Archive | November 2012

Is it ever appropriate to break a pledge?

Grover Norquist is back in the news, as some Republicans have indicated that they are prepared to break their pledge never to raise taxes.  Is it ever appropriate to break a pledge?



The Fiscal Cliff

This is a great explanation of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.  (The film was produced in late October, so you can ignore the talk about what would happen in Romney wins.  He didn’t.)  It really is an explanation of the components of the federal budget, in a good amount of detail.  Don’t worry TOO much about the details – we’ll spend more time on those in March.  But watch the video, and come up with a solution.


Colbert on SuperPacs

So the basic question, after watching this, is this: does it REALLY matter that campaign finance restrictions are ineffective?  Put it another way: should campaign donations be limited?  And even if they should be limited, CAN they be limited?  Or will donors always find loopholes?  Your comments, please…

How can the Republicans Convince you to be a Republican?

This came to me from a lonely High School Republican.  So how can the Republicans best attract your generation to join the party?

Sarah Westwood: Advice From a Lonely College Republican

The GOP is like a supermodel who’s been doing photo shoots under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup.


If the election results told us anything, it’s that the GOP has some serious soul searching to do. On paper, Mitt Romney’s history of accomplishment towered over President Obama’s train wreck of a record, so his loss seemed nearly inexplicable. But Mr. Obama carried his key groups so easily that Republicans should give him props for such a feat— and start taking notes.

In politics, as in life, perception is key. The Chicago machine and the Democratic National Committee as a whole have perfected the art of marketing, even when they’ve got nothing to sell. They’re like a used-car salesman who pushes lemons on unsuspecting drivers and never gets caught. Democrats can home in on Latinos, blacks, single women, young voters—and have them chanting “Four more years!” before they know what hit them.

I happen to be one of the latter, a college student at a time when youth is a hot political commodity. Most kids my age bristle at the word “conservative,” and I don’t blame them. The right has done nothing to welcome young people.

If Republicans hope to win in 2016 and beyond, they need to change everything about the way they sell themselves. They’re viewed by the 18-24 set as the “party of the rich” and as social bigots. That harsh, flawed opinion could be rectified if Republicans started presenting their positions in a different way. The GOP is like a supermodel who has been doing photo shoots under fluorescent bulbs without any makeup. But fix the lighting, dab on some foundation and highlight her good side, and she can take the most attractive picture.

My age group is one pocket of voters who Republicans should be carrying with ease. Youth is all about rebellion and freedom and independence—things the Democratic Party preaches but doesn’t deliver. Behind their clever one-liners lurks a government shackle waiting to be slapped onto the wrists of every young voter they ensnare.

The left proudly shouts “stick it to the rich,” which naturally draws the rambunctious college crowd into its fold. But Democrats fail to mention how broadly they define the rich—or that in reality, they want to dip into everyone’s wallets, not just Bill Gates’s.



Associated Press

Shame on Republicans for not seizing the opportunity this time around. They could so easily define their brand as the true advocate of rebellion; a “stick it to the government” movement in the spirit of the 1960s hippie wave.

It wouldn’t be a smoke-and-mirrors, bait-and-switch trick either, like what goes on across the aisle. Republicans truly are the party of a less intrusive ruling class. Frame the Republican fundamentals—tax less, spend less—as a fresh populist approach instead of Grandpa’s adage, and the party is back in business.

Another leg up that the left has is its claim to the moral high ground. The party of pro-choice, pro-gay has such a hold on young people because those are issues they can care about easily. Not many 20-year-olds can hold a coherent conversation about Social Security reform or double taxation, but all of them can argue passionately for gay rights.

As a member of this all-important demographic, I know that neither I nor (almost) anybody else coming of age today supports the Republican social agenda. That’s the way the country is moving—so just deal with it. Modernize and prioritize.

Though it may be painful, though it may be costly at the polls in the short run, Republicans don’t have a future unless they break up with the religious right and the gay-bashing, Bible-thumping fringe that gives the party such a bad rap with every young voter. By fighting to legally ban abortion, the party undercuts the potential to paint itself as a rebel against the governmental-control machine.

