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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Many on the far left will, however I am not going to call the Republican Presidential Nominee a fascist… But, Jesus Christ are these rallies scary. I don’t think its a secret that we here at Bandit Pulpit aren’t the biggest fans of the self-proclaimed greatest Maverick of all time, but none of us would go to a rally and yell “KILL HIM,” “TREASON,” “TERRORIST,” or “OFF WITH HIS HEAD.” And I can’t speak for everyone else here, but if any candidate I was supporting intimated that John McCain was a terrorist or hated his country and people, then I wouldn’t support them. So, I will NOT call John McCain a fascist. I will NOT insist that McCain is pallin’ around with terrorists. I will NOT call John McCain and Palin racists, but one has to wonder what the hell is going on. Seasoned politicians and campaign managers are well aware of the messages they are sending out to the base, and I suspect the McCain campaign is no different.

So, I cannot deny the fact that McCain and Palin are playing on the fears, misconceptions, and deep seated hatred held by many in our country. McCain cannot win on the issues. McCain can not win in the debates. McCain cannot win with personality. But McCain and Palin can win by exploiting the fact that there are many people in this country who would rather die than see a President who is not white. But how do they do this? They stir crowds into a fury  by asking “who is Barack Obama?” and insisting that he is close with terrorists who hate our country. They nurture the idea in parts of this country that there is something so different about black people that make them dangerous, and un-American. While it goes unsaid, the message is clear… Barack Obama is not like you, and you should not only disagree with him, you should fear him. Barack Obama supports terrorism. Barack Obama will take your country away from you. Barack Obama and his supporters must be stopped.

Until this point, I have simply been disgusted by McCain’s campaign tactics. However, now I am actually scared of what could happen to Barack Obama, his family, his staff, and his supporters. And I’m not alone, just take a look at your daily paper, or take some time to check out Politico.com. This is not the kind of campaign that McCain should be proud of, and he should discontinue these practices now if he is really man of strong character he claims to be.

While McCain has actually come out and told a crowd at one of his rallies that they should not be afraid of Barack Obama, he was instantly BOOED. And let’s be honest, McCain doesn’t mean it. If he did, he wouldn’t approve ads like THIS or THIS. McCain says things like that to his crowds because he knows he is catching shit for it from the press. However, McCain knows EXACTLY what he is doing. Incite fear, incite anger, incite hatred, stop Obama, but then talk out of the other side of your mouth to deflect any blame. He doesn’t want people to just dislike Obama, he wants them to hate him because YOU have made the decision to based on slick campaigning, propaganda that questions Obama’s character/patriotism, political double-talk, deception, and downright distortions and lies that insist the Democratic Nominee is associated with terrorists.

So, in closing, I am not going to call McCain a fascist, but I cannot ignore the fact that the tactics currently being used by the Republican candidate are dangerous and despicable… There are those on the left who have, and who will insist that McCain is a racist and a fascist, but that would be just as terrible as what the McCain campaign is doing right now. Frankly, I expect more out of an American hero and so should you.

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"Patriotic Grace" by Peggy Noonan

In my first post I spoke about the importance of finding and USING your voice to either effect a change in or at least contribute to the American dialog.  Peggy Noonan’s new book “Partiotic Grace” is an excellent example of what I’m talking about.

“Patriotic Grace” is filled with moving accounts of personal sacrifice, civic leadership, and insightful political and cultural critique that can only come from someone with a wealth of experience in the world (and the willingness to learn from it).

Part One opens with an intimate and powerful debunking of the myth that the “Greatest Generation” is somehow in the past, never to be seen again. It is a stirring defense of the hard work, sacrifice, and incredible everyday heroism of the Baby Boomers (a generation to which my own parents belong, a generation which, until now, I had never really given much credit or thought…)

“Set out runnin’ but I take my time.  A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine…”
Set out runnin but I take my time.  A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine...   Little did Gerry know hidden microphones linked to an underground CIA database had flagged him as a possible terrorist due to the Godless, Freedom hating lyrics spewing forth from his vinyl Altar of the Damned.
Little did Gerry know hidden microphones linked to an underground CIA database had flagged him as a terrorist due to the Godless, Freedom-hating lyrics spewing forth from his Vinyl Altar of the Damned.

