Politics isn’t about Politics, it’s about Style and Tone So Let’s Admit It

In American politics a politician can express a tone in complete contrast to their reality. It’s the tone that voters believe.

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  • I’ll take that «avuncular disheveled cranky old uncle style» (even with two references to uncles) myself, Ted. That avuncular cranky old uncle has been rather consistent in his views these last fifty years and more, so we know where he stands. If only we could get him to say – and do – a bit more about US militarism and the country’s «forever wars» !…


    • I’d like to see Democratic Party candidates take a strong position on their personally perceived necessity of compliance with the Constitution’s demand that war must be declared, and pledge that they are committed to impeachment of any president, Republican or Democrat, that deploys military forces in an undeclared act of war.

      The Democrats and Republicans are enemies of the people and, being meddlers in elections, should not have the power to regulate the people’s elections, that regulatory power being party- and self-serving and not public-serving.

  • I’d like to see Democratic candidates take positions on torture and First Amendment rights of journalists.

    Qui un punit, cent menace. ( French)

    One is punished, a hundred are menaced.

    How else is the public to know that the parties hold the Constitution in such contempt, and as a defunct document, if those who dare publish the parties’ violations of Constitutional law are silenced by the violence of law?

    Free Assange.

    Despite that he does not conform to any popular conception and image of the appropriate manner and tone of a Hollywood hero.

    • @Glenn – the following is offered in the spirit of friendly discussion.

      > I’d like to see Democratic candidates take positions on torture and First Amendment rights of journalists.

      Oh, hell yeah – see my previous comments on the debates. Ask them short, pointed questions and demand answers.

      > the Constitution in such contempt, and as a defunct document,

      We are mostly in agreement here, although I would have used the word “outmoded” or perhaps “obsolete.” The interesting question is what would an update or replacement look like?

      DEFINE “LIBERTY” – the framers were naive in that they figured that The People would want to keep liberty once they got it. HA! No, the people wanted the ‘liberty’ to impose limits on other people’s liberty. Religion, slavery, and sexual preference are a few examples. We need a solid definition stating that no government agency can outlaw any personal choices unless said choice impinges on someone else’s liberty. If your neighbors are gay: you are not harmed, there is no need for laws on the subject. If your neighbor starts shooting through your window, that does indeed cause you harm.

      ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE – it may have been the right idea before electronic communication, but today there is no excuse for ignorance. Everyone has access to enough information to make an informed decision. (whether they actually access said information is a different question entirely.)

      ABOLISH REGIONAL REPRESENTATION – again, it made sense when the country was just starting out. You didn’t know anyone farther away than a day’s ride, and everyone within that radius had the same basic needs and concerns as you. That’s no longer true. We should reinvent representation so that you are represented by profession, or by economic class, or pick your own grouping. Note that this obviates the need for two legislative branches. Everyone is properly represented, we only need one body and that body does NOT need 500+ representatives. (If it were based on economic class, then the 1% would only get 1% of the representation – food for thought. Also drink.)

      CREATE A FOURTH BRANCH – the ‘Direct Democracy’ folks have a great idea. Create a branch with power equal to exec/leg/judicial branches. That would be a legislature of scientists, tasked with making decisions based on laboratory-confirmed data. No more nonsense debates about climate change.

      PURITY TESTS FOR CANDIDATES – maybe that’s not the right name for it, but anyone seeking public office should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of constitutional law, math, science, physics, sociology, history, etc. It’s not a test about their opinions, but whether they have the basic knowledge necessary to form an opinion in the first place.

      DE-POLITICIZE THE SUPREME COURT. It’s become a political basketball. The original idea made sense, but neither the president nor the senate seem interested in doing the job as originally intended. Not sure how to fix, maybe judges should be appointed by a panel of legal experts? Other judges? There should also be a way to remove judges based on performance – rule against the constitution and you’re off the bench. Again, implementation is the tricky part: who bells the cat?

      • I can’t carry a gun in my state without taking a class and passing a test on the range.

        But any yahoo can be totally ignorant about everything, with the exception of manipulating his media image, and can then start promiscuously waving his nuclear tipped prick around the world.

        When a robber shows a gun to his robbery victim, that constitutes actual use of a gun in an armed robbery even if the gun was not fired.

        So how can threatening nuclear war NOT constitute an actual use of a nuclear weapon even if it was not detonated?

        Richard Nixon asked how many divisions the Supreme Court had when it ruled against him.

        Even Nixon deferred to rule of law rather than arrest the Supreme Court for ruling against him.

        Or bombing the Supreme Court like US installed puppet Yeltsin did to the Russian parliament

        This is what you get when rule of law devolves into might makes right.

        The presidency should not be an entry level job where on the job training comes with seeing how loudly an insufficiently intimidated people will still object to having their toes stepped on.

      • > The presidency should not be an entry level job

        aw, gee, but it’s worked so well in the past. Reagan, Bush II, Trump. On the other side of the coin we have experienced legal scholars such as Obama and uh … I guess I forgot my point there.

