Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “ron paul”

Super PAC, Super Disappointment

I have been following the Republican primaries with righteous indignation, just the ticket on the commute to work over the fog-hugging Bay Bridge. Today (Wednesday at the time of writing), Mitt Romney is confident that, despite losses in key states to Rick Santorum, he will win the primaries, because he has the money to buy TV ads.

Really? Not because he attracts the party faithful through his stirring speeches, articulate exposition of policy, his vision and personal principles?

But this seems to be a glimpse of the future political landscape, where money rather than grassroots support, will decide who rises (or floats) to the top.

Those of us on the moral left will point out that our candidate won the elections against considerable odds by rallying hundreds of thousands of people to donate $25, a meaningful contribution for many. We rallied on street corners, in town hall meetings, and across the Internet.

So I am rather upset to hear that President Obama has sanctioned the forming of a Super PAC – Priorities USA Action. Campaign Manager, Jim Messina essentially told us that the President doesn’t like flip-flopping like this, but has to be realistic and anticipate the media assault waiting for him when the real election campaigning begins.

I know that there is a mixed reaction among the faithful. Many are relieved that reality has kicked in before it is too late. Better to accept the future scenario now and do what must be done to ensure four more years.

But other, myself included, have sighed deeply. Did it really have to be this way? Can we not have the courage of our convictions to believe that we will win because our message is right, our vision in tune with what needs to happen, and that Americans are smart enough to treat this like a general election and not a reality show.

Matea Gold and Melanie Mason, have written a great article in the LA Times: Obama’s embrace of ‘super PAC’ will test his base of donors. Worth the read.

I stand as one of the disappointed, but it won’t stop my commitment to reelecting President Obama. I know what the alternative is (whether Romney, Santorum, Paul or Gingrich), and I begrudgingly know how they can win.

I remain stunned that so many people, only a few months into President Obama’s first term, were actually blaming him for the state of the economy, as though none of the economic carnage and greedy abuse happened prior to his election.

Super PACs have no place in politics. They should remain on the Comedy Central where they belong.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

I Hate Obama – Tom Rossi

Republican candidate debate, January 7, 2012

Rick Perry: “I hate Obama.”

Rick Santorum: “No, I hate him more!”

Newt Gin-grinch: “I not only hate Obama, but EVERY bad thing EVER is his fault.”

Ron Paul: “I have some good ideas, some crazy ideas, and some that just show what an adorable simpleton I really am. Here’s what…”

Mitt Romney: “Let me interrupt here to point out that Ron Paul just doesn’t hate Barack Obama enough. I REALLY hate him!”

Rick Santorum: “I haven’t heard anybody up here blame Obama. It’s all his fault and I hate him.”

Newt Gin-grinch: “I’d like to contradict myself within the same sentence and then add that I blame Obama for everything and I really, really hate him.”

Jon Huntsman: “I’d like to sound intelligent and presidential while I blame Obama.”

Mitt Romney: “I’d like to insult you by calling you an Obama lover and add that I hate Obama.”

Rick Perry: “I don’t just believe in Jesus, but I’d like to point out that Obama is the devil and I really hate him.”

Newt Gin-grinch: “I think we should have a negative tax rate for the Wall Street corporations that caused this economic collapse – the government should pay them. Obama is just too stupid to see this as the obvious answer to all our problems.”

Ron Paul: “I will do exactly what Republicans say they want. But they will never elect me because they are liars and hypocrites.”

Rick Santorum: “Well, it’s clear that Dr. Paul doesn’t hate Obama nearly enough. Until he blames Obama much more, he will always be an also-ran.”

Rick Perry: “I had really hoped that people would notice my new Ronald Reagan haircut. Oh… and did I mention that I hate Obama?”

George Stephenopoulis: “I’d like to ask a thoughtful question that would illuminate your policy positions in a certain area…”

Mitt Romney: “I don’t want to insult you or anyone’s intelligence, but I’d like to ignore your question and say that none of my opponents hate Obama as much as I do and I also have a striking profile.”

Jon Huntsman: “Will everyone please stop picking on me? I speak Chinese and I’m not nearly fanatical enough for my own party to nominate me, but I don’t like Obama either.”

Newt Gin-grinch: “See?! He said, ‘Don’t like’! I told you he doesn’t hate Obama!”

Newt Gingrich - thrown in just for Roger Ingalls

Rick Santorum: “Nobody up here except me hates Obama enough. I’m the one who should be allowed to call him names in the general election in November.”

Mitt Romney: “Stop saying that! I hate Obama more than you!”

Chorus of reporters: “Mitt Romney fended off attacks by the other candidates in the 156th Republican debate. Contrary to Ron Paul’s insane ramblings, Mitt Romney will be anointed King in just a few, short months.”

Ahhhh… that was fun. Truth be told, I was stunned to hear fragments (between the Obama hating) of intelligent thoughts from the candidates. Well, all except Rick Perry. Rick Perry was like the “slow,” bratty kid that a teacher keeps in the back corner of the classroom. Every so often he’d pop up and shoot a spit-wad and the rest of the kids would laugh. I think he could be dropped off the end of the stage and the conversation might improve.

It seemed as if the candidates were preparing for the general election by sounding a little more moderate than in previous weeks. All except Rick Perry, of course. He said that, as president, he would immediately send troops back into Iraq. I pick on Rick Perry a lot. Are you getting the idea that maybe I don’t like him too much?

Several candidates made good observations about our economic situation. But these were always followed by ridiculous conclusions and plans of action. All of these candidates adhere to an archaic, false religion – corporate economics. I wish I could shake Newt Gin-grinch by the lapels and tell him that lowering capital gains taxes (even more) will NOT stimulate manufacturing! It’s exactly the opposite!

In addition, most of the candidates (especially Rick Santorum) hold onto the ridiculous idea (as do their supporters) that the president can somehow influence the social tendencies of our country. Here are a few news flashes: People are going to keep having sex. Some people are still going to be gay. Big, powerful media corporations will put sex in movies and on TV. A lot people will do drugs. And lots of people are still going to think for themselves instead of swallowing whatever propaganda is supposed to make them fall neatly into their little boxes in American society.

What I saw in Saturday night’s Republican debate was a fantasy love-in between men with admittedly decent vocabularies. It was a bunch of guys who, while they do possess raw intelligence (except Rick Perry), are out of touch with reality. They still believe in Santa Claus, even after they spotted three Santas downing whiskeys at the local bar, and two others robbing a liquor store.

Fantasy can be a lot of fun. Or it can be a nightmare. This debate was entertaining, but one of these Dungeons and Dragons wizards might end up leading our country based on a paradigm that has proven false. It’s tragically hilarious to me that it’s always Republicans who quote Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result.” There is actually considerable doubt if Einstein even said that.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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