Is Three A Magic Number for Politicians?

If you follow politics even peripherally you’d know that there has been a lot of political infighting. “Blue Dog” democrats bicker over budget details with more liberal colleagues. Republicans have turned their big tent into a pillow fort. The social liberals/fiscal conservatives in each party are being pushed aside. On of the Republican prophets of a coming change has been Meghan McCain.

from The Moderate Voice

People in our country have much more important issues to deal with on a daily basis. But the experience did reinforce what I learned on the campaign trail in some major ways.

I’ll summarize them in three points:

1. Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed.
2. Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past.
3. Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future…

..I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes. There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we’re seeing a war brewing in the Republican party, but it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past. I believe most people are ready to move on to that future…

…Simply embracing technology isn’t going to fix our problem either. Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn’t going to miraculously make people think we’re cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don’t divide our nation further will. That’s why some in our party are scared. They sense the world around them is changing and they are unable to take the risk to jump free of what’s keeping our party down…

…I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.

What can come of all this infighting? Are we moving toward having one large viable third party? The Repubs are boarding on a “civil war”, mostly over social issues. Dems are in a similar situation, except over fiscal issues. Will the social liberal/fiscal conservatives in each party break tradition and join each other?

While I don’t think this is likely, it makes for some interesting speculation. What would a three party US look like? What would that do to the political structure of this country? Political financing? What would this alternate history look like?

Opinions?

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Fur Flies on The View – Ziegler and the media mistreatment of Sarah Palin

The dragons were spitting fire today on The View. The ladies interviewed John Ziegler maker of the new documentary “Media Malpractice”. Ziegler’s documentary takes a look at media bias during the 2008 Presidential election. Ziegler’s thesis is that the media’s love for Obama won him the election and their dislike and fear of Sarah Palin destroyed John McCain.

Tempers were flaring. I had an extremely hard time garnering any information from the segment. The interview started with some decorum, but quickly degenerated into a tag-team wrestling match, Joy and Barbara on one side, Elizabeth and Ziegler on the other. I’ve heard arguments between drunken bums that were easier to follow. Things got so fiery that at one point I thought Barbara was going to slap John Ziegler right in the mouth. Whoopi tried to maintain some sense of order and add some actual facts to the jumble of half-truths and conjecture, but when the ladies go off there’s no stopping the chain reaction.

There was one fact Ziegler used in his argument that I take issue with; the only one I could discern from the mess. In a poll done by Zogby 6.2% of poll takers could not recall that Palin had a pregnant daughter during the campaign. Ziegler contrasted this with the results from a question of Obama’s association with Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. “56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing). Those that could associate Bill Ayers’ name/story with Obama voted 52-48 for McCain (We added Ayers name to the “Zogby” question and it significantly increased the rate of correct response, indicating a very superficial grasp of the overall story).”

This really proves nothing and I’ll tell you why. First, how can you say that adding Bill Ayers’s name to a question and getting more of a response means people did not know more about the story then they did about Palin’s. Just because someone knows Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant doesn’t mean that have more than a “superficial grasp” of the story. You can discount that part of the story.

Second, the relevance of Ayers to almost half of those who voted is in question. Ayers was most active in the Weathermen from the late 60s until the early 70s. 47% of all who voted were under 44. Even the oldest of those voters were only 7 or 8 at the end of Ayers involvement. Even when Ayers went to trial in 1980 few of the voters in the 47% would have been able to connect Ayers to his terrorism ten years ago. The pregnancy Bristol Palin was happening right during the election. It had an imedeacy to it that people seem to love these days. The Ayers story was old and moldy by media standards.

The media did treat Sarah Palin a bit harshly during the campaign. Some of the problems were her own. Politics is a rough game. Dirty laundry, relevant to an election or not, has a way of getting aired. Just ask Bill Clinton or John Edwards. Even Howard Dean and his infamous YEEEEAAAAA were so shoved in everyone’s faces he lost the Democratic nomination. Stuff like what happened to Palin happens every election season. Is it right? No. Will it continue to influence elections? Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that’s not likely to change soon. This is the price of 24-hour news.

Watch the clips all the way through if you dare. Give me your take.

Fur Flies on The View – Ziegler and the media mistreatment of Sarah Palin

The dragons were spitting fire today on The View. The ladies interviewed John Ziegler maker of the new documentary “Media Malpractice”. Ziegler’s documentary takes a look at media bias during the 2008 Presidential election. Ziegler’s thesis is that the media’s love for Obama won him the election and their dislike and fear of Sarah Palin destroyed John McCain.

