Posts Tagged 'election'

Yo Deadman, please don’t hurt ‘em …

Ring the bell, school’s back in, break it down … Stop. Question time!

10) Ok, several days have passed. Are you still smiling and dancing, or do you find yourself suffering a bit from some sort of post-partum-like depression?

9) Not that I would know anything about this, but which is a more important element of looking good on the dance floor: Rhythm or self-confidence?

8) So I turned 35 this week. Is it lame that one of the things that most annoys me about this age is that I can no longer check off the 18-34 age group in surveys?

7) My awesome girlfriend got me one of those comfy leather recliners for my birthday (we once got in a fight because she said she thought those chairs were ugly and didn’t want one in her apartment while I insisted they were one of man’s god-given rights), and I have now fallen asleep while watching TV on that chair each of the past several nights. Have I become my dad?

6) Why or how did humans evolve so that they crave and demand variety in their meals? Every day, my dog acts like a Democrat who just found out Obama has won the presidency (i.e. like a delirious nut bag) when I take a scoop into his jar of food, even though I’m preparing to give him the exact same crap I always do. It seems like it’d be so much easier and more efficient if we humans could also be content eating the same thing every day.

5) Which is worse: Sarah Palin’s ignorance; the McCain advisers who chose Palin despite her ignorance; or the fact that those same advisers are now just piling on, anonymously leaking to the press more examples of that ignorance and suggesting she torpedoed the campaign?

4) One of the ironies of the election was that the heavy black turnout caused by Obama’s candidacy contributed to the passage of Prop 8 in California, which outlaws gay marriages. Do you believe the civil rights struggle of homosexuals is equivalent to the African-American struggle. If not, what is the difference? (This is not a trick question; I think there can be legitimate debate here, though in the end I personally don’t think there’s a difference.)

3) If you could find out the exact date of your death, but couldn’t do anything to change it, would you want to know? If you found out you were going to die within the next 12 months, what would be the biggest change you’d make in your life?

2) I have plenty of regrets in my life. One of them I remember well is telling a childhood friend in first grade that there was no Santa Claus, which was a really crappy thing to do (especially so cuz I’m Jewish). Do you remember when you first found out there was no Santa Claus and what was your reaction? (My apologies if I have once again spilled the beans and destroyed any delusions you may harbor).

1) Please look at the attached map below. It’s a graphical display of the voting trends in Tuesday’s election compared to 2004. The blue sections are areas where people voted more heavily Democratic; the bluer the section, the bigger the change.

Which of the following facts does this map reveal (Choose all that apply): a) The Republican brand and agenda is dying b) The Democratic brand and agenda is ascending c) Barack Obama was a better candidate than John Kerry or d) Damn, the South is disturbingly full of racists, esp. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

2208 Voting Trends

Bittersweet …

Looks like Prop 8 is going to pass in California. It’s a shame that on a historic night in American politics, the voters of one of this country’s bluest states may have decided to take a step backward for civil rights. Hate to throw out anything negative out there on a day like today, but the lack of leadership on gay marriage by leading Democratic politicians, including our President-elect and Vice President-elect, is probably one of the reason the progress has been halting at best on the issue. Alas, support for gay marriage doesn’t appear to be feasible right now for politicians with national aspirations, or at the least, no one appears brave enough to test that piece of conventional wisdom.

On the positive front, marijuana decriminalization continues to take tiny steps forward, with measures being passed in Michigan and Massachusetts. Doctor-assisted suicide law passed in Washington. A renewable energy initiative passed in Missouri (though that doesn’t take the sting out of my hometown state’s likely pick of McCain). And somewhat surprisingly, pro-life initiatives were voted down in South Dakota and Colorado.

Best birthday ever …

I turned 35 at midnight tonight, about the exact same time Obama began his acceptance speech in Chicago. I couldn’t have received a better birthday gift. I will never forget this night. You should have seen the love and camaraderie being displayed in New York, between and among complete strangers who like me just couldn’t stop smiling. If a night like tonight doesn’t make one proud to be an American, and hopeful for the future, I don’t know what could.

Just a quick note to to finish up before I TRY to go to bed tonight (the adrenaline may not let me), I wanted to post one of the more poignant signs I saw tonight, displayed at a Obama rally in New Jersey and shown during one of the local news reports. It read (with a little bit of editing):

Rosa sat,

so Martin could walk,

so Barack could run,

so our children could fly.

I’ll obviously never be able to understand the African-American experience, but I thought that was just beautiful poetry.

