Gas Tax holiday= Band-Aid solution

Hillary Clinton and John McCain have announced that they both support a Gas Tax holiday over the summer in order to ease the pain of rising gas prices.

While some may say that this holiday is well-intentioned, I beg to differ. The proposition of lifting the Gas Tax would prove catastrophic for the 300,000 Americans who economists say would lose their jobs as a result. The intention is clearly to win votes at any cost. HRC is at the helm of a campaign that truly lives from primary to primary, and this new stunt is an obvious attempt to fight another day.

Ironic that HRC, the candidate who “fights” for the “little guy,” wants to implement a measure that would result in so many jobs being lost…

As for John McCain, his willingness to support a Gas Tax holiday only reaffirms his complete misunderstanding of the economy and of voters.

Both candidates advocate a short-sighted solution that will only serve as a Band-Aid for our wounded wallets. If America wants to stop paying so much for gas, then the government should invest in using alternative fuel sources, not in placating us by giving us an attractive sound byte to listen to.

This revelation by McCain and Clinton rests at the crux of our problems as a nation. Old-school politicians seek to placate the American people by offering them quick fixes for their problems that further their own political agenda rather than actually working to help the American people.

So thank you, John and Hillary, for letting us differentiate more easily between yourselves and Obama.

Instead of pseudo-republican/pseudo-democrat vs. democrat, we can see them as desperate panderers vs. the altruist. Obama proves again that his judgement trumps any experience the other candidates have.

Dear Santa: I’d like one stuffed elephant and one Hillary Clinton nomination. From: Karl Rove

Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarborough, and Karl Rove heart Hillary Clinton. Why do they heart Hillary? Because they know that she’s the easiest opposition candidate to beat. The fact that they incessantly praise her “fighter” attitude and cockroach-like resilience is an obvious attempt to get her nominated. Karl Rove is just waiting in the wings, rubbing his hands gleefully as she continues to look tougher than Obama and Obama plays the nice guy. Why? Because for everything Obama’s got going against him, Hillary’s got worse things against her.  And the GOP knows it.

Exhibit A: Lots of people hate the Clintons. Lots. They’ve managed to amass a veritable army of anti-Clintonites through the years, and the GOP is just waiting to exploit it. Republican and former Congressman Joe Scarborough says “I just love Hillary” and means “I just want John McCain to have a decent shot at winning this thing.”

Exhibit B: A list of the donors for HRC’s presidential campaign includes several questionable persons who were involved in the 1990’s Democratic Party fundraising scandal that tarnished her husband’s record. Marvin Rosen, the former Democratic National Committee finance chairman whose efforts to reward six-figure party donors with attendance at White House coffees and overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom became the focal point of Senate hearings into fundraising abuses… William Stuart Price, the Oklahoma oilman also on the list, shocked a courtroom in 1995 when he detailed how his former gas company had tried to “gain influence” with the Clinton administration by providing $160,000 in money and membership in a ritzy Washington golf club to the son of a Cabinet secretary. Price’s testimony became the focal point of a criminal investigation of Ron Brown, then commerce secretary and a former chairman of the Democratic Party. The inquiry ended with the conviction of Price’s former bosses, Nora and Gene Lum, for making illegal donations.

Exhibit C: Republican voters have cast an awful lot of ballots lately for Senator Hillary Clinton: About 100,000 GOP loyalists voted for her in Ohio, 119,000 in Texas, and about 38,000 in Mississippi, according to exit polls. Sudden need for the blue? Hardly. Since McCain became the obvious nominee, Republicans have begun participating in Democratic primaries specifically to vote for Clinton, a tactic that some voters and local Republican activists think will help their party in November. Egged on by conservative talk radio, GOP voters who say they would never back Clinton in a general election are voting for her now for strategic reasons: Some want to prolong her bitter nomination battle with Barack Obama, others believe she would be easier to beat than Obama in the fall, or they simply want to register objections to Obama. My own Republican ex-boyfriend was tempted to vote for her in Wisconsin for precisely those reasons.

In conclusion, don’t let the Republicans’ “respect” for Hillary fool you. If Karl Rove’s praising a Democrat, there’s something in it for him- and the GOP.

Calling out McCain

While the Democrats finish their ever-winding path to the Convention, I will take the opportunity to call out John McCain on his budget plan et al that he plans to enact as President.

John, I know you’re getting a free ride now, but don’t think that I don’t see what kind of crazy talk you’re propogating.

