The Joe Cool Comeback Rally

Aquarian Weekly 2/2/11 REALITY CHECK

THE JOE COOL COMEBACK RALLY Inside Barack Obama’s State of the Union Call to Charm

We are poised for progress. -President Barack Obama 1/27/11

Listening to people who recently expanded the nation’s deficit by extending an unfunded tax law speak of deficits as the death of the human spirit and then applaud this nonsense giddily may be an abysmal way to spend a Tuesday night, but around here it’s go time. Around here, State of the Union addresses are required viewing, which is why it is far easier to stomach coming from someone of northern articulation than that of the smooth drawl of gooberism. Barack ObamaAlthough the illusions that somehow a post-Boomer progressive might throw off a few “legalize drugs” or “support gay marriage” promises or bag the useless bloat of Homeland Security and give up the ridiculous practice of Middle Eastern nation building have long been shattered, there remained a few interesting turns.

Shedding the non-interesting tones; that of the overtly Reaganesqe “Shining City on the Hill” Pollyanna – opportunity and creativity – or the JFK sing-song – sacrifice and co-operation, “America is not just a place on a map but a light to the world” – nestled boldly between the call to strengthen the nation’s standing in the global economy by not being “out-innovated, out-educated and out-built” lent an air of populism to the taken-to-the-woodshed lectern milieu.

Noting the more upbeat and even humorous if not glad-handing aspects of the interminably long address, the president of the United States took the opportunistic component of a State of the Union stage to reclaim his elected position as head honcho. Mere weeks after losing the House in a landslide, Barack Obama has found traction. First in his signing of the Bush Tax Cuts extension at the eleventh hour and then his rousing speech at the Tucson memorial services, both of which jacked his approval numbers to their highest in over a year, the president came across as cautiously confident.

The content, a laundry list of forward-thinking optimism – energy renewal, business ingenuity, workforce resourcefulness, private sector innovation and the always-gangbusting education – helped to ease down the medicine portion. Its most prescient moments replete with nods to a new generation of cyber jobs and international trade that likely scared the living shit out of the nearly ten percent of the country’s unemployed.

Again, none of this plowed any new field, with a few notable exceptions.

It is clear that the Democrats defeat in November has pushed the president further to the center with a sense that whatever had come in the previous two years would not do so with apology or reflection. Nowhere did Obama philosophically recall “mistakes” and postured “learned moments” that Bill Clinton offered in the wake of the Contract with America in early 1995. In fact, the president remained defiant against any talk of repealing his beloved Health Care Law, which was an easy victory lap considering the flaccid House-vote charade that preceded it. Nonetheless, there was conciliatory lip service paid to discretionary spending freezes and tough military jargon, and the key note to the recent campaign outrages; broader tax relief efforts for small business.

When the commander-in-chief says, “In South Korea, teachers are known as nation builders” it’s time for more crazy from Michele Bachmann.

An odd omission from the over one hour address was not even a puff of smoke blown towards gun control, specifically in the wake of the semi-automatic shooting of a congressperson on a street corner in broad daylight. And let’s face it; the Tucson/Gun Control connection is to liberalism what 9/11 was to neo-cons. It is the proverbial slam-dunk. Yet, not a peep. Its absence was as inauspicious as it was resounding.

And since the State of the Union is never a one-way affair, the Republican response by Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan may have been predictably terse as it was filled with doom and gloom, but paled in comparison to the creepy garbling coming from Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Much of the public-access-like production mocked verily in the press the following day was never the issue, but the mere fact that Bachman saw fit to speak at all on the part of a non-existent political entity, the apocryphal Tea Party, over and in some cases above the usually lone Republican rebuttal.

Bachmann is beginning to gain a fan base here. After nearly two hours of intellectual and ideological speechifying, a little crazy is applauded. She is a nut, but a nut with true grit. And there is always a place for crazy when we’re pushing midnight.

Still, this time around the State of the Union held a higher political order. This has been a rough twelve months for the president. But in defeat, he has registered a certified victory, an almost elegant backslap, unfurling a humbled exterior that was absent in his first two years in office. The Republicans are to thank for that. And when they abandon their principles to raise the debt ceiling in the months ahead, as the Democrats did in 2007 by funding a war they ran to halt, the chief officer of the republic will look ever more presidential.

Because somewhere along the line, the State of the Union address has become a television affair, this tribal media junket to retool agendas and sell weird theologies, just as party conventions have become hoorah showpieces to posture and pander. A call to arms, as much as this one pained to achieve, it was not. Not unlike the speaker of the House of Representatives posing as a marauder at the barricades on CNN the following evening to discuss the “broken congress”, when he has been a key member for sixteen years.

It is an act. Tired and pathetic, but nonetheless an act, which incidentally, painting education and career choices as a patriotic duty is as moronically passé as comparing Soviet space dominance to expanding broadband to the outskirts of Iowa.

When the commander-in-chief says, “In South Korea, teachers are known as nation builders” it’s time for more crazy from Michele Bachmann.

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Echoes of Tucson

Aquarian Weekly 1/19/11 REALITY CHECK

THE ECHOES OF TUCSON IN THE UNITED STATES OF FANTASYLAND

The “what should be” never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no “what should be”, there is only what is. -Lenny Bruce

The Great American Experiment plods along, wounded again as it has and always will be by those whose sense of freedom goes beyond rational boundaries — beyond rhetoric or artistic expression or dissent — into the well-worn satchel of destruction. Our list of carnage is long and painful and following each is a backlash of panicked reasoning when in reality, as stated here over the past years, whether Gabrielle GiffordsColumbine or Oklahoma City or 9/11 or Virginia Tech or Fort Hood, it is merely a burp in the system. Now it’s Tucson. And despite the obvious fact we have another lunatic with a cache of weaponry firing indiscriminately at strangers in a crowd, there is a rush to find societal fault, bad wiring in the machinery, motivations and inspirations in politics, media, art forms. Hardly. It is once again the terrible price paid for a free society, one that we all ultimately choose to live within. Although precarious and predatory, it is theoretically free, and with it comes dangers. Many dangers

The only issue, as with the above incidents mentioned and the hundreds more before them, is the continued bad policy of assuaging grief by attempting to sanitize the results of what a free society may engender; greed, bigotry, irrational hatred, unchecked vanity cultural and economic envy, and my favorite, stupidity. All part of the human psyche allowed to roam relatively free within the parameters arbitrarily erected by elected officials, who most times create unjust laws or make the repeated mistake to place singular blame of human frailty on a word, a drug, a gun, a song, a cultural movement, a political statement or a religious belief.

Jared Loughner no more killed those people because of a toxic political environment or pseudo-macho imagery from the Sarah Palin web site than those who tried to build a Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan was a direct offshoot or commentary on the horrors of 9/11. This is the way some people see it, or for the purposes of their belief system, may want it, but the reality of which does not exist. It only does so in their heads; the contents of which should never cause a restructure of our basic freedoms; to express individual thought, creativity, sexuality, personal faith, sensibilities, etc.

