Sunday Roast: January 6, 2013 – Permanent Campaigning

Will permanent campaigning remain to be the future of Politics? I seems so.

Take the upcoming fight about the debt ceiling. President Obama has said his piece and stressed he won’t give in again.

“While I will negotiate over many things, I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” he said late Tuesday night. “Let me repeat: We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred. If Congress refused to give the U.S. the ability to pay these bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic – far worse than the impact of a fiscal cliff. People remember, back in 2011, the last time this course of action was threatened, our entire recovery was put at risk. Consumer confidence plunged. Business investment plunged. Growth dropped. We can’t go down that path again.”

But on the other hand Republicans don’t seem eager to take this for granted:


On Thursday, the Speaker, John Boehner, humiliatingly sidelined in the fiscal-cliff talks after he lost control of his unruly House membership, was re-elected to his post for the 113th Congress by just six votes, after a dozen arch-conservative Tea Partiers defected. Less than 24 hours later, Mr Boehner promised House Republicans he would use the debt ceiling to force Mr Obama to cut spending.

A recipe for the next disastrous showdown? Or, maybe not? Lately we have seen some active campaigning when it comes to several issues. In the matter of the debt ceiling we may have the most colorful and ingenious one. #mintthecoin that’s a gem. Although I am highly nervous about that one, here’s why.

The fancy of a $1 trillion platinum coin is so tantalising in part because it puts a monetary option in play. The larger attraction, though, is that it does so in a way that honours democracy by sticking to the letter of democratic legislation, yet also flirts with the heady unilateral decisiveness of fascism.

There was and is a very active campaign for the protection of social programs, as soon as the rumors were flying Medicare and and the Social Security COLA were on the table. There is active campaigning going on from both sides pro and contra when it comes to gun control. And there was a rather active but unsuccessful campaign from the very right to unseat Speaker Boehner. 

The powerful had done their lobbying for ages and activism played a very important part in American politics for a long while, so why is this different from what we had before?Politicians and activists understand, that in a media environment where nothing remains unseen or unheard of and twitter and facebook can get a message viral within seconds, political life is a constant campaign and you’re not campaigning only for office anymore, but rather for every bill and measure you are supporting. So, the campaigning goes on, after elections is before elections, no time to go back to some serious policy making.

Who uses the media best will get proclaimed the winner, even if in the process the people they are supposed to work for, loses. Politics has become about winning and losing in a constant campaign. Policies will be determined by Gallup Daily, Rasmussen, tv ratings or Nate Silver. (The latter would be a blessing though, because then we would at least have the unbiased majority decision on policy.)

All that’s missing is a full onslaught of tv ads, or do I only think so because I can’t get US television? If the media don’t pick up their responsibility in this this won’t change any time soon. But will they? Do I have to mention that this is a billion $$$ market, well worth to extend beyond it’s two and four year cycle for the National Elections? So no, I don’t think they will.


62 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: January 6, 2013 – Permanent Campaigning

  1. Funniest thing heard so far on Fox News Sunday: It’s all Obama’s fault that Republicans can’t get along with each other! 😆

  2. Great post, EV. Be thankful you don;t get US television, even if you don;t get US programs for a year or so (or however long it takes.) Believe it or not, the only ones who seem to suffer the onslaught of political campaign ads are the ones who live in swing states, or targeted congressional districts (targeted by either party.) I think I heard recently that something like only 45 House seats are considered “competitive” while all the others are considered “safe” for one party or the other. As a result, those folks are not as inundated with political ads on TV as the people in states like Ohio. Poor Ohio.

