Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Throwing Cake on the Floor

There’s a common misconception that shortly after Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that the goal of Republicans in Congress was to make sure Obama was “a one-term president.” McConnell did say this, but it wasn’t till October 2010. The quote itself shouldn’t be all that surprising--after all, I think we can all safely assume that politicians will be rooting for their own party in the next election. Call it an a permanent underlying goal if you wish, but for crying out loud, could you at least publicly state that your first priority is to build a stronger America on behalf of the citizens you’re serving?

This article by Michael Cohen in The Guardian makes a pretty solid case for how the GOP was gone out of its way to block and sabotage Obama’s efforts toward economic recovery. One would think that such obstructionism would have the opposite effect on the GOP’s “one-term” goals. I mean, if someone bakes you a cake and you throw it on the floor, you can’t really blame the baker for the fact that you can’t eat the cake.

I wish I could say for certain that voters know who’s at fault. But I see a lot of nonmillionaires planning to vote for the Republican because they either aren’t aware or just don’t care.

I got off track there. The main reason I started this post was to joke that if Obama wins next week, I’m looking forward to McConnell saying “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure he’s a two-term president.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

If Democrats Are Power-Mad, They Have A Funny Way of Showing It

The election is one week from today and Hurricane Sandy is knocking the hell out of the east coast. Subways are flooding, substations are blowing up, and millions are without electricity. I have yet to see any paranoid reactionaries claiming that Obama is going to use this disaster to postpone the election and remain in power in perpetuity, but that might be because I haven’t read the entire internet yet.

On the other hand, I had already heard similar ranting even before Sandy hit. “The Dems will do anything to stay in power!” according to one ranter. Yes, indeed--like pushing for voter ID laws aimed at disenfranchising people most likely to vote Democratic (here). And systematically losing, discarding, or destroying Democratic voter registrations (here). And misleading Spanish-speaking voters into thinking voter ID is required (here). And just plain telling different Spanish-speaking people the election is on Thursday the 8th (here). Man, we Democrats are ruthless.

These paranoid fantasies spring up every election year, and tend to be believed by people predisposed to believe the worst about the party they’re not voting for. I wasn’t concerned when I heard the rumors in 2004 (remember how Bush was going to postpone the election because, uh, terrorism?), or in 2008 (believe he was going to declare martial law that time). I’m not concerned now, nor should anyone else be. For one reason, the president doesn’t have the power to reschedule an election. For another, remember these are Democrats we’re talking about. Even if there was an ounce of deviousness in the party, they’d look for a way to use it in a bipartisan manner.

If Democrats really wanted to stay in power, they’d do a better job of persuading nonmillionaire voters not to screw themselves by voting Republican. But I don’t see that happening.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rebooting the Runes Again

I used to have this idea that I could send humorous opinion pieces to magazines, get paid for them, and parlay that experience into a regular position as a columnist who writes humorous opinion pieces. This didn’t happen, of course. I sold a handful of essays at the rate of about one every two years, and at no time did an editor ever say “Hey, we like your stuff, why don’t you give us 500 words on Republicans or cat hair or something?”

Part of the problem was that I’ve never been a prolific essay writer. The rate at which I was writing humorous opinion pieces wasn’t that much greater than the rate at which I sold them. And yet I’ve always wondered what I could have done if my job had been to write humorous opinion pieces. Could I turn out five a week? Three? One? Would a paycheck be a good substitute for a muse?

We’ll never know. The idea of writing humorous essays for money was never a dream, only an idea, and has long since been abandoned. But I do still occasionally get the urge to write some wry commentary, and that’s why I started the Runes way back in 2005.

Looks like I’m averaging about eight-tenths of an essay per month since then. Probably about eight-tenths of a reader too.

And yet here we are again. We’re one week from the presidential election and I have some thoughts that are longer than the usual Facebook status. Let’s see what happens.