The RNC’s 2009 Membership Survey is a wonder to behold. The same people who have bemoaned and blasted the “liberal media elite” for its skewed perspective and unbalanced coverage continue to prove themselves incapable of neutral discourse and totally shut off to new ideas.

In the email accompanying the survey, Michael Steele instructs members to “be honest and candid in your answers–there’s no need to sugar-coat your responses after our Party’s performances in the last two elections.” But what followed was a poorly constructed, unabashedly biased questionnaire that will simply spoon-feed the RNC whatever it wants to hear.

The first few questions were promising. Although they contained responses with which I disagreed, and left out a few important ones, they all came with an “other” box so that we could diplomatically democratically First-Amendmently write in our own answers.

Things quickly disintegrated into questions like the following:

5. Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?
Yes, No, Undecided.

Should Republicans unite against battle droid technology and the Separatist forces of evil that will crush the Galactic Empire…FOREVER!? Yes or no will suffice.

I can’t see many less-informed Republicans voting Yes, I should like to see more red tape crush future economic growth. What kind of useful data is gathered from this question? Are there really more pro-economy-crushing liberals than conservatives?

9. Should we resist Barack Obama’s proposal to spend billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay “volunteers” who perform his chosen tasks?

Expanding and institutionalizing public service does not amount to the creation of an army of Obama-minions performing his “chosen tasks.” What about a real conversation about the future of public service in this country? From those who might fear that public service may in fact become a billion-dollar operation to carry out Barack Obama’s personal agenda, what about a call for greater oversight?

11. Should bureaucrats in Washington, DC be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?
Once again, this question sidesteps the substance of the issue. It’s almost insulting to the reader. In addition, the GOP has repeatedly tried to interfere with health care provider’s right to provide complete and accurate information to patients about reproductive services and other issues.

Other questions are phrased just as ludicrously. One refers to the “so-called ‘fairness doctrine. Another accuses Obama of trying to “gut the USA PATRIOT Act and other important laws that promote the safety and security of all Americans,” never mind that the PATRIOT Act was the biggest intrusion of government into the rights and lives of citizens in recent history, and I didn’t know anyone was still defending it. The survey names names, making villains out of Democrats instead, once again, of providing real information or gathering real feedback on the issues.

The language of the survey is childish, mocking, and hateful, and it interferes with the exchange of real information. A membership survey is not in itself the problem, but it provides good insight into the problems we run into discussing government policy.

I heard an interesting/excellent lecture the other day on public policy and the media. Among other things, the speaker brought up the obvious transition from “traditional” media to new media (Huff Post, Drudge, blogs). New media is much less centrist than traditional media, and we also decide based on personal preference which online media sources we will be exposed to. So we increasingly run into “selective exposure bias,” in which we seek out news sources that confirm our pre-existing political beliefs. And as a result we become, unsurprisingly, even more partisan.

Reading that survey was fairly alarming but, in light of the above ideas, somewhat eye-opening. We’re less and less exposed to perspectives and information and might challenge our own. There’s really no issue right now that isn’t highly polarized, so much that conversation isn’t about the exchange of ideas so much as fiercely defending one’s pre-existing beliefs. Scary.

This was wordy like no other. Thanks for hanging in there.

-S

 

Rush would sure like to cut her taxes...

Rush would sure like to cut her taxes...

Between former Senator Larry “Toe-Tap” Craig, sitting Senator David “Pay-For-Play” Vitter  and former Congressman Mark “I Always Use Lotion And The Hand” Foley, the Republicans rendered their “family values” mantra entirely hypocritical years ago.

But this week, the GOP took the full leap, going from the Grand Old Puritans to, well, the party of pervs with a series of gaffes that would make Biden proud.

Exhibit A? Joe the Unlicensed, Tax-Evading Plumber. Shocking, I know. Who would have thought he was capable of saying something stupid?

Watch:

That’s right, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher proclaimed himself “horny” to a crowd of wealthy Republican donors that look more like attendees at an Augustus Gloop Impersonator Convention. Thus, Wurzelbacher’s proclamation is both stupid and innacurate.

You think the freakazoids would have cut this imbecile loose after Joe the Plumber proved to be neither named Joe nor actually a licensed plumber!

