Who Will Vote For Willard?

It is fair to say at this point the President Obama is winning this election.

According to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com, as of this writing, the President is expected  to win 319 electoral votes (270 are needed to win the election) and gives him a 83.9 probability of winning the general election. (I started writing this post the other day and those numbers were 309 and 77.9 respectively, it has been a bad few weeks for Mr. Romney)

Unless something catastrophic happens, Willard (Mitt) Romney is going to be calling Rupert Murdoch for a job in November.

The first of three debates is next week. I have a very difficult time picturing Romney coming out of those debates in any better of a position than he currently finds himself. Even if he “Wins” the debates (does anyone really think the guy who doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t open is going to “win” a debate with President Obama?) The chances for Mitt to change the dialogue about this campaign are becoming fewer by the day. Early voting has begun in a number of swing states. Which means, today is election day, tomorrow is election day. Every day between now and November 6th is election day. Therefore, every day that Romney does not change the narrative, is a lost election.

So the question I find myself asking is, who exactly, is going to vote for Willard?

(On a side note, I call him “Willard” because I have a pet peeve. I have a problem with grown men who refer to themselves by nicknames. Most people who know me refer to me as “Bear”, but you don’t see me introducing myself as Bear Gilmore. This has been less of an issue in politics than in is in the sports world, and ESPN has done nothing to stem the tide. Let me tell a quick story… I was working for a small non-profit as my first job out of college. My boss was a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and being a Mets fan, we had a lot to argue about. One day I was going on a rant, very loudly, about how Chipper Jones should grow up, ditch the nickname, and go by his adult name “Larry”. So my boss and I are sitting in his office having this loud discussion and I am pulling a typical Terry and talking really loud and making a scene. In my mind at the time, and still today, I think grown men should ditch the nicknames. Little did I know my co-worker “Chip” was actually my co-worker Larry, and he heard the whole thing. The lesson I learned that day was that at work, don’t yell about things that might offend others. I chalk this up to me being 22 years-old. I was reminded of this a few years later, when at a new job, one of my co-workers went on a full-throated tirade about how immoral divorce is, and how only “bad” people get divorced. I’m divorced. Don’t yell about stuff at work.

What bothers me isn’t that people have nicknames. I think nicknames are great.I love my nickname. What bothers me is when those nicknames become the given name of an individual. For instance, Chris Wells is Chris Wells, not Beanie. Beanie is a nickname. Why, does ESPN display his name as Beanie and not Chris “Beanie” Wells. Same goes fo Adam “Pacman” Jones, “Boom” Herron, and Chipper Jones. I realize this is probably irrational, and someday I may grow to realize that I am wrong. I was once told by my boss at a job I worked at in high school that as I grew older, I would grow more conservative in my political views. I disagreed then, and I disagree now. If anything I am more liberal now than I was at 16. So I don’t see myself changing my views on this.

The thing about Romney is, he came up with the “Mitt” thing himself. He just decided he wanted to be called Mitt. Other people bestow nicknames on people. Driving home from the hospital the day I was born, my older sister Kate said to my mom: “Mom, I have a Care Bear and you have a Ter Bear”. It stuck. I didn’t make it up. Neither should Willard.)

ADDED: I have been informed by Wikipedia that “Mitt” is actually his middle name. He decided after kindergarten that he “preferred” Mitt. This actually makes me like him more, as I famously announced to my mom that I was quitting Pre-K. The crazy part is that she let me.

That was a three paragraph sidebar, but I have been meaning to say it for a long time.

Back to my point. I was mowing the lawn on Monday when I conceived of this post. It was one of those times (like this morning in the car when lightning struck my brain and I had a moment of clarity about the Plague of Poverty Parenting… hopefully I can get those thoughts out in a coherent way later) when I wished I had written down what I was thinking. Basically what I conceived of was a hilarious list of demographic constituencies that Willard “Mitt” Romney has alienated and or lost during the course of this campaign. I had a hilarious line about losing the Latino vote when he made a comment to his gardener about deporting “illegals”. I had a one about losing working-class, white, midwestern voters when he was born in the northeast with a silver spoon shoved up his ass. A line about losing the evangelical vote when he was born a Mormon. I had a line about losing the black vote when… well, when he wasn’t President Obama. In my mind it was hilarious. Now, almost a week later it just isn’t as funny and I cannot make it so.

