Sick of hearing about “the sequester”? You are not alone. Most of the country could not be less interested. Maybe this will change your mind.
Just put up a new piece on this at the Daily Banter. Hope you like it.
First of all, I hope everyone reading this is safe, warm and dry.
What a difference a week (or day) can make! Just think, a month ago, President Obama’s reelection seemed almost like a fait accompli and then, BAM! Debate number one gave Mitt Romney an opening and he’s back from political death. I blogged in 2008 that I thought he was going to win it all then. There’s no excuse for taking their eye off the Romney ball the way Obama clearly did.
I do not want Romney to get to move into the White House. Not even a little bit. Why? Mostly because I have no idea who he is or what he stands for. He was pro-choice before he was anti. He was pro-health reform before he was anti and then pro again when it served him. He has taken the whole “run to the right in the primary and then to the center for the general” to levels that I never thought were possible. Really, Mitt? You’re now proud of your Massachusetts health care plan? And you really still think FEMA should be privatized? Are you fucking kidding me? Yes? No? Maybe? What day is it?
The Supreme Court could be enough of a reason for me to vote for Barack Obama. But then I also remember that the president sets the tone for the entire federal government. I think the Violence Against Women Act was a good idea and want our Justice Department to enforce it. You know who doesn’t? Most of the GOP. And don’t get me started on binders and the GOP’s thoughts on rape.
Then there’s Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Full disclosure, I have a pretty huge crush on Ryan. I
am not proud of it. I don’t like it but… would I kick him out of bed? Probably not. If he could only stop talking and just sit around looking pretty, we’d all be better off. If he is intent on talking, maybe he can just STOP writing. I read his plans for Medicare and they are really, really bad. And no, Joe Scarborough, he isn’t great for being the only one to propose something about the federal program which does need restructuring (we need to deal with health care costs, a voucher program is not the answer). This is like, the neighbor’s house is on fire! Somebody, do something! Ahh, Paul Ryan brought doughnuts. Doesn’t help with the fire, per se, but technically, he has done something. And we want this guy to be a heart beat away from being president? I may think he is some pretty nice (and very hydrated) eye candy, I don’t think he belongs in the White House.
And now, this storm may be a game changer. (Do Mark Halperin and Jon Heileman have copywrite on that phrase? ) President Obama gets to look, well, presidential. Something he needs to work on. Now, should he lose the election (and he might), there will be a ton of blame bantied about. I will blame only one person; the president. He looked so bored during that debate that I had a hard time watching it. He made me like Chris Christie and that’s not a small feat. At least he appreciates FEMA. Fuck, anyone out there thinks privatizing that important agency makes sense? It doesn’t. And we want the guy who wants that to be president, I know I do not.
President Obama has not lived up to a lot of our expectations but truthfully, he never really had a shot at that. Unless he could completely change the way we approach politics (a crazy high bar to reach), we weren’t going to be satisfied. Part of this is also his fault. The candidate of “hope and change” became the president of “it could have been worse.” Not exactly awe inspiring.
But not terrible either. I wish Obama had been more hands on when dealing with Congress, though I am not convinced that would have helped woo people like Eric Cantor, who clearly were going to oppose anything he proposed.
I guess in a week we will know. Do I have to move to France?
Ok, today’s post was going to be about the book Machete Season but that all went out the window when I read this on the Daily Beast‘s Cheat Sheet:
Report: Edwards Used Prostitutes
New York City local news blog DNA Info reported Thursday that a prostitute affiliated with the so-called “Millionaire Madam” says she had sex with the former presidential candidate. A call girl working for Anna Gristina reportedly told investigators that she was paid to have sex with Edwards while he was in New York in 2007, raising money for his failed presidential bid. Lawyers for Edwards did not comment on the story, but records show that Edwards did stay at New York’s Loews Regency Hotel—which is also where he allegedly met Rielle Hunter.
Stories like this make me feel like my heart is being slowly ripped out my body through my nose. I wrote a joke about two years ago about this. I like to say that just when I think this story cannot possibly get any douchier, it does. This is why I cannot read the book Game Change. I don’t need or want any more information about this man. Now, the argument can be made that I can just skip those sections but I don’t have that level of discipline.
This is also one of the reasons I don’t get all inspired by anyone anymore. If I was bitter and jaded before (and I am sure I am, one of my interns once called me “gumbly” but I think that was also because I was one of the only people in the office not afraid of the Congressman we worked for and didn’t jump out of my skin every time he did something), I am now.
At the risk of being a broken record, I enjoy watching Morning Joe. I like it a lot. I appreciated the exchange they had with Rick Santorum this morning enough to want to write about it. Unfortunately that led me to have to read through and actually watch some of his statements. After watching more clips of him than I would like, my soul hurts. It hurts a lot. I also think I may have sprained my neck from shaking my head so much.
Santorum’s hypocrisy is overwhelming. To get a smaller point out of the way, can we stop blaming the media for reporting on things public figures say? No, if unedited video is aired somewhere — on YouTube or a media outlet — you don’t get to claim the press did you wrong. Say you misspoke. Say you made a mistake. I know that I would be impressed with either answer. Although, if your misstatement or mistake reflects an opinion you have been expressing for decades, you don’t get to say that one time you used the wrong words.
And now we come to Santorum’s hypocrisy. He sparred with Joe Scarborough over his position on contraception — something he thinks is destroying America is is “not how things should be.” Sex, in his view, is only meant to be between a heterosexual, married couple and only when they are trying to have children. I don’t know where that leaves people incapable of having children, I guess in a sexless life. Or maybe in their hearts they could just hope they are going to get pregnant and therefore please the vengeful God who would otherwise smite them down for such a heretical act.
Problem one: Santorum chastised Scarborough for giving into the media proclivity to “pigeonhole him” and to basically put words in his mouth. According to him, he has done “thousands of rallies” where contraception never came up. When he did mention his opposition to it — and he omitted how vociferous that opposition has been — it was merely in reference to the overwhelming threat posed by Obamacare. It isn’t contraception that bothers him, per se, it’s the federal government’s overreaching into our private lives. Except that’s not what he has said. He didn’t frame his comments in 2011 or 2010 or the last few decades as concern over the federal government overstepping its bounds, he talked about contraception as being one of the evils that is destroying America, promoting “the wrong kind of sex” and leading, paradoxically, to “more unplanned pregnancies.” Yeah, increased contraceptive use usually does lead to that (what am I missing here? Oh, right, I forgot about the YouTube clip I saw where Santorum calls scientists “amoral” — check it out, if you dare.). So the mere idea that the fine former Senator from Pennsylvania’s comments on the issue have been taken out of context or blown out of proportion is absurd on every level possible. No, Rick, the media didn’t force you to talk about this issue, you brought it up all on your own.
Problem two: Santorum argues that his campaign isn’t about this issue but in several interviews he mentions things he would do as president to accomplish his goals. To give him some credit, I agree with some of what he says. The presidency comes along with a bully pulpit an if you are not prepared to use it, why bother? (Case in point, the role of First Lady comes with the same perk and one major issue I had with Howard Dean was that his family was clearly not on board with his presidential run. Not only did his mother tell Vanity Fair that he ‘had no shot of winning’ — ouch! — but his wife declared she would not serve as First Lady. Truthfully, I would not trust anyone who would give that opportunity up with feeding my cat much less providing my health care but that’s my personal opinion.) So by saying, he has been talking about these moral issues but didn’t mean them to have such an impact makes zero sense. That kind of logic does not belong in the White House.
Problem three: And this one, to me, applies to many members of the Republican party. I am sorry, Mr. Scarborough, but this includes you sometimes (abortion, not contraception, I loved your idea about the quid pro quo in Virginia — if the vaginal probe ultrasound requirement for abortions passed so should an anal probe requirement for Viagra). How can you claim to support less government in our business lives but more in our personal ones? I know, I know, if you think abortion is murder… (I do not, I am just admitting I can see a flaw in my own criticism of your logic, which I still think is flawed). But what about contraception? Not to get all personal but I have used contraception for both the purposes of preventing pregnancy but on more than one occasion for other health issues. And truthfully, that shouldn’t be germane to this discussion but as I see stats as high as putting the percentage of women who have used contraception at 99 percent, and given that would have to include lesbians, a bunch of us are using these medications for reasons that have nothing to do with sex — casual or otherwise. (Oh, and if you are so “pro-marriage” as you claim, Mr. Santorum, why oppose gay marriage? Maybe that’s a topic for another day.)
Problem four: Why does your religion trump mine? When you described why you are making the sacrifice you are making to run for president — and I am one of the people who appreciates anyone willing to go through it, running for president is hard business so I agree with you on that — is that you want to live in a country where you can practice your faith. I am cool with you practicing your faith. Practice away. Why does that give you the right to impose your faith on me? My personal religion is physics but I don’t expect you to sit around pondering Einstein’s theory of relativity like I do (like a slippery bar of soap in the shower, every time I think I get it, I lose it again). There is a reason our Founding Fathers wanted the separation of church and state (and no, when President Kennedy talked about religious tolerance, he was not suggesting faith has no place in the public square. He was merely pointing out that all religions and faiths have a place in the country.)
Faith is often defined as the belief in something without any discernable proof and the argument could almost be made that I have faith that you are running for president because you do want to make the country better, though none of your positions give me any reason to believe that goal would be accomplished. That’s harsh, the proof is you are running and I cling to the idea that most people in politics are in it for the right reasons. The comparison I like to make is that Democrats and Republicans both want to get to the same place — a better, safer, more prosperous America — we just have different routes we think we need to take to get there.
My last point, for the people with my sized attention span: the nation should not be forced to practice or adhere to the religious beliefs of the president. And that does not mean I don’t think faith has a place in our system. I think one of the traps into which liberals fall — myself included — is to deny the role it can play in bringing us together. I am all for religion that brings out the better angles of our nature, as it did during the Civil Rights movement, which began in churches. It troubles me, however, when it is used as a weapon to divide us into different classes of people — like when we deny half our population the right to marry or use it to tell more than half the population what kind of medical treatment they can receive and who will decide that.
This video won’t be for everyone, I know I need a drink after watching it.