Mind Your Own Business

Overconfident though they may appear on the surface, Republicans tacitly acknowledge that they cannot win on the issues every time they run, when they either lie about their intentions, as Bush once did in that “quaint” era, or simply refuse to discuss them at all, as they are doing now.  This might seem like a good idea, if your only potential supporters are drawn from people watching Fox News in their trailer park or nursing home, but if you’re planning to retake the Congress, there are many other voters you’ll need to persuade who might expect something more than meaningless slogans and classless smears on TV and your Facebook page.   I know that the Citizens (!) United decision was intended to do away with the tiresome formality of pretending to engage actual voters, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s wise to go this far this fast on the road to a full one dollar= one vote system.  It’s as unseemly as it is insulting, at least to people not on TV, to so blatantly assume one’s office is some sort of prepaid, well, entitlement, for which no further justification is needed.  I paid for it; it’s mine.  The glory of the Free Market, and all that.

Never mind the optics of dumping vast fortunes into annoying and incessant TV advertising during a recession that has left most people wondering if they can still afford cable; the top-down Class Warriors of the Roberts Court have taken things a step further, proudly declaring that how they might handle the government they despise and its money, which garners much warmer feelings, is simply none of the “lesser people’s” business.  Shut up and vote: quite a slogan, I think.

For Republicans in the Sarah Palin era, shunning the media, and thereby the electorate, has become a badge of honor; gone are the days when a politician was punished by voters for scurrying away from a legitimate question or, worse, telling a blatant lie.  They managed to stop lying, at least partially, by the most reliable means: shutting up.  It may sound like just another righty abstinence-only program, but this one just might work.  Governor Rick Perry of Texas garnered a front-page editorial slamming him for refusing to even to conduct traditional meetings with editorial boards, kooky and offensive Rep. Steve King of Iowa icily told his opponent he hadn’t “earned” a debate, and Cocktailhag in Chief of Arizona, Jan Brewer, admitted that she only consented to her sole (disastrous and lie-filled) debate to get free money from the government for her campaign.  Sharron Angle perhaps summed it up best with her explanation for her own media aversion, “We wanted an informed electorate.”  Depends on what your definition of “informed” is, I suppose.

Throughout American history, politicians of both parties have hedged, spun, and even outright lied to avoid the electoral drawbacks a more honest dialogue would have inevitably created, but before 2010, almost none have ever retreated, Garbo-like, to their well-appointed boudoirs to simply wait for their November anointment, choosing election season as a fitting time to “be alone.”  Now, if they have an “R’ after their name, they’re all doing it.  No interviews.  No (or very few) debates. No donor disclosure.  Heck, some only go on certain, easier Fox shows.

We’re in the curious position of living in a nominal democracy in which a major party is attempting to do away, once and for all, with democracy itself, so they can do whatever creepy, secret things they want to do, as if by (naturally) Holy Writ.  Nice work if you can get it, but it’s not the stuff to which most Americans are accustomed, at least not yet, and if it works, we all ought to consider emigration.


  1. dirigo says:

    In Connecticut, Linda McMahon, the former wrestling queen, is running radio attack ads against her opponent for Chris Dodd’s seat, Attorney General Dick Blumenthal.

    Blumenthal hasn’t been in the state general assembly since before 1990, serving for twenty years as the AG (though he fibbed about being a war hero, he has been an effective attorney general).

    No matter.

    McMahon’s radio ads dredge up Blumenthal’s support for a tax increase in the late eighties as evidence that he’s just another tax and spend liberal.

    On one of her television ads McMahon poses with a lunchbox, and, as in the radio ads against Blumenthal, says, grandly, she’s going to get Connecticut residents back to work.

    How that will happen? No one knows. Not even Linda!!!

    • dirigo says:

      McMahon is also pounding away at Blumenthal’s fudging of his Vietnam era service.

      The result: she’s splitting the veteran vote and maybe picking up five or so points.

      What a Dick.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    It’s the playbook this time… None of your damned business. Seems not to be working so well for Meg and Linda, but ol’ Dudley here and several others just might sneak silently past, like one of those farts no one will admit to that makes everybody’s eyes water. The weekly implosions are heartening, though.

  3. retzilian says:

    In Ohio, or at least in northern Ohio, there are a few congressional races where the R candidate refuses to debate. It has been a little shocking to The City Club and the local NPR. So, in response to that, the two forums have offered a one-sided option to the D candidate to have the forum without the opposition candidate. They are giving full time to the D candidates to discuss the issues on the radio and in the famous forum as a solo act. It’s one way to piss off the R candidate – give them free, unfettered advertising time and exposure.

