From the Armchair of the Eternal Chairman

Optimist at Large

People are complex. Voters are people.  Voters are complex.  But in order to appeal to voters aka complex and sometimes self-contradictory persons; a Candidate cannot be real, complex person.  Candidates are simplified (meme-ified?) versions of people that in theory represent portions of a large nation and at the very least a significant bloc of persons.  They are processed by taking pieces of their actual personality and beliefs and then those are filtered and disseminated through the media by their campaign manager in order to maximize their appeal and minimize their antagonistic qualities.  The appeal of any candidate for a national public office is going to be driven by two major factors: their physical appearance and their alignment on wedge issues.  Elections are games; the winners win, because they have manipulated the voting population and their candidacy to give themselves the best chance of winning.  On Election Day, the actual Principles (capital P) become irrelevant and only winning matters. .

John Ellis “Jeb” Bush

Republican Bio

JebThe other Governor and son of Herbert Walker that was supposed to be President in the first place. Jeb (John Ellis Bush) Bush, which is like saying JFK Kennedy, is not loved by the conservative base of the Republican Party. Erick Erickson, who sounds like an uninspiring villain on the Cartoon Network and whose views represent the collective id of the Tea Party, summed it up by likening Jeb to a dying breed of Republican that might as well look to the Democratic Party for shelter: “Frankly, the idea of his candidacy is just a security blanket for the Linuses of the party who feel their control slipping away.” The major hurdle between Jeb and the nomination is his moderate conservatism. He believes in a role for government, that it should sometimes have active domestic policy, and that it should attempt to improve the lives of its people when the free market is unable or unwilling to do so, which is not what his rivals for the GOP nomination will sound like. The nucleation sites for these intra-GOP disagreements will be the common core and immigration reform, issues on which Jeb holds more progressive positions than his party. .

For You, O Democracy

by Walt Whitman

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
                   With the love of comrades,
                      With the life-long love of comrades.
I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America,
and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over the prairies,
I will make inseparable cities with their arms about each other’s necks,
                   By the love of comrades,
                      By the manly love of comrades.
For you these from me, O Democracy, to serve you ma femme!
For you, for you I am trilling these songs.

 

“For You, O Democracy” by Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass. Public domain.

Elizabeth Warren: A Progressive’s Call to Arms

No Escape

Elizabeth Warren Bull MooseIf you watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, you know he’s been hard on Democrats since the 2014 midterms with pieces like “Obama and the Pussy’crats.” It cleverly lays out the fundamental frustration progressives have with Obama and the Democratic Party in general: they’re too timid to speak up for what they really believe in the face of elections. This weakness among Democrats is a common critique of the party and one the GOP has exploited over the past decade and a half by running on more united and streamlined platforms (though their message has become much more fractured in recent years).

At the turn of the 20th century, machine politics and the spoils system dominated public life. White conservatives ran unopposed in the south with single party domination. Republicans and Democrats gerrymandered into safe congressional districts and city wards ruled Congress and city halls unthreatened by public disgust. A small number of large organizations squeezed out competition and dominated banking, energy, and journalism. Voters eager for reform swung wildly from Democrat to Republican back to Democrat in statewide and national elections, looking for something other than what was available. Can you imagine such a scene today? Their answer, the tonic for their political delirium, was a reform movement championed by an unlikely elitist, who always needed a villain to be on the receiving end of his unquenchable energy. .

We’re gonna party like it’s 199…

State of the Mugwumps

CandidatesActually any year in the 90s. And the last two years in the 80s. And the first eight years of the 2000s. That’s because the Mugwumps are predicting a Bush v Clinton 2016 Presidential election, the political families that ran the executive branch of the federal government for eighteen years and occupied the Governor’s mansions of Arkansas, Florida, and Texas for more than a quarter century. A lot can change in eighteen years and so can people. Just look at Barbara Bush when she entered the White House in 1989 versus today. .