Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

The View from Mars

July 24th, 2012

I have a friend who is viewing this U.S. election season from in and around Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia.  I wonder what it looks like to her.

It has been decades since I watched television news for anything other than immediately breaking events such as the September 11 attacks.  Television seems to me to be the most worthless of our “information” sources, with the spurious immediacy of its imagery and the breathless shallowness of its verbal content.  Somewhat over four years ago, I dropped my subscription to the Burlington Free Press, our “local” Gannett franchise.  It wasn’t telling me what I wanted to know about the place I live, at least not $140/year worth.  I got my information about current events primarily from listening to public radio, reading the New York Review of Books and our genuinely local weekly newspaper Seven Days, and surfing among half a dozen blogs.  Especially with the blogs, I found it possible to feed an almost obsessive interest in the minutiae of politics.  How dare John McCain say this or that.  What advantage did Obama lose by using one verb rather than another.  This poll says that, but it is less reliable than that poll, which says this.  Outrage outrage outrage.  At last, when I found myself screaming daily at my car radio during the drive to work, I realized that for my mental health I had to back off.

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It’s the one on the right, Jack!

June 18th, 2012

As I was sitting at the intersection this morning, waiting while the good citizen in front of me tried to remember which pedal to push to make his wheeled cage move forward, I perused the bumper stickers and vanity plates proclaiming his fandom for various sports teams and thought about what herd animals we humans are, always seeking some group to grant our allegiance in contradistinction to all other groups.  Why this allegiance rests so rarely with the species as a whole and so often with some more-or-less arbitrary subset thereof, what Kurt Vonnegut called a granfalloon, is a mystery for greater Darwinians than me to figure out.  It just is that way.

I recalled an occurrence at that same intersection the day before.  Due to repaving work, two lanes narrowed to one just to the east of the crossing, a right turn from where I was.  At this busy commuting hour, the merging traffic moved sluggishly, when it moved at all.  If you wanted to turn right, you were S.O.L.  I was among those who wanted to go straight through.  Instead, I sat through cycle after cycle of the traffic lights, as people drove into the intersection from the left and were stopped there by the unmoving traffic to the right, creating a blockage.  When the cars ahead of them crept forward a little bit, they might make it out of the crossroads, there to be replaced by the next idiot who couldn’t wait for room to open on the other side before entering and who was consequently caught there when the lights changed.  And so it went.  

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Grand Old Chutzpah

April 12th, 2012

Apparently in response to polls that show he is somewhere near 20% less popular among women than Barack Obama, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Romney has been claiming lately that 92.3% of jobs lost during the Obama administration have been women’s jobs.   In this context, a “woman’s job” is a job that was held by a woman.  The arithmetic whereby he arrives at this result is not entirely specious, in the sense that he divides one actual statistic into another actual statistic and the result is .923.  But I’m not here to talk about math.  There’s a Yiddish word – well, probably more than one – for somebody who makes such claims, and I want to talk about that.

The Bush Recession, if you will remember, started in the housing, construction, and manufacturing sectors, in large part as a result of the sudden scarcity of commercial credit that was part of the financial meltdown.  All this was well underway by the time Obama took office.  The jobs lost in this early phase were held primarily  by males.  State and local tax revenues were hit hard by the downturn, as businesses shrank and people lost income, but thanks to the much-maligned stimulus passed at Obama’s behest, which largely operated by passing funds down to state and local governments, the impact was softened for a while.  The stimulus might have been larger but for the Obama administration’s almost certainly correct political calculation that Republicans would block a larger package, even if the Democrats could be gotten to agree to it.  Then, when the stimulus funds began to run out, the state and local budget cutting began, led by Republicans devoted to downsizing government no matter what the cost.  The ax fell on teachers, social workers, health care workers, administrative staff – predominantly women.

“Chutzpah” is often defined as a quality best exemplified by someone who murders his parents, then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Willard Romney, who lays at his opponent’s door the baleful effects of his own party’s acts.