Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goodbye to civility

Conor Friedersdorf at Atlantic has been admonishing other conservatives to watch what they say, and he's getting dissed as a nag, scold, damp squib, etc. I wish he'd be successful, but frankly I think civility is a goner. Some people will practice it, but it isn't generally practiced or expected. So I'm going to try writing a post where I'm totally unrestrained, and I say whatever I want in the harshest terms I feel like using. Maybe this will be fun.

One area where civility that is really a waste is giving the benefit of the doubt to politicians and their shills. Conor had a 10 or 12 volley twitter fight with someone from Breitbart, who finally tweeted:
"I guess it's all worth it if you have a handy cudgel to use against the dread left."
What a fucking waste of time. Of course someone from Breitbart or Fox or DNC is going to use anything imaginable as a cudgel to beat the other side. It doesn't take 12 tweets to figure that out, and 12 tweets is no guarantee that the pundit or shill or whoever is going to admit he's an opportunistic dick. We already know that, so why would we waste time on it?

Ridiculous talking points
I am so fucking tired of the talking points phenomenon. People who repeat them and write them endlessly on the web really should be choking on the stench as they type because it's the same as puking out pieces of cadavers. You don't win any independents with stupidity like that, and you only confirm the biases of the committed on both sides. If I could, I would make anyone mouthing a talking point (right or left) submit to a lie-detector test and make them confess that it's a ridiculous talking point. And I would video it. Maybe start my own channel on youtube.


The prizes for media bias go to...
The biggest prize for lying belongs to Fox News, for advertising itself every second of every day as "Fair and Balanced" when they are completely in the tank for conservatives. Fox, you really think you'll going to lose credibility if you start calling yourself "conservative news" and change the tag line to "The other side you really need to hear?" Come on, you have the barest credibility anyhow, which is why the Obama administration could threaten to ban your reporters due your network constantly launching attacks on their officials in fall 2009.Yeah, I remember that.


Other prizes are for the mainstream media for pretending it's neutral just because it's not nearly as bad as Fox. If the mainstream media was so neutral, why is there so much space for Fox and conservative talk radio? The obvious answer, if you think about it or watch this media, is that it's riddled with a low to moderate level of liberal bias. A prime example is talking about social problems and social programs without talking about certain favorite conservative issues like personal responsibility and taxpayer costs. Of course we need a conservative media if that hardly ever happens in MSM. That kind of coverage should be right in those articles and reports, not something that only gets consideration in budget reporting. My credit card bill soars if I don't watch how much everything costs. There's a huge multiplier when government acts that way. (This is why I hate idiot bleeding heart liberals and the endless social programs they would create and how they would raise my taxes over and over. I lived through it in New York state, so I'm speaking from experience. I definitely have compassion fatigue. It's real, and it happens when we're asked to do too much. I feel no guilt about it. It's called not being a saint, something I shit-sure am not.)

Fucking Stupid Campaigns
As I've complained before, the presidential campaign coverage is focusing on miniscule, unimportant shit like misleading statistics about women's job losses, Ann Romney's spending habits, and ... (I've already forgotten what yesterday's stupidity was). This is partly the media's fault, but also the campaigns' because they send out their shills and surrogates to repeat this crap on TV.

In the meantime, we know what the important issues are: the size of government, the size of our debt, what programs we really want and what we don't what, how much it costs, tax reform, how much can we afford to spent on policing this unruly world, and trying to stay out of unnecessary, deadly, and expensive foreign messes.

Come on people. We know that what's important. So stop wasting all this bandwidth on other fucking shit.

Your reactions
So, was this too much? Should I return to civility, practice it and defend it, or give up? I'd like feedback, civil or not.

Last outpost of crazy: The Donald again

Is Donald Trump going off the deep end with his birther nonsense and yelling at Wolf Blitzer? No. Trump's territory has generally been the deep end, so this isn't new for him.

In my professional work, I've observed people "going off the deep end," or more specifically, spiraling into a manic episode. It doesn't look quite like this, as there is a definite change in behavior and increased feverishness. In my opinion, this is Donald being the self-important, grandiose Donald. Pay no attention.

Pinkish gray dude vs. orange dude

Short: Playing with the electoral map

The LA Times has a fun electoral map where you can assign and reassign swing states to either Obama or Romney. In playing with it, I found that my estimate for Obama's best haul is 311 electoral college votes. If he does better than that, I'll be very surprised. For Romney, that number is 301.

