Jason Grill: Can Todd Akin Still Win?

Last week, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin once again said that he is staying in the race, despite calls from his own party to drop out following his controversial statements about rape and pregnancy.

In the following clip, contributing RP Jason Grill and Republican Annie Pressley debate whether Akin still has any shot at winning in November:

Political Tweet of the Year

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Stylin’ Like a Guy

Friday morning –stylin’ like a guy.
In Starbucks this morning I noticed a guy I hadn’t seen before.
Nattily dressed like he was ready to pop off a cover of GQ magazine, but looking stressed and impatient pacing as he waited for his coffee. I could smell his cologne from the condiment bar and thought to myself “He reminds me of a temperamental European sports car.”
And when I walked outside, guess who I see standing (posing, really) next to his European sports car? Yep!
So I wonder to myself, “Do guys as they get older start to look like their cars?” Maybe so. His sports jacket matched the exterior of his car and his pants matched the interior. His hair even seemed styled to coordinate perfectly with his sleek and sporty car.
I wondered how he managed to stand next to his car as he groomed himself in the bathroom mirror this morning.
I was about to chuckle out loud as I hit the unlock button on my own car. And realized that I looked just like my grey Honda Accord –with matching grey interior.

The RP’s Animal of the Week: The Emu

David Ramey: Facebook and Political Discourse

Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. – Isaiah 1:18.

“I seldom think of politics more than 18 hours a day.” Lyndon Johnson


The next few months the political discourse will continue to get worse as a tight presidential race brings out the worst in both parties.

Unfortunately, that’s not unusual and remains a sad commentary on our modern politics. And in the modern world of social media – it is going to show up on Facebook.

So for those of us that politics is a passion – how do we manage our passion in a way that is respectful to those who don’t agree with us or could care less.

One thing that needs changing is the nature of political discourse. That’s a whole different note. I respect anyone who disagrees with my views – and I want to hear their views. I want to hear their perspective. I respect their views – and don’t doubt their patriotism or faith because they disagree with me. Unfortunately, a lot of people have spent the last four decades attacking politicians and then wonder why nobody trusts or believe in our government.

I’ve been a partisan Democratic activist (with the exceptions of times when I was in the media and it was a conflict of interest and tried hard to be very fair) since I was 18. Those who know me knows it is a passion.

Most of the time, my posts are designed to educate those who agree with me. I’m not trying to pick fights or debunk someone else. I have scores of fellow Democratic activists who are friends on here – including two running congressional campaigns.

But if our nation is going to move forward, both parties really need to listen and listen to each other. And as much as I enjoy hearing that one of my friends won a campaign Tuesday, I also want to read that my friend from middle school went to the National Tea Party rally. And if I chat with my friend Tony Boone, I know we’re going to talk football and the Oakland Raiders and he’s going to talk about motorcycles and probably bash the president. It’s okay. I respect his opinion.

Facebook reflects who we are and what we are doing now. A lot of people I grew up with are just now grandparents. I’m seeing a lot of grandchildren pictures. A lot of our kids are playing sports and we’re bragging on that. Lindy Suiter is going to talk about Racer basketball. Neal Bradley is going to be witty. Michael Buehle is going to talk Notre Dame football. Brian Clardy is going to talk history and African-American culture and wines and jazz and Democratic politics. Bryon Counsell is going to tee off on my politics. John Y. Brown III and I come from way different backgrounds, but when I read what he is writing, I realize we have a lot in common.  And faith comes from Baptist preachers and Catholic priests.

But they are all my friends. They are all the fabric of my life – and the fabric of America. I need to hear – and more importantly, listen to all their voices. That’s why I talk politics – and talk politics on Facebook.

And by the way, the Bible verse was President Johnson’s favorite.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of The Screen

The Politics of The Screen

“The Politics of The Screen” were on full display last night at the Republican National Convention with Clint Eastwood’s bizarre showing. The actor conversed with @InvisibleObama for almost 15 minutes. [WaPo]

An interesting look at today’s film distribution models. “What is a movie’s sell-by date?” [HuffPo]

Paramount Pictures and the children of the author of the “Godfather” series are in a court battle to cut ties. [LA Times]

Keanu Reeves details how 21st-century filmmaking is changing the industry in new documentary, Side by Side. [NYT]


Zac Byer: Prix Fixe Politics Live from the RNC

Greetings from hot and humid Tampa Bay, Florida!  It’s the final day of the Republican National Convention, with Mitt Romney taking the stage later tonight.  If there was ever a time Romney needed to look Americans in the eye and convince them that he understands their problems, it’s now.  Here’s today’s menu…
Appetizer:  The most important word of the week hasn’t been “accountability” or “jobs” or “leadership” — for any convention-goer, it’s “Credential.”  There are different badges for the media and for the delegates, distinctions by forum section and suite level access.  Two of the biggest tickets are the blue floor passes (if it says “Escort” you can bring two others down with you) and black production passes (backstage access).  Tuesday night we ran into one of the good men in the Senate, John Barrasso of Wyoming.  Shaking his hand, I couldn’t help but notice his “Maine Delegate” badge.  His response:  “Hey, you can never have too many credentials at one of these things!” When a US Senator is wearing credentials from states other than his own, you know they come at a premium
Main Course:  We’ve been talking to swing voters across the country for months now, but there’s been a clear revelation recently.  Americans think Romney is better equipped to solve their problems, but that he doesn’t understand them.  And they think Obama better understands their problems, but is entirely unable to solve them.  Here are three important takeaways:  1) Many will cast their vote for the lesser of two shortcomings.  Obama 2008 voters who are switching won’t be voting for Romney as much as they are voting against Obama.  2) Obama needs to convince voters that he made genuine efforts to solve, or at least temper, the economic crisis that began in 2008.  That means cutting down on the blame game — Bush, Congress, Europe, the weather, Bibi Netanyahu — and imploring Americans to give him another chance to finish what he started.  3) Romney’s speech tonight matters.  As you’ll read below, I don’t think these conventions will matter as much as the debates, but if there’s any part of this week that could swing this election, it’s Romney’s speech.  Paul Ryan gave a great one last night — it was emotional, energized, and honest — but nobody casts their vote in November for the Vice President.  So tonight, Romney MUST convince America that he gets it.  Corny campaign trail stories won’t do it.  He needs to admit to being a little stuffier than other candidates, a little less charismatic, a little less inclined to give that “human touch.”  For 5 years now, Romney’s been on the defensive about his wealth, his record, and his personality.  Admitting something about the third could be just the right amount of self-deprecation to better ingratiate himself with the general public.

Read the rest of…
Zac Byer: Prix Fixe Politics Live from the RNC

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Third Base Births and CCR

The problem with third base births and CCR

I have loved the song (and video) Fortunate Son for some time. I first saw it as a rendition by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (see below) and put it in my iTunes collection. Recently I discovered the original was done by CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and that the song was actually a lament of how most young Americans during the Vietnam War didn’t have the advantages of some privileged sons (“I ain’t no senator’s son” is one lyric line) to avoid serving in the war. In other words, the song was not about being a Fortunate Son of our great country, as I first imagined, and sang along without really understanding the words.

And that made me feel like maybe I don’t deserve to enjoy this song since I am someone who would be considered by CCR and Eddie Vedder, a “fortunate son” in a negative or unfair sense.

I’m not a “senator’s son.” But I am the grandson of a US senate candidate who lost that race 5 times, and the son of a father who was a governor and briefly a US senate candidate before dropping out of the race. And I’ll be the first to tell you, yes, there are tremendous and very unfair advantages to being a privileged son.

I have never tried to pretend otherwise. A few years ago I spoke to a group of entrepreneurs at Louisville’s Venture Club and was asked about these advantages. I responded, “Yes, I was born on third base (referencing Anne Richard’s political zinger aimed at George Bush Sr a few years back that he was “Born on third base and thought he hit a triple”). But that I was well aware that I didn’t hit a triple. In fact, I added, “I’m still not quite sure how I got on third base. I just know I have no recollection of ever being at bat.

Secretly, I suspect I was hit by the pitcher—maybe on purpose—and it was pitch was so hard they let me take three bases instead of just one. But that’s probably not the truth and just a story I tell myself so I feel like I earned third base on some level in some technical way. But I know deep down it was mostly a privilege thing. But there I was on third base.

“But I felt guilty about it,” I told the audience. So “I stole second base. And then I stole first base. So I could get back to where everyone else has to start on base.” I continued, “That relieved some of my guilt but I’m not sure it was the best play. At any rate, right now I think I may have found a way to get back to second base…and for the remainder of my life, I’m going to be trying to just get back to third base again—which is where I started. So, please don’t be mad at me for any advantages I had—and I had a lot—because, at this point any way, I’m just hoping to ‘break even’ in life by getting back to where I started from.”