Noonan also asks us to recognize our own current heroism and hard work in difficult and sometimes tragic personal and national circumstances.  She  declares that current generations of people should take pride in their accomplishments whether as parents, preachers, politicians, teachers, civil servants, doctors, soldiers, or any of a host of roles that call on the best aspects of Americans.

What follows in Part Two is what the author calls “a brief and mostly political attempt to come to grips with the Bush era.” In fact this notion of coming to grips with politics and culture is a recurring theme throughout the section and one which helps reveal the often overlooked trauma our national psyche battles with daily.  From partisan rancor to economic and security concerns, we are a nation in distress.  9/11 of course plays an integral role in framing this section of the book but Noonan manages to use it in service of her broader message without it coming off as cheap and formulaic as it so often does in our politics and media.

By the end of the section she has also presented a number of insightful observations about the current generation of youth, my generation

“They have been shaken by the world since 9/11, and we don’t understand how rocked they’ve been. They’ve internalized it; they never talk about it. But: They are not always sure they have a future…They are something new in America, an entire generation that does not assume their lives will be even better than their parents’.”

“They are…used to living other worlds in their heads, for many worlds have, in a lifetime of videos, CD’s and downloads, been implanted there…So they are not always in the moment, not fully aware of their surroundings…”

If only girls understood that Ziggurat the Brave is the REAL me...

If only girls understood that Ziggurat the Brave is the REAL me... /sigh

Within some of her statements I found the first accurate formulation of the dis-ease that spurs me to write for this blog, to debate politics with anyone that will listen, and to search for a way to contribute more meaningfully to this country through my work and personal life:

“I think a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases, unnoticed, a sense that…in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can’t be fixed or won’t be fixed anytime soon.”

“I mean I believe there’s a general and amorphous sense that things are broken and tough history is coming.”

By Part Three the author has built a strong foundation for her appeal to change American culture, to reorient our relationships with and sense of duty to one another. It is a call for a political culture that matches the challenges of the world as it is today: rife with conflict, complexity, and uncertainty. Interestingly she devotes a fair amount of time to pointing out the immense expectations we place on politicians (who after all are just normal people like you and I).  Why is it that we balk at their failings when we expect them to have an answer for everything no matter how scientific, philosophical, complex or obscure the matter?

Now just hold on a second.  I know I left my talking points in here somewhere.

I know I left my talking points in here somewhere...

Ultimately her plea for mature, responsible, and well-tempered leadership along with a culture of peace and preparedness is nothing if not timely.  For Noonan it is not a question of IF we are faced with tragedy again but WHEN. Her criticism of the lack of focus on this by both McCain and Obama  as well as the media is salient and worth heeding when discussing the candidates’ relative merits.  Why aren’t we asking candidates how they would prepare for and handle a crisis like 9/11?  How will we as a nation, under a newly elected leader move forward as a strong, responsible, and intelligent leader of the world?

Despite any political differences I may have with her as a conservative, I could not agree more wholeheartedly that cultural unity, civil defense, and thoughtful leadership will be key in preparing our best defense against what awaits this country in its uncertain and seemingly ominous future.

I consider this a must read for any thoughtful citizen.  I think the vast majority of readers will find it both inspiring and provocative regardless of their political affiliation.

Buy it here or pick it up at your local book store.  It’ll be a hell of a lot better than spending your money on this.

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Welcome to what we hope is the first in many roundtable discussions about the goings on in the hilarious world of American politics. While a few of our contributors are indisposed for this first installment, 4 of Bandit Pulpit’s most obnoxious personalities are here to give you the business concerning John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign as the mushroom cloud that is our economy continues to cast a shadow over Wall Street and Main Street.

With that being said, heeeeeeerrrrrrrrrreeeeeee we go!