For those of you who don’t know, John McCain plans to borrow almost 2 trillion dollars, cut spending on frivolous things like medical research, and give 5 trillion dollars in tax cuts over eight years to the rich and to big corporations in an attempt to achieve a “trickle down” effect. While our rich and poor are more polarized than ever and as the middle class rapidly disintegrates, I don’t think giving the rich even more money and creating an even greater disparity between rich and poor will help. We need to fight for the middle class, and that is one fight in which John McCain can’t call himself a hero.

While the Democrats argue over whether or not Obama’s an America-hater (who, because he hates America so much, wants to be the President), or whether or not Hillary’s cold, hard ambition will force the hands of the Superdelegates, John McCain is advocating another four years of the Bush tax cuts. “President” Bush is the only president in America’s history to offer a tax cut during a war. Along with the trillions of dollars that McCain plans to spend, he plans on continuing to spend $12-$15 billion a month in the Iraq war. Where is the fiscal responsibility that we need in a President? My bet’s on the Democrats, but you’d never know for all the bickering they’re doing at the moment.

Little known by many is the fact that if we were to be attacked on our own soil, our troops are spread so thin already that we wouldn’t be able to effectively deal with it. The war in Afghanistan has been virtually ignored while we went gallivanting off to Baghdad and they don’t have enough troops to do the work that needs to be done there- the work that should have been done long ago. We still haven’t found Osama Bin Laden. We’re not safer than we were seven or eight years ago. What are we winning, then?

We’re not winning. Many a Republican has told me that there’s no way that we can possibly back out now, and that it’s just not going to happen.

Firstly, what kind of mindset is that? “Nothing will ever change” doesn’t ever facilitate positive change. Ever.

Secondly, the Democrats aren’t advocating a careless, immediate withdrawal of troops. They’re advocating a well-planned, strategic antiblunder that would bring the troops home over time. The Republicans love to caricature the Democrats as wimps who want to surrender just because most of the population is against the war. The thing is, it’s not a question of “winning” or “surrendering,” but a question of responsibility. Should we be responsible for the rebuilding of Iraq when their government is rolling in money and they seem completely unwilling to help themselves? No. Should we be fiscally responsible and not spend $12-$15 billion a month on a war that we won’t win? Yes. Should we allow the conservative tactic of dividing and polarizing us as a nation to make us bullheadedly continue this disgrace of a war? No.

John McCain and his pointless repetition of “we can’t just leave” complete the goal of dividing and polarizing us, because in reality, nobody is saying that we should “just leave.” I think, however, that we should “just be responsible” and get our collective intelligence back by ending the war. We are being hurt by this war in ways that he refuses to acknowledge. You’d think a war hero would understand the world a little better, just as you’d want a President who understands the economy. McCain is neither.

Published in: on April 25, 2008 at 5:54 pm  Comments (2)  
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Active involvement vs. cynical spectatorship

The good thing about this Democratic primary is that more people are starting to give a damn about what happens in politics. The downside is that a lot of people still don’t give enough of a damn to really research the candidates. In a Knowledge Networks recent poll of 1,844 adults, 15% think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. I googled “barack obama muslim” out of curiosity. Every single website on the first page (that’s the only one I looked at) disproved the rumor. In effect, it would only take a quick google search to learn that he is, in fact, not a Muslim. One would have to actually try to search for a website that says that he is a Muslim.

This brings me to my point, and that is that I’m tired of people telling me that they don’t really care about politics. People need to get informed! They need to do so by watching political news. Lots of political news. Why? Because the more you watch it, the less you’re at the mercy of the bias of reporters. If you watch the news enough to know the biases of the individual reporters, then you can mix all the information together, put it through a strainer, and be left with the truth. It’s the people who don’t watch/listen to/read political news who are at the mercy of the biases of the reporters. This is because they don’t know enough about their reporting style to be able to distinguish truth from elaboration or understatement.

In conclusion, people need to give even more of a damn about this election because it’s the one time in four years where the people have a say in politics. It’s not difficult to be informed. Political news is on in the morning, on CNN and MSNBC. It is on during the day. It is on at night. Articles can be easily accessed through use of Google and voters can look at campaign websites. You can read my blog and benefit from my (probably overly extensive) research. There is simply no excuse to be uninformed. Anyone who says that they “don’t have the time” is lying, because information can be learned in a matter of seconds. This election should matter enough that people spend some time each day making sure that they know what’s going on. It’s time for active involvement and an end to the cynical spectatorship that has long characterized the American people’s involvement in politics.

