Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It just confirms all your worst feelings about humanity, dunnit?

Man arrested for allegedly stealing Emmett Trapp family fund donations

Be afraid! Minions of Dr Evil seen in Preskit

George Soros is here and determined to take over the world! Or at least a few nice luncheons and rallies.

Responding to today's ToT, this afternoon I attended a little rally on the Triangle, which I learned was the first event organized by a new local group affiliated with Moveon.org. With between 35 and 50 people ranged around the circle, several speakers preached to the converted as passing motorists responded to the colorful signs-on-a-stick (anything is better on a stick, don't you think?) with honks and thumb-ups.

Following up on the opinion piece, the main topic was the influence of corporate interests and money on our electoral and legislative processes. The speakers were earnest, but claimed no expertise on the issue, and I felt better informed about what they have in mind and inspired by the ToT than by the speeches. Note to Moveon: waving signs at cars is OK, but you'll change a lot more minds by engaging people who aren't already in your camp.

In the course of his talk, Bill Swahlen admitted that the credit for the ToT should go to BHS history teacher and coach Jon Vick, seen previously on the opinion page here and here. Jon told me he's taken some hits for speaking up, with people questioning his qualification to teach because they don't agree with his political opinions, hence the passing of the credit. I'd just like to encourage Jon to speak up more and consider greater involvement in politics. Our community needs more committed, articulate, energetic and personable leaders like him.

Ken Hedler was there taking names and notes, so look for a Courier report on the rally in the days ahead. I saw no other media people.

Editorial: GOP primary not about only illegals

Today the unnamed Courier editor asserts that "Candidates who take political advantage of immigration by neglecting other issues are as dangerous as voters who do the same thing." I agree, but there are two ways to look at this piece.

The first is to take it at face value. The editor would like to move the public discussion off its focus on immigration to more important things. This echoes the response of Senator Steve Pierce to the first question in last Wednesday's candidate forum. The entire editorial could be read as a rewrite of the senator's 90-second answer.

On the other hand, candidates taking political advantage of the phony immigration issue and neglecting others are following the standard GOP playbook this year. Could it be that the editor is saying, "most GOP candidates are dangerous"? Given the Courier's history, I rather doubt this would get through the editorial board.

The nagging question is why the Senator and the editor would try to soft-pedal being on the right side of what the Rs see as a 70+-percent positive issue among the public at large. Why not lean into immigration as a sure winner? How can the editor write, "immigration is hardly the lead dog in a pack of issues," when that is obviously untrue in terms of real political rhetoric?

How about this:

Saying the right things about illegal immigration is necessary to winning the R primary (the rightward version of political correctness), so every R running for a seat is saying those things, which negates the value of the issue in the primary. If everyone's saying it, there's no differentiation among candidates. Looking past the primary, the zealotry over the immigration issue becomes a negative in attracting moderate voters (and there are a lot more of us with serious concerns about how this is shaking out than the R polls suggest). So ramping down the rhetoric at this point and pushing the real nutbars into the closet until after November is a canny move politically.

So ultimately I agree with the editor that immigration-happy candidates are dangerous. But I'm guessing the editor is saying this for different purposes. Illustrating the piece with the GOP logo is a hint.