Perception, President Obama and the Rand Paul Filibuster

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 14th, 2013

Politics 101

Sound Bites and Photo Opportunities define our Politicians Today

Perception is in the eye of the beholder.  Are you familiar with the story about a real estate broker?  He works in a small town with a main road through it connecting two larger cities.  A lot of traffic travels this road.  This broker has two properties listed for sale.  One on the road into town.  And one on the road out of town.  All of these cars driving through this town see those two signs and think, “Wow, this guy must be the biggest broker in town.  I see his signs everywhere.”

But he is not the biggest broker in town.  But because his two signs are on the busiest road in town the perception is that he is.  Because people can’t enter the town or leave the town without seeing one of what seem to be many of his signs.  If they drove on the other streets of this town they would not see any of his signs.  While they would see a great many of his competitors’ signs.  With a detailed analysis people would conclude that this real estate broker is the smallest and least successful in town.  But with only a cursory glance he is the biggest broker in town.  This is perception.

Politicians understand perception.  So they work hard to shape what people see and hear.  And less on substance.  That’s why sound bites and photo opportunities define our politicians.  Politicians get their picture taken with babies and the down trodden to show how much they care.  Their speeches will be nothing but a series of sound bites suitable for quoting by the talking heads on television and in political ads.  And they will always answer a question with a prepared talking point.  Instead of answering the question.  And when it comes to campaigning they will take everything their opponents say out of context to change everyone’s perception about them.

Our Schools teach our Kids that a Just Society uses Government to Redistribute Wealth to make Society Fairer

Democrats are masters at creating perception.  Which is easy to do when you have the mainstream media in your pocket.  As well as college professors and high school teachers.  The entertainment industry.  The music industry.  Etc.  This small sliver of people has a profound impact on the masses.  For they dominate what people hear and learn.  And with them having a far left ideology their message is far left.  So when this small sliver of people fills our airwaves, cable television, movies and our classrooms their minority viewpoint creates the perception of being the majority viewpoint.  Like that real estate broker.  Because it’s everywhere.  While the majority of people who don’t share their ideology aren’t on television or in the movies.  On the radio or teaching our kids in the classroom.

The perception our kids have of America when graduating from high school is not that good.  Our teachers teach them that America stole the land from the Indians.  And stole Spanish America from the Spanish who stole it from the Indians.  They teach that slavery is America’s original sin.  As if America invented the institution of slavery.  Despite slavery having been around as long as civilization has been around.  They teach that America grew rich because of free slave labor.  Despite the South losing the American Civil War because the institution of slavery so impoverished the South that it was no match for what the North’s paid-labor could produce.  They teach our kids that capitalism is unfair and that profits are evil.  Despite the greatest oppression of people (as well as the lowest standards of living and greatest famines) has always been in anti-capitalistic nations (the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, the countries of Eastern Europe during the cold war, etc.).  While at the same time they teach our kids the goodness of government.  And gloss over the oppression and privations of socialist/communist countries everywhere.

So our kids graduate from high school with the perception that if government doesn’t greatly regulate the free market the greed of capitalism will cause great unfairness.  And that a just society uses government to redistribute wealth to make society fairer.  And that anyone who opposes higher taxes and greater regulation to facilitate this fairer society hates kids.  They want to pollute our air and water.  They want unsafe food.  They want women to die from cancer.  They hate the planet.  Poor people.  Gay people.  Etc.  They hear this so often and so consistently that they accept it as the majority opinion.  And when they go on to college or start watching the news this perception is reinforced.  Which is why our young people vote Democrat.  Because the perception is that Democrats are for the working man.  The party that puts people before profits.  While the Republicans put rich people, and their money, before everything else.

Was it the Rand filibuster that made President Obama launch a Charm Offensive?

A big part of forming perceptions is not telling the truth. When President Obama was candidate Obama he didn’t want to nationalize health care.  He opposed same-sex marriage.  He didn’t support gun control.  He talked about transparency.  He attacked President Bush for being fiscally irresponsible.  And for running massive deficits that added to the debt.  He talked about not spending more than the government collected.  But the real President Obama was none of this.  And the real President Obama has never left campaign mode.  For he doesn’t govern.  He continues to campaign.  Against Republicans.  Blaming them for every problem exasperated by his own policies.  And, of course, he continues to blame George W. Bush.  Always attacking Republicans.  Always blaming Republicans.  To reinforce a perception of the Republican Party that will benefit him.  And his party.  So he can win the House back in 2014.  And finally govern as he always wanted to govern.  As a president with no political opposition to restrain his powers.