Long before there was a Reality Check New & Information Desk, the results of which are more or less unfurled here weekly, there has been the constant battle to understand why it becomes so easy for humans to deny the realities of their baser instincts in the veiled attempt to fashion in its place a more palatable fantasy. It is as if there is a rush to accept this universal illusion perpetuated to better ignore Lenny Bruce’s “what is” with a juvenile grab bag of “what should be”.

Forget about rolling the subject all the way back to the first book of the Bible, in which the authors dealt with the fundamental fear in humanity to endure the unfathomable irrationality of nature; the slithering snake in the perfect garden, the eternal sense of security shattered by the primal heart of darkness, and all that crap. Let’s merely delve into the past week, where predating the tragedy in Tucson, three particularly interesting incidents of “what should be” spat defiantly in the eye of “what is”.

Jared Loughner no more killed those people because of a toxic political environment or pseudo-macho imagery from the Sarah Palin web site than those who tried to build a Muslim Cultural Center in lower Manhattan was a direct offshoot or commentary on the horrors of 9/11.

Within days of each other there was the incredible story that NewSouth publishers would be releasing a sanitized version of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the rather auspicious reading aloud of the U.S. Constitution by the newly minted congress, and the insane faux celebrity of a homeless drunkard as some queer form of societal reclamation.

Firstly, NewSouth would literally be rewriting arguably the American literary masterpiece by this nation’s most original and rightfully lauded author. For whatever “what should be” reasons that would either send Mr. Clemens’ ghost writhing in abject rage or rolling about in unfettered laughter, it was apparently more important to cleanse the scarred era of slavery from the American psyche and ignore a pejorative invective to supplicate modern sensibilities.

It is bullshit, plain and simple. Beyond the gall one would have to dare manipulate the manuscript of a master so frivolously is enough of a resounding argument against this atrocity, but to easily overlook Twain’s brilliant satire on the casual dehumanization of a race long before the Emancipation Proclamation could be realized is tantamount to hallucination. There were actual news stories on how many times the offending word was used in the book as if this were some kind of litmus to its existence. A more damaging constraint on intellectual artillery against the evils of society is hard to imagine.

On the same day this idiocy was revealed, the 112th congress thought it cute to underline its objective in holding its governing standards on the priority of the Constitution by having its members each read aloud a portion of it, but thought it prudent to gloss over the flawed tenets on which this nation was founded; as in accepting certain humans as a fraction of their existence. It was also decided that the “what is” of women being denied the right to vote and the outlawing of liquor be expunged from the record, as if these never happened.

A day or so within these two pathetic attempts at trying to deny reality with heavy doses of “what should be”, a poor soul was filmed by a local television station in Ohio and splashed all over the Internet. The ensuing blitz of compassion cum media frenzy had the quite suddenly famous golden-voiced Ted Williams, sporting a rap sheet a mile long and a parade of children apparently unwilling to shelter, spiraling into the kind of oblivion that put him back in the place he had already ended up. Williams is the poster boy for “what should be”, given a host of voice-over gigs within hours of his appearance on the Today Show, and the obligatory skeletons beginning to paint the actual story of half-mad indigent whose cuddly exterior hardly fit with the grim reality of his crime-riddled drug addicted past.

And so a few days later, we had Jared Loughner firing weapons into a crowd at a political event and the chimes of backlash began to ring in the direction of the harsh rhetoric of a recent Right Wing political movement, sometimes stupidly referred to as “a revolution” and painted with the broad brush of fist-pumping, gun-toting oratory. Ironically, much of the same people who were quick to target one ideology as a direct result of irreparable damage were then accused of inspiring another. So, maybe it is fitting they were forced to answer for it, but it doesn’t make it “what is”, only a flimsy helping of the bitter end of “what should be”.

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Congress Circa 112

Aquarian Weekly 1/12/11 REALITY CHECK

CONGRESS CIRCA 112

The business of America is business. -Calvin Coolidge

The 30th president of the United States was a horrible jackass with an incurable rash of brain warts and a queer brand of constructionist that ran a counterbalance to all known modes of reasoning. Calvin Coolidge was simply the worst Republican politician of the 20th century whose name was not Richard Milhouse Nixon. His ideas were roundly debunked within minutes of his injurious attempt at governance, the gory results of which fueled the greatest meltdown in modern capitalism. 112 CongressThis brought about a bastardized gargantuan liberal dream for the better part of a quarter century, also debunked as severe a suicidal fiasco as could possibly be fashioned by a modern soul not named Karl Marx. Only the third worst Republican president of the American Century could renew FDR’s New Deal spirit, in one G.W. Bush, who’s bungled two-term disaster put Barack Hussein Obama in the Oval Office and, with the eager assistance of a predominantly Democratic legislature, monitored the tripling of the national debt.

And so here come the denizens of Coolidge’s rancid dung heap; the corporate lackeys and scourge of the union thugs, the anti-environment, deregulation fanatical New Republicans, whose proposed mission is to “fix broken government” by dismantling its unchecked gluttony.

Of course this only happens on talk radio and Ayn Rand books, but in this government, the one the 112th congress and its hordes of freshmen enter with heads held high, it will be business as usual. Business being the operative word, since this will be the Business Congress or as it will be known for a short time before The System bogs down their lofty rhetoric and even loftier ambitions, The Laissez-faire Marauders.

Yes, but that will die as quickly a death as did the anti-war fervor that ushered in the 110th congress, which collectively talked trash about ceasing the two unfunded, ill-conceived, unwarranted foreign occupations, only to slink away four years later with both still raging and only a heap of dubious domestic spending to show for it. Neo-conservatism was out in ’06, broke and embarrassed under a siege of misappropriations, absent funds and scores of dead Americans for what was beginning to appear as a red herring, this strange and terrible ruse perpetuated on an angered and sandbagged public. Now it is half-baked liberal hubris sent packing under the guise of fiscal revolution and power to the people. Its architects run out of the capitol on a rail as their president’s approval numbers climb on the wings of a debt bloating extended tax cut.

The 110th congress galloped in high on the horse of transparency in government and a halt to the heaps of illegal shenanigans that doomed their previous Republican cohorts, only to engage in backroom dealings and rule-bending partisanship and whatever insane shit Charlie Rangel pulled. But now the 112th is here to “triumphantly return to open rules”, akin to the Bush Era being a new time for clean and respectable government after the nasty Clinton besmirching of the office, only to be awash in a parade of scandals from Scooter Libby to the unprecedented political house-cleaning of U.S. Attorneys.

If I were John Boehner, I too would be openly weeping.

