Monday, March 23, 2015

CRUZ CONTROL: The interrelationship of Dr. Suess, Zombies, and Jurassic Park and the GOP Primary

First of all, HOW CAN WE NOT BE JUMPING UP AND DOWN AND SCREAMING ABOUT THE HYPOCRISY OF THE BIRTHER MOVEMENT! These people spent years, some are still trying, to prove that President Obama is not a U.S. Citizen and therefore not capable of being President. The easiest group to identify these xenophobes with is the Tea Party, which is closely tied to the GOP and the group that made Ted Cruz famous. Ted Cruz, we know for an undisputed fact, was born in Canada. The logically similarities are pretty clear. But as a wise man said, you can't expect them to be fair.

Rhyming Is Fun

Ok, now that we've talked about the elephant in the room we can talk about the elephants in the tent. The tent is the GOP Primary. It's a very delicate metaphor, I know. I'm going to just put this in terms Ted Cruz may be able to understand.

I am the GOP. I am Ted, Ted I am. That Ted I am, that Ted I am! I do not like that Ted I am. Do you like extreme right wing policies and political hams? I do not like your extreme right wing policies you political ham, I do not like them Ted I am!

Would you like them at Iowa's state fair? I would not like them at Iowa's state fair, I would not like them anywhere! I do not like extreme right wing policies and political hams, I do not like them Ted I am!

Would you like them in the house? Would you share them with your spouse? I would not like them in the House, I will not share them with my spouse! I do not like them here or there, I would not like them anywhere!

I do not like your extreme right wing policies you political ham, I do not like them Ted I am!

Would you like them explained on a box? Would you like them explained on Fox?

Not on a box. Not watching on Fox. Not in the House. Not with my spouse. I will not like them here or there, I will not like them anywhere. I do not like your extreme right wing policies you political ham, I do not like them Ted I am!

Would you, could you, in a car? Like them! Like them! Here they are!

I would not, could not, in a car.

You may like them. You will see. You may like them, just vote absentee!

I would not, could not vote absentee. I do not like them on a box. I do want to watch them on Fox. I do not like them in the House, I will not share them with my spouse. I will not like them at the Iowa state fair, I will not like them anywhere. I do not like your extreme right wing policies you political ham, I do not like them Ted I am!

A train! A train! A train! A Train! Could you, would you listen on a train?

Not on a train! I will not vote absentee! Not in a car, Ted! Let me be! I would not listen from the box. I could not, would not, watch on Fox. I will not share them with my spouse. I will not have them in the House. I will not like them here or there, I will not like them anywhere. I do not like your extreme right wing policies you political ham, I do not like them Ted I am!

You get the idea. (Coincidentally, that book is MUCH longer than I remember, so kudos to Cruz on picking it for the filibuster. Solid choice.)

Children's books that are oddly long for their age range aside, Ted Cruz is both great for Democrats and terrible for Republicans. He pulls the whole group to the right. The. Whole. Thing.

Here's something to remember. Hillary will win the woman's vote. Plenty of women may vote for a Republican, but Clinton will clean up in that demographic no mater who the Republicans run. Regardless of the GOP candidate the GOP's path to the Presidency in 2016 is with moderate males and pulling from ethnic voting blocks. (Voter suppression with I.D. laws won't hurt either.)

You're In A Room

Imagine it like a door. The door is in the middle of the room. The more people that try to go through the door at the same time the harder it is, after all it's only so big. (It's an old building, so probably a small door, not ADA compliant.) But, imagine you're the person trying to get through that door. You can see the door, but there's something in the way. What is it?

Shit. Zombies. Just your luck.

What will you do? You could try to kill them, but there are a lot of them. (Like, a REALLY huge number.) Luckily, you do have a really sweet baseball bat in your right hand covered in nails, so you're equipped for the job. But there are a LOT of zombies. You remember from all of the years of zombie shows and movies that sound and light ALWAYS WITHOUT FAIL (100% of the time, seriously) will distract a zombie. After all, they essentially follow T-Rex movement rules. You look to your left hand and you have a flare tied to a pack of fire crackers. It's essentially the perfect zombie distraction machine other than a guy with a mullet driving a van blaring club music. (Walking Dead fans? Eh?)

You let all the zombies mill around the door for a while while you weigh your options when suddenly an amazing selfless hero-person steps up next to you. “I'll distract them, you get through the door!” he says with a crazy, but polite, look in his eyes. He grabs the flare, starts yelling and waiving his arms at the undead savages and turns around long enough to tell you to “RUN FOR IT!” (This part might be in slow mo.) He's like your own personal Jeff Goldblum ala JurassicPark.  Also this one

You take a few steps. You're not sure if he really means to help or if he's just using you as bait for the horde. Then, he lights the flare. As you likely know, the zombies are now totally fixated on him and the flare, they could not care less about you. They are making a b-line (as good as a zombie can at least) for your hero as the fire crackers start to go off.

The door is clear.

But What Does All That Mean?

That's what Cruz is doing for Hillary. He's her Jeff Goldblum. Her personal zombie fodder.

The zombies are the rest of the GOP primary contenders. The door, well that's the Presidential election. (Duh.)

Cruz is either a brilliant Democratic plant, or just doesn't understand how zombies react to light and sound. I'm inclined to go with the latter, mostly because that would be giving the Democrats WAY too much credit here.

