Friday, October 6, 2006

Stepping Up to the Plate in October

Political pundits, breathless as baseball writers, predict and hedge, then boldly go where their particular sense of safety dictates. Polls show America is fed up. Currently, because the Republicans have been in charge of things for the past six years, Americans are fed up with Republicans. Just a fad, take my word. As soon as we give our hearts to Democrats, they’ll break them.

Congressionaloffice_1
Here we go again with accountability and reform, new ideas and change, old values updated, contracts with America and anyone else who will sign a two to six year contract.
The Boys of October are not all boys in this political race to the wire, but the analogies to baseball are ever-present; let’s show a little pepper, find a groove for the swing, talk it up from the dugout and kick the mud off our cleats. It’s Mid-Terms. Clean off the desk, there may be a new occupant.
Political pundits, breathless as baseball writers, predict and hedge, then boldly go where their particular sense of safety dictates. Polls show America is fed up. Currently, because the Republicans have been in charge of things for the past six years, Americans are fed up with Republicans. Just a fad, take my word. As soon as we give our hearts to Democrats, they’ll break them.
Just as there are seven innings to the stretch in a baseball game, there are six years to the heartbreak, heartburn and lame-duck-edness of two-term presidencies. This one has been more poisonous than most to their opposition and less satisfying than most to their electors. Time to send broken down pitchers to the showers, rally behind our best closer (no matter what the team) and do The Wave.
Fearbasedpolitics_1 David Ignatius writes in a recent editorial
With the Republicans in control of the executive and legislative branches, arrogance has become a way of life. In a series of widely disparate cases -- from ignoring the ethics problems of former House majority leader Tom DeLay to refusing recommendations to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to covering up the egregious conduct of Rep. Mark Foley -- the Republican leadership's instinct has been political self-protection rather than accountability and effective government.
So, it’s time to get ourselves set for a chance at Democrat arrogance. When the pols who couldn’t find home plate for the past six years ask for reform, change and accountability, one has to ask just what they were sitting on during all that time? The answer is A, B or A for B.
  • Were they too timid to reform a government gone rogue?
  • Perhaps too distracted to demand accountability?
  • Just a tad too hidebound to come up with new ideas?
  • Was change a generality beyond their grasp, that suddenly has brilliant clarity?
We are being taken for the same old suckers we’ve proven ourselves to be for decades, perhaps centuries--certainly beyond the scope of my life and my old daddy’s as well.
Madashell_1 In the days when there actually were independent newspapers, old daddy read three on a daily basis; the first for the liberal view, the second for the conservative and the third for what he thought might be close to the truth. Interestingly, four decades later in Chicago, the one he felt came closest to ‘the truth’ is no longer in print and the two remaining have conglomerized themselves beyond even a faded image of independence.
And yet in those simpler days, what independence there was served us better than the long arm of the current Australian media mogul. Old daddy got tainted views in his day, but at least he got a crowd of them screaming from all sides for his attention. Sadly, we have been outFOXed.
Deweydefeatstruman Thomas E. Dewey promised reform and change and even threw in a new broom when he took on Harry Truman 54 years ago and, regardless of the worn rhetoric, the Chicago Tribune in a since world-famous moment of hubris still got it wrong.
But these pols of today, they just can’t bear to put their name to anything straightforward. Dewey may not have had the advantage of modern polling, nor did the Tribune.
Today we benefit from an enormous sucking sound, an inexorable pull toward the sewerage at the bottom of the whirlpool. Modern polling finds out precisely what 1,500 Americans think when they are handed a carefully worded question. Pollsters then prostrate themselves before the resulting number and call it opinion.
Pretty quickly, words that once might have been cast in bronze become cast in the same unstable and sticky-fingered mud that is easily slung. Polls change and character (it seems) changes with them, as easily as a fresh shirt.
Will Rogers, a sometimes stand-in for my old daddy, said it pretty well;
“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”
And so, a month from now we get to pee on the electric fence.
Just don’t expect it to be a pleasure.
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Other current writings out there in 'independent' media;