Friday, July 16, 2010

mission statement...

And here is the mission statement designed to forever change the face of democracy as we know it . It is far more than a mission statement though. It is a CHALLENGE to anyone concerned with the future of hyper-capitalist style democracy in the United States of America.

For every hundred thousand dollars raised and spent by a serious political candidate with reasonable aspirations of attaining the presidency, I will bring them to their knees for 1/100,000 of the cost. I actually tried something along these lines during the 2008 campaign. Does anyone remember the "DINOSAURS ARE 4,000 YEARS OLD" sign? I tried to get exposure for that sign at some of the McCain rallies. And I had one for Sarah as well, "SARAH, ARE DINOSAURS REALLY 4,000 YEARS OLD? YOU BETCHA!"

Wouldn't it be cool to map out your expenses beforehand? Think in terms of gasoline, fast food lunch, cardboard sign and marker. Hypothetically, let's say a senate candidate spends 4.2 million. Your objective would be to devise a plan to mock and ridicule his candidacy for $42. After the successful completion of "operation deathblow," you'll do an interview for a major media organization. During that interview, you'd offer up evidence of the entire plan - most likely from a personal blog or internet site specifically designed to irreparably destroy high profile campaigns. What's even more cool - once average citizens have seen that this works, more and more will move in for the kill. It becomes a lot like a contest with an endless amount of options. The reward - aside from the sudden fame, the average joe will be able to influence the future political landscape of our country.

I'll tell you this - it would certainly comply with the universal laws of balance. There has to be some blowback for people like Mayor Bloomberg in New York City. You can't just sink a billion dollars into your campaign and expect the political machinery to work flawlessly. Obviously, it's his perogative to spend as much as he sees fit, but that should open you up to more random attacks. I often think of Richard Allen (the former Republican Senator from Virginia). This guy had credible presidential aspirations until he got busted with the "Makaka" moment. Of course this was of his own doing, but it never would have happened if that Indian college kid/political operative wasn't on hand at a rally.

I will set out to destroy everyone's favorite sweetheart from Wasilla, Alaska. Rest assured, she is going to raise a shitload of money in the upcoming cycle. Her Sarahpac (don't you just love that name) will be one of the first political action committees to garner fund raising under the far less restrictive laws recently laid down by the Supreme Court. Current laws regarding corporate political fund raising have been rolled back faster than a tickle-me Elmo doll at Walmart. And I'll even up the ante and outline a plan to spend 1/1,000,000, not 1/100,000. Has a nice ring to it. Here are some figures. Of course, this is the presidency here. My 1/100,000 ratio seems better suited for U.S. Senate and governor candidates.

2008 Candidates
(millions of dollars)

All Candidates 1686.4

Democrats 1079.5
Obama (D) 747.8
Republicans 606.9
McCain (R) 351.6
Clinton (D) 227.9
Romney (R) 105.3

Regardless of whether you agree with the Palin agenda, she's going to raise a shitload of cash. She has cornered the right wing political market on love and inspiration. That Palin is a real go-getter. Mitt Romney has most of the robotic support from corporate machinery and now he has these fucked up "Mormons are just like you and me" commercials already airing in swing states. You could wreak havoc with a sign that said, "I'M A MORMON and GOD DAMN PROUD OF IT." Think of the damage that would do when it's hoisted in the background. Romney's trying to deflect attention and soften the cult-like status of everything related to Joseph Smith. KA-POW! That's the sound of his campaign getting a vasectomy with a butter knife.

Back to Palin... throw in some book sales and lecture circuit appearances (she's very strong at the podium - just don't make it a Q & A). Plus, you have every God fearing douchebag pitching in individual donations. Corporate born-agains like Domino's Pizza (mmmm, yeah right - it's the worst of all the major chains and now they want you to take a photo of the pizza and i-phone in a pic - for the love of god, how about one with a locust nestled amongst a swath a rubbery mozz-o-mate). I digress.

The whole gist of this thing is to devise a model for destroying high profile candidates. Once people have verifiable evidence that it was not a mere accident, but a rather a targeted effort with documented expense reports others will join the fun. The ultimate goal being to devise the absolute, most cost effective effort. Perhaps a fringe element within the DNC or RNC could offer compensation to the person who does the best job.

Wasn't it the original intent of the founding fathers to make sure that political careers were not exclusive to the uber wealthy? I vaguely remember one of them yapping about how a person whose occupation was "candle stick maker" could rise to the level of governorship. Today, that's not too likely unless you're the owner of those overpriced scented candles they sell in the lobby of Cracker Barrel. I think they're called Yankee candles.

All these tea-baggers are pissed off about inadequate representation and how Congress is so out-of-touch with regular Americans. Well, rather than just bitching up a storm, how about game-planning true dissent where real ramifications are felt. Seriously, if this whole thing were to work just a few times, it would probably reshape the general concepts of political fund-raising in our modern democratic system. For the better though? I think so. Sarah, I'm looking directly at you. See you in my favorite swing states. And Mitt, prepare to face the "Mormonic consequences." Just like youtube sensation Jessica Slaughter's dad, "Consequences will NEVER be the same!"

