Less Politics More Everything Else

That is the phrase I have used to describe the rebranding of LibertyPell to the Pundificator. It describes how I feel about the over emphasis of politics in our daily lives. Just as politics should not be nothing, nor should the topic be everything. The pendulum has swung too far, and many have collectively lost their perspective.

For entirely understandable reasons, the political publicity apparatus wants us to think that their work is more important to us than any other. In recent years, I have come to differ with that view. To me, our work is more important to our lives than politics, but our work does not sell newspapers, make people watch television, fill campaign coffers or pay political consultants.

If you favor any or all of those things, the last thing you want is people to feel self-reliant and tell themselves that life will go on no matter what we are told on cable news.

The most recent political attention-getting efforts have been the House impeachment vote and the Senate trial. Yet, what has changed?

The House Managers have finished their impeachment case and it is not clear what impact they have had. They will create countless ads to hurt Republicans in November and these either will or will not work.

The economy remains good. Unemployment is low. The stock market is high and the President’s approval ratings (albeit low in comparison to others) are tied for their all-time high. Impeachment remains a political remedy more than a legal one and political power is derived from popularity. The impeachment message is not getting through.

The popularity of removing the President from office has decreased, while the popularity of not doing so has increased, especially in the last few weeks. On present form, I do not see 67 votes to remove him from office, and the Republicans have only begun to make their case.

As to guilt or innocence, the Democrats have the burden of proof and the Republicans will argue that it was not met.

As to removal from office, the argument will be that even if everything alleged was true, it is insufficient to take the step of removing the President from office.

As to the necessity of “facts and witnesses,” my guess is the Republican case will be filled with threats of “Bidens as witnesses,” which would possibly expose what the politicians view as business as usual, but the populace might consider pretty tawdry.

It is a shame that spin is so highly rewarded because much of the purpose of the last few weeks seems to have been the acquisition of talking points for use in the future.

I have not seen any stories on fundraising statistics during the impeachment efforts, but I suspect the takings have been good.

Based on several careers selling things, I take the somewhat hostile view that it is not the fault of the buyer if he does not buy something. It is the fault of the seller who did not convince him. Salespeople who blame their customers for their perfidy and stupidity don’t rise to success.

In this case, the Democrats are the salespeople and it appears they have failed to make their case convincingly.

The American public probably believes that President Trump arm twisted a foreign leader to gather dirt on a political rival, but apart from the deeply committed, they don’t seem to care. Maybe they are simply so disgusted with all things political that they don’t see this behavior as worse than any other?

[Note: I hate blanket references to the American public (worse, the American people, which is always a signal for a lie) because they are overbroad. There are countless views as to what the president did and countless views on its importance relative to other aspects of people’s lives.]

At the moment, not enough of them seem to care enough to do anything about it. Or at least that concern is insufficient to make the 20 Republicans required to flip on convicting the President do so.

Does anyone not think Senators up for reelection are polling this question? Does anyone not think those Senators are weighing the impact of their vote on their reelection prospects?

The “facts and witnesses” vote would require four Republicans to pass (if all 47 Democrats held the line). It would result in embarrassing revelations for all politicians but probably not a conviction.

The “conviction” vote would require 20 Republicans to change sides and there are far from enough swing state Republicans up for reelection this year for that to happen.

Should the impeachment transpire as I expect it to, watch for significant complaining on the part of those who did not get their way. I doubt there will be the equivalent of a sales manager to remind the grumbling salespeople that it was their job to convince the public and two-thirds of the Senate.

Next up on the political attention-getting calendar is the primary season beginning in Iowa in early February. Here is how that is looking.

If you would like the United States to have a president who is capable of leading a divided country and managing such a vast and complicated enterprise, the way we choose him now is not for you.

Here are links to three podcasts that thoughtfully explain how we got to where we are in the selection/election process (yes, selection and election differ). If you are not a podcast fan, there are abbreviated transcripts for each.

Our Presidential Primary System Is An Accident

How The Modern Primary System Has Shaped Our Politics

There Has To Be A Better Way To Pick Presidential Nominees … Right?

Had we thought more carefully about how we chose candidates for public office, there would be far less need to impeach the ones we might wish we had not chosen.






7 Responses to “Less Politics More Everything Else”

GARRARD GLENN, January 25, 2020 at 12:59 pm said:

It appears the party bosses were better at selecting candidates than the increasingly partisan citizens.

Bring back the smoke-filled room. As an enthusiastic smoker of cigars, I can attest to the sense of benign
contemplation and insightful sagacity a good cigar tends to induce.


Haven Pell, January 25, 2020 at 1:17 pm said:

Daunting though they might first appear, I really recommend the three podcasts as they offer both interesting alternatives and the pros and cons of each. For some, there would be plenty of democracy if voters chose between carefully selected and hopefully more qualified candidates.


Peter W Bragdon, January 25, 2020 at 1:15 pm said:

Two disparate observations on January 25, 2020:
1. A good article in today’s WSJ titled “Warren G. Biden” presenting his increasingly appealing promise to bring “normalcy” back to the Nation — in the manner of Candidate Harding a century ago.
2. Back in 1968 Robert Kennedy, campaigning in Indiana a few days before his assassination, spoke of a “New Liberalism” emanating from local politics rather than from DC — this emergence died when RFK was shot and Humphrey took up the traditional message of the Democrats focusing on the power of the central government.
Today the failure of Washington is triggering powerful and productive programs from local government.
Onward — Pete


Haven Pell, January 25, 2020 at 1:19 pm said:

Devolution — all political decisions made at the lowest possible level — one of my faves.


Haven Pell, January 25, 2020 at 1:26 pm said:

In the main story, I speculated on the impeachment’s effect on political fund raising. Axios seems to confirm my suspicions.

“The vast majority of Trump TV ads have involved impeachment. Trump’s campaign and the RNC raised more than $150 million in just the last three months of 2019.

The RNC says it has attracted more than 600,000 new donors since September. It also recruited more than 100,000 new volunteers through its anti-impeachment “Stop the Madness” campaign website.
But some Democrats have seen an impact, too. The Biden campaign says its average digital revenue per day more than doubled during impeachment compared to the weeks before.

It also saw a fundraising spike after the transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was released, a campaign official told Axios. “It was a moment where people realized what’s at stake in this election,” the official said.
The DNC has already raised as much in January from major donor fundraising as it had by May in 2016 and April in 2008, according to a DNC official.
Pete Buttigieg’s national press secretary, Chris Meagher, said the campaign “didn’t think it was appropriate to fundraise off a national crisis.””

I guess Mayor Pete isn’t doing as well as the others.


Richard Meyer, January 26, 2020 at 7:57 am said:

I’m Richard Meyer, and I approve of Mr. Glenn’s message.
Let’s leave political choices up to the pros. No more Jesse “ The Body” Venturas.


Haven Pell, January 26, 2020 at 8:21 am said:

Richard, that is definitely a view and not a bad one, but the democrasistas will be livid. The three podcasts offer alternatives.


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