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How Much Crow

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How do you plan to repair the economy and put Americans back to work? Fire Pelosi?

That is about as much of a plan as has been articulated by the GOP, now drooling over the portent of a slaughter of the incumbent Democrats they challenge. But behind their sound bites and wicked attack ads, there are GOP leaders working away at whom to blame for the implosion of their reckless rhetoric on the midterm campaign results. My bet is that the impending Republican election debacle will be laid at the feet of Michael Steele and of Sarah Palin, since neither of them is in government.

I doubt if the independents will bother to vote. Why should they? Taking them at their word, they are independent because they do not affiliate themselves with either of the lame-stream parties – the ones with historical animal mascots. The tea party is part of the Republican brand, as Mr. Steele professes. Independents seem to have misgivings about the democratic administration, even though it does have an agenda and policy objective. The alternative party has nothing to offer, except firing Speaker Pelosi.

midterm electionsThe only winner of the midterm elections is television – the prime medium of sit-on-your- butt consumerism. Sure, there is print advertising, kind of. But, print advertizing requires action. It has to be read and, because of that, print is easier to ignore. Television does all the reading for its audience, already conditioned to hear and retain the key elements that so many test marketing groups and statistical models have predigested for their consumption.

Under the guise of the oxymoron “television news,” celebrities have been made of previously little known amateur politicians such as O’Donnell, Whitman, Fiorina, McMahon, Paul, Rubio, Miller and the like, as if to solely prove that anyone can be elected to high public office. The constitution says nothing more than a candidate has to be born here and attained the age of thirty. It does not say that a candidate has to be credible other than to take an oath to defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic. More on that in a moment.

After all the money is spent, after jerking off with attack ads, and no modicum of interest in public service or relevant experience, this election cycle has trivialized US politics to the point where it resembles a student council election. Say no to homework. Say yes to smoking in the classroom. End the five day school week. Stop study hall forever. None of that can happen, but saying it can you get elected. Now what?

The elected newbies will discover that they are in entry level positions. They can speak only when they are spoken to. They will not chair any committees. Their petty bills will be buried in committee, as will they. The only television coverage they can expect will be C-Span, unless they get busted for a statutory crime or for cheating on their spouse. And, oh by the way, their constituents will hate them every bit as much as the person they replaced.

Punditry has it that the Republicans are going to win big – the ubiquitous big. They said the same thing in 1998, too. Remember 1998? No? Here is the NYT short version. “Democrats surprised everyone: no net losses in the Senate and a net gain of five seats in the House — the best showing for the incumbent president’s party in a midterm election since 1934. [House Speaker] Newt Gingrich resigned.”

Being mad as hell and not going to take it anymore is great, but it does not accomplish anything other than to elevate blood pressure. Americans want to know “what’s in it for me?” The Republicans offer no cogent answer. What are they going to do about unemployment? How are they going to get started? When can we expect to see some results?

There is only so much Republican disinformation that Americans will take. Sooner or later the truth will show itself. Deception will be revealed. Remember the weapons of mass destruction? Remember how well the market regulated Wall Street? Remember Enron? It is futile, therefore, for me to bring up the TARP, the stimulus and the bank bailouts of the Bush administration since Republicans say they are all of President Obama’s doing.

What I can bring up is the cost of war. Are you ready for a huge number? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been allocated $1.09 trillion dollars to date, according to the National Priorities Project. That is just the money. The grand standing national defense Republicans have no plan to end those wars, which have nothing to do with defending this country. Talk about reckless spending, if I were looking for cost savings, there is the first place I would look.

Back to the candidate carping about the Constitution that Republicans seem so anxious to rewrite, as if that is going to happen. It is impossible to know what the framers had in mind. But here are a couple of things they did not have in mind. For one, racial equality. Slave ownership was legal. Washington and Jefferson owned slaves. For another, women’s rights. Women could not vote and, therefore, could not hold public office. And no one thought anything about immigration. 

The relentlessness of mean speech and attack ad carpet-bombing are the two things that have yet to be quantified and cannot be until all of the votes are counted, disputed and recounted. Surely, Americans would like some relative immediate gratification – a turnaround of the US and world economies in less than two years. Who wouldn’t? It is just that kind of rationale and hatefulness that may well keep the independents from voting and leave the undecided still undecided.

The only questions to be answered, then, will be who the Republicans can blame for their failure at the polls and how much crow will the pundits have to eat.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • emo

    None of the polls really showed any pending GOP victory in 1998. The pundits were just going on the “6 year itch” which plagued the incumbent party in 1938, 1958, 1966 and 1974. Polls havent never been dramatically off in recent elections (1948 was off, but only because Gallup stopped polling in Mid Oct). Overall the polls are correct. The GOP will win 50-70 seats.

    PS Rubio is hardly an amateur politician and TV is hardly a new medium. Also the constitution doesnt say that a Senate candidate must be born in the US, just a citizen.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Emo, good point on Rubio. It’s hard to imagine less of a political novice. Miller also has extensive political experience.

    Given his ignorance of basic facts about these candidates and his assumption that business experience has no value for candidates, I wonder how seriously we should take Tommy’s article as a whole.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    What about Joe Miller? He may not have political experience, but he’s a graduate of West Point and Yale Law School, and has a Master’s in economics from the University of Alaska. He earned a Bronze Star in the liberation of Kuwait, and has served as a state judge. Those are some serious academic and governmental credentials for an amateur politician.