    There are a few things that would make this problem go away. One is public financing of elections. If only politicians are allowed to run ads for candidates, and those candidates are publicly financed, it would limit how many TV ads we must suffer through. We should also limit the time frame within which campaigning takes place, like they do in some other countries. I also believe in passing the National Popular Vote Law. Once enough states to reach 270 electoral votes pass the law, they all give their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, regardless of how their own state voted. The Democrats support this, but the Republicans want to do it the other way, which is to let Congressional Districts cast their electoral votes according to how their district voted. Since the GOP has gerrymandered enough safe seats to control the House of representatives for the foreseeable future, this would give them more electoral votes than they might otherwise get. That might seem like we’d get more political ads, but not if we switch to publicly financed elections at the presidential level. It’s a myth that you need lots of money to win. You only need lots of money if you don’t want to work hard and come up with good ideas worth voting for. It’s easier to buy ad time on TV and tell lies than to have an idea people want to support.

    • Here’s the update on that:

      Corporate personhood takes a new leap forward Monday as a Marin County motorist challenges his traffic ticket by arguing it was OK to drive in the carpool lane because his corporation was with him.

    • As long as “free” doesn’t include the legal bills incurred to support that position in a court of law!


  3. Article XIV, Section 4, of the US Constitution states, in part:

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned.

    That sounds pretty clear, at least to my old ears. Seems to me that if the Republicans in Congress do that which Speaker Boner is apparently demanding of them and cause the US to default on any of its debt, then they’re automatically in violation of their oath of office which reads, in part, that each member “will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Just exactly how is the purposeful violation of any part of said Constitution to be considered anything other than a treasonous act on the part of those who’ve sworn to do precisely the opposite?

    What’s the legal penalty for deliberate treason on/by each and all duly elected and sworn-in public officials?

    • I would hesitate to use the word “treasonous.” “Unconstitutional”? Yes. “Impeachable”? Probably also. But “treasonous”? I’m not so sure. Treason is defined in the Constitution specifically in order to avoid having people charged with Treason just for doing unpopular things. Unless they’re levying War against the country or adhering to our enemies, it’s hard to charge them with Treason.

      Just sayin’. 🙂

      • Yes, as Article III, Section 3, Clause 1 puts it:

        Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

        I’m not a legal eagle by any stretch, but I do have to wonder about that ‘giving aid and comfort to enemies’ part. Seems to me that the purposeful inducement, by sworn government representatives, of the economic collapse of the United States would cause a whole lot of grinning in various locales around the globe, esp. amongst our ‘enemies’. Is that ‘aid’? Or ‘comfort’? Sure seems like it could be thus interpreted.

        • I’m no legal eagle, either (not even close), but I think when the Framers used the word “enemies,” they had in mind any actual countries against whom we were at war. Once we declared War, if you took the side of our enemy (adhered to them) or gave them aid and comfort (monetarily, or by hiding their soldiers in your home), then you were committing Treason. (Of course, if you helped start the War, too, that was Treason.) And they wanted two witnesses so that you couldn’t be tried solely on the word of one person who might have had a personal vendetta against you. I don’t think they meant making countries who don’t like us “grin”. So, if you tried to convict someone of Treason for what you said, the SCOTUS would say that’s not what the Framers had in mind when they defined Treason.

          But, as is often the case when it comes to matters of Law and the Constitution, I could be, and probably am, wrong. Hire a real lawyer to defend you. 🙂

          • I imagine the whole issue would wind up for interpretation in the Supreme Court, if it ever got brought forward. Frankly, I hope someone does it if/when they do what they’re threatening to do. If it were up to me, I’d send the whole lot of ’em to Guantanamo. Keep the place occupied, y’know.

          • Compare:

            “if you took the side of our enemy (adhered to them) or gave them aid and comfort (monetarily, or by hiding their soldiers in your home), then you were committing Treason.”


            “in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. ”

            There’s no “or” following the word “Enemies” in the Constitution. Thus, for example, the Red Cross, in providing medical care to the injured populace of a country with which we are at war, does not commit treason, as the Red Cross is neutral, and does not adhere to our enemies.

  4. I have had discussions with tea party members at Senator Pat Toomey’s Facebook page and so far, they haven’t been able to tell what spending they would like to have cut. If they can’t be specific, then they are stupid sock puppets that are clueless about the subject matter.

