Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Truth over Independent Voters

Here is what you ought to know about how the American government functions.  Roughly seventy percent of the nation is comprised of Republicans and Democrats.  The remaining thirty percent....are independents.  It's been that way for a fairly long time.  Independents determine the outcome of every single election, in every single state.

We've gotten to a point where we even know that there are some sections of various states where independents are in larger population segments than thirty percent.  In some counties....they might even go up to fifty percent of the local population.  Why?  Maybe because of military retirees, strong church membership, or just plain dumb luck.

Who are they?

Karl.  Karl will tell you that he's for gun-control, open abortions for ladies, and voted twice for Clinton.  Karl will also admit that he hates illegals and is against immigration reform.  Karl also hates unions.  Karl doesn't have any credit cards and doesn't approve of the US government bailing out any bank, for any reason.  Karl will even admit that he voted twice for Bush....mostly because he thought Kerry and Gore were 'losers'.

Bill.  Bill admits that he's very much anti-gay, against gay marriage, and is totally against gun-control.  Bill also will tell you that wealthy people are part of the business success of America and shouldn't be taxed more than the regular guy.  But Bill also tell you that global warming is real and we need to tax people on use of SUVs.  Bill votes all over the map.  Bill would dump government sponsorship of NPR, except he likes those Car-Talk guys.

Wanda.  Wanda says she's for gay marriage, but against the government providing easy university loans that get kids into $50k of debt by age 22.  Wanda also thinks Bill Clinton was the greatest president of the past fifty years.  Wanda thinks the seven hundred billion spent on the stimulus package was all wasted.  And Wanda watched the Today Show faithfully, for the past twenty-two years....although recently dumped them when they fired Ann Curry, and now watches Fox and Friends every morning.

Gus.  Gus lives mostly around NCAA football, pro wrestling, episodes of Gunsmoke, and votes for anyone who utters "Freedom of speech is freedom of speech is freedom of speech. There is no 'but' (from a Danish politician).  Gus thinks gay marriage is ok in Hawaii but it just won't work in Iowa.  Gus owns a SUV and gets uncomfortable when gas prices edge upward.  Gus would like to believe in global warming, but usually asks too many questions and is discouraged about the answers that the NPR guest gives each time when the topic comes up.  Gus also believes the government keeps a bunch of UFOs out in the middle of Nevada.

This group of people....run American politics and determine who is Senator and Representative for their state.  They ensure the winner of the governor's election.  And they pick the President of the United States.

The rhyme and reason of independent voters?  Generally, a scandal will quickly shape their thoughts to go against a guy, unless they feel sorry for him (like Bill Clinton's case).  They generally feel sorry for folks without health care, but they don't want to share in the cost of covering that guy's health care situation.  They would prefer the government be smaller, rather than bigger.  They'd prefer taxes decrease, not increase.  They'd prefer that no foreigner anywhere....get any US dollars....for anything.  And they'd prefer that interstate speeds stay up around 75 mph or better.

This Tuesday....this group of independent voters will go and determine the next President of the United States.  They will also determine casino growth in several states.  They will vote on gay marriage in some cases.  And they will decide who the local county commissioner will be....although they can't remember any of the names of anyone running for the office.

Our lives are greatly shaped by the voting block of independent voters.  In fact....if we knew that they were so varied on their logic, their priorities, or their gut reason for voting on something....we'd probably deny them the right the vote.

The truth is....there are probably three hundred American independent voters going into Tuesday's election....who are voting mostly because they believe that President Obama is the second-coming of Jesus, or that Mitt Romney is an actual illegal alien without documentation to show his American birth.  Maybe it's best that we not ask too many questions from this bloc of voters....it might discourage us from believing in democracy or the republic.  

Simple Kindness and Water

This won't appear in your local news, or ABC, or CNN....I'm guessing.

But the kind folks at Budweiser stood up....looked at the Sandy mess in New Jersey, and just said....stop the brew....the folks need drinking water.  So they've been hard at work for the past day or two down in Cartersville, Georgia.

The Bud folks are preparing 44,000 cases of emergency drinking water....equals well over 1 million cans.....and are shipping the stuff as we speak to New Jersey.  Additional cases are going to Brooklyn.  All free.  No charge.  Trucks are moving as we speak.

