Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shining His Own Apple

Paul Ryan's recent exaggeration of his marathon running time reminded me of something I either read or was told many years ago. Beware the person who cheats at golf because they probably cheat in life, too. In other words, the person who cheats or misleads about the unimportant things is likely to do so for the important ones. A time of four hours, one minute and twenty-five seconds may not be the most memorable or easy to remember time for the only marathon a person ever ran in, but the four hour mark is. Ryan would have us believe that his exaggeration of a two hour and fifty minute time is a simple misstatement.

It appears his apple has a bad spot.


Anonymous said...

You may be right. After all, Bill Clinton, who will give the Democratic keynote, was famous for cheating at golf. His golf companions even renamed mulligans "Billigans" in honor of his demand for free shots.

Mike said...

I try not to yell at the TV when watching the news...but when I heard the "under 3 hour marathon" story, I couldn't help myself!

Quack Quack said...

Bill-again looks to be the Democrats' campaign theme. Check out the Presidential golfing story in the New Yorker. Sounds like the party elites have some fear of a black President, other than as a titular head.

It's interesting that Obama is drinking the blue Koolaide. Can he win the Presidency by openly running as a virtual Vice President? This is like Cheney-Bush all over again.

Hard to imagine the Clintons stepping aside after the election.

Anonymous said...

Clinton-Obama 2012
Build a Bridge to the 20th Century

Fleetwood Quack said...

Don't stop
Thinking about the 90s
Don't stop
They will soon be here
They will be here
Better than before
Yesterday's here
Yesterday's here!

Ready Player None said...

What Obama will say:

My fellow Americans, in times past it has been customary in our republic for the great men and women seeking public office to offer up small offerings of policy to the hoi polloi. In that vernacular, if not the original Latin, that means you.

In our wisdom, we make this sacrifice to allow you voters far below to judge the comparative greatness of your betters.

For that reason, I have decreed that our remaining stimulus monies be spent building a great bridge to Bill Clinton's ego.

Yes, as we enter into the fourth year of our beloved recession and unemployment spike, there is no more pressing matter than that we honor the man who, perhaps more than any other, made your misery possible by deregulating the banks and signing the trade deals.

My only regret is that the Republicans have not similarly honored George W. Bush, the great proponent of Constitutionality and civil liberties.

You be the judge, America, of which party more effectively looks back.

Way Barrack Machine said...

So, the Republicans offer a 1950s vision of America, and the Democrats give us the 1990's.

It's Father Knows Best versus Portlandia.

Hey, give me civil rights, bike lanes, double lattes, and tattooed babes on fixies.

Though, I wouldn't mind offering Jack Kerouac a ride to Desolation.

Economically, the 1950s wins hands down. Committed, activist Presidents, both Democrat and Republican. General Eisenhower even warned of the military-industrial complex, which of course is now the financial services-military-spying-industrial complex, with big assists from boomers Bill Clinton and W Bush.

Unions were strong in the 1950s, wages high and CEO salaries a fraction of today. Savings banks served up delicious plain oatmeal, and speculation was appropriately corralled and regulated. University was cheap, and medical care as well.

Given that the economy is the number issue for Americans, aren't the Democrats holding the losing symbolic hand? People like Bill Clinton when he's in redemption we-are-the-world Oprah mode. That doesn't mean we want him as President again. Bygones may be bygones, but yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone. And no, we'll pass on your self-satisfied cigars.

Neither party can deliver the past. They only remind us of the past to avoid discussing the present.

As the hippies said in the sixties: Be here now, establishment.

Let's hear some policy, some big ideas, Democrats. And, make it change that we can believe in.

For a change.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that Clinton's involvement is a way for Democrats to make promises which Obama can ignore as necessary.

Obama already has a reputation for posturing and deception, so a year or two from now he'll want to say "That was Bill, not me." Clinton's involvement may mean more platitudes and fewer promises from Obama.

Using Clinton to lay out an economic program makes sense as a tactic to evade responsibility for fulfilling promises made only in Clinton's speech, while producing ad-ready soundbites. Cllinton is not an elected or appointed official. He's just famous. But, for good measure the Democrats assure us that Clinton's speech wasn't vetted. Even more room for deniability.

I see Clinton's speech as an almost legalistic manuever, and a sign of Obama's acceptance of triangulating manipulation over principled policy.

The other aspect of the speech, which Clinton is already previewing, will be an attack on George Bush as a history lesson. (Clinton will downplay his own role in bank deregulation and his own corporate funding, yes, and the "fact-checkers" will let it pass.) I'm mildly curious whether he'll also attack Romney, as the veep usually does. Will that be reserved for Biden? OK, I don't really care.

Smoke and mirrors. Only Obama's speech matters, and what will matter is that it says little. The Democrats don't feel a need to jump any higher than necessary over the low bar set by the Republicans.

Tuning out until the debates.

Tony Curtass said...

Well, Michelle Obama was certainly beautiful in her $500 dress. Perfect price point for the middle class, the New York Times gushes from a more elite planet. Hilarious.

Beautiful women are a good idea though. If the Democrats just need someone famous to lie to working class men, why decrepit old Bill Clinton? Why not Angelina Jolie (which would also be a nice rejoinder to the Clint's shout out to Jon Voight).