  5. Can anyone explain the difference between a fascist and a tea party member? So far, I haven’t been able to distinguish any difference. Both want absolute control, both are bullies, both are willing to be violent, both will not negotiate, both support and fight for the wealthy, and both are bigots.

    • I think the fascists were better spellers, but other than that, I don’t know. The Tea Party doesn’t understand how their agenda is the same agenda as that of the Koch Brothers and their Induistries.

      • Or that their agenda is frighteningly similar to that of A. Hitler. It really doesn’t matter that the group they’d like to exterminate doesn’t seem to be Jews, that it happens to be others (several, maybe?). But yes, Fascism defines the Tea Party, totally and completely.

    • Fascist: Caucasion,,,,Tea Party Member: White, not of Hispanic Origin

      Fascist: Lower Taxes for the Rich….Tea Party Member: Lower Taxes for the Job Creators

      Fascist: If you’re not with us, you’re against us…..Tea Party Member: If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.

      Fascist: God is on our side….Tea Party Member: God sends natural disasters because of non-believers, gays, etc.

      Fascist: I will not compromise because I am right….Tea Party Member: Compromise is for losers, we’re not losers, so we don’t compromise.

      Fascist: I will not apologize because I am right…..Tea Party Member: I will not apologize because it is all Obama’s fault.

      I hope that cleared up the differences for you.

  6. This mornings news:

    Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp (N.D) told ABC’s ‘This Week’ that gun control plans reportedly being considered by the White House are “way in extreme.”

    George Will: New Gun Control Laws Will ‘Have No Effect’ On Gun Violence

    Ted Cruz: New Gun Control Proposals ‘Unconstitutional’

    They’re SO right. Do little or nothing. Until the next horrific act when we can repeat this “debate.”

    • Nancy Pelosi tacks the GOP to the cross today on Face the Nation:

      “I keep saying to my Republican friends, ‘Take back your party.’ This isn’t the Grand Old Party that did so many things for America, that commanded so much respect. This is really an over-the-edge crowd; that’s the way I see it. The fact is that it is dominated by an element that are anti-government ideologues, and are committed to not co-operating with this president, and it’s hard to understand.”

      My only criticism of her remark is that she was much too kind and gentle, because today’s GOPers are not really “anti-government ideologues,” they’re Fascists. Fascists may well be anti-Constitutional-We-The-People-democratic-republic-government, but they certainly are FOR authoritarian government. Make that authoritarian “government.”

      Henry Wallace, way back in 1944 (April 9 in the NY Times), almost perfectly described today’s GOP when he wrote:

      “The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy.

      “They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.”

      How did he know, I wonder? I mean, just because Eric Cantor wasn’t yet born, just because the Koch Brothers were still little boys apparently didn’t enter the equation until much more recently. Must be some historical perspective embedded in there somewhere. You think?

      Oh, wait; here’s something:

      “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” ~Benito Mussolini (although it was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry as it appeared in the Encyclopedia Italiana)

  7. If you like drinking games and your trigger phrase is “the full faith and credit of the United states”, you are going to be very drunk this week.

        • I probably won’t eat much unless we get a big lead early.

          We have a saying here among BamaNation: I’m for Alabama and whoever is playing Auburn. I add ‘and whoever is playing Notre Dame’, to that. Alabama is 1-5 against the Irish, the only win coming in Lou Holtz’ first season as coach in 1986.
          On the rare occasions that Alabama wins, and Auburn and Notre Dame both lose on the same weekend, I celebrate what is known as the ‘Tide Trifecta’.

  8. I just watched The Chris Matthews Show which had Andrea Mitchell subbing for Chris. At the segment ‘Tell Me Something I Don’t Know’, when Andrea asked Bob Woodward that standard question, he hesitated, and I almost expected to hear him say, ‘It’s so much easier when Chris asks me’. 😀

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