Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Politics and such

* I just don't know. Who are these undecided voters and what exactly do they need to make up their minds? It's scary that the course of the United States will be determined by folks who can't be bothered to pay attention.

* Bread and circuses. Call me what you will for saying this, but I think you would eliminate much of the corruption, graft, pandering and pork-barrel spending of our political system if you had a rule that said you are only allowed to vote if you are not currently on the receiving end of governmental transfers. On welfare? Receive a housing subsidy? Kids get a free lunch at school? Receiving price supports for your corn, sugar, iron, etc? Government employee? Government contractor? Taking the EIC (aka stealth welfare)? On Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid? Sorry, you're not allowed to vote due to your conflict of interest. Only the folks who are putting in and not taking out get to decide what happens with their money. It would cause two things to happen almost instantaneously. First, many governmental programs/services would be privatized, bringing market forces to bear, and second, politicians would stop handing out "goodies" to their constituents because every time they loosened the purse-strings they would LOSE voters (but they would start pandering to the opposition's voters to try to undermine their support - which would be entertaining at the very least) Never happen, of course, but it does make you think.

* Words are funny things. Especially in the hands of politicians. There is no such thing as plain speech in politics. Every word must be parsed and even then there are times when you can't figure out what they really said or meant. I was in Missouri for three days and saw about 100 political ads, mostly for Governor (unlike the last time I was there and Missouri was still in play so most of the ads were for Kerry or Bush). All I can tell you from seeing the ads is that at LEAST one of the candidates for Governor is lying. My money is on both. There was a heavy emphasis on voting records. Unless you voted for every increase in school funding since Roosevelt (Teddy not Franklin Delano) you will be accused of Voting Against The Children®. And if you did vote for every school funding increase you will be accused of Mortgaging Our Children's Future® or some such. There is currently a referendum on the November ballot for the City of Arlington (Texas) to pass a 1/2 cent sales tax increase to fund a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys. Proponents for this referendum are running ads saying that you should vote for it because of the money that will go to the city parks and it's For The Children® after all.

* Words are funny things - part II. Driving through Oklahoma, there were all sorts of billboards of for State Question 712 - the "Education and Jobs" initiative. Well, who could be against "Education" and "Jobs", right? I heard a radio spot by Toby Keith explaining why you should vote "yes" on 712. Turns out it's an initiative to ... legalize gaming machines (aka slots) at three horse tracks in Oklahoma so they could "compete" and not have to lay people off. And of course, the tax revenues generated by the gambling would go into the Education Fund. No mention of how much tax revenue would be diverted out of the Education Fund to be spent elsewhere, but that's probably just my cynicism talking.

* Words are funny things - part III. Call John Kerry what you will (and I do), but you have to give him credit for an ingenious strategy in last Friday's debate. By simultaneously claiming both sides of the Iraq issue, he insulates himself from criticism from folks to his left and his right. He starts out by saying he would never cede Americas right to defend itself or take preemptive action to other nations. Then he says what America does should pass a Global Test®. If this were a 60's movie this would be the point where the computer started smoking with lights flashing while repeating "does not compute" in a tinny voice. Maybe it's just my pea brain, but I can't reconcile these two statements. (It's like saying you think abortion is murder but you support a woman's right to choose) I realized that this contradiction was no accident when President Bush called him on the Global Test® thing the next day. Kerry just accused Bush of ignoring the first statement. And if the No War Ever For Any Reason® crowd were to criticize Kerry from the left, he could simply say that's why he included the Global Test® to do just that. It's evil genius I tell you.

* It's debatable. Have to say that both guys obviously dodged some questions. And they both had instances where they used the next question to keep answering the last one, but I think Cheney only did this once, while Edwards did it at least four or five times - the most egregious of which was one of the last questions on what they would do to unite the country after the election - which Edwards never did answer. Best line of the night goes to Cheney for saying Edwards had missed so many votes in the Senate, he'd never even met him personally until now.

  • |