The President on the Daily Show

Part I:

Part II:

(The videos might now work, follow the links)
We are a few days out from the town hall debate and a few days until the third and final presidential debate of this election cycle.

I have had quite a few conversations following Tuesday’s debate and I want to share some of what has come out of those conversations.

As the President acknowledges in the first video above, there is a fundamental difference between his vision for how Government can be a source of good in people’s lives and the view of governor Romney. Likewise, there is a fundamental difference between the views of people who support the President, and those who do not. I am not here to change any minds and I don’t have any illusions of being capable of such. Just like Mitt Romney isn’t going to come to his senses on the issues that I think he is flat-out wrong about, people who support him are not. That is not my goal. This blog is for my thoughts and feelings. The comment section has blown up (I use blown up in a relative sense, as in, we barely had any comments, EVER, and this week I have hadmthree) with people disagreeing with me. I am all for the disagreement. I am an open-minded individual, who when presented with FACTS that run contrary to my accepted view of the world, will take the time to think about them.

What won’t shift the lens through which I view the world are links to Fox News articles.

A few days removed from the debate there are two things that are really bothering me. The first, and I heard this crap from the cast of Morning Joe on Wednesday was that the President failed to lay out a plan for the next for years. Go to any right-wing website right now and I guarantee you will find some version of this lie there. Johnathan Cohn of The New Republic put this crap to bed today. What part of what Obama said Tuesday was not a plan for the next four years. I have watched the debate three times in its entirety. Watch it again, read the transcript. The economy is recovering. Every available metric we have says so. He doesn’t need a new plan, the one he has works. What he needs is a House of Representatives that is willing to work with him (damn those founders and their separation of powers).

The second thing that is driving me nuts is that the conversation about the debate has transitioned from “Exactly how badly did President Obama wipe the floor with Romney” to parsing words between whether the President referred to the Benghazi attack as an “act of Terror” or a “Terrorist Attack”. Now, they are complaining that he took too long in his speech to say it. Read through the comments in the previous post, this is not the only place this farce is being discussed.

The real point is that Mitt Romney is trying (and failing) to turn President Obama in Jimmy Carter, and himself Ronald Reagan. By paining Obama as somehow “weak” on national security, Team Romney hopes to pull a repeat of the 1980 election. The problem for Romney is that the President’s record on foreign policy is incredibly strong, and the video tape of him the Rose Garden makes Romney’s debate performance look clownish (“Proceed Governor…”).

What the real story should be about is Romney’s attempt to politicize an attack on American citizens. Lets use our imagination for a minute, in the fall of 2004, can anyone picture John Kerry attacking George W. Bush as weak on national security because it was under his watch that 3,000 Americans lost their lives on September 11th? It wasn’t that John Kerry was a pussy and was scared to say it. It was that John Kerry understood that there are some places you simply do not go in American politics. Like showing an acceptable level of respect during a debate (my students in Government are really excited to see how aggressive Romney gets on Monday after our discussion of Tuesday’s debate). John Kerry had the decency to not use the deaths of Americans as an opportunity to score points against Bush. Mitt Romney is clearly not programmed with that directive.

It is clear to anyone watching with a critical eye that Mitt Romney is taking his marching orders from the right-wing blog crowd.

I honestly do not know how there are still undecided voters. There could not be a clearer distinction between these two candidates. Love or hate the President, you know where he stands on whichever issue it is that matters to you. And the same goes for governor Romney.

We are basically all sitting back and waiting to see how less than five percent of the population of Ohio decides to go. Who the hell are these people? We have 19 days left until the election. An election that is going to decide which direction this country is going to go for the next four years (and beyond).

Do I have enough time to go door-to-door in Ohio…

 knock knock…

“Hi sir or ma’am, might I ask who you are voting for?”

“Mitt Romney”

“Thank you very much, make sure you get out to the polls, voting is our most important duty as citizens in a democratic society”

knock knock

“Hi sir or ma’am, may I ask who you are planning on voting for?”

