Interesting Links: Politics


Today we bring you a special addition of the Clarion Content’s periodic feature, Interesting links and Links of Interest. To see old Interesting Link posts click here and scroll down.

We find and you, the readers, submit good stuff that might not otherwise cross our radar.

Like Dutch here…telling us how he really feels.

First up, a piece from the site Real Clear Politics challenging whether or not liberals and Democrats are prepared to debate their positions this coming election season. The thesis is that they are so cocooned, so hostile and unwilling to give any merit to the other side’s thoughts and beliefs that they are unable to muster winning arguments against them in the public forum. It is a fascinating take. It is the underlying premise as to why supreme strategists say, ‘read your enemy’s writings.’

Next, from the New York Times1, is an evisceration of the myth that a businessman makes a good president for tough economic times. The examples for their argument may be a bit thin, almost anecdotal, referring to the Roosevelts, Eisenhower and Reagan as great non-businessman presidents, with Herbert Hoover and King George II serving as the examples of businessmen who made lousy presidents. The more compelling critique is their indictment of the foolishness spewing out of Mitt Romney’s mouth,

I’d like to have a provision in the Constitution that in addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birth place of the president being set by the Constitution, I’d like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before he could become president of the United States.2

And you thought, Sarah Palin was a rocket scientist.

Our next article comes from the Economist. Two veteran political analysts, Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of Brookings Institute, argue that partisan Congressional gridlock is even worse than it looks. They say that America’s political parties have become as vitriolic and vehemently adversarial as the parties are in a parliamentary system. Unfortunately while a parliamentary system allows the majority to rule, as the opposition waits and plots for the next election, America’s separation of powers hardly gives one party the power to rule unconstrained. The result is disastrous gridlock surrounding many, many real time problems.

In addition to the carping typical of so many political tomes, Mann and Ornstein do offer some solutions. Sadly, they are very pessimistic about the likely outcomes of the 2012 election. Quoting from the Economist,

They fear that the coming election will neither affirm the existing order nor accomplish sweeping change “in a way that will recreate a functional and legitimate political process”. If President Obama is elected he may still be hobbled by a divided Congress, or one in which the Republicans have a majority in both chambers. Even if the Democrats recapture the House and hold the Senate, the Republican minority could continue to use filibusters and other measures to block the majority’s business. And even if the Republicans captured the White House and both chambers and embarked on sweeping change, the changes “would come to a country that is deeply divided politically, and more than half of whose citizens would likely strongly oppose these moves.”

Finally, a block of three interesting articles highlighting the strong anti-incumbent sentiment still prevalent in this election cycle. First from Fox News, the story of sixteen year Democrat Congressman, Sylvestre Reyes, who lost his primary race in southwest Texas. This second one is not a joke, or if it is, it is a bizarre and foreboding one. 41% of those who voted in the Democratic primary in West Virginia, selected a Texas prison inmate over President Obama. This was probably worse for the Obama re-election bid than “none of the above” giving the president a run for his money in the Kentucky primary. Keith Russell Judd, from his cell in Texarkana, Texas without any organized support, was simply not Obama.

The good news for the White House is that the Republicans are fielding a milquetoast weakling of a candidate. The even better news for President Obama, given the fever pitch of anti-incumbency; the Tea Party and Occupy are dormant not gone, is no viable third party or independent candidate has emerged. It felt to the Clarion Content like this was a year when a Michael Bloomberg or Simon Cowell (jk) could have grabbed the baton and made things interesting. Americans Elect, who spent the last several years organizing and attempting to draft an independent candidate, admitted last month that their efforts have come to naught. No candidate cleared the threshold of required support, not even the darling of rabblerousers everywhere, Ron Paul.

What does this all mean, dear readers? Well you know we are lousy at the predictions business, so we won’t hazard a guess at the election’s outcome, but we do think voters will be choosing between two choices they are not thrilled by, and turnout will be much lower than in the last presidential election.

1Occasionally worthy, though you won’t see us going over that pay wall.
2Yes, we believe he was serious, not kidding.

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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