That whole part of the speech was largely improvised but I liked the analogy and am sticking with it—and it summarizes pretty well the way I feel about all that. I hate it when people who have had great advantages in life try to make it sound like they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and are self-made men or women.

I recall Al Gore starting his presidential campaign in 1992 with a story about how he grew up in Carthage, TN and chopped wood or some such story. Yuck! And, of course, there really are no self-made men or women. But some are less self-made than others. I put myself in that category.

I am grateful for the advantages I have had. As I said at another time to someone who brought up this topic, “I have had doors opened to me others don’t. But what I do and what happens after I step through that door is on me and up to me. But getting that first foot in the door matters a lot and is a big life advantage.”

The key in life, I guess, is to take whatever advantages we are given and try to make the most of them— do something useful for others with them (as well as useful to ourselves and our families). To whom much is given, much is expected, and all that. But at the end of the day , when we are quiet and alone, only we know in our hearts if we are living up to ourselves and our potential. And we never stop trying to….and, of course, seem always to feel we are falling a little short. But we do keep trying. And that is the main thing –and probably our saving grace.

But back to the song Fortunate Son. I have tried to make peace with all this privileged son business. As for any help with not serving in the military, that was never the case for me. I recall a few days before my 18th birthday being in a hotel room with my father and telling him I was going to register to vote in a few weeks and there was talk at that time about reinstating the draft (as there often was from time to time back then). I was afraid and asked my father what I should do if the draft was reinstated and I got drafted.

He responded, “Well, you have to go. That’s all.”

I responded, “But what if I die? Are you saying you want me to go to war and die?”

“Of course not, but you have to go in the military if drafted?”

“Were you drafted?” I asked.

“No, but I served in the reserves.”

I told my father I had a friend who told me about consciencious objectors but my father, in his inimitable over-simplified but correct and persuasive way, said, “You don’t want to do that. You couldn’t live with yourself afterwards. You just go if you are drafted. That’s all. Just one of those things you have to do. And it probably won’t happen anyway.”

So, there you have it. I was ready and willing to serve if called on. But, like the band members of CCR and Eddie Vedder, I did not volunteer. What does that mean now? It means if I met the members of CCR today and they called me a “fortunate son,” I’d tell them to “Suck it,” and add I work 14+ hours a day, was willing to serve in the military if called to duty and am proud of the life I have built for myself and my family and grateful for privileges I had and hope I have used them well—and am proud of my country and support our military.

But if I met Eddie Vedder that same day and he called me a “fortunate son,” I would probably be more apologetic and say something like, “You know, Eddie, you are right. I have had a lot of privileges I don’t deserve and do feel guilt about them. It is unfair. And it stinks for others not as fortunate.” I would not tell Eddie Vedder to suck anything. I like him more than CCR.

And that sums up about how I feel about it all. Sometimes with some people on some days, I am at peace with it. Other days with other people under other circumstances, I feel that piercing shot of guilt—the same one I felt when I heard Anne Richards that same night tell George Bush Sr he was born with a silver foot in his mouth. I laughed at first. But a few minutes later realized she was also talking about people like me. And stopped laughing as hard…. and hoped nobody noticed.

And I still love the song Fortunate Son (both versions—CCR’s and Eddie Vedder’s), whatever it means. And don’t apologize for that. It’s a good song. And I’m proud to post it. As a Fortunate Son myself.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Tech

The Politics of Tech

Jack Andraka, 15, invents cancer test that is 168x faster, 26000x less expensive, and 400x more sensitive than the current standard. 3¢ and 5 minutes [BBC]

Joel Tenenbaum has been sentenced in federal court to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading 31 songs. That is $22,000 per song he is on the hook for. [Gizmodo]

“Is a $675,000 fine for sharing 31 pirated songs too much?” [ExtremeTech]

Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support 3D Printing [White House]

Google’s Fiber network is so exciting! [CNN]

The RP Discusses the RNC on CTV News

In his semi-regular gig as political commentator for CTV News — Canada’s version of CNN, Fox and MSNBC all rolled into one — The RP opined about the Republican National Convention, the impact of Ann Romney’s speech, the hazards of the GOP platform, and his friend and contributing RP, Artur Davis.

Click on the picture below to watch:

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show