Archive for March, 2010

Dems and Reps go for Political Theater

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

This is rather familiar.

House Democrats make an impulse decision Sunday to walk back from the caucus meeting outside and through a throng of protesters.

A leadership aide said the Caucus made the decision right before wrapping up their meeting in the Cannon House Office building.

The move threw the Capitol Police for a loop, as they had to scramble to bolster their security wall knowing that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was about to put herself within arms reach of an angry crowd that just a day earlier shouted racial and anti-gay slurs at Democrats. One protester was arrested for allegedly spitting on an African American Congressman.

The march across Independence Ave. back to the Capitol went off largely without a hitch.

A Democratic aide said a protester shouted “Dennis Kucinich you’re a traitor!” Kucinich this week announced his support after voting againt the House bill on the grounds that it was not progressive enough.

The crow of anti-healthcare protesters had been separated by police from a group of bill supporters.

It’s a bit of a Team Building Experience, somehow akin to something that might be done as a Retreat Exercise.  But it’s political purpose is something along the lines of, oh — Texas 1960 with Vice Presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson.

On Nov 4, 1960, campaigning hard in what appeared to be an uphill effort to keep his own state of Texas from going Republican, Sen Lyndon B Johnson and his wife found themselves in the midst of an incredible scene in the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas.  The Democratic vice presidential candidate and Lady Bird arrived for a noon luncheon barely an hour after Dallas Republicans had finished whooping it up for Richard M Nixon at a rally in the same hotel.  Several hundred persons, including Dallas’ then-congressman, Republican Bruce Alger, were waiting for the Johnsons.  The mood was ugly.  Alger carried a sign saying: “LBJ Sold Out to Yankee Socialists.”  Other placards called the seantor a “Judas.”

Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird were engulfed by the crowd, and for more than half an hour, were reviled and jostled as they slowly made their way across the lobby.  Johnson refused offers of police assistance, telling an aide that “if the time has come that I can’t walk with my lady across the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel, than I want to know it.”  The incident blazed across the nation’s television screens and newspaper headlines.  The effect was remarkable.  As Rowland Evans and Robert Novak recall in their book [], the mob scene in the Adolphus “outraged thousands of Texans and … southerners … Sen Richard Russell , who had not campaigned for his party’s national ticket since 1944, telephoned Johnson that evening to offer his services . . . and Russell campaigned through Texas with Johnson.”  While no one can prove the proposition, these Johnson biographers conclude that it is a “credible hypothesis” that the Adolphus incident swung Texas, and perhaps other closely contested southern states into the Democratic column.

The rest of this January 1968 article is absurd, of course, from a historical context.   But Nixon grabbed the mantle of the “the other side are kooks” sentiment, and protected various political grabs like this one.

So, that’s part of the Democratic Party Political Theater of the moment.  What of the Republican Party’s Political Theater?  Well, the Republicans are offering Amendment after Amendment to change the Bill so as to get it back to the House for ratification.  The one that’s receiving the most attention is from Doctor Tom Coburn, to … reduce the cost of providing federally funded prescription drugs by eliminating fraudulent payments and prohibiting coverage of Viagra for child molesters and rapists and for drugs intended to induce abortion.
What else? Defund ACORN!

Then there’s Michelle Bachman’s Repeal bill.  It’s simple.  And not going to happen.  We’ll have to keep tuned in to see who co-signs.

Then there’s their current strategy of signing out at 2 pm.
Perhaps the Democrats should walk past them very slowly and film it, make the crazies the opponents.

the fervency

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

This is, I guess, Barack Obama’s version of “The Works”.

Okay, try this one.
In response to:

I spent some time yesterday talking on Canadian radio, explaining health-care reform to our neighbors to the north. They were a bit puzzled at what’s been going on down here. Why, they wanted to know, was there all that talk about “socialism” when the reform left in place the private insurance system? And why were people so angry? I found it a little hard to explain without going into an hour-long history of right-wing populism in America.
We get.:

Waldman, I pity the poor Canadians whom you subjected to your left-wing populist spin justifying the toxic stew of WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION that is also known as health care “reform.” I’m sure you could have gone on to enlighten our northern neighbors with your take on the “history of right-wing populism in America” and for their sake I am glad you spared them additional lies and distortions.