The president’s Middle East foreign policy has been a disaster.  He refused to support a Democracy movement in Iran.  Our enemy.  While supporting a democracy movement in Egypt.  And in Libya.  Our allies in the War on Terror.  (But not in Syria.  An ally of Iran.)  Now the Middle East is becoming Islamist.  And closer to Iran.  Our enemy.  And the enemy of peace and stability.  This disastrous policy came to a head in Benghazi.  Where four Americans died to advance the perception that President Obama had al Qaeda on the ropes.  When in fact they were resurgent in Benghazi.  Which our ambassador knew.  And tried to tell his boss.  Hillary Clinton.  Begging for more security.  Which never came.  When questioned in Congress about who edited the talking points that Secretary Rice used on the Sunday morning talk shows to advance the lie that it was not al Qaeda but a spontaneous uprising in response to a YouTube video that no one had seen she yelled with righteous indignation, “What difference did it make!?!”  An answer no one accepted in the Watergate investigation.  Which Clinton assisted with as a young attorney.  Back then a government cover-up made a big difference.  Which led to impeachment hearings.  That ended when President Nixon resigned.  But the Obama administration would escape that fate.  For the perception was that this was a Republican partisan witch hunt.  Because they were racists and hated the president.  And with all their support in entertainment, education and the news the people accepted this perception.  And apparently didn’t care about the cover-up of Benghazi.  Unlike they were about the cover-up of Watergate that resulted in no dead Americans.

And this is what made the Rand Paul filibuster so powerful.  For he dared to challenge the perception that the Obama administration was sweet and innocent and transparent unlike the ‘criminal’ administration of George W. Bush.  President Obama has expanded the use of drones.  He has killed more people with them than George W. Bush.  And a lot more innocent bystanders.  Including a few Americans.  Even appearing to want to reserve the right to use a drone strike on Americans on U.S. soil without due process even if they posed no imminent threat.  The Obama administration finally stated that they wouldn’t do that.  But not before those on the Left took notice of Rand Paul’s filibuster.  Including Jon Stewart of the Daily Show.  People who expected something like this from the Bush administration.  But not from the Obama administration.  Giving the Obama administration some rare negative press.  Just enough to get some people to ask, “They want to do what?!?”  And the fact that it took a 13-hour filibuster to get a simple ‘no’ out of the administration makes it look like, perhaps, it’s the Democrats who are not trying to cooperate with the Republicans.  Unlike the perception that it’s the Republicans that are being uncooperative.  Perhaps explaining why the president has launched a charm offensive.  To improve a tarnished perception that they never had to do before.  Thanks to the Rand Paul filibuster.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FT160: “Why would Democrats want to help Republicans appeal to more voters when they want to beat them in elections?” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 8th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Power Brokers in Washington dismiss the Rand Paul Filibuster as another Kook Libertarian/Tea Party Thing

The Rand Paul filibuster caused quite the stir.  For it’s been a while since we had an old-school talking filibuster on the Senate floor.  Senator Paul was delaying a vote on confirming John Brennan as CIA director.  Over the drone policy of the Obama administration.  He talked for about 13 hours.  All to get an answer from the Obama administration.  He wanted the administration to answer definitively that the U.S. would not kill American citizens on U.S. soil with a drone strike without due process if that American citizen posed no imminent threat.  But getting that admission was akin to pulling teeth.

Rand Paul is the son of Ron Paul.  Who is a libertarian.  And a bit of a kook to the Washington establishment.  Both on the Left and the Right.  Because he goes on and on about the gold standard.  The Constitution.  And America fighting wars we shouldn’t be fighting.  If it were up to him he would bring all American forces home.  And he would stop those drone strikes.  Both Ron Paul and Rand Paul are/were members of the Republican Party.  Constitutional conservatives.  And libertarians.  Who the Washington establishment looks at as kooks.  Rand Paul is even worse.  For he is a member of the Tea Party movement.  A group of people the Washington establishment also looks upon as a bunch of kooks.

So the power brokers in Washington look at Rand Paul as just another kook.  And were quick to dismiss this filibuster as another example of how crazy these libertarian/Tea Party kooks were.  But there was only one problem.  Was someone who was trying to get an evasive government to admit that they wouldn’t kill Americans on U.S. soil without due process even if that American posed no imminent threat a kook?  This was something the Left was supposed to do.  Speak truth to power.  To protect American citizens from an out of control federal government.  And here was Rand Paul fighting that fight.  A Tea Party Constitutional conservative libertarian.

The Republican Old Guard is trying to Distance Themselves from the Tea Party and the Constitutional Conservatives

The Left attacked the Bush administration over the Patriot Act.  Which included those warrantless wiretaps on Americans who were speaking to known terrorist threats in a foreign country.  They assailed George W. Bush and Dick Cheney over the water-boarding of three terrorists.  Including one who gave up information that led us to Osama bin Laden.  Now it was their president whose administration appeared out of control.  Whose attorney general would not come out and say that they would not kill Americans on U.S. soil with a drone strike without due process even if they posed no imminent threat.  Something was very wrong with this picture.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart owes its success to the Republican Party.  For the show’s one purpose in life is to attack and belittle Republicans.  Which their liberal audience enjoys.  Responding with enthusiastic applause and laughter whenever Stewart skewers any Republican.  Or any institution or cause that is important to them.  However, Jon Stewart, even though he disagrees with pretty much everything Rand Paul stands for, did not ridicule Senator Paul for his filibuster.  For the Obama administration’s unwillingness to state for the record that they would not kill Americans on U.S. soil with a drone strike without due process even if they posed no imminent threat clearly bothered him.  Even if it didn’t bother the Washington establishment.  Including the Old Guard of the Republican Party.  Who did ridicule Senator Paul.

The Republican Old Guard is trying to distance themselves from the Tea Party.  And the Constitutional conservatives.  Instead they endlessly bend over backwards to try to get the opposition to like them.  Always unwilling to rock the political boat.  They won’t criticize the president.  Or do anything that may upset the Independents and moderates.  Such as saying the president is going to kill Americans on American soil with drone attacks.  Which really wasn’t the issue of the filibuster.  It was the administration’s apparent desire to have the legal right to do so.  This is what upset Senator Paul.  As well as Jon Stewart.  The ACLU.  Code Pink.  And Amnesty International.  Who found the Obama administration’s evasive answer on the subject disturbing.  Putting the Republican Old Guard on the wrong side of this issue.

The Democrats are Playing the Republican Old Guard to Advance their Agenda

So why is the Republican Old Guard on the wrong side of this issue?  Because they listen too much to their friends in the Democrat Party.  Who are always giving them advice on how to appeal to more voters.  To attract more women.  Blacks.  Hispanics.  People who typically vote Democrat.  And how can the Republicans get these Democrat-voting people to vote Republican?  Easy.  Just act more like Democrats.  Hence their not criticizing the president.  And why they are distancing themselves from the conservative Republican base.  The Tea Party.  And the Constitutional conservatives.  Because that’s what Democrats do.  And Democrats are getting more women, blacks and Hispanics to vote for them.  Ergo, if the Republicans just act like them they will get more women, blacks and Hispanics to vote for them.

Anyone see the flaw in this plan?  If these people typically vote for Democrats why would they vote for Republicans acting like Democrats when they can just as well vote for the people they typically vote for?  Democrats?  For a Democrat is unlikely to stop behaving like a Democrat.  But is a Republican as unlikely to stop acting like a Democrat?  When there are Tea Party and Constitutional conservatives out there that may be vying for their seat in the next primary election?  If we’ve learned anything from the 2012 Republican primary election it’s this.  Republicans try to move farther to the right than their primary opponents.  To appeal to the Tea Party and Constitutional conservatives in their base.  And the more they act like Democrats while in office the harder that will be to do.  Something no doubt Democrat voters keep in mind when they consider these Democrat-light Republican candidates.

Does anyone see another flaw in this plan?  Of Democrats helping Republicans to get more women, black and Hispanic voters?  Granted the Democrat Party is the party of altruism and welfare.  They’re the ones who want to offer a hand-up.  To feed the hungry.  To house the homeless.  To be the father/husband for single mothers.  To provide free preschool.  Free school lunches.  And breakfasts.  Free health care.  Etc.  They just want to give and help as many people as possible.  But do they really want to help Republicans?  Their political rivals?  Those people who vote against handouts (what others call a hand-up), food for the hungry, houses for the homeless, fathering/husbanding single mothers, free preschool, free school lunches, breakfasts, free health care, etc.  Of course they don’t.  The Democrats are just playing the Republican Old Guard.  Getting some of them to vote their way to attract the voters that will never vote for them.  To advance their agenda.  While using them to marginalize their greatest threat.  The Tea Party.  And Constitutional conservatives.  Anyone who doubts this just needs to ask themselves one question.  Why would Democrats want to help Republicans appeal to more voters when they want to beat them in elections?  They wouldn’t.  Something everyone can see.  Except the Republican Old Guard.  Who are so blind that they choose the wrong side of the ‘killing Americans on American soil without due process’ issue.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tyranny of the One, Tyranny of the Few, Tyranny of the Many, Drone Strikes and the Rand Paul Filibuster

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 7th, 2013

Politics 101

Trusting that only Good People will Serve in Government is Sheer Folly

History has been a struggle for power.  Those who wanted it fought those who had it.  And those who had it tried to eliminate anyone who didn’t have it but wanted it.  So people have killed each other since the dawn of time for power.  Making for a rather Hobbesian existence.  “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  A quote from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan.  Where he posits that only an all powerful dictator can provide a just society.  Otherwise there would be great unrest and civil wars.  Such as was going on in England at the time he wrote Leviathan.

