If I Say Your Politics Suck, Do I Still Get a Raise (Extended Play Version)

November 2nd, 2008 Posted in | 1 Comment »

An email came to me by a circuitous route the other day. Normally I would pass on responding to something like this–particularly since the specifics have been rebutted by others more effectively than a dilettante such as I could ever manage.

But this one is special–it comes from a person that I worked with very closely for many years. This person was a veteran of business affairs. A longtime senior executive. And I was his right hand.

We spent much time together in foxholes, but never talked about politics.

It turns out that was a wise decision.

Here’s what he wrote, and the responses that will ensure, should he read this, that he will never speak to me again.

I just don’t get it – and it’s time I do get some things off my chest (it would
make my Dr. happy)…

I am sure we are all fed up with the non-stop daily
negative ads by everyone running for something. Probably, those of us in NE
can’t get over the barrage of the Shaheen/Sununu NH senatorial campaign attacks,
seemingly >100 times each night overtaking the Obama/McCain slams. But what I
can’t get is why the overwhelming print and TV news media are so openly biased
in favor of Obama. Yes, so typical of the oh so vocal liberal groups, the masses
of entertainment people, and network news speakers – but so overboard lately it
makes me sick. I can’t watch Letterman anymore, given his nightly, for weeks,
rant against McCain and Palin – more than jokes. Having carefully watched, and
have never seen a single Obama slam in weeks. “The View”, makes me sick (can’t
have that on when I’m around).

Ma! Look! I’m about to defend the media! Well, in just a second…

OK, the media suck. Mainstream reporting avoids making its audience feel stupid at all costs. This means complexity, and thus truth, is out of the question. If they aren’t jumping on a winner’s bandwagon in an orgy of starfucking, they’re equating Nancy Pelosi with Hitler and calling it balance.

But…

The media is big business, and big business does not have a liberal skew. If you detect a bias in favor of Obama, it could be because he is right. Just a possibility.

Why is Obama so insulated and protected – is it because he’s black (just saying
that, one is considered a racist then anything that follows is discarded – well,
more is going to follow here and I detest having to defend by saying I am not a
racist and so won’t consider the need to do so here):

Note: saying what you’re not going to say is, uh, saying it. Let’s come back to this one.

On to the trivia!

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he refused to wear a flag pin – yes, it is absolutely no
big deal, it certainly not representative of anyone’s patriotism, and after he
was handed the pin on 2 different occasions from vets in his audience, he now
wears the pin.

I’m confused. Are you accusing him or vindicating him? If the latter, it seems like you would have omitted it altogether. Are you using reverse psychology on me? Cuz‘ if so, it isn’t not going to never work.

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he turned his back on stage and did not pledge allegiance
to the flag when other major campaigners did so (Hillary, Richardson, others) –
which when I first got that picture, I sent a reply-all scold back to the sender
and others that I could not believe that was true…but later Obama never
answered any questioning about it when asked at other campaign stops..and then I
was told by others of it’s accuracy by those who watched the video that showed
it clearly. Maybe he had a reason, but this one bothers me, why not put your
hand on your heart and look at the flag, what reason not to – I bet he does so
now.

This thing that someone told you that one time he appeared to do in a video tape, that’s pretty damning. And then he never denied it. I don’t think he has ever denied having sex with sheep either. Hmmm.

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he has an association with an avowed terrorist, Bill Aires,
who fostered bombings and murder – Obama first answered that the bombings had
happened when he was 8 yrs old, that didn’t suffice, so he added, he (Aires)
lived in the neighborhood, then said he only served on some Boards together,
then he denounced the actions – he seems to have never come clean with an
earnest full answer on this subject. Yes, Aires was voted a Chicago citizen of
the year and has many ultra-progressive supporters (there are even many lined up
who want to marry Charles Manson…and his killings occurred many years ago, but
who in their right mind would associate with him). As recent as 2001 (about the
time of Obama’s state and US senatorial campaigns) Aires again said he wished
that there were more killed on 9-11 and regarding his earlier bombings, he was
non-repentant and would not rule out that happening again. But you can’t mention
him, for fear of being labeled just a mud-slinger, and should just stay on the
issues.

