There is something strange yet powerful about the day before Election Day. It's a day when you hear pundits predict. It's a day when campaigns empty their war chests and blitz the media. It's a day when "The Undecided" finally make up their minds.
It's a day that can sway the election and that's why I love today. Put to bed are all the strategic plans, all the finely crafted speeches, and all the endorsements. It's a transitional day to get us to tomorrow and the final efforts to "get out the vote."
If you believe the pundits, you know what the political landscape will look like tomorrow night. But deep down there's something more at play than the balance of power in Washington.
For Democrats who rode the momentum of Election Night 2008, there is frustration and questions: Why didn't President Obama take on the Republicans more divisively? Why didn't Obama didn't lay out clear differences between his agenda and the Republicans? Why didn't Obama ask the Republicans "who is with us and who is against us" as his predecessor did with the war. Obama chose to stay above the fray, a tactic that got him elected, but hasn't worked since taking over. Someone should have been ready for a post-Ted Kennedy strategy.
For Republicans, who were winning at self-infliction before, during and after Election Night 2008, their ability to sit on the sidelines has turned out to be a gift. Their inability to offer real, creative, bipartisan alternatives to financial regulation, the stimulus or health care reform has made their lack of strategy...a real strategy.
Caught in between is the American public. The midterm is no time to leave the American people without a plan they can understand and absorb, visualize and embrace, and repeat, repeat, repeat. Election 2008 was easy-to-understand and easier to choose a side. Not just because of who was running, but because of who wasn't. It was a rare election in over 200 years when a sitting President (or his VP) wasn't running for re-election. So the country took sides, carried strong opinions and told its leaders where it wanted to go.
Fast forward 2 years to today and the country is in mid-term amnesia through no fault of its own. You and your neighbors returned to your lives having expended and exhausted a lifetime of political energy not just from the 2008 election, but from the entire decade. It started with the Bush-Gore ballots, the attacks on September 11th, the buildup to war, the phony intelligence reports, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The problem for Obama in this year's midterms is that their isn't 10 years worth of data to fortify the American opinion. While Obama cites progress on the economy, he has not effectively communicated it in ways the public could absorb, embrace and repeat.
One President squandered goodwill around the world towards America after 9-11. Another President squandered goodwill at home with the American public, once motivated to follow a leader, now confused, uncertain and living in a country of discontent. 11-1-10
Obama without a Church? Hillary without Michigan? McCain and Bush without cameras? Has the country gone nutso and have the diversions that led to the creation of WagTheNews hit a new low?
Today we ask: what if the three candidates acquired a new level of honesty, authenticity and candor?
What if Obama came out immeditely and said about Reverend Wright, "what the hell is he talking about, the Obamas need to find a new Church and fast"... instead of using Wright's wrongs as a chance to educate us about race?
What if Hillary said after losing every contest in March, "damn, Obama has caught on like lightning so let's forget that pledge against campaigning in Michigan and Florida, and let the voters decide"... instead of trying to claim victory in two states that have an asterik next to their results?
What if McCain said, "I know the President has the lowest approval ratings ever, but you have to respect the office, and as long as he's in office, I won't ignore he's the President"... instead of clandestine meetings barring photographers from showing the two men hugging?
The truth is the three candidates stop short of being honest, hoping for controversies to blow over (Obama), hoping for a magical turnaround in the results (Clinton), and hoping to take Bush's neocon fundraising machine (McCain) to the bank.
The spectacle may not shift voters, but it does add to the hypnosis that voters feel, spoken and unspoken. And hypnosis is not good for democracy. Hypnosis of the masses gives the powerful the benefit of the doubt. Hypnosis de-sensitizes the masses so when domestic surveillance is revealed, most people question it until their next text message comes through. Hypnosis makes us turn the page when we see a no-bid contract to private companies that under-arm our troops. And hypnosis makes us feel powerless when we learn that foreign entities are in charge of American ports.
So when a candidate of any type doesn't take an issue head on or tries to talk his or her way out of the controversy of the day, the public throws up its hands and says, "wake me up after Labor Day when I can start paying attention." And that's how democracy suffers.