    I think every Dem candidate who faces an opponent who won’t debate needs to hold public meetings at every venue possible to announce that they are available for quesions, town halls, etc. Use it against them.

  4. The Cocktailhag in Chief of Arizona, Jan Brewer, now only attends Republican sponsored events with no Q&A. She hasn’t spoken to a reporter since her illustrious debate performance last month. But yet, she’s ahead in the polls by a wide margin against a proven fiscally-responsible government leader.

    How can that be? (Hint: She received a $omething from Rove’s American Crossroads)

  5. meremark says:

    In that bygone “quaint era” there might have been a use for dissecting campaign timelines, manuevers, manners and matters. Today the election winners are pre-programmed weeks and months before election day, leaving the candidates unburdened of thick cosmetic gloss, heavy-sweated speeches, and/or discipline ‘on message.’

    Here in Oregon — ALL absentee ballots, ALL the time — we have blithe sense of how wrong poll tallies are everywhere else. ACTION Plan: Spread the word along our conversation lines-of-connection with other States and areas, saying their votes are moot and one remedy for that is ALL absentee ballots, ALL the time like Oregon’s success. (Most times when I’ve spread this message on blogs, it draws disputing trolls and massmedia disagreeing with my free exercise of speaking (truth) freely. But, still …), see what you can do when and where you do it.

    Praise the Word, pass the communication.

    D.C. Internet Vote Scheme Hacker: ‘Within 36 Hours We Had Total Control of Server, Ability to Change Votes, Reveal Secret Ballots,’ By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2010

    He details tonight that he and a small team of students were happy to participate in the test that D.C. election officials had announced, with just three days notice, inviting hackers to try and penetrate the system they planned to use this November, as developed with the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation.

    Halderman writes in his explanation of how they did it:

    Within 36 hours of the system going live, our team had found and exploited a vulnerability that gave us almost total control of the server software, including the ability to change votes and reveal voters’ secret ballots.

    And if you think that’s chilling, Halderman goes on to note that all cast ballots on the system were modified and overwritten with write-in votes, all passwords taken — including the encryption key, which e-voting supporters constantly suggest will keep such systems safe — before they went on to install a back door to let them view any votes cast later, after their attack, along with the names of voters and whom they voted for…

    Halderman also notes what many of us have been trying to tell Internet Voting proponents for so many years: it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to make the system secure

    And Brad Blog.COM offers the massmedia critique of Brad’s years of persistent messages in a blog-bottle, washing up and being read on distant web-watching shores.

    CNN‘s Sr. National Editor Dave Schecter had this to say about The BRAD BLOG on their “Election Center” page yesterday, in regard to our coverage of election integrity …

    One of the squeakiest wheels on the subject of voting is Brad Friedman, of “The Brad Blog,” who is not impressed with the security of high-tech voting machines. “Use of any touch-screen voting machine is the equivalent of a 100% faith-based election. No votes cast during an election — none — can be verified as having been accurately recorded on such systems. Ever.”

    Needless to say, the companies that manufacture voting machines have more faith in their product than Friedman and other critics, seeing them as secure, more capable of accurately recording a voter’s intentions, and more accessible to the disabled and those who don’t speak English.

    And also, “needless to say”, no matter what the voting machine manufacturers have to say — and no matter whether their systems are secure (they’re not) or accurate — there remains no way for us, we, the people, to actually know that, particularly on 100% unverifiable DRE (Direct Recording Electronic, usually touch-the-TV) voting systems, since it remains impossible for anybody, including the companies, to produce a single piece of evidence to prove that even one vote, ever cast on any of them during an election, for any candidate or initiative on the ballot, has ever been recorded as per the voter’s intent.

    Other than that, yeah, maybe we could shame Republican fascist candidates in their undisclosed bunker locations, brought to the attention of the eyes of the voters who then, accordingly, are going to cast ballots against them fascists. …
    as if they had actual, tangible, physical-matter ballots of-a-mass to cast ….


    • cocktailhag says:

      I’m a huge fan of the mail-in thing, and I do thinks it’s the next wave…. No more weather, mood, and all that affecting the results.

      • nancy says:

        Interesting. Because where I live, I’m quite sure mail-in-only leads to vote suppression. The 41-cent stamp required in order to cast one’s vote (in my mind a form of poll tax) may well figure into the decision for some to mail in that ballot. And no, those folks aren’t Republicans. I miss the days of ambling up to the elementary school where Mrs. McGreevy checked me in before sending me to the next available booth, and while I waited I could chat with my neighbors. I’m wondering why there has been no legal challenge to the loss of local precinct polling places. Absentee used to be a choice–now we’re all absentees.