Some random observations from this week’s events and non-events:
- Isn’t it a little early to be hyperventilating on polls showing levels of supports for candidates for the Presidency in 2016? I am an avowed political junkie, but even I was getting tired of all coverage before this year’s contest, particularly given how little content was part of that coverage. Let’s be candid. There is simply nothing of value that can be said about potential candidates for an election that is 3 years and 11 months away.
- Whatever happened to loyalty? Before Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, I would hazard a guess that 90 per cent of the American public would not have considered him to be a contender for the Presidency. (Yes, I know I’m now talking about 2016.) But it took less than a month to distance himself from decisions made by the Romney campaign, implying that the result might have been different had he been listened to by the Boston brain trust. Specifically, the disciple of Ayn Rand wanted more of a focus on the poor. The guy who authored the last Republican budget that would severely slash programs for the poor and middle class supposedly wanted to run from those policies as the VP candidate. Even if what he is saying is true, and setting aside his remarkable conversion on policies affecting the vulnerable among us, could he not have had the basic decency to refrain from the torrent of criticism of his former running mate?
- What does it say about the mind set of the Republican Party when 49 per cent of Republicans believe that ACORN stole the election for Obama? That is from Public Policy Polling which added the wry observation, “52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.” The 49 per cent figure is remarkably similar to the results from the Pew Research Organization that only 48 per cent of Republicans believe there is solid evidence of global warming. The figures for Democrats and Independents are 85 percent and 65 per cent, respectively.
- I only have familiarity with the political environments of Massachusetts and New York, but is there a state in the nation more fascinating than New York? This week, we saw a group of 5 Democrats form a coalition with Republicans in the state’s Senate to deprive the Democratic Party of what would have been a majority. Governor Andrew Cuomo – a Democrat – penned an op-ed in the Albany Times Union in which he characterized the Senate’s Democratic Conference, which has had the majority in only two years since 1966, as a group whose dysfunction is “legendary.” But the icing on the cake had to be an interview on Albany’s public television station WMHT with Senator Ruben Diaz, a Democrat from the Bronx. Diaz claimed that the new coalition vindicated a prior group of four Democrats – dubbed the four amigos – who threatened to join forces with the Republicans in 2009. That effort, known as “The Coup,” featured incidents such as one side changing the locks on the legislative chamber to deprive the other group of access. Diaz, incidentally, was available for the interview because he is the lone member of the four amigos who was not subsequently convicted of a significant crime.