Bearwall – A Timely Debate (Warning Political Bullshit)

Why should you, or anyone, care about a debate? Just put some names on a ballot and everyone can vote, they’re all the same, right?

I have a surprise for you. This post has NOTHING to do with the US presidential debate.

It has to do with making the best choice you can from what is offered. Okay, and it’s to say my piece before the election is over.

I bet what I’ve got to say ain’t what most of you think though.

American politics is, at it’s root, about having the power to choose who will rule us.

Supposedly, we as individuals have the power to decide how much authority we are going to delegate to a chosen representative, and then to choose those representatives to make decisions on our behalf.

In reality, once you get to a certain level, there are organized entrenched political ‘machines’ that represent big money and power. You want to be a candidate and play in the big leagues, you need lots of money and support to get in the news, get signs made, get the word out about your name. So a would-be candidate picks a side, joins a machine, and gets run through the mill.

The Tea Party is universally hated by both machines for challenging that power structure. Don’t be fooled otherwise. If you can look past the rabid rhetoric and name calling, at the heart of things is power, who will hold it, and who won’t. No matter what a Democrat thinks about a Republican and vice versa, neither candidate wants to see a third competitor for wealth and power.

A political machine is all about controlling who our choices will be come election day, and making sure that whoever is chosen, the power is retained intact.

Once you get to that level… once a machine gets involved, whether you know it or not, you’ve already lost.

The Tea Party can be seen as a prime example of what happens when someone rises to challenge the existing power structure. The hate both existing machines have heaped on members of the Tea Party is very revealing.

“But, they share your stated views on this issue…”  “They are illiterate, inbred redneck scum and probably violent extremists willing to bomb Americans.” “…that seems harsh.”

The conceit is, we are told that all of the politicians are in the game out of a sense of covic pride. They have, each of them, devoted their life topublic service to make the country and the world a better place. Altruism, not self-interest.

Um… think about it. Without someone on a TV telling it to you in a matter-of-fact tone as if, duh, of COURSE they serve out of the goodness of their heart. How could anyone think otherwise? That is a given. No self-interest, no lust for power and wealth, just good spirited civic-mindedness.

Think about that for a bit… and then think about all the people you have ever met in the real world. Don’t think in TV fantasyland terms, think of what you know about reality.

And then remember the old cop saying – wanna know why someone did something? Follow the money.

A reminder here. We are, all of us here in the United States, people first, political activists second.

America consists of those who have voted for many different political parties.

I hold a controversial opinion. I firmly believe that voting Democrat or Republican does not make a person inherently evil.

According to the latest polling figures, the country is pretty evenly split 50/50 between the Democrat and Republican Presidential nominees.

If you can truly believe in your heart that half of the voting population of the United States of America is EVIL because they are of a different political party than you, I mean seriously hold to that idea that half of the whole fucking country is evil, than you’re a worthless sack of shit that can’t think for yourself, and fuck you.

I can’t challenge that level of rabid closemindedness. I don’t dislike members of political parties, I dislike any person of any side that can HATE other people because of whatever their values may be.

I can drill down and give you just one example of how fucking stupid this “party as evil” idea is.

Do you think our armed forces consist solely of Republicans or Democrats? Hmm? These are people who have, all of them, chosen to step forward and risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in service to our country.

Do you feel that a large portion of them are evil? Are without value, because of affiliation with a political party?

Or can you entertain the concept that a large portion of the men and women who stand up to defend our country and our way of life do not share the same political views that you do, and yet they are still brave, honorable and valiant defenders of liberty?

Many of them do not share your views, whateverthose views may be, but they have stood up just the same. Putting their lives on the line for their own reasons, yes, but many of them because they love our country and our way of life, and our freedom to express ourselves and hold fast to our values and beliefs without fear of persecution.

Can you hold fast to your belief that they are evil scum? And yet, they are still willing to risk their lives in service to our country.

The freedom they fight for is the freedom of choice, and of opinion, and that includes fighting to defend your right to be a hate-filled little snot.

I know who I will choose to stand beside. And a spoiler? It ain’t someone that tells me how we need to silence an entire group because you do not agree with what they have to say.

There is an old adage that has a bit of truth to it. If you’re under the age of 21 and aren’t a democrat, you’ve got no heart. If you’re over the age of 21 and aren’t a republican, you’ve got no brain.

The truth there isn’t about the ideologies of either side, it’s about how the two parties have packaged their arguments.

Each political machine has packaged their argument to pit “heart” against “brain”. Either vote for the party that cares about people and trust that the money will be there to spread around, or vote for the party that cares about economic prosperity and trust that the people will be taken care of somehow.


Another way to spin it, either vote for the party that thinks you need to be told what to do and how to live your life because they know better, or vote for the party that believes that every single snowflake is precious and equally responsible and there should be no rules limiting our behavior because everyone is a fabulous rock star.


Can you see through the bullshit?

Holy crap, I hate to look to fiction to try and make any point about the real world, but look at the fictional world of Azeroth for a minute.

Azeroth is created from scratch, and yet it has a more diverse political structure than the one we have in the United States.

What, the fictional world of Azeroth is somehow more compicated than the real US? The power struggles between Garrosh and Vol’jin and Baine and Sylvanus and Thrall are really MORE complicated with more sides and opinions and beliefs than a country formed of many diverse ethnic groups and centuries of growing and conflicting social and religious issues?

Are you fucking serious? Two parties, two ideologies, and that covers EVERY eventuality, every valid opinion? You can buy into that?

Just no. Basic Campfire for President. Burn it all down.

Once you reach the level of the political machine, the candidates are all slime. Power corrupts, and so does the hunger for power. You don’t have to possess power before you become corrupted. Just wanting it bad enough will do.

To join a machine, a politician had to crave personal power over you and me so badly that they were willing to shit all over principles and make deals and promises and assurances that they will do what they are told. That kind of money isn’t thrown behind someone unless they are sure you’ll do what they tell you.

The interesting thing is how clean, how packaged, how prepared the candidates all are at that level. You see them, and they all seem stamped from the same mold, right?

Do you think they were born that way?

Hell no.

There is a way you can see exactly what these people are like. And it’s called a debate.

A debate is all about putting this ball of cats together in a room, throwing water on the lot and let them tear the shit out of each other.

We the people get to sit back, /popcorn and watch, and see how they handle themselves when the claws come out.

The higher in office the candidates get, the more prepared, the more coached, polished, packaged and sterilized they have become. So… you really wanna see them, catch them early in their career before someone spackled bullshit all over them.

I’ve talked a lot about “once you get to the machine level”, but every candidate has to start somewhere.

You ever hear the phrase that if you want to get into politics, you have to start somewhere, like third assistant city dogcatcher?

It’s true. There are many positions that are on local ballots, and in the US, there are so many of them that the political machine can’t grab and package and prepare every single one. They try, but at the lowest levels, common everyday mere mortals like you and me have the sheer effrontery of thinking we can be a candidate too.

At the lowest level, you see a mix of machine candidates and actual real living human beings that have no clue but are infused with outrage, or greed, or driven by one issue that they want to get elected to ram home.

At this lowest level, the local City Council (or School Board, that’s another one), you see a broad mix of folks.

Entrenched power versus upstarts, machine candidates against independants (real independants without any group behind them), nut balls and whack jobs, concerned citizens and power hungry freaks.

The City Council election gets them all.

This is where you get the chance to see where your Barack Obama and Mitt Romney starts. Every candidate has to start somewhere, and most of them didn’t explode onto the scene sanitized and ready to perform.

You want to have fun? Do you want to really get involved in politics? Do you want to see the reality underpinning all this bullshit for yourself?

Try to find out information about every candidate for a City Council position.

You have to find out as much as possible about each and every candidate to make the best choice you can when you vote. Right? Supposedly, as a responsible citizen, you have to make a personal judgment about the candidates. You have to compare their qualities, and then choose one to be your best option.

The candidates know this… and know that it is in their best interests to conceal as much about themselves as possible, especially at this earliest level, so that when they get elected and attract the attention of a machine, they have no baggage to make it difficult for a machine to mold their image.

Remember, fundamentally, they are slime. All of them. YES THEY ARE.

Do you think they want you to get to know the real them?

Of course not, they look forward to the day when they have handlers and flacks that will insulate themselves from you. They want you to see the image they have created, the package they’ve put together. Scripted, primped, powdered and pandered to.

