Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Glimmer of Hope

In the dismal time that is the lead up to finals week, I turned on the TV to watch tonight's Daily Show, expecting what has become the norm, laughter that covers up tears. And that was just what I got in the beginning of the first segment, as we examined the misery that is the Obama tax cuts for the wealthy. (P.S. We need to cal them that from now on, so that Republicans have no choice but to oppose them next time)

But then precisely 4 minutes into the show, something magical happened. John Oliver stumbled upon something truly phenomenal. Bi-partisanship. I'm not talking "we'll co-sponsor one bill together and then resume hating each other". No, this was far bigger; THESE TWO MEN CAMPAIGNED TOGETHER. How could they do this? What campaign slogan did they use if it wasn't, "Hey I'm not as bad as that other guy"?

It turns out they remembered the most classic American slogan, that everyone seems to have forgotten, "Don't be an asshole." Shocking, I know.

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Also, give those guys credit for really understanding how to handle a comedy news interview. A lot of people seem to miss the point and try to play it too straight, but these guys rolled with it and did some stuff that must have seemed a little ridiculous at the time. Well done, good sirs. Thank you for restoring in me some hope that someday our political system can actual work for the benefit of the people.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Christmas Miracle... Sort Of

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and apparently he reads Lefty’s.

You probably don't remember my November post bemoaning the impending recount in this year’s Minnesota gubernatorial race, but it appears that my appeal to Santa did not go unheeded. That’s right, ol’ Chris Kringle took matters into his own hands and brought the good people of Minnesota a special gift earlier today; a Governor!

It was almost the year without a Governor, until that jolly old elf (and I don’t mean Dennis Kucinich) intervened.

This morning Republican candidate Tom Emmer conceded the election and waived his right to request a recount. I applaud Emmer for recognizing the reality of the situation and taking the honorable course of action.

The results of Emmer’s announcement are the discontinuation of the automatic recount, which had already begun, and the canvassing board’s certification of Mark Dayton as the winner of the gubernatorial race. Mark Dayton technically has to wait one week before he is the Governor-elect of Minnesota and can thus assume the office on January 3rd. The week allows for any Minnesotan voter to file a lawsuit contesting the decision, but since Emmer waived this right it is unlikely anyone will do so. Nobody wants an unnecessary recount.

Now Minnesotans can begin the new year with a governor and an opportunity to work together for the improvement of our state. Santa can only do so much; at some point it falls on the elected officials and the people to make sure the needs of the state trump politics.

This concept also applies on the national level. President Obama needs to work with the new Republican majority in the House to pass legislation that will help the American people. It should be something of a new year’s resolution, but ideally one that is kept. The responsibility for compromise also falls on the shoulders of Republican leadership. They may have managed to win votes by being a wet blanket party and opposing the Obama administration at every turn, but now that the people have given them more political power they will be expected to actually accomplish something and actually propose legislation that helps the American people.

Peace on earth, good will toward men, and thank you for a governor!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reflecting on the Tax Cuts

As President Obama prepares to walk back on one of his signature campaign promises, I want to bring your attention to a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville; a chilling forecast of the political reality we inhabit.

"When the taste for physical gratification among a democratic people has grown more rapidly than their education and their experience of free institutions, the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint at the sight of the new possessions they are about to obtain. In their intense and exclusive anxiety to make a fortune they lose sight of the close connection that exists between the private fortune of each and the prosperity of all."
-Alexis de Tocqueville

Paul Krugman's thoughts

A retiring Republican Senator taking a stand against keeping the tax cuts