Archive for May, 2008

Nixon-land Predate Nixon

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

I heard the author of NixonLand on the Rachel Maddow show offering up an anecdote about Richard Nixon.  When he was in college he tried to join a fraternity, but was basically laughed away as uncool and uncouth.  So he started his own competing fraternity, from which he launched into student president.  His great political and sociological insight was that there are more nerds or squares than cool people, and the former holds some amount of bitterness at the latter, and that’s how he proceeded in his political career to his “Great, Silent Majority”.

I thought this was familiar, and I thought “I know that story”.  Except then it dawned on me that I did not.  That the story I was more familiar with was Lyndon Johnson’s story.  In college, there was this highly non-partisan non-factional and cordial student group (might have been the student government?).  He then took it over, and proceeded to sow high levels of discord, made and destroyed enemies, helped those who gave him the power, and generally practiced and refined the art of Practical Amoral Politics.  As soon as he graduated, this student group kind of looked around, asking “What the heck was that all about?”, and went back to their pre-Johnson business.

More evidence that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were, in fact, the same person.

The Cause of Hillary

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Again with the presumptuousness of Entitlement.  Is what she is suggesting that most Established front-runners and picks of the “Party Machinery” end up with the nomination, but Hillary Clinton did not because she was a woman?  This is for a candidate who I have a lesser opinion of as we near the end of the electoral process as I had at the beginning. 

Yet the question remains: If not now, when? If not Hillary, who?

An interesting question, and the columnist Marie Cocco then proceeds to pooh-pooh the obvious possibilities out of the current female stateswomen and politicians.  I tend to agree, except my answer as to who would be the most likely female president would go, #1: Hillary Clinton.  Still.  One last chance in 2012 or 2016.  Particularly in Obama either decides he has to sidle with Clinton as running mate, or goes the “Dick Cheney” route in selecting a powerful vice-president with no presidential aspirations of his (her?  But probably his) own.  #2, or 1a:  Somebody not mentioned.  #3:  That cast she mentioned.  For example:

 Kathleen Sebelius.  Kansas governor, something of a hero to partisan Democrats for being the identifiably Democratic governor of the archetypical state of Kansas.  But she did botch her “State of the Union” response.  Her pooh-poohing of this possibility goes ala:

She heads a state with six electoral votes and limited fundraising potential.

Unlike Bill Clinton of — was it 9 electoral votes?– Arkansas.  Which I then shrug and shout out “Janet Napitaleno of Arizona!” and offer up a giant rhaspberry. 

Then there’s one pooh-poohing of an issue which is semi-concious and semi-unconcious:

Here, though, revulsion often is expressed at the prospect of the Bushes and Clintons trading the White House among one another. But the “dynasty” argument didn’t impede other American political families: not the Adamses, nor the Roosevelts nor the Kennedys. It sure didn’t keep George W. Bush from becoming president.

And we really don’t want to suggest W as an example.  She left off that great Presidential dynasty of William Henry and grandson Benjamin Harrison, and I mention them to suggest a point of order — even if any of these presidential dynasty had traded off to each other, the nation apparently wasn’t sick of them.  In the end, there was only one President Kennedy.  And the two Adamses were spaced out over a generation.  As the cousins Roosevelts.  Obama campaigned tapping into a desire to significantly “change” the political climate, which is as much a campaign against the Bushes as it is the Clintons.

The record suggests that if Clinton is not the nominee, no woman will seriously contend for the White House for another generation. This was the outcome of the 1984 Geraldine Ferraro experiment. After 24 years, Ferraro remains the only woman ever to run for national office on a major-party ticket. And she was selected, not elected, as a vice presidential candidate.

Geraldine Ferraro.  The cause of a Woman President might have been better off without her selection — though maybe not — who might have been that first female president for the past 24 years with or without her?  At any rate, she assured that the next vice presidential pick would be a white southern male.  (Or, Texan, which Texans hate being called Southerners.)

Is it something about Hillary, or something about us?

Or maybe it’s something about Obliterating Iran.

Kennedy-esque and Lincoln-esque and Garfield-esque

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Responding to a question from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board about calls for her to drop out of the race, she said: “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don’t understand it,” she said, dismissing the idea of abandoning the race.

Hm.  This is on the heels off of last week’s:

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee drew cringes Friday when he made a joke at the National Rifle Association convention about Barack Obama getting shot at.

 Huckabee […] was interrupted by a loud thump from backstage.

