The Tilt Left

Young voters keep moving to the left on social issues, Republicans included.

“’This should be an alert to the Republican Party as they think about generational replacement,’ said Elizabeth Bennion, a professor of political science at Indiana University South Bend.

Each succeeding generation of Americans tends to be more progressive than those that came before, Ms. Bennion noted, a trend that potentially poses a long-term threat to the Republican Party’s power.”

One caveat. That more young people vote.

Wake Me October 1, 2012

I follow national and international news closely, but I’ve run smack dab into a Presidential politics news wall. The coverage is way too extensive and speculative.

Constantly changing state and national polls, accusations back and forth, bizarre public appearances, both sides pandering for votes while our serious challenges intensify, soundbites left and right, an army of analysts dissecting every detail, even the debates lack substance.

I’m more cognizant than before of the opportunity cost of following the thirteen month long circus—hours of time down the drain. Life is short, I’m going to tune it out to the best of my abilities and focus instead on my “To Do” list:

1. Decide whether or not to refer to Ron Artest as Metta World Peace.

2. Clean the gutters.

3. Determine whether the Beibs fathered a baby or not.

4. Get the lawnmower serviced.

5. Clean the sink pipes in the Ron (master) bathroom.

6. Teach Marley to ride on the back of the new scoot.

7. Devise a plan to get on this list.

8. Run, swim, and cycle long distances.

9. Distract the offspring, then give away the bulk of their childhood possessions.

10. Take a nap.

Politics Stream of Consciousness

• Just like her opponent, Senator Murkowski from Alaska says she wants to reduce spending and reduce the national debt. And then in the same breath she says she will work hard to maintain all of Alaska’s federal funding because one-third of Alaskans’ jobs depend upon it. And she might win as a write-in candidate. So what she meant is she wants to reduce federal spending in the other forty nine states.

• Newsflash, President Obama is ordinary. The problem of course is that he was an extraordinary campaigner. ARod isn’t supposed to hit .255, Tiger isn’t supposed to be a Ryder Cup captain’s pick, and Meryl Streep isn’t supposed to make bad movies. He’s a victim of unrealistic expectations. I’m cautiously optimistic that he makes the necessary adjustments and steadily improves throughout years three and four.

• In a recent Washington State Senate debate Dino Rossi and Patty Murray were both asked two times if they would raise the minimum age for full social security benefits. Neither answered. Four non-responses. Are any politicians willing to tell constituents what they need to hear and not just what they want to? Why couldn’t Rossi or Murray say what’s so painfully obvious, “Yes, for the well-to-do at least, we’re probably going to have to raise the minimum age for full social security benefits again. More generally, we have to make serious changes to our entitlement programs to have any hope of balancing the budget and reducing the national debt.” I’m sure their non-responses are based upon political science research. By desiring honest, straightforward, specific, succinct answers, guess I’m in the minority.

• Juan Williams has been fired by NPR for comments made on Bill O’Reilly’s show. I met him once in Kyoto, Japan. I agree 100% with this commentary on his firing. As the Quakers say, “That Friend speaks my mind.”

• Get a load of French high schoolers. When I taught high school I struggled to get my students to think beyond Friday night’s game and dance. In contrast, these adolescents are protesting something over forty years down the road, having to work to 62 instead of 60. Talk about long-term thinking. Guess they anticipate hating whatever they’ll end up doing for a living and maybe they already have detailed plans for when they’re 60 and 61.

• Favorite campaign development. . . multimillionaire candidates spending tens or hundreds (in the case of Meg Whitman) of their own millions and still looking like they’ll lose.