Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confessions of a Fence Sitter

Long ago I gave up concerning myself with what people called me. At various times I have been called a conservative and right wing loser, a stinkin gay lovin religion hatin liberal, a commie dope smokin hippie, and yes, even once or twice I have been labeled a socialist. Move over Barack. I have never been Left enough for some and no where far enough Right for many. I have two brothers and some dead uncles who feel that way.

Okay so fine. The way I look at it is this. If I am not fitting comfortably into anyone's box, I must be doing something right. If I am pissing off both sides at the same time, I must be doing something right. I do not think the answers to our problems or the definition of what and who we are can be defined by one side or the other. Relying on others to set the agenda for me just does not fit my personality. A platform created by leaders who lust after power can lead someone to supporting policy and direction that might not make them feel comfortable. Both sides play to the fears of their constituencies to keep them in power. I am a constituent who freely exercises his line item veto when picking and choosing my stand on things. I feel most workable solutions generally end up near the middle anyway, so why not start out there to begin with.

That has been my philosophy for the last 35 years or so. But I feel a change coming. I feel that as the Right attempts to save itself from itself, it is drifting ever further to the right and the scary fringes that exist there. They have taken the middle line and moved it. Their panic and mob mentality creating a new tipping point between the two sides. The same thing happened to the Left in the 1960s and 1970s.

This is what happens when a party allows minorities within it's ranks to dictate the message. What was once secular based conservatism has now been replaced with some mutated religo-expansionist drivel from a small group within the Republican party. It had to burn itself out. Apparently we are witnessing the beginning of the bonfire. Oh, this election may go their way, but their time in the Sun is coming to a close. Like the Democrats before them, a period of wound licking and self examination is in the works in the near future for the Republican Party. Any doubts I had about the pendulum beginning to swing have now been put to rest.

So now I guess I will have to get used to being called a right wing loser again.

And now a comment on the latest uptick in political stupidity.

Seems Joe Biden did what many thought he would. Good ole Joe. Put his mouth in gear before his speech writers and handlers could nurse his brain into start mode. So he says Barack will be tested, challenged within 6 months of becoming President. The media and the Right have pounced on this and are busily constructing a mountain out of what is not even a molehill. Viewing this as a kink in the armor of the massive and intimidating Obama machine, like flies who rush to any stink of interest, they are gleefully gathering around waiting to pick Joe and Obama clean.

Breaking out the quotes of Joe into soundbites that fit the interpretation they want to make money on or woo voters, I am reminded once again why I hate mainstream media. I expect that the McCain campaign would seize this opportunity. Standard campaigning 101. If they did not make a big deal of it, they are missing a golden opportunity. One handed them for free by the other side.

But the media jumping all over it and selectively editing and then analyzing the comment as if there was no follow up punch line proves to me the "liberal bias" so many people believe runs the networks is bullshit. The media is in the business of selling copy, and exploiting perceived weakness in anyone is a surefire way to do that.

They focus on this:
“Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy," Biden said. "And he’s gonna have to make some really tough -- I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you, it’s gonna happen.”

But down play the zinger at the end:
“They're going to want to test him, just like they did young John Kennedy,” he said Saturday night in San Francisco.” They're going to want to test him. And they're going to find out this guy's got steel in his spine.”

Every president is tested by our international "buddies". They will want to know how stiff his backbone is. Every president has their 9/11. Some handle them well, and others like our current president don't. Should McCain become president, he will be tested also. So I have to ask myself this question - Who do I want at the controls? A vindictive man who has proven to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat and will say and do things he must later regret? Or do I want a man who has proven over the last two years to be a focused man of steady and deliberate temperament guiding us through the next big crisis?

In this decision, their respective ages mean nothing. Neither one is wet behind the ears. Both have long ago established the make up of their individual characters. I have to go with the deliberate candidate. The candidate who I feel will put anger away for the sake of this country. I have to vote for the man I think will best handle what is coming at us. There is no doubt in my mind that man is Barack Obama.


1138 said...

Right wing loser?
Far from it.
From what I see I think your pretty much on target.
That's my opinion, it's worth zero dollars on the purchase of any product and has no value towards self esteem.
But it's my opinion.
The right wing losers are the ones still aligned with that party in spite of the undeniable evidence of it's failure over the last number of years, those "my friend" are losers.

1138 said...

And they won't test McCain?
Biden's big mistake was not going into McCain's failures and how that will devastate us when he is tested, stumbles goes one way then the other and finds himself without a staff or a bus like he did in the primaries, like he did on the "economic crisis".

Biden's biggest mistake was going to National Defense issues at all when McCain was aching for a way to talk about something other than his parties failed economic management.

Randal Graves said...

I am a constituent who freely exercises his line item veto when picking and choosing my stand on things.

Exactly, because the only person we could cast a vote for who agrees 100% with all of our viewpoints is ourself or one of our many clones.

Gary ("Old Dude") said...

as close as you currently are in the clutches of the progressives, nobody is gonna call you a right wing loser----more likely a leftist looney----but your right thses things run in cycles---conservatives are now "out" and liberal leftist are "in"----the last time the leftist were in interest rates hit 24% (and in his heart he lusted)and a grat malaise fell upon the land---so here we go again with the lefties programs of tax and spend

Demeur said...

