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Monday: Colbert’s brilliant ad

I have a post knocking around in my head about the after effects of the 2008 election season on women but it’s not quite there yet.  In the meantime, add me to the growing list of admirers of Stephan Colbert’s, sorry, JON STEWART’S SuperPAC ad.  For those of you who missed it last week, Colbert gave up his PAC to his business partner, Stewart, when he decided to form an exploratory committee to run for the President of South Carolina.  As the owner of a SuperPAC, legally he can’t coordinate it with his campaign committee or even know what it’s up to but he can transfer ownership of the PAC to his business partner and if they chat now and again about stuff and it looks like the two entities share the same vision, that’s merely coincidental.

Anyway, here’s the ad:

So, let’s talk briefly about the pros of this ad.  What I like the most about this ad was that it expresses in 30 seconds what I have been trying to say less successfully for a couple of years now.  There is a place for corporations in the American business landscape and we don’t need to always be hostile to them.  Those corporations are not people but they are made up of people.  Those people make the widgets or build the cars or design the airbuses or discover the drugs.  To do and build on this scale requires teams of people, working together, and sometimes, this just works more efficiently when they work in a corporate environment.  It’s like a department store where everyone needs what’s in the everyone else’s department.  For example, you can’t do drug discovery very easily outside of a corporation.  Those of us who are out of corporate settings realize that the level of coordination and high start up costs, coupled with the reluctance of banks to lend and vulture capitalists to invest, make new drug discovery companies very risky propositions.

Colbert doesn’t take any shots at those people who work for corporations.  The left could take a lesson from that.  He is not offending anyone who due to the circumstances of where they live or what their talents are, end up working for corporations.  Those people are not evil and they shouldn’t feel any shame for not being able to build a car or develop a drug all by themselves or with a couple of friends in a garage.  The “you ought to be ashamed for working for {{insert nasty corporation here}}” attitude is thick in the left blogosphere.  It is very offensive.  Yes, I think that most of the lefties who have this attitude, especially those who want desperately to fit in, have no idea how incredibly offensive they can be.  And insulting.  Did I mention that?  Failure to discriminate the portions of a corporation that are responsible for all the pain and suffering from the people who are suffering, including some of the corporation’s workers, leads to a lot of resentment towards the left from people who should be its allies.  Over and over again, the left’s insistence on moral purity alienates it from the very people they say they want to help.  It’s not helping, guys.  So, stop doing it.  It’s insulting to condemn people who work for corporations –who are in the rank and file.

It’s quite another thing to be critical of the people who run corporations and seem to be in it only to enrich themselves or gain some kind of social status.  THOSE people really do have a problem.  But the average assembler, engineer, CADD designer or labrat?  No, these people deserve your respect.  Stephan Colbert gives it to them and puts the blame where it belongs- at the top of the corporate ladder.

Now, Colbert is taking well deserved pot shots at Romney.  But I think we can see that down the road, he’s going to have a problem.  Because Barack Obama is indistinguishable from the corporate overlords who yank his junk.  In fact, this is the primary reason why I couldn’t support him.  He is their creature.  He is a schmoozer who rose to the presidency because he embraced the corporate executive culture.  He adopted their values and their tactics.  Do you think Obama is the first dude who rose to the top of an organization who had absolutely no idea what the business does for a living or how it operates?  Heck no, the country’s corporations are stuffed to the gills with guys like that.  Their prestigious Wharton B. School MBAs, Harvard law degrees, personal connections and ability to kiss ass, while cold bloodedly, unscrupulously and ruthlessly stabbing their competition, are their tickets to success.  The fact that they run companies or governments where thousands or millions of people are dependent on good decision making is tangential to their personal goals and aspirations.  Their success story doesn’t involve making a brilliant new product or turning around a struggling enterprise in a changing economy.  It involves their own personal struggle and self actualization.  They write books about the ascent of man told from their own intimate experience.  They are testaments to rugged individualism in the boardroom and fortitude on the back nine.  This is Obama’s reality.  It has nothing to do with YOU.  Why are you making unreasonable demands on him?  Hasn’t he shown you the way to accomplishing your own dream?  That’s what he was born to do: to make his own personal experience something that you can aspire to.  That was the secret to his electoral success in 2008.  He convinced a whole generation of Whole Foods shoppers that they were special people who could be the ambitious, intrepid masters of their own personal universes.  Yes, You Can!  Yes, You Can!  {{rolling eyes}}.