In 1863, President Lincoln spent 2-3 minutes on 10 sentences and 272 words delivering the Gettysburg Address to re-define the purpose of the Unioin fighting the Civil War.
Back then, Lincoln told how a Gettysburg battle should signal "a new birth of freedom", an everlasting freedom in the form of "government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Today, the people are treated like morons with short attention spans, and for good reason. Leaders have learned how to avoid authenticity. They know the best way to keep us from noticing is to overkill issues that don't have anything to do with the mission- call them smokescreens. Unlike Lincoln, today's leaders need an injection of honesty to lead the country to the next "new birth of freedom" for all of us. 6/1/08
Mike Huckabee and the NRA. Katrina and the NBA. Hillary and Karl Rove. Barack Obama and George Bush. What does the NBA have to do with the others? Tonight, as pro basketball showcases a do-or-die final game between San Antonio and New Orleans, the backdrop behind the excitement is not an accident. Adoring center court, a banner reads "Where Caring Happens." A stunning comementary for the world to see almost 3 years since Katrina and the fallout over failed government.
The NBA knows how to make New Orleans feel hope, feel that we're not leaving them behind, feel that compassion is more than a slogan, even if it is. The GOP could take a page from the NBA's playbook on caring. Swift boating season has begun: from Israel where Bush linked Obama with appeasment of Hitler to the U.S. where Rove cited numbers showing Hillary Clinton a bigger threat to a McCain presidency. This from a man who cooked numbers before, during and after the U.S. War in Iraq. But the most shocking and dangerous comments came from Pastor Huck, who after hearing a loud crash during an NRA speech said, not joked, but said the noise was Obama falling off a chair as he dodged a gun aimed at him.
Compare this to Willie Horton. Compare it to Swift boating a war hero. But make no mistake, this was Aw Shucks Huck auditioning for McCain's Vice President's job. As Hillary questions the electability of Obama in November, Huck and company suggest Obama would face bullets when stating Obama "just tripped off a chair. He was getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him, and he dove for the floor." The NRA meeting was in Louisville, Kentucky, close enough to Memphis, some 40 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down during the last Presidential election Civil War of '68.
The Clintons haven't had to go that far, but rest assured, this safety issue is one reason why Hillary won't go quietly into the night. She's sticking around in case Obama slips, or more seriously, if Obama falls off a chair dodging a gun, or worse, a bullet. Obama knows history, from the racist criticism to the shots heard from afar. It's no wonder Obama made the earliest request ever for Secret Service protection, last May, a full 18 months before the general election and long before the first taste of success in Iowa 8 months later.
Huckabee said his comments were not intended to be offensive. This coming from a former Pastor, former Governor and former Presidential candidate. Everything said is intended. It was no mistake. Inciting hate is the furthest thing from compassion. As Democrats do the democratic thing and go the distance through every state, Republicans have yet to show their true Dixie colors. The GOP is so out of touch with America, that even the NBA better resembles the tone of Americans as the place "Where Caring Happens." 5/20/07
We get what we pay for. Cheap cable news deadens the pulse of Americans. You see it in the Presidential election. The public is bored even though it's the most interesting election since '68. And it's exactly what the Bush Administration had in mind. Bore us to death. If Abu Graib photos were released for the first time today, if domestic spying was revealed today, or if the Bush War Machine was exposed for planting information through the American media today, most Americans would care less.
In fact the planting of information was revealed just last week in the New York Times, forcing the Pentagon to stop letting military hawks, with nothing else to do in retirement, stop getting briefed by the all-too-encouraging War Department.
Look at your cale or satellite bill and do the math. $40/month gets you 50 to 500 channels. So for pennies a month, you the viewer gets to watch unregulated cable news. Watch it alot and you see why the Iraq War keeps going. They've super-saturated the content, diluting the real news coming from the front. They've blended together the real issues with the phoney ones further confusing the audience. They've bored us to death with Generals answering questions on Capitol Hill while soldiers on the front lines question the merits of wtching the horrors few of us ever hear. And no story or piece of video gets to American airwaves without first getting approved by the govrenment.
