The first law of tragicomedies and dramedies is the drama rises proportionally with the level of tension in the story. The comedy does the reverse. [tvtropes]
With the mystery and intrigue surrounding congressional investigations this week, the level of tension has sufficiently risen now to let in the clowns. In observation of the axiom “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice” let us consider the possibility that the surveillance which scared a certain committee chairman to run for cover and cover-up is nothing but comical in nature.
Instead of evil plots, were the wire-tapped participants overheard making embarrassing comments? Were they giggling over the Grabber-in-Chief? Did they make bets on impeachment odds? Was their conversation peppered with n-words and c-words? Were they caught stuffing money in their pockets like Chuckles the clown’s “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants?”
Will it be malice or stupidity? How do you think this dramedy, this tragicomedy, plays out?
My recently lost year in Democratic Party politics left me wondering why it was so difficult to demonstrate the need for appeals to white voters, mainly rural and without college degress, who once did and could again back Democrats as the best hope for their economic interest. If nothing else, the numbers in the disastrous 2014 off-year elections proved it. It was baffling to me how so many party leaders dismissed opportunities to make an economic case that bypassed the cultural wedges Republicans have long used to cynically lure these voters away. Some considered it racist to advocate such a strategy.
That’s why the article below from Politico was a bit of an “aHA” moment for me. It turns out Democrats were unwittingly not even finding these voters in their polling. But what’s really sad is that Democrats needed polls at all to see them. It was so painfully obvious to anyone who actually listened to them and made a sincere effort to understand their plight.
For instance, how many national Democratic leaders have seen the all-too-frequent weekends in parts of rural America where folks who can’t afford dental care or insurance show up at a local venue where volunteer dentists pull their teeth? How many even know this is happening? I guess many wouldn’t know unless it somehow showed up in a poll.
There is an old business adage that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In this case, measuring should not have even been necessary to manage this problem.
Politico: “The party didn’t just lose among rural white voters, it may have failed to capture them in its pre-election polling as well.… Many pollsters and strategists believe that rural white voters, particularly those without college degrees, eluded the party’s polling altogether — and their absence from poll results may have been both a cause and a symptom of Donald Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in several states.”
The article quotes a Democratic analyst, John Hagner, who offers a profound point that often skews polls (it’s called non-responsive bias): “The folks who would talk to a stranger about politics just aren’t representative of people who wouldn’t.”
Again, however, the party needs more leaders and candidates who don’t need a pollster to understand these voters, who know in their gut how to win their trust without appealing to their dark side. And those Democrats who don’t get it need to quit assuming that their dark side is all there is to see.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet steps outside the International Space Station at a bit under 5 miles per second. He was outside the ISS for six hours to upgrade batteries (ESA, 1/13/2017).
Watch Live Streaming Video from the International Space Station
The International Space Station – ISS – circles the earth at 240 miles above the planet, on the edge of space in low earth orbit. It only takes 90 minutes for the weightless laboratory to make a complete circuit of Earth. As the Space Station passes into a period of night every 45 mins video is unavailable – during this time, and other breaks in transmission, recorded footage is shown. Track its current location here.
How does a nation misplace a trillion-dollar war that’s been going on for 16 years, even as the Pentagon asks to add more troops to the nearly 10,000 still there — and where Russia is reportedly planning to get involved to make matters worse?
We just forgot about Afghanistan. It barely makes the news. Trump doesn’t tweet about it. Political and military officials seldom talk about it, perhaps because it’s a failure nobody can fix.
When I go with my Dad to the local VA Medical Center for his frequent appointments I see many young guys wearing caps or jackets marking them as Afghan War vets. I wonder what they think about their sacrifice, what was it for? I never ask, of course, because we all know the answer, and just in case they aren’t thinking about it at that moment I wouldn’t want to remind them.