I played around with scenarios I thought were likely, and found one where it's a tie. Obama loses Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Virgina, N. Carolina, and Florida, but keeps Ohio, PA, Wisconsin, N. Mexico, and N. Hampshire. I think I'll die from anxiety if that happens. Or maybe I should bet that it WILL happen, and the thought of collecting on the bet will keep me breathing.

Strange bit: To search for this image, I typed "ambulance emergency oxygen mask" into Google, and got about 8 pictures of Dennis Hopper in the first 6 pages of images.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Scoop: Possible media bias in action

A commenter in the Washington Post put me onto this:
...But as is always the case, the media's double standard is a glaring one. After all, Al Sharpton is a proud and open Obama supporter, Obama has met with Sharpton, and Obama hasn't distanced himself from the MSNBC' racial demagogue -- who just this weekend made headlines with this: Republicans Want To 'Wipe Out Innocent People' Like 'Hitler's Germany'.
That accusation is very specific, so I looked it up. At that time, only conservative outlets were carrying the story. Here's a fairly complete, well-sourced article quoting Mark Levin. Unless Mark Levin did some nasty editing (as Breitbart did to Shirley Sherrod), Al Sharpton said something pretty inflammatory.

Uh, false alarm. I just listened to the whole exchange on Mediaite, and Sharpton is saying that some Republicans condemn some genocides (like Jews in WWII) but ignore others. Looks like tricky editing to provide red meat to the base... and Mark Levin sounded so calm and persuasive, I fell for it. Oh dear. Thank God I checked a little more before I hit the "Publish" button. And I thought I was going to nail the liberal media on something.

If you're interested, follow the story for a few days. How big does this trumped-up story get? We shall see.

 Before digital made fraud easy.

Update 6/1/12. This story has died. That's good, but as a lie and falsification, it never should have been a story at all. Still, I'll remember it as a lesson in the difference between the standards that mainstream media is held to and the standards of someone like Levin. By the way, if some of the links don't work, the story became an embarrassment.

Reflections 6/12/12.  To the conservative media, this was going to be a story about the MSM being biased for liberals. Instead, it was really a story about the creation of lies for hungry conservative media outlets, their lack of professionalism in the simple act of checking sources, and their lack of accountability. So far, only Mediaite has corrected the story. None of the conservative sites I reviewed contain a correction. Ah, to be so in the right that nothing you do is wrong. The MSM didn't catch this story to show the machinations of the conservative media either. God, I've learned a lot about media bias from this incident.

Update 6/4/15. Another example of editing a story dishonestly.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Usurpers

The cry "Take back our country" is one I heard frequently from tea partiers. The sense is that some elected officials are illegitimate usurpers of their office. The implied meaning in 'take back our country' is usually electoral, but violence, as in a 'second amendment solution,' lurks in the background.

The idea that elected officiasl are not legitimate holders of their elected office can come from concerns about the fairness of the election or about the officials themselves. It's often mixed up in the believers' heads. Obama was elected by fraud, he's not a natural-born American, or (more likely) no one with his political philosophy should ever be elected, in these people's minds.


So Obama is treated like a usurper. But Clinton was also treated like a usurper, and there's no doubt that he was a natural-born American. I think the concerns about fraud and Obama's citizenship are just smokescreens for the real reason people don't want him as president--that they don't want someone with his politics in the White House. Therefore, any Democratic president is going to get this treatment--the constant complaints, the attacks on his legitimacy, the insults like "traitor," and the calls for impeachment.

Clinton got it too, and it was surprising in its virulence at the time. Hillary called it a "vast rightwing conspiracy," but it actually became normal operating procedure for Clinton's GOP opponents. The machinery hasn't ever stopped. Now Obama is the target, along with his senior staff, particularly Eric Holder for some reason.

Bear in mind that there can easily be an unending series of complaints about any official since none of us is perfect or all-powerful or able to accomplish every single thing within our purview. I think the Obama administration has been relatively clean, which is why Operation Fast and Furious is still such an item of anger for the right. It's the biggest club with which to beat the administration, and it isn't that big (in my opinion), especially since it began under President Bush in 2006.