Thursday, July 08, 2010

mama grizzlies?

I have mixed reviews about the new Sarah Palin ad...!

Let's first state the obvious. It's entirely a "feel-good" ad. No time for policy positions of any kind, foreign or domestic. We're just going to move forward! Look out Washington DC and all you political hacks. Palin's comin' round the mountain (Mt. Whitney is my best guess). Oh yeah, and I'm going to protect your children with the tenacity of a Mama Grizzly! Women everywhere are standing up and I represent all the women out there. Moms just kinda know when something ain't right. And something's not right in Congress. And never forget... God bless America, wave as many flags as is humanly possible and always mention how much you support the troops. Yeah... I get it.

I will admit one thing though. The ad is very slick and has a strong emotional appeal. For me to admit that her campaign ad has an inspirational tone is a major concession. For the love of God, if I found it even remotely inspiring, can you imagine what a mainstream mother from Indiana must be feeling. That woman in Bloomington just started quilting the largest American flag, hoping for a Guinness Book of World Record. Praise Sarah! She's without a doubt, the greatest freedom loving hockey mom in the world. It's a good thing they developed a metric for defining "the most patriotic, mother of 5 who's always willing to recite the pledge of allegiance while simultaneously eating a hot dog at the minor league ball park" - I've always thought that category never received its just due. About time.

She's basically using the exact same formula as Obama - His ads were similar with the incessant "hope, change and shake up the status quo." But at least he could articulate the finer points and is a well-rounded political candidate, regardless if you agree with his agenda. Palin, on the other hand (and yes, I'm talking about the scribbled notes on her actual HAND), is entirely a memorization candidate. She needed to write down "lower taxes" and "freedom." Honestly, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? She doesn't have an authentic message or core system of beliefs. She just latches onto the conservative rhetoric of those far wiser and politically seasoned. Even better, she does it mostly with facebook commentary and twittered blips. God, do I abhor this woman.

Palin's strategy is to make her followers fall in love with her. Let's be honest - for a good chunk of the populace, that's all you need. Make people identify with you. I'm just like your neighbor... Suzie the homemaker, Joe the Plumber, Darrin the dogcatcher. If you love someone, they can do no wrong. You get my drift. I have a hunch that this "Mama Grizzly" bit will be used for the rest of the summer until her team comes up with a new catchy slogan. She's basically turning the political primary build-up into her version of American Idol. Not a bad plan. She already has the shrieking squeals of delight from her trained minions whenever her tour bus approaches. Well, to admit that this is HER strategy is a bit of a stretch. Her handlers have a better idea of what's going on. Personally, I think her goal is to amass as much support as is humanly possible and then back a more credible candidate. By now, she must be aware that she simply cannot become President. Then again, despite her resounding loss in '08, she still thinks "God is on her side." Usually when people think God is with them, they tend to be a bit blinded by personal ambition.

Sometimes I get so carried away with my contempt for Palin (my animosity extends to her entire family, even the infant with Downs syndrome), that I neglect my own prognostications for a Palin victory. All it would take is a split on the middle/left with a credible outsider - someone like a Tom Hanks or Oprah Winfrey. Possibly a billionaire populist who could laugh off the elitist/Hollywood tag. I call this Palin's overwhelming mandate (36% of the popular vote in a three way race). Look out Iran! Sarah don't wear no veil! Now is NOT the time to cover up! Sarah, if you read this (assuming that you do read actual columns or editorials - this is still a matter of public debate), you can have that slogan for your future meeting with Ahmedinijad when you lay down the law.

The problem is that the Republican party currently doesn't have many credible candidates for President. All of them, including Palin, can be carved apart on various issues when primary season comes back around. Romney belongs to that Mormon cult. Newt cheated on his wife. Jindal is an Indian. Guiliani is an egomaniac and way too provincial - how ironic since he's from NYC. He's the ultimate oxymoronic candidate. Robert Steele is gaffe prone and he's black (doesn't stand a chance anyway). Huckabee sounds too much like Hick and he's a closet tree hugger. There are a few candidates further down the trough, but they lack the national exposure. Maybe it's her intention to see it all the way through. Crazier things have happened. But the thought of "President Sarah Palin" is so inherently absurd, so disgustingly ludicrous, it boggles the imagination. And I have a pretty vivid imagination.

