Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
Source: Haiku Deck

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Atlantic: The Wire- Dino Grandoni: Jon Stewart Shows That Pandering Can be Tricky

Source: The Atlantic-
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Real Life Journal Plus

Telling people what they want to here is the easiest thing to do. Whether you’re a politician, or candidate, or not. But it’s probably more tempting to tell people what thy want to hear when you’re an incumbent or candidate, because you need votes and more votes than your opponents in order to get elected or reelected. And if you’re somewhat addicted to your job, (like an obese person addicted to all you can eat meat lovers buffet) meaning you can’t imagine a good life outside of public office, then its more attempting to tell your voters what they want to hear.

You can tell progressive voters in metro areas that you support gun control. And then tell conservative voters in rural areas, that you’re pro-2nd Amendment and anti-gun control. The same candidate or politician giving different messages on the same issue. But to different voters. Or in John Kerry’s case and I think he gets a bad wrap here, so I’ll make this bipartisan, but when you’re considering running for President back in 2002, you can say “you support authorizing military operations in Iraq.

This way Senator Kerry looks strong on defense, but when you’re actually running for President, now you decide you’re against the Iraq War. The classic “I was for it before I was against it”. Here’s the best flip flopper in the business today and headed for a first ballot nomination to the Political Pandering Hall of Fame and that’s assuming he retires from running for public office, Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney- “I was a Liberal when I was running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. A Moderate when I was Governor of Massachusetts. Now that I’ve decided I should be President of the United States, I’ve decided that I’m going to be a Conservative Republican or what passes today as a Conservative Republican today.” That would be Mitt on truth serum. Imagine forcing politicians and candidates to take truth serum every time they spoke to the public. Would the public still say they want honest politicians?

But wait it gets better. Religious and neoconservatism isn’t very popular with Independent voters. Who tend to want big government out of their wallets and bedrooms. “So I’m still a Conservative, but a Conservative who’s tolerant, who focus’s on economic and foreign policy”. Where Republicans tend to be strong with voters, “but I don’t push Social Issues”. That is what a conservative establishment Republican would tell Independent voters. So they just get the votes of Christian and Neoconservatives in the Republican Party.

But then focus mostly on Economic and Foreign Policy if I become the Republican nominee. You run far-right in the Republican primaries. But then once you get the nomination, now you know the far-right won’t get you elected President by themselves. So you move to the center-right and say “what people do with their personal lives is personal, or should be left up to the states”. As you focus on economic and foreign policy while in office.

Again its easy to tell people what they want to hear, to be for everything. Just not everything to the same people at the same time. Because then you don’t have to be against someone and risk losing their vote. The hard part and where leadership comes in and how public officials become successful at doing their job and not just keeping their job is doing things because they are right, even if it offends your base right or left, or even offends Independents.

Knowing you’re going to offend people, but that it’s the right thing to do. Which means telling people things they don’t want to hear from time to time. Which is where political pandering becomes a weakness. You can’t please everyone all the time and be a leader. Because otherwise you’re just a follower with your hand down someone’s wallet, or up their ass, looking for every available dollar, perhaps even foreign dollar you can grasp to get either reelected, or run and get elected to higher office.
Alex Felker: Jon Stewart on Crossfire

Saturday, February 11, 2012

NBC: Saturday Night Live- Celebrity Jeopardy: The Best of Stupid Celebrities

Source: SNL- Jerry Lewis? 
Source: NBC: Saturday Night Live- Celebrity Jeopardy: Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds & Jerry Lewis

As someone who tends to be very flip if not sarcastic, or that’s what I’ve been told, I see myself as humorous. I see something funny and I give a quick off the cuff observation to it. But whatever is close enough, I’ve always had a low-tolerance for stupid questions. And my definition for a stupid question is pretty simple. Any question that someone asks as if they don’t know the answer, that they should know the answer to. “What color is red?” Would be an example of that. Or a question that has the answer in it. Like, what state is Maryland in?

Like the famous question from Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, the high school principal at the bar because he can’t handle the stress of his job. Taking a look at the Chicago Cubs baseball game and asks the bartender “what’s the score?” The bartender answers 0-0. The Principle asks, “who’s winning?” The bartender says the Bears. Or perhaps Da Bears being in Chicago. The Chicago Bears are obviously a football team, but the good thing about stupid questions, is they give wiseass’s like me, the opportunity to give smart answers to stupid questions. The Bears to that question would be an example of a smart answer to a stupid question.

What’s a smart answer? Well if you’re paying attention you already know the answer to the question. Because the answer is in the question. What is a smart answer, which would be like asking what state is Florida in. You follow, hopefully I haven’t lost you yet. It’s a simple concept, but thats another example of a stupid question. Asking a question, again as if you don’t know the answer. That has the answer in the question. But a smart answer would be a clever humorous response to a stupid question.

Or someone saying something dumb, perhaps they weren’t thinking. Not paying attention whatever.
I have about twelve years experience working in customer service. So I’ve heard more than my share of stupid questions from people who just had brain surgery and the doctor forgot to put the brain back in. Or the person was high or drunk, not paying attention and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to give smart answers in response.

If you ever watch SNL Celebrity Jeopardy, its sort of the same thing, but different. Will Ferrell playing Alex Trebek, who does a better Alex Trebek than the real Alex Trebek, has the dumbest celebrities on possible.

Or what SNL sees as the dumbest celebrities they can think of. Even though I didn’t see Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Michael Moore or Ben Affleck up there. Its more like people like Tom Cruise, Marlin Brando, Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds, and people like that. Who are all fairly intelligent people in real life. But SNL loves to make fun of these people and Trebek asks these people intentionally the dumbest questions possible, but on purpose. Like he’ll show them the color red, Burt Reynolds is wearing a red shirt and Trebek will ask Burt, “what color is red?” And of course Burt blows the question. Or Trebek will ask the panel, “what year is it? Which Holiday comes on December 25th, that involves giving and receiving presents?” And you would think Trebek is asking these people questions about ancient Greek history or something, but they are so dumbfounded.

One piece advice I can give anyone who approaches me or tries to start a conversation with me, including online where I get a lot of less than brilliant questions, which is putting it nicely, like “what does individual liberty or freedom of choice mean?” Again two questions that have the answers in them. And my answers will be like, well its the freedom of choice. “Well what’s that?” The freedom to choose and if they are still dumbfounded.

I’ll ask people online do they speak and comprehend English, should I answers these questions in a different language. My advice for people is to think at least a little bit before asking me something or talking to me. Because I do have a quick lip to things that I consider dumb. And will respond to them in a humorous way. Thats not a threat, just something to keep in mind. But I won’t try to devastate you and use name-calling. But to let you know, you just asked me a dumb question and you may even laugh with my answer.