The quick-witted Southerner looked behind him and said to the Louisville, Ky., crowd: “That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair and someone pointed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”

The audience fell silent […]

I guess we should not be too hard on Hillary Clinton or Mike Huckabee.  It is very difficult not to make jabs against the charismatic, and more properly assassinatibility, of Barack Obama, just — you know? — in passing.  You just trip over it.  Just sort of trip over it without realizing it.  The Ability for Barack Obama to be Assassinated is just the Giant White Elephant in the room for this campaign.  In the room that will just have to plague us for the rest of this campaign.  And through his four or eight years of his presidency, if it gets that far.  Unless that is truncated for some reason.  For… some… reason.  (Um… he abruptly retires after six years?)


Rock ‘n’ Roll

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Dope addiction and the jungle rhythm of Rock ‘n’ Roll combine to complete the demoralization of many a modern teenager and destroy all racial self-respect.

The American Mercury.  ‘Twas a fascinating little right-wing magazine.  It had its points, actually.  HJ Mencken is a celebrated wit, remembered for his harbingers against William Jennings Bryan.   But the 1930s brought with it a heck of a panic, as the nation demanded government intervention and their brand of conservativism faded out of style — entertaining and interesting to stick around.

Post-war, came this dire threat of Communism within and without, and the magazine was something along the lines of Reader’s Digest.

Shortly before a conviction, for employing a minor to transport marijuana, took Gene-Krupa temporarily out of circulation, he was shown by Time magazine of April 28, 1941,taking part in an experiment that the American Museum of Natural History called a lecture and demonstration on “The Origins of Primitive Rhythms.”  Quoting Time:  “Crouching like a witch doctor over a clattery battery of traps, perspiring floppy-haired Gene Krupa beat out African War dances and eight-to-the-bar boogie woogie bumps … Lecturer Krupa’s workout underlined a well-known point:  that jazz stems from Africa, via the Southern Negro.  Drummer Krupa played records of drum work by the Royal Watusi … He banged on signal drums, war drums, dance drums.  He showed how his own famed Blue Rhythm Fantasy (scored for fourteen percussion instruments) is based on Bahusu chants and dances…”  Confidential Magazine of September 1954, carried an article titled “They Pay Off With Death”:

“Many of the hepcats of jazz are demanding dope instead of dough for blowing their blue notes.  Here’s how they’re getting paid — by hypodermic …” 

The hep-cats are paid off with drugs.  Who influence the culture with…

Evidence of the systematic lowering of literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical standards stare you in the face on all sides.  It is obviously a major item in the brain-washing technique necessary to clinching the power of the International Welfare State.

I don’t know why the magazine would use the term “International Welfare State” when it clearly means “International Communism”.  This is November 1958, by the way.

That the sinister program of racial intermixture could advance so far without noticeably arousing the wrath of American parents will forever remain a mystery.  Probably much of the blame rests on the annual “Brotherhood” farce.  Initiated in 1934 as “Brotherhood Day” and becoming a full week’s observance in 1940, “Brotherhood Week” — under the nominal sponsorship of the National Conference of Christians and Jews — has become a nationwide Hollywood show that plays up anything and everything but true brotherhood based upon fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

So the conspiracy of Love and Brotherhood continues to this day.

Political Realignment or Carter?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Is Barack Obama the next Jimmy Carter?  A question that has popped in my mind, and I’m not alone.

In the case presented here, it’s a highly partisan question… Democrats talking amongst themselves.  Unlike at times the question “Is Barack Obama the next John F Kennedy”, which is one with two meanings, the darker one seeping more into a particular vein in the public conciousness and requiring extra secret service protection, the more pleasant one something to do with Inspirational young leaders — which does have some partisan angle to it I suppose.

To ask “Next Carter?” is to also ask “or The Next Roosevelt?”, in the blatantly partisan “on the verge of a new Democratic Majority” — which is that the Democrats hope for the latter and fear the former.  They’re hoping for a “realignment”, buoyed from out of 2006 and running into 2008.  Which, I suppose everyone thought was the case in 1974-1976, but alas that was an interlude between the aborted realignment of 1968 and the cemented one of 1980.

The wikipedia article, if you also include the “talk” section for Political Realignments, is fairly useful a staple in showing the limitations and usefulness of the concept.  Case in point: 1968?1980?  Or, the one that happened in 1896, wherein a 28 out of 36 year Republican presidential dominance was replaced with… a 28 out of 36 year Republican presidential dominance.  One that included the “Progressive” and Expansionist Theodore Roosevelt and the Conservative and “Isolationist” Calvin Coolidge.  And if you think of it as an epoch changing election that switched political subjects — 1876 is the official date for the more roaming “End of Reconstruction”, whereby the “Solid South” snapped into place by the boots of the “Redeemers” — aka Klansmen.  And that brings about the “Realignment” which occured in some manner between that date and … 1994, which makes the whole term useless.