At its conception, cable news went where no one went before. They were on all the time, unheard of in the pre-historic age of the 60's and 70's. Want a story? No need to wait for the Evening News. In the early days, CNN relied on affiliates across the country more than its own original content. Back then, there was more than enough fluff to keep audiences entertained, even if just for a few minutes at a time. Today the field is more crowded but the competition has dumbed things down to new heights. Pundits rule. The more outrageous the better.
Enter the military. The role of informational gatekeeper the media was supposed to uphold came unhinged. No media, from local radio and TV to newspapers and networks, ever identify pundits personal choices and they should. Everytime. we don't know their choice for President or where they stand on the War. From Sunday morning talk shows to Primary Night's continuing coverage, we're fed military lobbyists, Super delegates and campaign advisers but rarely, if ever, are told who they support. And it matters. It should anyway.
While fewer people watch cable than the traditional networks, the endless drone of their commentary define the issues of the day more than a one time examination of healthcare on World News Tonight. Those at ABC might high-five after a thoughtful story, but it's the bottom feeders of cable news that spend more time speculating than reporting, more time perpetuating a video clip of the day rather than going deep on it's merits of why it should not be repeated and repeated.
The revelation that the military has been planted across media platforms should come as little surprise. The only reason it seems like a new story is that NO ONE at those media outposts has cared to say NO to having these PR flacks donning medals on its air. FOX has a General, you bet CNN is scouring West Point and the first Gulf War for military strategists who only need to have a pulse and some hardware. What the media failed to do was stay on the story of manipulation. For the Fifth Estate to be hoodwinked in the first Gulf War and play role of Military Cheerleader (Star Studded Success of the Patriot Missile! NOT!!!) and then through this whole mess, NOT throw all he bumbs out of their newsrooms, just shows that given a semblance of reality, it chooses to turn the other cheek. Bliss is not a positive trait for any journalist.
We do get what we pay for. For just pennies a month, we allow the status quo of cable news into our homes. On a good day, we're lucky to have broad freedoms of the press. But on most days, we'd rather spend our government rebates to support meaningful journalism, reporters who can connect the dots and gatekeepers with some guts. 4/26/08
click here POLITICS
TO TELL THE TRUTH THE GOP'S FAUX COMPASSION HILLARY'S NON APOLOGY IS THIS CHANGE THING OVERRATED? THE NO-LOSE DEMOCRATS SLEEPING THROUGH OUR NIGHTMARE "ENDLESS (GOP) SUMMER" FREEZE THE RE-DEPLOYMENTS, NOW! HILLARY AND GEORGE COSTANZA BLAH, BLAH, BLAH "I WANT YOUR MONEY" IS BUSH STARTING TO "GET IT?" BUSH IS HERO BUILDING BUSH WILL TAKE DOWN THE GOP IF BUSH LIVED IN ISRAEL NO SUCH THING AS "ONE LIE" McCAIN'S DEAL WITH THE DEVILWILL 1 GOVERNOR "JUST SAY NO?" THE "H" WORD BUSH'S PHONEY GOP SUPPORT PAPA, JUNIOR & THE CIA
click here MEDIA
CABLE NEWS KEEPS WAR GOING MEDIA ASLEEP OVER PASSPORTS MISSING IMUS..BUT WAIT! THE TIMES' "SURPRISING VERDICT" LAPDOGS AND THE ELECTION IF NETWORKS ARE PUSHERS, WHAT ARE WE? INDICTING IMUS- WHY NOW? "DON'T QUOTE ME" IS ANDY ROONEY IN THE HOUSE? A DAY OFF OF JOURNALISM NBC, WELCOME TO THE WAR! NETWORKS FAIL AMERICA YOU CAN'T HANDLE RATHER'S TRUTH
click here CULTURE
THE DECADE OF REPORTS IMMIGRANTS JOIN MICKEY MOUSE CLUB FANS MUST STOP BARRY BONDS NO MORE PARIS HILTON LESSONS FROM VIRGINIA "GROUP THINK, GROUP SPEAK" R.E.M., Airplane Cell Phones & SUV TVs SOUTHERN SLAVERY SYMBOLS DISSING DR. KING THE CHURCH AND ITS BARRIERS TIGER, FLOYD AND THE WAR AMERICA IN SEARCH OF ITSELF TODAY'S MURPHY BROWN