He's about to find out though. Eventually, the horde will turn him into another zombie, but by the time they're done the other person will be safely through the door, and they'll just be standing there. Being zombies.

-A. Sommer

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bring On The Bambino: Why The GOP Needs To Embrace Christie

This article blends my two favorite American past times with baseball and politics. I'm focusing heavily on the GOP ticket in 2016 for two reasons. First, the Democrats are almost for sure going to pick Clinton, so they're just boring. Second, it's like a train wreck and I just can't look away.

Riddle me this: What do Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, a handful of politicians from Texas, and Ronald Reagan all have in common? It's not their policies on immigration. No, not their views on the future of the Affordable Care Act. Give up? Ok, I'll tell you. None of them, not one, can beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Even more interesting, none of them could beat Obama in 2012, and if you add McCain, subtract Rubio, change Rand to Ron, and replace the Texas group with Palin you've got 2008 too. Different names (some of them) but the same brand, and still bland.

The Boys of Summer

The current lineup for the GOP (I'm going baseball heavy for this comparison, so stay with me) suffers from the same deficiencies as the 2000 and 2004 Democratic lineup. Remember Kerry's Presidential campaign? Yeesh. Gore may have actually won the popular vote, but win or lose that election it's hard to find a sentence to use the words “Al Gore” and “inspiring” that isn't negative. The early 2000's Democrats and the current slate of Republicans that have the name, money, and will to reach toward our Presidency are all what a baseball manager would call utility players. These folks can do a lot, and can play different positions, but none of them have that little something extra. These candidates are just that, candidates. 

What they are is vanilla, safe, and reliable. What they aren't is exciting, inspiring, capable of greatness. None of them can hit over .300. None of them will steal 40 bases, hit 40 home runs (which is a big number again now that the PED craze has been phased out...ish), and none of them will strike out 200 batters in a season. If they were offensive players they'd be .255, 12 HR, 63 RBI, 3 SB type of players. Or a 12-11 pitcher. Not “bad” but probably not making an all-star team anytime soon. Solid utility players are important to round out a team, but all-stars sell tickets.

Still 270 To Win

These utility player politicians are good enough to run a campaign. They can attract good donors. They can win the red states. 225-250 electoral votes? No problem, well... sort of. The problem is that 225-250 electoral votes is still a losing effort. Anything less than 270 may as well be 0 because the result is the same. (Back to baseball now...) The Republicans need an ace, a defensive Wizard, a long ball hitter. They need the political equivalent of the Bambino. Enter Chris Christie.

Christie is exactly that. He sits in the dug out cracking jokes, smoking a stogie, and eating hotdogs. He finishes his last sip of beer just before grabbing his unnecessarily oversized bat, then saunters to the batters box. He is confident, if nothing else.

That's why I love the baseball analogy here. Imagine Chris Christie in a loose fitting pin-stripe uniform with that simple “3” on the back. Can you see him? Standing in the box? He's pointing to the stands. Waiting for the pitch.

With Great Power...

In the story of Babe Ruth's famous home run the Bambino stepped to the plate, rested his bat on his shoulder, pointed to the stands and stood defiantly. He dared the pitcher. The story ends with the big man rounding the bases, and the other team watching dumb founded. Right now Christie is standing in the box, the bat is on his shoulder, and his finger is pointing. The pitcher in this situation is the GOP. They have the choice to pitch to him, or not. Until Christie gets the pitch we don't really know what he'll do. He could rip the cover off the ball, figuratively speaking. He may hit a long fly ball that is caught just in front of the wall for nothing more than an out. Or, he could strike out. Either way you can bet he'll swing the bat. Hard as hell.

That's the real difference between Christie and the rest of the GOP field. None of them are “that guy” with the ability to talk the talk, walk the walk, and tell you about it while doing it. Sure, they can get on base. There's lots of slap hitting guys in that lineup that can get to first, and maybe even second. (Romney, naturally, takes a walk. He has a good eye and great patience at the plate.) But the U.S. Presidency isn't a base hit. It's not a walk, and it's not a stolen base. It's a home run.

Yes, Christie will say stupid things. He will create outstanding material for the late night hosts, the Daily Show, and may even extend Bobby Moynihan's SNL career by at least 4 years. (Not that I'd complain about that last one. The more Drunk Uncle we get the better.) It'll be entertaining. Some of it will be unintentional, but hey, it worked for W. Christie will be brash, bold, bombastic, and even bodacious. There is a 100% chance he will make you wish he would just wipe the corners of his damn mouth already, how does he not know he looks like that! But, even with all of that, he will do the one thing a President needs to do above all. He will lead.

We Have A Need, A Need To Lead

The American voters are hungry for a charismatic leader. A leader that says it like it is, and doesn't back down. Think about Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Are they that type of leader? Are either of them inspiring? What about Rubio, Huckabee, Paul...Ted Cruz? Collectively they're about as inspiring as a 1995 Ford Taurus. Trust me. I drove a maroon 1995 Ford Taurus. Next please.

Potential For Success

I don't want anyone to think I'm arguing that Christie will be a good President. I really don't know. That's what makes 2016 so interesting. Christie could be a total bust as a President (though I think he won't be, but he certainly could be) which may completely handcuff the GOP in 2020. Or maybe, just maybe, he'll do ok. Maybe he'll continue our current positive trend of economic recovery and transition into the 21st century. Our country could use a push to the future, and I don't think Chris Christie minds pushing any one around. 

-A. Sommer