Tag Archives: Barack Obama
I want to thank Buzz Bissinger for bringing Friday Night Lights into this world.
Also, his Twitter feed was entertaining for a few minutes, when it seemed genuinely unhinged and not calculated. OK, now that that’s out of the way…
In retrospect, we should have known that the guy who exploded all over Will Leitch on Bob Costas’s show was not on the side of the angels.
Now, Bissinger has penned a piece for The Daily Beast called “Why I’m Voting for Mitt Romney.”
Bissinger, a self-described lifelong Democrat tries to achieve a common-sense tone, like he’s a regular guy who’s able to see through all the hazy political bullshit and get at the truth. In this piece, he seems to fancy himself a less snide Bill Maher.
There’s only one problem: his entire argument boils down to, “Mitt Romney looked pretty during the debate.”
Geez, Allah sure does work in mysterious ways. When he’s not subverting our way of life with Manchurian candidates or destroying Cat Stevens’ music, he’s apparently watching episodes of Will & Grace. I hope it’s the one when Matt Damon joins the gay chorus!
For most sports fans, the games themselves are just a jumping-off point. Sure, there’s the excitement of a Hail Mary or a well-developed attack, but there’s also lots and lots of (often impotent) build-up.
The thing that keeps us engaged over the long-term are the conversations, the arguments, the discussions, that often only use sports as a jumping-off point. Like an emotionally-stunted alcoholic’s book club, an in-depth conversation about sports is often only surfacely about the events themselves.
As such, there’s a large amount of overlap between sports fanaticism, and the arts and politics… novelists obsessed with baseball, presidents attached to basketball teams, Ashton Kutcher standing on football sidelines… the examples are legion.
So, who would be the most interesting people to have in-depth conversations with about the major pro sports? I’m talking about the best conversations, not the conversations that would most blow you away. Obviously, I would love to sit down and watch a basketball game with Michael Jordan. But that would be a simpering fawnfest, not an interesting conversation. So, while athletic experience is nice, it doesn’t really get you many points, unless you’re interesting/intelligent about other subjects as well.
Here’s the current rankings (in order of my like of/knowledge about the sports):
On Friday night, we will once again mark the autumnal equinox, officially kicking off the most beautiful season in much of the United States (and the first day of Spring for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere).
Not only does Fall mean changing leaves and a crispness in the air, but it is high tide for Pop Culture. The new season begins on television; prestige movies fill the theaters; the King of American sports eclipses events that would rule any other time of the year; the 2012 election moves into a matter of months; bands try to cash in on the iTunes gift certificate redemption season. Three months of Fall normally hold more goodies than the other three seasons combined.
So this week, we’ll examine the menu and whet our appetite for what’s to come.
Depending on one’s tolerance for posturing and bullshit, we’re heading into either a magical or horrific time in the political cycle. At the New Year, Iowa and New Hampshire are only about a month away. While it would be hard to recreate the Obama/Clinton classic of four years ago (with the added spice of saucy John Edwards), any battle featuring Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich will undoubtedly bring much laughter (with the added sedative of the boring-off between Romney and Huntsman).
But, as usual when superstars are involved, this all really comes down to the headliner. It’s still Obama’s to win or lose… which way it goes is mostly up to him. While there will undoubtedly be ups and downs in 2012, three questions from this fall will set it all up.
The Invasion of Iraq, The Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, The Tax Cuts, The Response To Hurricane Katrina, The Election Of 2000, Etc., Etc.
Nobody can ever accuse George W. Bush of not giving his opponents ammunition. During eight years of policies that involved us in multiple wars, turned a surplus into the biggest-ever deficit, and abridged civil liberties for U.S. citizens (and our prisoners), even those who agreed with his policies (by 2008, five people in Texas) had to agree that they were at the least aggressive.
Anything more than that, though, and you were a fucking traitor. Politics stops at the water’s edge, buddy, and you’re giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Don’t you remember the towers falling? Whose side are you on, anyway? Whether you agree with him or not, he’s the President of the United States and you need to show respect for the office.
What a bunch of hypocritical bullshit.
