Tag Archives: Obama

Yes Virginia, Stereotyping Is Wrong

MLK Day Sale signHappy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Erm, maybe not happy. We are, after all, thinking about a civil rights leader who was assassinated. But hey, it’s a great day for a furniture sale! Or a quick trip to KMart to see what’s been price-slashed.

I mean, we’re post-race in this country, right? So there’s nothing race-related about calling the First Lady “Mrs. YoMama.” There’s no race in any of the billboards that have popped up across the nation of President Obama in a turban, or in the incessant, it’s-been-proven-wrong notion that he was not born in the USA. There’s no racism in saying that black city kids should become janitors so that they can learn a work ethic. Of course Rick Santorum wasn’t racist when he went on the stump and said he didn’t want to give black people taxpayers’ money. They were “blah people,” he said in a correction. Read More…

A line 10,000 strong

As a fan of popular culture and politics, I find political rallies intriguing. They’re another instance of storytelling, albeit with an interest of some measurable outcome, the citizen’s vote. Living in DC for more than a decade I learned to eschew most political gatherings—I could have been at an event 24/7 if I’d wanted such a thing—save for the occasional march for a cause, or a major event like an inauguration. But the closest I ever got to the Capitol was to have my engagement photo session on its grounds, and to take a tour with my soon-to-be inlaws who came to town for the wedding. We sat in the public gallery for the House, which was empty at the time, and had to imagine the posturing, bickering, and dealmaking that went on at the bottom of the chamber. Read More…

Crystal ball persuasion

Back at the beginning of the year, I posted 5 predictions for 2009. I’ll just note that I was unequivocally correct on numbers 1 and 5. Number 4 is kind of right, in that I think Mrs. Obama has been putting herself out there as a champion for children, especially children of color and in the working class. She’s not sticking to uncontroversial events like book expos on the Mall (much as I appreciated having the chance to get my Sandman #1 signed by Neil Gaiman himself, so thank you, Laura). I still think Jon Stewart might leave the Daily Show, since there are other big gaps in the late night time slots now—can anyone argue that 5 nights of Jay Leno at 10 o’clock aren’t 5 nights too many? As for number 3, well, I think the health care bill in Congress is testimony to the forces against abortion, but I wouldn’t call them quiet, and I wouldn’t say they rise—yet—to the level of vitriol we’ve seen against getting gay married.

What I absolutely failed to understand last January was how ridiculously insane and ludicrous everything would get. It was one thing to blame sub-prime borrowers for the housing market failure. Who doesn’t like to pick on people with bad credit, after all? But really, death panels? “You lie!” shouted in the chamber during the freaking State of the Nation address? The entire Fox News staff schlocking gold as an investment for the masses? Hannity’s time-lapse magic to exaggerate the tea baggers’ crowds at a rally in DC? And hell, the Tea Baggers? I couldn’t dream this crap up!

Or could I? Okay, I’ll take a stab at it. I’ll try and springboard off of some of the more outlandish headlines from 2009. Feel free to chime in with your own flash forwarding stories for next year.

1. Glenn Beck, Tom O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh officially begin a new third political party, called the Gold Fox Party getting Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney to agree to run again in 2012. All kinds of donations come in, most in the form of gold, which drives the Federal Election Commission nuts as the price of gold keeps climbing and putting donors over the maximum donation limit. After 6 months, the party collapses when Glenn and Rush are discovered receiving kickbacks and prescription painkillers from a laid-off worker of ACORN.

2. Sarah Palin’s own political career is finally dismantled when the public learns that Trig is the offspring of her and Levi Johnson, Bristol’s now-ex-boyfriend.

3. The US media goes crazy with tons of stories about the new “green economy,” even though the GDP is only up 0.4 percent and there’s only one new factory for producing solar panels that because of NAFTA, has opened in Mexico. The Mexican government is dismayed to find out that all of the physical barriers we’ve erected in the last 5 years aren’t any good at keeping illegal US citizens out of Mexico.

