Saturday, July 31, 2010

Media Matters: Celebrities on the Right, Celebrities on the Left

Angles and Rushes; Newts and Mitts & just plain old-fashioned cold, hard, unforgiving silly putty Steele.  Almost as inanimate[no offense intended to the living Newts] between their ears as their noun namesakes tend to be.  Bachman, Boehner or Beck; Rand or Ron; Sarah or Sharrrrron--what do they all have in common besides those trademark Republican easy-to-read EEG graphs?  Aside from meager minds, what they all have in common is celebrity status and their party registrations. Like it or not, they are the superstars of politics.  The man on the street is more likely to know their names than any Democrats still qualified and with any potential for the Presidency in the nation, with the possible exceptions of Hillary and Barack.  Like it or not, in 2010 A.D. America, celebrity matters.
The Republicans have capitalized on this theme much more so than the Democrats for a long time, launching celebrity candidates into extremely high office with no prior career in politics for decades now.  Eisenhower.  Reagan.  The Governator.  Even the late Sonny Bono.  We've gotten Al Franken in, I suppose, but I don't like saying that publicly a whole lot.  Now even famous radio disk jockeys and stand-up comedians like 'head Rush' and 'the Beck stabber' are ruling the party and giving right wing media the ratings they need to propagandize the middle class.
Besides our Secretary of State and the incumbent President, we Democrats have no future national figures of consequence with any name recognition whatsoever(with the exception of Speaker Pelosi and possibly Harry Reid--neither of whom is at all a likely future candidate for Pres. or VP). 
And as we approach this November the danger now is that as the voters approach the polls, the only other Democratic name they'll recognize outside their own state or district will be Wrangling Charlie Rangel, fresh off his Ethics Committee live reality TV show trial.
For the good of his principles and his party, Rep. Rangel needs to step aside for 2 years right now.  Congressman, you've done much good in your career thus far.  Money corrupts everyone at some point in their lives.  The last person to resist its temptation throughout childhood and adulthood hasn't really been visible for 2,000 years or so.  No shame there in admitting it and moving on.  With the election so close an Ethics hearing will certainly impact the election nationwide, and eliminate any chance of passing a Green bill, a jobs  bill for the poor and middle class, keeping the unemployed in unemployment compensation, civil rights progress and more for the next two years at least.  You've lost your Ways and Means Chair, and seniority doesn't matter at this point. 
You've accomplished historic things, and have more personal sway with your colleagues than most.  That doesn't go away.  If you step aside and don't run for re-election this term, in 2012 you will win the nomination and election in your district again hands-down and everyone knows that.  And then you can resume your good works, and if "legacy" is an issue for you, it's the way to take care of that, too.  For the sake of the poor, the disadvantaged, the trod upon and the party, please consider this alternative.
The same week Charlie was 'indicted' by the Ethics Commitee, two other NY state pols stepped up and need to be saluted.  Attorney General Andrew Cuomo got some excellent and well-deserved ink and air-time for his challenge to Prudential Insurance's deceptive profiteering off of the life insurance pay-offs they are supposed to make to the families of teens and tweens in uniform who die for us in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Voters still remember Andrew's father Mario quite warmly. 
And then there is of course the gentleman from NYC, Representative Anthony Weiner who went from city celebrity and cable news celebrity to viral video and principled superstar with one floor speech!  Here are two individuals who we need to advance for the future, big time!  Great people doing great things, and with style, class and star potential.
Here in CT we had such a media romance for decades with Atty. General and inevitable U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal that I felt he had just that kind of future star power until he started publicly confusing legitimate opposition to the Vietnam War and draft avoidance by accepting help from the very good-guy Daniel Patrick Moynihan to get into the reserves, with dodging Viet Cong knives and bullets in the Mekong Delta.  He'll get elected to anything in Connecticut for as long as he lives, no further. 
However I submit that every Democrat in the nation owes Ned Lamont, currently in a primary for Governor here in this glorious blue state[despite being the land of CEO's].  Please remember him beating Lieberman in the primary for Senate 4 years ago and earning the Dem nomination only to have the election stolen by Joe, and all the fits he's caused for us as an "independent" turncoat since.  Ned was able to beat a super popular Senator who is the only CT native to even touch a national ticket in 3 or 4 lifetimes.  And Ned beat him in the same decade that Cheney and Bush stole the Vice Presidency from Lieberman.  Ned's a great guy with clear star power.
The talking heads, pols and anyone who can generate ink need to start developing major leaguers for 2016 and beyond, and grooming minor leaguers for the years beyond that.  Otherwise we may be looking at a Limbaugh/Beck inauguration one January 20th not very long from now.  Peace...

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