What defeated the Democrats

8 11 2010

It seems every publication in the world printed a headline along the lines “Now Republicans must do the hard part … governing,” so I figured if they can do it, so can I! I know it’s a little bit late but just in cause you can’t get enough post-election political analysis, what follows is my own unqualified thoughts.

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In Pursuit of Public Service

3 02 2010

With several prominent local officials deciding to collect their retirement checks, the races for county positions are full with hopefuls looking to work on the government’s dime here in Nelson County, Kentucky. Nearly every office is contested and there are in fact 12 Democrats and one lone Republican gunning for County Clerk, a job noted for its low level of responsibility and high rate of pay.

I would direct you to the source material, but honestly the stories are not the most exciting piece of journalism I have ever done. Instead, I’ve provided the follow transcript that is a mash-up of the many (too many) interviews the staff at the Standard has done with candidates for county positions.

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Politics Can Be Ridiculous

28 05 2009

I’ve always been a political junkie, losing hours at the NYTimes.com and Slate or haranguing total strangers into having a debate, but there comes a point when even a devotee such as myself reaches a limit. Obama’s recent nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the land’s highest court has sent the machinery of both parties into a frenzy, churning out exaggerations and hypocrisy at an incredible pace. My maximum allowance, as it were, has been surpassed.


I will destroy everything conservatives love and cherish, in a judicial sense that is.

I just find it strange (and exhausting) how every person in the news media seems to act like this is the first time such a thing has happened. It seems a feat to me that all these conservative pundits can be genuinely surprised that a democratic president would go and do something like nominate a liberal judge. Attacking her for being left of center just seems weak. Really, what did you expect?

You can make all the noise you want about babies and guns, but only some tangible, significant error or scandal can derail the nomination. Of course, I guess it makes more sense when it’s framed in the proper apocalyptic terms, like she’s a racist bigot intent on destroying the foundations of our constitution (as Anne Coulter puts it.)

It all then breaks down into this silly little dance; the party supporting the nominee waxes poetic about achievements, intelligence and judicial experience and the opposing group rallies around cries of said judge’s skewed ideological temperament. It’s supposedly a duel of ideas, but it’s all a play for time. The Dems want the nomination to go quickly and the GOP wants to protract it with vague attacks in hopes that some past scandal will emerge.

The whole back-and-forth seems so completely vapid. These people are judges, they are possibly the biggest dorks in our nation, their whole lives are consumed in reams of case studies. Trials and court proceedings are often incredibly dull (stop watching CSI right now, that show has nothing to do with reality).

Putting Sotomayor on the court isn’t going to transform it from a slow, methodical machine into a fanatic apparatus  that hacks the constitution, gun rights and babies into pieces.   Moreover, there are eight other people on the court. Sotomayor isn’t some judicial ninja (or is she!?) capable of executing solo stealth assassinations of legal precedent.

For those afraid Sotomayor is a stealth liberal judiciary time bomb, here’s a solid reason not to worry. Obama kind of has a lot to deal with at the moment, what with that economic crisis and all, so he’s not going to risk wasting time or political capital pushing through a controversial court nominee. Plus, he’s got to save some energy for other, more contentious battles later on, namely health care and environmental reforms.

The truth is, a liberal justice is being replaced by a liberal justice. Yawn. Let the press do some digging and wake me up if they find any skeletons.

Depends on Where You’re Standing

5 05 2009

I’ve always found it hard to be ideological in any serious matter, like politics or religion, but find no problem in being an absolute hard-liner when it comes to more trivial concerns. Is Coke a better product than Pepsi? You’re damn right it is! When it comes to more complex matters, however, I have trouble committing myself to one option and instead tend to see both positive and negative in any proposed solution.

This is amplified by my somewhat skeptical nature. I need to see some kind of hard evidence before I believe something and even when such evidence is presented, I usually convince myself that there are facts somewhere else to dispute it.

However, I sometimes get in trouble when I allow this two tendencies to mix. The result is that I take my inclination toward opinionating and merge it with my affinity for considering all sides of an argument. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who will argue with you just for the sake of argument, especially if it someone who I don’t know too well. I view it as a kind of intellectual exercise, a way for me to evolve my analytical skills by attempting to convince someone of something I don’t even necessarily believe myself. Others have given it less charitiable descriptions.

Throughout my college years, my penchant for political discussion drove to usually espouse views that would be considered extremely leftist, even beyond my already liberal nature. College students in general are reliably Democratic and so when I would engage in random political discussions, I’d sometimes shift myself further left so that I could argue instead of benignly agree.

However, this dynamic changed in a surprising way when I arrived in Korea.

The population of foreign English teachers in Korea is overwhelmingly Canadian, so most of my new-found friends hailed from our neighbor to the north. It’s common knowledge that Canada’s political center, like Europe, is much more liberal than America’s. So, when I entered into the arena of political debate with acquaintances of Canadian descent and tried my usually my move to the left, I found it politically impossible. They had already beat me to the far left and I couldn’t really outpace them without entering the lunatic fringe of the political spectrum.

So, I took the opposite approach and tacked my arguments toward the right. While this ensured that the debates stayed lively, it made me wonder about where my political center lay. With my political perspectives thus shifted, I began to realize that I had always been more of centrist (pragmatic, if you will) than I realized and felt slightly worried about my lacking liberalism compared to my Canadian compatriots.

Now, back amongst my fellow Americans, my fears have eased away. I’ve found comfort in the acerbic rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and the ignorance of Miss California, assuring me that yes, indeed, I can still be considered a liberal whacko.