But you’re already reading this blog so as to be more informed, so give yourself a pat on the back. I’m ranting about all the Not-You’s in the world!

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 12:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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Rejecting AND denouncing AND disowning

The first section of last night’s democratic debate concentrated a huge amount of time on Obama’s relationships with various controversial figures, however flimsy. As a future politician, I now realize that I must completely distance myself from any controversial person that I have ever come into contact with, no matter how obscurely that contact occurred.

First, I’ll just acknowledge that, at one point, Adolf Hitler appeared in a movie that I watched during my eighth grade history class. I apologize for viewing that film, but would like to point out that my teacher didn’t forewarn us that Hitler would appear in that movie. If I had known, I would have walked out of the classroom.

Second, I heard a Norwegian joke once, and I did laugh at it. I laughed at it because I’m a Swede and laughing at Norwegian jokes comes with the territory. However, I now reject and denounce that joke and I completely disown the person who made that joke. No really, they tried to call me today, and I didn’t pick up the phone because it might ruin my future political career.

Third, I once dated a Republican. I assure you that the relationship is now over and that it will not happen again. The fact that I dated a Republican does not make me one, I can assure you.

So… I guess I’m set to go into politics.

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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The personification of hope

A month or two ago, as I was at Mock Trial State Championships in Springfield, IL. On a dreary Saturday afternoon my team and I went out to lunch at a restaurant called McCarthy’s. They have a few flat screen TV’s mounted on the walls near the bar, and one of them was turned to CNN. As the rest of my team gathered around our coaches and watched some sports game, I made my way over to the CNN TV. It must’ve been on mute, because no sound was coming out. However, Barack Obama was speaking. Though I couldn’t hear a word he said, I stood and watched. Obama’s charisma was visible even without words to convey it, and for some indefinable reason, I find watching him speak comforting.

As I stood there watching the silent TV in the otherwise empty part of the bar area, I saw an African-American man, probably in his early 30’s, sweeping the floor. I noticed that he kept looking up at the TV screen, and that he was likewise watching Obama speak. Gradually, he came closer to where I was standing, and for a moment, he stopped sweeping altogether to watch the silent screen. There we stood- a macchiato-sipping, white, female high school student and an African-American custodian in his 30’s. We stood together in silence and watched Obama speak.

Once Obama’s speech was finished and the screen showed a CNN news anchor instead, the man asked me, “Is there anything I can get you?” The spell had broken.

That moment reminds me of a conversation I later had with Senator Dick Durbin. He said that he has never seen a politician inspire people the way Barack Obama does.

In that moment, in that dark bar at McCarthy’s in Springfield, IL, I experienced that firsthand. The custodian and I were brought together for a brief moment in lives that would probably never again cross paths, yet that moment illustrates Obama’s effect on America. That effect is unification of people from all backgrounds, and it is an effect that we desperately need. Obama brings us back to what it truly means to be an American by bringing people back to the core values of our nation- the belief in the inherent goodness of man, the necessity of a government that truly represents the people, and the inalienable right of freedom.

I realize that hearing Obama’s words as he spoke wouldn’t have been necessary. His message of hope and unity was personified by we, his audience, and in that way he communicated on a level beyond words.

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 3:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hillary wants to be shepherdess- this “sheep” says no

Who is Hillary Clinton? Over the course of this election so far, we’ve seen Fighter Hillary, Soft Hillary, Sympathetic Hillary, Angry Hillary, SNL Hillary, Anti-NAFTA Hillary, Everywoman Hillary, Indiana Bar-Hopping Hillary, Bowling Hillary, Inevitable Candidacy Hillary, Underdog Hillary and Hillary the Comeback Kid.

Her most recent incarnation seems to be that of NRA Hillary as she reprimands Barack Obama’s comments that small-town Americans turn to religion and personal armament because of a lack of confidence in their government. HRC has called his comments “elitist and out of touch.”

This coming from the woman who made $109 million in the last few years and whose political career is the definition of elitist politics…

First of all, I know that Obama’s words were chosen poorly, but the meaning shouldn’t insult anyone. Then again, it probably did insult the same crowd whose opinion of him was influenced by his recent bowling mishap. However, with Hillary’s recent pro-gun-totin’ revelation, it should be noted that she thinks we’re idiots.

