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Why So Serious?

June 16, 2015

I can’t take myself seriously. It’s a congenital defect, I’m sure. In my acting days it meant I couldn’t take leading man roles, or even leading roles. When you don’t take yourself seriously, you are less susceptible to making yourself a clown. Conversely, people who DO take themselves seriously can become clowns without knowing it.

Donald Trump.

He has announced his candidacy for President of the United States. With a straight face.

Trump is a buffoon. He’s in good company over the years. Sarah Palin is a clown in my eyes.  Hillary Clinton is not only a clown, but wears as much make-up as one.

None of these people have any business in politics. Trump is, as I said, a buffoon. The wig should tip you off. Sarah Palin is way over her head. And Hillary hasn’t seen an honest statement fly from her mouth in decades. She is the very stereotype of “politician” steeped in graft, rolling in money, unable to tell the truth, yet wants to represent the common people. Give me a clothespin for my nose.

There are partisan people who would say the dozen running are clowns, but no, not at all. I love Ben Carson, but no longer think he’s president material, but he isn’t a clown. He has a legitimate voice, as does Carly Fiorina and the rest of the guard (okay, Rick Santorum is edging toward the greasepaint). I honestly don’t know what Jeb is thinking. I liked the Bushes, but Bush fatigue has set in.

The dems are either strategically not putting up any A-listers to make Hillary look… less awful, or the regular clowns are wedged into the tiny car still. Gore is as frightful as Hillary, Binden, bless his soul, also wears the red nose. Sanders is in the race, but makes no pretense about buying the votes of the poor. He wears the big floppy shoes, too.

It’s going to be an interesting year.  Honk-honk.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. kverdeck permalink
    June 17, 2015 9:18 am

    The sheer number of contenders on the GOP side this cycle is mind-boggling, especially when you consider that there’s just not that much to differentiate them from each other. Trump is a joke, of course, but at least he’s saying something different than the rest of the crowd. Even if it’s complete gibberish. 🙂

    I think you underestimate Sanders, however. So far he has my complete and unadulterated support, because he is quite literally the only person in the race on either side with a strong record of not just performance, but authenticity. He’s been in public service for 40 years, and has essentially been fighting the same fights and saying the same things for that whole time. Everyone else in the race says what the polls and focus-groups indicate they should say; Sanders has been utterly consistent for decades, and the polls and focus groups have finally caught up to him.

    “Buying the votes of the poor”… I get that a lot of his positions strike American conservatives as too liberal, since he’s a proponent of European-style government, and strongly supports the notions that no one should go hungry, full-time work should provide a decent lifestyle, and things like higher education and healthcare are public goods that should be available to all. But as I often argue, the single, solitary, overarching problem we need to address in this nation before we can hope to truly tackle any other major issue is the influence of Big Money on our politics. Sanders is the one and only person with any shot at a nomination (slim as it may be) who is actually attempting–and so far succeeding–to run a true grassroots campaign financed by small, individual donors like yours truly. He’s the one guy who can criticize pay-to-play politics without making himself a hypocrite. Hillary has come out talking the populist talk–but she has no problem cashing the donation checks from CitiGroup, Lehman, Goldman-Sachs, etc. just like her GOP competitors (who still best her, I hasten to add, by literally auditioning for the dollars of billionaires like the Kochs and Adelson).

    It is indeed already an interesting year. 🙂

  2. June 17, 2015 4:56 pm

    While I agree that Bernie Sanders would be preferable to Hillary Clinton, I have to qualify that with, I think ANYONE would be better than Hillary Clinton. Clinton is a miserable liar with a larcenous heart. Sanders heart is in the right place, but his philosophies I don’t – quite – agree with.

    “Democratic Socialism” is a just-miss concept. I absolutely do not want the government to own institutions, however, if “social ownership” means non-profit organizations, as in non-profit insurance companies, non-profit (by choice) healthcare, non-profit banks, as long as it’s encouraged by government but not owned by government, I would actually applaud that.

    I agree with him that any bank that is too big to fail is too big to exist. Break those monsters into smaller banks. I’m all for that.

