. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. They will accept nothing less then our full entitlement to the birthright of our American Exceptionalism. And unlike Easu we will not sell it or be tricked out of it by a fast talking Jacob that goes by the name of Barack.
There are parallels to this story in our short and modest history as a democratic republic. The Know Nothings were a pre-republican party political movement borne in the civic turmoil of New York City. They were Nativists that distrusted the ruling democrats and hated the swelling population of Irish immigrants that was flooding America just prior to and during the Civil War. They felt “the purity of their America” was being lost and diluted by the foreign influence of its new citizens. Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” character Butcher Bill Cutting yearns to protect an idea of America that shares many of the same concerns that Barracuda Sarah incants with her divisive rhetoric.
The release of the movie American Carol will certainly add to the informed dialog about the pressing issues of the day. To me it looks like a heap of pedestrian clichéd camp. Its purpose will serve to reinforce low information voters political prejudices and misconceptions. The few clips I have seen are anything but funny and its natural audience will liken it more to a chilling documentary then comedy. It will also provide comedic cover to derail attempts for a serious examination of issues which can now be disposed of with a dismissive can’t take a joke tagline.
One reaps what one sows. Spread seeds of obfuscation and one gets confusion. Spread seeds of distrust you’ll get suspicion and division. Spread anger you will reap conflict. Pander to ignorance and you shall cull stupidity.
American politics on the down low this October 11, 2008.
You Tube Video: Shift Happens
Music Video: The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
Risk: democracy, elections, civic participation, enlightenment, civil unrest