Friday, January 15, 2016

They're "taking it back"

US presidential politics are to a politics nerd as about an exciting contest as you can get—made all the more wonderful by their bizarre college vote system that ignores the total popular vote count in favour of an 18th century electoral model (with some tinkering) that makes about as much sense today as driving around in a Model-T Ford. 

You'd get looks on the road, that's for sure.

The 2016 run has been made extra wonderful by the clown car that are the GOP contenders. I think they're down to 13 or so. 

Now presidential campaigning for the GOP is more about gut than brain, especially during the primaries, so it means a lot of heated moronic oratory about illegal immigration and terrorism—neither of which present an existential threat to the US—and nothing about climate change except to say it's a lie when climate change presents a real, and occurring now, threat to the ecosystem of the entire fucking planet. 

I just heard Carly Fiorina saying she's campaigning to take America back

It's a common GOP trope—"We're taking our country back!"

Back from who or what, exactly? Or to when? Fiorina claims she means "the elected representatives in Washington" that are failing America but I call bullshit on that—especially when she then attacks Hillary Clinton over playing the gender card but fails to understand that as the only woman on the GOP side running says a lot about the ability of women to make it into that space.

The GOP did this in 2012, and in 2008, this idea that they had to "take their country back". Either back from other people in their country, which is a logical impossibility because they're part of the country you're "taking back" (i.e. in it and not going anywhere), or taking it back in time to a period when white male liking girls only patriarchy was the accepted (and desired) norm and that people not white, male and hetro had to stay in their place ("Making America Great Again"). A time where ladies just had to be ladies and not actual sentient beings with full autonomous control over their bodies with motivations beyond the expected aim of marriage and children.

But equality, social advancement and, let's face it, white men no longer acting crazy by presuming superiority and acting as such, threatens that golden age where those who remember back to when America was "awesome" fail to register the pyramid of pain that this awesomeness stood on. 

That Carly Fiorina, as a woman, is promoting "taking it back" is just added irony.

As you see the GOP candidates talk you see and hear nothing but hot air and oratory; us and them language and nothing about specific policies to address mechanisms to improve governance and access to services by the greater population. That, or they deny basic fact and reason because their base denies basic fact and reason and they have to pitch their case to the base to get through the primary.

Indeed, as Obama said to Maron (1), he found out as president that some people—meaning the GOP in congress—are immovable to fact or reason which made his job that much more challenging. You can see that in the first years of his presidency where he tried bargaining whilst using fact and reason and got nowhere.

I feel sorry for the GOP. They're stuck in a Jasper's Beard scenario of appealing to a shrinking demographic of angry white people whilst pissing off other Americans who just happen to be not angry white people. They will keep going that way until there's no more beard. 

US presidential politics; just glorious. 

UPDATE: The GOP debate from 14 January 2016; QED

UPDATE2: I imagine President Obama watching the debate, his long legs stretched out, bowl of popcorn in his lap and he's just laughing, laughing, laughing. As a technocrat I will miss the president. With all that he had to deal with what he's done is stupendous. 

UPDATE3: Eric Blair would have wept.

(1) Check out the SquareSpace site Maron's crew put up for the Obama visit. It's the first time I've seen the fabled garage in reality. There's also photos from inside Marc's house. I did note, however, a clown picture on the wall that looks sufficiently scary and I am worried for the subconscious anxiety such imagery could produce. I recommend against any pictures of clowns up in the house. I can only imagine the horror show from walking into a house in which lives a family with a centuries rich history of professional clowning and all that clown tat up on the walls, doors, shelves and mantle. Scary, ancient, possibly sentient, clown tat.

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