Regarding that period between 1932 and 1968 — useful enough.  Sustainable enough that a Democratic Congress existed between 1930 (more or less, albeit very, very, very weakly) and 1994 — sort of buttressed off of the election cycles of 1930 – 1936 and 1958 -1964.  And that’s sort of key:  those are the elections whose shadow brought to fruition the enactment of the New Deal legislation, your good friend the “Great Society”, and Civil Rights.  And once those things were passed or enacted, political alliances largely splintered — the Dixiecrats and the blacks would have to go their separate way, right?

So, I suppose you go from a Congressional victory in 2006 for the Democrats, to a ridiculous Congressional map in 2008, and the balloon is inflated enough to sustain the slight Democratic Congressional buffer zone for when the Republicans get back to winning.  Or, maybe the Republicans find another Reagan — or for that matter Nixon — and Obama is the next Carter — who is probably best viewed as a president who experienced previous presidents’ whirlwind.

Of course, the comments section includes someone suggesting that 2004 was a magical realignment year, which was something picked up by none other than Karl Rove.  And suggests that party hacks talk like party hacks, and Obama is going to settle in as the next Obama… failed president or successful president or muddled president.

Is a Robert Byrd endorsement worth something in terms of historical landmarks?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

An interesting endorsement for Barack Obama.  His state of West Virginia voted for Hillary Clinton by 41, that’s 41, points.  I don’t know — when we get into constituency support of that margin I think I would just as well go along with it.  (Indeed, Hillary Clinton rambled on in her “Victory” speech praising Byrd to the hilt, seemingly grasping for his support which — he’s a figure of some weight, right?)

But the real irony comes in that the man was a Klansman in his youth — as he describes it his puzzling entry into the political sphere.  I do suspect that as much as his stated reason for support regarding Obama’s stronger and more certain stance against the Iraq War the need to ameriolate his past political sins, fully aware of how his KKK past plays in the public mind.  I guess he is on the right side of history this time, as opposed to the obvious Obama predecessor for 1960.  (quick snippet from wikipedia, just because I know it’ll give this general information in a concise manner):

In the 1960 Presidential election primaries, Byrd, a close Senate ally of Lyndon B. Johnson, tried and failed to derail the Democratic frontrunner and ultimately successful candidate John F. Kennedy in the crucial West Virginia primary by endorsing and vigorously campaigning for Hubert Humphrey.[citation needed] Kennedy nonetheless won the state’s primary and, eventually, the general election.

Though it is a little puzzling that they still need a citation for the historical fact of Byrd stumping for Humphrey as a stocking horse for Johnson — news media of the time reported as much.

Kennedy won the primary — largely bought and paid for.  Kennedy did carry it in the general election, probably would not have without Johnson, support sapped due to his Catholicism.

Pertaining to Robert Byrd, this is sort of yesterday’s news.  The voice we have for Robert Byrd today is a tearful speech regarding Senator Edward Kennedy’s condition on the Senate floor — available on youtube or on C-SPAN.

Election Predictions

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I predict that when you take a good look at the voting results, a vast majority of Gay Portlanders will have turned out to have voted for Sam Adams, and a vast majority of Portlanders of Asian ethnicity (whether first, second, or third generation immigrants) will have turned out to have voted for Sho Dozono.

opening act

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Wow.  The Decembrists really rocked the joint down at Waterfront Park yesterday, didn’t they?

… Didn’t know so many people were into The Decembrists.

Meanwhile, a buzz floated through the long winding crowd of… um… Decembrist fans (?) waiting to get into Waterfront Park when Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton were ridden by in two limos en route to some sparsely attended restaurants in another part of the city.  Clinton rolled down the river and waved at the crowd.  A little surreal, as he winds his way through the other guys’ campaign’s crowd to… no crowd at all.  And he is a former president, gawddarnedit.

But that’s yesterday.  And yesterday’s gone.  Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

Darkly Amusing news clip of the day

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Surely echoed around the cable news (when they can bring themselves away from bloviating on political contests) and evening news, but I heard on NPR…

… reporters being scuttled around by the Myanmar juanta to witness citizens of Myanmar thanking the government for their everything as they aid in the recovery.

Uh huh.  Laugh, then sigh.