There are other reasons to not want him for four more years as president, like, he’s not a good politician and he’s lousy at making policy.  If you wanted someone who would have come to the White House prepared to make good policy and stick with core Democratic values, Hillary Clinton was your guy.  According to Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, Obama had no idea how to actually do policy.  He has some kind of vision and then says to his minions, “Go do it!”.  He gives them very little guidance beyond that.  And that’s because he either doesn’t believe what his corporate overlords tell him not to believe or because he just doesn’t have the experience or interest to buckle down and concentrate on the task at hand.

Unfortunately, this is the person the Democrats keep saying (at this time) that they want in the White House for four more years.  I am of the opinion that until the Democratic party is willing to sit down and negotiate with its voters, those voters would be well advised to go on strike.  After all, we have zero influence over the Republicans.  There’s nothing we can do or say that will ever have any effect on them.  But we might be able to persuade Democrats that they will be in the political wilderness for a generation if they don’t get their shit together.  And then, we should find a third party candidate to the left of the Democrats, it doesn’t matter who it is, and vote for that person.  If Romney wins in November, I guarantee that you will not know the difference when it comes to who is occupying the White House, ask any of the thousands and thousands of laid off scientists who Obama ignored in the past 3 years while their corporate overlords slashed their way through the payrolls and pension funds to “enhance shareholder value” and their own bottom lines.  Obama was an accomplice to the serial killing of the American scientific infrastructure.  He was golf buddy to those homocidal maniacs.  So, why reward the Democrats by voting for him?  Congress is a different thing.  I’d primary every incumbent congresscritter of either party with few exceptions.

Now, can Citizens for a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow craft an ad that takes on the Democrats?  That remains to be seen.  If the PAC is to be successful, it has to motivate Democrats to take action, it can’t simply be content to trash Republicans.  Because when November rolls around, the Republicans will once again rile up its Christian conservative base to go to the polls.  To go to the polls, you need motivation and Republicans seem to be highlighting “religious freedom” this year, as in, anything the Democrats propose will be an infringement on the rights of fundamentalist Christians with Fox induced Acquired Stupidity Syndrome to push their Old Testament tribalism on the rest of us who don’t give a damn.  But right now, what is motivating Democrats to go to the polls?  Having new, more vigorous blood in the party would motivate many of us Democrats in Exile.

27 Responses

  1. All anybody making an argument against the party elites and Obama need do is point out how they stunk up the joint less than two years into what should have been a decade Democratic dominance in Washington.

    Ask them if they want to return the party to the vision of FDR or see it eroded by republican ascendancy for four more years.

    • I believe that they seriously misread how to reach that democratic party dominance. I think they really believed people wanted compromise and bi-partisanship. When they returned complete control of the government to democrats, OBVIOUSLY they wanted a government that acted like democrats. But unfortunately that wouldn’t square with Obama’s corporate cronies, the ones he sold out to in order to get the big bucks and agreement to support him over McCain.

      What the American people do not really understand is that no matter who wins, Obama or Romney, the President is not working for them.

      • Well . . . that’s what I wanted. And that’s what I thought I was going to get. An Administration and Congress which was going to open an all-fronts investigation-hearings-prosecutions offensive against the mafia families of the Republican Crime Cartel. And an equal offensive against the FIRE sector mafia cartels also.

        I did not know that Obama would conspire with the Republicans to bring the Republicans back to effective power in order to help them extend and entrench the Bush Legacy.

        • It was probably written in the footnotes in fine print legalese. Most people didn’t see it. But now that everyone knows that that’s what Obama really meant when he said “Yes, we can!”, there’s no excuse for signing onto another four year contract.