The tale of a secret Obama / Ayers cabal is utter, soup-to-nuts manufactured nonsense, fabricated by Republican partisans and shamelessly peddled by the McCain campaign. That they undoubtedly spent millions digging in Obama’s past but couldn’t produce anything better is in itself a ringing endorsement of the Senator from Illinois.

The board on which both Obama and Ayers participated, along with lots of other Republicans and Democrats, was convened by a powerful Republican. Obama and Ayers are like two people that happened to be on the guestlist for the same party. You may disagree with the way Ayers expresses himself or the acts of his youth, but now he is widely respected in Chicago and does more good in his advocacy for education than you or I will ever do.

Also, it’s spelled “Ayers.” If you are going to claim to have the earth-shattering inside scoop on someone, you should make sure to spell their name correctly. Your slanders will seem more credible that way.

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he is a supporter of ACORN, now under investigation (again)
by the FBI for voter fraud having registered 1000’s maybe over 1MM illegitimate
voters in several states; and by the way, just revealed that one of the Boards
he sat on with Aires, recently provided a quarter-million $ to ACORN.

Wait. I think I’m going to sneeze… AhhhAHHH… BULLSHIT!

Let’s put aside the FBI investigation, which stems from the same kind of politically motivated shenanigans that resulted in the improper firing of all those federal Prosecutors during the last election cycle. And I’ll ignore the way you’ve tossed the word Ayers in there to create the false sense of a sweeping conspiracy. Let’s just talk about ACORN.

ACORN is a group that hires people to go out and register the poor and minorities to vote. Because their employees may be paid based on the number of people they register, ACORN does have an issue with employees filling out false forms to pad their quotas.

But the suggestion that these fraudulent registrations are part of some attempt by ACORN to tip the election for Obama is completely false. The only reason ACORN submits suspicious forms is that they are required to do so by law. This law exists to keep voter registration organizations from selectively destroying forms in order to further an organizational agenda. ACORN is not trying to get Mickey Mouse a voter’s card. They even flag dubious forms for the authorities to insure they will be vetted and, if appropriate, discarded.

ACORN wants to help poor people and minorities, so it certainly stands to reason that they despise Republicans. And yet we can be sure that the group isn’t perpetrating what McCain has called the greatest election fraud in history. How do we know?

Because putting non-existent voters onto the rolls accomplishes nothing unless you also create a vast conspiracy to turn those false registrations into actual votes at the polls. Nobody, not even those who wear tin-foil hats, thinks that ACORN is engineering such a conspiracy. If McCain’s team of Rovian machinists could think of any way to make that seem plausible, don’t you think they would? But there being not even the flimsiest thread with which to span the gap between fake registration forms and a stolen election, they hope to vault the gulf assisted by the upward draft of hot air that results from their own manufactured indignation.

And make no mistake, all this indignation is manufactured. Every time McCain and his surrogates go on the news and swoon in feigned horror at the injury ACORN is about to inflict on democracy, they are lying through their teeth. Nobody better knows how to recognize actual election fraud than they; when it comes to fraud they are the undisputed champions.

It is Republicans that distribute leaflets in Virginia telling Democrats to vote on November 5th. It is Republicans that tell students they’ll lose their scholarships if they vote. It is Republicans that expunge people from voter rolls because two public records of their address differ by a period or abbreviation. That, my friend, is what I call fraud. In this one instance at least, you may take just pride in your party’s competence.

Perhaps you are rolling your eyes, thinking that my argument rests upon the notion that Republicans are inherently more corrupt than Democrats. But it doesn’t. Everyone’s scrambling for power here, and there is no red or blue America when it comes to lust for power. But the simple fact is that Democrats want to increase turnout, while Republicans want to suppress it. And Republicans have a host of effective, nefarious, and illegal tricks at their disposal to achieve their desired goal. Democrats have none.

Onward!

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he has received over $1MM from Fannie Mae, who’s CEO that
left in 2004 for outrageous performance, Franklin Rains, left with about $45MM
in payout – AND is now an advisor to the Obama campaign, and some say a likely
future cabinet member. He happens to be black, and when a mention was made of
him some weeks ago, there was a cry of racism over the mention. I wonder how
many of these readers have even heard of it.

