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I haven't made a political post in a long, long time.

I'd make one now, except just thinking about it depresses me. I was not happy about the results of the midterm, needless to say... and I am even less happy, if possible, about this "compromise" that Obama has made with the GOP on taxes. From where I sit, it smells more like capitulation than compromise. Give a lot, get almost nothing.

Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since Jimmy Carter... and, sad to say, he is looking more and more like Jimmy every day. A good man, but not a good leader. At least not so far. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for a fight. We need another FDR, another JFK, another LBJ. NOT Jimmy II. (And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff. But so did Jimmy. Camp David accords, remember?)

Yeats was writing about his own time in "The Second Coming," I know, but sometimes I think he was prescient:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?

No, please. Tell me that's just a bad dream. Somebody wake me up.



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Dec. 16th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Have you heard of the Best of the Left podcast? I recently started listening and enjoy it quite a bit.
This is the first year I've really paid attention to the midterm elections (and really wish I'd paid more attention in the past!) Republican attitudes and obstinacy lately has astounded me. All things considered, I think Obama is doing ok. Maybe not awesome, but when you consider the plate he was handed coming into office, I don't know what sort of superhero it'd take to pull us out of the mess we voted ourselves into.

As for Sarah, I really think she's in it for her$elf. If she runs, it'll be for the attention, and if she loses, she's just got more time to plug her books, tv shows, and rake in money making appearances. I still can't look away though, it's like watching a horror show through my fingers...
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
Two Party Illusion
This whole two party system just feels like a big illusion masking different faces of authoritarianism. On the right you have expanding law enforcement powers at the expense of civil rights, abortion, censorship and basically anything favored by the religious right.

On the left, you have gun control, staunch political correctness, forced schooling, mandatory health insurance with premiums. Now, I can't say I got a bad education from the public school system. Nor am I against public health care. I'm glad they got a bill passed. I just they should make Rupert Murdoch pay for everyone's medical bills.

These days, it feels like the Republicans and Democrats are doing a tag team on our rights as citizens. They each have their agendas and by passing power back and forth, they have an easy scapegoat for their failures: the other side.

I don't think we'll ever have meaningful progress in America until we have multiple parties with political power. Liberals can take the Green Party. Economic conservatives who are socially liberal can go with the Libertarians. Social conservatives can have the Republicans, no one else wants them. And moderates can be Democrats; who seem to be the new Republicans, anyway. It still wouldn't be perfect but I think more parties will force compromise and make it harder for special interests to control the parties.

I admit it, I'm a registered Democrat. But if you're inclined to vote third party, I say go for it! Even though they seldom get into office, third party candidates force R&D candidates to acknowledge issues that otherwise get shouldered. I think its important that we, as citizens and voters, recognize their significance in making social progress.
Dec. 16th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Two Party Illusion
The other problem in modern day politics is money, and it's only going to get worse because of the Supreme Court's actions. This country needs a Campaign Finance Amendment, or the political situation this country is in is only going to get worse.
Re: Two Party Illusion - Opal [blogspot.com] - Dec. 16th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
I'm a historian, and I watch the American news because its the closest I'm goign to get to living through germany in 1931.
Dec. 16th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
Don't say that!!
Please don't say that!! I really hope this is not like Germany in 1931. Because we all know what happened in 1933 :(
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
he's alright
I'm with some other posters in that I don't think Obama is getting a fair shake. So much for the liberal dominated media, eh? I personally think the tax deal makes the Republicans look worse. They held the jobless benefits hostage because of some lame, supposedly noble notion that the deficit must be cut to account for the jobless benefits, which to me makes perfect sense. So how do they ultimately account for paying for the benefits? Cut taxes! Of course!

I can see how Obama appears to be the next Jimmy Carter, but I personally think he is, or is at least surrounded by, much tougher folk (well minus one now that Rahm is gone). This is, honestly, why there is so much partisan bickering nowadays - we criticize relentlessly those that make deals and work together, when personally that's what I want my politicians to do!

I'm not a huge fan of the conservatives (I really don't know why Palin is still lingering...I mean, she knows there are two Koreas now, right?), but they are on the upswing, and a great many Americans believe in them.
Dec. 17th, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
Re: he's alright
"I really don't know why Palin is still lingering...I mean, she knows there are two Koreas now, right?"