The GOP's latest strategy

The GOP's latest strategy

But, apparently, one more sexual deviant just isn’t enough for the GOP. Chairman Michael Steele, surely as a thinly-veiled ploy to garner support from “urban-suburban hip-hop settings,” urged Democrats this weekend to – and I quote – “strap it on.

Joey and Mikey may have rendered comedy obsolete in one fell swoop, for even a team of writers couldn’t come up with material as good as this. Just ask Jay Leno.

But the implications of the GOP’s newfound “sexual healing” are far less funny. While Conservatives are dropping innuendo faster than Jim Cramer’s ratings, they still adhere to their primordial sexual policies. One cannot invoke sex toys one day and rebuke abortion the next. These characters don’t want to seriously discuss policy; they’re content with dropping dirty words and then squealing like a pack of third-graders.

The GOP needs to stop acting like children and start offering informed policies that provide an epistemological answer to the problems of our nation. Talking maturely and honestly about sex would be a great first step.

Or, we Democrats could just “strap it on” and win another election. 

Your move, M.C. Steele.

– A-$

It’s all about reaction, people.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele (apologies to Jon Stewart)

RNC Chairman Michael Steele (apologies to Jon Stewart)

Apparently, when one teaches an old dog new tricks, the dog repeats said tricks ad nauseum. After the Dems gave us Hillary, the Republicans gave us Caribou Barbie. After Jesus Himself gave us Barack Obama (full disclosure: I am a Jew), the Republicans gave us Michael Steele.  

The problem is that whilst a character like  Steele may “be da man,” he is essentially an awkward copycat. Steele and Palin (hereafter known as “Peele”) are the Leno to the Democrats’ Carson or, if you will, the Cialis to the Democrats’ Viagra. The Nation’s Ari Melber explains this quite beautifully:

“Obama’s comfort with that culture, and endorsements from its leaders, has earned him generational credibility. When Obama channeled Jay-Z on the campaign trail to brush the “dirt” of petty attacks off his shoulders, young people knew exactly what he meant. Older television pundits did not get the reference. Some even conceded their confusion while blasting the gesture as “contemptuous,” (as theWashington Post reported at the time). Obama invoked hip-hop deftly and accurately. He played on the theme that being tough does not mean you respond to every attack. Just as Jay-Z confidently brushes away his enemies, and hip-hop culture scolds the “haters” who pillory successful people, Obama signaled that his political approach–transcending trench warfare and pessimistic snark–was cool, current and strong.

Now contrast that to Steele’s gimmicky foray into dusty LPs. Here is his debut in the New York Times after assuming the chairmanship: ” ‘It’s going to be an honor to spar with [Obama],’ he said, before throwing down the gauntlet to Mr. Obama with a quotation from… a rap song by Kool Moe Dee: ‘How ya like me now?’ ”

First of all, what is he talking about? How does the president like a former lieutenant governor now that he’s become chairman of the opposition party? It doesn’t even make sense. Second, the album is twenty-two years old, so this reference does not exactly resonate with young people.

The spectacle got more awkward when Steele offered Bobby Jindal some “slum love” for doing a “friggin’ awesome job” as governor of Louisiana, in an ABC radio interview. As the Wonkette blog pointed out, this mess of a shoutout was actually coaxed out of Steele, based on his proclivity for questionable slang. All this heavy-handed hip-hop may make him “da man” for fellow travelers like Rep. Bachman. To young people, Steele just looks like he’s fronting.”

The real joke is that the Republicans honestly think that this song-and-dance will work! While I applaud their idealism purely in the spirit of LOLs, following this absurd path during the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression does nothing but harm our country. It’s tempting to cheer on the Limbaughs, Bachmans and Steeles of the world, but continued detachment from the issues at hand is a frightening prospect. With both parties focused on constructing sound solutions for the crisis at hand, we can always stand to strengthen our nation.

Remember, Obama doesn’t need these kind of hilarious antics to get re-elected in ’12. His ability to “transcend trench warfare and pessimistic snark” ensures victory on principle rather than by contrast. An elevated dialogue would just further showcase his incredible abilities.

Besides, he can always leave the snark to me.

