30 September 2011

political musings

It is the American silly season. That period of time when the real candidates have to either ignore or sweep aside the pretenders. It warmed my heart to note this week that in one national poll, Michelle Bachmann is running behind Sarah Palin, who lest we forget, is not running! Yes American voters do have some sense! In a week that featured presumed Republican voters booing a soldier asking a question during a debate, I found that observation comforting.

Thirteen months before we vote, when not one primary has been counted, many voters appear much more concerned with their World Series picks and NFL point spreads than the election. That may save the Republican Party if it can dismiss some of the real idiots currently appearing in its debate fora. Ms. Bachmann's slide towards well deserved obscurity however, suggests the party should hurry, someone seems to be paying some attention.

Meanwhile among "viral videos" emerged the utterly incoherent attempt by Miss North Carolina to explain why a majority of Americans are unable to place the US on a world map. Even while she demonstrated the reality, she could not think of "horribly bad education systems." None-the-less in the States that unlike Illinois impose no constitutional study on high-school curricula (we require a year of American History and a test of basic constitutional literacy here) the legal hierarchy may surprise some folks.

We often refer to "seperation of powers" in public discourse without considering some of the implications. One is that someone has to be most or least powerful in any given context. So, for instance, the Constitution clearly empowers the president (not for instance governors) to conduct diplomatic relations. I mention this because arguably the second most powerful office in American government is the speaker of the house.

Congress often forgets its standing as a co-equal branch of government. Given some of the truly pathetic substitutes for intelligent thought which frequently emerges from Congress, this may be a good thing. But given a powerful demagogue in the speaker's chair and a weak president (cf. all of the contemporary Republican "favorites") the next term carries substantial risk.

Which is one additional reason why I shall vote for Mr. Obama unless some cataclysmic event changes my mind. Mr. Boehner is not the worst speaker in our history, who can forget "Beast" Butler (ok, look him up,) or Nancy Pellosi, but given the competition that is not much of a recommendation. A Republican president will empower this guy, or equally scary, empower Mrs. Pelosi. That is reason enough to vote for Mr. Obama. And so, I think I shall.



JCF said...

What's wrong w/ Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House? O_o

[Well, except for taking the impeachment of Dubya off the table 2007-2009]

I think Rep. Pelosi did a GREAT job as Speaker, and hope she will become so again! [Sen. Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader however... :-X (I still think he COULD have gotten a Public Option in the healthcare bill, through the Senate, had he done his job right)]

JimB said...

The woman is politically utterly tone deaf. Her very elitist cold tone, is why we have Boehner.

The Republicans ran against her and it worked. We can agree she was right on issues, that is no big deal, any democrat except perhaps Lupinski in Illinois could do that. The issue is selling to a country and she blew it.


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