I wonder about this sense that any Democratic president is a usurper. It can feel that the president doesn't have much support if you live in a deep-red state or receive your political information in a partisan echo chamber. Many people, on the right, left, or middle, think that they are actually in the majority, or would be if only:
  • The media wasn't so biased.
  • The media would get the truth out.
  • Voting fraud was eliminated.
  • Stupid voters weren't allowed to vote.
  • Freeloaders weren't allowed to vote.
  • Immigration laws were enforced. 
The belief that your ideas are superior and would win an electoral majority if only [something] is common enough. I just don't know why it persists in the face of election results. Why is there the sense that you are part of the "silent majority" (Nixon) or the real Americans (Palin), and those others are not?

The echo chamber of media and the people around you can certainly reinforce that idea, and Fox News and other right-wing outlets do plenty of conscious reinforcement. But I think there's more. There's a kind of resentment at work. It's resentment of elites, particularly in non-conservative media and in academia, who have used their power to stifle. Many people fell stifled, belittled, and embattled. It's no wonder they want to take the country back. That's how anyone feels when they're shouted down, or just perceives that kind of treatment. So they turn their resentment on these elites and their allies, the Democrats.

I don't have a quick solution to this. But I want to remind people that civil discourse and true listening are lacking, and we see the outcome in this situation and probably thousands of others.

Not a bullseye for this topic, but a great graphic 

Type "most Americans want" into Google to see what phrases come up in auto-complete.

Please excuse typos in this post. Blogger lost it and I had to retype it from the preview page in the Firefox history. Freak accident, but only electrons were harmed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Last outpost of crazy: The Donald

Mr. National Comic Relief (and I don't mean Joe Biden) is doing it again. The Donald says he's ready to be on the ticket with Mitt Romney. Well, Romney earned this embarrassment with his fawning acceptance of Trump's endorsement.

This came up during an interview by Barbara Walters. Please, all journalists, no matter how lowly, don't talk to this walking embodiment of self-importance.


Update 5/28/12. The Donald is now lashing out at George Will, who pointed out that Romney shouldn't be campaigning with the Donald because of his continuing birther nonsense. I've got to agree with George Will on this one. Trump is an embarrassment, not an asset. Maybe he'll say something really incredibly dumb, and sink the Romney campaign. What an ironic joy that would be.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The origin of Republican screamers

There's been another defection from the conservative media fold. He's not a name I know (Michael Fumento, huh?), but there's coverage by Conor, and the calling out is published by Salon. He's small potatoes compared to David Frum, David Brooks, Chris Buckley, and Bruce Bartlett, so it's not big news.

But the following comment got me wondering:
"Politically, how successful has the 'non-ugly' right been in the past? How likely is it that it would be more successful now? I would suggest that the popularity of the 'ugly right' is a consequence of the past failures of the 'non-ugly right' to gain any ground against the left."
Is this true? Using just my memory (translation: too lazy to research), I'm going to say that non-ugly did work. Reagan didn't call Carter a terrorist and neither did his vice-president. Not even close. Gingrich and the "Contract with  America" didn't ramp up the language that much (if I remember correctly). However, there was a strong uptick with Clinton, but then the GOP suffered for it in 1998.

I think the real change came with Bush. He campaigned as a guy who could work in a bipartisan way, and then he reneged big time even though he'd won fewer votes than Gore. Promises about CO2 vanished faster than CO2. The tax cuts weren't an inclusive piece of work.

And he didn't get punished with electoral losses for it, not in 2002 or 2004. So with Rove driving him toward the permanent Republican majority, he had no reason to back down and he basically never did. Neither did the other conservatives in media. Why should Fox News change when they're making so much money? The same for Limbaugh, Levin, or anyone else who was going loud and nasty. Why change if it's working?

Also, you can't just stop talking if you're in politics or the news business. You have to change to something, and that something better be consistent in tone and message. The Tea Party wasn't  really a change in tone or message, because their message is "we've got all the answers" and their tone is "you're with us or you're traitors." The only Republican who has found an alternative that works is ... Ron Paul. Is there someone else I'm forgetting? Some non-shrill, non-paranoid GOP message out there?

For the conservative tone to change, someone is going to have to be different and successful, but more mainstream GOP than Paul. That's another good reason to hope Romney fails. He's definitely not that new voice. The vacuum his defeat creates gives the new voice a chance to emerge. It might happen, it might not. Let us pray.

 A different animal would be a nice change.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Short: Romney promises...

... 6% unemployment. Cheers and wailing of joy.

Except Obama promised no more than 8% unemployment. Gingrich promised $2.50 a gallon gasoline and a moon colony. Please, shelve the promises and show us a fiscal plan with plenty of specific numbers.

