Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

election

This is “Refreshing?”

Many of Trump’s supporters were saying things like “We like him because he says what he means!” and then, after Trump would say something asinine (often) and get criticized for it, they would defend him with statements like “Oh, well that’s not what he meant.” They also said it was refreshing to have someone running for president who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind… no matter whether he was spouting conspiracy theories, blatant (and repeated) lies, or any number of racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, and what-should-have-been-horrific-to-decent-people things.

And now, as Trevor Noah points out in this clip from The Daily Show on December 14th, 2016, Trump is still speaking his mind, but this time, he’s pretty explicitly saying that he was full of shit and was just playing his audience… and his supporters eat it up. He’s also admitting (in the bit about Paul Ryan), that he’s a thin-skinned, vindictive, spoiled brat who will throw a hissy fit when he doesn’t get his way (or if someone doesn’t fawn over him).

Seth Meyers: How do you choose?

Palin’s popularity is declining

Sarah Palin According to an MSNBC article, Sarah Palin’s "favorability" is dropping a bit as she prepares to leave her position as governor of Alaska. A Washington Post-ABC poll showed that 53% of Americans view her negatively, while only 40% see her in a positive light, which is her lowest positive rating since she was first chosen to be John McCain’s running mate (and became a subject of polls such as this).

Not surprisingly, Republicans still hold her in high regard… as many as 70% view her favorably and rank her among the top three contenders for a presidential candidacy in 2012. White evangelical protestants are her most avid supporters, but even their view of her hasn’t remained untarnished.

Here’s a quote from the article summarizing the poll (emphasis mine).

As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin prepares for the next stage of her political career, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues […]

I had to pause when reading that because, as usual, I’m constantly amazed that anyone ever thought she did have an understanding of complex issues… or that they thought she did have leadership skills suitable for a vice presidency.

In the 2008 election, I had been wavering between Obama and McCain. I was leaning toward McCain because he seemed like he was going to maintain fiscal conservatism without going all theological on the country the way Bush had done. I was leaning away from Obama because of typical "Democrat" things like union support, crazy spending, and bigger government.

Then McCain picked Palin (or was directed to pick her… I don’t know) and after I learned about her and heard her speak, my decision was made. Palin was not (and still is not) vice presidential material, much less presidential material, and she repeatedly showed it every time she took the microphone or granted an interview. The media wasn’t hard on her. They tossed softballs. Katie Couric wasn’t even hard on her, but Palin came across looking like a uneducated bible thumper in nice clothes. She couldn’t answer simple questions. She got defensive when Couric pressed her for an answer to a reasonable question about what news sources she reads. She conveyed what I consider to be some reprehensible moral positions.

I was disappointed because, even though I had (mostly) liked McCain, I couldn’t support him as president after making a choice like Palin for his vice president. So I was stuck with Obama, who I admired for some things, but who didn’t quite represent what I wanted. I liked (and still do) his international stance, his speaking ability, his education, some of his ideas… but I didn’t like some fiscal positions and union support.

Palin was a deal-breaker because she was clearly unqualified on multiple fronts… yet Republicans and evangelicals just loved her to death. Maybe it’s just a religious thing… a carryover from Bush’s eight years of mobilizing and empowering the religious right to commandeer the Republican party. Maybe it all has to do with Palin making claims of God-inspired wars and praying that the country is following God’s plan. Maybe they liked her because, not only was she overtly religious, invoking God and faith on a regular basis, but she also winked at them and said, "You betcha!"

It certainly can’t be her professional qualifications.

Might as well…

Sarah Palin 2012

I think I laughed so hard that soda came out my nose.

So NOW what?

I watched Obama’s acceptance speech this morning and as he walked out onto the platform in front of 125,000 supporters in Chicago’s Grant Park, I joked with a co-worker that he’s walking out there thinking, “Wow… I won! OMG NOW WHAT?!?”

I doubt if he was actually thinking that, but that joke and an interview question that my niece asked me yesterday for her school project started my speculation. Now that Barack Obama won the election and will be President of the United States of America come January, what will happen?

My niece’s question was “What do you think will happen if Barack Obama becomes President?” My answer? “I think our standing in the international community would increase dramatically over the first few years.” That was all. She asked the same question about McCain. My answer was, “Nothing.”

I didn’t mean it as a negative against McCain. I don’t think any Presidential candidate can fulfill all the promises and plans made on the campaign trail. He may sincerely want to fulfill them, but when it comes right down to it, the President isn’t the “do’er.” He (or she) has influence (some more than others, obviously) and can help drive things in a certain direction, but it’s Congress who actually “does stuff” when it comes to domestic issues. The President can propose and he can shoot down.

However, the “Commander in Chief” controls the military and controls foreign policy (more or less). I believe that Obama will represent the United States positively to the rest of the world and based on world polls, the world believes that, too. That, in and of itself, will do more for national security than any amount of border control or military action or aggressive posturing, especially in the long run. Representing the United States with strong, positive leadership tempered with humility and a willingness to listen to others’ viewpoints will repair this country’s relationships and make it stronger and safer. I believe Obama can do that.

I’m not as sure about the heavily Democratic Congress, however, when it comes to domestic policy. I hope that Obama can bring any wildly left-wing proposals into the middle, but only time will tell. Up to this point, the gap between political parties has been fairly wide and the gap has gotten increasingly larger in the past 8 years, so hoping for a spontaneous “meet in the middle” would be somewhat naive. I do hope for a nudge in that direction, however… enough to get the ball rolling toward the middle area where it belongs. If Obama can get that to happen, I’d put a pretty big check mark in his “Success” column.

C’mon, November 4th!

It will be so nice once November 4th has come and gone. It’ll be even nicer after all the legal challenges and recount demands and accusations of voting irregularities are finished, too.

I haven’t seen many of the TV ads because I don’t watch much television, but I’ve seen a few. I think I may even have seen one or two that were not misleading… but I may have only dreamt that. Most of what I see, from both candidates’ sides, is misleading at best and blatantly incorrect at worst. The few that have not been terribly misleading were ones where the candidate doesn’t talk about his opponent. They’re refreshing… sort of.

Presidential elections seem to bring out the worst in people… emotionally and intellectually. Once the election is done and the winners cheer and the losers sigh, perhaps things can get civil again. They usually have in the past. I hope this year is no exception.