What are candidates and politicians talking about? What issues are important to them? I can't help but share this with you as an example of what's vexing me. Watch it and concentrate on how the conversation makes you feel. I won't comment.
The word most said during the debates? "America", the big winner by far, but jobs was a close runner-up. I can't help but think of Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles every presidential election cycle, and I am old enough to have seen US presidential races since this movie came out in 1974. Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs - sign something - jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs...
Donald Trump's favorite words: "me and "I'm" followed by invective meant to show us all how bad things are. It's true, some things are really bad, but a lot of things are really good. Big business in American's doing pretty good. I can't understand why Donald Trump is complaining, and yet there's no call to arms greater than when a billionaire tells you that everything has gone to hell and he alone can fix it.
Trump: "They like me." "I'm a great guy." "I'm ahead in all the polls." "Women like me, I love women." "They're beating us because we're stupid!" "They're not being very nice to me." "They're being unfair..." #GOPClownCar
Trump drones on about Detroit in the most superficial way. And yet, he's the one candidate (Wharton Business School, and all) who should understand labor arbitrage. "They build plants in Mexico..." Of course they do Donald, it's cheaper to make parts for automobile brakes in Mexico or China. Those components must be made cheaper because Americans like cheap things. We don't like paying the true value of anything. Also, the Ford Motor Company has to manufacture abroad to please its board of directors and ensure that its CEO has a competitive pay package. You can't do that if you make brake parts in Detroit. He knows this right? And yet, he's simply saying that we're being victimized by the Mexicans and the Mexican Government. China is beating us. Ya, China is beating us because we like our things cheap. I worked in China during the first wave when money and technology transfer from the U.S. was flowing into China like the Colorado river used to flow into the Sea of Cortez.
Who was Donald Trump in 1983?
How about we bet on when, or if ever the term: extractive industries, is used in this campaign. Would you bet that only one candidate mentions extractive industries? Who might that be? Quiz.
Let's refrain from talking about this stuff folks, these kinds of issues are complex and a lot of political donors would be pissed off if you started flogging this pony.
Instead, let's go back to the horse race and see what we're concerned about now.
Those are some telling numbers, folks.
Now let's go back to words and phrases.
Here's one GOP debate group's attempt at answering a question in just two words. I know, it's hard. Much has been written.
The sky is falling! But are we going to focus on why the sky is falling and what each and every one of us has to do to stop the worst from happening?
NASA Images of Change: http://climate.nasa.gov/state_of_flux#Beijing2000-2009_930px_73.jpg
Should we call it "fear mongering" when we go on and on about a real problem that we're creating and that we can fix? Especially when the problem poses a real existential risk to humanity.
Do we remember the Iran Contra scandal? I'm just asking.
Are you Irish American, Polish American, or Italian American? Mmmm Yes, I know, give them a way to come legally. So tell me Mr. or Ms. candidate, how are you going to do that? I'm just asking. Latin American governments have been making mincemeat out of us since 1983! Why? Why? I'm just asking and what the f__ck are you going to do about it! It resonates, it has always resonated.
Shoot! I messed up, this immigrant thing's been going on since the 19th century!
The fact remains, Obama and Hillary have been working in government for a long time and we're all still here. Immigration is still an issue. But to hear the GOP hopefuls talk one would imagine that the movie theater is burning and all the exits are locked. It's like when you read about all the toxic chemicals that go into making a simple t-shirt and you think, it must be a dose thing because I've been wearing t-shirts my whole life and I'm still here. How many t-shirts do I need to put on and how long do I have to wear them before I get cancer or some other incurable disease? I have a feeling that these candidates, the so-called "Kid's Table" GOP hopefuls were born already OD'd on anyone not in the GOP. (I recall a friend telling me never to use the term "social normative pressure" again if I wanted to have any friends.) It's positively scary when they talk isn't it. And Governor Jindal said the word "socialist" and FOX didn't even beep it out. I'll bet that added to the dose of horror the audience received listening to the debate. How much of this can we take before we all get lupus disease? I'm having a heavy immune reaction to this election race already and it's just started.
This is going to seem weird, but when I think about how people on Fox News react to the word socialism it always reminds me of this scene in The Water Boy.
Debate? More like a chance for candidates to practice their sound bites and for FOX to improve their ratings with a bonafide TV star at center stage.
I'm guessing it's not hard to overdose on the toxic ideologically normative B.S. of this group of presidential hopefuls. If not you must have that special gene in you. Listen to what they talk about. Trump talked more than any other candidate and he mostly talked about himself. Fiorina was righteously fired up attacking everyone. We should all be super angry to be Americans after listening to this rhetoric. Where are the sophists when you need them?
TV news coverage of the race focuses mostly on:
- Words of shock, awe, and comfort
- Words that make us feel good and powerful - that we can be great again
- Self-congratulatory words and words reflecting our pride and vanity
- Death, people dying, being killed, murder, war
- Derogatory words aimed at opponents
- Straw man after straw man
- Fear mongering words
Most of the pundits, anchors and interviewers talk about a candidate's superficial qualities: charm; confidence; looks, energy, likability, toughness, smartness, and so on. In a year from now the chatter will be more substantive but it will still seem like we're in the movie, Groundhog Day. I guess it takes a lot of trial and error and plain old time to get things right.
We'll wait another 9 months before we even get close to important issues. I worry that by then the issues we'll be fixated on won't be the right ones.
After hours of commenting on how the candidates look we get to listen to five minutes of something a little more exciting: the horse race. John King or someone else on another channel or show will talk about the polls: "So and so is up 12% in some poll, but he might fall below so and so later. So and so is up 2% here and down 6% there." Who's ahead? Who's going to win? Place your bets. I'd rather go to Happy Valley, watch a real horse race and win or lose a little paper money. The political horse race in the U.S. will last longer and be more expensive than any other political horse race in the world.
I'll stop now. So much has already been said. As usual. I just want to recommend that you read this piece from Rolling Stone magazine. It's a fun read.
On the campaign trail in Iowa, Donald Trump's antics have forced the other candidates to get crazy or go home
By Matt Taibbi August 12, 2015
And allow me to present you with some more hilarious irony. Larry King on RT. Yes, that's, Russia Today. We have more reasons to love America: Freedom to say what you want and the freedom to do business in America even if you are a Russian television company. It's not like we don't have our foxy propaganda on cable new networks spreading across the world like a fast-moving plague.
Enjoy the race!