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THE BUD LITE AND JIM BEAM VOTE

November 30, 2015

THE BUD LITE AND JIM BEAM VOTE

A professor on the internet opines that many voted in 2000 for George Bush because he was the kind of friendly guy you would like to have a beer with, while Al Gore was stuffy and came across as a cold sort.(Apparently the Supreme Court agreed with such assessment, electing Bush in a 5-4 landslide). She entitled her piece “Having a beer with the Commander in Chief” and invited comment. Here, lightly edited, was my response, which I deem suitable for blogging.

I preface my response by noting that George Bush was not yet the commander in chief when seeking votes in 2000 and was unavailable for a beer in any event since he had become a teetotaler at age 40. I saw and heard him say that he was drunk until he was 40 and doesn’t remember much of what happened in his life before then. If so (a necessary qualifier since George is a well-known prevaricator), then such supporters would have been disappointed when he turned down their invitation for a cold one at a neighborhood bar after a political rally, for instance. I further note in passing that George was not the first Republican alcoholic to grace the Oval Office, though to his credit, a recovered one. Richard Nixon and Ulysses Grant were also alcoholics, as was the infamous Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy on the Capitol side, whose committee found that 11 out of every 10 State Department employees were communists. (End of preface)

My response: My measure of a candidate for office is what he or she says they will do to solve the issues of the day and lay out the ways and means of accomplishing the task – no Bud Lite need apply. Until recently, and with a few exceptions, I have always thought that candidates on both sides were sane but perhaps misinformed. I didn’t know that some might almost totally substitute ideology (which requires no thinking) for problem-solving. Oh, sure, Democrats and Republicans were to some degree ideological, but when pressed and not allowed to dodge answers they were passable pragmatists. They rarely complained of moderators’ questions during debates and even more rarely slandered their opponents for nomination.

However, I am now in double whammy territory as some of the Republican candidates are demonstrating both a loss of mental acuity and a total substitution of ideology for discussion of the issues and how they are to be solved. I have blogged before that when the candidates are not discussing the issues and their take on solution of them that the voters are being cheated. I reiterate that here.

For instance, I haven’t the faintest idea of what Trump or Carson or for that matter any of the Republican candidates propose to do about the nation’s infrastructure and (assuming they are going to do anything at all) how they plan to pay for it. I have no idea of their views on taxation and regulation other than to hear them say taxes are too high and that Wall Street banks and corporations are over-regulated. I have no idea of what they are going to do about “carried interest” and how they are going to explain how Romney used that gaping loophole to pay only a 13.7 tax rate on 21.7 million dollars in income for the taxable year 2010, a rate the gardeners who cut the hedges on his estate(s) surpassed on their meager incomes. Are they going to expand it?

Are they going to repeal Dodd-Frank or chip away at its provisions as they are doing currently, hanging a repealer of this or that provision of that Act to a must-pass spending or some other “dirty trick” apple pie and motherhood legislation? The Republican candidates are cheating voters with their digs at one another, outright fabrications and complaints about moderators. None of such inane chatter has anything to do with real issues of the day such as wage inequality, the environment, trade matters etc. All voters of whatever political stripe are cheated when “debates” are just bragging and slandering sessions unrelated to discussion of solution to the nation’s many problems foreign and domestic.

Having a beer with one of such candidates and perhaps sharing a funny joke is in my view no substitute for hearing just exactly how any candidate of any party proposes to steer the ship of state, and if they think the moderators’ questions they are complaining about will not allow them to pull a Lakoffian reframing, they should look at a list I would provide – then they might have something to complain about. GERALD   E

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