So you perceive that the “small group of Tea Party activists” are angry, eh? Just them? Not the vast majority of the American people? Could it be that there is great widespread anger because the American people were deceived into voting for a “transformational” candidate for president who would “change the culture of Washington” and work in a bipartisan manner on his signature issue with open hearings televised on C-SPAN? Now everyone sees the soothing lies of the race-baiting spin doctor Axelrod exposed for the utter deception they were as the administration continues fixed on their agenda of WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION, with it’s planned sequel of AMNESTY for the illegal invaders (you and your ilk prefer the euphemism “undocumented workers”) to turn millions of mostly Mexican peasants into grateful voting Democrats.

So, we have LIES on a breathtaking scale, considering that we’re talking about the future of the United States. We also have stupendous HYPOCRISY. People remember LBJ and the leftist mandarins of 1965 determined to transform the party of Jim Crow, police dogs and fire hoses (Bull Connor, Democratic National Committee member) into the freespending behemoth “friend” of the black, poor, and otherwise oppressed peoples. Never mind that it did more to destroy the strengths of the black family than any other factor and created a generational cycle of dependency that greatly decreased the quality of life for every resident of our large cities. Now the glittering prize of millions more Democrats to turn American completely blue forever beckons. To sordid apologists for continued American degradation like yourself, it doesn’t matter that these masses of mostly low skill Mexicans have shown a great disinclination to learn enough English to properly assimilate into American society, a prediliction to form and join violent criminal gangs, a propensity for drug trafficking and a palpable contempt for American law enforcement. You have tremendous chutzpah to talk about the “thuggery” of a few catcalls and insults directed at House Democrats sashaying and strutting into the Capitol to finalize their WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION when the current administration declines to do anything about the club wielding terrorists of the New Black Panther Party who terrorized a Philadelphia polling place or the ongoing pernicious street actions of ACORN. You are the essence of what many Americans loathe, a “progressive” elite mandarin gated community hypocrite who desires only to perpetuate and strengthen the socialist welfare state that America is fast becoming. Yes, we’re angry, Waldman, and we clearly see who is on our side and who is not

Posted by: Harry Flashman | March 23, 2010 11:31 AM

Huh.  It’s like, he’s never heard of the Canadian Health Care system and it’s… system of “wealth distribution”, lower case or upper case as circumstances warrent?  Skip a beat and the “Sordid apologist for Continued American Degredation” is — apparently, a job description.

Look at Waldman, the sordid apologist for continued American degradation, for example. The liberal chattering classes, as embodied by the regular denizens of this site, are mostly quite dangerously employed. Perhaps some might find it refreshing to hear from a point of view that is different from their “raelity.”

Maybe he should go back to filling out his NRSC brackets?  I don’t quite understand how the party can fit the categories of “Have No Shame” against, oh “Rubber Stamp” — but the actual NCAA tournament has no geographical significance in slotting “West”, “East”, “North”, and “South” brackets.

Turn to the Conservapedia for more coverage.

The betrayal of Christ comes a week early this year, as more than a dozen so-called pro-life Democrats vote to open the floodgates to taxpayer-funded abortion tonight. Judas betrayed with a kiss; these fake pro-lifers betray with the fig leaf of an Executive Order that can be rescinded in a heartbeat and will not stop the funding anyway.

Conservapedia is keen on some rather odd court cases.  They’re taking to championing the various states’s attempts to repeal the new law.