The great Hunter S. Thompson once told me that there is only so much shit people will eat, but I disagree. I think a healthy gorging of dung is what makes penning this column each week so satisfying. Hell, it keeps us voting. Most importantly, it keeps the illusion of democracy alive and well in this the Chinese Century.

The last congress put the kibosh on Hope & Change, much as this one will be pissing on the TEA Party mirage, when “the will of the people” will be best served as hollow voices for another attempt at raping the business landscape with guiltless banshees masquerading as free market saints. Reminiscent of the gutted Fanny & Freddie bottomless pits which held the state’s manipulation of the market hostage, coupled with faceless bank gamblers who sold crap bonds for sure things and then bet against the house.

It is time to roll again, a Wild West show worthy of the last Wild West show and the one before that, more watered down free market malarkey prefabricated by The Gipper and the self-mutilating Contract With America.

Thirty-three hours into the New Guys came an immediate backtrack on the latest Pledge to America. Cutting $100 billion of government spending in the first year now becomes a “hypothetical cut”. Cut-As-You-Go bill proposals allowing for only budget slicing initiatives goes bye-bye with the showy House vote to repeal the Health Care Law, which according to the Congressional Budget Office would add $230 billion to the current national debt. And then there’s the all bills must have a clause in the U.S. Constitution giving it absolute authority scheme. However, of the initial three initiatives proposed by the 112th — cut the congressional budget, repeal the health care bill, and instruct House committees to present new health care legislation — none carry the aforementioned citation.

If I were John Boehner, I too would be openly weeping.

But who really thought any of this would change a thing? The closest this space came to buying any portion of this falderal was in 2008, when a new generation was supposed to carve out a true “progressive” approach to governing. Instead it was more goofy old-world big government kowtowing to party politics and then finger-pointing windbag gobbledygook draped in a “what’s good for us” palaver. It was wrong and defeatist and put the very notion of change on hiatus when the entirety of a Carter/Clinton redux marched into the president’s cabinet, not to mention tax frauds and hedge fund cheats in top finance positions, the whole shebang put on effective flat line notice today when William M. Daley (a fucking Chicago Daley of the Son of “beat on the hippies” Daleys) was named chief of staff, replacing the previous Chitown party-entrenched troll.

Anyone who has the balls to label yours truly a cynic after this recidivist crap needs to rub the fairy dust and red white & blue gook from their peepers and salute your commemorative Ollie North plate.

Happy New Year, indeed.

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Citizen Health Care

Aquarian Weekly 12/29/10 REALITY CHECK

CITIZEN HEALTH CARE

Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. – Henry E. Hudson of the Federal District Court in Richmond, Virginia 12/13/10

The new year will begin for the federal government in the courts, where the Health Care Law, derisively dubbed Obamacare, will be deconstructed and hammered about, as it should be. The most sweeping piece of federal legislation in half a century will go the way of Social Security and the Civil Rights Act, both boldly and unabashedly unconstitutional, and both challenged vehemently through the court system. Washington & Whiskey RebellionIt is the way of the Patriot Act, also ridiculously unconstitutional, details of which were roundly defeated in every court it entered for close to a decade now. This is precisely why when many readers of this space accused me of not being more outraged in print over its passing, I continued to retort, as I have when discussing the Health Care Law, that if it is truly illegal, then someone somewhere will take it the judicial route and curtail the madness.

Ending the madness, historically speaking, is a tougher chore.

The federal government, as any entity, whether structured by humans or selected by nature, is to expand its power, even as it is checked and balanced and corralled by federalist parameters. Since the time of the Whiskey Rebellion during George Washington’s initial foray into the presidency to John Adams’ Alien Sedition Act, followed by the expansion of powers under Andrew Jackson and through Abe Lincoln’s Marshall Law, including decades of illegal conscription acts forcing young men to die against their will for the state, the New Deal, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Watergate and Iran-Contra, and now Obamacare, this is business as usual.

Ironically, this time it is a spate of Republican support to use the “evil activist judicial system” as a tool to repeal Obama’s greatest political triumph. Both Judge Hudson and Virginia’s attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II (joining a predictable 19 of 20 attorneys general) are Republican. A more political uprising there couldn’t be, but it does not mean the motivation to challenge the law or the subsequent ruling is wrong. It is not.

Of course forcing citizens to buy something is unconstitutional, even under the aforementioned Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, giving congress all kinds of insane power to tax and shift infrastructure and kick you out of your home if a highway works better there. This was the conservative, libertarian and wholly out-of-step argument against forcing private business to serve minorities under the Civil Rights Act and mostly each step of the income tax boondoggle that has grown exponentially.

Hell, I have long argued that forcing drivers to purchase insurance in order to drive or even demand they be licensed is unconstitutional, as is setting speed limits and safety standards like seatbelts. These are complete and indisputable infringements on the freedoms to access a way of travel. The flimsy argument against mine is that no one needs to drive an automobile and that it is a privilege not a right. This is true, as it is something of a public service to keep the uninsured from running amok, causing those legally insured from having to monetarily rectify a situation born of “choice”. Someone may rightfully choose not to be insured, but what does the state do when that individual comes in direct contact with those who are responsibly insured?

The state, I maintain, should back off. Let us handle it. Free market.

I have always believed much like other frontiersman that it is every sucker for himself. Period. This is freedom. Screw safety, regulation and goddamn commerce. Screw your neighbor and fuck unjust laws. Freedom.

I have always believed much like other frontiersman that it is every sucker for himself. Period. This is freedom. Screw safety, regulation and goddamn commerce. Screw your neighbor and fuck unjust laws. Freedom.

‘Tis the season, after all.

Shit, never mind mere whiny modes of “public service”, matters of “health” have slowly but surely crept into the over-regulatory, behavioral arena for years now, from tobacco to alcohol taxes. Moreover, overreaching regulations on where one can imbibe to how much one can imbibe and what one can do when imbibing, which also runs into the questionably constitutional area of who the hell decides what is enough imbibing before operating an automobile. I can attest that tolerance is not a generality, but is treated as such. Or as I once soberly told a judge in a potential DWI jury duty jag I was summons to attend, I am a remarkably better and safer driver soused than jacked up on stress and caffeine while trying to juggle the morning paper, flip radio knobs and a operating a cell phone.

Why should the state or the government decide how much alcohol I can consume and not be able to operate a vehicle? It is specious and arbitrary and blatantly unconstitutional.

At least the Health Care Law, along with the other outlandishly restrictive laws dreamed up by congress over the decades, was debated, voted on and vetted through the press. The difference, if appears, that in the cases of The New Deal or Civil Rights there was a groundswell of public support, wherein hardly 40 percent of the electorate wanted anything to do with national health care. A good deal of those people drive drunk. Some are driving drunk right now.

‘Tis the season, after all.