The unspoken fear …

Take a step back from the day-to-day machinations and minutiae of the campaign for a moment. Put aside thoughts about the final stretch of polls and stump speeches and negative advertising and robo-calls and ground games and electoral map hypotheticals, and consider the enormity of what this country appears to be on the brink of doing one week from now: Electing an African-American to the highest office in the land.

Given the history of this nation, it is a remarkable prospect. It is exhilarating. It is almost unbelievable.

And that is why it is also very frightening.

Frightening because as the prospect of an Obama presidency becomes more real, I believe there are many in this country who are so sick and deranged that they would risk their own lives to make sure that doesn’t happen. Even with the best and most comprehensive security force, you cannot convince me that an assassination isn’t a very real possibility. Obama is attracting enormous crowds of tens of thousands of people, which are nearly impossible to totally manage. All it takes is one nut with a semiautomatic to be successful.

I now believe that an assassination is the only thing that will prevent Obama from being inaugurated as President of the United States come next January.

I hope I’m just being overly cautious or neurotic – with my personality, that would be within the realm of possibility – but I think a lot of people are wondering the same thing and just don’t want to express the unmentionable.

Am I wrong to worry??

McCain may be the lipstick AND the pig …

A struggling economy. Rising unemployment. A crumbling housing market. Ballooning national debt. Disappearing social security and Medicare funds. Surging energy and food prices. Failing financial institutions. A looming environmental catastrophe. Increasing anti-Americanism. Burgeoning terrorist threats.

This is the reality.

No matter your political party or ideology, these are the issues that matter.

And yet, both political campaigns have chosen to spend a fair amount of money and time this week arguing about the phrase ‘Lipstick on a pig.” It would probably be funny if there weren’t so much at stake in this election.

Obama used the phrase in a recent speech, though it is quite clear from the context that he was using it to refer to McCain and his attempt to call himself an ‘agent of change’ despite the fact that most of his policies are identical to those of the current administration. ‘Lipstick on a pig’ has been used multiple times in the past by numerous politicians, including at least twice by McCain to describe Hilary Clinton’s latest health care plan (The phrase was even the title of a book authored by one of McCain’s former advisers).

The assertion by McCain’s campaign that Obama was calling Palin a pig is ludicrous.

First of all, Obama didn’t even mention Palin’s name anywhere near the statement in question. You have to make quite the leap in logic to assert it was a reference, even an oblique one, to her or the speech she gave at the Republican convention.

More importantly, the insult doesn’t make sense. Palin is a sexy mama. I’m not at all sure about her qualifications to be President of the United States, but if anything, she’s the lipstick here, not the pig.

Personally, I think McCain’s campaign is desperately trying to play the gender card here and it seems so beneath the image and substance of the man. I really believe McCain to be a man of high integrity, and I believed him when he insisted earlier that this campaign would be a respectful one focused on the issues.

Yet, I now have serious doubts. I believe McCain’s trying to take the high road, feigning innocence while everyone around him engages in the kind of sleazy politics the Republicans are so good at and which, unfortunately, seem to work.

In fact, I’m beginning to believe McCain is the real lipstick in this situation, being smeared on the pig of negative politicking. They are using his good name, his heroic past, his maverick reputation, his long and distinguished legislative career, to try and cover up the fact they are using the same old dirty political playbook in order to get elected.

My hunch is that McCain understands exactly what is going on, and has given at the very least his tacit endorsement of the plan.  And if that’s so, then McCain isn’t just the lipstick. He’s the pig, too.

Grampa McCain wants to take Obama’s ball away …

While growing up in a St. Louis suburb, a bunch of kids who lived on my street would often get together in my neighbor’s backyard to play some soccer. Occasionally, the ball would be kicked too hard and roll into the yard next door, and sometimes all the way to the back of that house, which sat perpendicularly to our soccer field. This was always a dicey, somewhat traumatic moment for us, and we would usually argue for quite some time about who had to go retrieve the ball.

You see, the guy who lived in that house and the source of our fears and consternation was a mean, nasty, grouchy old man, a regular Grampa Simpson-slash-Ebenezer Scrooge who would yell and scream at us if he caught us in his yard, and threaten to take the ball away if he ever got it first. For a bunch of nine- and ten-year-olds, the dude was just plain scary.

I’m bringing this up because John McCain has lately been reminding me of that scary old man (and Obama’s the kid with the errant soccer ball). The real odd thing is, I think it’s the image he’s trying to cultivate.

How else can one explain McCain’s recent behavior and ads, where he basically mocks Obama’s lofty, inspirational rhetoric, and derides his popularity as a symptom of our shallow, celebrity-based culture (comparing him to both Moses and Britney). I know what he’s trying to say – that there’s no there there with Obama – but to me, he just comes across as a crotchety old guy with no message of his own, nothing positive to say, so all he can do is complain about those darn whippersnappers.

McCain isn’t the first person to try this strategy with Obama; in the primaries, Hillary Clinton often questioned Obama’s substance and occasionally mocked his speeches, and I thought she too looked petty and shrill while doing so. But for McCain, who already has an age problem, this will prove to be a particularly unhelpful tactic because in addition to being mean-spirited, it also makes him look old and out-of-touch.

Or have we truly gotten to the point where we automatically scoff at terms like hope and change, pass them off as more Camelot myth-making, just part of an impossible and foolish dream that will end up doing more harm than good.

I’d like to think that after eight years of George W and his cronies, and now mired in a rather depressing economic situation, most of America is looking for someone with a vision and fresh ideas, someone who is more interested in unity and compromise than party and ideology, a leader who can inspire and motivate us and help us become that more perfect union our forefathers intended (Well, I tried, but Obamaian rhetoric is hard to do without sounding cheesy!!).

Now I’m sure an Obama presidency will likely fall short of the ambitious, lofty vision he espouses in his speeches. The real business of politics and governing can be gritty, even dirty at times; The way Obama is alternatively shifting to the center (offshore drilling OK) and pandering to his base (windfall profit tax for oil companies) may not be very appealing, but it also shows that he’s not a total idealist, that he understands this aspect of the business as well.

And in any case, I’d much rather a leader start with his head a bit in the clouds and fall short of best intentions, than have him begin in the gutter and try to rise up out of it.

In other words, I’d much rather vote for a Ned Flanders than a Grampa Simpson…

p.s. speaking of grandpas, my mom just called and reminded me my grandfather’s 97th birthday would have been today. he died about ten years ago from complications after a stroke. until he got sick, there was a guy who knew how to do the old thing right!! what a sweet beautiful man. happy birthday zeydeh!!

Ageism may just be the -ism that matters most this election …

Many of my liberal friends and family (and since this is New York City, that means basically everyone I know) believe there is no way Barack Obama will win the presidency this fall. Partly, they feel conservatives will at the last minute find or fabricate some scandal that torpedoes Obama’s campaign (tho I can’t imagine how to top Reverend Wright), but mainly they are convinced that America is just not ready to elect a black man to the top office in the land.

Now, I’m not about to deny or underestimate the prevalence of racism in this country. I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with why recent polls show this contest remaining close (With George W’s incompetence, a nasty economy and an unpopular war, almost any Democrat not named Hillary or Barack would likely have a double-digit lead).

But I’m making the call now that it will be McCain’s age and not Obama’s race that ends up mattering more and giving the White House back to the Democrats. The Arizona senator turns 72 this week, and I’ve noticed several occasions during this campaign where he is looking and sounding at least that old.

People who disagree will obviously point to Reagan as evidence that old age doesn’t matter, either in terms of voter perception or performance in office. But remember, Reagan was still in his 60s when he was first elected as President; i believe if he hadn’t built up such goodwill in his first term, people would have been much more critical of his health and state of mind during his reelection campaign. And in terms of performance, well, there’s still a lot of debate about when exactly Reagan began suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

McCain walks and talks like a man in pretty good shape, and he has certainly handled the grueling campaigning schedule well so far. But he’s had a tough life, and there are moments when you can really tell how old the guy is, and it makes you wonder if he’s up for the most stressful job in the world.

The gaffes so far have been minor – slip-ups of the tongue, some general misspeaking – nothing that can truly be called a senior moment. But his health has been an issue – the latest example being a biopsied mole on his face, which raised fears of skin cancer recurrence. And he looks absolutely lost in front of a teleprompter (I’m not sure if you can chalk that issue entirely up to age, but that’s how I think a lot of viewers will regard his scripted speeches).

The rubber will hit the road when McCain and Obama go head-to-head in the debates. Obama isn’t the greatest debater – he often strays off message and gets caught up in reeling off facts and stats – but the stark difference between Obama’s health and vitality and that of McCain will come through crystal clear through the magic of live high-def television. I guarantee you at some point McCain will stumble and bumble through an answer, spend too much time searching for a name, and the implication will be obvious: He is not fit for the job of U.S. president. The late night jokes will run rampant, and McCain will not be able to slough it off by trotting out his 95-year-old mother or using self-deprecation.

That may not be a fair response; I know I forget things and do my fair share of stumbling and bumbling, and I’m almost forty years younger than McCain. But that’s the thing with -isms: They have nothing to do with being fair.


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