I’m a bit ambivalent about the deal that Obama struck with the Republicans in Congress vis a vis taxes. On one hand, the Bush tax cuts are an abomination, a boondoggle of historical proportions (What? A rich oil executive gets elected and the first thing he does is make his buddies richer? Shocker). Nobody can pretend to be concerned about the deficit and argue against letting them lapse. Which leads to the other hand. Obama did get some things in return (unemployment insurance, etc.), but mostly he gets to point out just how insensitive, insane and inconsistent the Congressional Republicans are. They will have to explain why holding unemployment insurance hostage to keep tax cuts for the top 1% in place is good policy. We’ll get more headlines like this one from the Times website: “Republicans Block U.S. Health Aid for 9/11 Workers.” And it’s never been a bad thing for a President to be perceived as bucking his party’s extremists.
However, there’s a line that a President can’t cross. It lies where a President cultivates enough dissent that a faction of his party puts up a serious candidate in the re-election primaries. In the modern political era (post-WWII), there have only been four presidents that have been so challenged: Johnson (Eugene McCarthy), Ford (Ronald Reagan), Carter (Teddy Kennedy) and Bush I (Pat Buchanan). These are also the four presidents held to one-term through elections. Johnson and Ford had some special circumstances that Obama won’t face… the last two are more instructive. Kennedy got traction against Carter because Democrats were (correctly) convinced that there was no way Carter could win reelection. Obama isn’t anywhere near that point… he’s actually gotten quite a bit done, and doesn’t make people want to gobble Prozac when he appears on television. Bush was challenged because an extreme wing of his party (i.e. the parents of today’s Tea Partiers) couldn’t abide his ignoring of his “Read My Lips: No New Taxes” tagline. Obama’s never committed to anything that stupid, and it’s hard to see the Democratic liberal base throwing the nation’s first black president under the bus.
But, as Obama starts to assert his independence from the Reid/Pelosi Congress in anticipation of the 2012 election cycle, he needs to make sure that the outrage from the left stays at a manageable level.
On the heels of the State of Union, I was certain that the Congress and the President, the Republicans and the Democrats would bury the hatchet of a tough year and put aside petty differences to try to better the lives of the American people. Unfortunately, Barack Obama continues to be an asshole. A toxic combination of the ineffectiveness of Jimmy Carter, the totalitarian tendencies of Chairman Mao and the mendacity of Bill Clinton, he has a level of commitment to the total destruction of the American way of life that only comes with being a sleeper agent for the Muslims (not any particular group, just Muslims). And it isn’t even the big stuff – to wit:
What? Does this guy hate mom, apple pie, and girl-on-girl porn too? For the second time in his mistakeistration, Obama has seen fit to bash Sin City. I mean, it’s OK to suggest that we tighten our belt as long as you don’t mean it, but it’s ridiculous to suggest that going to Las Vegas is wasteful. Just because it’s an energy-sucking city built in the middle of the desert, whose main draw is gambling, expensive dinners and strip clubs doesn’t mean it is an indulgence. Let’s let the good people of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce show how wrong Obama is:
What A Freakin’ Re-Re
Not only did Mr. Obama put the day-to-day affairs of his administration in the hands of a Jew, but Rahm Emanuel also has the audacity to believe that Congressman should not be “slow or limited in intellectual development”. What, Joe Lieberman doesn’t deserve a paycheck in Obama’s Amerika? The mentally challenged are people too, goddamnit! Better them than godless socialists trying to redistribute the wealth to…well, the people I guess, but they’re even more fucking retarded than Congress. I’m just thankful that Trig Palin isn’t old enough to hear such hateful language, and that he wouldn’t have understood it in any case. And that the Democratic Party is filled with such goody-two-shoes that they’d rather leak an offhand comment in a closed door meeting that stings their sensitive ears, than avoid an unnecessary two-week story that wastes time and helps derail all the important things they claim to care about. I just hope they didn’t hear Bill O’Reilly order his “nigger juice” this morning.