South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, South Dakota and Florida have filed suit in northern Florida to overturn the health care bill. Virginia has filed a separate lawsuit in Richmond, using a state statute that blocks the federal mandate. “It really is nothing more than a wholesale takeover of large portions of state institutions and programs.” [6]

And, puzzlingly and curiously, a Conservative Cause I’d never heard about.:

Our own Andy Schlafly takes over as lead counsel for the Committee to Recall Robert Menendez from the Office of United States Senator. This will be a precedent-setting case, because no Senator or Representative has ever been recalled before. [32] NJ Tea Parties United and the Sussex County Tea Party are seeking to force the Senator’s removal because of his support of health-care reform and past votes to increase government spending.[33]

Who knew?  What a bizarre cauldron of oddities this site is.
On this day in 1775, Patrick Henry proclaims “Give me liberty, or give me death.” He never did mention anything about healthcare.

Considering Post Health Care Reform politics

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Question of the day, as I wade through pointless political commentary.

What is the most likely path to a political victory in 2010 for a Democratic politician in the Congress?  What is the most likely path to a political victory in 2012 for a Democratic politician in the White House?  (And with Obama, mind you, he has a longer time frame to consider — in how to conciliate his contradictory election winning personas.  Today is not 2012.)
Think for a second.  Think for a second of a joke — part of the conventional wisdom — “so and so percentage approve of Obama’s job performance.  So and So percent disapprove.  The other percentage — are actually waiting for him to do something.”  I will say this about Obama — I’m happy to see the demise of the “First 100 Days” window, which he and Rahm Emanuel downplayed as we wound our way to the end of his First 100 Days.
So it is that the quotations over the past bunch of time — first coming about in August with the Town Hall demonstrations, then coming out of the Massachusetts election, that the Bill is Dead and Kaput — that was a desire to create a political reality by stating it and stating it hard.  The Massachusetts election was interesting — “Elections have consequences.  The voice of the people.”  Do you suppose the Election in 2008 had a greater impact than that election?

But to win an election or two, either in 2010 or 2012 — do you do that by trying to figure out a way to appease this man, for instance — and get him to vote for you?  I note that Heath Shuler has (and I’m not even going to say this is the wrong political call) indeed followed the call — He voted NO to Health Care Reform.  Good luck to that one, I guess.
I saw an evangelical tract the other day.  On the front cover was the Obama “Hope Image”.  Open inside, and you get the bible quotes.  “Whatever your feelings may be about this historic election, there are some things that you as a human being must consider.  Obviously, Barack Obama is seen by many as a savior or messiah-like leader.  But many of those who see Mr. Obama in this light fail to realize that he cannot fulfill mankind’s greatest needs.  Many who read this tract will no doubt end up with a few extra bucks in their pocket because of this historic Obama presidency.”  It is a puzzling abomonition.  What is this thing suggesting about Obama with that statement?  “The consequences of trusting Barack Obama for your grestest needs are that God Almighty Himself will reject you, just as you rejected Him.”  Is this relatable to the Health Care bill, I wonder.  Rev. 20:15 — a Hellfire burn soul quote, and then a check list of two options.  “I hereby repent of my sins and receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior from Hell.”  Bad word choice — it can be read that Jesus comes from Hell.  AND “I hereby reject Jesus Christ and accept Barack Hussein Obama as my personal lord and savior.”

This National Review posting is fine and dandy enough.  I have to laugh round about here.

But in the end, even the squishiest Republican candidate chooses to be a Republican, with all of its attendant inherent hostility from much of the mainstream press, demonization by Hollywood, reflexive accusations of racism, etc. That suggests at least a little spine, or at least a certain willingness to espouse a view because of some deeply held principle independent of public opinion.
It’s hard out there being a Republican, isn’t it?  Go figure.  All these years Liberals have been glum faced about perceived liability of “Liberal” — and so we have the rise of the “Progressive” and the diminuation of any difference between the words.