By “we” I mean everyday people, the non-politicians. If she honestly believes that, after everyone knows that she’s about as liberal as you can get, that suddenly she’s going to be believable as the 2nd amendment crusader, then she must think that we’re all sheep. Not only does she think that we’re sheep- she thinks that we’re sheep who will be swayed by every word she says. Everyone knows that Hillary is a Democrat with a capitalized, bolded, italicized “D.” She wants to be the shepherdess of the “sheep,” but this “sheep” says no, because her thinly-veiled attempt to look like the Everywoman makes her more elitist and out of touch than ever, and it does nothing to help the fact that more people have voted for Obama than either her or Senator McCain.

Published in: on April 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lessons from a fat chihuahua

Chihuahua and DemocratMy chihuahua’s name is Zuzu. Zuzu is fat. Zuzu is fat and happy.

I am about to begin an extremely extended metaphor- so bear with me!

My chihuahua is much like our nation at this point in time. The mind is concerned with instant gratification rather than long-term wellbeing (Yes, you, W!), the body is large and somewhat inactive (like our nation due to obesity and job loss) and the legs are tiny, skinny and shaky with the effort it takes to hold up the extra girth, much like the instability of our economy.

Continuing the metaphor, Zuzu, like our president, just takes a nap (metaphorically) in response to the Chinese government’s crackdown on peaceful Tibetan protesters. I mean, come ON, Zuzu! Start petitioning! Her inaction only enables their tyranny.

Maybe W. would care more about the Tibetans’ plight if there were oil in Tibet… Just as Zuzu would care more if she knew a biscuit was waiting for her there.

I should apologize to my little rolly-polly chihuahua for comparing her to our current government/the Bush administration. She’s probably an illegal immigrant, anyway, so she’s most likely a Democrat.

Published in: on April 12, 2008 at 6:43 pm  Comments (3)  

How to lose a Republican in 4 months

Surprisingly, I have dated a diehard Republican. He was so diehard, in fact, that his facebook profile once featured a Youtube video of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address. You may ask why I would date a Republican or vise versa, and I’ll tell you: It’s because he didn’t know I was a Democrat until three months of our relationship had passed.

The vicious cycle of self-denial began. I tried to mentally minimize my liberal-ness, an effort that only served to exacerbate the problem. I began fantasizing about expanding medicare just to spite him and his belief that the government shouldn’t guarantee its citizens healthcare. I began dreaming of guaranteeing impoverished American preschoolers breakfast so they could concentrate better in school and thereby have more social mobility, a dream that was doubly wonderful because I knew he would (drastically and irrationally, I might add), call me a socialist.

Then the inevitable came: I told him I was supporting Barack Obama for president. When he said to me that “his speeches are good, but there’s nothing behind them,” (I’m paraphrasing, but only a little), the discussions began. The discussions gave me immense satisfaction because they only reaffirmed to me that (this may sound redundant) I truly, truly believed in my beliefs. However, he began talking to me less and less frequently, and then changed his facebook relationship status to “single.” Not that he ever told me, but I know it’s because I disappointed him. I disappointed him because politics was the only thing we disagreed on.

One could look at this situation and go, “wow, if republicans and democrats can agree on everything except political party principles, then we’re not so different.” I like to think that the brief vignette I just described could send that message.

I think, however, that it also demonstrates that people should be more flexible with their beliefs. I am strongly liberal, but (let me just get this on the record before I undoubtedly do more Republican-bashing) I can understand the conservative viewpoint. I really can.

That is, if they can try to understand my viewpoint without disassociating themselves from me once they know where my political allegiances lie.

I think my ability to lose a Republican in 4 months by telling him that I’m a liberal illustrates how divided we are as a nation. This bitter partisanship is what keeps progress from occurring. I’m also not naive enough to think that the liberal way of doing things will always be the answer- I know that the pendulum will swing the other way, eventually. I would advocate understanding- not mere tolerance- to progress as a nation.

Published in: on April 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pant Suit vs. Skirt Suit

I do competitive Mock Trial (yes, capital letters), and I have never done a trial in a pant suit. I’m not saying that they’re bad, but I don’t think women should have to try and look like men. Some pant suits look nice, but if you only go to trial in a pant suit, I begin to think of Hillary Clinton, who emphasizes her “fighter,” “tough,” “I-wear-a-pant-suit-to-sleep” masculine side far more than her feminine side. HC is of a generation whose mothers had to fight for their rights, and so this spirit of being a “fighter” is what they view as feminism. I don’t think that feminism means rejecting all that is feminine, such as cooking or knitting. Instead, feminism means embracing the things that are feminine while also embracing the rights that we’ve won. Being tough and macho does not equal smart or serious in any way.

Published in: on April 11, 2008 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment