Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Political Potpourri; Though is doesn't smell as nice

It's clear now why Katherine Harris, she of the "Here George, take this election" fame in Florida has been shunned by the GOP in her run for Senate. She made the unpardonable sin of broadcasting the Red State Mantra directly, without any of the gauzy frou-frou which usually hides its actual menaing. I refer to her blatant statement that, if you vote for anyone who isn't a Christian, you are voting for sin and degradation. Yea, she said that. I guess somewhere along the line she missed the whole "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" lesson. Though in my book, which I admit hasn't sold as nearly as well as the Bible, there is a line which reads, "It takes one to know one."

President Bush, revisiting the site of another of his hand made disasters this week, is warning Gulf Coast residents that they shouldn't expect continued handouts of money and aid, "After all," he said, "We got a lotta rebuildin' that needs to be done in Iraq...and they were in line first."

In Pennsylvania, there's been a turn in the Senate race; Rick Santorum has stopped talking directly to the public and (finally!) is letting his media hack do all his communicating. After all, TV commercials are, as John Braindender promised, where we'll learn what the real Rick is all about. Of course, TV commercials are also where Miss Cleo promised to tell your forture for just $19.99 and where Big Pharma promised that all their miracles drugs are "safe and effective," until people start dying from them. Yup, the truth comes to you in 30 second snippets. Maybe this is why the Santorum clan stayed at home for school! They were watching TV all day long and learning from the ads! That $100,000 debt Rick ownes Penn Hills was just for a the Really Super Bonus Plus Big Honking Platinum™ cable package! Finally, it all makes sense to me!

Later this week, we'll take a look at the growing library of anti-Rick ads on YouTube. Maybe we'll learn something!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Casey | Santorum Debate Gambit

The Santorum campaign was hastily thumbing through "Campaigns For Dummies" recently and happened upon the "When all else fails, demand debates!" section. They actually challenged the Casey camp to 10 debates! Ten! As if this is a heavyweight title bout. Tell you what. No one would be left standing after the 4th round. And the spectators would be streaming for the exits hoping the bars were still open!

The entire debate gambit is nothing more than an attempt to get Casey on the record and to generate headlines. I'm not talking about "headlines" in the general sense. I'm referring to actual, printed-in-ink-and-splashed-on-the-front-pages type headlines. Headines above the fold in the Inky or the Morning Call or the P-G. Santorum and his media mokes want something, anything, which they can then excerpt and make a campaign commercial out of.

Let's say the P-G were to say, "Santorum Strong In First Debate." In ten minutes, BrabenderCox would be hacking together an ad that shares that headline with every voter in every media market in PA....even if it referred to Rick's body odor.

You get the point. Headlines make good commericals, because they appear to be unbiased and they carry a certain gravitas. Print may be dead, but we all know it's still the closest thing we have to real journalism! So those headlines are a prized trophy. Forget what was actually said in the debate. Forget the issues. Gimme a ripping good headline! Let's show 'em we've got the big mo going for us!

Well, here's my hope that the headline editors of this state's fine broadsheets and tabloids ("He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids") don't give either candidate an edge when it comes to headlines. I'm hopeful we'll see forty point type that says, "Casey and Santorum Debate," or perhaps even, "Santorum and Casey Debate." If so, I'll feel ducky. I will not, however, lower myself to actually wearing a duck costume.

However, I know this as well. Even if the headline doesn't make it into an ad, the body copy, carefully parsed and littered with ellipses, will.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The PA Green Party Withers and Turns Brown

It became clear recently that the Green Party candidates in Pennsylvania only managed to collect the 67,000 signatures necessary (they got more than that, but's the minimum needed) to get on the fall ballot because they got help from...their competition. Published reports now show that Senator Rick Santorum, his staffers and many other top GOP lobbyists and corporate interests were at the forefront of helping with the massive job of getting the signatures.

Why? Because Santorum and his money-buds want to split the ticket, in an effort to upset Bob Casey, who has been running far out ahead of the incumbent for months. It was an act of desperation, though, from a purely political viewpoint, a smart move.

Or was it? The Green Party candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor have withdrawn, claiming they can't afford to fight a lawsuit brought by Democrats who are challenging the petitions, which apparently include untold number of fake names.

Carl Romanelli has not yet done the same, but that time is nigh. Romanelli and his cohorts have severely and perhaps unalterably disgraced the Green Party in Pennsylvania. They have been snookered into making a deal with the Devil, and were drawn, by money or ego or desire for power, into the nest of vipers that is the GOP circle of hell, composed of Senator Santorum, influential lobbyists and big money corporate interests. In one foul swoop, they managed to get Romanelli on the ballot AND destroy any credibility he may have had. By accepting the "help" of his enemies, Romanelli became one of them.

It is a perverse and sad event for a third party to fall prey so easiliy to this sort of manipulation and coercion.

But does it help Santorum? Doubtful. Even if Romanelli remains on the ballot, he can at best be called spoiled goods. His fellow Greens, who must be steaming with anger and disappointment, will undoubtedly either stay home or vote for Casey in protest of this unbelieveable act of betrayal.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Running Mate is Terror Make no mistake about it; that sound you heard this morning came from the collective lungs of all the GOP candidates running in every Congressional district around the nation. It came from the Senate and Gubernatorial candidates, too. I have not doubt that more than a few pumped their fists, ala Tiger Woods, when they realized that a major terrorist plot had been uncovered. Cruel, you say? Maybe. But you know it's the truth. The only issue these people think they can win on (and it's been a winner in the past) is security. The Administration knows better than anyone that fear is the greatest motivator of all -- and they will make sure that we live as an anxiety-ridden society, as long as it serves their needs. Get out of Iraq? Are you kidding me? Iraq is money in the bank. It keeps the terror cells stoked and brings more crazies to the party. While we underfund education in the US, we have spent billions building the world's best terror recruitment and training center. It's called Iraq. Like most Liberals, I find myself adding the seemingly necessary "terror caveat" whenever I have this discussion; "Of COURSE I'm for fighting terrorist! Of COURSE we need to be vigilant." This should go unsaid, but the Republicans won't let that happen. These "lovers of freedom" question OUR patriotism at every turn. The truth is that GWB is dancing in the Oval Office today. Like another of Osama's last-minute missives, this terror plot will give many citizens pause to vote for Democrats. I wonder if a few of them remember who was in charge during WWII?