          • Well.. if Romney gets the R nomination the way it looks like, then I have nothing to be afraid of in shopping around quite carefully and extensively indeed.

  2. I do not necessarily agree with the third party candidate having to be to the left of the democrats. Which Democrats? The person could be a centrist or a fiscal moderate and social liberal. But that person would have to be a populist, someone more interested in returning the nation to the hands of “the people, not the powerful”.

    • Populist or popular? Or is popularity a feature of populism?

      • I guess you’d have to be popular to get the job and a little populist rhetoric would help you get popular in this particular point in time regardless of what party you are running with. However when you get in to office, to stay there and remain popular, I would suggest some real populism, people over corporations.

        BTW, I could get kicked of Actors Equity for saying this, and certainly all of my gay singer dancer friends will abandon me, but Ms Chenoweth is a nose singing, no neck troll, who is getting her ass kicked in terms of Glee guest spots by Gwenyth Paltrow who is not even a legit singer/dancer.
        But then that could just be me being mean..

        • I think it’s just the role. Check this one out:

          • She has a very powerful legit voice. She trained for Opera and never quite made it there or just didn’t want to tie herself to that world. I don’t know which.
            This role in Candide demands a real operatic soprano. Chenoweth is that for sure.

  3. OT– but a good read for all who attend the Confluence–http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1

    • My reknown as a creative genius is contraindicated by my lack of means.

    • Actually, there is something to this. My daughter is very good at intense concentration when she’s on her own and she is self motivated. Put her in a classroom situation where she has to go with the herd and she’s a basket case.
      What the authors are refering to is called a “flow state”. I think that Mihaly Csiks. guy is an authority on the subject. All of us have experienced that to some degree. We call it being in the zone. But the kind of flow state they are talking about can only happen when you’re alone. I was very fortunate to have experienced it during my last year of work and even though the bastards laid me off, I will be forever grateful for that feeling of mental euphoria. My group was one of those rare combinations of collaboration and introversion. When we were in the lab, there wasn’t any formal hierarchy and we all helped each other out and brainstormed together. But when I had to learn how to solve structures, I did it best when everyone had gone home and I was at my computer for hours. No, seriously, sometimes I was there til 9pm still trying to perfect some stupid loop that was driving me crazy. And I couldn’t help myself. It was like some addiction to a video game. The more success I had, the more I wanted to do it. But I couldn’t do it when there were people around. During the day, if I was solving something, any interruption really threw me off. So, I started to wear my ipod earbuds all the time. It didn’t help that the braintrusts who ran the company were playing musical labs and I got kicked out of a private office into a cube on a hallway. That was distracting.
      I think the worst part of getting laid off was that right up until the very last second I was in the building, I was still working, at the computer and in my head. Just because they forced me to walk out the door didn’t mean they could force the flow out of my head. The buzz in my head lasted for a couple of weeks and gradually started to fade away when my attention had to turn to more prosaic things like filling out online applications. Paperwork is anathema to flow states.
      The experience revealed one thing to me though that I’m wondering if Mihaly Csiks. has figured out yet: The flow state can happen at any age at any level of education. It has been said of genius that there are at least three components: ability, opportunity and inspiration. It took me decades at work before I finally had access to all three. I don’t know whether they would have all eventually lead to a work of genius but I think if I had had another year, I would have come pretty close to a self-actualization that many people strive for but never reach.

    • aha, I won’t go into a whole schpiel about how cooperative learning is such a gift in the elementary classroom and on the other hand, blah blah blah…. However,an interesting article with much to think about.

      • Cooperative learning is appropriate in a limited number of circumstances. It shouldn’t be applied to absolutely every subject in every assignment. We went through that in middle school with Brook. She HATED it.

        • Middle School is not elementary school and Brook is not the regular kid in school. I also would have hated it. But when you are talking about below average, average and above average students at elementary grade level, cooperative learning can be great for all three groups for different reasons. And of course it should be used for everything all the time. That would be silly. I hope that was not Brooks experience.