The reality is, in the five days since I imagined this post, Romney has fallen further in the polls. All of the “Swing States” (Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin… etc.) are all going for President Obama by margins varying from 2-15 points. I watched Joe Scarborough this morning looking forlornly at the Electoral Map and saying, “well, if Romney can pull out a win in North Carolina, Nevada and New Mexico…) That is what it has come down to. Romney has to win states that really, should not even be close. And even if he does, he still doesn’t really have a chance. Without Florida and Ohio (ironically, two states W. stole) he has no clear path to electoral victory.

This election was meant to be a referendum on the last four years under President Obama. The Romney campaign thought this was going to be a walk in the park. They thought that angst towards the President would be enough to carry him. That he could be a cardboard cutout of a Republican candidate, never really say anything or put forth any real ideas, and hatred of the President would be enough to sustain him through November 6th. That simply isn’t the case.

There are still people who, no matter what, hate the President and his policies. But I don’t think there are enough of them. This is just anecdotal, and maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but I have not seen a single political post from anyone on Facebook, aside from people complaining about commercials and polling phone calls. For all the supposed hatred of Obama that is out there, not a one of my conservative Facebook friends has uttered a word of support for Romney.

I think this is more than just anecdotal. I think it is a symptom of a larger problem. John McCain did something that proved to be tremendously stupid in 2008 when he selected Palin as his running mate. History tells us that it was a mistake. But at the time, in September and October of 2008, before the wheels came off and Sarah went Rouge, there was real excitement among conservatives. People were talking about it, and I don’t just mean talking heads on CNN and MSNBC, regular people who are not as plugged-in to the political process were paying attention. Mitt Romney is not trending. People care more about replacement NFL officials than the race for the Presidency. And that is a win for Obama. There is not a mistake in the polls, as Fox News would purport (even though the Fox News tracking poll has Obama up by 5, are they in on the conspiracy as well?). The President is winning this campaign because Willard Romney is not a good candidate and at this time, the Republican party does not have any new ideas. Romney’s staff is basically all former Bushies. We had 8 years under W., it didn’t work. Tax cuts for the top 10% and unpaid-for-wars do not help America prosper.

I wrote a post last week about what happens to the Republican party following the election. Because I feel like there is going to have to be some serious soul-searching. The Republicans are suffering from Bi-Polar disorder, which is part of the problem for Romney. He cannot make a declarative statement on basically any topic because he will alienate a portion of his base by doing so.

So to answer my own question. Who will vote for Willard? Not enough people to get him elected. That’s who.

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Body Beast- Bulk Phase Review

Today marks the beginning of the Beast Phase (phase 3) of Body Beast for me. I could feel myself wearing out near the end of last week. I have learned to Listen to My Body and therefore knew that it was time for some recovery.

There are not specific “Recovery Weeks” built into Body Beast, as there are in P90X. I decided to take a few days to change things up. I did some extra foam rolling (I freaking love my Rumble Roller, and did anyone who watched Hard Knocks on HBO notice when they showed the players in the weight room that they were using Rumble Rollers?). I also did three Insanity workouts (Plyometric Cardio Circuit, Cardio Power and Resistance and Pure Cardio).

This afternoon I am going to begin with my first workout in the Beast Phase. I liked the Bulk phase workouts a lot. They are each significantly shorter (between 29-35 minutes) and focus on one muscle group instead of two or more. Given how short the workouts are, I found myself adding in additional ab routines (X2 Ab Ripper, Ab Ripper X, and Insanity Cardio Abs) as well as 2-3 Insanity workouts a week. I just didn’t feel like I was working hard enough.

I am going to stick more closely to script for this last phase. I will probably continue to do Abs 2-3 times a week, but I will cut back on the additional workouts. I was really happy with my Day 30 Results and I am excited to see what the Day 90 Results look like. You can see my Build Phase Review Here.