How about when un-elected officials in say the FCC decide what music, television or art is considered indecent. Decency laws are always bullshit, like drug laws, whether marijuana or steroids, which were demonized by lobbies and later ignored by scientific fact and drawn into more unjust laws.

So good luck to the Common Wealth of Virginia and the harangue of politics, for most laws are unconstitutional; whether state or federal, fiduciary or moral.

Everyone for themselves.

‘Tis the season, after all.

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The Politics Of The Tax Cut

Aquarian Weekly 12/8/10 REALITY CHECK

THE POLITICS OF THE TAX CUT

The current posturing in Washington D.C. over the expiration of the “Bush Tax Cuts” is predictably reminiscent of what occurs when…well, you fill in the blank. Mitch McConnelThis latest lame duck congress has one option, extend the cuts, all the cuts, period. The time for discussing options has passed. Politically, it has been run out of town on the proverbial rail. The Democrats have nothing further relevant to add in the matter. That ship sailed with the Recovery Act and the Health Care bill. These moves were costly and created a vacuum for the opposition to piggyback the oldest protest in the books; taxation. Therefore, any further blather about whether this government will allow the entire shebang to go down is off the table.

Also off the table is the yammering about the national debt or the massive U.S. deficit. These are buzz words for campaign ads and canned speeches. No one, and we mean no one has the balls in this woeful economy to begin tightening strings and begging national sacrifice. It is as doomed a plan as it was when poor Jimmy Carter hatched it and any such notion would likely swing the electorate back to the president come 2012.

Debt mongering is suicide for the burgeoning Republican movement, which is half fabricated and a third hocus-pocus anyway. Republicans will have their own internal struggles come the inevitably necessary but ideologically embarrassing raising of the debt ceiling around springtime. That is when we’ll learn all we need to know about the smoke and mirrors TEA Party movement, which by all accounts was really something Dick Army and FOXNEWS dreamed up.

Now, lets deal in realities, albeit, limited realities.

The president and his recently eviscerated party has proposed raising the limit on whom would receive the benefits of a nada increase, from the originally proposed $250,000 a year to $1 million. Let that read from the merely affluent to the outright wealthy. It should be noted that the arbitrary $1 million mark ignores an interesting nugget; if one takes into to consideration the normal standard or living increases, $250,000 becomes over $350,000, and yet no one addresses this.

Erroneously repeated information is an American tradition. Just as we wink-wink still celebrate (and teach in schools by the way) Columbus, who actually crash landed in what is now the Bahamas, as some sort of discoverer of North America when the Vikings beat him by 400 years. The political voices keep repeating $250,000! $250.000! as if it’s real. Anyone taking two seconds to check what the standard of living was in 1993 when the pre-Bush, Clinton tax code was in effect would rightly translate it to the aforementioned $350.000.

But what do you expect from people who vote for and against a bill they didn’t read or understand (and still don’t, by that way) and then actually run for re-election on this pitiable stand?

Certainly the $250,000 vs. $1 million is class warfare, but this, like accepting and passing down myth as historical record, is nothing new. This country was built on class warfare, even the blatantly ill-informed dunderheads on cable television who bray endlessly about founding fathers can attest to that. The idea that the rich make the most from the American capitalist system and should thus pay more, despite the obvious fact that they already pay more by percentage (and we conspicuously exclude corporate entities that according to a widely publicized 2008 Government Accountability office study determined that from 1998 to 2005 67% of American corporations paid no Federal Income taxes) is an abject failure.

Letting the Bush Tax Cuts, much of which was never budgeted and were badly planned and bared little fruit, to lapse at this point would be an economic disaster and certainly stem the tide of GOP support and further erode any kind of political traction the Democrats could hope for.

The wealthy provide the jobs and investments needed to keep the country afloat, never mind moving in the direction of a recovery; this is agreed to by even those who moderately espouse more stringent government regulations on international trade, environmental issues and books cooking. The stabilization of the tax code is critical for this bracket, and although perhaps a roughly estimated eight percent of the national debt could begin to be slashed by a $1 million threshold effort, the damages could be severe in the short term.

And the short term is always the prime consideration in The District.

On the heels of an upheaval in the electorate last month and the very real continued national expenditures on the military occupation of two countries and a massive entitlement system that will never be broached by any politician interested in future employment, taxes cannot and will not be raised.

The political question is still out there; who benefits?

Right now Republicans have the popular talking points, despite the actual facts that middle class taxpayers had their greatest relief as part of the original stimulus package and the across-the-board marginal tax rate being generally lower under the Obama administration than at any time under anti-tax hero, Ronald Reagan, not to exclude the generally accepted fact among credible economists that the original Bush Tax Cuts sank job growth for the first two years of its existence.

Democrats, as is their wont, run scared. This time it is warranted. There is more than mere tax rates and class warfare on the docket. There are capitol gains, estate taxes, corporate taxes and certain marriage penalties and child deductions to consider; all of which are sticking points to the argument, which currently cannot be won by the party in power.

This is why at the time of this writing, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell headed up a Republican vow to block any new bills in congress unless the tax issue is resolved, making it appear as if the GOP and not Obama is answering the call of the American electorate. It also sets up a nice challenge to the White House to keep a government shutdown in the offing, an ill-fated tactic of Newt Gingrich’s “revolution” in 1994, which eventually ushered in Bill Clinton’s comeback two years later.

Letting the Bush Tax Cuts, much of which was never budgeted and were badly planned and bared little fruit, to lapse at this point would be an economic disaster and certainly stem the tide of GOP support and further erode any kind of political traction the Democrats could hope for. With a few weeks to go before the deadline and the Christmas break approaching, there is little choice but to extend them all. The only question for Washington will be at what political gain?

 

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Elephant Avalanche (Mid-Terms 2010)

Aquarian Weekly 11/10/10 REALITY CHECK

ELEPHANT AVALANCHE Republicans Demolish Democratic Brand and Usher in the Year of Vengeance

The Democrats didn’t win. Barack Obama did. They rode the coattails of Joe Cool into masking an 18 percent approval rating. Pelosi is, as is her Congress, a wretched failure. They ran in ’06 on stopping a “war” that still rages. Fuck her. Fuck Harry Reid. And fuck every goddamned Republican who tries to grandstand. Their ways of doing things were run out of office on a rail. Oh, their day of final reckoning is nigh. Believe me, jack. – Vox Stimuli — Reality Check 2/11/09

Boehner BrigadeNovember 2, 2010, an historic political beating takes place on Capitol Hill, a mere two years after the exact opposite transpired on Pennsylvania Avenue – after two straight election cycles wherein Republicans were roundly rejected by the American voter only to

emerge with their grandest and most convincing congressional victory in more than half a century. What happened to Clinton in 1994 and Reagan in 1982 pales in comparison to the carnage on Barack Obama’s hands. It is a weird broth of miracle and lousy candidates that the Senate did not too switch hands. But make no mistake, between the over 60-seat shift in the House and a swarm of governorships across the northeast through the heartland, the political landscape for the Democratic brand has hit the wall.

