Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

2012 presidential notebook: What if the other Michael Steele and Joe Walsh ruled in politics?

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Wouldn’t Michael Steele have made an awesome RNC Chair? You can imagine that Joe Walsh would be a pretty cool Congressman?

We’re not talking about the Michael Steele that was the RNC Chair or the current Congressman named Joe Walsh. We’re referring to their musical counterparts.

Michael Steele plays bass and guitar, most notably with the Bangles, but also briefly with the Runaways. Joe Walsh is a guitar hero, known for the James Gang, Eagles, and a rather excellent solo career.

If the RNC had a female chair, you wouldn’t be seeing quite the War on Women we see today. Despite the stoner, laid-back dude image of the rock singer Joe Walsh, he is actually very smart and politically enlightened.

The Joe Walsh who is running is a teabagger who preaches fiscal responsibility while reportedly owing more than $117,000 in child support. Walsh’s challenger is Tammy Duckworth, Iraq War vet who lost her legs in that war. Duckworth ran for the seat in the 6th Congressional district and lost. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, has encouraged Duckworth to run for Congress back in 2006. When Obama got into office, Duckworth was picked to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs. You might also remember that Duckworth spoke on the third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

On paper, this would be an obvious slam dunk for the Dems. The suburbs are growing more liberal. Obama coattails. Iraq War vet vs. deadbeat dad. However, incumbency — even one built on hypocrisy — requires a more intense effort. Duckworth hopes the second time is the charm.

We are less than 12 weeks from when Iowa started and you hear people are tired of the Republican race. For a society that puts up with “American Idol,” “The Voice,” “X Factor,” and “So You Think You Can Dance Smarter than a Fifth Grader,” we have a short attention span when it comes to presidential races. True, we haven’t had a long discussion on ideas in this race. The faux pas have dominated the attention because they are more interesting than the ideas.

What do Republicans want to do about health care? Aging infrastructure? Trade deficit with China? Alternative energies? If they know, will they tell us?

While picking on Florida is as easy as drinking a glass of orange juice, the Stand Your Ground laws are in multiple states. The issue in Florida is that the interpretation of the law is so broad that authorities don’t feel it necessary to arrest George Zimmerman. This isn’t to say that Zimmerman is guilty, but people in this country get arrested on less evidence than we know about Zimmerman. We do have a system of justice that discourages arrest unless you’re really sure, but this case has enough suspicion for questioning, interrogation, and subsequently, arrest.

People are protesting in great part not because they think Zimmerman is guilty, but that Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested. And if this was about a black man, the fear is that the arrest would have happened a long time ago.

We focus our elections microscope on presidents and to some extent, Congress. But what happens in the states matters greatly to the everyday lives of Americans. If Trayvon Martin had lived in a different state, he might still be dead, but at least, George Zimmerman would have been arrested.

They actually took a poll about whether Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul should drop out. No surprise: a majority said, “Sure. Why not?”

Ron Paul has been severely undercovered in this race. “Well, Ron Paul doesn’t win anything. Newt Gingrich hasn’t won since Georgia.”

Paul probably did win Maine, but there is little interest in finding that out. If he had won Maine, that would help a little. But since the press ignores him, why does it matter? Did it really hurt people to have Mike Gravel in the race in 2008?

Paul is different since he wasn’t expected to win. The issue with Gingrich staying in is two-fold: 1) he thinks he can still win, and 2) his presence has helped Romney, the man he wants to defeat. Gingrich is severely cutting back on his campaign, a sign that he thinks he can’t win in the traditional sense (still holding out hope for a brokered convention).

This is democracy; sometimes the packaging and presentation aren’t pretty. “We want a two-person race.” Well, you have a two-person race. These people are still on the ballot. You could have voted for Rick Perry in Illinois if you wanted to do so. This only happens every four years. Live with it.


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