Or, is Michelle Williams a Democrat? Should could dress up as Marilyn Monroe and appeal to Bill's JFK fantasies. Bill could play "Melancholy Baby" on his sax!

I'd watch Michelle Williams knit socks.

Watching Bill stroke his ego solo on stage is not so appealling. Been there, saw that.

Jackass Lemon said...

Ewww. But from your ass to Obama's ear, Tony. The Dems have signed on Natalie Portman, Scarlett J, and Kerry Washington as a threesome. Take that Clint Eastwood!

It's hard to stay ahead of the Democrats self-parody.

No Michelle Williams yet, but stay tuned.

Gimli said...

Well ladies, y'all missed an epic addition to the Judeo-Christian tradition of temptation narratives. Clinton layed out the kingdoms of the earth for Obama, and Obama was only too happy to accept. Message: Your path to million dollar speech fees at Goldman Sachs is as easy as preventing the return of Glass-Steagall. Go to the front of the church, Barrack, you're a lot better than those sinners pounding their chests in the back.

Despite his literary aspirations, Clinton seemed less Grand Inquistor than Wormtongue. His speech was as much about avoiding the facts of his presidency as placing them in a false but convincing light. In the Common Tongue, he did a good job with distracting shiny objects.

Still no plan from the Democrats.

Not that Tolkien's Wormtongue isn't a great literary invention. I don't mean the melodrama villian of the Jackson films. Jackson didn't know what to do with Wormtongue so he made him less sympathetic. Then again neither really did Tolkien. Tolkein had Gandalf answer Wormtounge's words with uncharacteristic violence.

Unlike say the unselfaware Cheney, Clinton understands at some level that he sold out America's working class; he wanders the earth in search of redemption. But redemption without confession is evasive.

Back in the US, Clinton falls back into a defensive, if sophisticated, solipcism, fundamentally dualistic. If the Republicans are bad, I must have been good. And look at all this money I got! And all the poor folks who worship me! And yet...[off to Haiti].

So Obama has decided to become a wraith like Clinton rather than a ghoul like Cheney. Yay. Not much in it for America's working classes, either way.

The other Tolkien character absent from both Jackson's movies and the Democratic Convention is Wormtongue's opposite: Tom Bombadil. Here we've sweltered through another suspiciously hot summer, and, well, neither the Republican or Democratic conventions are exactly entmoots.

If there is any redemption for Obama, I'd suggest he'd look out for the fate of the earth, and listen with caution to the words of those corrupted by power. They are not what they seem.

Legolass said...

I thought Beelzebubba looked like Paul's grandpa in Hard Day's Night: very clean, very clean indeed. Better hair than Dirty Harry, too.

But I had the sound up on football. Bill should be a ref this year. They love long speeches.

Smaug said...

So that was Charlotte: fired up delegates, apathetic candidate. Since Obama already knew about the job numbers, I thought his limp speech was a sigh of relief. With such great numbers, no need for a new direction or plan. Why mess it up? But, turns out, the numbers were as anemic as Obama's bromides about education and other bootstrap nonsense. So much for the secret plan Clinton promised. On the bright side: at least he's not overpromising this time!

There were some funny bits. Americans want justice for Wall Street crooks, yes, but have you talked to your Attorney General lately Mr. President?

Obama is tired of the big money in campaigns, but why then did he turn down public financing in 2008 and rely instead on Wall Street donations?

The Obamatrons chanted "USA USA" on cue to Obama's claim he signed the trade deals to sell American goods abroad, but, um, aren't our trade partners also allowed to sell goods here? In fact, isn't the problem that other countries undercut US mininum wage, organizing, safety, and environmental law, sending jobs and capital (not goods) where productions costs are unfairly lower? And what happened to Obama's 2008 promise to reopen NAFTA? Did he, like, lie?

Democratic Answer: USA USA USA!!!!

Ryan may lie about his marathon times, but he is right that China lies about the value of its currency. Not that the Republicans care about fair trade.

I still can't understand why fair trade isn't a politically feasible position, especially now that elite economists finally agree with workers that unfair trade devastates the wage and job markets. Workers aren't the ones jingoistically chanting USA--why are we the ones condemned as xenophobes? We just want fair play for all workers, throughout the world, not just profits for Obama and Romney's donors.

Is there any hope for real answers at the debates? The conventions have been a complete waste of pixels and rich people's money.

Anonymous said...

I ran a marathon well under 3:00, but god forbid if I ever had to prove it. That was before the web demanded instant proof of everything in real time, before shoe chips. I think I have a slip of paper somewhere. Maybe.

I watched the President's speech and I have one question. Why does a President with international parentage, and who was raised in Indonesia and in diverse Hawaii, assume that education will allow American workers to compete with foreign competition working at fractional wages?

People are just as smart abroad, and, although I think the US educational system is actually quite good, there are also great schools abroad (including branches of US Universities) and of course many foreign students come here before returning home. Other nations will improve their systems even as we improve our own, while retaining relatively lower wages, right?

I'm not against better education, I vote for every public school levy, but I don't see the link that school is the answer to mass unemployment. For individuals competing against other individuals within a market with plenty of jobs, yes, but not for an already highly educated workforce, relatively speaking.

(2:42. I swear.)