Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It's The Congress, Stupid

Nearly hysterical hyper-spin is swamping cable 'news' and radio talk and the online world too with just weeks to go before election day in the Presidential race. Parsing every wrinkle and wink on the Left and the Right is a powerful vehicle to draw viewers and listeners who've been attuned to political shifts. Every syllable spoken gets special attention - but does any of this hold any real value?

The rocking and reeling is nicely captured by writer Ed Kilgore at The Washington Monthly:

"I’m about to throw up my hands and stop boring readers with too many objections to the extraordinary level of belief among conservatives this year that spinning Romney as ahead is itself a vastly important political asset. At the elite, chattering-class level, conservatives are, after all, in the habit of thinking of themselves as “winners” in life, and of Democrats as a vast coalition of “losers.” This is why so many of them are bullies by nature, and can’t really accept defeat in any legitimately framed competition. They are The Elect, and Elections should reflect that fact, right? 

"So it will be difficult some days to cut through the din of perpetually renewed lusty conservative cries that the Black Devil-Man in Washington is on the run, and to avoid the temptation to spin right back just to annoy the wingnuts. But I am going to try, and best I can tell, the presidential race is what it always was—a close contest that could go either way—but with the fundamentals now favoring Obama to the point where it will take more than endless and interminable and often silly hype (I’m going to scream if I hear one more reference to “energy levels”) over one debate to change the outcome."

Much of cable and radio and online presentations depend on one thing: Simplification. So, rather than dig into the harsh reality that Congress is grimly locked up on most every bill they've faced in the last few years, driven by the hardline push from the Right to stall, block and prevent any legislation proposed by the President. Rather than challenge these tactics, media and spinners simplify to one claim: the President is to blame.

But the truth is Congress handles the bills and legislation and the political actions or inactions of the nation. And when investigated, the numbers show that Congressional approval has been at historic lows for the last few years. Plus, all 453 Congressional seats have undergone redistricting since the 2010 census, certain to affect how votes fall out. The Gallup organization notes:

"... all U.S. House seats and roughly one-third of U.S. Senate seats will be decided in the elections. Though overshadowed by the presidential race, the results of the congressional elections will have a major effect on the way the country is governed over the next two years ...

"Given Congress' near-record-low job approval ratings [10 to 13 percent], voters may continue to take out their frustrations on members of the institution, which has resulted in considerable turnover in congressional membership or party composition in each of the last three election years."

That battle is the REAL political battle today.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Marching Band Creates Video Games

This past weekend, the Ohio State University Marching Band showed off their video game knowledge. 

Next week, they'll salute funny cat videos from YouTube.