Independent’s Wet Dream

You have absolutely no idea how giddy this makes me.

The presidential race is now down to two men who appreciate the importance of reaching across the aisle and compromising for the good of the nation and a Third Way Democrat. (And if you read this space regularly, you already know what I think of the first and second ways. If you don’t, here’s a hint: They suck.)

I can live with McCain. He might be pro-life, but he’ll never be able to stack the Supreme Court without four years of a Republican Congress. Three words: Not. Bloody. Likely.

And even if that happens, wanna bet the hard-line conservative wing finds itself kicked back into the wilderness for a decade or two?

But if it comes down to it, I’ll vote for Hillary. I don’t like her, but I don’t have to like her. I just have to know she’ll get things done. And she doesn’t have Bill’s penis, so that’s one less distraction. Instead of impeachment, she can just make Bill go sleep on the couch.

But it’s Barack Obama I’m pulling for. Any man who can be pro-choice, address a pro-life crowd, and get applause without backing away from his position is a man who can build bridges.

And we’ve burned far too many bridges this decade.

Did The Democrats Blow It In Detroit?

The past two years have been a rerun of my adolescence for the Rust Belt.  Big steel and the US auto industry take it on the chin with too much capacity, too many legacy costs, skyrocketing fuel costs, and a dollar that’s worth ninety cents in Canada.  Is the sky falling?

No, it’s just the 1970’s and 1980’s again.  Only instead of Jimmy Carter bailing out Chrysler and Ronald Reagan pimping free trade and a Cold War-fueled defense industry, we have the single most incompetent president in history scratching his head.

We’ve been hit pretty hard in Ohio.  Ford’s downsizing had roughly the same effect on Cleveland as dropping an atomic bomb.  But it’s Michigan, epicenter of the US auto industry, that’s really suffering.  The surprise here is which candidates addressed the issue this past Tuesday:  John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Well, those names actually shouldn’t be surprising.  McCain enjoys broad independent appeal, which lets him speak to labor’s woes in ways the Huckabees and Thompsons of the world cannot.  Romney should not surprise anyone either.  His father once headed American Motors back before it was known for the Pacer and the Gremlin.  So while I’m no fan of Mitt, it doesn’t exactly come as a shock that He of the Perfect Hair has a soft spot for Detroit.

Many die-hard Democrats will think I’ve just committed blasphemy, but there’s a problem.  And you can lay it directly at the feet of the Democratic Party’s leadership.  See, the Democrats are snubbing Michigan this year.  Why?  They moved their primary up to mid-January, between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday.  And that’s bad because…  Um…

Paging Howard Dean.  You wanna explain this one to me?  Do you want to explain why I had to hold my nose a moment ago to praise Mitt Romney, a candidate I generally find as real and sincere as a late-night infomercial host?

The only candidate running in Michigan for the Democrats was Hillary Clinton.  All the rest pulled out because the DNC got pissy about Michigan moving up its primary.  No Barack Obama.  No John Edwards.  No Dennis Kucinich for the pure liberals.  Just Hillary.

What sort of message does that send a badly depressed Midwest?

“Screw you,” comes to mind.

Basically, where the party fubarred the whole thing is by penalizing Michigan for the most dubious of reasons.  If you’re going to complain that Michigan is too early, then Iowa and New Hampshire should also be punished.  Do you think Iowa represents the rest of America?  Or New Hampshire?

But no, someone in the Democratic Party decided to blow off the Rust Belt, blow off not only the automotive industries, but the unions that represent their workers.   Someone in the party leadership decided to blow off the party’s base.

So my question to the DNC is:

Why do you want to hand this election over to John McCain?

I don’t mind John McCain, since I’m an independent.  Besides, a Democratic Congress might do very well if it has to work with a GOP president who not only reads books, but has actually written a few.  (Come on, George.  You can read a newspaper.  The New York Post even likes you.  Or used to, anyway.)

But why in the hell do you guys want Michigan (and probably Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois with them) to go to the Republicans?

