Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Theme: 2012 Presidential Election

  • American political narratives failed this election. It seems the political media was befuddled as sayers and intelligentsia failed to provide wise counsel (save Nate Silver’s 538). Yet not just ‘they’ it’s ‘we’ machine users, participating in this representation process and sharing in derision. How to read what was immediately identified as republican “alternate universes,” is this not a bipartisan problem? A fate identified for the moment by a peculiar media “dominance” that far right ideology over party machinery followed by post-election threats of ceding from the Union.Read more
  • It is tempting now that the election returns are in for us to want to plow forward and forget the spectacular silliness we just traversed. But before we move on, it is critical that we call out those who had predicted a huge Romney victory, among them Dick Morris, Michael Barone, and Karl Rove.Read more
  • Save him … was the only thought occupying his mind as he rode in. “He is the last of the noblemen, even if he doesn’t quite seem to know it himself these days.” “If he doesn’t know it, can he be all that noble?” replied the ass. “Surely nobility would imply that you know what you were doing!”Read more
  • The Washington Post ran the recent headline “Polls show widening racial gap in presidential contest.” They were not alone, CBS News dug up Emit Till: “Will white men sink Obama?” Suggesting the emphasis on women “swing voters” has been a miscalculation for the Obama campaign.Read more
  • President Obama has been given a new life line. Forced to take politics out of his campaign, he can take a break from defending his record for two days. When an incumbent president is forced by emergency events to stop talking politics, he always enjoys the glow emanating from the Oval Office.Read more
  • Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night's debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn't, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama "won" the debate, but it will have minimal impact on altering the fundamental dynamics of the race.Read more
  • The second presidential debate tells us about the candidates' readings of their own campaigns. Both Romney and Obama were fighting for air time, trying to break out of the impasse of "he-said-she-said." Read more
  • Paul Ryan did a good job at the vice-presidential debate; but Joe Biden did a little better. Biden came off condescending in the initial part of the debate with his laughter, but he mellowed out toward the end. He was aided in part by the fact that Martha Raddatz, the moderator, was somewhat tougher on Ryan than on Biden.Read more
  • A close friend asked “does anyone actually pay attention to these debates?” Consoling, indeed. The forming consensus is that President Obama lost the first of three debates to Former Governor Romney. In fact, some polls indicate a wipe-out. Obama looked like he had ring rust, often looked down and flashed an occasional, grand smile.Read more
  • President Obama had a bad night. The key to succeeding in a presidential debate is recognizing that it is not a parliamentary debate. The rules, the moderator, and even the immediate audience (since they are not permitted to applaud) do not matter. Instead, candidates should bare their souls to the camera lenses. There, magic is made.Read more
  • The Democrats are enjoying a little bump from their convention last week, but it had little to do with Barack Obama, and a lot to do with Bill Clinton. The reason why Clinton's speech worked was because he was specifically charged to address the substance of his speech to independents and older white males.Read more
  • Not long after Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan was announced as the Republican nominee for Vice President, a text message came in from a friend, a native New Yorker recently transplanted to somewhere in the rest of the world: “Wisconsin,” it read, “stop shitting all over America.” At the time I was in a bar in Western Massachusetts that I'd entered using my California driver's license, but my pride was wounded all the same. Read more
  • A little more than four years ago, the phrase heard throughout the world was the catchy “Yes, we can.” A rallying cry of the best sort—devoid of any referentiality—“Yes we can” could refer to both anything and nothing at the same time. Not as if catachrestic metaphors ever got in the way of political campaigns. In fact, one might argue that coupled with the fact that it was uttered by a charming, charismatic, person, this was rhetoric at its best.Read more
  • I admit a smile crossed my face when I read Breitbart was rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and pronounced dead. Not because his children would lose a father, nor his wife a husband. Rather that the iconoclastic boy-warrior was welcomed into eternity in no other place than St. Reagan’s hospital.Read more
  • Sure, there’s the GOP symbol, but the real elephant in the room at any of the Republican debates since December has been the super PAC, the turbocharged political action committee able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political ads — as long as that spending isn’t coordinated with a particular campaign.Read more
  • What the republican candidatura conceals in its paradoxical movement is the questionable duration of the American State. This question is concealed by the incessant focus on the figure of the executive. Political cult is powered by the increasing exhibition of language. In language, the gestation of political figures takes form.Read more
  • Mitt Romney wants you to know how much he loves the private sector. At the Tea Party Republican Debate hosted by CNN in Florida in September, Romney used his opening statement to tell America, “I spent my life in the private sector”—a point he reiterated repeatedly for anyone who’d missed it, or tuned in late.Read more
  • The 2010 election galvanized the GOP. The party won seven new places in the Senate, as many new governorships, and took the seats of 720 Democrats in state legislatures, giving it complete control in twenty-nine states. Read more
  • As the race for the Republican nomination warms up, it is too early to tell who would head the party's ticket next Fall. But there is more to understanding politics than predicting the horse racesRead more
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