If a candidate can get away with it, they will give you nothing about themselves, and as little about what they would do once in power as possible, because anything they say to get elected can come back later as a campaign promise they did or did not fulfill.

If they make no promises, then they can’t be held accountable for any decision they make, or have to explain their reasoning for making it.

I live in the city of North Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America.

It’s not the actual city of Saint Paul, the famous big city. It’s a tiny little suburban town on the northeastern outskirts of Saint Paul.

Every time the City Council election comes due, Cassie and I try to find out details about the candidates. Who are they? What do they represent? What is important to them, what do they intend to do or change once elected?

It’s hilarious. Most of them have little or no information. No websites, no position papers. When the newspapers try to get info out of them by giving each candidate a list of questions to answer, most leave the questions blank.

That’s right, candidates when asked point blank by a newspaper to state their positions to get publicity and attention refuse to answer.

That says it all right there, doesn’t it?

If the candidates tell you nothing about themselves, how do they expect you to make an informed chocie?

They don’t. They expect you to vote for the name that sounds ethnically pleasing, or catchy, or by alphabetical precedence. Or because you saw it everywhere on little signs in front yards, and it sounds familiar, and your neighbors must know what they’re doing.

Or because they call themselves a Democrat or Republican.

So, if the candidates are trying to make you vote blind, how do you find anything out about them?

That would be the purpose of the debate.

You attend the City Council debate, and you see these people as they really are.

Remember, these are the people who are baby politicians. Some are in the machine, mostly the incumbent (another word for bought and paid for), but sometimes a promising challenger gets in the machine early. Some aren’t in the machine. The only difference between them and a Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is how much time and effort has been spent coaching them and training them to HIDE WHO THEY REALLY ARE.

At the City Council level, you can see them unmasked… IF you get them in a debate, and IF they have not already joined forces and made deals behind the scenes to make sure one gets elected and the others get what they wanted.

Oh yes, of course. One guy is running because he wants to put in a bike trail, and another is running for the power of the position? That is a situation ripe for a deal. The guy running for the power of it makes sure the bike trail gets done in exchange for the other guy throwing his support in the ring and giving up. Where do you think endorsements come from?

If you made it this far, you deserve a present. And I have one for you, courtesy of Cassie.

Cassie was researching our local City Council candidates, and getting disgusted at the way most of them try to conceal their info. But she found a wonderful Youtube video made of the most recent City Council candidate debate, where oh my YES you can see them in action. Being themselves.

You watch this, and as you watch it, remind yourselves that these are the people who are fighting for control over an entire city… legally. And when they have that control, millions of dollars are placed in their hands to make decisions as they see fit… and this is because, supposedly, they represent the will of the citizens living in that city.

Remember that key point. Their job is not to govern responsibly. That implies that we are voting for a ruler to do whatever the ruler sees fit, furthered by divine inspiration and just knowing what is best for everyone. 

Their job as elected representatives is to act to further the will of the majority of the citizens, and in cases where that will is not clear, to call a complicated issue to a vote.

Govern responsibly. lol.

Think about your local city. How is it governed? How much do you know about them?

Is it possible to find out what they are really like?

Maybe you can’t physically attend your City Council meetings, maybe you can.

And maybe, just possibly, once you see these fucking idiots in action, you’ll be able to translate that into the larger world stage and realise, we’re not voting for infallible gods greater than us lesser mortals, we’re being told to choose between two pieces of shit slapped with a grade A coat of polish to make them shine, baby, shine.

Sure, we’ve got a choice. But… it’s between shit, or shit. That’s a choice?

And no, the other side is not evil and hateful and everyone on your side is not wonderful. Whichever side it is. That is the bullshit you are being fed, to choose to fight against the evil “Other”, to make you believe that you are embroiled in a battle of good versus evil.

Don’t be that naive. Don’t give in to hate. Don’t be used that way.

We can make our choices, and we can fight for our individual causes, and hope that we can make the right decisions on who to vote for, starting at the very lowest level and paying attention to every single level of government throughout the entire system, without buying into the ludicrous idea that half of this country is populated by twisted, hateful, evil.

Presidents. Shit. If you want to be passionate, throw that passion where it will do the most good. Start local, and work your way up, fighting for your issue and for the best of a bad choice all the way up the line.

If you don’t start paying attention to these bozos until they’re fighting for King of America, it’s too damn late.