I am already starting to think about what will come next, Possibly The Asylum 2?

 

Just Breathe

I imagine, when listening to this song, sitting next to a hospital bed and saying goodbye. Luckily for us, we have many wonderful years left with Deb and Mo.

That being said, I think saying goodbye some day might be easier than what we are going through as Alzheimer’s, that brutal thief of cherished memories does its awful work on May’s brain. There was moment a few weeks ago, where for the first time, she looked at me and I saw no recognition in her eyes. She didn’t remember who I am. I have 29 years of memories of the woman. Tube tops and pedal pushers. And she does not remember me.

We laugh when she congratulates Danielle and I on our engagement again and again. We laugh because tears hurt too much.

We are a family of stories. Our stories represent memories. Memories of our shared experiences. Without those stories, without those memories, what was our past but just a series of yesterdays.

I will forever hold in my heart “Raincloud Roethel.”

As she announced that year at Camp-O-Rama, she made all of this. She may not remember it, but she did.

The GOP and the Southern Strategy

Chris Matthews calls out Jim Crow tactics in 2012

Similar to what I wrote the other day concerning the history of racial division, specifically in the south, Chris Matthews lit into the tactics of the GOP yesterday, stating that voter ID laws and the stirring up of racial resentment are being used by the right in a disgusting attempt to win back the Presidency.

As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, there have been literally ZERO cases of in-person voter ID in recent years. No one, literally no one is attempting to cast a vote, in any State under a false name. To say that these laws are being put in place to protect the integrity of the vote is beyond laughable. The people who are pushing for these laws are in my opinion the lowest of the low. They are attempting to find a solution where there is no problem. In doing so they are effectively disenfranchising thousands of American citizens. And aside from a few voices on MSNBC, I haven’t heard anyone talking about this. This should be the number one story in the country right now. Not Willard “Mitt” Romney and his “47 Percent” remarks.

The fact that this is happening in 2012 is almost unimaginable. We fought this battle, and it wasn’t all that long ago. Teaching in a high school, one of the hardest things that I have had to convey to young people is that American history is not ancient history. These things happened, recently. Just because a video or picture are in black and white and not HD does not mean that they are not recent history.

On Second Thought- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It is intellectually lazy to play the “we beat them, they beat us, so we must be better than them” game.

That being said, The Buccaneers beat Carolina in week one, allowing only 10 yards rushing and making Super Cam look decidedly human in the process.

In week one, the New York Giants were beaten pretty badly by the Cowboys. They bounced back by beating the Buccanners in what ended up being a really close game. Eli Manning threw for 510 yards. But, if not for two questionable (in my opinion) calls, the unnecessary Roughness not called on Vincent Jackson and the Mike Williams “drop”, The Bucs might have won this game. In the end, they stood toe to toe with the Giants and came away with a very close loss. Josh Freeman looked really good for most of the game and there were definitely positives to take away.

The same cannot be said for the Pathers last night. In two of three games this year, Cam Newton has looked terrible. similar to Josh Freeman, there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding Cam at this point.

When I turned off the game on Sunday, I felt defeated. I was disappointed that the Bucs didn’t hold on for the win, and I was feeling like I had just been punched in the face by reality. That reality being that these Buccaneers are not ready, yet, to compete with the best teams in the NFC. The more I think about it, maybe they are.

Sunday’s game will tell a lot about where the Buccaneers are headed. 2-1 with wins over Carolina and Dallas and one close loss to the Giants will look infinitely better than 1-2 and a team trying to decide if they are any good this year.

Watch out of Mike Williams this week.

There Will Be Blood…

I started this post last week, when the worst thing Mitt Romney had done in a while (aside from ignoring Veterans or the war in Afghanistan during his convention speech) was his epic screw up following the attacks on the American Embassy in Libya.

Since that time, things have gotten considerably worse for the Republican nominee for the Presidency.

I think there is a very good chance that Barack Obama wins the election in November.