Maybe because of the the pre-eminent totalitarian threat of shariah in Oklahoma:

Dec. 16th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Right on the money
Mr. Martin, I've been saying this for a while now. Our president has been far too willing to compromise from the beginning, and not willing to take a stand when he needs to and because of this, the GOP smelled blood in the water and became a brick wall....banking on things not getting better, and it paid off.


The fact is, people are seeing the election outcome of the House in a too favorable light, I think. Let's not forget, the deck was pretty much stacked against the Democrats from the beginning. Losses were inevitable. And yes, while it was a drubbing, people are overlooking the Senate results and their meaning. The gains the GOP made in the Senate were less than expected. LESS. Only a gain of five seats. Only HALF of what they needed to take control there. And when history says that typically if the House flips, so does the Senate, and when the Senate not only doesn't flip, but also by much less than what was being predicted, that says something.

If the GOP continues its obstructionist policy, leading to a stalemate and given what I'm seeing, that's what they plan on doing, and things get better, then the Democrats can credibly argue that it was their policies, but it just took a little time to really kick in. And in a presidential election year, which tends to favor Democrats to begin with, the Republicans can kiss goodbye most of the gains they made this last election.

I see a lot of posts, here and elsewhere, by people who think they know what the American Revolution was about. Yet it's plain from their posts that they don't. I would like to recommend Jack P. Greene's "Colonies to Nations, 1763-1789: A Documentary History of the American Revolution" published by WW Norton in 1975. It is a collection of primary sources of the period and should give you a good idea of just what the Revolution was all about. And it wasn't about taxes.

And on the subject of taxes, spending cuts will only go so far. It is an absolute fact that at some point, taxes WILL NEED TO GO UP! The sooner it is done, the less it's going to hurt when they do.

Also, I would like to point out to all the anti-tax people out there that your way was tried before....it was called the Articles of Confederation. And we nearly remained British possessions because of it.
Dec. 16th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
I bet the entire staff of The Onion would vote for Palin. Can you imagine better job security?
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
Agree on one thing for sure
Well George, I'm kinda glad you toned down the political comments. It seems every topic, subject, movie, sitcom, everwhere, everything in the US seems to have a taint of politics to it, which is not as it should be in my humble view. But...since you went there, I would just like to say that, my political views and opinions could be described "to the right of Rush Limbaugh" OK? But I will agree with you on Sarah Palin. She is like a bad reality TV show contestant who seems to think (like too many people in Hollywood) that fame (or infamy) is some form of qualification for office. I wish Sarah all the best, but please, stay in Alaska. Dont run for President for goodness sake. And I think many conservatives feel the same way, to the point that, if I WERE a liberal, I would pray she would run, because it was cause near chaos in the Republican primaries. Anyway, I am a HUGE HUGE fan, so please, let's agree to disagree about politics.
Dec. 16th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
My biggest hopes for the Obama administration revolved around the rescission of the policies that were used to justify torture and abuse of power, to see those who abused the power brought to justice, and to see legislation passed that brought opportunity back to the middle class. This has not happened despite the great promise of candidate Obama. I see only a continuation of Bush's policies in sheep's clothing and the gap between the upper and middle class growing with each passing compromise.

Carter had his issues, but he was also one of the few politicians who stood up and told us to stop whining and wean ourselves from foreign goods (oil). The "Great Malaise" speech of July 1979 should have been a wake-up call. Instead, it was a nail in Carter's re-election chances as the general populace was lulled by Reagan's speeches that promised rainbows and pots of gold because we were American.
Dec. 16th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC)
Re: Disappointed
Exactly and we still have the same problem. People want easy solutions and an easy life. People don't want to work hard and get things done, so they just listen to whoever promises them what they want to hear.

America is its own worst enemy. =/
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
The thing is, I talked about this sort of thing the day after he assumed office. I still support Barack Obama but he won't be the best President the US has ever had. He probably won't be in the running.

Dec. 16th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
I'm not a huge fan of President Obama, but he really was & still is the best person for the job. I also think there is no way Sarah Palin will stand a chance against him, while she may attact her core the independents in this country dont' take her seriously. That 15% of the electorate is who decides the president. If she can't win them, and I don't think she can, then she's just a well dressed dud.