  • Baronius

    Speaking of Rubio, wasn’t there some guy in the Illinois state house that ran for Senate a while back? He only had 8 years of legislative experience, same as Rubio, but never achieved the leadership position that Rubio did. I think he won the Senate seat, too, but he only lasted four years there.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Corrections.

    Article 1 Section 3: “No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”

    Marco Rubio appeared on my list in error.

    Tommy

  • Baronius

    So you’re standing by the notion that Joe Miller doesn’t have relevant experience in public service?

  • Baronius

    Tommy, I should note that I agree with you about the difficulties of transitioning from outsiders to insiders. There’s a difference between cooperation and selling out, but the former could look like the latter to many old supporters. But I think that they’ve been relatively clear about their intentions in that 40-odd page Pledge. Yeah, it could have had more specifics, but I think it’s unprecedented for a midterm election to have what amounts to a party platform.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Rubio and Miller [and Sharron Angle] disqualify themselves through their extremist positions, not their resumes. Yes, they are literally eligible to run; no, they don’t deserve to be in the Senate.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Ditto Ken Buck. I will give Ms. O’Donnell a pass because her campaign has basically been a non-starter; call her a protest candidate.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    There are three essential doctrines in which we must all believe and upon which we all must act; to do otherwise is extremism:

    All to the right of President Obama are imbued with the worst of original sins, extremism, and are therefore intrinsically bad;

    Only through complete acceptance of President Obama as their only true savior can they escape perdition, for He is the Way, the Truth and the Light;

    The only proper function of conservatives is to demonstrate, by thought word and deed, their absolute extremism, immorality and incompetence; they should be permitted to do so only on Halloween.

    Thus saith Bishop Dan, grand master of the Church of Global Warming.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And if you reverse those positions, you define your own: everyone to the left of Marco Rubio is a socialist extremist evildoer.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Call that the doctrine of the Church of the Happy Lobbyist, whose mottos are All Taxes are the Demonic Spawn of Satan, and Corporations Are Angels Incapable of Sin.

  • doug m.

    Does Dan(M ever offer anything of substance because his flowery language doesn’t hide his hollow contributions?

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Ref: Joe Miller

    While he has what should be an excellent CV for the Senate, I have to agree with Handy on extremes. His advocating a repeal of the 17th Amendment — direct election of senators — is a republican theme this year, never mind the civics involved. His hypocritical position on entitlements is as anti-Alaska as a candidate can get. Both positions undermine his credibility.

    So, my point about the idea that anyone can get elected, especially when they are made into television celebrities, stands.

    By the way, should he be elected, Mitch McConnell will tell him to shave.

  • Baronius

    So your real problem with those candidates is that you don’t agree with them, and the point that we agreed on (the difficult transition) was just a head fake.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    My dear Cardinal,

    Jeremiah Denton and Paula Hawkins were both extraordinary Americans, as individuals and as one term Republican Senators — January 1981 to January 1987. Hawkins was succeeded by Bob Graham who retired. Denton was succeeded by Richard Shelby who still serves. The candidates I mentioned pale by comparison.

    The major difference is our political cult of personality, which does not require any substance, as Sarah Palin proves. So the question is not one of transition for this cyclical ilk.

    I believe the word your were looking for them was transubstantiation.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    I believe that there has always been a segment of society which somehow translates its own personal anger into the political realm, despite the fact that this anger has little or nothing to do with politics at all. This is why we see the most radical and extremist of those on the left-wing (The Code Pink, Netroots Nation, and Impeach Bush types) thriving in communities where they can seek refuge as ideological minorities (Such as San Francisco, Burlington, and Berkley), with the same standing for those on the far right (Which is why we see the craziest of Tea Partiers in rural, insular, and, dare I say, all-around-redneck areas).

    It is only natural that these types of people will be attracted to the ceaseless echo chamber that is the punditocracy on FOX News and MSNBC. On either one of these networks, they can hear and see what they wish to without any significant dissenting opinions. The fact that FOX News and MSNBC are so popular is merely a symptom of the much larger problem, which is that many of our fellow countrymen and women have taken the political process to a frightening level, particularly with regards to social issues. They see it, in my opinion, as a means of validating their respective lifestyles and philosophies as opposed to selecting whomever they believe best to control Congress and/or the White House. Hence the cult of personalities built around such figures as Howard Dean and Sarah Palin.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Mr. Cotto –

    The difference between Fox and MSNBC can be found on any reputable fact-checking site. I recommend the Pulitzer prize-winning Politifact.com.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Glenn Contrarian (#18), you need to get either your eyes or your head examined. Joseph Cotto (#17) did not say there’s no difference between Fox and MSNBC. He said that each network offers an echo chamber to its “punditocracy,” where viewers “can hear and see what they wish to without any significant dissenting opinions.” That’s so true it ought to go without saying, just as should the fact that these networks play to opposing constituencies and thus peddle points of view opposite to one another.

  • pablo

    Alan is right on the money Glenn.

  • http://heloise8.wordpress.com/ Heloise

    I just want to see Pelosi ungaveled.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Speaker Pelosi is having a party! There is no word as to whether crow is on the appetizer menu. However,

    A staffer for a congressional Democrat who came up short on Tuesday reports that a team of about five people stopped by their offices this morning to talk about payroll, benefits, writing a résumé, and so forth, with staffers who are now job hunting.

    But one of the staffers was described as a “counselor” to help with the emotional aspect of the loss.

    For those who may be interested, there are some really yummy crow recipes here.

    The devil made me post this; I could not help myself and shall seek psychiatric help.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    Thanks, D(M),

    The Crow Creole looks pretty good. Hope they have some recent issues of New Yorker in your Dr.’s office.

    Tommy