Because let’s face it, these parties are, and quite frankly never were, really ideological ports of call or steadfast political opponents. They are merely brands, like the New Dick Nixon or Bill Clinton 2.0, Compassionate Conservatism or Anti-War populists. It’s just selling the same dishwashing liquid in a different container. And for some reason, and this is the most fascinating part of not only this week’s mid-term results but of the past eight years specifically; the American electorate, who have been unfairly painted with an apathetic or distrusting of government brush, actually believe in its collective heart that things will be different each and every time they enter the booth.

This time, many Republican leaders declared the day after the massacre, will be different. “This will be…” GOP Chairman Michael Steele told several television outlets the morning of 11/3; “…our last chance to get it right.”

But get what right? What will be different than 1952 or 1994 or anytime in between or afterward? And I ask this with all due sincerity, because I asked it in print the week after the current president of the United States gained the greatest margin of victory for a Democratic candidate since 1964. What will be different this time? I warned the man in print, “Don’t fuck this up” several times.

Guess what?

Exit polls, for whatever they’re worth, revealed that an equal number of voters are mostly concerned with the national debt and an increase in taxes. Yet, the same group, or any group for that matter, also unequivocally supports Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, some form of attention paid to our sad level of Education, and the military industrial complex. So, as discussed in this space for the better part of almost 14 long years, what are you going to cut to reduce the deficit, or if not, how do you reduce it without raising taxes?

Exit polls, for whatever they’re worth, revealed that an equal number of voters are mostly concerned with the national debt and an increase in taxes. Yet, the same group, or any group for that matter, also unequivocally supports Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, some form of attention paid to our sad level of Education, and the military industrial complex.

And if you are an American today, no matter how you voted, this is what you must ask, and be dubious of any answer that does not side with one or the other, regardless of political consequence or gain.

This is why the sad state of reporting has continued to focus on personalities and foibles and misquotes and apologies and attack ads and hidden campaign contributions and who is pithy and who is dumb and not why nary a politician — on the Right, which now has a piece of the pie, or the Left, which has frittered away a third of it — will face these immutable facts of governance.

One thing is for certain, for now, the Democrats have had their chance. To their credit they had to know the Health Care fiasco would cost them, and if the Stimulus/Recovery monstrosity did not accomplish the impossible, which they clearly and stupidly promised, there would be severe repercussions. It didn’t matter that most of their constituency still believes it wasn’t enough, and from the progressive standpoint, it was not. The Democrats acted as if the clock was ticking. They had two years to enact the great 20th Century liberal agendas, and just like the latter 20th Century dreams of neo-conservatism buried the Republicans eventually, the hammer has come down.

But despite the historic crushing, it is not 2004 quite yet. The Democrats hold the highest office and the most powerful legislative branch. They are far from their lowest ebb, the equivalent of the Republican brand in 2008, two years after a Democratic uprising in ’06 and a liberal wave that culminated in the electing of the most progressive of national candidates. This effectively shoved the GOP in the darkest of corners since the 1930s, and from those shadows the Republicans waged a fist-pumping populist political backlash that echoes the old football saying about how when things go badly the back-up quarterback is the most popular guy in the stadium. Hey, he might not be good enough to start, but maybe he can salvage the sinking ship.

So, after an abysmal record over the first eight years of the 21st century, where no previous Republican legislative branch and its president had dared expand government to such aggressive degrees, leading to a complete turnover in leadership where Democrats do which is their wont, crank up the spending, here they come again. This time, though, there is a smattering of “new” conservative voices, who appear in no mood to compromise or govern in a centrist manner.

But those are battles yet to be waged. For now, the electorate has gone anti-incumbent for the third straight election year.

This would mean whatever comes sweeping in now — less government, tax cutting, fiscal conservative Republican types, wholly different than the anti-gay, Bible-thumping, military fear-mongering types, who were first sent packing four years ago — will be responsible for changing all of our fortunes through government after running on an implacable platform that government is never the answer. But then would that mean there will be another massive swing in 2012?

Not so fast.

Speaker of the House elect (for lack of better terminology) John Beohnor, who has been in Washington for thirty years through several and varied types of New Republicans and New Democrats, will now be the face of change. A more ironic joke there cannot be, but since the Republicans could not wrest control of the Senate, Beohner’s troops can unleash a series of very wild and radical bills pushed through congress, sure to be rejected by the Senate, then effectively to be used as a woeful cry of obstructionist tactics, which best serves the Republican brand come that fateful autumn two years hence.

In other words, politics as usual.

If you want Pollyanna, go elsewhere.

Around here, we work The Reality Check.

 

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March Of The Crazies

Aquarian Weekly 10/27/10 REALITY CHECK

MARCH OF THE CRAZIES TEA Party Candidates Fight for the Soul of the Republican Party

Two weeks out from Go Time and the Grand Old Party’s pre-hatched chickens have already been accounted for. Many in the know, including this space, are predicting a nearly 60-seat Republican push in the House and a fair challenge to the Senate. All shapes, sizes and ideologies from the entrenched to the noteworthy to the outright wacky will soon regain the seat of power frittered away in 2006 under a torrent of malfeasance, hubris and warmongering. But today’s power vacuum is large and unforgiving, doubtless more so than in several cycles, and certainly as distinct as any political season.

This is blood sport now, and not just in the competition or the winning, but the governing, which is soon in coming and shall land hard on those grasping at the brass ring. The District is now a dark place offering little comfort, less reverence, and no confidence. The American voter is angry and spiteful and has thrown all modes of caution to the breeze, casting its lot with anything that doesn’t reek of the “power base”. And so the axiom Beware of What You Wish For is in effect and will begin in earnest this January. That’s when the Right-Leaning citizenry will expect a boatload of shifting, not unlike what the Left experienced in 2008, which now appears to them as something of an empty sandbag.

Sharon AngleIt is a sandbag that will be quick to refill if what is transpiring inside the Republican Party has any resonance. Those members ignoring the hardcore fiscal conservatism and strict constructionist waters boiling below the surface of business-as-usual, special interest neo-cons and corporate lackeys will find an ideological civil war on their hands, the results of which may well usher in an Obama second term or if there is any justice, a significant Third Party emergence.

But the severe lack of justice in matters of politics and fanciful dreams of a tangible, viable, winnable Third Party in American politics is the talk of madness. And though we revel in reams of madness here, we’ll sidestep the big gorilla this time to discuss the future of the party that is about to take control of the legislative branch of our federal government, which also means the chairing of every major committee, not to mention a boatload of governorships across the land.

