The Choice

The reason the Todd Aiken rape comments have resonated so strongly is that they bring a bit of clarity to a race that was in danger of being dominated by the ad budgets of Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers. What Aiken and his good buddy Paul Ryan(pictured above) really believe about a number of issues was being cloaked by the feel good marketing campaign gloss of Plutocracy, Inc, the Rove and Koch operation. As has been pointed out for years, the 1% could never have a chance of putting their handpicked Private Equity Master of the Universe in the White House if they just ran on their economic plan (lower taxes for billionaires, kill the EPA and other regulators, privatize Medicare and Social Security). What they need to win is to get the social conservatives to vote against their economic interests in favor of their moral agenda of banning abortion with no exceptions, along with their other anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-poor, anti-women plans.

Fortunately for the Democrats, Todd Aiken is on a mission from God to win the Missouri senate race and so exhortations from mere mortals like Mitt Romney have no effect on his calculation. But the Democrats should not be too confident. The Republican voter suppression operation is in full swing in key states and the Kochs, Rove and Adelson still have $100 million to spend on advertising in the last two months. More importantly, as USA Today pointed out, their is widespread voter apathy with over 90 million people saying they won’t bother to vote.

A nationwide USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll of people who are eligible to vote but aren’t likely to do so finds that these stay-at-home Americans back Obama’s re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-1. Two-thirds of them say they are registered to vote. Eight in 10 say the government plays an important role in their lives.

Readers of this blog will note that I have been arguing for years that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was the most visionary of the dystopian masterpieces. The reason 90 million people won’t vote is they are too caught up in the lives of the Kardashians to care about Obama and Romney.

 The two most important dystopian fables of the future were Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’sBrave New World. It turned out Huxley was right. With right combination of anti-anxiety drugs (Soma to Huxley; Valium, Prozac,etc to us) and the right entertainment (Huxley’s “Feelies”; our 3D and Reality TV) you don’t need Big Brother to keep the proles in line.

Perhaps Aiken’s strenuous statement of what he and Paul Ryan really believe will stir a few butts off the couch and into the voting booth. We will continue to be over-medicated and over-entertained, but the realization that a moron like Todd Aiken, who can make up his own science while serving on the House Science and Technology Committee, is actually the voice of the modern Republican Party ought to be pretty shocking to a public that is still half asleep.

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22 Responses to The Choice

  1. Rick Turner says:

    Voting is mandatory in the close-to-civilized Australia. Should be here, too.

    The best thing the Dems could possibly do is to mount a massive voter registration and get-out-the-vote drive. But that might be too smart an idea for the party that seems to want to lose.

  2. len says:

    I was thinking this morning that in the last election the right accused Obama’s Minions of buying the election with the internet hoover machines that amassed so much money that he could drown McCain. Cynically one believes the post-Citizen’s United SuperPacs can do the same and in fact Romney did appear to do that to his primary opponents.

    Yet despite their tightness, when one looks at the polls, big money is losing.

    It may be that Aldous is only right part of the time for part of the people and the cynics are wrong about America. The majority are sickened by what they are seeing and the Republicans are giving them a ticket that is everything that repulses the majority at this time.

    If the Republicans fall apart at the convention and cannot wave the flag enough, stoke fear enough to convince the soccer moms and TJMaxx shoppers again to fear the brown man and the black man and the gay man, then Obama wins. Worse for them, this may be the sign of a maturing American electorate tired of political proxies committing shenanigans on behalf of a 1% that despite the assumptions of wealth are not as smart as they think they are or as powerful.

    All I have to do is look back on the last ten years of my life and ask if my employers did more for me or my friends and my church. The answer is easy to that. Obama? Better than the alternative by the cost of health care, the jobs in the auto industry, and the roll back of militarization which even the Pentagon planners knows is coming.

    Smart managers don’t fire people who are doing their jobs.

  3. len says:

    Oh and don’t roll into the punch. Fox is taking Bolton out of mothballs a lot to stoke the fires of war with Iran. Meanwhile the natives are murdering troops in Afghanistan. These resonate with the fearful and the Repugs will try to use that at their convention to push the “Obama is weak on defense” line rather than the expected economy line because they can make that case more convincingly than explaining how the 1% can afford to pour millions and millions into a campaign but can’t create more jobs since they are the “job creators”. As you note all they need to do is stoke fear in their base while demoralizing the base of their opponents.