4. An independent study comes out revealing that 72.4 percent of people previously detained at Gitmo know nothing about al Qaeda’s operations from 2001, much less anything that could help counter-terrorism officials now. They have, however, secretly formed a support group with tips on making their prison lives better, including  how to make a lovely bisque from ephemera, though they can’t find any in the middle of Illinois. They turn to Martha Stewart for advice on working with dandelion greens.

5. The CEOs of AIG, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, and Countrywide Mortgage take their latest year salaries, pool them together, and buy an island in the Carribean, setting up a new government with so many tax shelters for the rich that they make a fortune in taking other people’s money at their new banks. They also send out a message to Roman Polanski that he should find a way to get out of Switzerland and come to Moneytopia so that he can direct a film about their story. It wins 8 Golden Globes and 2 Academy Awards and is hailed by critics as an “opus of epochal storytelling, delivered by the master storyteller himself.”

Five statements from the crystal ball of the obvious

 

wasserman political cartoon

wasserman political cartoon

Intrepid readers of this blog will recall that before Election Day I made some crack about CNN showing some crude holograms as part of it’s “Watch Us!” election coverage. I said it in jest and with a jaundiced eye, and then lo and behold, there is Wolf Blitzer having a rather inane conversation with a “virtual” reporter — about the technology and not the election. Whether said “holograms” were real or not, I was prescient. So with such completely uninspiring obviousness, here are a few other “predictions:”

1. Obamania will be fading fast by the end of the first 100 days. The message about hope is great, the enthusiasm is fantastic, and you can’t live in DC for more than a decade and not feel like the obvious differences between Obama and the outgoing administration hit you like a truck pileup on the Beltway. But to enact his ideas he simply has to govern from the center, which is going to strike some — vehicle carnage aside — as inauthentic at some point. It isn’t necessarily the case, but there will be some folks who see this as a selling out — and it’s just a matter of time when people feel like Obama’s pulled a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” or a welfare reform bill that we weren’t expecting.

2. The Daily Show will be no more — Jon Stewart for one isn’t going to want to continue walking the tightrope of making fun of the people in power in a politically “incorrect” way without getting TOO incorrect about it, for one. But without the 8-foot wide pipe of shit that was the Bush White House giving Comedy Central such excellent material, we’re going to need a new kind of political humor. Jon is going to jump ship to more mainstream broadcast comedy — probably after Jay Leno’s next gig fails right out of the gate. Long live Conan.

3. Reversals to the tightening of reproductive rights laws is either going to happen quietly and successfully, or is going to be the once and future “gay marriage” of the religious right. I’ve seen it only on the margins of reporting so far that Obama will reverse the global gag rule — that to get federal funding for family planning practitioners have to first and foremost talk about abstinence-only practices — and given that this is something they’re planning in the first week in office, signals that there is some Hillary agenda being taken up within the administration. So if they’re serious about rescinding that executive order, will they go the next step and try to get some more permanent legislation passed? If that’s the case, how will they work that on the Hill? With fanfare or under cover of night?

4. Michelle Obama is only going to First Lady us for so long before the Real Michelle stands up — and by that I mean that you cannot possibly contain this smart lady within the narrow confines of the duties and office of First Lady for long. While I think the President (I’m only jumping the title gun by a couple of hours here) is anxious not to repeat any Clintonian mistakes, like putting her in charge of health care, I do think she’ll get some kind of policy duty. She’s not going to be content with picking out furniture, talking about the girls’ school choice, and continuing Laura’s quite boring legacy of the National Book Expo on the Mall.

5. The $850B stimulus bill is not going to pass in the way we think it will today. Already there are rumblings about how it’s not going to help anyone in the near future. If that logic catches wind in the Capitol, who’s going to vote for it? Obama will likely get a lot more traction on job creation than in having to constantly spin the stimulus as something other than a “typical” Democrat tax and spend program. But again, I’m as jaded as a cheap Obama statue currently being sold in a small mobile vehicle parked 100 years from the Washington Monument….

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