As Americans, we’re all aware of the national crisis of childhood obesity. Specifically, I’m talking about the two porkers in the White House, Sasha and Melia. Every time I see them, I cringe at the increase in the White House food budget in this time of fiscal crisis. But for their own mom to call them out on it? Not that’s just fucking cruel. But look at what Michelle Obama had to say:
“We went to our pediatrician all the time. I thought my kids were perfect — they are and always will be — but he [the doctor] warned that he was concerned that something was getting off balance. I didn’t see the changes. And that’s also part of the problem, or part of the challenge. It’s often hard to see changes in your own kids when you’re living with them day in and day out. But we often simply don’t realize that those kids are our kids, and our kids could be in danger of becoming obese. We always think that only happens to someone else’s kid — and I was in that position.”
Guess we can stop looking for who to cast in the remake of “Mommie Dearest”. I always knew that she was Madame Mao, but I did realize Michelle had so much Livia Soprano in her. Thankfully liberals again helped out the Obama administration. I mean, to suggest that the way to combat childhood obesity is to make sure our children weigh less? And to think that saying Sasha and Malia had a slightly elevated BMI that was easily fixed with lifestyle changes years ago won’t cause them to throw up after every meal and start blowing every Secret Service agent that gives them the approval Mommy didn’t? It’s enough to make me use the R-word.
On this chilly January morn, I figured all of us might need a little inspiration.
Top Ten ways Obama is like Jeb Bartlett (and how he should heed his example, fictional though it may be):
1) They’re both accused of being pretentious and overeducated…because they are…and they’re much better off turning it into a strength than trying to hide it.
2) They’re both secret smokers, but this flaw actually helps, because it makes them seem more human.
3) They’re both former professors at top universities and Nobel laureates; both have young daughters who live in the White House; both love to play basketball and aren’t above hiring ex-Duke players that have the added bonus of strengthening their team (i.e. Reggie Love).
4) They’re both constantly branded as liberals…because they are…and they’re much better off turning it into a strength than trying to hide from it.
5) They both came out of nowhere and defeated a formidable entrenched candidate in memorable primaries and a tired one in a forgettable general election.
6) They both have grounded, foreboding wives that they seem to actually fuck.
7) Both are able to lay the smack down when they get inspired.
8) They both floundered around their first year, trying to please everybody and avoid a fight (let’s hope Rahm has some Leo in him).
9) They are both capable of great eloquence, and are able to rise people up with words…both have photogenic young speechwriters.
10) Both have dedicated staffs that are willing to follow them off a cliff if need be…both need to utilize them, and also find deep reserves of courage to fight the fights that need fighting.
It isn’t really the Massachusetts election that has me upset this morning. For the most part, when choosing an Senator or Governor, voters care about the individual candidates and local issues far more than sending any national message. Coakley sounds like a stuck-up bitch who wanted to be handed the seat on a silver platter; voters don’t like to be taken for granted. It probably didn’t help that Massachusetts already has universal health care, and a stronger version than will be (hopefully) passed by Congress (signed by Mitt Romney – think he’ll use that as an issue if Obama fails to pass anything?). If all politics is local, why would a voter there really care about that legislation? It’s a bit much to expect a people to vote for Congress based on what’s best nationally rather than locally.
And I can’t get myself to care about the loss of the 60-seat majority. That was always dependent on two Independents anyway. Now, Bernie Sanders is a Socialist, and freaking awesome, and can be counted on pretty much completely. But we all know that Joe Lieberman is a publicity hungry whore with an ax to grind against the Democrats and no conscience about doing the right thing. Any piece of legislation that had to be tailored to get his vote wasn’t going to be worth a damn anyway. And the Democrats still have 58 seats (including Sanders). 58 seats?!? You know the last time that happened? The Republicans haven’t had that many Senators since Warren G. Harding! Know the last time the Republicans matched the current Democratic count of 258 Representatives? Never! That’s right. Never! Like Jon Stewart, I need a breath.
The Republicans didn’t have anywhere near those numbers during the George W. Bush years. And we all know how much havoc the Democrats played with him…using procedural maneuvers to block legislation…not allowing anything through that they believed would harm the country…fighting tooth and nail. I mean, can you imagine if Bush had been able to pass the Patriot Act and go to war in Iraq? Well, at least the Democrats put up a good fight. Oh, wait.
