Thursday, September 16, 2010

The GOP's Political Frankenstein

Tea Party candidates are winning GOP primaries and the Republican establishment is running scared. Well, they created this monster, so now they have to live with it. That and the fact that while Sister Sarah and her "grizzlies" appeal to a significant part of the GOP base, their "charm" doesn't take hold that well outside of their own loony circles. How did they get here? Well, this is something they've been cooking up for some time now.

The Republicans tried with the Tea Party the same approach they started using with the Christian Right some 30 years ago: lure them in for votes and once their support carries the GOP into office, turn their backs on them. After all, they're not gonna vote for the Democrats, right?

Except the Tea Partiers were pro-active and office-seeking in a way the Christian Right wasn't. So now you have the GOP worried that the far right agenda of Tea Party candidates will alienate moderate Republicans AND independents in November. Hell, Karl Rove said as much to Sean Hannity on Fox Tuesday night. This could get pretty interesting. And while it may be to early for those of us with liberal political leanings to partake in some schadenfruede, this Republican mess is enough to make one smile.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Ago...

If you don’t mind I’d like to share with you my brief recollections from that day.

Since I didn’t have to be at work go until noon or so, I was asleep in my South Brooklyn apartment when it all happened. I don’t have a phone in my bedroom because I get calls at all hours of the day and don’t want to deal with that nonsense. Plus, my friends know they won’t wake me no matter what time they call so they feel free to call anytime. However, it was one of those friends who woke me that fateful Tuesday morning.

I couldn’t immediately make out who it was but someone was yelling into my answer machine and I got up to find out what all the fuss was about. When I picked up, my buddy Jorge, who was calling from Florida, didn’t even greet me. “Put on the TV!” Figuring this was something major I didn’t hesitate and immediately put on CNN only to be confronted by the sight of the World Trade Center up in smoke.

For the next 4 or 5 hours I was on the couch in front of the TV and getting calls from all over the world. My mom in the Dominican Republic, who like the vast majority of Dominicans was equally shocked and saddened, told me how my brother was on the roof placing both a Dominican and American flag side by side. Friends kept calling to check in on me and to commiserate. At one point I went back to my bedroom for the first time since Jorge had awakened me and absentmindedly wondered what that burning smell was. Oh.

I walked out to the corner bodega to get a bite to eat and noticed how the cars on my block were covered in a light coat of sand-colored ash. When I got to the corner and looked north on 4th Ave I saw what seemed like an army of commuters, trudging along on foot, exhausted and bewildered, but on their way home. Meanwhile, my Yemenite grocers looked dismayed and slightly unsettled; who knew what reaction would come their way? Thankfully, all was calm in the ‘hood as we started to piece together just how horrible this tragedy turned out to be.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Where Are We?

There has been much talk lately about liberal apathy and unreasonable expectations of the President feeding GOP scorched earth/divide and conquer tactics. While this may be true, and unfortunate--as well as something that needs to be reversed immediately--those of us who continue to support President Obama have every reason to be dismayed over his tenure in the Oval Office.

Sometimes you can control end results; often, you cannot. That's not what bothers me. However, not putting up a proper fight truly does irk me. If you'll permit me a dried up sports analogy...it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. And Obama's team has played a mediocre game despite much talent on the field. The GOP is not beating this administration; the White House is beating itself by making one bad play after another.

The talented team that ran a brilliant campaign has not lived up to the reasonable expectations we had, now that they are in office. Yes, it's way more complicated than that, obviously. But that's what it boils down to. Perception is the key currency in politics; it's what gets you elected and re-elected. Obama's efforts to compromise with the GOP--which was the equivalent of a straight man continuously hitting on a lesbian and hoping to score--rendered him ineffectual and weak. Irreparably so? I sure hope not. But enough damage has been done to his persona.

I thought a Chicago pol that came out of nowhere to become the first black US president would be a badass and not the milquetoast that took forever to figure out the GOP only respects fear and decisive action. Politics is a ruthless and dirty business; the GOP hate Bill Clinton not because he has a weakness for tail but because he plays dirty and for keeps like they do. Sadly, that SNL skit from last year, "The Rock Obama", is closer to the truth than anyone would like to admit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Distinguished Gentleman

I thought someone who 10 years ago was a virtual unknown and rose out of Chicago politics to be the first African-American president would be one tough mofo. Instead, Obama has shown himself to be, for the most part, a step or two above a garden variety milquetoast. A stereotypical Democrat, indeed.