arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Monday, October 08, 2012

The Season of Debate: Stupidity and Rudeness on the Campaign Trail



The dust has not settled on last week’s debate and, depending on your political point of view, the momentum/fall out continues. Romney keeps hammering away at Obama’s record, while the Obama administration has been preoccupied with damage control. This week’s Gallup poll sums it up neatly:  the latest polls show the two candidates tied at 47%. The Huffington Post electoral vote count shows Obama dipping below 270 for the first time in months. 
 
Still, despite these indications on the various political barometers, it may not be time for liberals to panic. 

On the horizon this week: a televised debate between the vice presidential candidates. On the extreme right, we have the Republican candidate, buff, square-jawed, so immensely shallow in his handsomeness, Paul Ryan. (I’m baiting you, Janey!) He comes chock full of facts and figures of how a Romney-Ryan administration will save the world, but quickly adds, albeit condescendingly, that the math is too complicated to add up. Still, we should trust him.

On the right is the Democratic incumbent, Joe Biden.

Okay, now the liberals can panic.

A few weeks ago, Biden committed a gaffe which never got a clear explanation from his own administration. At one campaign stop, he emphasized that the “middle class has been buried” for the last four years, obviously forgetting that he and his boss would (rightly or wrongly) take the blame for the middle class woes since they have been in charge during the last four years. Obviously, the GOP pounced on Biden’s statement, gleefully pointing to it as an affirmation of what they’ve been saying about Obama since the moment he was inaugurated.

I don’t want to get into a “Your gaffe was bigger than our gaffe” argument, but someone should try to explain the vice president’s remarks in the larger context of his other remarks that day. Sadly, all the videos I saw of the event were edited so that no one could tell what this larger context was. So we have to spin an explanation from what we’ve been given.

So, it’s like this, um, I mean, you see, what happened was…okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve got nothing! 
    
I don’t know, maybe Joe is still feeling the effects of train lag from all those years of riding Amtrak to the Senate. Or maybe he finally figured out that he is the comic relief for the Obama administration. Or maybe the Obama administration felt badly about the outrageously stupid gaffes Romney had in the last month that they thought, “Hey, let’s give them one, just to make them feel better.”

Perhaps this was Joe Biden’s way of reaching across the aisle, admitting that the other side may have a valid point about Obama’s handling of the economy. This is known as opening the door, ever so slightly, to the room called compromise. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Any talk about the “C” word is totally lost on the conservative right.  

The poll numbers this week are alarming for more than just the President’s chances of winning reelection. The numbers say a lot about us as a country. This week’s poll affirms that Romney’s forceful delivery was effective; he cut off, interrupted, and took control of the debate away from moderator Jim Lehrer.  

Didn’t Romney’s parents ever tell him that it was RUDE to interrupt someone while they were talking? And now the American people are rewarding Romney for his rude behavior with higher poll numbers!

Romney’s attack became more frenzied as he ticked off the programs he would stop funding, including Lehrer’s employer, PBS. Romney said, “I like you, Jim (But you’re fired!) I like Big Bird (We’re going to have him for Thanksgiving!), but I’m not going to keep borrowing money from China just to fund these programs." (Editorial comments mine.) In doing so, Romney crossed the line; sure it’s okay to denigrate your opponent, point out his flaws, criticize him for his policies, but Mitt, you brought Big Bird into the picture. May God have mercy on your soul, Mitt Romney!

Fortunately, the feathered veteran of educational television took Romney’s comments in stride. He took the high road the day after and asked, somewhat innocently in a tweet, “I went to bed early. Did I miss anything?” Later in the week, he appeared on Saturday Night Live and diplomatically explained that he would not make a political statement since he did not want to “ruffle any feathers.”

Actually, Big Bird, you may want to reconsider that thought, gracious as it was, because Romney is threatening the people who broadcast your show. You’ve been teaching America’s young people about the proper, respectful way to act towards other people for over 40 years. Bad news, Bird; it now appears that your lessons were all for naught!  

Look at Romney’s poll numbers, Big Bird! Clearly the American people endorse his style. Rudeness is effective! Rudeness works!

You and your friends on Sesame Street may want to take a meeting with the Romney campaign to have a frank, open discussion about their intentions concerning PBS. I don’t think you should have this meeting in a nice, air-conditioned hotel or something like that; I’m thinking a dark alley would be the appropriate venue for your meeting with the Romney folks. This way, they would not be able to see the switchblade in Oscar the Grouch’s paw when he comes charging at them. You may also want to invite Miss Piggy to the meeting; I hear she’s very effective with the martial arts.

This is just a suggestion, Big Bird. I know armed confrontation is not your style, and maybe that’s one reason why you’ve been so beloved for all these years. 
 
I can’t see using the word “beloved” in the same sentence as Mitt Romney.

(Thank you for reading. Now go forth and ruffle feathers!)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Janey said...

Thirty years ago, I saw a bumper sticker slogan that forever altered the course of my romantic life. It said: "A meaningful relationship should last no longer than 45 minutes." It was a playful jab at the tendency of gay men to have verrrry short relationships. That is all I want with the buff, square-jawed, and immensely handsome Paul Ryan. Who the fuck cares if he's shallow? Fifty minutes later, I won't even remember his name. But he'll never forget me... :-)

October 9, 2012 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Todd,

Very well said! I just wish Obama would have interrupted Romney the way Rick Perry did and got Romney to show what a blowhard, flustered fool he really is. Obama made a BIG MISTAKE by letting Romney get away with his bullying. Romney, Mr. CEO taking control. Shame on those in the American public who think Romney's behavior is "leadership." I just hope Obama wakes up before his next debate with Romney.

Ron (on of your wife's "boyfriends")

October 9, 2012 at 5:04 PM  

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