But what about the filibuster? What about it? I have been following politics for a long time, and the idea that all legislation needs a filibuster-proof majority to pass is entirely new, and yet we’re all taking it for granted like it’s normal. Well it isn’t.
See that spike? That’s the 110th Congress. Gee, what happened then? THE DEMOCRATS TOOK BACK BOTH HOUSES! See the two bumps before it? I’ll bet you can’t guess who controlled Congress then. Little by little, the Republicans have been trying to use the filibuster to stop anything from getting done when they’re not in control. And after watching the masterful way George Bush manipulated the system (and the pussyish Democratic response), they decided to completely go for it this time.
Which is fine I guess, if you don’t mind essentially being a party of traitors. If you think that the job of a Congressman is not to compromise, but to hold your breath until you get what you want. If somehow you’re deluded enough to think that things are better as they are than how they could be. If you don’t believe in democracy, and care more about winning than governing.
But we all know it’s impossible to shame a Republican. And I know that it is too much to ask that the Democrats make that self-evident case to the American people. That they band together and turn back to tide by forcing the Republicans to present something they want rather than only carping about what they don’t. To shame the Republicans into either contributing or getting out of the way. But Jesus fucking Christ, why is the Democratic leadership (including Obama) not just taking control of the situation!?! Let me tell you a little story…in 2005, some Democrats decided to pretend they had balls and take this filibuster thing for a spin to stop Bush’s reactionary judges from being confirmed. The Republicans responded with outrage. They were shocked, shocked that a democratically elected President’s agenda was being hijacked in this backhanded way. Trent Lott threatened the “nuclear option”, whereby the Vice President, as President as the Senate, unilaterally stopped the filibuster. Guess what happened? Shockingly, the Democrats caved and the judges were confirmed.
It’s time for the Democrats to go nuclear, as it were. If health care isn’t passed, nothing else matters. No matter what anybody says, it’s the most important issue there is. It affects the economy and the quality of life in the U.S. like nothing else. Obama has (rightly) made it a do-or-die issue for him. It has already made it past the filibuster stage, to reconciliation, where the Senate and House cobble their versions into one bill, which only needs 50 votes to be passed. Of course, now the House Democrats are saying the Senate version is a non-starter, and the Blue-Dog Senate Democrats are saying there’s no way they’ll vote for the House version. Now, I don’t really care about this posturing…alot of it is just noise to fill up airtime on the cable channels, and to be able to go back to your constituents and say you were really against it before you were for it. But a national health care bill is closer than it ever has been, and if Democrats fuck it up this time, it’s gone for good. It’s time for Obama to unleash the hounds. Send Rahm Emmanuel down to the Hill to earn that reputation for ruthlessness. You’re a Democrat who doesn’t want to vote for health care? Have fun getting elected with no DNC support next time. There’s got to be a promising Democratic state’s attorney somewhere in your area. Threatening to join the Republicans? Go ahead – I’m guessing there’s a conservative Republican that’ll kill you in the primary anyway. Republicans trying bottle up the rest of Obama’s agenda and nominations? Here’s Joe Biden…he loooves to shoot from the hip. Time to press that big red button, Joe. Kill that motherfucking bunny.
It’s better to try to practice democracy than subvert it. It’s better to try to hear everyone’s voice than bulldoze through them. But the Republicans have decided they are just going sit on the sidelines. And they’re convincing the American people that it’s the Democrats who aren’t doing anything. What’s the worst thing that happens if the Democrats ruthlessly push their agenda through Congress? The Republicans bitch endlessly about the same things they’re bitching about anyway? You’ll actually have an agenda to run on, and if people are convinced it isn’t right course it’s better than them being convinced of it plus that you haven’t had the balls to actually see it through. And at least you’ll have done something while you had the power (which you aren’t going to lose anyway…the majority might be slimmed notably, but the Democrats will still control both houses come November 3rd…10 of 19 Democratic seats would have to switch and the Republicans would have to hold all 18 of their seats up for grabs in the Senate…40 seats would have to change hands in the House, and I don’t see Newt Gingrich walking through that door). I still have faith that Obama has enough Chicago in him to see when it’s time to go to the mattresses. But the time is now.