So my point of this post, other than the redundant Palin bashing. Why doesn't the Democratic National Committee use this "Mama Grizzly" nonsense in an attack ad? You could have a Grizzly bear standing on its hind legs with the superimposed/morphed face of Palin. She could either be growling or smiling. It doesn't really matter once you de-legitimize the minimal amount of credibility she has. The important thing is to have those talon-like claws outstretched over the head. South Park writers would have a field day with this. I remember when they turned Barbara Streisand into that giant monster. I think this would play well considering the popularity of political caricatures. Democrats need to take a more aggressive general attack strategy. I anticipate getting inundated with the infamous Obama/Hitler mustache pics. That never grows tired. Or how about the Obamacare where he dons the protective mask and surgical gloves. I actually think the latter one has a little pizazz. But c'mon, the Hitler innuendo? That shit is so stale.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Byrd replacement

After chugging along for quite some time, the venerable Robert Byrd (D-WV) has finally passed on. Byrd was an intriguing individual, a far cry from the wealthy egomaniacs and pompous power-hungry people that seek office these days. Born dirt poor with incredibly limited means, he worked his way up the food chain. Hard to believe that a former KKK member would eventually become the foremost constitutional scholar in the U.S. Senate. Byrd was certainly the exception to the rule.

But now the million dollar question - who the hell is Manchin going to appoint and when will he do it? Well, he has to do it soon because the Senate Democrats need that single vote. Right now, every vote is essential if you want to get anything accomplished along partisan lines. Manchin said he would honor and respect Byrd's family and allow an appropriate amount of time for them and the state of WV to grieve. But rest assured, Manchin will appoint someone to fill the remaining 2 years probably on next Friday. This way it can dissipate into the weekend news cycle.

Here's the obvious - Manchin will neither appoint himself nor his wife Gayle. This would smack of arrogance and not bode well in the current political climate where ethics have been stretched to the bounds of absurdity. Plus, the conservative media would have a field day with a sitting governor rewarding himself with a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Manchin will run for the seat in 2012, most likely against Shelly Moore Capito. And it will be a dogfight. Especially as West Virginia gets redder and redder with each passing day. And the outside PAC money that will be poured into the cheap advertising WV advertising markets. There's a bunch of DC insiders salivating like a pack of wild Pavlovian dogs. But in the meantime, he needs to find someone who is...

A. Qualified Democrat
B. Not politically ambitious
C. Willing to play ball
D. Trustworthy

These 4 qualifications are intriguing because Manchin can't trust any of the high profile options - Mollohan, former governor Gaston Caperton, Nick Rahall and Earl Tomblin. There are others out there, but here's the dilemma... What if I appoint someone and he/she (it will be a man) decides after their 2 years is up, "Hey, I kind of like being a U.S. Senator. Maybe I'll give it a shot and run for the office since I've now got credible name recognition." This would be a disaster as it would call for a divisive primary among the Democrats. Manchin would have to dig deep into his campaign warchest just to get the nomination. Then, he would be more vulnerable against a seasoned Capito in the general election.

So here's the trick... Who can I pick that is just qualified and respected enough, but will willingly step aside when my turn comes? It all comes down to whom Manchin can trust. The answer... not many. One name does come to mind. A four term senator from Hancock County named Ed Bowman. Bowman is in his early sixties and just decided to announce his retirement. He's always been very popular in the northern panhandle. He's a sharp guy that I would term as a populist insider. He has credibility with the voters but is also well known and respected in Charleston amongst the legislators. Bowman was the critical element in bringing table gaming to Mountaineer Race Track. He's closely allied with the gambling interests, people like Ted Arnault (CEO of MNTR Racetrack) and the other gaming heavyweights.

Most important, I think he's the only viable choice that Manchin can TRUST to voluntarily step aside after his 2 years expires. And it's my opinion that Bowman wouldn't have issues with this. He's already on the record as choosing to retire becuase he wanted to spend more time with his family. But a temporary term in the U.S. Senate??? That has a nice ring to it.

Byrd had been gradually dying for quite some time now. If I were a gambling man (and I am), I'd bet Manchin has been thinking about his options for a Senate replacement since he was elected in the earlier part of the decade. Just don't insult my intelligence and tell me that him or his team haven't weighed the pros and cons of everyone imaginable. Ed Bowman is the most sensible choice. A retired WV political rep, well qualified, not politically ambitious, has friends in the right places (gaming) and most important - he's one of the very few politicians among Manchin's inside circle that he can trust implicitly. Ohh yeah, and Bowman would completely tow the line and vote straight ticket for virtually the whole Obama agenda (except on coal and energy policy).

The local and state media seem to have trouble figuring this one out. Who's it gonna be? Who will Manchin choose? Well, I'm going on the record with Ed Bowman. I think it's kind of obvious. Hopefully, Manchin chooses his words carefully because West Virginia is definitely well-suited for another Blagoyovich inspired fiasco. Personally, I'd kill for a Blago-Manchinesque controversy. Chicago style politics pales in comparison to our cadre of WV good-ol-boys. Come to think of it... Manchin could even pull off the Blago hair-wave unnecessary comb-over. James Manchin, Rod Blagoyovich and The Donald - there's a threesome I wouldn't want to see in a dark alley, or a well lit one for that matter.