Soon the Republican Party, the latest configuration of which presided over the absolute cold-blooded destruction of modern conservatism with aggressive nation building, unchecked federal spending and illegal warrant-less wiretapping will be back in business. The question for many of its lifers, whether soon-to-be- House Speaker, John Boehner or the prehistoric John McCain, is what party will it be? Or more to the point: Whose party?

It is becoming painfully apparent that despite mounds of corporate money begged for and collected by spin-master, Karl Rove, which secretly fills the coffers of the so-called populist anti-elitist TEA Partiers, there remains a voter-base groundswell of candidates with neither a political resume nor a lick of allegiance to the Republican brand. To them Ronald Reagan was a spendthrift appeaser, never mind G.W. Bush, whose abhorrent fiscal incontinence led to what they deem a Democratic-led Socialist takeover of the United States.

In more direct terms, things will go from bad to worse for Democrats in November, but by next summer there could be a complete implosion inside the victorious Republican camp.

Take for instance the very telling comment by Colorado TEA Party Republican candidate for senate. “The freshman class will challenge the status quo in the Republican conference,” blustered a proud and motivated Ken Buck, a rabble-rousing bigot who believes homosexuality is akin to alcoholism. But being a dumb ass is not what has landed Buck in the fight of his political life against embattled incumbent Democrat, Michael Bennett. He has stated publicly on more than one occasion that given the chance he would personally gut the modern Republican Party.

This is blood sport now, and not just in the competition or the winning, but the governing, which is soon in coming and shall land hard on those grasping at the brass ring.

But even those who don’t openly mock Buck as a simpleton think his bark is far worse than his bite, which cannot be said for TEA Party original, Rand Paul, whose rise as the son of the only bonafide conservative candidate in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections to Libertarian poster boy should scare the crap out of any Republican. Paul, much like his father, believes unequivocally that the party has turned on its principles by kowtowing to religious and social marauders. His primary victory speech, loaded with populist rhetoric, became something of a rallying cry for many TEA Party independents that find the Christian Right and Family Matters crowd stupid and corruptible.

It is only fitting that Paul’s opponent is challenging his Christian beliefs. Democrat Jack Conway, the present Kentucky attorney general, is a soulless empty suit, whose vacuous smile is direct from central casting’s search for slimy politician type who would gladly sell his grandmother to the Arabs for a single vote. His desperate attempt to paint Paul as a sadomasochistic pagan may be merely prelude to what the traditional wing of his party might unleash upon his election.

Then there is the curious case of Sharron Angle, whose tight battle with the great symbol of tax-and-spend Liberalism run amok, Harry Reid in Nevada has shook the core of the party. No one is quite sure how someone as wildly unpopular as Reid, who would be fortunate to have his parking validated in Reno these days, could be within the margin of error in any poll worth noting.

The problem for Angle has turned out to be Angle. She is a gaffe machine worthy of Joe Biden and falls into the bizarre world of the lovable but barely coherent made popular in recent American folklore by queen dullard Sarah Palin and turned into an art form by Delaware senate candidate, Christine O’Donnell. Palin, by the way, has already made several dire warnings that Republicans had better start kissing TEA Party ass or “it is through”, while O’Donnell has now gone to the press bemoaning her lack of vocal and most importantly financial support from the party.

O’Donnell told ABC News this week, “We’re hoping that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will help us, but it’s two and a half weeks left and they’re not.”

O’Donnell, Palin and Angle, not unlike their Republican sisterhood, California’s Carly Fiorina, who has been forced to go outside the party and dump her own considerable coffers into the race, and Connecticut’s Linda McMahon, now having “loaned” over $40 million of her own funds to her campaign, have caused more than a stir within the party. Many Reagan and Bush stalwarts have denounced their candidacy, despite a strong showing among independents and the conservative base. Coupled with the paucity of financial support from Republicans, one can only deduct a sense of tension on where the party is headed.

But whether it is over a cliff or the foundation of an unchecked movement, there is little argument it is the fringe, the core, or the new Republicans that have the strongest voice in this the 2010 mid-term elections. In a time when the opposition’s uprising historically rests with a sitting president’s record, it may turn out to be a referendum on Right Wing political power.

 

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Democrats Circle The Wagons

Aquarian Weekly 10/13/10 REALITY CHECK

DEMOCRATS CIRCLE THE WAGONS
Last Ditch Effort To Fire-Up, Insult & Beg Progressives to Stem GOP Tide

There were no U.S. military survivors at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but later reports from Native Americans, most notably the widely interviewed Joseph White Cow Bull, who’d taken part in slaughtering every last member of George Armstrong Custer’s charge, believed they could hear the doomed general hollering at his troops. Witnesses to the enemy swore each desperate salvo from the man who’d dedicated the last years of his professional life to wiping out the “red hordes”, changed course, almost manically, as if predicting the very modes of grief made famous in modern psychology; denial — rallying his outnumbered and ambushed troops, anger — questioning their manhood, allegiance and alleged superior genetic make-up to that of the savages, and finally a sad measure of bartering, to save a lost cause in its most dire moments.

David AxelrodCuster may have been eventually and ignominiously bludgeoned to death by a Northern Cheyenne woman named Buffalo Calf Road Woman, but his lessons survived a century and a half of political strategies — some with far better conclusions. The best and most recent example of this was just six short years ago when a weakened president with two fast-failing wars, a bloated deficit and plummeting approval numbers, rallied in a whiz-bang circle-the-wagons last-ditch attempt to rile up his party’s base and take the attack to the enemy, which at the time seemed as pathetic as Custer in his last throes but returned the highest office in the land to George W. Bush.

Recently, Karl Rove, the architect of Bush’s comeback of 2004, has been quite vocal about some of the wildly half-mad candidates mucking up this year’s version of Republican insurgence. He knows better than most when you have the enemy on the run you do not play the long odds. In ’04, when tapping into the increasingly dormant Religious Right vote with promises that if the president’s opponent, the out-maneuvered and oddly silent John Kerry would take power then abortions would flow freely, gays would rule and the glorious war effort against the godless Muslims would be lost.

Rove’s 2004 political mastery was a classic example of badgering, rallying and laying down the choice for the most fanatical among the GOP base; those who’d vote for a weakened Republican rather than face the consequences. The strategy to promise an anti-gay amendment and everlasting military protection neutered the questions about his candidate’s immobilized state and made certain those who had the most to lose would not sit idly by.

This is what the White House has now unabashedly offered as a final stratagem for the battered and bloodied Democrats in congress, who not only face a demoralizing defeat next month, but in avoiding the onslaught have run scared from the president. Even the vice president, known far and wide for an uproariously inarticulate blabbermouth technique, has gone on network television to castigate progressives and liberals to “buck up” and “quit whining”, despite the broken promises to closing Gitmo, a single-payer National Health Care option, a failure at Cap & Trade or Illegal Immigrant Emancipation orthodoxy, and most agonizingly, a sucking up to the “guilty” Wall St. set. This doesn’t even factor in the ultra-left’s hope that Obama was above politics and had more than a minor interest in ending nation building, adjusting existing marijuana laws, and maybe go to battle for gay rights in the military and on the stump.