I'm pretty sure....if the Sandy mess goes into a second week, and even a third week....those kind folks at Bud are probably prepared to ship another 44k cases of drinking water....free of charge.

I know that Bud has done this before and rarely gets any credit for this.  Bud is one of the few companies that stop production of something, and jump into a mess like this, and do it for nothing.  They expect absolutely nothing in return.  It says alot for a company to stand up and stop production....to doing something like this for real people.

Those One-Term Guys

Someone posted up the list of the one-term presidents: John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, Jimmy Carter, Benjamin Harrison,  William Howard Taft, and Herbert Hoover.  This comes up....because President Obama may lose next Tuesday.

The list?  Well, there are some curious explanations.

J Q Adams got his job because no one could get enough electoral votes, in a big election which involved Andrew Jackson (the glorious general).  The House ended up with the mess because of the way the Constitution handles no winner in the electoral college.  The House goes for Adams, and created a fairly negative atmosphere around the US because Jackson had the popular vote.  The next election (1828) went heavily to Andrew Jackson. Bad blood between J Q Adams and Andrew Jackson?  Yeah....awful bad blood.

Martin Van Buren ended up with a economic depression in the first year of his presidency, and just never got any traction out of the mess.

James Polk?  He actually promised on day one....he wouldn't run for a second term.  He didn't.  Strangely enough....he dies from Cholera about three months after leaving office.

Franklin Pierce?  He was actually dumped by the Democratic Party after one term....they wouldn't support him in the second run.  Reasons?  To appease southerners to some degree, he went with the Kansas-Nebraska Act....which opened up the door for discussion over slavery in western states (as expansion was going to occur).  Naturally....New England residents were hoping mad over this support.  Adding to his mess....he had associates around him who wrote up a piece of the US getting Cuba through various measures....to be eventually part of the US.  This add-Cuba idea didn't sell well with US newspapers.

James Buchanan?  He actually is the guy who gets picked up by the Democrats after they dump Franklin Pierce.  He lead the country between 1856 and 1860....basically the build-up to the Civil War.  It didn't matter what he did....it just led to southerners and northerners each taking a position against the administration.  The party came up in 1860 to find new faces and hoped to get support to keep the Democrats in office.

Benjamin Harrison?  You could point to a number of positives in his brief four years...but there was a country-wide economic slide, and the House election two years into his period....went heavily against the Republicans....who ended up blaming Harrison for not fixing problems.  The Democrats woke up....ran former President Cleveland (who had lost against Harrison), and Cleveland won (getting his second term but four years later).  Adding to the mess was the fact that Harrison appointed four Supreme Court judges in his period....which tends to be a magnet for someone to be sour about the direction of the court.

Rutherford B. Hayes?  If you wrote up all the accomplishments and problems that he went through...it'd take a 500-page book to tell the story of four brief years.  He was probably one of the few Presidents to ever take office, and was fully prepared for day one.  At some point, he made a promise that he just wouldn't run for a second term.  I suspect he knew he got himself into a fifty-hour a week job and just didn't care for the daily mess to fix.  So he left in 1880.  One could go through the volumes of comments on his life....all mostly positive.  At some point....Hayes eventually had this vision of economic disparity between the wealthy and poor of America.  If there had been a way to redistribute wealth in 1876....he probably would have done it.  Note: he was a Republican.  Also note, he didn't win the popular vote, and the election commission had to invent a mechanism to give him enough electoral votes to win the election.

Taft?  As the popular Teddy Roosevelt came on when McKinley was shot and killed....for some odd reason....vowed not to run for a second term.  As popular as Teddy became.....he kept to his word, and opened the door for Taft to run as the replacement guy for the Republican Party.  For the most part, Taft did a decent job.....but at the conclusion of four years....Teddy stood back in the shadows and felt that Taft was a loser.  So Teddy formed up his own party....to take down Taft.  This act....guarantees Wilson the Presidency.  To be honest....if you had a scale for promoting one's self or campaigning....Taft probably wouldn't get higher than three....on a scale of one to ten.  Joe Biden could have run against Taft, and likely beaten the guy.  This kinda says something in the end.

Jimmy Carter?  It's best to say that he was the solution after the Watergate Hearings.  It didn't matter who the Democrats elected....the guy was the answer to our feelings of a screwed-up White House.  So President Carter steps in, and does what you'd consider as an average job.  The oil embargo period didn't help his administration.  The reaction to the Russians going into Afghanistan didn't help.  The fireside chats didn't help.  The Billy-Beer episode didn't help.  The American Olympic team being ordered not to attend the Moscow Olympics didn't help.  And finally, the whole Iran episode with the hostages was probably worthy of a 2-star effort.  Ronald Reagan bluffed his debate situation very well, and Jimmy Carter returned to Georgia.  The truth is....Jimmy Carter was a brief solution to make folks happy after Watergate....nothing more.

Finally, we come to Herbert Hoover.  As Calvin Coolidge commented....Hoover was "wonder-boy" and the only true engineer to ever occupy the White House.  If you had ever wanted a guy who could find a mess and work on fixing it....Hoover was your guy.  In today's world....if Hoover's motorcade was passing you while your car was smoking....he'd stop the motorcade and lift your hood to point out that you need a ring-job.  The problem was....in 1929 (his first year in the Presidency)....Wall Street collapsed.  Hoover sensed there were two dozen problems at work, and attempted various solutions.  If he'd just figured out that banks had no money and just invented a method to loan them money at half-a-percent interest for twenty years....the depression would have ended in six months.  Instead, he worked on various solutions, and the 1932 election brought FDR into office.....who had twice as many solutions to work on, and kept the depression going for years.  Without the Wall Street collapse....Hoover would have done eight years and likely been regarded as the best president ever to hold the office.

So on Tuesday, this moment will occur to determine if President Obama is a one-term President.  I don't give odds on this event.  I will say this.  There's a list of a dozen things that could have occurred in the first two years of the Obama period to make this a guaranteed win for President Obama.  At best, he gets one of the dozen things accomplished, and the rest just get discarded.  Looking out for his Democratic base in the House?  No.  That never was a concern of the President.  Looking out for Democratic majorities in states after the Census....which ought to be critical because of the redrawing of the district lines?  No....never was important.  The economy?  Speeches just weren't going to be enough to make the business community feel positive in the end....they wanted actions.

My best advice?  If you get voted out....just remember....life goes on.  Plus you get a pretty nifty pension deal for the rest of your life.  And you can always write books about what you would have done....if you had just won.

Just Observations

I think after twenty-four hours....if I were a resident of Staten Island, NY....after the hurricane....I would have made the decision to pack up the car with what I got left, and just leave.  Wouldn't matter where I went....maybe to relatives or such....but I'd give up.  FEMA won't really be there for at least ten days.  The US government will wake up and deploy the military but it might be two weeks before they arrive.  When the smoke clears....it'll take three months (in the winter) to clear off the streets and say that water, sewage, and power are running right.  Toss in corrupt contractors, incompetent union electrical guys, and  political figures who keep showing up for photo chances, and it's just not worth staying there.  Get the insurance check, and give up.  The grass will be a heck of lot greener down in Tennessee.  Remember, New Orleans never got back it's population after Katrina.

News reports indicate that after a couple of days without water, power and such....in New York City....that folks are now relieving themselves in the hallways of their apartment building.  With all the various streets around.....apparently that doesn't interest folks.

With the election now three days away....I can say that I've had enough of the political ads on TV.  Here in Virginia....it amounts to roughly twenty-five ads per hour.  Most conflict with each other.  One will run a anti-Obama bad economy piece, then comes a anti-Romney bad economy piece.  If you were an independent...you'd have the mind that no matter what happens on Tuesday....we are going to heck in a hand-basket.  Sadly, as a Virginia resident....I also know a good bit about Maryland's proposition seven, which was supposed to allow casino growth in the state.....to steal Virginia money away from West Virginia which is the nearest real casino operation.

Finally, from my local neighborhood (across the river into DC)....cops got called out to a domestic violence episode.  Some mid-twenties guy and his grandfather....events were going pretty violent.  Cop arrives and suddenly gets attacked from behind by the attacker, with a knife going into the cop's neck area.  Cop whips around....fires one bullet....killing the guy.  Cop might end up with disability....it's a severe wound, but at least he will survive.  The other idiot will be buried in a couple of days.  You have to figure drugs are somewhere in this mix, but as always.....there's not going to be any drug-testing done with the dead guy.