    In the first half, against good advice, you pushed Obama down too many long range social engineering changes. Because they are long term you got frustrated and everyone else got angry. That enabled the Republicans to eviscerate you in the mid terms and then sit on their asses for two years creating the perception of failure on the part of the President when actually despite their instransigence and leftist frustration, he was doing ok. Keep a passion for the vote and work some enthusiasm for those things gained that might be lost. For the most part, the women get this. You have about 80 days. Don’t get hung up on the things you didn’t get done or will take time in the next administration. Remember: there is no such thing as a purely free market or a purely too big government. They are both illusions of the ideologies. Strategic planners know it is an ecosystem of market types each with its own dynamics that have to be coordinated for overall help. Planning is much and then agility in response to dynamic change.

    Don’t roll into the punch this time.

  4. JTMcPhee says:

    I might venture to offer that Ray Bradbury’s contribution to dystopic literature, “Farenheit 451,” had its own set of unfortunately prescient speculations.

    Remember the “seashell radio-earpieces” everybody stuck in their ears, to fill their otherwise mostly empty heads with milli-vanilla Muzak and the Narrative line? And of course there were the virtual-reality TVs, by which the vapid and inane could fill out their lives by participating in interactive soap operas and the summum bonum was to complete the entertainment room by closing the square with flat-screen TVs covering all four walls.

    What did the tale mean?

    The novel has been the subject of various interpretations, primarily focusing on the historical role of book burning in suppressing dissenting ideas. Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context.

    Wiki’s article does not catch all the facets of Bradbury’s inspiration and percipience, but it’s pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451

  5. Steve White says:

    It doesn’t really make sense to say a guy “is actually the voice of the modern Republican Party” when the majority of people in that party are telling him to get lost.

  6. len says:

    Steve White :It doesn’t really make sense to say a guy “is actually the voice of the modern Republican Party” when the majority of people in that party are telling him to get lost.

    And he is saying they are panicking after all the support they gave to abortion rights denial regardless of cause and regardless of what they have said in the past particularly when in earshot of Tea Party consituencies. And he is right.

    Not a great record to run on, Steve. This is the price of a party allowing itself to be captured by the extreme elements of its membership.

  7. Rick Turner says:

    When a guy like Aiken sits on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, we are in deep shit. Has anyone asked his views on Darwin vs. “intelligent design”? He sure fails on biology; he probably reads Galen and goes to be bled every now and then to rid himself of bad humours. And if the Repugs really do keep that “no abortion even if raped” plank in the platform, I hope they choke on it.

    Get out the vote.

  8. Steve White says:

    Romney has made it clear he does not agree with Akin. Romney and many other Republicans want Akin to drop out and be replaced with a more moderate candidate. I don’t see how this particular issue demonstrates “a party allowing itself to be captured by the extreme elements of its membership”. I read somewhere that the Democrats spent money to help Akin win the primary. To call Akin “the voice of the party” just seems like wishful thinking for partisan Democrats.

  9. len says:

    I don’t see how this particular issue demonstrates “a party allowing itself to be captured by the extreme elements of its membership

    1. Because he picked Ryan to run with him, thus the “heartbeat away from presidency dilemma”

    2. Because Aiken and Ryan have been carrying on like this for years and the party faithful are only noticing because Aiken made a gaffe. I accept he didn’t mean “legitimate” but then if you look at what he did mean, it’s just as bad. Oopsie.

    Partisan democrats? Say women. To the point Aiken opened up, the Repugs almost had some women liking the guy. Now they take a second look and go, “WTF! OMG!!”. Oopsie.

    Worse for Romney, now a man who can’t explain why he is hiding his tax returns has to explain why he hasn’t noticed his VP pick is a freshly scrubbed douche bag and whatever he says he believes now he didn’t believe it two weeks ago. So he starts to fit the mold of the desperate to be proxy for the unusually wealthy instead of a leader who can help us thrive. Oopsie.

    Aiken is the solid hook to the unraveller. And worse, he is staying in the race. Aw shit!

  10. JTMcPhee says:

    Steve White :
    Romney and many other Republicans want Akin to drop out and be replaced with a more moderate candidate. I don’t see how this particular issue demonstrates “a party allowing itself to be captured by the extreme elements of its membership”. I read somewhere that the Democrats spent money to help Akin win the primary. To call Akin “the voice of the party” just seems like wishful thinking for partisan Democrats.