A plan that fits on a bumper sticker


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Obama's small act of courage

A belated post, but maybe still worth a read, and worth getting off my chest.

 Photo: ???
 Here are some of the theories about Obama's announcement that he supports marriage equality:
  • He was scheduled to do it anyway, but Biden jumped the gun.
  • Gays and gay-friendly liberals were withholding contributions, so Obama made the announcement for the campaign money. No courage was involved, just calculation.
  • This will cost him the election because of swing voters in marginal states like Ohio.
  • He shouldn't listen to his daughters but should be a man and tell them homosexuality is not OK - Bristol Palin, world famous expert on sex, family, and marriage.
That's about it. Even at HotAir, the analysis is about the same. The jokes are somewhat coarser but not overwhelmingly so. This actually looks like a yawn.

Yet I think there is something a little more interesting here. There's a strong likelihood of a very close election where a few votes in Ohio make all the difference. If so, this stand could cost him the election. Knowing this, he didn't sugarcoat it. On the other hand, not making the announcement could have cost him the contributions needed to run a campaign that can win.

This is one of those tough choices politicians are sometimes forced to make. It isn't clear what is better electorally. Yet, after the stumble by Biden put Obama on the spot, he actually handled it with some grace. He didn't try to have it both ways, as I felt Bush tried to do on many issues. He didn't delay the decision until after the election, as Bush definitely did with firing Rumsfeld. So, on the whole, not too bad for someone who needs to get reelected, and substantially better than the previous president (who was possibly the worst president of my lifetime, so not a high bar).

  • "No Barry, when we said we want a job, that’s not the kind of job we meant." -- HotAir comment
  • "This gay republican supports Obama’s position — if he 'comes out' in support for equality today. Still won’t be voting for him though." -- HotAir comment
  • Bernstein writes that Obama's announcement sent a message to a lot of blacks that same-sex marriage is OK. For the many who didn't have strong opinions in either direction, that's enough for them to flip, so polls of support have changed very quickly. (This phenomenon is common with many voters, not just blacks.)

Short: Bernstein takes down the GOP civil rights claims

This could be a "History for Amnesiacs" post if I had done the research. But instead, it's a Bernstein self-Catch of the Day wherein he catches a guest writer for the National Review fibbing about the GOP's and Dems' roles in the civil rights struggles. A current conservative talking point is that the Dems were segregationists and the GOP were heroes in the civil rights struggles (scoff, scoff). And, of course, Robert Byrd was KKK, DIDN'T YOU KNOW THAT!!!!!!!

The comments by Kylopod and Anon are informative. The comments by the NRO writer (Kevin Williamson) are lies, and that's what I call them right there. Plain writing and zero deference for liars--that's what I strive for.

Update 2/15/13. This is a better analysis of the GOP's admirable role in civil rights legislation and their strategies in the 60's and beyond. There was a time long ago when the National Review aimed for truth about civil rights.

Update 6/14/16. Another interesting article about party alignment on civil rights issues. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it's definitely worth reading. Note how it doesn't discuss anything beyond the 1960's. Are we supposed to assume GOPers are still for segregation?

Update 11/15/19. No surprise, but I still see conservatives pretend that the racial sins of the Democratic Party in the past are somehow still relevant and operative now. Then, a breath or two later, they'll deny there was a Republican southern strategy. This isn't new, but it's an oldie that keeps turning up. Bruce Bartlett proposed this view in the book Wrong on Race. Kevin Williamson (writer for the National Review) and too many commenters keep this fable going.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The dealer's plan to rope us in

I've heard that drug dealers start with free samples, rope you in, and end up owning everything you have. Casino's don't take barter, but in an era of easy credit they can bankrupt you too.

Is the dealer's plan always to get you addicted so that he ends up with all your loot? It's probably always in the back of his mind.

Moving on from analogy to my real point, I wonder about the plan of the banks that loaned so much money to the Greek government, Greek banks, and Greek households. Did they think:
  • Greece has good prospects long-term, and I've got loan quotas to meet.
  • High payouts now, then fool someone else into buying the bad debt.
  • Moderate payouts now, then the EU bails them out.
  • Moderate payouts now, then foreclose and end up owning some picturesque property.
The last choice is how the drug dealer figures it, while the honest money left Greece earlier. So I wonder, was that the plan all along? This commenter thinks so:
"In a few years we'll be able to shoo the remaining stone age hunter gathers off some really valuable islands in the Aegean. I can see American, German, and Chinese developers competing to build condo complexes in the Dodecanese. Or maybe Crete will become the 51st US state after it becomes an American Protectorate in a couple of decades.
"A win-win proposition. Americans and Germans get new land to expand into, and the world learns the end result of socialism.  In very stark terms." -- Atlantic comment
And moving from Greece's situation to our own, what are the plans of the US creditors? I've heard the conspiracy theory that the Chinese, mining companies, and billionaires will be buying up the most beautiful parts of the country, the national parks. It seems far-fetched in this country, but not for Greece. Am I kidding myself?

Would Americans stand for selling off our public lands? Would Greeks? If you're the moneylender, or pusher, and your former debtors become your irate neighbors, maybe your strategy wasn't so good. But I don't think pushers think that far ahead, and it seems the banks didn't either.

So how do we stop the drug dealers, er, banks from getting us hooked, or do we have to hope they just won't try?

New owner for Mykonos?

I would vote Republican if...

... they actually were the fiscal conservatives they think they are. Instead, they particularly target spending that helps Democratic constituencies, and that's a lot of the spending: poverty programs, federal employees, EPA, Medicaid, education, etc.

The GOP doesn't target other large spending programs, like defense, farm subsidies, oil industry tax breaks, etc. There's a distinct partisan bend to the areas where Dems vs. Repubs would cut. And of course neither party will propose how to rein in the growth of Medicare spending because ... it's an election year, and you can't piss off older voters and all their younger relatives.

As other writers have noted, for the GOP, deficits = spending that helps Dem constituencies. GOP-favored spending is exempt from that label, as are the tax cuts that the GOP Santa likes to give out.

Frankly, I don't have a fiscal conservative I can vote for in the presidential race. Anyone who thinks the GOP are the fiscal conservatives is operating on wishful thinking. Anyone who thinks the Democrats are the wise fiscal managers is smoking something.

Why, when there is so much need and space for sanity, is there no one filling that void?


Note to Paulistas: Yes, Ron Paul is a fiscal conservative. But he wants too small a government, whereas I'd like to keep the FDA, EPA, and other agencies that ensure safety and security, as long as they are efficient in terms of costs and benefits.

Silly Power Games

Yesterday 43 Catholic organizations filed suit against regulations from the Obama administration mandating contraceptive coverage in healthcare plans that cover other prescription drugs. Commenting on the news story, I wrote:
"This is happening because there’s a silly contest over who has power on this issue: the government or religion. It’s definitely not the people or the employees whose voices are being listened to."
John Powers rightly questioned me:
"Tell me again why your defending First Amendment rights is a 'silly contest'? Keeping the Government out of Churches has always sounded like a good reason to have a Bill of Rights. Freedom of Religion is a fundamental right in the United States, regardless of the voices of the 'people or the employees.' "
So this is my fuller explanation:
@John Powers, when churches stick to being churches, the government leaves them alone. When they become big employers, government is right to get involved in ways they are involved with other businesses/employers. But the churches-cum-employers then try to hide behind first amendment/freedom of religion, when, really, they just aren’t being allowed to conduct their employee relations the way they want. Maybe the churches want to avoid minimum wage or overtime laws too.
Are you really sure that freedom of religion is a free pass for corporate religions to do whatever they want? Maybe freedom of religion is an individual freedom, not carte blanche for organizations to ignore all government rules. I see more than one principle involved here, so it’s a balance of competing rights and principles, not just freedom of religion, as you say.
The reason this is a silly contest is that the Catholic Church in this country has lost the argument about contraception with its own adherents, yet the Church continues to pretend that contraception is so wrong that it can’t countenance including it in comprehensive medical plans. On the government side, it’s silly to mandate insurance coverage for pills that cost $9 a month at Walmart (not a myth–I looked it up). Yes, it is silly to anyone not wrapped up in the power play.
 Who is sillier?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Last outpost of crazy: The Arizona ballot

I hope to make this a new series with equal access for all crazies regardless of their creeds--crazy is the only requirement.

This installment: Arizona may not put Obama on the ballot in November due to questions about his birthplace.

Yes, still.

I hope it doesn't happen, despite being curious about the national and regional reactions. My curiosity is no reason to encourage crazy or risk the spread of this contagion. There are plenty of other states that look susceptible.

 Another obvious fake, like all the others


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Against dogmatism

I'm not a religious person, but I'm quite familiar with religion.  I grew up with fairly devout parents, several siblings are devout, and my sweetie enthusiastically goes to church nearly every Sunday and holy day. As I've said before, I greatly respect religion.

