Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Our At-Bat

It's been kind of interesting to see how the press has spent its time and energies leading up to the Democratic Convention. They only had a few days because of the weird scheduling, but they obviously are determined to keep these dog-and-pony shows before us.

David Horsey, snarkmeister, took a look at the feud between Gov. Jerry Brown of California and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

A blossoming feud between California Gov. Jerry Brown and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could bring a little fun back into politics.

The spat began on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa during Christie’s visit to the California delegation. Christie, who later in the week would underwhelm as the convention’s keynote speaker, pointed out to the delegates he was a mere 14 years old when Brown won the Democratic primary in New Jersey way back in 1980. The trash-talking governor of the Garden State called Brown “an old retread” and implied Brown was chicken for sending his current tax hike proposal to the voters instead of pushing it through the legislature and taking the heat.

In Los Angeles last Thursday, Brown fired back at Christie during a speech at an organized labor gathering. The veteran Democrat said age may have left him with a lot less hair, but the years had provided plenty of experience and knowledge that Christie may lack.

“Because when you were 14,” Brown said to his new rival, “I was passing the farm labor bill. I was passing worker protections in California."

Brown then challenged the famously rotund New Jersey chief executive to a three-mile run, a push-up contest and a chin-up contest. With the negative implication about Christie’s excessive weight abundantly clear, Brown said he would take any bet on the challenge, adding, “I have no doubt of the outcome.”

Nice lead-in to the Dem Convention, no?

And the newsletter I get from the STrib each weekday morning contained a nifty key word comparison of the two parties' platforms:

The Democratic and Republican parties have released their platforms, which act as guideposts for the parties’ values. The frequency each uses key words highlights the parties’ differences. The Democratic platform, which endorses “marriage equality,” mentions the word marriage four times; the GOP platform, which endorses “traditional marriage,” mentions marriage 21 times. The Democratic platform mentions Iraq 20 times and Afghanistan 22 times; the Republican platform mentions Iraq five times and Afghanistan six times. The GOP platform mentions “middle class” once; “family” 26; “children” 31 times; the Democratic platform mentions “middle class” 44 times; “family” 20 times; “children” 17 times. The Republican platform uses the word “liberty” 17 times and “freedom” 40 times; the Democratic platform -- “liberty” three times and “freedom” 15. The GOP platform mentions “taxes” 11 times and “government” 171 times; the Democratic platform mentions “taxes” 19 times and “government” 57 times.

One word which is noticeably absent from the comparative list is "poor." Apparently neither party is interested in that part of the demographics. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess. The only politician who would talk about poverty and the poor in the last decade, John Edwards, is persona non grata in the Democratic Party in much the same way George W. Bush in the Republican Party. From the Los Angeles Times:

The loss of another narcissistic, self-destructive politician might not amount to much in some ways. But along with Edwards went a moment in Democratic Party politics when national figures talked about an issue that has all but disappeared from the agenda — poverty.

There may be a caucus or meeting on the poor this week in Charlotte, but the topic has been pushed to the sidelines. It's hardly been mentioned in a prolonged Republican primary season, except as a negative: Mitt Romney and vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan insist (falsely) that President Obama wants to cut work requirements for people on welfare.

It wasn’t this way just four years ago, partly due to circumstance but also because of the presence of the native Carolinian, Edwards. Through much of his 2007-2008 race for president, he talked about the untenable divide between the “two Americas.”

I guess the poor, who don't contribute to campaigns and who might not be able to vote because of new restrictive voting laws, just don't matter to either party.

And that is a shame.

Our shame as a nation.

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