    Especially that part about “replaced with a more moderate candidate. The is pure BS. What the Red Leadership wants is less noise in the Mindless Media about Bad Stuff that its people believe and yearn for, on the way to whatever you want to call the descent back into to Bad Old Days when Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards ruled the social roost, and the initial conditions were being set for the eventual “triumph” of our klepto-oligarchy.

    And what’s this vacuous reference to “Democrats” spending money to get Akin on the ballot? Even if true, the quantum of dirty tricks by “Republican operatives,” including voter suppression, false-flag phone and mail, and running frog candidates to try to devalue Dem primaries, not to mention what, $8 billion in Black Money going into scurrilous and flat-out false attack advertising and everything else that a Gingrich or a Rove or any of the rest of the Red Tricksters can come up with to advance their “cause,” so far overtops anything that the clumsy, self-defeating Dems have managed as to make the comparison laughable.

  11. Steve White says:

    I assumed that any replacement for Akin would be more moderate because the guy is pretty extreme and he was apparently the most conservative of the candidates in the primary.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/why-todd-akins-win-gives-democrats-hope-in-missouri/2012/08/08/6e0246b8-e16c-11e1-ae7f-d2a13e249eb2_blog.html

    My only point is that I don’t think this guy, who nobody outside of Missouri had heard of before a few days ago, represents the Republican party’s stance on abortion or anything else. Akin’s closeness to Ryan is interesting, but Romney is at the top of the ticket and Romney and most other Republicans have thoroughly denounced the stupid comments of the so-called “voice of the modern Republican party”.

  12. len says:

    Yet No Excuses No Abortions is a plank in the Republican platform. Romney hasn’t made a bit of difference. The comments coming the Texas judge about starting a civil war if Obama wins are starkers and not to mention, treason talk. The Republicans are coming unhinged.

  13. len says:

    DO listen to this. The Irish President sets the Tea Party down hard in the way the Irish do so well.

    http://www.upworthy.com/a-tea-partier-decided-to-pick-a-fight-with-a-foreign-president-it-didnt-go-so-we

    Freakin’ awesome.

  14. Rick Turner says:

    Where did Texas governor Rick Perry turn to for help when the fires were raging?

    Washington.

    And it was who suggested secession from the union about a year and a half or two years ago…

    If Texas secedes, from whom will they get foreign aid?

    Mexico?

    I don’t think so…

    I love my friends in Austin, but that is an anomalous city in that state.

    The Republicans have abandoned all sense of reasoning; their “science” is pre-medieval; their understanding of more than half of the population…women…is frighteningly oppressive and chauvinistic. Their use of Christianity is as per the Anti-Christ. They should feel very comfortable hanging out with the likes of Vladimir Putin, Baby Doc, and Idi Amin.

  15. len says:

    @rick and alex: An idea or notion isn’t adopted because your friends believe it. It is because people in different groups you associate with believe it. The most important aspect of marketing anything is not to convince the elite but the elites. Then inter-elite relationships do the dirty work of convincing everyone else. It is a power perception instinct that convinces the herds. A good salesman changes a tie at every customer they visit.

    What is interesting is the herds are also elites and the elites that don’t know that don’t stay in power. It is the frustration with this that unhinged the Republican Party. In a world of immediate media and transparency, a perception of hypocrisy “tied” them up.

    http://www.nature.com/news/computational-social-science-making-the-links-1.11243

  16. Rick Turner says:

    If I were in the Obama camp, I’d be all over the Swiss and Cayman Islands Bain/Romney money thing, and I’d be accusing Romney of being downright un-patriotic. Got to set those back fires NOW. Got to convince the over 60 crowd…who vote and are hated by some here…that A) Social Security and Medicare are under attack, and that B) Romney is a mealy mouthed weasel who off-shored jobs and his own cash at the expense of the middle class and senior citizens.

    But the Dems are too wimpy to do this…

  17. len says:

    A is good. Pound on that one. Loss of Hispanics and a LOT of women puts him on the ropes. Loss of more seniors will be a coup d’ gras to offset the disenfranchised vote strategy that apparently he will get away with. (rotten s.o.b.s.) although I wouldn’t lose the “people who have to keep people from voting to win don’t have good ideas” meme.