27 thoughts on “Bearwall – A Timely Debate (Warning Political Bullshit)

  1. I agree to a degree, but I think you’re missing the fundamental common denominator: voters.

    Voters continue to support the same spoon-fed nonsense while claiming the don’t like politicians. Well, if you don’t like it, then get off your butt and do something about it. Voting D or R simply confirms the theory of insanity. Repeating the same action expecting a different result is nuts.

    One example, people perpetually complain about Congress and the Senate. But, they will continue to vote in the incumbent. Oxymoron much?

    If people don’t like politics the way it has evolved, then they should stop voting for the same empty suits and make a difference. Our choices are limited because we allow them to be. If the repressed people of Egypt can topple a corrupt system like Mubarek’s, it must be possible or our citizenry to make changes as well.

    Blaming politicians is an easy way out that absolves voters of the choices they make.

    My 2 copper, no offense intended.


  2. BBB,
    Where I was raised, we did not talk about religion or politics in “polite company.” Good thing this is a WoW blog, right? (;
    Seriously, though, I became disenchanted a long time ago. My then-girlfriend-now-wife was studying to be a political science professor (and is now the chair of a polisci dept where we live). She came across a situation where she was denied the right to vote in both our college town, since it wasn’t her “permanent residence,” and her home town, where “she resided for less than half the year.” A gigantic fight/debate broke out around the college about how it should be dealt with, and after a huge student-to-local media campaign and voting drive where my wife personally registered hundreds of students and people from around the very conservative community regardless of their race, religion, or creed, the elections board threw out the entire batch of voting application citing that they were improperly handled and the board couldn’t adequately judge their credibility.

    I “made up” a third party on that day, and I still adhere to it when people ask me what my political leanings are. I’m a member of the disgustocrats. I basically hate every politician that’s funded by any kind of “machine” as you describe them, be it political or corporate. I like government – I’m no anarchist – but the system we have here has been terminally polluted by campaign finance laws that allow large corporations to buy politicians for life. Every time I hear people debating about this candidate or that candidate, it’s all I can do not to laugh and ask them if they really think there’d be a large difference between the two in office. There hasn’t been for a long, long time, since about Ike, when he warned of the military industrial complex. There will be more wars. There will be less regulation of large corporations and other moneymakers (banks, etc). There will be no meaningful campaign finance reform or control put on lobbying. It doesn’t matter who’s in power. Those fundamentals will hold true.

    I hate to be a problem-bringer and not a solution-provider, but this one is beyond me. I can’t stand how things are, but I can’t see a non-violent way (and I’m not advocating violence here, just saying that I don’t see a non-violent way) to change things. Those in power will maintain it through the machine, as you put in your post. Beyond that, it’s all theater.

    If you haven’t watched it before, there’s a great old clip (about a decade old now, I think) of Jon Stewart on Crossfire. He starts by lampooning the two hosts for “hurting America” by pushing theater as substance. It gets very, very interesting from there. You should check it out.



  3. Ahh politics… interestingly it’s been on my mind too after a discussion with a friend over the weekend. It is one of the things I find amusing (in an I’m not so amused way) in that:
    a) party line is the be all and end all as you said
    but b) there is generally a convergence in policy between the major parties (most definitely in Australia and from an outsider’s view seems to be true in the UK and US)

    I remember I took a questionnaire around the time of the last Australian government elections that was aimed at placing you in a grid in terms of where the parties site (liberal/conservative on one axis and socialist/capitalist in the other axis those aren’t the technical names for them but what I remember them as). We have 3 major parties in Australia (that’s dumping a couple of parties together – but they’ve been a coalition since before I was born). Basically there was nothing that represented my view and on the scale the Liberal an Labour parties were basically right next to each other in the conservative/capitalist section with very little different. Greens were different, but they don’t have the numbers to take office (although they do/and have ended up with the balance of power). Then if you look at the major polices, or approaches to how they handle difficult situations they largely approach it from the same tack with different wording and ways of promoting it.

    This set up leads to what happened in our last election… that the people voted and they said ‘meh’ (I created a nice little comic at the time over at my short-lived blog gnomish truth) – the two parties ended up with equal number of seats the the government had to form a minority government by cobbling together with a bunch of independent and greens candidates. We ended up with a government that basically can’t get anything through the parliament (much like the Obama/Congress setup I guess) – because they have to appease so many groups just to get it through.

