Tag Archives: New Hampshire

Big Government Or Small? Make Up Your Minds

As an update to yesterday’s post, in case you haven’t heard… 14 National Championships. Roll Tide.

…moving right along…

If politics still somehow magically hold your interest after months of gruelingly pointless repetition and circus acts, then you’ll know that Iowa has had its caucuses and that New Hampshire is holding its primary today. You may also know that the GOP had two debates this weekend, 12 hours apart. The hooplah and repetition are coming now faster than ever before. Or, if you prefer, pious bologna.

The intense pattern I’ve noticed amongst pretty much every candidate, however, is hypocrisy. Granted, that’s how politics tends to roll. But I’m referring to a specific hypocrisy. A hypocrisy pertaining to the size of government and its role in the lives of American citizenry.

See, the rallying cry of the conservative base seems to be a desire to tear down the “big government,” the one that spends so much money, forces so many terrible regulations on the businesses of America and requests the citizenry to pay more taxes.

And yet, they seem to be all for expanding executive power beyond the limitations set Constitutionally (with exception of Ron Paul, of course). Just look at some of the candidates’ views on executive issues. It’s kind of ghastly sometimes.

But even that hypocrisy isn’t what I want to target. Most presidents since forever ago have stepped a tad beyond their Constitutional bounds. For some, those tads look more like the tads Newt Gingrich seems fond of. (…sorry, that was kinda low. Maybe I should be a politician?)

No, the hypocrisy I’ve been noting is the gleeful desire to regulate lives, but to protect businesses against things like gender equality and anti-discrimination clauses.

For example: On the issue of marriage, many feel it is a federal issue. That the federal government should define what is essentially a personal choice made by two persons. Why is that?

I couldn’t find any real reasons given other than “sacrament” and “anti-Christian bigotry.” Religious argument for a secular government. Not good.

Well, let’s look outside the realm of religious response. Let’s see what one of the (surprising) contenders feels about the freedom of speech on the internet via the new media corporation backed bill SOPA.

Huh. Rick Santorum (and likely many others in the GOP race) feels SOPA is a-okay because limits to freedom of speech exist. Ignoring that his comparison of freedom of speech being limited to preserve the well-being of others to freedom of speech being limited to protect business acquisitions is hugely faulty, why doesn’t this line of thought follow through with, say, freedom of religion?

And let’s not even bother to get into Mitt Romney’s pratfall dealing with contraception.

A disturbing, rather consistent pattern amongst the GOP front-runners is one of big government is bad, unless it’s instituting and enforcing morality and tradition. But only on individuals.

Even Ron Paul, that apparently staunch Constitutionalist, finds himself bouncing between states’ rights and federal authority on social issues.

This is the curse of neo-conservatism. The election of George W. Bush saw the end of true conservatism and the creation of some strange thing that can’t seem to sum itself up. Demanding as ever on social, personal issues and the desire to control them, but economically claiming a desire for a “free market” (which is SO not what they’ve been asking for).

Which is it going to be, GOP? Are you big government or small government? If you’re the latter… then let the voters vote for their rights and stay out of our way.

…later, I’ll probably look into the hilarity of the cries against all the “anti-Christian bigotry” that’s around.

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Primaries In States Of Contention

As I mentioned in my last blog talking about the most recent of the 40 billion GOP presidential candidate debates, Jon Huntsman was boycotting the debate in favor of doing a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Why would Huntsman risk losing media coverage and expressing his views in a national forum? Because Nevada is one of the states, like Florida, that is trying to move its primary’s date further up on the calendar.

In case you were unaware, the first four states have been Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina when it comes to GOP primaries for as long as I can recall. (I admit not being very politically aware only a few presidents back, so I don’t know if my personal memory means diddly in this situation.)

Now, why would the date of a state’s primary matter? Does it really affect anything if a different state gets to go first?

Oh yes, my friend. It changes everything.

See, when it comes to primaries, you basically only have to win the first 4 or 5 states. Win most of those, and you’re likely to see the rest of the states fall into place for you. Place third or fourth (or far lower, since we’ve got every candidate that has ever said the word “president” running this time) in two or three of those first states, and you might as well just quit. It isn’t because of the votes those states hold or anything. It’s about a sense of power, how viable a candidate random people from different regions of the United States see you, et cetera. (Note: Each of those first four states represent a different area of American geography. Nevada for the West, Iowa for the Midwest, South Carolina for the South and New Hampshire for the North.)

So, how do you win the votes in a state? Easy.

Spend every last dollar you’ve got in that state.

Candidates that desperately want to win a state that may be in contention (and during a primary, every state is pretty much going to be in contention) will spend a load of money visiting the state, buying ads, holding conferences and town hall meetings and rallies, et cetera. States that are already in the bag get pretty much no love. (Note how Obama and McCain didn’t even bother with my home state of Alabama, since we’re pretty much dead if we aren’t red.)

This, of course, means that every four years or so, Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada see a bunch of money from candidates flow their way. And with the economy being in the state (haha, it’s funny because it’s the same word) that it’s in, other states aren’t so keen in watching all the money flow their way. So they’re moving their dates up to try to get in on the cash cow that is election time fervor.