Meanwhile, all but the most wildly rebellious Democrats will let down a conservative pretty frequently. Only three House Democrats voted against the health-care bill, cap-and-trade, and the stimulus: Bobby Bright of Alabama, Walt Minnick of Idaho, and Gene Taylor of Mississippi. In other words, every other self-proclaimed conservative Democrat voted for at least one piece of legislation that conservatives loathed. John Barrow of Georgia (lifetime ACU rating 36.2) voted for the stimulus. Heath Shuler (lifetime ACU rating 30.6) voted for cap-and-trade. Joe Donnelly of Indiana (lifetime ACU rating 32) signed on for health care.
And you know what?  Walt Minnick is not going to win re-election.

The Senate elections are always the easiest thing to watch as a combo.  Where are we with that?  We have that question: Will the “Tea Party”, as a ballot political enitity, give Harry Reid a lifeline?  I would say not and he can’t count on such a thing — it’s probably easy enough for the Republicans to consolidate the opposition behind oustering the Majority Leader.  (That’s not a statement about Reid coming through to victory or not, it’s just a statement about the relevance of the third party candidacy.)  Would the nomination of a Rand Paul give the Democratic candidate in Kentucky a chance?  It seems that way.  Is Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas screwed?  It looks that way.  If, by chance, J. D. Hayworth were to win the Republican nomination in Arizona and ouster John McCain — could the Democratic Party suddenly have a chance?  It doesn’t look like that — and besides, McCain now has Palin stumping for him!  How the hell did Arlen Specter gets his mojo back?  Beats the Hell out of me.

The History of the Demon Pass

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

It is too bad that the “Demon Pass” manuever won’t be implemented for Health Care.  From what I can tell, it would have produced a better final bill.

Nonetheless, the “Demon Pass” has not died yet in the hearts and minds of the Critics.  Observe this chart.  Maybe it will go down in another day or two?


You’d think they were extending a fifteen minute over-night voting session until they could wrangle a couple recalcitrant voters, or something.

The thing is the Demon Pass has long been employed as a legislative tool.  It was first used by Republican Joseph Gurney Cannon near the dawn of the twentieth century.  He would not let the Minority Party proceed to any point of order until they answered three riddles.  Sam Rayburn would later add an arbitariness to the difficulty of the three riddles, creating new solutions on the fly and not accepting some standardly accepted answers.  Newt Gingrich upped the ante by throwing some Democrats into the Fifth Circle of Hades.

If the process has gotten under control, at least nobody’s promising a Nude Erection anymore.  Oh wait — they are.  Oh well.

What did Kesha Rogers do last Saturday?

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Things that are stupid.  The wikipedia article for Kesha Rogers.  I think the article should probably be about five sentences in length, commiserate with her relevance.  I do draw your attention to the Pete Olson quotation balanced off with the Gerry Birnberg quotation —  Pete Olson is guilty of simple partisan baiting, and I suppose good for him — the Harris County Democrats should be looking around for a replacement to Gerry Birnberg for coddling a cult.

Interesting to see this item about Zeitgeist Exposed (with participants like Larouche).  There was a Zeitgeist Event Showing a week ago.  I thought of attending.  I didn’t.  I guess my mind remains un-re-melded.  Really, all I would have provided if I’d looked and posted on it is a sense of   Local color.:

Paul Glumaz, a balding middle-aged man whose booming voice carried a trace of an East Coast accent, set up a table festooned with pamplets and posters, one of which had the words “impeach now” emblazoned below a portrait of Pres. Barack Obama wearing a Hitler-style moustache. As a strong breeze ruffled the political literature on the table, Glumaz laughed and described some of the hand gestures he’d seen from drivers of passing cars.”I’ve been getting a lot of birds and some thumbs up,” he said.
Glumaz described his trip to Vashon was part political mission, part tourism.
“I have a friend here, and he’s going to show me around tonight,” he explained.

