Yeah, I’m addicted to the stupid thing. Yet another of my addictions that I can’t seem to kick. As I’ve written before, a few months ago I swore off the Presidential election, but then the debates started, the stupidity level rose, the tos and fros rose to a fever pitch, and I’m right back in there. I’ve watched every debate and posted about them here and on Facebook. I’m reading my political blogs almost hourly to see what’s new out there and it’s all just really quite stunning to me.
Last night, MSNBC hosted a Democrats Presidential Forum that I didn’t know about until I saw something about their replay of it. So, like a moth to a flame, I watched. Turns out the Democratic Party controls the number of debates the candidates will be allowed to expose themselves to. And MSNBC’s event last night was outside of that controlled environment. So, they called it a forum and had Rachel Maddow interview each candidate separately.
Two sidetracks to go down here. First, political debates these days are far from what I think a debate actually is. I would love to see these candidates actually debate each other through a discussion and challenging of their views and ideas for where to take this country. Instead, the moderators feed them questions that are either meant to hurt or help them. And there’s very little actual debating going on. What I wouldn’t give for a real debate in which the candidates control the flow and direction of the discussion and are able to pose real challenges to each other.
Second, I rarely watch Rachel Maddow, but when I do, I always come away from the experience impressed by her. She’s one of the smartest, wittiest, most down-to-earth news commentators out there.
So, they had this candidates forum last night and it was, as far as I was concerned, much better than what passes for a debate these days. There was at least some give and take, some back and forth, some dialogue between Maddow and each candidate and the questions and answers were far more substantive than anything we’ll see in any of the debates. I came away from it more impressed by Martin O’Malley than I had been before. I would be comfortable with him as President of the United States. I continue to be a fan of Bernie Sanders — I believe he is America’s most popular curmudgeon these days. The reality is that he is speaking to a fundamental reality in this country — the rules of the game have changed over the last few decades from rules that were directed at creating a system that lifted all of us up, that built up the middle class, and helped create this massive, consumer driven society that provided benefits and opportunities to all … to a system where the rules have been re-written to benefit the few, most of whom have blinders on and have lost sight of the basic concept that we will fail as a society unless we take care of each other as brothers and sisters. The golden rule has been lost on far too many these days. I have little hope that Sanders could win a general election, but it would be truly fascinating watching him take this to the end of the line and see what might happen.
As for Hillary … she wasn’t bad, but I simply will never be a fan of hers. There is something unreal and inauthentic about her and I just would prefer somebody else.
Which leads to the fun part of this post. At least for me, anyway.
Could the Republican primary get any more loony than it already is? I mean seriously. The frontrunner now is Ben Carson. Who believes the pyramids were build by Joseph as gigantic granaries, regardless of the archaeological evidence that suggests otherwise. Who seems to feel the need to create his own personal mythology that has little basis in fact. Who claims to have been offered a full scholarship to West Point, even though West Point doesn’t give out scholarships, he never applied to West Point, and, therefore, was never accepted to West Point. Who claims to have been a violent child who apparently was violent in a vacuum because nobody who knew him then has come forward to confirm that yes, in fact, he was a violent child. Who claimed he had no connections with Mannatech, a company for whom he gave a number of paid speeches to and which helped fund his endowed chair at a medical school. Who has admitted that he basically doesn’t know anything about foreign policy. Who buys into some of the looniest theories and conspiracies of the right-wing.
For instance … He equates Obamacare with slavery and the United States under Obama as comparable to Nazi Germany. He believes being gay is a choice and that people choose to be gay when they go to prison. He believes the climate debate is distracting and irrelevant. Who believes that political correctness, particularly on college campuses has gone overboard, but believes it is appropriate to suggest controlling or limiting the speech with which he disagrees. He believes the President can ignore the Supreme Court. And, of course, the best one out there … Obama is a communist who is trying to destroy the country.
Let’s talk about this last one because I think it goes to the core of the right’s inability to deal with facts and reality. When Obama took over as President in January 2009, the country was in a free fall. If he really wanted to destroy America, he could have sat back and did exactly what the Republican Party wanted him to do … nothing. Instead, he didn’t. President Obama did everything he could to rescue the country and now, seven years later, the national unemployment rate is at 5%, it’s lowest level since before he took office, the federal budget deficit is at its lowest since before he took office. All sorts of good things are going on in this country and all we hear from Republicans is how he hates America and wants to destroy the country. All we hear from Republicans is doom and gloom and how horrible things are.
And Ben Carson is the somnambulent, happy-go-lucky, brain surgeon who believes in all of those whacko theories while also refusing to acknowledge the fundamental dishonesty of the life story he has spun for himself. And he’s the leader in the polls for the Republican nomination.
This is just far too fun for me to avoid.