Your right. The Democrats–led by Barack Obama–are the true party of big finance and deregulation.

Of all the ploys that conservatives have used to deflect attention from their own culpability for our economic catastrophe, none takes more chutzpah than this one. It’s complete bull of course, but I take my hat off in admiration anyway.

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – there is a continuing question of his legitimacy to be
president by virtue of his birth – is he a citizen. It was clear when
Schwarzenegger ran for Governor, the question of his Austrian birth put to bed
his inability to be president someday, because he is not a natural
citizen…with Obama, questions still linger.This may take a bit, but when I
first heard of it months ago, I thought the issue was somehow put to bed…

OK, I’m cutting this one short because frankly, I’m just embarrassed for you. I’ve spent countless hours with you and this is just the kind of whining you hate! If there was any good evidence for this it would long since have become front page news because it’s the media’s most vivid wet dream. Giraldo Rivera is burning incense and sacrificing chickens to make it true.

But it’s not.

As it is, you sound like someone who’s about to lose the big game and is desperately trying to call time out and get the outcome reversed on a imagined technicality.

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he wants to “spread the wealth” – a general socialistic
ideology and point of view (much further than the current nationalistic position
being temporarily taken to help our country’s awful financial condition). “Joe
the Plumber” has been slammed – “he’s not licensed”…yeah, well he has worked
as a plumber for a company with a license for years. “His name’s not
Joe”…yeah, well his name is Samuel J, with the J being Joseph and he has gone
by the name of Joe for years. With Obama, middle names don’t count, and of
course can never be mentioned, or one would be called an inciter, and fear
mongerer if you mention his middle name – no-one has mentioned it for
months…don’t you dare. The news stories about Joe now just say he is not
licensed and his name is not Joe – deliberately with no further discussion or
clarification – Joy Behar of The View, yesterday (my wife heard it); Jack
Williams on WBZ news the other night (I heard it).

Wait, I’m going to sneeze again… This is also such an absurd canard.

First, how blithely you excuse this bailout. It’s just a $700 billion socialistic emergency gesture. It “doesn’t count.”

Sorry. It is absolutely, indisputably, a formalizing and finalizing of the biggest transfer of tax payer wealth to the wealthy than has occurred since, well, ever. If all you were doing was sprinkling some fairy dust of dismissal over it, you would be no more than wrong. But the fact that you expect to be taken seriously as an authoritative, hard-headed realist while dismissing those parts of reality you find inconvenient–it’s just really unbecoming.

Secondly, I’m frankly surprised to hear you parrot this “socialist” line because it is no more than a desperate semantic tactic directed at people a lot less intelligent than you. It’s been pulled off a dusty shelf because the word “liberal” seems to have lost its magic power. And since “socialist” is proving ineffective as well, we’re seeing a host of other synonyms for “BOO!” come out of cold storage as well: like “Marxist” and “Communist.”

Again, sorry. Like whiskey left to long, these retain their flavor, but not their potency.

I hate to bring up facts, but Obama has only promised to roll taxes back to their pre-Bush level. If that’s socialism, then the U.S. has been a socialist country since Roosevelt. Hell, since the Roosevelt before that Roosevelt.

Perhaps you think precisely that. In which case, you’re right: Obama is a socialist. And thank goodness.

But regardless, you ought to be thanking your lucky stars that you’re getting Obama’s restrained, thoughtful pragmatism rather than the real populist uprising for which your favored ideology has paved the way. Which brings me to…

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – he spent more than 20 years listening to his spiritual
advisor spew venomous anti-white, anti-Jewish, anti-American garbage. Then Obama
very slowly, in multiple steps, under pressure, leaned to a cloudy denouncement
of that advisor. Are white Americans so loaded with civil war era guilt or more
recent time guilt over the oppression of blacks, that we can’t even mention the
notion of racism – which to me, is apparent on the side of Obama and his
supporters. 96% of all blacks polled will vote for Obama – that to me is “OJ
like”, and should be considered “voter nullification”. You really will almost
never be wrong, that is you will be right 19 times out of 20 (that’s an “A”), if
you ask a black who they are voting for. Sure, there is some “familial/communal”
drive to vote for one like yourself (black, Irish, Jew, etc) but 96% is way out
of the norm. Imagine for a moment – a white junior senator, with very little
experience, who happened to have attended a church for 20 years, family events
occurring there, listening to his acclaimed spiritual advisor who spews
anti-black, anti-Jewish, anti-American government sentiment; believing the
American govt caused the Aids virus to spread it to blacks in Africa and
worldwide; the American govt conspired and was directly responsible for the 9-11
destruction, etc. That candidacy and outrage probably wouldn’t last very long,
in Obama’s case the outrage went on for a week, in this case the outrage would
probably last a few weeks more, but would end clearly with the end of the
candidacy of that white senator. Whites would drop him, Blacks would never have
touched him, Hollywood would scream their outrage, news stories would bury him
alive. Would anyone vote for that senator (even though it was his pastor’s words
not his), I think not, he would have been dropped before he could gain a start –
and rightly so! Reverend Wright – but you can’t mention him, for fear of being
labeled just a mud-slinger (and a racist), and should just stay on the issues

IT’S NOT JUST THAT – Michele has such a negative view of this country,
seemingly angry, which she has now pushed back or camouflaged well.

The church thing is such a yawn. His “spiritual advisor?” Give me a break. There are a million reasons people sit in church while the Minister says things they don’t agree with. Obama may share some of Wright’s concerns–about racism, about poverty, about justice–but every ounce of evidence we have shows he doesn’t share Wright’s inflammatory and combative approach.

Should Obama have got up and left? Maybe. But remaining engaged with people with whom we don’t always agree is a great way to learn and to create a foundation for difficult consensus. I for one am more than a little weary with those who make endless puritanical theatre out of turning their backs on Congressional or International constituencies who don’t observe their own petty orthodoxies. We recognize these characters from Victorian novels of manners. They are called “hypocrites.” And they don’t accomplish anything.

And I’m afraid I have to disagree with your hypothetical parallel about the swift destruction in store for any white Senator who associated with similarly edgy people of the clergy. John McCain has spent plenty of time sucking face with hate-spewing white pastors. And they weren’t in his community church. He made a special effort to seek them out for the sole purpose of sticking his tongue down their throats, just so he could pander to the troglodytes in their congregations.

And those folks are angry too, but with a whole lot less of an excuse than the black folks.

Let’s ponder that anger for a moment, shall we?

Personally, I think the whole Michelle Obama-is-angry-and-hates-America thing is completely baseless. It sprouted from one ill-phrased comment, and the reaction and manipulation of that moment says little about what she thinks, but speaks volumes about white America’s fear of a smart black woman. I’ll go further. I think Michelle Obama may be the most perfect would-be first lady in history. She has the brains, the looks, and the smile to be an asset in every formal situation. And yet she is a mother to those two adorable girls, which should keep the traditionalists happy. If she was white, 99% of the country would be fawning at her feet.

But let’s get to the real issue: you’ve discovered anger in the black community. Congratulations Columbus! You’re damn right many black people are angry. Some of it is even justified. Racism in every form is alive and well. There are plenty of places in this country where life was hardly different for blacks in 1960 than it was in 1860. I don’t know whether you believe that or not, but I do know you have no first-hand knowledge. So you might do a little research before you scoff.

Some of the anger is more inchoate. Things are imperfect for American blacks, to say the least. Just look at the number of single mothers, the AIDS epidemic, the incarceration rates, and the poverty. Meanwhile, African Americans watch more recent arrivals to this country from asia and latin american assimilate and succeed with relative ease.

So there’s anger. Some of it gets targeted at whites, rightly or not. Some gets targeted at other groups. And some just sits there and festers. This you should understand. You keep a little anger of your own that you’ve never been quite sure where to file, yes?

But the relevant question is not whether you’re angry, but whether you convert it into a source of positive motivation. And I can’t think of any politician who is more unswervingly positive than Barack Obama. If it’s anger that’s driving him, I hope whatever’s pissing him off keeps happening.