Embracing a more liberal social agenda doesn’t require anyone to abandon her own personal values; it’s possible to keep faith and the party too. But the evangelical set essentially hijacked the Republican Party in the 1970s; now we need to take it back. Thawing the icy attitude of our most vocal, radical voices—including the raucous right (a la Limbaugh)—could let a fatally fractured party put the pieces together again.

The GOP won’t survive if it doesn’t start courting young voters. Simple math dictates that the Republican Party can wrest power away from the left only if it builds an army of fresh young members into its base. Democrats are the ones doing that now.

Ms. Westwood will be a sophomore at George Washington University in January.

What would you do to support your candidate?

Week After Romney-Ryan Loss, Man Regrets Logo Tattooed on Face

As Billboards, Posters Come Down, 30-Year-Old Indiana Man Ponders the ‘R’ Inked on His Mug

Published: November 12, 2012

Last weekend, while driving around near my parents’ home in Pennsylvania — one of the battleground states, which President Barack Obama won by a narrow margin — I was struck by the number of Romney/Ryan campaign signs that, a week after the election was over, were still plastered all over the place, on lawns, along highways, on cars. “What a giant pain in the ass that’s gonna be for folks to have to dispose of,” I thought.

Eric Hartsburg and his Romney-Ryan tattoo.
Eric Hartsburg/Facebook

Eric Hartsburg and his Romney-Ryan tattoo.

Well, that’s nothing compared to the guy who can um, NEVER, dispose of the tattoo of the Romney/Ryan ticket’s logo across half his face. Remember him? The guy who in October auctioned off a side of his mug and was paid $15,000 by a Republican eBay user to get inked with the GOP nominee’s “R” — that giant red-white-and-blue logo that, as we recently noted, looks like the glob of toothpaste emblazoned on tubes of Aquafresh?

Politico caught up with Mr. Tattoo, 30-year-old Eric Hartsburg this weekend. So how much does “R” now stands for regret given the candidate he was backing wasn’t successful?

“Totally disappointed, man,” Mr. Hartsburg told the site. “I’m the guy who has egg all over his face, but instead of egg, it’s a big Romney/Ryan tattoo. It’s there for life.”

It’s all the more bitter considering he lives in a state that voted Obama. And it seems not everyone’s been so sympathetic to Mr. Hartsburg’s plight. “I’ve gotten a lot of negative stuff, a lot of ‘F-yous,’ and ‘Your guy lost!'” he told Politico.

So how do you even respond to those sorts of meanie insults? With a movie quote, of course. Via Twitter he summoned all the courage he could watching “The Karate Kid” movies and told a detractor: “In the words of Mr. Miyagi: ‘Win lose, no matter.’ I never proclaimed a Romney victory.”

Yes, everything about this story is ridiculous, and screams of someone who’s willing to do anything for 15 seconds of fame. But he’s not quite alone.

Various articles in the past couple of years have posited the theory that people are far more willing than ever to allow their bodies to be used as ad space for their favorite brands. Mr. Hartsburg is one of several fans who’ve sported ink of their favorite brands; others have gotten tatted with logos of Google, Apple, Jack Daniels and Cadillac.

Meanwhile, the non-branded tattoos that celebrities have are being airbrushed out of ad campaigns.

“I was trying to make politics fun. … I shed blood for this campaign, and I’m glad to know that I did all that I could,” Mr. Hartsburg said to Politico, adding: “I’m hoping this opens some other doors in the entertainment business.” That seems unlikely, given that even with a tiled background of his tattooed face, he’s summoned just 125 followers on Twitter.

So, folks, it’s another presidential election down, another important lesson learned. At the risk of sounding like a PSA: Think before you ink.

Money, battleground states, politics, and maps

An interesting piece from NPR.  What should, or could, be done to address the issues raised by this piece?  Or should nothing be done?  Your comments, please.  Happy Election Day!