IMHO the DNC's problem isn't the president so much at their congressional leadership. What the hell? They get their asses kicked in the election and they pull a Bush Sr. ( Stay on course.), with no repercussions?

We can do better.

Billy Clinton said it best in the 92 campaign. "Its the economy stupid."

If the DNC wants to control the next decade they need to get in front of that issue before any other.
Robert W. Griswold
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
If a compromise only had things you like in it, it probably wouldn't be a compromise.

Personally, I find the government debt extraordinarily troubling. I think, personally, that the bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire for some (I also believe strongly that the cutoff should be significantly higher then $250,000. It should be somewhere at or above $1Million). That being said, I believe that now is not the time to do that. The very act of raising taxes would have a cooling effect on the economy and I don't think now is the time for it.

Similarly I don't like extending unemployment benefits permanently, as I think paying people not to work for a period of two years is a bad idea. However, letting the benefits expire now would be bad, as it would cause a new wave of foreclosures and all sorts of negatives we cannot afford. I don't think we have jobs for all those people at the moment...

Many liberals are up in arms about the estate tax holiday. i don't understand this. I know on paper it seems like a lot of revenue is lost, but similar to capital gains, there are plenty of ways for wealthy individuals to skirt these taxes. If you wanna make the rich pay, you are gonna have to abolish trusts. Good luck. And the ones hit with these taxes are those with some money to pass on but without the funds to afford top rate legal advice. IE the middle class.

Regarding Sarah Palin, on some subjects I think her heart is in the right place. I think the media has harped far too much on her apparent gaffes, and mostly they quote lines given by her SNL persona. Nevertheless, I don't think I could really support her in 2012. I would likely vote for her over Obama, but I am hard pressed to think of a Republican for whom this is not the case.

I will agree to disagree about Obama's goodness. I'm don't believe that he is evil or even a socialist. But I do believe that he has political views that are out of line with most Americans, that he grossly misrepresented his intentions in the campaign and I can't think of a single major thing he's done that I really agree with (With the possible exception of this newest compromise - I haven't looked at it close enough to make a final determination, but from what I've seen it looks good). I think the Stimulus and Health Care in particular were both abysmal and could have been done so much better.

Dec. 16th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC)
Palin as president. What an terrifying prospect that would be... and I'm not even an American. To be completely honest though, I just can't see it happening, while she certainly has her supporters, she seems just entirely too 'fringe' for her campaign platform to be adopted by a majority of Americans. My fondest hope is that she simply stay on the FOX payroll as a mouthpiece.

However, should the very worst come to happen, just think of all the fodder for comedians surely to be created by a Palin Presidency. Truly a fringe benefit, but sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
I tried to skim over most of the comments above before writing this, but I apologize if I repeat too much.

Sarah Palin walked away from the only experience she really had. Even if enough people were dumb enough to nominate her, she would get absolutely destroyed in the general election.

I used to consider myself a Republican, but in the last few years I've realized what party politics are. I still tend "conservative" on most topics, but I try as hard as possible to avoid generalized opinions on anything. Despite what the politicians and pundits will tell you, there is never an easy solution to just about every problem we face nowadays, and as a result there can be no simple opinions.

That said, this compromise bothers me, but not for the same reasons as most people. If Obama didn't compromise, really bad things would have happened. However, it scares me that people (voters and politicians) think that keeping the tax rate on the top two percent of the population at 36% instead of 39% is best for the whole country.

Though at this point, I wonder if he should have let all the Bush cuts go. They didn't help the economy in the first place, and we could really use the money.

In the end, I think we as a voting public really needs to start keeping track of the blowhards in Congress who think that because they were elected, they have a "mandate" to make everything the way they see fit.

Or we just elect Jon Stewart.
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC)
Thank you Mr. Martin. That is exactly the problem with Obama. I feel like the democratic party needs to develop some backbone in terms of their positions. As much as i disagree with the republicans they are forceful on their positions and refuse to back down.

No one can realistically argue that Sarah Palin is intelligent. It is not because she's from Alaska or her accent. It is because of the comments she makes and the justifications she uses to support her ideas.

Obama needs to become aggressive. We've tried working together, its failed, now its our turn to be firm.

I agree with everything you stated minus the need for another LBJ, he had good intentions but everything went horribly wrong.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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