    For me it’s largely just lead to disillusionment with the system. It doesn’t seem to matter who I vote for because it by and large isn’t going to change anything and they don’t really represent me any way. I still vote (not just because it is mandatory here) and I still take care to examine the policies and what is said before elections, but it does really feel like I’m choosing between the very very very very slightly lesser of two evils.

    The thing I hate most is the ‘tow the party line’ thing as you brought up. The system here in Australia is that you vote for your local candidate and they end up in parliament if they get enough votes but there really isn’t any real connection to your local constituency such that they can have a different view than the party presents. Recent events here have really shown how much of the system is driven by back room dealing between the power brokers of the parties.


  4. A point that I didnt see above BBB. If you arent the parties chosen canidate you get axed out as Ron Paul. A lot of what e said I didnt really agree with but your agruement can be made there. He is a republician, but not a “republician” as much as they want. So he gets made fun of and maginalized. Outside of him and Perot from the 90’s who else really has had a chance. But I tell you this it will not change unless the people finally say enough. I will vote for Johnson if for no other reason then to give the 2 party system the finger and stick my thumb in their eyes. If everyone who was fed up with the system did that well ten we would see what a 3rd party could do. But even then he is axed out of the debates……… Currently I’m 32 and have never held an office in my life. My father is a currently county councilman, noit for money but becuase he wanted to see some good done. It all comes down to find out about who you are voting for small and big elections. I would also urge anyone who is getting tired of the BS to vote for niether of the 2 parties if a viable 3rd canidate can ever get a decent following but if they do it will have to be online grass root movement.
    Sorry for the text wall.


  5. Totally agree Bear – we are going through a local government election this weekend in Aust where I live. We have to vote, and I don’t want to, as all three options are just as bad as one another.

    On a different note – I am of the view that you would get much better performance out of them as individuals if you restricted the amount of time that they can serve in office. Restrict them to either one or two terms – then they are not just interested in getting reelected, but might actually show an interest in long term projects to help their constituents. It often seems that they just spend four years trying to get themselves reelected, rather that actually working through any of the outstanding problems.


  6. The Tea Party? Seriously? The voice of the people that is funded by the Koch brothers and openly manipulated by Dick Armey? I’m related to a number of them and I’ve yet to find one who has half a clue about political science, economics, philosophy, or history (my major, by the way). Being loud and easily lead does not make you an independent thinker or a political maverick, it makes you loud and easily lead.

    Not that there will be much change. Wealth and media concentration guarantees that there is very little that can be done to move things. Representational democracy is new and was developed at a much smaller scale. Even back in the ‘golden days’ people weren’t sure what this all meant. Read “The Freedoms That We Lost” by Barbara Clarke Smith for a good overview of how the concept of representation, and what the vote actually meant, evolved through the colonial era.

    Read “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis for a more chilling view of the next election.


    • Um, okay what about the Tea Party? Your phrasing made it seem you were outraged about the mention of the Tea Party, but what I didn’t get, besides your seeming to despise members of it, is what I said about the Tea Party besides including them as an example of a group hated by entrenched political parties that angered you.

      It’s not like I endorsed the Tea Party, I mentioned them in passing.

      Sometimes I swear people ascribe value laden judgments to what I say that weren’t there except in the eye of the beholder.

      The truth here is I woke up yesterday, and asked myself, “What is the best way to piss off 90% of my readers. Oh, I know, write about politics three weeks before the election of the next King of America.”

      The key points I was trying to make were, first, that anyone who believes that politicians actually care about something more than obtaining, increasing and maintaining their personal power are not thinking things through, second that I believe it is criminally stupid to act like people who do not share your personal beliefs are evil, and third, that if you care about your cause whatever it may be, get involved in politics at your local level.

      The overriding core message is, take personal responsibility for your own actions, and use your own experience in face-to-face personal interactions with people to develop your understanding of reality, NOT what you see on TV or read on the internet. People are not soundbytes, they are people. As soon as something looks simple, is fed to you in an easily understood package, it’s a lie. Or at best a gross exagerration.