This election is very similar to 2004 in that there is an incumbent President who is loved by a group of the base and hated by a majority in the opposing party. People in Romney’s party hate the President more than they love their candidate. Many on the right were hoping that vitriol directed at President Obama would be strong enough to overcome the glaring weaknesses that Romney represents. Similar to John Kerry, this looks like a losing proposition.

I thought last week’s handling of the Libya situation was enough in and of itself to undo Romney’s Presidential hopes. That was well before this video was released:

Aside from being patently untrue, 47% of Americans are not living off handouts from Obama, This video gives voters a very real look into the true belief system of Mitt Romney. Romney believes that there is a population in the country (53% by his math) that does all the making, and there is a population that does all the taking. This of course is coming from a man that despite his tremendous wealth, paid 13.5% taxes on the returns he was nice enough to release. There is a very real chance that Romney paid NO income tax in many of the last 10 years.

Romney paints 47% of the American population as unreachable to him as a candidate, because they are too busy watching MTV and sucking at the tit of Obama’s government handouts. What Romney fails to mention at this fundraiser, is that the States with the highest number of people paying no income tax, are all Red States:

I have only been truly following politics for 10 years or so, but Mitt looked like a defeated man last night in his “Press Conference” where he attempted to explain his remarks. He didn’t apologize, and I wouldn’t expect him to. He didn’t make a mistake saying what he said. The only mistake was that it leaked. These are Mitt Romney’s true feelings (and the feelings of many on the far right). There are many conservatives that are thrilled today with what Romney had to say. The problem is, the people who agree with Romney were already going to vote for him.

I fear that these comments are going to do nothing to draw in that 10% of voters that Romney claims in the video he is trying to appeal to. It is my belief that this campaign is over. Something catastrophic would have to take place for President Obama to lose this election. I am concerned about the voter ID laws that are being pushed in swing states and the attempts by Tea Party affiliated groups the have the voter rolls purged in Ohio. But I think that the fact that these things are real concerns speaks to how clearly this election is over. These people would not be doing these things if they didn’t know that the election is over if they don’t. The very fact that they are resorting to these tactics illustrates just how Over this thing is.

The debates are going to be interesting to say the least.

When I originally began this post, it was meant to be a place to discuss what I think will happen to the Republican party following the election. Typically, following a losing election, the party that lost will regroup and decide on a path going forward. It is clear to me that following the Midterm elections in 2010, when the Republicans embraced the Tea Party in order to gain votes in the House, the Republicans made a tactical error. By embracing the platform of the wingnut far-right, the Republican Party has painted themselves into  a corner. They will have to do one of two things. They can either continue to move further to the right, embracing the policies of the Tea Party and move further to the fringe of American Populism. Or, the Republican party as a whole can distance itself from those policies that have radicalized the entire Republican party. In 2010, the Republicans traded their political beliefs for a win in an election and it is going to cost them a presidential election. No Republican nominee will win nationally when they consistently have to pander both to the upper echelon of society (Mitt Romney types) and Tea Party wing nuts who continue to drive the conversation further to the right. The Republican party is suffering from bipolar disorder. It cannot simultaneously be the party of big business, deregulation and tax breaks for the top 10% while also being for the little guy, small government, guns, god and NASCAR. The two sides are diametrically opposed and until the Republican party rediscovers itself, I think it is going to continue to be difficult to compete nationally. Hatred of President Obama is not enough to win elections. Not when you stick a guy like Romney at the top of your ticket.

On a side note. In the 47%-53% debate about who is the makers and who is the takers. There is a very real problem of people thinking that they are among the 53%, when actually they are in the 47. Very few people pay “income” taxes, but are taxed in other ways (payroll, sales, property etc.). People tend to view themselves as better off than they are, and naturally don’t want to be associated with the free-loading 47% Romney clearly disdains so much.

ADDED BY ME:

There are going to be a lot of people who are going to claim that Romney’s comments in this video (and those in the series that have yet to be released) are no worse than what President Obama said when caught on tape claiming that poor people “cling to their guns and religion”. The reality is, that is not what the President said. This is what he said:

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.

