“Forward” Reaction Needs a Rewind


Normally, a blog post in the Washington Times stays just that — a blog post.

But yesterday’s post that Obama’s new slogan “Forward” has illicit ties to socialism and communism is possibly the dumbest thing to go viral on the far-right since Donald Trump’s candidacy and/or considering a national default. If you want to save yourself the brain cells and not read the article, it argues (more like awkwardly explains a Wikipedia litany,) that “Forward” has, in the past, been the name of socialist publications and party newspapers. And now, Barack Obama has chosen it as his slogan. Why this has any relevancy on US politics or our election remains to be seen — but the insinuation seems to be clear, Obama is secretly telegraphing that he is a socialist to the (apparently?) millions of Americans who are secretly socialists.

There’s just so much wrong with this. First off, that anyone on the Right took it seriously — and a quick google search proves that they did — suggests just how giddy folks are to share even the silliest thing that re-enforces the false notion that the President is some kind of secret communist.

Next, the entire idea that a US political slogan “Forward” has something to do with socialism smacks of a total lack of both a political education and an understanding of branding. If “Forward” is a secret communist telegraph, then what the heck does “Take Our Country Back” mean? Did Bush’s “Keep Us Safe” or “Strong America” have anything to do with fascist anthems of national unity? What’s next? God Bless America is suddenly out the window because Islamists also invoke God’s blessing?

Taking it a bit further, the right needs to kill off, rather than give a second life to the idea that the President is a socialist. He’s going to be campaigning as a moderate pragmatist. He’s actually logged a few tax cuts while in office. He just signed a bill that boosts start ups. He’s yet to back gay marriage. His most socialistic idea since taking office, the public option (which wasn’t even really his..) was to create a government corporation that competed with private insurance companies. Socialists nationalize public utilities. They take over private transportation companies. They shut down foreign investment. He’s not a socialist. Be happy he isn’t. He’s an economic liberal. The right needs to stop saying he’s a socialist, before they force Romney into saying it, and losing even more of his credibility.

This has nothing to do with socialism. This is just the slogan that dial-tested best during focus groups.

The problem isn’t so much that some dope at the Washington Times wrote this, (their other strokes of brilliance include a suggested article that popped up while I was reading the “Forward” piece called “Obama Embracing Islamists?”) but rather that the Right-leaning Internet took it seriously. Team Obama is about to spend a billion dollars blasting “Forward” into every American voter’s home (well okay, just those in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida,) and the Right is focused on whether or not it has something to with 20th century communist newspapers.

If connecting Obama to long-dead Soviets is the gameplan for how right-wing blogs online are going to act in 2012, we may as well just start planning Obama’s second inauguration now. An increasing number of Americans are getting their news online, and relying on blogs for their information. The online right has a pivotal role to play in electing a new President. Talking about socialist newspapers is not the way to go.


Born This Way? It Doesn’t Matter.

Last week, Cynthia Nixon announced that she had chosen to be gay, and she’d chosen her current relationship with a woman over her past relationships with men. Leaving aside the possibility that Ms. Nixon is bisexual and doesn’t realize it, it’s important to note that it doesn’t matter if she chose it or not. Gay rights activists — in an effort to cast themselves as a civil rights movement — have made being “born this way” the crux of the argument that LGBT people deserve equal rights. Their argument should be a different, more liberty-centered approach.
Now, I personally believe that the vast majority, if not all gay Americans were “born that way,” but that doesn’t actually matter. If you’re a Hindu or a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew, you weren’t born that way, but you’re protected with the full force of the US constitution and US law. You were most likely not born owning your current property, but you chose to buy it, and the government will protect your right to own it (unless they want to put a highway there.) We are free to make choices, and not lose our rights based upon those choices. If you are a Christian, and chose to become a Muslim tomorrow, you would not lose any rights. As it should be. If you are straight, and you choose to change your sexual orientation tomorrow, you should not lose any rights because of it. If you choose to be a Republican, you have the same right to free speech as a Democrat or a Libertarian (who, by the way, you should thank for most of these rights.)
As the criticism leveled against Nixon has shown, the gay rights movement seems to have forgotten what rights are and gotten too caught up trying to make a liberal argument for what is essentially a libertarian argument. Rights are things that remain granted no matter what we choose to say, think, or do, so long as we do not inflict harm upon others. In reality, what the gay rights movement should be seeking is not so much “marriage equality,” but rather the “freedom to marry.”
Cynthia Nixon is entitled to do whatever the heck she wants, it’s none of our business, and that’s how it should be.
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Simply put, the Iowa Caucuses are a better indication of who isn’t going to win the Republican nomination.

Let’s have a look:

Iowa Caucus Winner Eventual Nominee Iowa Finish by Nominee
1980 George Bush Ronald Reagan 2nd
1988 Bob Dole George  Bush 3rd
1996 Bob Dole Bob Dole 1st
2000 George W. Bush George W. Bush 1st
2008 Mike Huckabee John McCain 4th

For all the talk about this year’s Iowa caucuses giving a candidate some momentum, this year might actually be about deciding if the Iowa causes are even relevant when it comes to picking candidates.

Ironically, Ron Paul’s rise in Iowa might actually give the caucuses some legitimacy. There’s plenty of folks in Libertarian-leaning New Hampshire who aren’t quite sold on Ron Paul who might flip if another state gives him the nod. At the same time, nominating the guy many perceive as the “crazy candidate,” may well ruin the caucus’ influence for good.

6 days!

Is This Real Life?

Is this going to last forever?

Over the past few weeks, my conversations with friends — Republican and Democrat alike — have taken on a far  more frustrated tone.  As Europe gets more and more unstable, the US flirts with a double-dip recession, and people-power protests continue to cause upheaval everywhere from Moscow to Cairo, the 2012 election is looking increasingly consequential and even more defining than an election that was already about nationalized healthcare, unemployment, troop withdrawals, and income inequality.

Considering this — the growing list of problems a January 20, 2013 President is going to face — it’s become unfathomable to many (myself included) who are unhappy with the Obama presidency, the stagnant American economy, and the lack of work available for college graduates and young parents that the alternative to the past three years is either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.

To quote a friend:

“It’s a bad joke. We’ve got Obama in office already who’s proven he can’t turn it around and our choices are the guy who invented American healthcare, and the guy who advised the people who caused the housing crisis. This can’t be real life.”

It’s unfathomable that with what’s at stake, here are our two other choices:

Paul on Gingrich:

Huntsman on Romney:

All this, while the GOP ignores the man who predicted the international and fiscal crisis we’re in — Ron Paul; and the two-term Governor re-elected with 80% of the vote in Utah who served as a business executive and an ambassador — Jon Huntsman.

It feels a bit like this:

Mad as Hell.

Is This the Worst Political Ad Ever?

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here — but Rick Perry’s latest ad was enough to get this blog on politics and perception up and running again.

This ad might just go down as one of the worst ads to ever air. The premise — that something is wrong with America because gays can serve openly in the military, but American kids can’t pray in school — is one of the most absurd juxtapositions I’ve ever seen. Let’s break it down:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.
I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.

Putting aside that a super majority of Americans supported gays being allowed to serve openly in the military,  Perry’s ad creates some sort of moral equivalent between sexual orientation and school prayer, as if there’s some sort of morality thermometer measuring the whole country that goes up when students pray, and down when gays have guns. For most Americans, the military and school prayer have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Rick Perry is essentially asking: “In what sort of country do gay people serve in the military while schools don’t allow prayer?” The easy answer? A secular republic. And that’s what we’ve got.

That’s why this ad makes you scratch your head. Perry is criticizing the natural end of an individual rights based society — respect for religious pluralism in government schools, and a lack of discrimination by the government. Perry is essentially criticizing the system of government that he’s supposed to protect if he’s elected; while clearly selling and showboating his faith.
In regards to that last part, here’s a quick bible study lesson for Governor Perry from Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 6:
 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in Heaven, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Arab Spring vs. Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street protesters have started to refer to themselves as the “American Fall” or the “American Arab Spring.” The media seems to be buying into it, and the head of the House Democratic Caucus just offered his support to the “American Fall” this morning. So, just for clarity’s sake, here’s a quick side-by-side of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.

Evil dictator YES NO
Live-fire YES NO
Tanks YES NO
Police kill their own people YES NO
Arrested for views YES NO
Killed if protest fails YES NO
Fired at from helicopters YES NO
Can vote NO YES
Have free speech NO YES
Unemployment 20-30%+ 9.1%
Demands Free elections Higher taxes on corporations

Frankly, I think it’s offensively narcissistic for any American (whether it be the Tea Party, the protesters in Madison or at Wall Street) to compare themselves to courageous souls in Syria, Iran, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere who brave live-fire, executions, beatings and random arrest. We have free speech, our protests are protected and at the very worst our police might mace us or hold us overnight. There is little courage involved in standing in a modern American street with a sign. Conviction, yes. Courage, no.

Don’t Assume Palin is Running…as a Republican

Sarah Palin has until October 31st to get on the ballot in the Iowa Caucuses, and she shows little sign of doing so. At the same time, she’s talking, walking, and traveling like a candidate.

The conventional wisdom: Palin isn’t running and is just trying to stay relevant, but there’s still a small chance she’ll seek the GOP nomination.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned for sure about Sarah Palin since she appeared on the national stage three years ago, it’s that she doesn’t follow the conventional wisdom, ever. In fact, she revels in proving it wrong and seems to enjoy out-maneuvering the “elites” than anything else. And it’s not for nothing…despite being cast off as irrelevant after 2008, and her widely-panned resignation from office a year later, Palin proved to be a force in the 2010 GOP primaries, and in rallying the Tea Party Movement. She’s still here, we’re still talking about her, and her moves still matter.