When I saw the headline blare “There is Only Thing Larouche’s Enemies Are Obsessed With: What is Lyndon Larouche Going to Do on Saturday?”, I was confronted with a question I had never considered.  This was for last Saturday, and I thought about the question.  Would Lyndon Larouche wake up early, say 6 am ish, to catch Rocky and Bullwinkle reruns — or am I transplanting my eight year old self to him?  I quickly found myself terribly uninterested in the question.  I suppose you might want to know what I did last Saturday?  No?  I didn’t think so.  I could have given you the answer, “Went to a Zeitgist Showing”, but alas I didn’t bother with that.  What did Larouche do?  I half suspect he’s dead now and the org has hired a actor to do these random monthly descents.  But, otherwise — I suppose he’d do some prep work of some variety for his roughly monthly appearance before a camera for live distribution over the Internet.  Then he’d deliver his performance.   Nobody would notice except, I suppose, for TimeForTruth, who would dutifully fill me on where his meanderings are leading.  I have no idea why he’d post there — I’ve posted three times more and once directly addressing TimeForTruth.

Whatever we can say, they’re scurrying about inserting Larouche into current events.  When they speak that Obama’s “Obsession with Larouche”, they look to the story of Rahm Emanuel speaking of “fringe groups” and assume they’re speaking about them — last time I saw them mentioned to the tea party they were pegged as at “the fringes of the Tea Party”.  (Here they are!) When they hear some Republicans speak about the “Ides of March”, it must be coming from them — or maybe not.  Hell — they’re taking credit for Scott Brown’s victory.  In the end, Obama seems rather “obsessed” with passing his health care policy.  I suppose I can speak luke-warmly on it — I would like to say we can do better than this bill, but I guess by definition we can’t.  I don’t know what to do with that Overton Window thing — every time I look around people I hear these things about “Death Panels” and a tangeant about Abortion.  Oh well.

Next election coming up — Summer Shields against Nancy Pelosi.  The most talked about political ad of the year involves Demon Sheep.  I think for their political ad in this race, the Summer Shields campaign might want to look to it for inspiration.
Of course, I already have two ad proposals for Rachel Brown against Barney Frank in my head.  I’ll put them down one of these days.

12 Competitors against Johnny Carson

Friday, March 19th, 2010

1.  Les Crane.  Novemeber 1964 – February 1965.  ABC.  *
“The Bad Boy of Late Night Television“, Les Crane had a rollicking time in the wee hours of 1 am, where he would take in phone calls and berate the callers.  There is a shcok formula in his act, and plopped at 11:15 against Johnny Carson, ABC wanted it both ways with him: tone down his act as he did an ordinary talk show, and provide moments of controversy.  Perhaps he was not going to last and his “shock” would get old and wear out its welcome, and perhaps it’s a feeble effort to have a 1 am gig moved to 11.  The difference wasn’t adequately split.  He appears to have had a solid and good career — claims to have given us Top 40 Radio but there’s a long line for such claims, and more regretfully voiced a spoken voice one hit in the 1970s which was refashioned in 1999 and re-popularized into email spam fame mistakenly under Kurt Vonnegut’s name.  Anyways, his career highlights, commercially or artistically, apparently doesn’t include this 14 week effort at late night talk variety.

2.  Joey Bishop.  April 1967 – December 1969.  ABC.  **
I have no good feeler for the cultural context or reads on Joey Bishop.  He was Carson’s regular guest host, than he was his competitor for a few years.  The youtube clips available are heavy on one of lasting gifts to us all — Regis Philbin, his sidekick.  Jack Paar clearly favored him over Carson.  I guess he slumped back to Carson’s guest host role, did some game shows, hung out with the “Rat Pack”.  Somebody tell me what I’m looking at when I’m looking at Joey Bishop.

3.  Merv Griffin.  August 1969 – February 1972.  CBS. **
He had done his show in syndication and locally before CBS signed him up.  He did so again after CBS dropped him.  I gather stations slotted him in late night less often the second time through, and he found his rhthym in the morning.  Years later, Cosmo Kramer made use of his show’s trappings and kept the Merv Griffin Show alive.

4.  Dick Cavett.  December 1969 – December 1972.  ABC ***
I think he should have been allowed to roll through most of the decade of the 1970s with his talk show effort.  He developed a cultural cachet and relevance for the times quite apart from Carson, and the list of his notable shows on youtube is telling.  His big fault was that he made less money for ABC shareholders than Carson made for NBC shareholders.  But he’s one of the few on this list that you can sell on dvd.

5.  Alan Thicke.  1983 – 1984.  Syndication, Metromedia. *
Was there any point in launching with an ad campaign about taking on Johnny Carson?  Maybe Alan Thicke could have had something good working here, but his set up sounds rather counter-productive.  Apparently the show was filmed twice in week in sets of three, and then aired as late as ten days after filming.  Metromedia’s lunges at fourth television network sure were Mickey Mouse efforts.

6.  Joan Rivers.  Fox.  1986-1987.  **
I’ve already tapped this one, defended it feigntly.  Fox needed to make a splash to clear affiliates.  She did.  If her ratings weren’t all that good, it could be pointed out she was on a programming island on the best non-network television station in each market.  As for the show itself — a lot of show business glitz, I suppose.

7.  David Brenner.  1986 – 1987.  Syndicated.  *
The low point apparently came when his guests didn’t show up for a program, so he extended his monolouge for an entire program and post-hoc labeled it a Daring New Experiment in Television.  Brenner went on with a good relationship with Cason, who didn’t take his shot against him personally.

8.  Ross Shafer.  Fox.  1988. *
Slot him into this mix because he was settled on at the end of this run as host.  Falling low in the ratings, he filled his show out with gimmicks — all kind of interesting enough.  Though why would I want to watch a Reunion of the Gilligan’s Island cast when I could just go ahead and watch Gilligan’s Island?

9. Pat Sajak.  CBS.  * 1989-1990.
I both see what CBS thought it was doing, and appreciate the Mediocrity of the purpose.  Carson had been a game show host who could provide a breezy late night format.  Sajak?  He’s a game show host with some of the same skill!  Why, once Carson retires, he’ll be right there for people to turn over toward.  And so with his promise to “not looking to raise the level of TV”, he delivered the lack of interesting programming that he promised to deliver.

10.  Arsenio Hall.  Syndication.  1989 – 1994.  ***
Too obsequitious to his guests, too preening to female guests, and for the life of me I don’t remember any skit he did.  But for a moment he filled this vacuum, a vacuum excentered by his spot in syndication.  He moved into his host of Fox affiliates, buffered by a good selection of ABC and CBS.  The schedulinig advantage fell apart when the vacuum became glut — CBS signed Letterman, Fox screwed things up with Chevy Chase, but before then Hall threw out a lot of academic scholars, forcing his audience to think a tad.  He provided ample peiod pieces for VH1 reminisces: it is Milli Vanilli for the first time singing and not lip-syncing the song their name was attached to.  And Bill Clinton on the saxophone.

11.  Rick Dees.  1991.  ABC.  *
My brother used to tape various interviews with Star Trek actors, mixed in or at the end of his taped Star Trek collection.  So I have one image of Rick Dees interviewing — probably William Shatner, and doing a riff on how his show is “No Budget!”  (Similarly, a Jonathan Frazen appearance on Chevy Chase in recorded — where Commander Riker appears to be high, but I imagine all of Chase’s guests ended up that way.) I kind of don’t know what ABC thought they had with Rick Dees.  Maybe they threw him up with the “Just Because” school of thought — fill time.

12.  Dennis Miller.  Jan – July 1992.  syndication. *
Dennis Miller has certainly had a long and varied career.  He rejuveniated a Saturday Night Live staple — “Weekend Update” — with a large supply of obscure pop cultural references.  He took his supply of obscure pop cultural references to his dreamed about late night talk show (supposedly a more eclectic guest line up — at the time he sold that idea by offering up that he had as a guest the pre-veep selection Al Gore) — and since there is apparently only a limited audience for that, it took him onto cable.  Then Monday Night Football saw good use for his obscure pop cultural references and hired him for a year in service for football play.  Since about 9/11, he has used his supply of obscure pop cultural references in service to the Republican Party, which I guess badly needs them.