It's that time of year again... the time when we pre-empt our usual Friday Talking Points column here and instead gather 'round the virtual campfire and shove a metaphorical flashlight under our chin, and proceed to tell two tales of horror guaranteed to make your blood run like ice water in the veins, no matter which side of the political divide you hail from.
Archive of Articles for October, 2010
Incivility seems to be running fairly high in the country right now, what with heads being crushed under boots by political supporters and whatnot. But the incivility which has me scratching my head has nothing to do with politics. Instead, I've been asking a question which (so far) has remained unanswered, so I toss it out today in the hopes that a sports whiz knows the answer: Why do professional baseball players not shake hands with the other team after the game?
When ex-actor Ronald Reagan won the presidency for the first time, I became convinced that American politics had become indistinguishable from show business. Nothing that has happened in the intervening years has caused me to change my mind on the subject. But the phenomenon of television personalities throwing their own pseudo-political "rallies" on the National Mall in Washington certainly breaks new ground in both the political arena and the entertainment world, I have to admit.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Arizona, recently made the news. In his own words: "I just got done welcoming Sarah Palin to our County [sic]. Had a nice chat and gave her a pair of pink underwear." This marks a turning point in the American political scene, where pink underwear has been rehabilitated, so to speak, within the Republican Party.
I hate to say it, but we all might have to get used to saying "Speaker Boehner" pretty soon. But what is this going to mean -- for Republicans, for Democrats, for President Barack Obama, and for the country at large? At this point, these questions are worth examination, because while Democrats may yet avert disaster in the midterms, denying the real possibility of a Republican House next year is now little better than wishful thinking, or (even worse) intentionally burying our collective heads in the sand.
I'm going to (mostly) resist the urge to take advantage of this column's volume number in order to write a really gross column. Numerically, and inventory-wise, a "gross" is (of course) one dozen dozen. Twelve squared.
President Obama, of late, has been doing quite a bit of soul-searching over his first two years in office. It is odd for this to be made public just before an election, instead of just after one, but it does show, at the very least, that Obama is starting to learn some important lessons from his performance so far. Of course, it can be argued that it may be too late for Obama to have learned these lessons, but then he still does have over half of his term to serve -- so I say better late than never, personally. And (without a shred of evidence to make such a claim) I would also say that the fact that Obama's realization that he has room for improvement comes almost immediately after Rahm Emanuel left the White House is, indeed, no coincidence.
Since we seem to be smack in the middle of "debate season," it's worth taking another look at the state of the Senate midterm races. Also, because it has been three weeks since we last took a look at the Senate's political landscape. Since that time, both Republicans and Democrats have seen some movement in their direction, but a large number of states remain simply too close to call, with less than two weeks to go before the election.
It's a good time of year for it, as well. Because Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which is supposed (in the easily-digestible children's version, at least) to be all about Native American farmers absolutely saving the lives of the white newcomers, by teaching them how to grow their own food. In other words, I bet this settlement gets a prominent mention in the White House's official Thanksgiving Day message.
The folks in the Tea Parties across America should be prepared to be disappointed after this year's election returns are in. That sounds like a sweeping and Democratically-optimistic election prediction, but it's not. I'm actually assuming here that many Tea Party candidates will indeed win at the polls. Instead, what I'm talking about is what happens afterwards. Because while it's a whole lot of fun to wave signs at a rally, actually governing is a whole different story.