Monday, May 08, 2006

Polled and Appalled

If we were to place end to end all the main political scandals termed "gates", we'd already have an expanse vast enough to blockade the southwest border. The one difference between now and say the political world of the mid-1800s until Watergate, the press just used the word scandal, leaving the phrase "teapot dome" for a footnote in history.

Far too often when I watch speeches via C-Span or on the Talking Head Sunday Morning/Cable News'orama/Blog'oblather, what I hear is "those dang Democrats" or "those dang Republicans", which in reality translates to childish sniping. No resolutions occur, or at best corporations and lobbyists create policies that serve their interests and public interest is not a concern. Watching and reading the recent "debates" about U.S. Energy Policies, oil companies and automakers, it's like watching reruns of the mid 1970s. (Or maybe the faux newsreel at the beginning of "Road Warrior"

An April report from The Pew Research Center notes that while the public opinion of the President continues to plummet, the public has an even lower opinion of our Congress. As an independent, I still wait for the voters (who continue to participate in lower and lower numbers) devise a way out of the empty system of either one party or another. The best measure of that mood tends in recent history to appear as an "Anti-Incumbent Mood" which does zero to find resolution to a multitude of issues.

Newscoma posted recently about the problems of the no-show voters. I have no answers to that issue.

However, the Pew study did offer an interesting snapshot of the words people associate with each party, as shown in this graph. Please note that the numbers next to the words indicate the number of people who selected those words and are not percentages, though they well could be.

As always, the best advice I can offer those who seek answers, seek them outside the realm of politics and seek them within what you can do.


  1. A good way to deal with no-show voters might be to offer them up a candidate worth voting for. I'm just saying.

  2. At this point I'm starting to think we should convert to what I call the phone book/jury pool form of selecting officials. People are selected at random to fill every elected and appointed office at the local, state and federal levels and must serve one but not more than two terms in any office.

    If we're going to have rampant incompetence and graft, then let everyone have some.

    I'm certainly open to the notion of good candidates, but with state and federal offices requiring millions in spending and advertising, our "citizen-led" form of government is limited to a handful of citizens.

    And I have witnessed some pretty good leadership in some offices, but it almost always occurs when that official takes actions aimed at resolving issues rather then slinging party rhetoric.

  3. Joe, Jeebus. I've been asked to run for alderman again.
    Heeeelp. Will I become part of the system if I do it? Will I get a lot of free food? Will I become corrupt with power when people call me about dogs barking in their neighborhoods?
    I'm actually not kidding and I'm wigging out. Any assistance will be helpful.


    Your point about the high cost (financially, and otherwise, too) of running for public office is spot on, Joe. Until the electorate demands real campaign finance reform and equal air time for all candidates, the pool of candidates will remain small, wealthy, and mostly white.

    How do we get out the vote? How do we get people to give a shit? Cutting the rhetoric is a good place to start. Some straight talk might help, and I don't mean the faux Average Joe America, I can't pronounce the word nuclear correctly "straight talk" we get fom Bushy, I mean "Bullworth" type straight talk. Fat chance, though.

    My head hurts now.

  5. Well Newscoma, it's good to hear that there are folks who think you could do good work in government.

    However, my first question for you would be - where can you provide the most effective and vocal leadership? As editor of the local news, informing the public about issues or as an elected official?

    One thing I've noticed about taking office - you need a strong coalition of support both within government and business to engage in effective debate and enact lasting changes. Otherwise, even the best ideas seldom seem see the light of day.

  6. In the county I'm in, the owner of my competition is the city attorney for my town. I used to work for him and he is a hell of a guy, but ... YOu get the picture.
    I think maybe that being the guy who sits on the sidelines might be the best way to enact change instead of becoming part of the system.
    However, it's funny to see people running around with the buzz. Ironically, I have said nothing except to you on the blogosphere.
    I'm just letting people talk, but I can't help but think it would be a conflict of interest.
    Can't believe the money committed though. Sorta surreal.
    I think I'm going to ask everyone who has offered me donations to give a bit of their cash to a local domestic violence program and the local community action agency.
    What do you think, oh wonder twin? Where is Tits when you need her?

  7. I ask that last question sooooo much.

  8. Aw...

    Here I am! There's plenty of Tits to go around.

    Okay, here's what I think: if it's a conflict of interest, it's a conflict of interest. Are you willing to quit your job for this? As Joe asked, where can you most effectively provide leadership?

    The question of whether change can best be brought about from the inside or from the sidelines is one I contemplate often - should I teach in the public schools and make a difference one student at a time, should I go to grad school and become a school administrator, or should I buck the system completely and teach in a private school, where I can design my own curriculum and start working on the textbook I want to write, which would then hopefully be used in the public schools?


    When you guys figure out the answer, let me know.

  9. Well, Tits, working in public schools sure seems like a huge effort for opening one mind at a time. Tough, thankless.
    And school administrators - whew, I know every district needs some good people in there to offset the horrible ones.
    Private school - my brother teaches in one, has been there for many years and has accomplished quite a bit and affected hundreds of students, many faulty and admin folks as well. It's an expensive school, but those students are some of the smartest I've ever seen.

    So, nothing really figured out I suppose. Those in public school have my sympathies.