England, though, would choose a non-Hobbesian path.  Choosing to restrict the powers of their monarch with a represented body of the people.  Parliament.  Evolving into what John Adams once called the best system of government.  A constitutional monarchy where power was balanced between the few, the many and the one.  The few, the rich, paid the taxes that the one, the king, spent.  The common people were the many.  Who had a say in what the rich and the king could do.  So everyone had a say.  And no one group, the majority, the minority or the one, could do whatever they wanted.  Which is why John Adams once thought it was the best system of government.

John Adams wanted a strong executive in the new United States.  Not a hereditary king.  But something close to the king of England.  Who would advance the new nation to greatness.  And with disinterested men of the Enlightenment serving in the new government Adams didn’t worry about any abuses of power.  For this wasn’t Great Britain.  But not everyone had Adams’ confidence in the nobility of men.  Worrying that given the chance they would try to form a new nobility.  As James Madison said in Federalist 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  And that was the problem.  Men are not angels.  And trusting that only good men would serve in government was sheer folly.  So we should form governments under the assumption that bad people would reach positions of power.  And thus limit the power of government.

Today both Houses of Congress win Elections by Appealing to Populism

So the Americans settled on a similar system.  They separated powers between a legislature, an executive and a judiciary.  Further, they separated the legislature into two bodies.  The House of Representatives.  And the Senate.  Representation in the House being apportioned by population.  The more populous a state the greater that state’s representation.  And the greater influence they had in writing law.  They chose their representatives by popular vote.  Making it truly the house of the people.

The states, though, feared a tyranny of the majority.  Where the largest states could have their way.  And force the smaller states to accept their rule.  For in a true democracy the majority could vote anything into law.  Such as the subjugation and oppression of a minority group.  Like the Nazi Party passed legislation subjugating and oppressing the Jews.  So minorities need protection from majorities.  In the United States the Senate provided a check on majority rule.  For each state had equal representation.  Each state had two senators.  And to further protect the interests of the states (and their sovereignty) the states chose their senators.  A constitutional amendment changed this later.  Which weakened the sovereignty of the states.  By making the Senate a true democracy.  Where the people could vote for the senators that promised them the most from the treasury.

Today both houses of Congress win elections by appealing to populism.  Representatives and Senators are, in general, no longer ‘disinterested men of the Enlightenment’ but pure politicians trying to buy votes.  Which is what James Madison worried about.  The people in government are not angels.  And they’re becoming less like angels as time goes on.  Proving the need of a separation of powers.  And a bicameral legislature.  To keep any one group, or person, from amassing too much power.  So there can be no tyranny of the many.  No tyranny of the few.  And no tyranny of the one.

The Obama Administration can’t use the Military to Kill Suspect Americans on U.S. Soil

Senator Rand Paul just recently completed a 13 hour filibuster on the floor of the Senate.  To delay the vote to confirm John Brennan as CIA director.  Not because he had a problem with Brennan.  But because he had a problem with the Obama administration.  Specifically with Attorney General Eric Holder.  Senator Paul had asked Holder if the Obama administration could use a drone to kill an American on American soil without due process even if that person posed no imminent threat.  The attorney general gave his answer in a letter.  In which he didn’t say ‘no’.  Which bothered Senator Paul.  Because the Obama administration had killed an American or two on foreign soil without due process.  Including the son of a guy that posed an imminent threat.  While the son did not.

U.S. drone strikes have killed many terrorists overseas.  And they’ve killed a lot of innocent bystanders who had the misfortune to be in the same vicinity.  Such as being in the same coffee shop.  Basically a policy of ‘kill them all and let God sort them out’.  But you don’t hear a lot about this collateral damage.  As the Obama administration simply counts all the dead from a drone strike as being a terrorist that posed an imminent threat to U.S. security.  And the innocent son that was killed in a drone strike?  Well, he should have chosen a better father.  Or so said a member of the Obama administration.  Which is what so bothered Senator Paul.  For in the War on Terror the battlefield is worldwide.  Including the United States.  Which means given the right set of circumstances the Attorney General of the United States stated the government had the legal right to use a drone to kill an American on U.S. soil without due process.

In the United States there is a thing called the Constitution.  Which guarantees American citizens due process.  If you’re an American fighting Americans on foreign soil you have no Constitutional protections.  And can be killed by a drone strike without due process.  But if you’re on U.S. soil you have Constitutional protections.  Which means the government can’t use the military to kill suspect Americans.  No.  On U.S. soil we have police forces.  And courts.  Miranda rights.  On U.S. soil you have to convince a judge to issue an arrest warrant.  Then you have to collect evidence to present in a trial.  And then you have to convince a jury of a person’s guilt.  Then and only then can you take away a person’s freedom.  Or life.  Thus protecting all Americans from the tyranny of the one.  The tyranny of the few.  And the tyranny of the many.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,