Karl Trollve

It’s brilliant! True grit and leadership! It’s “country first!” Mac’s the only candidate in this election who really knows the economy! It’s a game-changer!

It’s a ploy! A stunt! The man’s in over his head and wants to dive deeper! Barney Frank is right — he’s trying to swoop in and take credit for something that’s already getting done! Of course he wants to cancel the debate — the economy is the last thing McCain wants to talk about — not just ever, but especially right now! It’s Sarah Palin times 10!

Phew. Ol’ Karl’s head is spinning. The McCain “suspension” (I use the quotes because he still gets wall-to-wall coverage without having to spend a dime on campaign ads; he’s off the trail but very visible; he’s not running but right in your face; on and on) is all the above things and more. This is the ultimate test of the spin-doctors and opinion-peddlers. May the shrewdest and most cunning win!

This is Karl politics, and it makes me proud. Don’t wage the war on facts and objectivity — the battle is to be fought and won in the realm of perceptions. Who looks and acts presidential? How does this feel? (Oh, and don’t forget: Who would you rather have a beer with? I know that might seem irrelevant in our current crisis, but trust me — it’s the ultimate presidential litmus test, even when your guy says he doesn’t actually drink.)

I’d be inclined to admit it’s a dangerous gambit to lay your fate upon the perceptions of the masses. Because, remember, the people are dumb. But that’s the brilliance of Karl politics — the more transparently cynical and can’t-pass-the-smell-test a ploy is, the better chance it has of leaving the populace drooling over themselves and begging for more.

John McCain, The Original Maverick. The Conquering Economic Hero. Cue “Hail to the Chief.”

Rofl Blitzer

McCain suggesting that presidential campaigning be suspended is just another gimmick dressed up as “putting country first.” I’m putting this move in the same category as picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. It is political theater. Nothing more than a stunt designed to dupe voters into thinking McCain is some über-patriot who will sacrifice whatever is necessary for our amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties.

My opinion is that McCain sees himself sliding in the polls and, suspending campaigning “for the good of the country” is the easiest way to stop the bleeding. Points to Obama for calling McCain on this say boldly saying “we can do both.” I would much rather support a candidate who can handle multiple things at once rather than someone who can only focus on one serious issue at a time.

David zomGergen

Surreal. It’s the only word I can think of. I have a hard time imagining John McCain “rushing” anywhere, let alone to save the economy. One can only wonder if history will look back and say “If not for John McCain the United States would have been helpless to resist the coming destruction of their financial markets.” It somehow falls short of “If not for Superman the world would surely have fallen into chaos at the hands of the evil Brainiac.”

I write this in the wake of David Letterman’s 2 night tirade on McCain canceling his appearance, a fair amount of clever comparative editing on behalf of the Daily Show, and a lot of general reflection on the news coverage regarding the financial crisis.

For me the most adequate point came from Letterman’s scathing critique. In short: If you have to leave the campaign trail to tend to important Washington business, fine. You leave your VP in charge and you leave your campaign running. The notion that you suspend your campaign and delay debates (through which the American people will arguably get their first glimpse at pseudo-unfiltered dialog on the issues upon which you will be ELECTED)…strikes me as absurd and disrespectful to the American people and to the democratic process.

Let’s have a little less political theater and a little more content. This nation IS in a crisis no doubt, on many fronts. That they need leadership is beyond question. In light of that we need information, we need direction, vision, and intelligent dialog regarding those issue which will define the next 4 years and much farther beyond, NOT another press conference of political posturing with LOTS of talk and LITTLE meaning.

Rush Limblog

This whole “suspending the campaign” move reeks. Every move the McCain campaign insists is genuine is just the opposite. All McCain and his advisers want to do is derail the news cycle that continues to expose his deficiencies as a candidate when it comes to the economy. The same policies and pleas for deregulation that McCain has been calling for have gotten us into this mess… Go ahead and add that on top of the fact that an advocacy group run by Rick Davis (McCain’s campaign manager) called Homeownership Alliance has been collecting lobbying fees from Freddie Mac since 2005, and you have a campaign disaster… But you see, this disaster is all self-inflicted. McCain is the one who insisted that the fundamentals of our economy are still strong, that deregulation is the only way, and that Obama’s thin connections to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are worthy of attack while insisting that his campaign manager has no ties to either company.