I think you are in the correct position. Nature always seeks an equilibrium whether it be in politics, economy or weather. It's been surprising how quickly the pendulum has swung.

BBC said...

I think that there is a lot of hippie in me, without the dope smoking.

As for all those other labels, it's just a bunch of mirrors.

But the far right is a spooky place, be ready to go into hiding from it.

Yes, Obama is going to be getting plenty of tests, we'll just have to wait and see how he does.

BBC said...

Nature always seeks an equilibrium whether it be in politics, economy or weather.

I would have said balance, but what ever.

MRMacrum said...

1138 - I don't really consider myself anything. I let others put whatever wrapping they want on me. I find it amusing.

Yeah, I just don't get it. The obvious shortcomings of the Republican policies don't seem to be having an affect on many of the faithful. Instead of questioning their leaders, they line up in droves and get angry at Democrats. It's always someone else's fault with those boneheads.

I agree with you about Biden. He opened up a can of worms that has allowed McCain to broaden the issues being discussed. Oops.

randal - Seems there are a substantial number of people in this country who prefer to have their ideals and views handed to them on a silver platter. Sure beats thinking for themselves I guess.

Old Dude - What can I say to such a well of logic and intelligent insight such as you have so graciously shared with us these last few posts? You are my beacon.

Demeur - Took me a moment. The brilliance of Old Dude's reply blinded me there for a second. Eight years on a consistent downslide seems to me as good a reason to swing it as quickly as possible. Another four years of Bush style governing and I'm liable to need a passport to go to New Hampshire.

bbc - you can't be a hippie unless you smoke dope, have smoked dope in the past, or will promise to smoke dope at some point in the future. It's a rule. Until then, you are just some odd old guy with a piece of mistle toe pinned to your coat tail. Unless you take the pledge of course. Then we will let you in.

PipeTobacco said...

Mr. MaCrum:

Of all the monikers you stated, the "commie, dope-smoking hippie" is the most attractive. I am leaning towards that moniker myself, although like bbc, I haven't smoked dope, although I should have way back when during graduate school when it was pretty much the norm. I was unfortunately a bit uptight back then and shied away.

Perhaps I will have to change my ways.


El Cerdo Ignatius said...

So now I guess I will have to get used to being called a right wing loser again.

No danger, sir. :-D

Over several of your recent posts, you've written some things I disagree with, but several that I think are spot on. One of these, which is actually being discussed beneath the visible surface by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, is that the Republican Party deserves to lose, and lose big, and that this is the only way it can renew itself.

I think the Ponzi economy and fiscal situation of the U.S. federal government shall probably prevent Obama from starting any new major spending programs. (At least I hope they do.) It's kind of like the situation in Canada in 1993: the economy was in the tank, and the federal government was running large structural deficits year-in, year-out. Despite some well-articulated lip service to the problem, the incumbent Conservative government wasn't doing anything to solve the situation. The Liberals got into power in 1993, promising "balance" (i.e., Liberal-style spending but also fiscal responsibility). From 1993 to 1999, they scrapped the first promise and kept the second. The feds balanced their books, and it took a Liberal government to do it. (Imagine that!) Obama's administration could be hugely successful (on the economic front) if he follows the same route.

Of course, after our Liberal government been in power a while, and the books were back in the black, they went apeshit again on the overspending and overregulating, and had a few corruption/scandal problems. So they had to be tossed out.

Which, as you say, the Republicans deserve right now.

MRMacrum said...

El Cerdo Ignatius - It is so good to have you back. You are my one internet friend who I disagree with often but hold in the highest regard. Your sensible conservatism is what I remember from my youth. That I seem to be lost in liberal heaven here is not of my choosing. I was chased here by the poor policies and social agenda the Republicans have embraced.

I can only hope you are right about Obama. And I hope the Democratic congress remembers what it is like to be out in the cold. All I ask is for simple and common sense governance with as little interference at the state level as possible.

As opposed to Bush, I really believe Obama can be a uniter. I think that is his one major goal. To bridge the differences and move us in a positive direction.

1138 said...

Due to the abuses by the State where I am, in the past, and the apparent willingness for it to commit abuse again..
I don't want the Federal government to back too far off.

Balance, but balance does not always mean everything is the same everywhere. Maine, California and Georgia are different places with common elements, but different problems.

I mean since some people in public office here still use phrases like "uppity". Vigilance

1138 said...

I seem to remember China forcing down a US military aircraft and holding it and the crew at the beginning of George W's administration.

BBC said...

Oh, I have smoked dope, just didn't get into it, get the point, so smoked very little of it.

But that should qualify me into the hippie in crowd? I like the smell of it when they're smoking it.

Hell, it's not just a hippie thing anymore. All kinds of monkeys are smoking it. The hippies are going to have to find another way to stand out.

Maybe do a comeback of the good old free love, free fuck fests.

1138 said...

The are very few hippies around these days, the culture died out in the 80's.