Tempers were flaring. I had an extremely hard time garnering any information from the segment. The interview started with some decorum, but quickly degenerated into a tag-team wrestling match, Joy and Barbara on one side, Elizabeth and Ziegler on the other. I’ve heard arguments between drunken bums that were easier to follow. Things got so fiery that at one point I thought Barbara was going to slap John Ziegler right in the mouth. Whoopi tried to maintain some sense of order and add some actual facts to the jumble of half-truths and conjecture, but when the ladies go off there’s no stopping the chain reaction.

There was one fact Ziegler used in his argument that I take issue with; the only one I could discern from the mess. In a poll done by Zogby 6.2% of poll takers could not recall that Palin had a pregnant daughter during the campaign. Ziegler contrasted this with the results from a question of Obama’s association with Weather Underground member Bill Ayers. “56.1% could NOT correctly say Obama started his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather Underground (25% chance by guessing). Those that could associate Bill Ayers’ name/story with Obama voted 52-48 for McCain (We added Ayers name to the “Zogby” question and it significantly increased the rate of correct response, indicating a very superficial grasp of the overall story).”

This really proves nothing and I’ll tell you why. First, how can you say that adding Bill Ayers’s name to a question and getting more of a response means people did not know more about the story then they did about Palin’s. Just because someone knows Sarah Palin’s daughter is pregnant doesn’t mean that have more than a “superficial grasp” of the story. You can discount that part of the story.

Second, the relevance of Ayers to almost half of those who voted is in question. Ayers was most active in the Weathermen from the late 60s until the early 70s. 47% of all who voted were under 44. Even the oldest of those voters were only 7 or 8 at the end of Ayers involvement. Even when Ayers went to trial in 1980 few of the voters in the 47% would have been able to connect Ayers to his terrorism ten years ago. The pregnancy Bristol Palin was happening right during the election. It had an imedeacy to it that people seem to love these days. The Ayers story was old and moldy by media standards.

The media did treat Sarah Palin a bit harshly during the campaign. Some of the problems were her own. Politics is a rough game. Dirty laundry, relevant to an election or not, has a way of getting aired. Just ask Bill Clinton or John Edwards. Even Howard Dean and his infamous YEEEEAAAAA were so shoved in everyone’s faces he lost the Democratic nomination. Stuff like what happened to Palin happens every election season. Is it right? No. Will it continue to influence elections? Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that’s not likely to change soon. This is the price of 24-hour news.

Watch the clips all the way through if you dare. Give me your take.

Sunday Editorial on Editorials – Even Republicans Praise Obama’s Inauguration Speech

Normally I like to review some local editorials from the Sunday paper today. The websites for the dailies here in Maine seem to all be down though. I am too lazy to go out and buy some copies; frankly the Portland Press Herald is not worth paying money for. I’ve had to look beyond the borders of the Pine Tree State for my opinions this Sunday.

The pickings were slim. I never realized how interesting the opinion sections of Maine newspapers are. It helps that we have a lot of strange people who aren’t afraid to share their views. We’re an odd breed up here. There’s no guessing if someone likes you or not. I’ll stop before I get too far off topic, something else Mainers are prone to do.

Just across the big green bridge from Kittery, Maine is Portsmouth. In the local Portsmouth paper, the aptly named Portsmouth Herald, I came across an interesting piece by

Kerr goes on to dissect Obama’s inauguration speech. The speech thoroughly moved and uplifted Kerr. The aspects of the speech that impressed Kerr were similar to those that got my attention. Overcoming the darkness in our past, our sense of brotherhood, and the call for unity.

Change did not win the election. One could argue that McCain presented changes of his own. The kind of change each candidate offered determined who won. The unity and togetherness that Obama proposed brought voters to his camp. McCain may have been willing to reach across party lines in the past, but that is not the front he presented during the election. The selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate proved that. McCain chose to pander to the dwindling Republican base. Obama reached out to moderates of both sides of the fence. “That one” won.

Both Obama and McCain pledge to secure and spread democracy throughout the world. McCain wished to do this by force. Obama will do this by force when necessary, but more importantly by providing an example and taking the moral high ground, as outlined by his inauguration speech. Obama dispelled the feelings of foreign policy naivete

There may be some in the extreme right that are still wondering how President Obama won. As Kerr points out, Obama silenced them with one sentence from his inauguration speech, saying, “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.”