Thursday, September 04, 2008

We Ought to Get Us Some of That There Reform...

I'm sorry, I know that polls demonstrate Americans are looking for "change" in their government...

But if, like John McCain, you're the most famous Senator from the party that has essentially run the show for the better part of a decade, you look silly running as a reform candidate. Like, very very silly. Like, you can't talk about reality at all, pretty much, because it would work against the case you're building. You have to start making things up, which means that, of course, you'll run into contradictions. The whole argument gets chaotic and confusing, exactly the opposite of what you want. (For more insight into this, one need only watch any given episode of "Mad Men." The best "pitches" are the most straight-forward. Jackie or Marilyn?)

I've watched a lot of GOP Convention coverage this week (hey, it's my job, kinda), and it has felt entirely surreal. Like watching footage of an old political convention in the library. How can Mitt Romney go on and on bashing the "liberal Washington establishment" in 2008? He might as well be railing against the fiscal policies of Josiah Bartlet. Even worse than that, the Republican critique, repeated over and over again at this convention, contradicts itself directly.

Here's a segment of McCain's speech tonight:

"Let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd," McCain declared in his acceptance speech. "Change is coming."

So...the Democrats don't do anything. Okay, fair enough. I actually almost somewhat agree with this argument. The Congressional Democrats have not done a lot of things I would have liked them to do, and they are, in fact, largely about symbolic gestures.

(Bear in mind, I'm upset that they're not doing anything to fight the policies of Republicans like John McCain. But the point still stands.)

But how can you concede that things are bad in this country, requiring a "change," then argue that your opponents don't do anything? Doesn't that mean all the bad things are your party's fault? And, of course, they are. Nancy Pelosi didn't lie Americans into a pointless, unwinnable war while losing track of Osama bin Laden. Harry Reid didn't install clueless lackeys and yes-men in positions of great power, wrecking our ability to protect the public from unsafe products, get people out of harm's way during a massive storm or successfully prosecute federal criminals. And Barack Obama didn't decide we should start torturing people, or spying on their phone calls (though he does sort of seem okay with it after the fact, which sucks).

The Republicans, Romney and McCain in particular, are basically admitting these things are not their fault ("they don't do anything!") before essentially blaming them anyway. Sarah Palin seems to think US Weekly is at fault. And I'm not sure who Giuliani even hates any more - everyone not actually standing inside the Xcel Energy Center?

(Speaking of glaring contradictions, Giuliani mocking Obama for liking big cities? Giuliani was mayor of fucking New York. Obama's from Kansas. He thinks Obama's too cosmopolitan? WTF?)

I know Republicans essentially think their constituents are dumb. They think they can just lie to them over and over again, pretend to care about them and their issues long enough to get into power for a few more years, and then continue to give them the shaft like always. And it usually does work. I sort of disagree. I think that, certainly, a lot of American voters are gullible, and can be convinced through clever speeches and smart politicking to vote against their own interests much of the time.

But gullible people eventually do figure shit out, particularly if you make it kind of obvious that you're messing with them. And that's what tonight's acceptance speech from McCain felt like. The part of the crank call where you kind of can't hold on any more and start making up really ludicrous stuff, hoping the person on the other end catches on so you can just hang up.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

200 Episodes!

Mahalo Daily hits a milestone today with our 200th episode. (That's 180 more than "The Famous Teddy Z"!)

I'm so proud to be a part of this podcast and to have worked (and continue to work) with such a fantastic group of people. Congrats to Michael, John, Conrad, Buck, Leah, Veronica, Tyler, Jason, all the Mahalo Guides like my brother and Evan who helped us out along the way and, oh yeah, ME!

Monday, September 01, 2008

This Sarah Palin Post Will Not Mention the Pregnancy Thing...

Oh, wait...damn it...

Anyway, I'd just like to again point out that I think Democrats are focusing on the wrong arguments against the Palin selection here. The big issue is not that she's inexperienced, or that her daughter is pregnant. The big issue is that she's fucking crazy. And apparently not particularly well-versed in the history of our nation.

Blog The Stone of Tear has posted a questionnaire filled out by Palin when she was running for Alaska Governor in 2006. (Thanks to PZ for the link). Her answers are frightening:

2. Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?

SP: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.

But what if a child's parents are stupid? I mean, we can all allow for that, right? It's possible, at least theoretically, that two stupid people might breed. And as we all know, two stupid people are genetically capable of parenting an intelligent offspring. So why are we dooming each generation to be no brighter than the generation that passed before it?

An answer like this basically rejects the entire notion of public schooling. Why send kids to a communal institution like a school if you're going to restrict their education to what their parents already know and believe? Why take on the expense? Just let the kids figure shit out from Mom and Dad, and be done with it, cause an attitude like "parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught," rather than, oh, I don't know, "professionals with a fucking clue should have the ultimate control over what children are taught" isn't gonna make any kids any smarter.

Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?

SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

Even though it totally doesn't work? That's sound. This is Bushism in its rawest form, folks. Sticking to a failed policy after it has clearly failed because it's the one you like the best.

This next one's actually kind of funny and sad at the same time:

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

Really? Really? REALLY? Who doesn't know that "Under God" was added in the 1950s? Who doesn't fucking know that? It's one of the most famous pieces of trivia, like, ever.

In fact, the Founding Fathers never said the Pledge of Allegiance, which was written in the late goddamn motherfucking 19th Century, you idiot! The Founding Fathers, a group of philosophers and radicals, many of whom were atheists, agnostics or Deists, would probably not have liked the idea of mandating that people say the phrase "Under God" nor saluting the flag while offering a loyalty oath. You may recall, they started a war to avoid having to pledge allegiance to King George III. Thomas Jefferson basically felt that you had a right to murder your leaders if they were cramping your style too much.

Now, I don't need Sarah Palin to have an intricate, nuanced understanding of the issues at play in the Second Continental Congress. But in addition to not offering an opinion about almost any of the major issues our next president will face, and responding to these kinds of policy questions with standard nonsensical evangelical boilerplate, she here demonstrates an outright ignorance of American history that's entirely off-putting from someone who wants to, you know, run America.

I say, before you can become vice-president, you should have to pass the same tests we give people who want to become U.S. citizens. Would Sarah Palin make the cut?


Oh, and this? I mean, come the fuck on:

When did our overlords become so dumb? Say what you will about Dick Nixon - the guy was crafty. I mean, I expect these people to be kind of evil. But I expect them to fiendishly evil, not completely idiotic and evil. Warmongering Republican political candidates should be master criminals, not hapless bungling small-time crooks. I want Heath Ledger's joker, not Cesar Romero's.


Okay, I know I said I wouldn't mention the pregnancy, but I think Mahalo may have the first page on the Internet about the likely father of Bristol's baby, Levi Krueger. That's noteworthy, right? Come on, I'm doing something with my life, right? Anyone? Anyone?