The same goes for you too, Johnny Mac.

The same goes for you too, Johnny Mac.

McCain wanted to slow down this campaign and postpone the debate because he knows that he would get torn apart and his numbers would continue to plummet… Regardless of the fact that the debate is supposed to center on foreign policy and national security, it is inevitable that the economy would be brought up. There is NO reason for McCain to go to Washington during the bailout negotiations other than to skip out on the debate and artificially boost his already horrible economic credentials. Even tonight, reports are coming out that McCain is sabotaging the negotiations with the help of the Bush administration, hoping to draw them out so he can have a reason to not debate Barack Obama on the issues. The fact is that McCain cannot win on the issues… The only chance he has to win is to continue to distract this country from his disastrous flaws and shortcomings; use dirty tactics like THIS or THIS or THIS (proof positive that McCain is a total d-bag); or hope that white America is still scared by brown skin and funny sounding names.

Suspend the campaign? Fine by me… Just don’t expect us to buy that this is anything but a bailout for your campaign.

A Rofl Blitzer Production

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Your opinion is completely irrelevant. So’s mine. And your neighbor’s, and your grandmother’s. And your schmuck friends who fancy themselves politically and informationally superior because they majored in PoliSci and read blogs all day.

Don’t believe me? Head on over to RealClearPolitics or any other nonpartisan political op-ed aggregator. Look over the day’s offerings.

Try this: Read all the pieces whose headlines appear pro-(your candidate). How do you feel? Great, right? Now read all the columns supporting the other guy. Life sucks, doesn’t it? Step away from the cliff.

(This is also a great experiment for investigating the short-term effects of bipolar disorder.)

Contrasting opinions – political ones, especially – can certainly set the head to spinning. You start to wonder how one person can be so convinced of this or that position, while elsewhere the very opposite mindset has so equally strong an advocate. Indeed, sometimes compelling cases are to be made for both sides. Excuse me while I lapse into violent, convulsing fits of anxiety and befuddlement.

True, not everyone is vulnerable to the persuasive forces of argumentation. (These hardliners live on both ends of the spectrum. We’ll take everyone to task, regardless of ideology. But don’t blame us if the balance starts to tilt in one direction.) There is undoubtedly a comfort in going through life gifted with unflinching clarity and conviction. But this can come at a price – the more invested in one position a person becomes, the harder to shift from that stance. And as the evidence mounts, those who’ve dug their heels in the deepest look all the more foolish for their stubbornness. Toss in the world’s strongest dose of executive and military authority, and now we’re not just shaking our heads in detached, knowing pity – we’re ducking for cover and wondering whether it’s time to kiss our asses goodbye.

All this is to say that, for us, political opinion isn’t good enough. Talking points aren’t good enough. Campaigns, pundits, The Fourth Estate – they cannot be relied upon to deliver straight, unfiltered information. More importantly, we know that they can in fact be relied upon to be either the source of or conduit for misinformation, deception, distractions or outright lies. We subscribe to the crazy notion that no one, of any political stripe, should tolerate that.

But to be honest, this puts us in a potentially awkward position. See, our job here at Bandit Pulpit will be to wallow our way through the crap and misdirections being bandied about this election season and give you something akin to sensible, fact-based analysis and …

(wait for it …)

… opinion.

Whoops.

While plenty of things (Sarah Palin’s meandering stance on the Bridge to Nowhere, just to take an example) are subject to that inconvenient thing called fact-based scrutiny, still others live in that gray zone where – shudder – opinion is about the only alternative to playing the he-said-she-said game.

