Update: For all you balletomanes, Anaheim Ballet is currently hosting the Anaheim International Dance Festival. AIDF attracts some of ballet’s leading dancers, including dancers from ABT and San Francsisco Ballet. In about an hour, Anaheim Ballet will start livestreaming some of their workshops. You can catch the workshops here.
The opening paragraphs of this NYTimes piece on the Democrats possible response to Romney’s choice of Ryan as his running mate are priceless:
A race that has revolved, at least in part, around each month’s mediocre jobs report and Mr. Obama’s persistent failure to move unemployment below 8 percent will now allow Democrats new lines of attack — starting with the assertion that Republicans are intent on dismantling Medicare — while setting off a larger debate about the role of government in the economy and society.
For Mr. Obama, that seems more promising territory, a chance to press the offensive against his challengers rather than just defend his record. Instead of a referendum on his own performance, the president has an opening to turn the election into a referendum on the vision that Mr. Ryan has advanced and Mitt Romney has adopted.
The sentence in bold is the funniest thing I’ve read all year. Obama wouldn’t be in this predicament if he’d actually made life better for the people who were screwed by the bankers’ gambling addiction. Successful presidents defend successful records successfully. Or, put it another way, “Luck favors the prepared mind”. Or “If you study consistently, you won’t have to cram”. Or “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”.
Second term elections are always a referendum on the president’s record. It’s like a performance evaluation. This year, Obama’s record will get even more scrutiny. So, what the media is suggesting is that by defining himself as the champion of the social safety net, Obama can cover up his dismal performance in creating the necessary policies to help put people back to work. That’s like assuming that you can use your verbal gifts on your section of the evaluation form and fool your boss into ignoring the fact that your major project is 48 months behind schedule and needs a complete overhaul. If it were *slightly* behind and you hadn’t lost your major project contributors through poor planning, maybe you could squeak by in the middle of the pack. But when your project is the one that was expected to keep the company going for a couple of decades, and everyone can read the progress reports, “baffling with bullshit” looks like a losing proposition.
In any case, if changing the subject is what the Times is recommending, that’s a little like falling right into the trap that the Republicans have set for Obama. By defending the extra spending that has pushed up the deficit, Obama will be calling attention to the fact that so many people are out of work. Rather than obfuscating his shitty performance, he’s going to be shining a big spotlight on it.
Not only that but he’s perfectly OK with slashing that social safety net. Slashing is easy; presidentin’ is hard. If he plunges into haggling over what to slash and we’re subjected to two months of mindnumbing details about COLA calculations, he could keep the spotlight off of his record. It could be like two long months of debates over kerning and san serif fonts. But in the end, it will still be Ugly and Son of Ugly slashing the deficit, imposing austerity on innocent bystanders and in way that will result in a more depressed economy, which will throw more people out of work, and so on and so on. So, you know, there’s that.
But wait! There’s more:
That strategy may put Mr. Obama, a self-declared agent of hope and change four years ago, in the awkward position of seeming to be the defender of a status quo that is not working, or at least not working well enough. He risks having Republicans seize the mantle of reform that he used so skillfully in 2008 by contrasting his stay-the-course incumbent’s message with the youthful Mr. Ryan’s energetic willingness to tear up the old order and reinvent it for troubled times.
What?? I think the talking points from the political operatives have mutated themselves into insensibility. I have no idea what that paragraph is supposed to mean. It’s like that famous sentence by Noam Chomsky, “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. Grammatically, it’s correct and even descriptive but it’s still a collection of words in a sentence with no meaning. Is he trying to say that Mr. Cool’s “hope and Change!™” defense of the status quo is going to have to go head to head with “ADHD” Ryan’s youthful offensive for pro-old rich white guys’ wet dreams? You’d almost think that there are no actual people or voters with any vested interest in the outcome.
Hokay, it must be tough to be a reporter these days.
Anyway, I’ve got better things to do with my time today. It’s going to be a nice day. Why bother trying to sort through all of the silly political kabuki this year? It’s hard to hide a f^*( up of these proportions. Everyone at this point knows what’s going on and who’s zoomin’ who. I’d rather be gardening.
Here’s a video I found accidentally last night that makes me wish I had taken up nature photography as a profession. It’s from the BBC program Planet Earth. I’ll bet it will look really good in Google Glasses: