And what about History? I’d never have learned this one:
Slavery was a blessing in disguise for black people. (Granted, in parts of the country students can learn that most slaveowners were kind and that many blacks preferred being slaves, but it’s nice to have this kind of high-level, official validation.)
Many schools have slipped in their responsibility to teach Civics, but our candidates for public office are doing what they can to plug the gap:
I, like a lot of other aspiring wonks, watched The West Wing when I was younger. I watched Leo talk about a big block of cheese, I watched CJ stand up for women in Saudi Arabia, and I watched President Bartlet raise my standards for elected officials far higher than could ever be met outside of primetime.
Today, as Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns, I thought of The West Wing, and what they called “Take out the Trash Day.” Friday afternoon is when all the boring or negative news was fed to the press in a lump, so that it wouldn’t take up a full news cycle, and so it would run into the weekend when most people don’t pay attention to the news.
The strikingly beautiful young woman — she will turn 26 years old on July 2 — approaches the podium with its waiting forest of microphones. Her hair, reddish blonde and flowing well below her shoulders, is caught briefly in a gust of wind as she walks to the front of the press corps on the granite steps of the state capitol. Eight fluted Corinthian columns line the portico behind her. She is, surprisingly, modestly and professionally dressed in a tasteful navy pants suit. For a moment, as she stands at the lectern, only the clicking of cameras is heard.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Lindsay Lohan, and today I am announcing my candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from my district.
Brief silence, followed by peals of laughter. Whispers of “Is this a movie promo?” drift through the throng. Lohan waits patiently, quietly, proudly for the laughter to subside. Continue reading →
How comforting to discover, long before $2 billion evaporates in our quadrennial mayhem of misdirection, the finale! Survey says: Obama gets an encore, unless the wary one flubs big-time or a Black Swan sidelines his headlines. I got evidence: the latest poll, elitist expertise, stock charts and detailed voting patterns back to 1860. Match that, Mitt, you twit.
But, alas for the left, few glad tidings, just which brand of anti-progressive runs the White House. Okay, pedestrian mini-series deliver more suspense, but that’s what we got. No high drama every election. Instead, a six-month horror show full of faux suspense plays out — “will the nice, stumbling right centrist beat back the mechanized, alien throwback?” — only for the nation to end up treading water.
On the other side of the fence, those of us who genuinely care about freedom and fairness are more outraged than ever. Outrage is motivating, and by the way, polls show that at least half of Americans support equality for LGBT citizens. It’s about six months until Election Day – how much mobilizing do you think we’re capable of?
Obama may or may not want the issue to go away, but from where I sit the religious right has today handed him a very large stick. Here’s hoping he has the courage and insight to use it on them. And let’s make sure that we, the people, make him embrace this, the most crucial civil rights issue of our generation.
Finally, erratic Obama wordsmiths have slogged their way to the ideal slogan: “Forward,” aptly safe and succinct and vacuous. What if it echoes MSNBC’s “Lean Forward,” itself no powerhouse of punch? Less is certainly more these days, and this president notches one more historic threshold: no other slogan since 1844 relies on only one word.
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic explained, slogans vary when focus shifts — from foreign policy to health care, now to the economy. But “nobody seems to know exactly what the message is, or what this campaign is about,” she opined, a main “part of the problem with Obama’s presidency. It’s sort of been all over the place.”
So, it appears campaign season is under way in earnest. Mr. Obama officially kicked off the festivities in Virginia and Ohio yesterday, and we saw our first Mitt-scorcher on Denver TV a couple days ago. I’ve been thinking about the Obama administration’s performance to date for a few months, and perhaps now is as good a time as any to summarize what I think has been the dominant theme of his presidency.
My home state, North Carolina, has a wonderful motto: esse quam videri – to be, rather than to seem.Continue reading →
We know that the Romney campaign is ramping up its attempts to lure female voters, and we were optimistic about the entertainment prospects of these efforts when, a few days, Mitt garnered the much sought-after Gene Simmons endorsement (which, now that Wilt Chamberlain is dead, is pretty much the gold standard of playa cred).
So we weren’t surprised to see Mitt on the stump wailing away at Team Obama.
HARTFORD, Conn.—Presidential candidate Mitt Romney intensified his efforts Wednesday to rebut claims that he and fellow Republicans are insufficiently supportive of women, or even hostile to them. Continue reading →
In the end, I don’t live in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida so my vote isn’t likely to count. In that case I’ll be safe enough casting a protest vote for whoever lands on the Green ticket. If it turns out that Colorado winds up as a battleground state in a tight election, then I have some hard-core soul-searching to do.
Ultimately, though, I can’t shake the feeling that something dramatic, something earth-shaking, something seismic aimed at the very heart of the system is going to be required to break the cycle of corruption and incompetence and butt-ignorance that shapes the course of American political and economic life.
In the brilliant movie Chinatown, the cornered, luckless hero (Gittes) demands the villain’s motivation:
Gittes: I just want to know what you’re worth. Over ten million? Cross: Oh my, yes! Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What can you buy that you can’t already afford? Cross: The future, Mr. Gits – the future.
So drives today’s Republican providential villainy: at home, the conscious, cynical wholesale demolition of modern, secular, middle-class America – overseas, smashing medieval, non-Christian states that offend its entitled vision of the future. Sacrificing one White House race works if it sullies the waters of governance, seizes the Senate, and holds the House: onward rightwing soldiers marching off to ’14 and ’16 wars. Continue reading →
You know that guy who comes over for the dinner party and then just will not leave? Everybody else goes home and he’s still there, talking about this hot girlfriend he had at camp one summer in high school. You drop hint after hint and he wonders if you have any more beer. You change into your pajamas and yawn in his face and he takes off his shoes and socks. There is no hint that he can be persuaded to take. You know that guy, and so do Republican voters.
Even in the Deep South, Newt Gingrich keeps gimping home in last place. It’s more than clear to anyone paying even a little attention that he is not regarded as viable by Republican voters, but even after 27 losses in his last 28 tries, he refuses to bow out. Continue reading →
Hi, my name is Chris. I’ve been a card-carrying Republican since I registered some twenty-four years ago. I realize you probably don’t recognize me because I’m standing in the middle of the road. There are actually a lot of us over here—not that you’ve been paying much attention to us because you seem so fixated on the Right these days.
You might not recognize me, either, because I don’t like circuses, and you have a really big one going on right now. I probably sound like the Party Pooper for even saying anything. Those of us in the middle of the road don’t tend to say much at all, actually. We don’t froth at the mouth, we don’t thump Bibles, we don’t want to crusade. We just want a good, sensible reason to vote for a good, sensible candidate.
Because you seem to have stopped paying attention to us in your attempts to pander to “the base,” you seem to forget just how many of us there are over here in the middle. Continue reading →
Scene: Large Washington hotel room full of Democratic staffers. Speaker: Savvy PR operative, speaking bluntly. Message: People vote their prejudices, so public relations rule.
It’s remarkable how many of us harbor the myth that election engage core issues, policies, or programs – once call “content.” Dream on. Style wins elections, though curiously only one half of our political establishment honors this proposition. Simple question: why does Democratic publicity stink, outflanked, outpandered and outwitted by crude, Karl Rove-style schoolyard bullying? Name one snappy zinger from this White House that neutralized fake barrages from Birthers, racists, government-hating know-nothings spewing out “death panels,” or smears against a “food stamp president” with a “phony theology.” Continue reading →