    B is a hard shot to make because the reply is that what he does with his own money is his own business. The shot is it is only his money because he sucked the value out of the companies he “turned around” and put it in those off-shore accounts. So he not only got the money, he did his best to ensure the USA couldn’t benefit from it.

    People really do need to see precisely what it means to have a “turnaround” done to them. We referred to it as “a season of locusts”. You have to feel it to understand just how weasely and snakey it is once you catch on.

    Find some of the footage of the dust bowl and the locust swarms and overlay that with their freshly scrubbed faces showing up with new logos, new t-shirts, meetings to explain “now, next, afternext” and what happens as one by one the good managers are retired or fired, the employees are made to fight among themselves, the snakes and weasels get their jobs, benefits are reduced, the office becomes a cube for four, good talent hits the door and then one day, voila, the company is sold overseas. Then the dust rolls in on the survivors huddled in their shack cubes trying to work off leveraged debt while their former saviors leave the company and go to the next company/victim or their new homes. BTW: the clue is the locust managers never move to the towns where they do this to set up a home and become part of a community. They go to the right parties, back a few candidates and otherwise commute on the company payroll from their homes in say Boca Raton a few days a week.

    I’m not making any of this up. I could write the script.

  18. Alex Bowles says:

    @len I don’t think you need the Biblical analogies. Actual reality is appalling enough. for instance, Bain Capital is currently moving an entire plant from Illinois to China, breaking it down, piece by piece, and shipping the whole thing offshore. Meanwhile, they’re bringing Chinese workers here to be trained by the very people they’re replacing.

    Romney may not be directly involved here, but given the “blind” interest he has retained he is profiting directly, and saying nothing. Actually, that’s not true. What he’s saying from the Presidential campaign trail no less, is that he’s a “job creator” and that “he knows how the economy really works.”

    The cynicism of that man is just unreal.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/aug/10/illinois-workers-bain-outsourcing

  19. len says:

    The images last long after the rhetoric fades. There was nothing Bibilical about what was done to us but for anyone who doesn’t think this is about values, think again. I worked for a company where management and employees valued each other, valued their customers and made it possible for both the company to profit and our lives to be prosperous. As for the men the hedge fund investors sent to “turn us around”, it was about sales for them, Alex. That was all it was; a way to crunch and pack everything into a bundle that was at it’s highest market price, then sell it. Caveat vendor, my friend, that is vampire capitalism.

    As for the topic of this particular blog, a statement by a man who believed he could say it without consequence from his party and who is now being thrown under the bus by those he believed stood with him, my opinions:

    1. Some want to turn this into an argument about abortion, more precisely, when does a fetus become a person? It isn’t. It is about whether the law can compel a woman to carry to term a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest. That is the issue.

    2. It is then about whether we choose to be led by anyone who thinks the law can compel that and is willing to change the current law to compel that.

    I believe then one looks at those who support that and if they are men, one can ask why they who NEVER become pregnant believe they should compel that despite any decisions made by those who can.

    I believe it is a woman’s right to choose. Further, that men who use this issue for personal power regardless of the arguments they make for it are not only wrong, they are the very worst we can choose to lead us. I will vote against them and encourage others to do so. Those are my values.

  20. Roman says:

    Once again; did Mr. A get his man? There’s little doubt after reading this.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/gawker-seeks-to-crowd-sources-analysis-of-21-bain-caymans-entities-owned-by-romney.html

    You’ve got to love it when snarky gossip sites (http://gawker.com/) scoop the MSN.

  21. len says:

    It isn’t too hard to figure out that when one side is losing and trying to demoralize the voters into not voting by claiming both sides are full of it, one side is more full of it.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/the-crackpot-caucus/?ref=opinion

    The truth is the choice couldn’t be clearer: Promethius vs Epimethius (the future vs the past) and smart vs unremediably stupid.

    Yes, Roman, Romney is a hypocritical sleaze in a party of douchebags.

  22. Fentex says:

    With right combination of anti-anxiety drugs (Soma to Huxley; Valium, Prozac,etc to us) and the right entertainment (Huxley’s “Feelies”; our 3D and Reality TV) you don’t need Big Brother to keep the proles in line.

    You can have both. The Occupy movement was actively suppressed by coordinated force, not misled by pleasure

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