I think this is important so read it carefully because there is one very serious difference here. The case the President was making, and I agree with him, was that which divides us is less important than what unites us and that he wanted to be President of all of America, even those people who may not agree with him. The reality is, there is a segment of the American population that has been duped by Republicans into believing that filthy rich politicians like Mitt Romney represent their values. George Bush and Karl Rove were masters at getting these people to the polls and then completely forgetting about them after being elected, twice. What Romney had to say last night was completely the opposite of what Obama said four years ago. Romney is saying that which divides us (the Makers and the Takers) is what is most important and that he cannot reach those people.

This idea of dividing and conquering the lower class has deep roots in the country. It dates back to Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. At that time, the landed white aristocracy realized that if poor whites and poor blacks united in rebellion against those at the top of the economic ladder, they stood no chance of maintaining control of the colonies. Following Bacon’s Rebellion, racism was written into the laws of Virginia as a means of dividing poor blacks from poor whites. As a result, poor whites (who had far more in common with poor blacks) began to identify with white aristocrats. The progression of racial division in Virginia was a brilliant move by those in power and the ripple effects continue to this day. No matter how bad people have it, they will always be better off than Them. This is the sentiment that Mitt Romney is trying to tap into, Us versus Them. Whereas the President was working to transcend those differences.

Aviendha Shea Goes to Kindergarten

Aviendha Shea went to kindergarten last Wednesday. The day came and went and I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. Part of the problem was that her first day of kindergarten was also my first day at a new school. I am working at a middle school and have had to leave before she is up in the morning.

With all of this happening, I never really took a minute to collect my thoughts.

Avi going to kindergarten isn’t the end of my world. I am proud of her, I am excited for her, and I wish time would slow down. I took some time today and scrolled back through the archives to this site. It is really interesting to see where my mind has been in the last four years. I still feel the same way about some things, I have changed my mind about some things, but all in all, I am still the same person I was when I wrote the things I have written.

One piece caught my attention in particular. I wrote this in January of 2009:

So much has happened, it seems like so fast in my life. My baby is a kid now. Which is something I think I have taken in stride. I try to not get too upset about her growing up. My thought process has always been that if I spend all my time sad that she is getting big, I will never stop to enjoy the Getting Big part.

I made a conscious choice, at four months, exhausted, (read the myspace blogs if you don’t believe me) that I would enjoy this, tired, stressed, I would enjoy it. I have a year and a half (she is a year and a half tomorrow. July 23rd, 2007. 7:44 am, it was a Monday, she had tiny hands and my uncle Greg’s face, she slept through the first night, she smiled the day she was born, she fit in my hand and the gravity she pulled down on me crushed everything I thought mattered. She stormed into my life-like a tornado with a nine-month warning, I am rambling I know. She weighed 6 pounds 7 ounces and my hands were made to hold her, my elbows bent just so, right dad? 18 months in a heart beat. She talks now. She laughs now.) of amazing memories.

My life is in Three Dimensions. I turn around and it is there. I turn around and it is there. I turn around and it is there.

The little boy, who still feels like a little boy took lessons from Atlas and threw it all up on is not-so-broad shoulders. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes (too often) heart racing over nothing. Three Dimensions.

Now that she is five and I can talk to her about what she was like when she was little, I tell her about how she fit in my hands, how my arms were bent just so, how she looked my uncle Greg and smiled the day she was born.

The sun rose twice on the day she was born. She is the sun in my world, and it is brighter for her presence.

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This is what I posted on Facebook the night before she boarded that bus for the first time:

Aviendha Shea Gilmore will be getting on the bus and heading off to Kindergarten tomorrow. I could sit here and wax poetically about where the time that has gone, how she has grown up to fast, how I cannot believe that a little over five short years ago I laid eyes on her beautiful face for the first time. Instead of tears of sorrow for the time that has passed, I will be shedding tears of joy for

 her as she takes the next triumphant step in her amazing life. I could not be more proud of this young woman or the people in her life that have helped shape her into who she is today. As she steps into the next phase of her life tomorrow morning it will be with the love and support of the most amazing group of people any kid has ever had the privilege of being surrounded by. I love you my daughter. You make the world a brighter place and we are all blessed to have your light shine on us.