      • My point is that there is not much more entrenched than Dick Armey and the Koch brothers. Taking them to be outsiders who enrage the establishment is falling for a fairly obvious bait-and-switch. Believing that those yahoos, or the Occupy set, are a political alternative is nothing more than accepting the Republicrat narrative. I become outraged, to use your word, when people decide to throw that sort of nonsense around. It only serves the people you claim to dislike and want to remove from power.

        And I’ll also disagree with on believing that people who do not share your beliefs are evil. In some cases you are correct, but only when there is an honest attempt to communicate and devise a way to live in the same country with the greatest level of peace. When established politicians state that I am not fit to be in this country, and there is no compromise possible, I stop trying to play nice with them. Failing to do so is the path that Greece walked with the Golden Dawn. Read the article in the BBC today if you haven’t been following that decent into hell.

        And, as an aside, the New Jersey definition of an honest politician? He stays bought.


  7. It has always surprised me that US with all those people and states basically only have 2 parties while a small country like Norway have a bunch. I think we currently have about 7 parties represented in the “storting” (congress?) 3 one one side and 4 on the other. And the goverment is made up on those 3 on one side with only a couple of mandates more than the other side.

    But maybe this is just a result of different political systems

    Cheers, Erex


    • Honestly, I think it’s partly due to our size. It’s harder to get noticed when one side sports 60 million people and the other 57 million – having a new party emerge that only has 750,000 people is nothing on the national scale, even if it completely dominates a smaller state.

      According to my google-fu, Norway has roughly 5 million people. If half (typical) are capable of voting, then a party as small as 100,000 could reasonably be assured of having a voice – it isn’t drowned out as quickly.


  8. If the liberals had managed to generate a spin-off as powerful as the Tea Party at the same time, I think that could have fundamentally shaken up the political scene – it could have split both major parties into two major and two slightly minor parties.

    Not sure that would have been any better though.

    One thing I’ve noted in playing MMOs and LARPs through the years: three teams always, always ALWAYS ends up two ganging up on one. You take out the weakest team and then concentrate on whichever remains.

    I think that’s the ultimate reason there’s never been a viable third party. Regardless of the reasons it forms, it’s human nature to take out the weakest member, and it will always be the upstart. It will take an act of God or whatever higher power you believe in, to get a three party system working here.

    If our Constitution was different, were it more like the Canadians, reforming government every election cycle, I could see it happening. But not as written, not as long as the current engines of politics are revving nice and quietly.

    I do think Akiosama noted something too – the nation is too fractured inside to have any blanket policy work for everyone. But, we’re too close to the wounds of segregation and human rights to understand that we are actually created differently, if equal. That sometimes you do actually have to cater to specifics and not just generalities. There are the right ways to do some things, and we’ve been too long doing them the wrong ways. It’s a lesson a lot of people apparently miss.


  9. Sure, there exist the party machines. It would be absurd of me to argue otherwise with you. However, I will disagree with your claim that any third party is opposed by both machines by virtue of being a third party. The third party candidates I’ve seen challenge machines (at the national level) have been Ross Perot, Ralph Nader and now the Tea Party. I don’t know a single Republican that wanted Ralph Nader to withdraw from the race. Nor Democrat that wanted Ross Perot out.

    Where I think you could make your case that both parties will oppose a given third party, as a party, is if that third party took supporters away from both major parties in anywhere near equal measure. However, I have never seen that happen. It wasn’t the case with Perot or Nader and certainly isn’t the case with the Tea Party. You may be right that Republicans hate the Tea Party because it challenges their machine. However, Democrats hate the Tea Party on ideological grounds. Even worse than Perot, perhaps, because Perot was never going to win. He was a side show siphoning votes away from GHW Bush. Those Tea Party candidates though? Sometimes they do win. So they garner some pretty virulant opposition from Democrats as well.


  10. From what I can tell, you tend to lean conservative. Personally, I lean toward the liberal side of things. But, at this point, none of that matters.

    THANK YOU so much for this post. It really drills home the point of just how fragmented and polarized we are. And it drills home the point that, in the end, through our votes – or lack thereof – we’re the ones creating this situation where we don’t like either candidate.


    • One thing I wish people would listen to closer is the way news agencies talk about the concept of “compromise” and “reaching across the aisle”.

      It doesn’t matter what political party someone is affiliated with, it works the same.

      Politicians are expected to work together in a bi-partisan way to reach a middle ground and an agreement that works. If they do not, then they are portrayed as acting in a selfish, partisan way that is despicable.