One last point here: you’re really upset about the fact that African Americans overwhelmingly support Obama because he’s black, and not because they think his policies are far better aligned with their interests. I trust you will have equally strong words for the middle- and lower-class whites who have for years voted themselves into an economic grave rather than be disloyal to the party that looked most like what they see when they look in the mirror.

IT’S NOT JUST SOME OF THE ABOVE (AND THERE IS MORE)…IT IS ALL OF IT!! We have to wake up and not let this happen (as the polls and pundits are trying to indicate it’s over as they just want to simply coronate him). I am not
fully happy at all with McCain-Palin, and certainly recognize the interest by
anyone wanting a change from the last 8 years (although not all the blame of
everything goes to this administration and its people); but McCain-Palin is
better than Obama-Biden. Yes, Obama presents well, has become more
confident, connects with people with his oratory (even when empty, or confusing
at best, or not really listened carefully to), relaxes people with his smile,
and coolness – while McCain presents poorly and awkwardly. But when you think of
“THIS Country First”…a future with Barack H. Obama as president SCARES
ME…far more than McCain-Palin!

OK. First, let’s go back to all the points you made before your crowning summary.

All these little points. You seem to be winding up to deliver the lethal blow. To say that Obama is anti-American, some kind of alien mole trying to worm his way into the White House so he can execute a long-planned Manchurian Candidate strategy to destroy America from within.

Is that it? Is it?

Than why don’t you just say it?

Why all this veiled suggestion, this collection of minutia worth nothing individually, adding up to nothing when combined?

Colin Powell, Richard Lugar, and Chuck Hagel, all seem pretty comfortable with Obama’s intellect, loyalty and patriotism. If these impressionable innocents are being conned, hadn’t you better reach out and show them all the startling truth you’ve discovered on the Internets? Before it’s too late?

Bad enough to attack someone’s character rather than their policies. But to do so in this roundabout way, and then refuse to own it. Well, as you were always so fond to say: For shame.

I know you prefer traditional conservative policies to what you percieve as liberalism. I can respect that and find plenty of room for dialogue.

But what about competence?

Nobody knows better than I how you do business. The attention to detail. The steadiness. Your respect for ability.

Is that really what you’ve seen from McCain and Palin?

What goes through your mind when you see McCain swing from talking about cutting taxes to offering to buy a country’s worth of worthless mortgages? When he trumpets the importance of experience over all, and then selects a small-town Alaskan mayor whose biggest strengths are her boobs and her appeal to religious extremists to be his running mate? When he sacrifices the national interest in favor of petty political gamesmanship, suspending his campaign and rushing to Washington where his indiscretion promptly torpedoes a deal to resolve what you yourself just said was a genuine crisis of the highest order?

I know what you would have said about a business associate who behaved this way. Your disdain would know no limits.

Meanwhile, Obama runs an efficient juggernaut of a campaign, puts out some of the most detailed policy proposals that we’ve seen from a presidential candidate in ages, and demonstrates nothing but sense, stability and competence.

But you find that “empty” and “confusing.” I don’t think it’s the message you have a problem with. It’s the messenger.

You say it’s not racism. I won’t say it is.

I think it all comes down to your last words. You’re scared. And what you’re scared of is not policies you don’t agree with. It’s people who aren’t like you and ideas that differ from yours.

I’m sure you would say that the mess the country finds itself in right now is not the result of your philosophy. I think you would argue that the underlying philosophy is sound. That the problem has been incompetence.

I don’t buy it.

You have no problem with the opacity of conduct, with the authoritarian style, with the unalloyed rule of wealthy white guys who hire their fishing buddies for cabinet posts.

Well I’ve got news for you. That’s the petrie dish that bred the incompetence. And that petrie dish will breed incompetence 100 times out of 100.

The fact that you would have the gall to suggest you know what’s best when what you think best is such a monumental and self-evident failure is beyond presumptuous.

You’re scared of what will happen if Obama gets his way? Well, I don’t need to agonize over some ill-defined fear of what might happen if the country was run your way. I’m living it.

And frankly, it blows.