And that means that some candidates are going to do silly things like boycott those other naughty states trying to budge their way closer to January. Because they’ve already spent a lot of money in the traditional four states, don’t feel like they have enough money to really start up campaigning hard in the other states they’re likely to lose, and need to “make a moral stand” so people can see that they’re “a person of character.”

…maybe I’m being a bit too cynical, but I fail to see how.

Really, this is one of those moronic things that shouldn’t be an issue but has become an issue because people don’t like it when the game they play (that’s politics, for those not paying attention) becomes more difficult to rig.

The best, fairest solution for everyone (though the candidates and the traditional first four states will whine) would be to have the states switch every 4 years. Cut things into 5 different regions of 10 states a piece. Have the first 5 dates preset. Every four years, a different state in the region of 10 states gets to be one of the first 5 states with a primary. Randomize which region gets which primary and rotate the 10 states. Everybody eventually gets equal shares of the money (or as close as it can get, really).

Seriously. This shouldn’t be an issue. This shouldn’t be a thing to have to take stances on. This just makes the fact that politics is a giant board game for politicians to move pieces across more obvious and more despicable. And annoying. Maybe one day we can get past all this annoying crap.

…woah, I got lightheaded there for a second. Sorry, whatever I just said is probably a crazy idea and should be ignored since it can never happen. Man, idealism gives some terrible vertigo.

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Semi-Live Blogging Of The Live Blogging Of The Debate

You know what time it is, right? Today was another GOP presidential candidate debate! So it’s time for me to read some random other person’s live blog of the event and comment on the stuff they say happened! Tonight’s lucky winner of the “You’re the first link I found that was live blogging the event” raffle is Boston.com! I’m going to be treating THIS debate response like I do my “Second First Time Viewer” segments, a real time reaction to the event as it goes on.

Today’s debate was hosted by CNN (moderated by Anderson Cooper) and held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jon Huntsman excused himself from tonight’s debate to hold a town hall in New Hampshire, citing ire over Nevada’s push to overtake New Hampshire’s early primary date. In other words, Huntsman has given up on winning in Nevada and hopes to garner some major points in New Hampshire, not to mention he’s probably annoyed because he hasn’t spent any money in Nevada since candidates always spend the big bucks in the first three or so states with primaries/caucuses, which has always been the same. That is a bundle of joy for a later conversation. It seems like Rick Santorum has decided to stick around for this debate despite saying he would boycott it just like Huntsman is. I guess when you’re going to lose and no one cares about your political aspirations, no one cares if you flip flop, either.

…man, watching all this political stuff lately has turned up my cynical-o-meter. Is it wrong of me to think Santorum telling everyone he’s flying the red eye to see his daughter who had surgery today is a ploy to garner sympathy votes?

Michele Bachmann seems to be of the opinion that liberals want the government to tax all the money. Which simply isn’t true. Liberals pay taxes, and I don’t think any of us like the idea of a 90% tax.

It’s interesting to see the other candidates’ positions on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, which as brief and simple to explain as it is, has caught the eye of the media craze. But Cain is now inviting Americans to do their own math? That’s not a good tactic. That either means you’re hiding something OR it means that you’re telling Americans to think for themselves. Which isn’t a popular stance nowadays.

Personally, I feel like the 9-9-9 plan is very much too simplistic, but I can’t really make a truly informed opinion on it because taxes be crazy. But Rick Perry does have a good point about states that currently have no sales tax suddenly having to be taxed. That sounds like big government, which most Republicans aren’t supposed to like in an economic fashion. I bet Ron Paul hates the idea. And looks like I was right.

Man, I do believe this live blog is right. The first question did seem to point at Cain, but people aren’t so much offering their own solutions (except Ron Paul, of course) as much as they are dog piling Cain’s plan as bad.

Poor Newt Gingrich. I think SNL has him right, he doesn’t actually want to be president. He’s just there to give kudos and talking points. And Gingrich is right. Cain’s plan would be a hard sell. So is any plan to alter taxes whatsoever, it seems. At least, it seems that way nowadays.

And Bachmann seems to want to be rid of taxes entirely. Why doesn’t this surprise me? Taxes aren’t fun, sure, but they are necessary.

Perry is saying the unemployment rate is at 9%? …I swear it was around 11% not so long ago. Wouldn’t that mean President Obama hasn’t been the job killer everyone claims?

It’s interesting that the GOP is touting energy independence and exploration now… what happened to “Drill, baby, drill”?

Aw, the Ricks are fighting. Let’s just let it devolve into a good old Battle Royale, shall we? It’d make good TV and make all the idiocy end more quickly.

This whole “Romneycare” vs. “Obamacare” thing creates an interesting dilemma in the GOP ideologies. Anything socialist or even remotely close to socialist is seen as abhorrent to them, but they’re also big on state’s rights… and Massachusetts as a state apparently likes Mitt Romney’s health care plan. Maybe the dislike for individual mandates and socialism outweighs the whole “That’s what the state wants” philosophy.

The Boston.com live blog is making a good point I hadn’t noticed before. The candidates are actually debating in longer, more full terms against one another. Cooper’s letting them go at one another. Possibly because the next debate isn’t for another three weeks. Small miracles.