          • and of course it should NOT be used for everything……

          • You’re right, Brook is not a regular kid. A lot of sturm and drang could have been avoided if school had addressed that fact in Kindergarten. And it wouldn’t have cost them any additional money. But such was not the case so the last 10 years have been an academic horror show. Beyond awful. It got a little better in HS but recently, it’s gotten worse again. I’m beginning to think that a lot of dropouts consist of very gifted kids who went crazy in class.
            And yes, that was the experience we had in middle school. Even the English assignments were group efforts where one kid started an essay and it was completed by other members of the group or each kid was supposed to correct or change the story started by another student. Brook got especially annoyed by that.
            I can’t wait til she graduates.

  4. Churl, thanks, going to read now.

    Regarding the Colbert add…love it. He is always funny and pointed. Of course corporations are not people and some day that ruling will be reversed or amended.
    BTW, who is the actor doing the voice over? Is it Tom Hanks? It’s driving me crazy trying to figure it out.

  5. the voice talent is John Lithgow. I should have known. I LOVE him.

    • for a second there, I confused John Lithgow with John C. Reilly. Which reminds me of the other day when I had my ipod on shuffle and suddenly I was listening to the most vulgar, obscene piece of hip-hop that I had ever heard in my life. I couldn’t figure out HOW it got on my ipod. So I pulled it out of my pocket to see what was playing. It was one of the songs from the Walk Hard soundtrack where John C. Reilly plays a musician Dewey Cox who goes through all of the musical genres in an attempt to appeal to “the kids”.
      Honestly, it was the most vile thing I’d ever heard in a song. It was like the soundtrack of an XXX rated film. Too funny. (Definitely not something you want to accidentally transfer to your mom’s ipod)

  6. gotta be careful about that stuff. 😆

  7. Really great discussion, folks.
    I was hoping to get y’all’s take (now there’s an interesting word to spell!) on creative solitude. I know that I’ve always done best alone in the dark when writing or problem-solving, tho I’ve found that doodling sometimes helps me focus.
    Teaching, we HAVE to have TEAM exercises (their caps), I devised an entire book-full and a system to keep murderous impulses somewhat checked. Some students loved it; a few loathed it beyond the pale.
    I came to realize after two decades of teaching “Critical Thinking” that the real trick to group or individual approaches to a particular issue (not calling it a problem) is the blurred line between between basic and applied research. If it falls toward “basic,” then climb to dark tower and brood. If it is the other, then call the gang and storm the barns.
    Again, thanks for all the keen insight.

  8. People inside the Democratic Veal Pen blogs could benefit from reading this post and the thread. But the Veal Pen guards are all watchful and alert to keep any such writing from reaching their captive readers.

    Riverdaughter, you note that you have not been secretly stealth-banned or censored at Hullabaloo. If you were to write a comment over there containing an internal link back to this specific post, would Digby-Atkins leave it up or take it down? How far will they go to police the fences around their newly repurposed Daily Kos annex Veal Pen blog?

    • My username is linked to this site so if readers are curious, they can follow me back. I’d like to thank Digby for not banning me, though it’s probably crossed her mind a couple of times.

      Unfortunately, when people are in the grip of high control group tactics, particularly threat of ostracism from the tribe if they don’t stick to the program, interventions generally have to take place on a one to one basis,they have to be sustained and you have to be persistent. That’s hard to do in the blogosphere where no one *has* to come here. But if there are any readers out there who have doubts, they are more than welcome to stick around.

      BTW, you have to be really crazy or spouting party (either party) talking points before I ban you. I haven’t banned anyone in a long time. Mostly, comments just get tossed in moderation for use of a trigger word. It’s automatic, nothing personal.

  9. After watching the Colbert ad and rereading some of your post in context of it, I begin to wonder: What if Colbert is smarter than anyone knows? What if it isn’t Colbert who discovers he has an “Obama problem”? What if it is Obama who discovers that he has a
    “Steven Colbert” problem in the fullness of time?

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