      But, if a politician ever DOES step forward and shows willingness to work together with members of the opposing faction to reach an agreement, what then?

      Any politician that EVER makes a move to work with a politician of the other party gets it in the shorts.

      That other party IMMEDIATELY trumpets how the first politician is not committed to their beliefs and was willing to compormise their principles. The case is then made that if the politician is willing to reach across the aisle, they must be weak, and don’t believe in their own cause. The party they reached out to WON.

      So, you’re screwed if you do, screwed if you don’t, and it’s MUCH BETTER IN THE LONG RUN for a politicians career to refuse to ever cooperate with anyone outside their party, because it is easier to defend a record of refusing to compromise their principles. Oh, did they never accomplish anything except sit and wait until their party held a majority to pass legislation? Ah well, tough shit, they never compromised their principles.


      • Oh certainly. I think that the transparency of the legislature today has weakened the ability of both parties to compromise. In the era of the Twitter response made seconds after a headline appears, any kind of compromise can be seized on by party leadership and the base, and eviscerated before it gets a chance to garner support. It’s like throwing a freshly hatched duckling into a cage of mountain lions. Now, if that duckling had had a chance to grow up and get some wings? It would have been able to get away. Combined with the remarkable ability of the human brain to rationalize whatever kind of position it wants, compromise has very little ability to survive.


  11. This seems… harsh.
    I realize that as a youngster barely old enough to vote, I’m expected to be naive and idealistic. But is it too much to believe that there are people who legitimately believe what they are saying?
    Biden clearly isn’t comfortable with the conflict between his pro-choice stance and Catholic faith. Romney clearly has no idea what his actual positions are at this point. Obama isn’t comfortable with some of the extreme populist nonsense he’s been spouting. Ryan… well, Ryan could very well actually fully mean most of what he says. After all, the think tanks where his career was started don’t necessarily emphasize critical thinking.
    But is that a reason to abandon all hope that these people are sane, rational, caring human beings?
    Obama WANTS health care reform to work. You can tell when he speaks on that subject that it is something he genuinely cares about.
    Romney genuinely believes that smaller government will benefit the American people in the long term.
    Dismissing the ~600 people at the highest level of government as absolute, complete slime is equally as ridiculous as dismissing half the country as stupid or deceived, or believing that 47% of Americans lack any self-motivation.


    • I listen very closely to what these people are saying, and I do not hear that same belief in their voices that you do.

      But I do not base my judgment on job performance based on what they say. Ever. The record of what is or is not done, action taken or votes made or abstained from is what speaks truth.

      You ain’t what you say. You are what you do when it counts.

      You chastise me for believing that the top levels of government are aboslutel;y, contemptably corrupt.

      Keep an open mind…

      Perhaps you are right, and the people we are speaking about have managed to reach those levels of political power and accrue the millions (and billions) of dollars of donated money necessary to run their campaings and win office without ever having to have made promises or pledged their support for campaign contributors. The money was just handed to them gratis, out of trust and faith.

      Perhaps, putting it another way, those millions of dollars were offered as gifts without expectation of recompense or future consideration, and taken with the spirit of same.

      What the heck, there’s always a first time.


      • Oh certainly. All of them may have sold some part of their souls to the corporate interests. BUT…
        Some part of them, I believe, is still genuine. Obama’s healthcare reform bill was not whatsoever in the strategic interest of his campaign. It nearly split the party in half, and permanently put them on the defensive. By the end of it, the insurance companies hated it, and AARP and the AMA were only barely on board. But that was Obama’s priority.
        PS: No one has (yet) spent a billion dollars on a presidential campaign.


  12. One of the problems with politics is that the rationale behind its efficacy revolves around group decision making, checks and balances, and everyone trying to watch over everyone – with the hope that somewhere in that group of people, a reasonable ‘middle ground’ set of decisions will be made through compromise, competition, and the majority requirements.

    But, Bear, you illustrate why this reasonable ‘middle ground’ never seems to be reached – it’s the idea of self selection. We, as constituents, don’t get a candidate who represents the general qualities of the population of the constituent area, but rather someone who thinks they can do “what’s best for everyone”. Given the differences in needs between groups of people, and the larger the affected area, the more differences there are, anyone who thinks they can do “what’s best for everyone” has to be a little crazy. And while this seems already somewhat off-base at the local levels, think about what it’s like at the national level.

    I mean, are the needs of the people in Minnesota really the same as those who live here in Southern California? Heck, NORTHERN California has different needs and ideas than Southern California. And let’s not even include the radical thinkers in the San Francisco area into that. And if we here in California have that much disparity between regions, what’s it going to be like between Southern California and Minnesota? Or Alaska? Or Florida?

    Therein lies the problem with politics today – we have people self-selecting themselves to be politicians (where the more sane people probably avoid it like the plague), trying to do “what’s best for everyone” in a country that’s really too diverse for blanket solutions to be the best course of action. Then when you throw in the fact that these people who have chosen themselves for political life want to keep their jobs so they “can do more for their people” – let’s face it, they want to hold onto that power – it means that they end up in many cases doing what the truly influential people want them to – thus leading to a political system that seems to favor those who have money or actual power (i.e., financial or social influence).

    I mean, we’re in the midst of an economic recession that has been here for quite a while – one of the worst since the Great Depression – and there still seems to be no end in sight. We’ve stopped extending help to those who can’t find work, claiming that the unemployment emergency is over, and that extensions of unemployment benefits due to the lack of jobs is no longer necessary, and yet, our unemployment figures are still alarmingly high, with companies (read, those with money) continue to move jobs out of the country because the price of labor is cheaper and they can keep their profit margins up for their stockholders (read, those with money). We talk about trying to make healthcare available to the masses without addressing the real problem – healthcare costs themselves are through the roof because pharmaceutical companies are making more money than ever, universities are charging higher tuitions than ever, and the fact that so much of the American population relies on healthcare insurance to pay for it all keeps the costs up, because insurance helps people afford those high costs, meaning there is always enough demand to keep the price level up. We talk about making jobs for people in an era with computers so advanced, and advancing more each day, that allow one person to do the work of a department, and save companies on overhead and raise profits for their stockholders (read, those with money).

    And people still are able to believe that the current political administration (regime?) is doing a good enough job to consider keeping them in office for another 4 years. And why? Possibly, because there is no better choice. Possibly people vote by party, and they won’t vote for ‘the enemy’. Or possibly, they’re voting to keep them in office because they’re the real beneficiaries of the administration’s policy. No wonder voter turnout is so low.

    So, BBB, I salute you – I think you’ve really illustrated many issues that surround the modern American political system, and the reason that the upcoming debate isn’t the real debate that should be going on for the future of this country.

    My 2 yen,



  13. I suspect most peoples ballots look like a lazy test taker picking “C” all the way down. I like to ask people I know every election who they voted for, which means just about every other year I get some blank looks. Every 4th year though, I just get one of the Presidential candidate’s name, so my follow up is “Who’d you pick for Governor, Senate, ect.?” Again with the blank looks. Most people don’t even know the name of the State or Federal official they just voted for hours ago!

    There’s a lot of talk about voter turnout every 4 years, and the media reports smugly it seems, that Get Out the Vote, Rock the Vote, Buy the Vote, whatever seems to be working, but the votes that really matter are for the people you can actually walk up to, shake their hand, and ask them what their doing for your city, all while on a lunch break from work.


    • All politics are local, and whatnot 🙂

      It would be nice if people took the time to meet their local politicians – you can actually affect change on the small scale, even if you’re not politically minded. It’s even pretty amazing what can be accomplished locally by going to your federal congresspeople. But trying to enact federal changes through regional representation is like expecting a quick answer at an entmoot.


  14. Yar. Been this way for a long long time.

    Everytime there’s a presidential debate, there’s never a clear winner, but we Americans are always the clear loser.

    As a centrist, I typically vote for the party not in power. Four years is plenty for one ideology to either do nothing or mess things up. The fact that deep down, they’re effectively the same never seems to occur to the majority of people I know.

    This election cycle is a tough one for me. I’m actually contemplating for voting for Johnson as a ‘none of the above’ nod towards Brewster’s Millions.

    Sad to say, but I don’t think either major candidate will affect change better than the other.


  15. Completely agree. There is no point in believing in any candidate at that level of government. Its all a politcal machine that doesn’t promise anything and doesn’t deliver on anything mention, but claims credit for anything done.


Comments are closed.