Might you want to rethink your strategy?

Don’t worry.  I’m sure the people of Michigan will rethink it for you.

That Thing I Hate Talking About

On the old blog, I ranted about blogging about politics. My main beef was most people who blog about it know absolutely nothing. Yet a lot of bloggers have been doing it because spouting off their opinions is a cheap, easy way to generate traffic.

Well, I’ve deleted that blog. And I’ve also reached the conclusion that you can’t rail on the process if you don’t participate. Not speaking one’s mind is a cop out, almost as bad as taking everything Michael Moore and Sean Hannity say as gospel.

So I’m going to speak my mind. Hopefully, you’ll speak yours. [It’s what the comment section is for.] I won’t try to fool you that I’m an expert, but I do know history. And I have watched enough politics since Ronald Reagan, even if only peripherally at times, to see where things are leading.

Perhaps I ought to start out with where I am politically: I’m a political consultant’s worst nightmare. Hand me one of those tests that charts where you are on two political axes, and I rate as, without fail, a left-leaning libertarian. The lean is so statistically insignificant* that I’m probably as close to a true centrist as you can possibly get.

A cop out? Hardly. I have a strong dislike for extremes, no matter how mild. If you have to slap a label on me, then I’m a Third Way independent. Anything else to me is too fatally flawed to be acceptable. If you really want to press me on the issue, I’ll say I’m a political atheist. I don’t believe in your political gods. I just believe in me.**

I believe in capitalism and hope someday to see it replace the feudalism practiced in America today. However, I also understand that, given the chance, humans in general will screw other humans for gain in a heartbeat. There’s not a system devised that cancels that out. (Ironically, true libertarians seem to get this. Probably why they don’t sweat criticism as much as others. Then again, true libs have a real sense of humor. Hmm…) I don’t see socialism as a great evil, either. The trouble with capitalism and socialism is when you try to have pure forms of them, you get feudal lords like Exxon and the RIAA in an allegedly capitalist society while on the socialist side…

Well… How many of you thought Joe Stalin was a swell guy? (Veterans of the Great Patriotic War may sit this one out. We know you’re understandably biased towards the big murderous lug.)

I refuse to join a political party. I’m the client, not the salesman. Besides, many of you who call yourself Republicans or Democrats aren’t. Or if you are, I’m a Cincinnati Bengal. And I say this having registered as both. Guess what. I was neither back then. I was a voter. Period. If I run for office*** or campaign for someone, I’ll let you know if there’s an elephant or a donkey on my letterhead. Or something else entirely. The fact is if I get involved, I’m just as likely to campaign for a Democrat, a Republican, or something else entirely. (Don’t laugh. Cincinnati has a viable third party and a large Libertarian base.)

I believe you vote your conscience, not who CNN, Fox, or MSNBC tells you will win. Forget them. They report; I decide. (And someone should sue Fox for false advertising, naming the other two networks as co-defendants. After all, wasn’t Hillary just evited in Iowa?)

And finally, if you’re into the politics of polarization – and this goes for left and right – you’re the problem. I don’t care who started what. Wrong is wrong, and just because one side does it doesn’t mean the other side should. It’s why Ann Coulter is no more than a punchline these days. There are far too many people in this country who decide even their parking place on whether it’s a liberal parking space or a conservative one. Meanwhile, there are far too many people like me who want to ram you waiting for you to park your damn car.

Bottom line, too many people have political dogma. Since reality has nothing to do with political dogma (just listen to the global warming “experts” around your office water cooler sometime), I am dogmatically opposed to dogma in any form. Get over it.

So that’s me in a nutshell. Politics won’t be a primary topic here, but the gloves are off. It’s my country, too, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be told what I should think of it.

To let that happen would be un-American.

Just like Joseph McCarthy.

*As long as the test isn’t rigged. And I’ve taken those, too.

**But not Yoko.

***Not bloody likely. The process has a way of soiling even the purest soul. I don’t like getting dirty. It’s why I’m not a garbage man, either.