Y’know, one of the biggest problems Ron Paul faces is actually his purist political ideals. Everyone knows exactly what his response will be to most every issue. So when he does have something new to say, not too many people are paying attention. Doesn’t help that most people don’t seem to like what he says…

Hm… I don’t know what “loser-pays” insurance laws are… but I get this weird feeling that I wouldn’t like them.

Hm. Strange tactic for Perry to blame illegal immigrants for high rates in Texas health insurance, since immigration is one of the areas people feel Perry has been soft. And of course there’s health care in Houston, but do you realize how big Texas is, Perry? Not everyone can truck it to Houston for good health care.

Apparently, Perry and Romney are yelling at one another now. Perry is probably very desperate to regain his status as top dog and wants to show he can fight. …oh, yay, it’s no longer about the issues. I admit, this issue-based debate lasted longer than I thought it would.

Uh-oh, Romney touched Perry! How many news outlets are going to carry that picture with a title using the word “assault” tomorrow, I wonder?

Well, the debate seems to have been reigned back in and is targeting Cain’s electric fence joke from before. Hopefully, people won’t chat too long about that.

A full fence would cost $30 billion, eh? Sounds like wasteful spending. Wasteful spending that most GOP candidates seem to want. Which I find odd.

Bachmann wants a double-fence? Quick, to AutoTunes!

…and she wants to make English the government’s official language. …why? What is the point of bothering with something so massively trivial as that? Seriously.

More immigration fighting, with Perry trying to fight against people viewing he likes having illegals around by pointing the finger at Romney, who he claims hired an illegal.

Paul raises a good point (which he seems to do every so often). If we were more economically stable, the immigration debate might not be so contentious.

Woah, what? The live blog says Cain sidestepped a question about whether the 14th Amendment should be repealed. Who the heck asked that question?

Ooh, Perry is getting annoyed at Cooper now. I’m not sure that all this angry reaction stuff will be in Perry’s favor. Of course, Cooper is one of them “dern liberals,” so…

I’m admittedly glad that none of the candidates seem to be for repealing the 14th Amendment. Or, at least, won’t say if they are before they check with pollsters and make sure that’s a good thing.

Paul once again gets slightly shafted, being the first against just having the federal government pick a state to dump nuclear waste in, and then having Perry give Romney the credit for the idea. Though I don’t know if I understand Perry’s desire to have states compete over having nuclear waste. I mean, I guess the states get paid for it…

Okay, I had to look up the TARP program to remember what it was. It was signed into law by George W. Bush a few months before he left office. …so, why is Bachmann blaming Obama for TARP? Oh, I forget. Obama is the bogeyman.

I’m disappointed that the Boston.com live blog didn’t cover the candidates’ reactions to the Occupy Wall Street movement. That’s something current that interests me.

Religion discussion was rather brief… and far less inflammatory than I thought it might end up.

Hah! Love Cooper trying to get Bachmann on track… have fun herding those cats, friend.

It’s interesting that Paul is for cutting defense. I think that’s one of the things that makes a lot of GOP members wary of him.

And on foreign aid, some candidates are very much for having none whatsoever, it seems. Not so unsurprising, but it seems to conflict with the idea of America being the world’s police. I think that’s one of the things I’ve been noticing over and over again in these debates: Massive conflict in the ideologies.

Bachmann says no negotiating with terrorists ever. Here’s my problem with that “never ever” stance: It leads to the deaths of innocents. It’s a very cold, harsh stance devoid of any humanity. It may have its pluses, but it certainly has its minuses as well.

The live blog is putting up some of the CNN rush transcript from the more catty segments of the debate. And apparently, Cooper thought it’d be okay to be snarky. That man has some serious balls.

Ah. Santorum won a swing state that could tank Obama. Clearly, since he can take Pennsylvania away from Obama, people should vote for him. Not because he’d be a good president or anything.

Romney is pointing to Perry supporting Al Gore as a bad thing against George W. Bush. …do conservatives still think W. was a good president? I’m curious.

Cain makes his case for why he should be president… and I don’t really know who I want the GOP to nominate. Cain might have a chance. Then again, people might think he has no clue as to what he’s talking about.

Aw, Cooper tried to shut out Bachmann and Gingrich. Naughty. Bachmann’s probably right, she is the most different from Obama… being that she’s a crazy person… and Gingrich tries to say people should vote for him because he’d go toe-to-toe in legitimate debates. …while I’d love to see legitimate debates, I don’t think skill in debating should be the big reason people vote for you.

And it looks like Paul got shafted. A lot. Again. I may not be a Ron Paul supporter (or a supporter of anyone in the GOP), but that guy gets treated like crap a lot of times, it seems. Not that he seems to care, he’s going to keep on trucking. Like the GOP’s own little Ralph Nader or Alan Keyes.

And that’s the debate. Some issues to talk about more in depth, some media flubs, some serious ire between Romney and Perry… we’ll see later how all that turns out, I reckon. But for now, for me, that’s all I’ve got. I’m sure to let this thing fuel me for a while, though.

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