Even taking the most fundamental approach to party politics, the base is the thing. In cases of an avalanche of mid-term angst and general inner-party malaise, it is the only thing.

Biden is insane, and soon will be replaced by Hillary Clinton to save Obama in 2012, but there may be nothing left to run on if 2010 is completely lost. Progressives, liberals, and even those in the center expecting some sort of epiphany, have gone ballistic, and in so doing, have caused a serious shift in Democratic politics. Thus, as time runs out, and the numbers and impassioned anti-incumbent rage surges against them, the Democrats’ only hope is to temper the blow, stop the political hemorrhaging and hang onto the House or at the very least the Senate.

Even taking the most fundamental approach to party politics, the base is the thing. In cases of an avalanche of mid-term angst and general inner-party malaise, it is the only thing.

Take for instance the president’s recent appearance at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, streamed online to several campuses nationwide, using the social networking and youth movement his staff brilliantly tapped for his improbable 2008 rise and victory. The September 28 speech, symbolically recalling his most stirring oratory after the 2008 Wisconsin primary victory, began earnestly with a Ronald Reagan type “stay the course” routine, with promises of unfinished business, then a dollop of Jimmy Carter “want to go back to the last nightmare?” concluding with a firebrand call to arms for those who he most relied upon to stake his claim; first inside the party against the mighty Clinton Machine and then nationally across center-right tides, where the now all-but lost Independents reside.

It was a rallying cry echoed plenty since, which was piggybacked by left-shilling MSNBC — much as FOXNEWS has shamelessly trumpeted the fractious TEA Party movement — when the week after Obama’s Wisconsin plea, the network hosted a Education Nation week, wherein the focus was on teacher unions and the growing dumbing-down of Americans over the past decades. The hint there is the elitist, and in many cases honest, approach that the radical Right voices count on the electorate’s ignorance with emotional alternatives to critically tangible solutions.

Although the battles are disparate and motivated by local concerns, they have lasting national consequences to the future of Nation Health Care, the Bush Tax Cuts, continued troop surges in Afghanistan, and the effectiveness of President Barack Obama’s last two years in office.

Whether Republican or Democrat, the strategy in such a “crisis” has always been and is now exceedingly employed; rally the troops and circle the wagons with hefty Custer-like denials, harangues and a healthy does of old-world beseeching.

Either way it’s cut, the Buffalo Calf Road Woman is raising her club.

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The Money Season 2010

Aquarian Weekly 9/22/10 REALITY CHECK

THE MONEY SEASON

The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? – Revelation 6:15

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin to slit throats. – H. L. Mencken

This is the Money season. The mid-term elections are under fifty days away and the running campaign dialogue is about the economy, Jack; jobs, taxes, stimulus and deficit. In 2002 it was Vengeance, 2006 Anti-War; this time around it’s Money. Beohner - ObamaAnd since there are only two political parties to choose from, they’ve opportunely split the baby on how Money is created, saved, spent, utilized and doled out; from the private sector to Washington D.C. Thing is it’s important to come to grips with the fact that there will be nothing new offered by either faction. What the “new” Republicans have in mind, whether it’s the No Government TEA Party enthusiasts or traditional party hacks, it will be no different than Goldwater or Reagan or Gingrich. And what the Democrats counter with will be another healthy dose of FDR, Clinton and Pelosi/Obama.

Not one candidate you will hear from has the guts to tell you what the real deal is. I dare you to find them.

What’s the real deal?

For starters the always populace idea that the national deficit is killing businesses, crushing the dollar, spiking unemployment and laying out a death sentence for our children will be discussed in general terms but with no solutions. This is because fifty percent of the American public eligible to do so fails to pay taxes. Another fifty percent of said public is receiving entitlement payouts.

Ouch.

No money coming in and tons going out create a deficit; from the corner lemonade stand to General Electric. There is no new math. It’s the same shit.

Now, what you’ll get is Republicans repeatedly pointing out both of these factoids, but with a glaring refusal to face the obvious: The nose-pinching decision to either raise taxes, overtly enforce or enhance the current tax laws, or cut a heaping share of entitlements.

All of these “options” are, of course, political suicide, even in a year wherein anyone not in charge is an acceptable alternative, no matter how brainless or bizarre. Not even conservatives have the balls to start fucking with people’s entitlements. That went the way of Calvin Coolidge and his doom-struck clan. Even the Mighty Ronnie Reagan saved Social Security and when the Lords of Newt scared enough of the elderly, they ran to the booths to re-elect the Minister of Fun.

What about hammering away at tax cheats, loopholes and shelters?

Sure.

This will happen. Next week.

Only the Democrats will start pitching that kind of nonsense, couched in atavistic Middle Class warfare rhetoric and the always-gangbusters anti-rich miasma, conveniently forgetting that from the dawn of civilization it is the ones with the Money who put Money on the Money tree. And since this is the Money Season, and definitely not the Democrat Season, this would also constitute a hot steaming bowl of political suicide.

But its desperation time in Dem Land and tossing out unconstitutional pogroms on the wealthy with randomly shifting tax laws, whether the ones in their favor or to penalize them, is expected. Not unlike Republicans suggesting emergency amendments denying another small segment of society — two percent or so — the right to marry.

Hell, like it or not — or having a political solution or not — there is not much wiggle room on either raising taxes or cutting benefits to lower the deficit or risk playing roulette with the tax laws in a time of economic crisis.

Hey, as long as we’re deep into the Money Season, it can’t go without saying this country has always been schizophrenic when it comes to the rich, from celebrities to moguls. We worship them, dream of becoming them, but despise them to the point of wanting to siphon their funds to lighten our tax burden.

This segues neatly into the approaching deadline to extend, revise or let go of the so-dubbed Bush Tax Cuts. Of course none of these options does a thing for the aforementioned national debt but pile upon it.

The Republican plan to perpetuate a non-funded hand-back raises the deficit three trillion. The Democratic plan to revise it and punish the top two percent of the economic equation jacks it to four trillion. No one, not one candidate or political play we are faced with does a thing to stop the deficit from climbing, let alone decrease it.

Not one.

No one.

Meanwhile, as the country was temporarily distracted by a 9/11 hoax hatched by superstitious goobers using their voodoo tome to motivate the burning of a rival’s superstitious falderal, the United States government was selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the very country from which our attackers and their mastermind hail, Saudi Arabia. A supposed American ally, just as the Afghans, Saddam Hussein and lately the backstabbing Pakistani government before them, the Saudis will likely gather taxpayer funded firearms to turn on us in a generation.