    I think only a catastrophic single-payer system is a good idea, not general maintenance.
    I believe Obama’s “two years of free college” is just extending high school to 14th grade.
    I would LOVE to see a morality campaign targeting people of means, but not an involuntary redistribution of wealth (though to be fair, I think most rich people DO give a lot, fund a lot and hire a lot).

    Our tax system is hopelessly screwed up; taxing corporations is another way of taxing the common man. His income equality solutions are wrong-headed. In Euro countries, small businesses are not the engine of the economy. Here they are; protect them. The income equality solution is education and training – I’d like to see free online Federal training and state overseen voc tech training. Something quicker than college. I don’t think the rich are evil (except those who are evil); they take risks, employ others, fund more art than we think.

    I applaud his stance on mass surveillance; Snowden is a hero.

    I applaud his stance on campaign finance reform. He’s right all the way down the line on that.

    He’s wrong on global warming. I was reading about megalodons yesterday (the sharks ten times bigger than the great white who died out long before man scrambled the earth, because of… climate change. Earth goes through it regularly, with or without humans on it.) So eco regs that will make no difference to the planet are wrong-headed. An information campaign, similar to what’s going on now, is the ticket. I’m all for taking better care of the planet (Diatribe: Our air is fine; our oceans are in deep danger from overfishing, litter and sound pollution. Imagine 100 years ago; the only sound in the ocean was whale song. It was quiet. Now it’s so noisy with engines and worse, the marine animals must be going insane. No wonder there are mass beachings.)

    Democrats think conservatives don’t care about the poor. I absolutely believe Democratic politicians don’t. All we’re doing is enabling and growing poverty. That has to stop. Here in Florida millions of dollars are spent in liberal counties that have only several thousand homeless. Handing out the money equally would be more effective than what they’re doing. More on this in a future post.

    SO, I would like to see Sanders vs the Republican candidate, whoever he or she is. I would want the Republican candidate to win (unless it’s Clown-boy Trump. I do not want Jeb to win the nomination on any level, even though I think he’d be a good enough president; I’d happily ban a Bush if we can ban a Clinton).

    I do wish both sides would recognize the other really does care about the same things. The solutions are different. I always want to scream when I hear a liberal saying conservatives hate the poor, when every statistic says conservatives give far more to charity than liberals. We all care; we differ in our response – government vs private (Jesus encouraged PRIVATE care, not governmental).

    So, more of a response than you could possibly have desired. 

    • kverdeck permalink
      June 18, 2015 6:47 am

      I appreciate the detailed response! Makes me feel better for usually being the long-winded one. 😉

      Firstly, I think Trump’s candidacy is not to be taken seriously. The man is an egomaniac, pure and simple–he adores the attention, even if (maybe especially if?) he’s paying for it. If he makes it into a debate, that will pretty much be the end of the road for him.

      Sanders’ greatest liability may well be his label of Democratic Socialist, even though (to borrow from Inigo Montoya) I do not think that word means what [most people] think it means. 🙂 He’s never advocated for pure socialism, i.e. public ownership of the means of production. What he’s advocating for is a highly-regulated capitalism, with government taking responsibility for the things that really shouldn’t be for-profit in the first place. Education obviously, infrastructure, healthcare, incarceration, etc.

      I think by now it’s pretty clear that single-payer is the way to go for healthcare–the ACA attempts a fix within the private insurance schema, and it’s been successful in its intentions (reduced uninsurance rate, reduced rate of cost growth, deficit reduction). But it is limited, it does carry collateral damage, and it’s been hamstringed by GOP-led states (like our own) refusing the Medicaid expansion because apparently making a political point is more important than caring for the poor and sick. Jesus wept.

      You’re right about Hillary. Where the GOP candidates are all wolves in wolves’ clothing, she’s attempting to wear the wool with a straight face. Maybe she means some of it? Who knows. But she’s definitely one for expediency over principle, and like Obama, I don’t think she’d move the bar much.