Example: Was Barack Obama really slyly calling Sarah Palin a pig when he used the older-than-John-McCain “lipstick on a pig” metaphor to compare McCain’s proposals to Bush’s record? Ultimately, only Barrack Obama knows the answer to that. But can we opine (hey, that rhymes with “porcine”) that only the most conspiracy-minded shit-stirrers would go down that road, given how asinine the argument is on its face. (John McCain used the same metaphor about a Hillary Clinton proposal once; Obama had not mentioned Palin at all in the speech at that point; it’s a damn colloquialism; and so on.) Not to mention the fact that the McCain ad crying foul on this “insult” went so far as to identify the out-of-context Obama quote as “Obama on Palin,” and then use a months-old Katie Couric remark about sexism during Hillary Clinton’s campaign to imply that Couric was castigating Obama for his alleged sexism in “the Campaign” – which reasonable people might foolishly assume meant “this Current Campaign, the One Going On Right Now.”

So things like Pig-gate may not be 100% cut and dried. But can we offer a reasonable fact-and-opinion-based analysis of this kind of scenario in the interest of calling out BS where it rears its stinky, fly-infested head? You betcha. (Say this last line with a charming Wasilla accent. And watch America’s heart melt.)

We’ll try to check in every so often with some of the more eggregious crap-peddling being offered under the veneer of “political analysis.” (Notice how that second word carries such a more authoritative air than “opinion”? Any dumbass can have an opinion. But only experts – who you should listen to – can offer analysis.) It should be fun. Having to swallow your own vomit for lack of a proper recepticle usually is.

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Good evening, and welcome to Bandit Pulpit. As a fledgling political blog in a world dominated by the Huffington Posts, Drudge Reports, and Politicos, we hope that we will offer you a fresh take on American politics, and particularly the 2008 election. The contributors to Bandit Pulpit come from a variety of backgrounds, but share a common disgust for the direction that modern campaigning, and the misinformation being bandied about by partisan political operatives. However, instead of spending a ton of time on who each of us are (you can check that out in the “Who We Are” page coming soon) let’s get down to what has been nagging me for a few weeks now.

The past 8 years have been a disaster when one considers America’s standing in the world. Whether the next president is John McCain or Barack Obama, he needs to be a strong diplomat that is capable of healing the wounds of the Bush years and restoring the soft power of influence that is so important in combating terrorism, assuring the safety of our allies, and securing our national interests. After watching the Charlie Gibson interview of Sarah Palin, I have to say that I came away rather frightened.

While Palin is running as McCain’s VP, the fact that she does not know what the “Bush Doctrine” is (Yes, is. Not “was”) leads me to believe that a McCain presidency will give us nothing but fractured relationships, global instability, and more of the same dangerous hubris from the neoconservative minds behind the McCain campaign.

For those of you who don’t know, the Bush doctrine (originally detailed in the 2002 National Security Strategy) stated that

“The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction- and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.

The Bush Doctrine essentially reserves the right to use military force in a preemptive manner in the face of an impending and assured threat (Like our attack on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq…. Since he was planning to attac….. give weapons to terr….. eat a kabob).

During the Sunday talk shows a bunch of McCain operatives came out to say that the “Bush Doctrine” as referred to by Gibson is outdated since the NSS of 2006 doesn’t contain such language… Which is true… partially… The 2006 NSS states

“If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack.”

… Before attacks occur… Right.

Ready or not, here she comes...

Ready or not, here she comes... From an Island in Alaska where she can see Russia.

For Palin to not understand what the doctrine is -or was if you’re delusional- is unacceptable. Palin is 100% untested, and unprepared… Should this person be *cringe* “a heartbeat away from the presidency”? Should she be in charge of the foreign relations of this country in such uncertain times? Should we trust America’s future with the same neoconservative minds that brought you the Project for the New American Century and the war in Iraq (Bill Kristol currently serves as a foreign policy advisor to John McCain and was one of the main architects of the current administration’s policy)?

Now that you know what the issue is, take some time to answer that question for yourself. War in the Caucuses? A showdown with Russia? A campaign to “bomb, bomb, bomb” Iran? The choice is yours… Let’s hope your choice is ready to lead the free world and return America to its position of strength and prominence.

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Welcome to the Bandit Pulpit. We’ll be up and running soon.

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