Perhaps that would be Money best used to tackle the above issues, but then selling weapons to the world is one of our hottest commodities, like construction, food and engines. It’s just that unless it’s killing machines, we import twice as much as we export, another recipe for economic woes and political fallout.

Hell, like it or not — or having a political solution or not — there is not much wiggle room on either raising taxes or cutting benefits to lower the deficit or risk playing roulette with the tax laws in a time of economic crisis.

Oh, and by the way, this whole deficit whining is mostly a scare tactic. Non-partisan experts pretty much agree that with the lowest interest rates on record the deficit is actually more manageable now than thirty years ago. It’s better to keep money in the pockets of those who can and will use it to create jobs and loan or borrow Money, perhaps even, if miracles are still available to us, create new and improved manufacturing vocations for a change. Many of the same experts figure it’s been a little over twenty years since the U.S. of A. has done anything close to that.

So hard choices need to be made and difficult truths need to be uttered.

None of this is forthcoming from anyone.

 

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GOP 2010 Political Hammer

Aquarian Weekly 9/8/10 REALITY CHECK

GRAND OLD PARTY – HOW BIG IS THY HAMMER? Trends, Polls & History Spell Mid-Term Democrat Doom

What makes this election cycle so devastating for the Democrats is that the Republicans have had their numbers reduced so severely in the past two cycles. Republicans were reduced to 42.5 percent of the popular vote in 2008 – their lowest total since 1974. Their share of the two party vote (i.e. just Republicans and Democrats) was 44.5 percent. Even a dead-cat bounce in a neutral environment would have netted the Republicans twenty seats after plumbing those depths.

– Sean Trende “Bigger Than 1994”

Mark RubioDuring the summer of 1937, a time of enormous international political upheavals, from the rise of fascism to the spread of communism and an explosion of modern right wing revolt to the command of modern liberalism at home, the great author-wit, Dorothy Parker was asked to comment on which political party she belonged to. Parker, one of the great radical drunks in American letters, mused; “That not especially brave little band that hid its nakedness of heart and mind under the out-of-date garment of a sense of humor.” Thus marking out territory for this space and the entirety of the Reality Check News & Information Desk’s toil for the past 13 years; an aim to serve the outer limits of political judgment, considering neither the prevailing winds nor its humorous intent.

The winds, as is their wont in these shifting political times, have gone from predictable to historical according to one of the finest political columnists in this country, Sean Trende, who spends his spare time combing over an outlandishly bizarre collection of charts, graphs and polls to cobble together the odd opinion on political trends (pun duly intended). Trende is a warrior when it comes to laying it on the line, often re-printing his previous missteps and copping to weird shifts in prognostication. The above quote is a small gem from his most recent exhaustive discussion on the Real Clear Politics web site on the devastation awaiting the Democrats this autumn.

Trende, while a favorite of this space, is hardly alone. No one with half a brain or a bloated heart thinks the Democrats are not going to be pummeled this November, nor do those blissfully living in the ideological wilderness of the late Ms. Parker. The question has always been by how much? Or more to the point, how many seats can the Republicans snatch; 40 to 50? More? In turn, can the GOP retake control of congress and put the screws to the Obama agenda, pushing the president into the kind of legislative cramp that led to the repeated shut down of the federal government in 1995 and ’96.

In a perfect mid-term campaign world, the opposition party in power is weakened by a poor to horrid economy and a president who, while unnaturally popular at the time of his election two years prior, has taken broad steps in activity that have queered even those rooting for him. As stated in this space, Ronald Reagan’s first term comes to mind, but according to Trende and his mounds of research, the far-less iconic Bill Clinton in 1994 may be more apt.

The Republican PVQ polling percentage as of the time of this writing is also a rock hard ten percent — 51 percent to the Democrats 41 percent, an especially alarming swing since the Democrats obliterated the last vestiges of the Karl Rove Experiment just two years ago and delivered the White House with the most impressive victory in 40 years.

Although Trende’s more conservative approach rightly warns that the “Contract with America” Republicans not only had a unifying ideological agenda but was ushered in by an impressive surge of young lawyers, legislators and number-crunchers, who posed confidently as less fiery political hacks than a no-nonsense accounting firm. This year the Republicans are not only more “colorful” and playfully disjointed in their candidates’ personas, running the gamut from sacked CEOs to wives of former wrestlers, but the TEA Party movement’s chaotic “outside political gamesmanship” has them fractured as never before.

Since many Republican candidates are either spanking new or hardly set, and the embattled Democratic incumbents still regrouping, the general doom-speak perception in the press comes from generic polling, or what Trende and other junkies of his ilk refer to as the Popular Vote Quotient. In less wonky terms the PVQ registers voter confidence in or popularity for either party without mentioning a single candidate.

Trende uses the PVQ in pointing out key mid-term beatings by both political parties in similar volatile environments, such as the aforementioned Republican Revolution of 1994 and the Reagan backlash of ’82, but specifically former Republican uprisings not unlike this year in 1966, ’68, ’72, ’80, and ’86, wherein the GOP polled dramatically higher than Democrats but hit a ceiling in certain counties and districts which kept them from gaining the number of seats the Popular Vote Quotient portended.

This is all very interesting, but there is more than a good chance that because of the wild card TEA Party “outsiders” posing as Republicans and the always unpredictable two-headed opposition to the status quo, 2010 Republican gains could approach 60.

As Trende states in his piece; not since 1932 when merely admitting your allegiance to the Republican Party, much less representing it as a candidate meant a very real threat of tar & feathering, has the opposition party hit this kind of jackpot. Democrats that year, when the crippling damages of the Great Depression vaulted FDR into power, jumped an astounding ten percent in polling from 46 percent to 56 percent, netting 97 congressional seats in the process.

The Republican PVQ polling percentage as of the time of this writing is also a rock hard ten percent — 51 percent to the Democrats 41 percent, an especially alarming swing since the Democrats obliterated the last vestiges of the Karl Rove Experiment just two years ago and delivered the White House with the most impressive victory in 40 years.

Assuming Trende’s historical postulation holds up, the Republicans might not be able to count on crushing 1932 numbers, but then no time in American history has there been a lower polling of congress or less trust and reverence for political figures. Merely considering the kind of kooks that are popping up all over the hinterlands these days, on both sides of the political fence, there appears to be no candidate litmus beyond the choosing of someone for an office they either openly despise or aim to transform into a personal soap box.

Whether throwing all these statistics and reference points into the cauldron that is the 2010 political landscape is wise at this juncture is anyone’s guess. But with less than 60 days remaining to Election Day, it is unlikely a drastic rebound in the economic indicators or a GOP implosion could slow the current anti-incumbent momentum.

But since all politics is local and national polls tend to be poor-to-dismal finite indicators, there is nothing left to do but cast votes; the preponderance of which will not be for Democrats.

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