      “[A]n involuntary redistribution of wealth…” We’ve been trying that since the early 80s, but in the wrong direction. Take a look at Kansas for a spectacular (and spectacularly failed) recent experiment. Brownback & Co. rode in and slashed tax rates, which always primarily benefits the wealthy. As any good economist could have advised him, the result would be reduced growth and vastly reduced tax revenue, resulting in a big budget gap and potential cuts to education and other vital services. And now that the extent of the damage is obvious, what’s the response? Not to put any of the taxes back on those who can best afford them, but instead to jack up the sales tax, which is by definition a regressive tax. Much the same has happened at the Federal level over the past few decades, though the main result has been the huge deficits so-called fiscal conservatives like to decry.

      He does advocate increasing Social Security benefits (and paying for it by raising the ridiculously-low cap on SS-taxable income), and of course expanding Medicare/Medicaid. While he supports a strong social safety net (as do I), I’ve not seen him call for increasing unemployment benefits and the like–he’d rather put more people to work, and do it by addressing our crumbling infrastructure. Sounds like a win-win to me.

      I could belabor more, and address some of your other quibbles, but I think the 2016 focus needs to be squarely on the one area where you and me and Bernie agree entirely, which is that our campaign finance, lobbying, and pay-to-play politics needs to be fixed, and badly. Otherwise nothing else changes, really, and we just keep spinning around the same downward spiral. I would suggest that this one issue alone is enough for him to deserve the support of all civic-minded Americans who want to return to a politics responsive to the people. No President can enact everything he suggests, of course, and maybe he wouldn’t even get much traction on campaign finance. But he would at least try, of that I have no doubt–and I do not think the same can be said for anyone else in the race.

  3. June 19, 2015 7:11 pm

    I could be wrong, but I think Huck also has that stance. But he’s an another guy with no shot at the nomination.

    Here’s the thing: If Clinton and Bush are the nominees, the fix is completely in. I know it’s naive to think it isn’t, but really, would puppeteers put McCain or Romney up?

    I’m hoping for a conservative win this year and I think we’ll get it. I’m just hoping for one that will call us back to morality (though that’s a lot to ask from a president anymore, sadly).

    An aside: I often hear people say Jesus was a great moral teacher (give us that much, anyway), but none of them want to follow his moral teachings. If we just did that, we’d be better off (and Jesus called us to individual giving, not governmental).

    The best race would be one where both candidates are so good that it’s a win-win proposition either way.

    So far, I hear a lot of people talking glowingly of Sanders, and only very dim bulbs happy about Clinton. Yet everyone says Sanders is a long shot. There’s something seriously wrong with your party if she’s nominated.

    So far, only Trump and Clinton are on my “hell no” list.

    • kverdeck permalink
      June 19, 2015 7:54 pm

      Sanders’ appeal is admittedly narrow, at least on the face of it–he primarily appeals to people like me who are tuned-in enough to realize how terribly awry the system has gone. Coming from Vermont, he’s never particularly needed to appeal to minorities or even women, and he’ll need to work on that.

      I fear the main thing standing in his way is the sense of inevitability surrounding Hillary, and the impression most people seem to have that he’s such a long shot that even people who like what he has to say will pass him by to vote for her instead. But I’m trying to stay positive, because I truly believe that if everyone who says, “I’d vote for him but there’s no way he can win” would vote for him, he would indeed win.

      And I’m afraid a lot of conservatives will be looking at 2014 as a bellwether for 2016, but if they do they will be very disappointed. Democrats in general and minorities in particular don’t show up much in midterms, which is why 2014 was such a shellacking for the left. It also didn’t help that most Dems for some reason distanced themselves even from Obama’s successes, and utterly failed to motivate the progressive base. But Presidential elections seem to matter a lot more to voters (even though they really don’t), and unless the GOP can put up an intelligent moderate who can manage to tone down the anti-everybody-who-isn’t-a-white-heterosexual-Christian rhetoric, they just don’t stand a chance to capture the White House. And so far the closest thing to that on the menu is another Bush? Not gonna happen.

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