Tag Archives: republicans

Red Reality

Here in the United States our Republican friends woke up in a jubilant mood today after handing the Democrats their asses in yesterday’s election. Congrats to them, but here are a few thoughts about the state of American politics as we move forward:

  • If the Democrats have an ounce of sense, definitely not a given, they already have their campaign approach for 2016. Here it is: “The last three times the Republicans held both houses of Congress and the Presidency were the ’20s, a two year stretch in the ’50s and a couple of terms in the ’00s. Two of those three time periods ended in economic catastrophe for the country so it would be beneficial for the country if we didn’t give the folks in Red another chance to run is into the ditch.”
  • It will be interesting to see how the Senate functions now that the Republicans no longer have Harry Reid to kick around. They were quite good at obstructing, but can they lead? We’ll soon find out.
  • If you want a sneak peak into how the Republicans might behave in Washington the next couple of years just take a look at how the NC Republicans have behaved the last couple of years. Fissures in the party, particularly between social and business conservatives, will likely reveal themselves at some point next year.
  • Last and biggest point – this election has only reinforced my belief that we truly could benefit from a legitimate third party in this country. By introducing a third major player to the political mix we’d finally have a mechanism to force our leaders into actual policy making. Why? Because if a third party has enough votes then either of the other parties has to negotiate with them to get anything done. You could argue that the same should happen in the two-party system, but as we’ve seen that’s not the case because the minority party can be intransigent since there’s no alternative for the majority, or the majority can steamroll the minority if they have the votes. With a third party the dynamic shifts; no party can take their position for granted and they are pretty much forced to negotiate to get their policies through.

Yep, I’m still a pie-eyed optimist.

Wanna Know the Facts? Ask an Independent

One of those polls that show exactly how uninformed we are has hit the newswires.  It reaffirms, once again, that the average adult in the United States has no idea what's going on in the world unless it appeared on Oprah or Entertainment Tonight. Normally I'd have ignored it but then I saw the graphic titled "Party Identification and News Awareness" that shows the breakdown by political party of what percentage of respondents answered each question correctly.  What it shows is that if you want to know what's going on in the world your best bet is to ask an independent since they were right more often in nine out of eleven categories. (h/t to John Robinson for the pointer to the poll)

Not Your Daddy’s RNC, or Maybe It Is

I've never registered with a political party.  My brother once said it was because I've never taken a hard stand on anything (of course I disagree), but it's really because I can find enough distasteful about any political party's platform that I don't want to be associated with it.  Besides, I vote for the individual, not the party, so my lack of party affiliation has never bothered me.  Once I read this piece on RNC chair Michael Steele's expense account I was reminded why I've stayed independent:

While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.

The RNC explains that Steele charters jets only when commercial service is unavailable, or when his tight schedule requires it. “Anytime the chairman has taken any private travel has been a either to a route that doesn’t exist or because of connections and multiple travel to where he just wasn’t able to do so,” Heye said. Yet Steele’s office repeatedly refused to explain in specific terms the circumstances of the February charter flights.

Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

RNC trips to other cities produced bills from a long list of chic and costly hotels such as the Venetian and the M Resort in Las Vegas, and the W (for a total of $19,443) in Washington. A midwinter trip to Hawaii cost the RNC $43,828, not including airfare.