Friday, 5 August 2011

Who Are These Tea Party Folks?

He's the guy that had mild interest every four years for national elections....then woke up via the 24-hour news media coverage and now jabbers about politics at least an hour a day to just about anyone who will listen.

She's the gal who voted twice in the last fifteen years and mostly watched Matt Lauer & the Today Show until spring of 2010....then switched over to Fox & Friends....and can readily identify twenty-two different senators.

He's the guy that forced himself since leaving Dad's house to avoid borrowing money.  He had a thirty-five percent down-payment on his house and will only buy a car if it's less than $20k & he's got half the money in cash.  He questions how a government can pay out more money than it takes in.

She's the gal who sat and watched three folks register to vote down at the county court house, but none of them showed an ID or spoke much English.  She questioned the county clerk but the gal just acted like an idiot and that just about anyone could be registered to vote in the county by her mind.

He's the guy that voted Democrat for six consecutive elections, but got upset about one-liner phrases being the whole platform of the Democratic party in 2008.

She's the gal who encouraged her kids to get good grades and go to college later.....only then to learn that tuition was way more than she could ever afford, and the loans stuck to her kids averaged $80k each.  She asked the college for explanations why tuition went up by $16k over a decade but they refused to answer.

He's the guy who sat down one night and noted via some news piece that a University of Ohio professor got $250k from congress to go down to Peru and study why cocaine is such a great crop.

She's the gal that asked herself and a dozen neighbors why the Senate couldn't fund an entire fence across the southern border of the United States.

He's the guy who asked why save stupid banks who had poor banking habits with federal tax dollars.

She's the gal who came to realize the cost of her corn flakes box was directly tied to ethanol production and sales throughout the US.  She came to realize that the more fuel that was produced....the more corn flakes went up.  She asked why but never could get any Senator from Iowa to explain.

He's the guy that why a plain flat tax was screwed up but his senator simply wrote an one-page response on Americans standing by a "fair and equitable" tax code.

She's the gal who came to realize one day that her company actually paid less taxes than she did.

He's the guy that subscribed to the Washington Post for thirty years....and then woke up one day to realize that they were a far bit to the left of where he was standing.  He made a comment or two to the newspaper and got a response that they often got letters that they were a bit too far to the right on various articles.  He quit the Post subscription the next day.

I sat and have watched with mostly a comical view....how various news media groups want to explain the evil or intent or misguided feelings of the Tea Party folks.  There are a thousand other real events going on in America and it's mostly amusing how the news media works to make a story out of thin air.

When the news media does try to interview individuals....it's always done in an adversarial type situation with the logic of the Tea Party cast in doubt.  The wannabe journalist wants the poor guy on camera to stumble.  You won't see the behavior on a guy who claims he's a Democrat.  You mostly shake your head and wonder if the wannabe journalist really grasps the foolishness of his act?

The curious thing?  Journalists keep coming back to the same topic.  There are dams on the verge of failure.  There are corrupt governors left and right.  There are firemen pulling cats out of trees.  And there's a new McDonalds opening somewhere in America almost daily.  Yet, the best news of the day?  Some bumbling think-tank analysis over Tea Party folks.  Is it really news?

The Urge of Compromise

Today, there was this short story over at the Wall Street Journal....detailing how banks ended up sending supportive letters to the President....urging compromise to the debt ceiling talks that were stalled.  A compromise, in their mind was necessary for the survival of American business.

Naturally, some folks have read up on this letter-writing episode and viewed the act of the banks as being stupid or absolutely wrong.  A fair number of folks view the compromise worked out as mostly negative and having little positive influence on Wall Street or the American economy.

I sat and pondered over this a while.  Basically, if you were a Wall Street player or some fancy-pants New York banker....you know that confidence in American business isn't exactly glowing.  So if Wall Street did hint it would help to have a compromise...it was like a miner asking for a 1-watt bulb in a dark tunnel...just to have that glimmer of hope. Desperation would make a 1-watt light....better than nothing at all.

That's the sad state of business in America, and our enthusiasm for better economic times.  Even a 1-watt bulb sells easily to the public.

Disapproval Ratings

One of the curious things you start to notice...when you channel flip through four different news channels on one evening...this phrase of 'disapproval ratings'.  Over a two hour period, I imagine it pops up at least a dozen times.  There are Fox News commentaries which revolve around disapproval ratings....CNN special analysts who only analyze disapproval ratings....MSNBC who have think-tank experts chat about disapproval ratings....and CBS talking-head nightly news guys who impress you with high tech graphics on disapproval ratings.

You eventually learn that just about everything on God's green Earth....has a disapproval rating.  Folks rate political figures....newspapers....cars....and even ministers now....via disapproval ratings.

If you sit back and think about this....it's most something that came up since the late 1980s.  No one much sat around and did disapproval ratings on Eisenhower in 1957.  Calvin Coolidge never had disapproval ratings.  Ben Franklin never had the experience of facing hostile Philly news media guys with disapproval ratings.  Various Popes over the past seven hundred years never saw a single disapproval rating.  Even John Wayne was never tossed into the disapproval ratings pit with rattlers or cobras of the media variety.

How do you get a disapproval rating?  Well....you kinda build up this questionnaire.  Words and phrases mean a good bit when you want to develop a disapproval rating.  You could ask ten questions....which lead you to phrase things in a certain way....so you could even show a 42% disapproval rating for Disneyland attractions.  You could develop a great 16% disapproval rating for Lady Gaga wannabe singer talents.  You might even be able to have a 12% disapproval rating for strawberry Pop-tarts.

You eventually get to a point where you ask the whole end-result of disapproval ratings?  Like....if 51% of the public have an issue with the White House....will it really change much of anything?  Answer?  No.  You might repackage the way that the President talks about projects or programs.....but it's still the same guy, the same agenda, the same speeches, and the same end-result that he intended from six months ago.

Can disapproval ratings flip overnight?  Yes.  Media foundation "A" could have twelve questions and tell you that the Today Show with Matt Lauer has a disapproval rating of 28%.  The next day....Matt might come out with his own think-tank expert and announce his disapproval ratings were really 2%.

So in the end.....what about disapproval ratings over disapproval ratings?  Are most folks dissatisfied over disapproval ratings?  Yeah, I'm guessing 50%.  But don't worry....we aren't about to dump disapproval ratings over disapproval ratings.  That'd be stupid.

Oh, and if you were wondering.....there just aren't any disapproval ratings in Tonga.  Or Fiji.

Only in America.