Palin has shown — particularly with her endorsement of Christine O’Donnell — that she is not interested in winning races, but instead in ideological purity, and (in a more cynical view on things) simply throwing her weight around to stick it to those who criticize her. It’s not hard to see how a dedication to purity, a  knack for stealing the spotlight and a commitment to elite-bashing leads to a third-party bid.

A third-party run by Sarah Palin could be a transformational moment in American politics, and could also annihilate the Republican Party’s chances in 2012. It boils down to this: Would Sarah Palin want to go down in history as a game-changer who laid the groundwork for a conservative party or as a former vice presidential nominee who endorsed a candidate in the 2012 election?  We all know the answer to that question.

As the President’s approval continues to plummet faster than the economic outlook, and the Republicans can’t seem to find anyone to unite their warring factions, we’re ripe for a third party candidate, Sarah Palin or not.

The Media Is Ignoring You Because No One Cares

I just finished reading Glenn Greenwald’s column about the #OccupyWallStreet protests. Greenwald pens over 1,000 words to argue that the only reason Occupy Wall Street isn’t getting any media coverage is because of a massive corporate-media apparatus that seeks to quell dissent and keep people in their place.

The last thing I heard that was that outside of reality was the right-wing charge that US Muslims are attempting to infiltrate US courts with Sharia — and that this is somehow related to the decline of the American family and/or gay marriage.

Greenwald’s piece is only being mentioned because I just finished reading his piece, and it’s the longest and most thorough of all the left-wing “It’s the Corporations, Man!” articles that have come out to explain why the media is ignoring the Wall Street Protesters. The quick answer they’ve all agreed on: The media is owned by corporations. The protesters are protesting corporations. Obviously, corporations are telling their media outlets to ignore the protests.

There’s one glaring fallacy about all this.  The idea that a multi-billion dollar corporation might actually care that there’s 500 people outside of Wall Street with signs and megaphones. Progressives are so incensed that the Wall Street protests are being ignored that they, like Greenwald, are bending over backwards to create some sort of evil alliance between journalists and CEOs (lol…) to avoid the simple truth: America does not care about your protest.  Americans don’t hate corporations, and while they’re frustrated with Wall Street, and bankers are none too popular, most Americans don’t want the massive societal economic reorganization that these protesters are calling for. Furthermore, the big corporations especially do not care that 500 people have been in Lower Manhattan for over a week calling for their demise.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are simultaneously protesting that we are too powerless to be a threat to corporations, but that the media is ignoring them because the protest is a threat to corporations.

There’s no collusion between gay activists and the Muslim orthodoxy to bring down the American family, and there’s no massive corporate plot to silence your protest. We just really, really, do not care about your protest. And if the American consumer doesn’t care, you can be sure as hell that the corporations don’t, either.

Here Comes Santorum

And there goes another one. Rick Perry’s rise seems to be ending as quickly as it started.

If you’re a conservative voter, it’s probably starting to feel like Fred Thompson all over again. And over and over again. First, conservatives consigned themselves to voting to Mitt Romney. A more-conservative Tim Pawlenty came along, and quickly blew it. Then, the Michele Bachmann boomlet came and went. Then, Rick Perry shot up in the polls and has been coming back to Earth ever so quickly. Conservatives, are now looking at being locked into supporting Mitt Romney again — something many don’t want to do.

That’s where Rick Santorum comes in. Santorum has been getting stronger every single debate, hammering away at Perry and Romney, with no counter-punches from the two front-runners. That’s because while every other conservative has a right-wing flaw that can be attacked, Rick Santorum is conservatively flawless. He’s never supported universal healthcare. He’s never supported immigration. He didn’t support a bank bailout, and he’s never signed a tax increase. He’s as socially conservative as the Pope and certainly never suggested vaccinations for young girls or sex education for students.

One of the reasons Rick Santorum was never talked about as a top-tier before the race got going in earnest was because he’s exactly that conservative. He doesn’t budge, so the conventional wisdom is he can’t win a general election. Santorum is the natural home for the former Bachmann supporters who ran to Rick Perry only to find themselves backing a soft-on-immigration HPV vaccinator.

The only thing stopping a rise in the polls by Rick Santorum is a recovery by Perry, stronger performances by Cain or an entrance by Christie. Or, of course, a politician’s constant ability to shoot himself in the foot.

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Mitt Romney and “Career Politicians”

Mitt Romney spends plenty of time bashing career politicians. He styles himself as a businessman up against lifetime politicians like Barack Obama, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and others. Romney, to some extent, has a point — Americans don’t like politicians who have spent their lifetime on the public dole, they prefer that their Presidents find their way into politics “by accident.”

Mitt Romney has been decidedly deliberate. For someone who hates politicians, he’s spent an awful lot of time as one.

In 1994: Mitt Romney runs for US Senate








In 2002: Mitt Romney is elected as Massachusetts Governor. He serves until January 2007.









In early 2007: Romney announces his entry into the GOP primary. And there was much rejoicing. 









In early 2008, Romney calls it quits.








But in early 2011, he’s back! 









And while we’re on the subject of career politicians: