Monday, March 23, 2015

Why Conservatives Are Scared of Jeb Bush

Conservative Republicans claim that if Jeb Bush gets the nomination for President, he will lose because he's not conservative enough. They say that he and Hillary Clinton might as well run on the same ticket because there is no difference between the two of them. But what scares Conservatives about Jeb Bush isn't that he's too liberal. What scares them is that he's willing to run as a moderate without trying to appease the conservative base to get the nomination and can win without kissing their butts to win the Presidency. They fear that he's right.

For seven years, Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingram have been saying that the reason John McCain and Mitt Romney both lost to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 is because they were too moderate. I disagree. I think the problem they both had was that instead of sticking to their guns, both McCain and Romney (especially Romney) ran for over a year trying to appease the conservative base and then made a pivot to the middle during the general election. Voters recognized this and we're confused by who they were getting.

The truth is, the 2008 election would've gone badly for Republicans regardless of who was their candidate. A Republican President, Geore W. Bush was residing over two seemingly endless and unpopular wars and both the house market and general economy began to crash in a scope not seen since the Grest Depression. Add to that, a young Barack Obama was touting hope and change, promising a better tomorrow in a way that energized and united Americans not seen in decades. John McCain was probably the only Repuvlican who not only would've done as well as he did but who had an actual shot at winning. Anyone else would've been in for an epic shallaking not seen since Reagan's re-election in 1984. Yet after McCain lost, Conservatives asserted that a "True Conservative" would've won instead of admitting that it was just going to be a brutal election for them.

2012, however, was different. The economy was in a sluggish recovery with most Americans still dissatisfied with the state of the country. Division in Washington was at it's worst, going contrary to Obama's campaign promise of uniting the country and setting aside politics. Obama was weak and Republicans had a shot at unseating him. Yet the Republican primary proved a circus with a revolving door of front runners who each couldn't justify their campaign for President besides "anyone but Obama". The eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, was a moderate Republican who served as governor in a very liberal state. He struggled throughout the primaries to win Conservatives who warned that he wasn't conservative enough. But to get the nomination, he took up far right positions which he then tried to turn back in the general election. He also faile to define himself and his candidacy and sell it to the American people. Through it all, Conservatives weren't sold on his candidacy either. Only when Romney obliterated Obama in the first Presidential debate did Conservatives fully embrace and accept him. Alas, come election night they were all disappointed once again. Obama handily own and the attack dogs were immediately turned on Romney as the same-old line of "a True Conservative would've won" was brushed off and used. The problem with Romney was the perception people had that he was an ultra-rich elitist with elevators for his cars who enjoyed firing people and who wrote off 47% of the country as never voting for Republicans because they enjoy their government hand outs. Ironically, Romney received roughly 47% of the vote. He could've and should've own but didn't not because he wasn't Conservative enough but because he tried having one foot in Conservative ground while also trying to claim the middle. People didn't buy it.

Which brings us to today. Another election is upon us and another Bush is ready to run for President. So far it appears that Jeb Bush doesn't plan to play to the Conservative base by taking up all their positions but instead intends to keep positions which are more moderate. This has led Conservative radio hosts to say that he's no better than Hillary Clinton and that he will lose if nominated. Truth be told, of the possible Republican candidates out there, Jeb Bush is the likeliest to win without pivoting to the right to get the party's nomination. And that frightens Conservatives.

If Bush loses, Conservatives will declare victory that they were right and that 2020 needs a True Conservative. But if Bush wins, he'll prove that a moderate Republican can win without playing to the Conservative base and thus render people like Limbaugh obsolete. Of course, in all likelihood if Bush wins then Conservatives will say they carried him over the finish line by rallying behind him. It was the line they had prepared on Election Day 2012.

The only way Conservatives will learn that their approach is detrimental to this country and ony increasing the divide within our government is for a True Conservative (someone like Ted Cruz) to lose the general election. This will prove them wrong and force the party back to the middle and hopefully help our government to work again.

Of course, chances are that if someone like Ted Cruz does lose, Conservatives won't learn a thing and will continue their pattern of insanity by doing the same thin over and over again to the same results.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Disney Is Genius

In late-2013, the animated branch of Disney released a little movie called Frozen. Said film has gone on to become the highest grossing animate movie of all-time with merchandising galore that can be found all over the place. Even the ABC series Once Upon a Time has introduced the Frozen characters into their storyline. Little girls sing the songs (I've heard them regularly on multiple buses since last winter) and even dress up as the princesses on for Halloween. There's no denying that Frozen is one of Disney's best animated movies in years and has impacted pop culture like none of their other movies have since 1991's Beauty and the BeastA year-a-half after Frozen's release, there is no end in sight for this hysteria.

While watching Disney Jr. with my son Nicky, I recently saw a commercial that I found to be most brilliant. While Disney just recently announced plans for a sequel, they have also done an animated short film called Frozen Fever. The promo I recently watched treated this short as though it was a full-length feature film but also told us the only way to see it. You see, the only way to see Frozen Fever is by going to the theater to see the one movie that it's playing in front of; their live-action remake of Cinderella.

The moment I heard "to see Frozen Fever go see Cinderella only in theaters" I was blown away by the brilliance of this move! It's not customary for an animated short film to get a TV ad but Disney did it while telling us how to see it! If I had a daughter, I knew the first thing she would've said to me is "Let's go see Frozen Fever!" It wouldn't have mattered that we'd have to see Cinderella to do so; all she would be interested in is seeing Frozen Fever. I'm sure that's precisely what Disney intended and is likely what happened. I find this move to be brilliant as it capitalizes on the success of Frozen and makes it more likely that Cinderella will be quite profitable for the studio.

I fully expect that not only will there be further animated shorts spun from the Frozen world, but that they will also be promoted in similar fashion.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nicky in Winter

We've had a good bit of snow dumped on us in the DC area over the past month. Fairfax County Public Schools have closed 10 times since the New Year due to either record low temperatures or snow.

During our last big storm that unloaded about a half foot of snow, Maggie and I decided to bundle Nicky up in his snowsuit and take him into the backyard. The result was less than successful as he wasn't too crazy about his snowsuit. There's always next year, I guess!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bye-Bye Weather Channel

This afternoon my wife Maggie and I came home from a long afternoon at a doctor's appointment for Nicholas, turned on the TV and discovered AccuWeather in place of The Weather Channel. It turns out, our cable provider Verizon FiOS had decided, with little warning, to not renew their agreement to broadcast The Weather Channel. There was little warning unlike last year's well-advertised dispute between TWC and DirectTV.

It's entirely possible that this is merely a negotiating tactic by Verizon FiOS to cut a better deal with TWC (DirectTV went on to pick TWC back up). There are also two other big factors. One; anyone with a Smart Phone, Internet access or tablet can almost instantly look up their current forecast. And two; The Westher Channel doesn't do much forecasting these days.

In recent years, The Weather Channel has tried to stay up-to-date with current American television trends, including reality TV. As a result, most of TWC's programming includes shows about wind turbines, swordfish boats, the Coast Guard and even good miners. While I'm sure these shows would find a respectable home on networks such as TLC or The Discovery Channel, I find that there's little place for most of them on a channel that is primarily about weather forecasting...or was at one point. It's often frustrating to turn to TWC to see what tomorrow's weather holds only to find a four-hour marathon of people digging in a mountain trying to find gold. Of course, it doesn't help that lately it seems TWC forecasts have been pretty awful.

While I recognize the importance of The Weather Channel, I believe that in today's age of information technology they are in danger of becoming obsolete as long as they continue this programming trend. If they wish to stay relevant and not be dropped my cable providers, they should go back to regularly forecasting the weather and do less reality programming. Until that happens, I'm not lamenting the loss of The Weather Channel from our available channels.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Who Shouldn't Be Trusted?

Since President Obama and his administration began negotiations with Iran to dismantle their nuclear weapons program, Republicans nationwide have been critical. They claim that the talks (which include countries such as Britain, France and Russia, to name a few) are a waste of time. They say that all Obama and his people are doing is guaranteeing that Iran will soon have The Bomb. These warnings were recently echoed by the Israeli Prime Minister in an address to Congress (that whole debacle is a whole other issue of it's own). They believe that the best approach is to isolate and sanction and, if need be, bomb Iran. They also say the Iran may not hold to any agreement and should not be trusted.

While there is no guarantee that these talks will work (Obama himself has said they might not), it is better to try and fail then to not try at all. Besides, the Republican approach has proven so successful at preventing Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon! Note: I was being sarcastic.

Unfortunately, Republicans have now taken their objections and opposition of Obama's efforts to a whole new level. Today, a group of Congressional Republicans sent a letter to the leader of Iran "reminding" him of the U.S. Constitution and that any deal needs to be approved by Congress and that any deal is with Obama alone. They went as far as to say that Obama will be out of office in 2017 and that his successor could alter or back out of the deal with the stroke of a pen.

This is a new low for Republicans. Not only are they undermining Obama's efforts, they are also signaling that they would prefer war to peace. In saying that the next President could change the deal if he or she wants, Republicans have declared that we, the United States of America, are the ones to not be trusted and that we will do whatever we want regardless of our word. If these talks collapse in the coming weeks, I wouldn't be surprised if this move by Republicans will have been part of it. They have also all but guaranteed that a vote for Republicans in 2016 is a vote for war. How clear cut of a choice can you get?