Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conciliatory republicans

Over the last week, I've been hearing a lot of strangely conciliatory sounding words from the right, like "Hey it was a hard election, but your guy won, congrats". I have to say these leave me strangely cold. As if the blasts of hell hadn't been coming from that direction since about 1986, and especially the last 8 years, and especially in this election. So what's the reason for all this bonhomie?
  • They're scared we'll do to them what they did to us. Personally, I'm ready for our 30 years of dominating the national discourse to the point that even the other side has to pretend they're us in order to get elected, then we dump on them.
  • They're thinking, this is the only way to have any influence now. Yes it feels a little funny to suddenly be part of the ruling class for a change.
  • They know the fairness doctrine is coming back, and they want to put it off as long as possible. In listening to right wing talk radio, I have heard them talking about the injustice, and inevitability of the return of the fairness doctrine. We can't disappoint them now can we?
  • It's temporary. Oh, yes. The floodgates of hell will re-open soon.
On the other side of the equation, on the left everyone is abuzz with all the things Obama must do in his first 100 days. Look below, I even pre-emptively made my own list. (#1: Election reform!). Immigration reform, ending the war in Iraq, tax reform, saving the economy, the list goes on and on and on. On the one hand he has promised he can do more than one thing at once, and I'll bet he can. On the other hand, some people are gonna be mighty disappointed in him in a year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Now the #1 reason why I write this blog: So I can get stuff off my chest and go to sleep:
  1. Are the culture wars over for now?
  2. Can Republicans admit the legitimacy of a democratic president?
  3. Can the GOP operate as a respectful minority party?
  4. Will they give Obama the room to govern, now that he has a clear mandate from the people of the United States?
The next set of things to worry about. But you know -- they somehow aren't that troubling. I predict Barack Obama will be a much less irritating president to the Right than Bill Clinton was. The usual suspects will agitate, but not get much traction against him. Even more so than Ronald Reagan, who was a very controversial figure at times. I'll bet we're in for a very good eight years, a politically peaceful time. I hope I haven't jinxed it. Doesn't matter, nobody reads this blog anyway.

Good Night!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What is this election a referendum on anyway?

I've been listening to a lot of right-wing radio recently. Maybe it's just the long boring commutes or the fund-raising drives on my favorite lefty stations. (Question: Why do right wing stations never have to hold bake sales and such? They don't run much advertizing. Hmmmm. Can you say vast right-wing conspiracy? And Rush makes millions!). Anyway, Rushbo, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage, they're all beating the drum like crazy. It seems like all of America is bathed in these photons of electronic energy that say that a vote for Obama is a vote for socialism. And still Obama's poll numbers improve.

Is this telling us something?

Is Obama's election now a referendum on the idea of social democracy in America? What would that look like, anyway? In European social democracies, health care is cheap and afforadable for all. For the unemployed street person and the millionaire, and *especially* for the middle class breadwinner, it's something you take for granted is always there, like traffic lights, garbage pickup and the elementary school around the corner. Losing your job is not a nightmare of pre-existing conditions, or the loss of group health. The dreaded words co-pay, co-insurance and deductible are unknown. Though here's a neat trick: you save your claims up for a year, and if they're less than X dollars, you hold on to them and get a big refund. Otherwise you submit them and break even or are ahead.

And when I lived in Europe, the total cost of taxes plus health insureance was about the same as it is here. Live with it. It's nice.

Public universities (remember when UCLA in-state was free?). Public transportation -- I have the choice between a 2-hour round trip to my airport or a $140 shuttle. Wouldn't a $5.00 train be better? Like in civilized countries?

If this election is a referendum on social democracy, and Barack Obama wins it, can we actually start thinking about these things?

Just asking.