– A-$

The Dragnet

3 March 2009

 

I can haz ur First Amendment rights?

I can haz ur First Amendment rights?

The morning roundup, for your reading pleasure:

Lastly, we’d like to welcome our newest blogger, the Nandinator. She will contribute wit and/or witticisms, obscure pop-culture references, Stewart-Colbert ’12 campaign updates and an undying love for Ann Coulter.

– A-$

Oh, puns!

Oh, puns!

We’ve made a lot of hay over Michael Steele’s ridonkulous (-izzle?) comments over the last few days. Stephen Colbert wrapped it all up quite nicely on Thursday night’s show.

Damn, that Steele has a way with words. So…eloquent.

No word yet on the status of Steele’s record deal, but my guess is that it could rival John Ashcroft’s classic hit single Let The Eagle Soar.

– A-$

Which one's the comedian? (Trick question)

Which one's the comedian? (Trick question)

Ah, Jindal. 

Apparently, the “Blagojevich of the Right” has an insatiable appetite for tickling my funnybone. Remember that heartwarming story he shared, when the GOP wunderkind stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Sheriff (and bigot) Harry Lee after Katrina? Turns out it is as big of a lie as the bullshit about the monorail from LA to Vegas (actually a great idea) that he spewed during his touching response to BHO Tuesday night.

This piece of news merely confirms what I’ve always suspected: Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter descended from the heavens and daintily placed a gilded halo on the Jindster’s coiffed cabeza. Jindal is the GOP’s chosen one, and rather than cast off the shackles of dirty Rovian politics, Steele’s Republican party will attempt to swift-boat his way to victory in ’10 and ’12.

Problem: It didn’t work this year, and it won’t work in the future.

As much as I would love to see the GOP crash and burn through another election cycle, our political discourse would be truly elevated by an intelligent, constructive debate. The time has come to set the whack jobs free. 

The GOP had that chance this weekend at the CPAC conference, but instead decided to go the nincompoop route. On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen! On Joe the Unlicensed, Tax-Evading Plumber and Mitt “Golden Underwear” Romney!

But “Da Man” Michael Steele did leave room for one fresh-faced intellectual to lead the way, an inspiring voice that would brush away the toe-tapping, draft-dodging, heck-of-a-job-Brownieing of the past. A keynote speaker who could bring the Republican party out of the cold, and into electoral heaven.

His name is Jonathan Krohn, and he is thirteen years old.

2009 should be another great year for SNL.

– A-$

GOP Gone Wild

27 February 2009

For any bleeding-heart liberals who don’t have time to sift through the New York Times editorials looking for fodder and/or ammo, I give you Paul Jenkins’ Worst Week Ever: Republicans Unhinged.

Sort of a liberal multivitamin.

Say what you will about nobler, issue-oriented journalism. At the end of a long week, this was thoroughly enjoyable. Among other things, Jenkins criticizes

  • Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who “has not seen any birth certificate” confirming that Obama is American
  • Mitt Romney, who spent $100 million on a “creepy presidential campaign” and “this week decided to come to the financial rescue of embattled Republicans who are ‘standing up for fiscal responsibility and saying no to spending abuse’….that’s right, the man who spent $400,000 per delegate in the Republican primary is proudly lecturing others about fiscal responsibility.”
  • Bobby Jindal, but we knew that.
  • RNC leader Michael Steele, who unified viewers of all political persuasions in weird-outed-ness over his comment to FoxNews (on possibly withdrawing funds from GOP Senators who supported the stimulus bill):  “Oh, yes, I’m always open to everything, baby, absolutely.” Eeeeek.

Continuing in the spirit of just doin’ it for the LOLS: In this clip, Jack McBrayer (who plays Kenneth on 30 Rock) responds on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” to the aforementioned comparison between his character and Jindal.

-S

Late night at the corral…

27 February 2009

Here’s what’s a-grindin’ my gears at the moment:

Minnesota congresswoman Michele “Whitest-human-being-on-the-earth’s-crust” Bachmann reminds nubile GOP chairman Michael Steele that “[he] be da man.” Classy, Bachmann, classy.

Did you forget why we care about Shelly? Perhaps you forgot her Election ’08 antics. 

Those were the days…

archie-1

– A-$