I’m Just Not Impressed

Am I supposed to be?

Posts Tagged ‘Republicans

It’s Czar Mystery

leave a comment »

I find it interesting that one of the criticisms being leveled against the Obama administration is his appointment of various “Czars”. What evidently started as a birther/’bagger type theoryis now gaining ground in the Republican establishment. And like stories of President Obama’s fictional Kenyan birth certificate, there’s about as much truth to the idea that this is a new concept.

Reading  Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Sunday editorial over a morning bowl of cereal, in which she calls Obama’s appointment of Czars “unprecedented” and strongly implies that no such position has ever existed (no, she doesn’t say it, but absolutely nothing in the op-ed even begins to acknowledge the fact that such posts have existed for 20 years), I was struck by that thought – didn’t this defiance of the Constitution begin during a Republican administration?

The answer is actually more nuanced than I thought. I was thinking of the “Drug Czar,  a position that was created in 1988 (under Ronald Regan) and filled in 1989 (under George H.W. Bush), which was initially a Cabinet level position, and therefore, while still evocative of the Evil Empire, not a direct thread to the sanctity of liberty. Or something like that. Obama has made a change with respect to the Drug Czar, a move that is not entirely inappropriately called “unprecedented”, in that it is a move without direct precedent, of essentially decommissioning the position and removing it from Cabinet status.

But the first actual use of “Czar” as a title evidently goes all the way back to the Nixon administration, who, again, I’m pretty certain was Republican. Or does it go back even farther? Some of our lovely friends at Wikipedia would have us believe that the term has been used for more than 80 years, beginning with FDR. So, maybe it is the Democrats’ fault? Just for the record, this, kids, is why people mock Wiki as a primary source. Three different articles imply three different answers to this burning question.

What is not in question is that for the better part of a century, the White House made do with a handful of Czars. Then look at that jump – the leap not just back into double digits, but into the 30s, takes place not in 2009, as Hutchison would have us believe, but rather, in the 8 years prior. You know what that means, right?

Yet, where were all of these people when George W. Bush was was appointing “czars” right and left? I suppose no one actually thought that the poster boy for unremitting capitalism could ever be labeled a communist.

Written by emandink

September 14, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Was I born in a small town?

with one comment

Backtracking a bit, to things that were hot talk last week but that continue to intrigue me.  Consider this part of an ongoing series about what certain terms and phrases mean.  See also elitism and feminism.

Today we’re going to talk about Sarah Palin’s small town values.  One part of this is, of course, “what are small town values?“, which TDS has handled much more aptly than I, but I’m also curious about what even qualifies as a “small town” which could have such values.

Web analysis varies – less than 10,000 people? 5,000-15,000?  Does Park City, Utah, population roughly 8,000, have the same values as Hope, Arkansas, population roughly 10,500?  Which has more “small town” cred?  Why?  Why should it matter?

Who can claim STVs?  Only people who currently live in a town of less than 10,000 people?  How about college towns where the permanent residents number in the 10k range where the population doubles between September and May?  Does it matter whether the students vote locally or absentee?  Can you have small town values if you grew up in a small town, but move to a city?  How about just a town of 20,000 in a conservative county?  What if you were born and raised in New York or San Francisco or Boston or (OMG) Washington, DC (which a lot of people like to characterize as nothing but an overgrown small town that thinks its something because we have a lot of marble buildings) and then move to a town of 7,000 people to get away from it all?  If I live in a suburb of 3000 people (I don’t.  It’s 18k+ as of the 2000 census, which is still smaller than I anticipated.) but work in a city of 10 million, can I have small town values?  Only between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.?

It matters, of course, because here we have one of only two seriously electable political parties/presidential tickets playing identity politics of the worst kind – vote for us, say the Republicans – not because we have policies that are going to actually help you pay your mortgage and put food on the table – but because we are like you, just with designer clothing and high paying jobs. 

It’s easy as one of those damn liberal elitists to automatically equate these so-called small town values as essentially being what we call small mindedness or ignorance.  But it’s really not that simple.  Small-town vs. big-city, Red State vs. Blue State – what these phrases are is code for differs, but in the end, it’s just more us vs. them, which completely ignores that for better or for worse, we’re all in this together.

Ooh, purple!

Ooh, purple!

The point of this election should be what is best for the majority of Americans wherever the hell we live.  It should be about improving the US’s stature in world affairs.  It should be about a better life for all Americans, from the CEO worried about falling stock prices to the Ivy League professor worried about tenure to the factory worker worried about layoffs to the family facing forclosure and homelessness.  It shouldn’t matter where our ancesters came from or what our middle name is or what color our skin is – this election is about all of us and what we want the Unites States to be.

Written by emandink

September 16, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Lies, damned lies and statistics

leave a comment »

Or something like that.

With some regularity of an evening, I’ve been turning to my husband with a comment along the lines of “thank goodness for The Daily Show” and their analysis of Republican hypocracies.

Courtesy of Lessig Blog, I saw the following today in the same vein:

The video, and others like it are sourced to Brave New Pac.

I am sure that people more dedicated than I have combed through these videos to make sure that the metaphoric liberal “we” are not resorting to distortions to counter distortions.  Because you know that the other side will grab whatever straw we leave them, short or long.

Written by emandink

September 11, 2008 at 7:01 pm