Buzzword Mayhem, A Fiscal Cliff!!!

December 6, 2012

Recently I’ve noticed that these partisan times have increasingly played on our sense of knowledge.  Maybe at fault is the information age, which presents us with massive amounts of data up front.  Of course the quality of that data and the then interpretations that lead to opinions via talking heads has somewhat muddled that entire presentation.  And as we wade through the mounds of BS and “Fact Checking” (as if such a thing could ever be completely impartial)….we’re left in the end with snippets of information.  In truth the more information you’re presented with the less you’ll focus on the individual pieces.  Hey what do you know, politicians know this for fact and blast people with buzzwords they repeat over and over until they become truth, regardless of actual truth.

So now you may hear politicians rambling on and on talking about how “Republicans just don’t have the facts on their side!!!” and “Republican arguments are just not based on facts.”  Now had a Democrat stood up and simply called their opposition a liar, it would be far less influential.  Instead continually repeating something such as not factual leads our brains to associate the two.  Liar or other more severe allegations are usually dismissed on observation.

Now of course there’s a fiscal cliff!! Yes, there’s a modest tax hike looming, but it’s not a cliff, more of a small slope actually.  Indeed if tax rate changes aren’t put in place by the new year we’ll be stuck with higher rates.  But of course it’s fun to note that those rates aren’t very severe changes (a few percent).  So where does that leave us.  Yes your first new year paycheck might be less but not substantially.  So this cliff….isn’t some impending collapse.  Over time those few dollars would add up and of course that might anger some people.  But in reality it’s a slow slope.  So why are we told it’s a cliff?  Because it plays on our sense of emotion.  If a deal is reached January 15th is it going to cause immediate and long lasting harm?  No, not really.  Because it’s nothing like a cliff, it’s a slow slope.  But that doesn’t sell news stories.  If we play on our emotions with buzzwords and build arguments up to the point where we have to pay attention (or else we’ll fall off a cliff!!!) then we’ve been summoned by the buzzword gods.

Even within the arguments from both sides you can see the buzzword mayhem lining up.  “That proposal simply wasn’t a serious offer”.  Oh yea…why’s that?  Or the argument that “If Republicans want to take us off the cliff with their blocking of a deal, then the American people won’t be happy!!”.  And there’s that, we’ve been drawn in and our arguments have been made for us.  We no longer have to analyze the deals for ourselves…we can just argue with buzzwords.  In fact check facebook to see how often those buzzwords are repeated by your peers.  Heck, today on CNN I saw an analysis for a middle income ($130,000/year) family of four with a mortgage and it’s impact on their taxes at the end of the year.  Well…that really doesn’t apply to me in any sense (I’m not even close to that income bracket and none of the same tax breaks apply to me).  But the only information we’re left with is the conclusion that it’s either good or bad.

So in the coming weeks I implore you to go out and spot….then avoid…the buzzwords swirling around the debate.  Try to find the real proposals and what money will/won’t be spent on.  Otherwise you’re being set up by those wishing to control your views on topics.


After a strong 2008 election, Obama slips nationally, and in nearly every state.

October 22, 2012

It’s worth analyzing each and every state to determine just where the President is falling behind from his huge win in 2008.  And the results suggest, nearly everywhere.  Which shouldn’t be that big of a surprise now that election polling has put Gov. Romney and Pres. Obama in a dead heat with only weeks remaining.  Certainly one of the closest elections in recent history, with the end result maybe on the Gore/Bush level.

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polling figures provided by RealClearPolitics.com
Many swing states that were flipped in 2008 have flipped back.  Which gets to the point.

In 2008 the President had the ability to campaign against an unpopular Republican Party for months, drawing massive crowds for speeches and giving roaring addresses that captivated the hearts/minds of many.  In contrast, 2012 is a different sort of story.  After such sky-high promises it has come down to a case of imminent letdown.  It’s one thing to make promise of sweeping change, it’s another to try to effect them during some of the most turbulent economic times in recent history.

In 2012 there are no speeches, there’s a fierce battle.  One which both sides have focused on with negative ads.  It seems this is more a case of who can tell us why not to vote for the other guy the most.  Which brings us to the state of the race as it is now.  WHY is it leaning in this direction?  Well that’s fairly simple.  After the Democratic convention, President Obama got a massive bump.  You know why?  Bill Clinton.  That’s it.  Clinton outlined the path for the next 4 years in a manner which the President hasn’t to date even attempted.  In 2 debate performances and a speech at the DNC he has done little to outline new plans.  Clinton did for him, and instead of grabbing that torch and outlining a future for us to embrace…..that lead evaporated.  Not that Romney is a better campaigner, but through the first debate he started to outline an idea for what he wanted to do with this country.  He laid out a 5 point plan and scoffed at the notion that the President would attack it, only further reinforcing his positive plan for action.
We’re left here, with the President wilting due to an inability to be Clinton-esque.  To describe a goal, a plan, a vision.  Instead Romney has seized that momentum while keeping the President on his heels.  The next 3 weeks may shift dramatically in one direction or another.  But make no mistake about it, the 2008 campaign that the President mastered so gracefully, is not the 2012 campaign he has failed at so miserably.


Last 2 weeks of the Presidential Election

July 26, 2012

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As the Presidential race continues towards the end of summer and the start of the conventions in due time, the race appears to have started to tighten a bit.  Over this two week period President Obama has lost a bit of ground, probably due to his gaffes and negative campaigning, something he dodged entirely in 2008.  Mitt Romney appears to have caught up a bit but still lags overall.  His failure to take on the President has been sort of a cat and mouse situation all summer with neither side wanting to go all-in this soon.  A criticism of Romney’s during the primary campaign was how soft he was in the early contests with no hard hitting.  Florida changed that and he paid a bit later in the contest but eventually won.

I suspect that neither side wants to put the gloves on so soon.  Though President Obama seems to be struggling to find a message behind an ailing economy and continually disappointing jobs numbers.  Another slow report in Aug. and/or Sept. could be pretty damning to his campaign.  His efforts have fallen behind attacking Romney of late.  Something I suspect doesn’t sit well with voters looking for that same Hope and Change message of 2008.  Also this struggling for a message has caused the most notable gaffe to date “you didn’t build that”.

Romney on the other hand is slow playing.  Currently he’s on an under-publicized foreign trip, certainly compared to 2008 when then Sen. Obama was stopping for photo-ops and speeches in front of hundreds of thousands.  All of this leaves us wondering when Romney will ever join the fight.  He’s been careful not to lay out too many positions this early as to avoid any pitfalls in the fall.  At the same time he’s been sort of off the mind of voters, something I suspect he intends so that they’re not over-saturated come election time in the fall.

Overall I think the President is suffering from his economic situation right now and is struggling to make the campaign about Mitt Romney, which is failing in these recent weeks.  As more negative news about the economy surfaces, his numbers steadily decline.  Romney seems to be sitting back deflecting blows with a rope-a-dope strategy in play.  Trying by not trying, and thus allowing the election to be about what the voters care about, the economy.  This of course plays into his wheelhouse rather than jumping at side issues like immigration, gay rights, or gun control.