“President Obama”

“Thank you very much, make sure you get out to the polls, voting is our most important duty as citizens in a democratic society”

Knock Knock

“Hi sir or ma’am, may I ask who you are planning on voting for?”

“Actually… I not sure they both…”


knock knock

“Hi sir…”

Get your asses out to vote. This is serious. We live in a democratic society, our government derives is power from the will of the governed. Men and women have fought, bled, cried and died for 225 years to ensure that we would have the right to choose our own national destiny. If you don’t like the candidates, next time pay more attention during the primary season. Participation in a republican democracy is heavy lifting. If you want all of your decisions made for you, move to Iran. Here we have a choice, here we have a voice.

There is no greater crime to the continuation of our democracy than someone who choses to silence themselves. I realize that this is running on, but this has been bugging me all week.

The next Facebook status I read where someone is complaining about the debates, or the election is getting unfriended.

Lets think about this for a minute… so we (the Facebook community) are supposed to care about pictures of your dinner, or your workout (I am guilty of this one) or the Yankees, or how your third trimester is going, or how many times your child woke up last night, or any of the other millions of things people post on Facebook about (let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with any of it, that is what Facebook is for)

But… we’re not supposed to discuss politics? The one thing that actually affects all of us. The Status-Police have decided that this is the one topic that is off-limits? Two people are running to determine the future of our country. That means the future for that unborn baby who is giving you heart-burn that you just posted about. That means our energy policy that will determine if your kid can drink the water coming out of the faucet. This stuff matters, and if we cannot use the best public forum that we have at our disposal to talk about, we are lost as a people and we all might as well disengage from the process and let the politicians decide it for us. That way we can plug ourselves back into The Voice.

I have rambled here…


Four More Years?

I personally do not believe in jinxes.

I think what is going to happen is going to happen. Therefore I feel confident in stating that I believe we are looking a a fairly decisive victory for President Obama in November.

I was pretty sure this was going to be the case prior to the RNC last week, and nothing that happened there changed my thinking.

Following the DNC this week, I feel more confident in making this claim. I was reading Nate Silver at yesterday. If you harken back to ’08 and ’10, you will remember that Nate was just about as dead-on as one can be with forecasting the outcome of the election. Nate makes the comparison to golf. Stating that President Obama has a three stroke lead with three holes to play (the debates being those three holes..?) Nate’s point is that because President Obama does not need to make up ground in order to win (he has him with a 77% chance of winning the election as of today) all he needs to do is not “bogey a hole” (as someone who has recently taken up golf, I love all of these references) in order to win.

In my opinion, the Democrats did a masterful job highlighting the long list of successes that President Obama can claim. While at the same time reminding the American people what an absolute mess he inherited.

Some of the best moments from the DNC include Representative Gabrielle Giffords leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. You will remember that Mrs. Giffords is the survivor of an assassination attempt. Her presence serves as a reminder that at times, public servants literally put their lives on the line in order to do their jobs:

The First Lady, Michelle Obama’s speech:

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s speech:

And who I believe will be the first Latino President of the United States, Houston Texas Mayor, Julian Castro’s speech:

And the return of Bubba:

I think this entire week was a resounding win for the Democratic party. I believe the goal was to remind people that the Government is not their enemy, and that it is all of our responsibilities to make sure that through our own self-government, we continue to perfect this union. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes made the point last night, and I have failed to find a video, that during election time it is easy to forget just how special our system is. For the vast majority of human history, disputes between people of different races, nation or regions of origin, or political ideology settled their disputes through bloodshed and war. For 150 years, America has not had to resort to killing our own because of political differences. There is something truly special about the American system of self-government and it is all of our responsiblity to ensure that the Government works for ALL of US.

Slavery by Another Name

I am showing this PBS documentary in both my Intro to Law, and Criminal Law classes. I took “Race, Gender and Law” with Dr. Parker at Brockport last fall, where we discussed much of what is covered here. Prior to taking that class, I was fairly ignorant to much of this.

My students have been very engaged with this. I tried showing it to my 7th graders, and like everything I try to do with them, it fell flat on its face.

You can watch the film in its entirety HERE.