That said, religion is a horrible basis for politics. This suddenly strikes me as strange. Why is religion a good basis for religion, but a bad basis for politics? Such a simple question, but perhaps there's a lot to explore there.

What got me thinking about this is Andrew Sullivan's post about another blogger at National Review insulting his thought process. I don't want to comment on blogger squabbles, which are endless and tacky in their inbreeding, but it did remind me how important one idea is to me: empiricism.

I fell in love with philosophy in college, and have used critical thinking forever afterward. I also studied physics and psychology, with a sprinkling of art history and geology and other assorted bits. It was a wonderful example of a wide-ranging liberal education. Of all these fields, the one with the strongest basis was the philosophy of pragmatism.

Pragmatism has a lot of similarities to science. It calls for empirical observation, reflection, and testing. It is also explicit about some processes that are implicit in science: follow-through to see the results, iterations on promising theories to refine them, trying out alternative approaches. What makes pragmatism work is what makes science work so well: it is based on honest, unbiased, and careful observation. You don't jump to a conclusion, you wait for enough evidence. If only politicians of all stripes would do that.

"I wrote my dissertation on the primacy of practical wisdom in human conduct - in contradistinction to ideology... Dish readers can judge for themselves whether this blog is about imposing 'theoretical, theological, and ideological certainties' or whether it is about taking positions but always subjecting them to scrutiny, re-evaluation, re-thinking." -- Andrew Sullivan

Monday, May 14, 2012

Short: Supreme Court Confidential

We probably don't acknowledge that we've never had an ideal Supreme Court, filled with wise jurists making just the right decisions with the precision of the ideal judge of all, God. And, of course, looking solemn in their robes. Somehow, the ideal survives, but I don't know how.

Will this news and speculation about Souter's unpublished critique damage the Court? Not more than what the Court inflicts on itself frequently.

The decision two years ago to dismantle limitations on some political advocacy (Citizens United) has had drastic effects, as did Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. Much of what the opponents feared is coming to pass, but maybe that's what freedom of speech looks like. The Supremes' decision isn't the all-wise/all-fair settlement we might wish for. Instead, it seems like an imperfect attempt at wisdom.

I've been hoping for the former and getting the latter, and have been horribly disappointed. But, really, I should remember the the Churchill quote that "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms" and apply it to the Supreme Court.

Bolstering the mythology
Photo credit:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rant: This election is important!

With the primaries over, the election news is mired in trifles even more than before. That stinks because this election is important, but not for the talking point reasons that the GOP intones (pregnant pause) "THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN OUR HISTORY BECAUSE WE NEED TO STOP AMERICA GOING DOWN THE SOCIALIST PATH." There's a grain of truth in that pile of horseshit, but the GOP isn't going to separate it for you.

The grain of truth is that there are a hell of a lot of fiscal issues facing the next Congress. The GOP is trying to avoid the sequester of defense funding it agreed to just last August by cutting social programs. I will bet anyone that there won't be an agreement passed on that issue. But that's just the beginning. The Bush tax cut expire again at the end of the year. They blew quite a hole into the budget, plugged (if you can call it that) with borrowed money. Then the recession and a large Dem spending splurge made the deficit even worse. (Where is all that money going?) The only action that has decreased the deficit is the sequester that the GOP are trying to undo. However, the Dems haven't presented themselves as the champions of fiscal prudence either. It's insane that with such important decisions to be made, we have news cycles devoted to:
  • Romney's dog on the top of his car.
  • Obama eating dog meat in Indonesia.
  • Is Obama a traitor? 
  • Is Romney a wuss for not defending Obama as a non-traitor?
This dreadful list will only get longer. (Yesterday, Romney said he deserves credit for the resurrection of the auto companies.)

Oh God, this is like the South Park episode where Stan refused to vote for a school mascot because the choices were 1) a giant douche, 2) a turd sandwich. Only after 20 minutes into the episode did I realize that it was a metaphor for most of our elections. Dems and Repubs--turd sandwich or giant douche? Our pick.

So, why could this election possibly matter if the choice is a douche or a turd sandwich? Because that's not the actual choice. The choice is Republicans who have little respect for government slashing the federal budget in many places, but especially where it hurts Democratic constituencies the most. The alternative is Democrats indiscriminately protecting as much as they can. Pick your poison, or try to balance them so that neither gains too much power.