        Even tho Obama was war criminal, he at least understood how to drive the damn boat. Not that that lets him off the hook, I didn’t vote for his second term. The world court can try him right around the time they get to Bush & Cheney.

        I’m not into lesser-evilism, but at this point we’re deciding between competent and incompetent sociopaths.

      • Obama WAS entry level.

        He went from state senator to the US Senate in 2004, then on to be the P in 2008.

        Obama had ZERO executive experience. And no track record, but showed great skill in making something big out of the nothing of his record.

        Obama was no less of an empty pitchman than Trump is now but with a different style and tone.

        Obama took over a population desperate after being fucked over by W. Bush and he fucked them over again.

        I knew enough about Obama not to support him after looking into possibly joining his Senate campaign after the Kucinich presidential campaign, and my campaign to be Kucinich’s delegate to the Democratic convention, ended in 2004.

        The day after Obama won in 2008 a group I was affiliated with had a meeting to promote a discussion about a college professor’s book. The professor said something about how the leftish group, such as we were, should be happy about Obama’s win.

        I said, “Sure, if you are a conservative.”

        After his friend, a teachers’ union steward, threatened to punch me, he asked me who I voted for and I said Nader, the same as he later said he did.

        No, I never voted for Obama.

  • Very true, unfortunately. We need a national government, and that means governators representing a whole lotta people I’ve never met F2F with anything bigger than a state Senator. How is one to decide who should drive the boat, if one cannot actually suss out the candidate in person?

    A few things I can think of:

    1) Voting record. That’s just a whole lot more reliable than speeches. Voting record is already public, but it should be advertised and televised just as often as the speeches and sound bites. (is “televised” still a thing?)

    2) Candidates must write their own speeches. Lincoln gave several awesome speeches, but they were his own words, rather than those of a pro speech writer backed by a focus group. We’re hiring someone whose job consists of talking and influencing others. If they are incapable of doing so on their own, then we the sheeple need to be aware of that fact.

    3) Moderate the f’ing debates. Is this such a difficult concept? If the candidate evades* the question, cut him off and ask again. If he evades again, cut him off, period. Hell, put it on a time delay so that the home audience never hears the BS. Score the damned debate – “Jack Johnson answered 5 questions with facts and logic; John Jackson evaded 16 questions while answering zero … Jack wins!”

    4) Fact check. FACT. CHECK. We’re already seeing some of this, the debates, speeches, etc. should always include fact checks right along with the supposed content.

    5) Outlaw lies in political speeches. Oh, crap, I’ll have to take that one back – we can’t have the gubbmint in charge of deciding That Which Is True. Maybe a panel of independent fact checkers? I dunno – there’s got to be a better way…

    *My fav evasion to date was when Bush, Sr. was asked what he would do about the “drug crisis” – his response was “I have held crack babies in my arms!” … so then they asked Perot, who answered “I’ve held TWO crack babies in my arms …”

    Uh, yeah, is there some part of “what would yo do?” that was unclear?

    • “Uh, yeah, is there some part of “what would yo do?” that was unclear?”

      People are so accustomed to living and being at an electronic remove that one who evokes a cleansing emotion scores points for merely validating a popular or professed position, for making them feel that in having a feeling something has been accomplished.

      Did Perot get a laugh? I know I would have laughed at what I would have taken as the mocking of Bush’s response.

      Maybe Perot could have said that he carries a backpack of crack babies so they can give him validating hugs to bolster his spirits whenever he is confronted with the tragic losses of the drug wars.

  • alex_the_tired
    June 19, 2019 12:07 PM

    “So a spoiled trust-fund playboy billionaire passes as a populist because he’s crass.”
    Trump–although accurately described–is too described in Ted’s indictment. “A billionaire passes as a populist because he’s crass” covers the same concept because spoiled and trust-fund are symptoms of being a billionaire. And with very little tweaking, Hillary Clinton is also a spoiled trust-fund playboy billionaire. Her flaw–and gee golly that war criminal has so many–was that her delivery sucked.
    Trump succeeded because he understood–like all good hucksters do–that you really have to believe the horseshit you’re slinging. Method acting? Hawking snake oil. It’s one in the same. Trump was more believable than hollow, amoral Hillary Clinton who has changed her mind more times than a stewardess changes planes. That’s all it took. A little bit of fake empathy. “I feel your (make sure voice catches, just a touch) pain.”

  • The Penguin is running for Mayor of Gotham City…

    Penguin: [to his election crew] Plenty of girls and bands and slogans and lots of hoopla, but remember, no politics. Issues confuse people!

    Batman (1966)
    “Hizzonner the Penguin”


    The Penguin is running for Mayor of Gotham City…

    Penguin: [to his penguins] My dear penguins, we stand on a great threshold! It’s okay to be scared; many of you won’t be coming back … Forward march!

    Batman Returns (1992)


    DeVito / Meredith 2020!

  • We are the government of the people, by the people, for the people. This country is full of superficial, and hypocritical people. So we get politicians that reflect that same standard.

    Presidents, Senators, & Congressmen are products marketed to us. As long as we prefer image over substance, status quo will continue.

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