Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dirkus Circus, Love Children, Right-Wing Social Engineering, and Ska2oosh!

kaytiethelion called me out in the comments to my last post for not posting frequently enough. First of all, that's the kind of complaint I love to hear. It's so much better than "Quit your bloggin', you loser!" Second, she’s right. I should be more regular in my posts. I could post the kinds of detritus that ends up in my tweets or Facebook status updates, but that’s not really the style I want to use in this space. Twitter is for microblogging. I want this site to be for longer pieces. Sometimes they’re too long, I admit. I call that “macroblogging.” The problem is that I'm trapped in a kind of choice paralysis; what to rant about this week? There are so many great topics.

For one thing, when is it okay to root for an unstoppable German machine vs. a group of united allies? When that machine is Dirk Nowitzki, and those allies include a guy with his initials tattooed on his arms and the phrase "Chosen One" on his back.
As I told my uncle, a Dallas resident, I usually don't root for teams from Texas (the state that gave us both Dubya and Dr. Phil), but I can't help but admire the Dirkus Circus, and you've gotta' love Jose Barea, the five-foot tall Puerto Rican who is tearing up guys twice his size on both ends of the court. I rooted for Miami the last time these two met in the NBA finals, because D-wade was only in his third year in the league and was already a joy to watch. Now I'm old and I want Jason Kidd (who is about to start collecting Medicare and is blocking shots and hitting 3s better than ever) to make being old and bald halfway respectable again. Oh, and as much as Dirk is putting on a clinic on the court, he's also schooling everybody inside and outside of the NBA on humility, something that's in short supply when too much talent crowds it out in South Beach. Go Mavs!

But I'm not going to blog about that.

Not when there's an absolute rash of political sex scandal bursting out everywhere. DSK (nicknamed "The Great Seducer" in France, a country that really should know a thing or two about that) has shown that his seduction techniques leave a bit to be desired. Maria Shriver has learned that standing by your man when serious allegations come out about his sexual behavior can sure come back to haunt you when that kid at your son's birthday party has an Austrian accent. And John Edwards is learning that cheating on your wife while she has cancer might be a bigger political no-no for Democrats than Republicans (right, Newt?) but using campaign funds to pay to keep it a secret is a bi-partisan violation of the law. Oh, and we're all learning to KEEP IT IN YOUR TROUSERS! It does beg the serious question, though. Does the need for ego gratification that drives these guys into politics compel them to reach out and touch someone just because one wife seems a bit bland compared to crowds of adoring fans chanting your name, or is it the kind of narcissism that leads them to believe they can do a good job telling lots of people what to do that also makes them think they can get away with any behavior, not matter how unethical and illegal?

But I'm not going to blog about that.

Why not? Because the tabloid spectacle of love children is a distraction from the election that is starting to cohere on the Republican side of the fence, and there are some genuine policy issues that are rising to the surface there which may change the political landscape for years to come. Way back in 2010, the Republicans made great hay about the fact that Obamacare would make changes to Medicare. This freaked-out Tea-Partiers who were concerned that having a socialist in the White House might threaten their government-run defined benefit insurance plan. Enter Paul Ryan, who proposed a plan that would flip the defined benefit plan into a defined contribution plan, and one that would not keep pace with medical inflation. Oops. Well, 2010 was a long time ago, so maybe they forgot how much mileage they got out of that attack. Surprise: The Democrats didn't. When they saw that a question about how a candidate WOULD HAVE voted on the Ryan Plan sunk her in a New York congressional election, they quickly put the Ryan Plan to a floor vote in the Senate so that every Republican has had to take a stand on the plan. Oh, and the Republicans can't just run away from it. Newt Gingrich generously demonstrated why not by calling the plan "right-wing social engineering." This is what we call a Kinsley gaffe; the accidental utterance of a politically unpopular truth. The beating Gingrich took probably pushed Republicans to vote for the plan, and the beating they'll take for that will be even more unpleasant. The lesson both sides are learning: Don't mess with Medicare. Even if it's unsustainable and will bankrupt us all, you let it slide. Heaven help us.

But I'm not going to blog about that.

Not when Sarah Palin may re-enter the race. Can you imagine the possibility that someone who doesn't really have a handle on the issues but loves attention would tease the country with the prospect of running, eat up tons of airtime, then pull out at the last minute and reap huge financial rewards via all that attention for not really doing anything at all? Well, Donald Trump may be out of the race, but Sarah Palin seems like she might be in. She's moving closer to her daughter, but that means she's also moving closer to an airport, which, of course, means she's going to run for president. It's hard to predict which Republican nominee will lose to Obama in 2012, but a Palin entry would sure make the nearly inevitable defeat a lot more entertaining to watch than a contest between Pawlenty and Romney or that other guy or that other guy, so political reporters are drooling. Me, I'm waiting to see just how long she can go before talking to a reporter, live and on camera, who does not work for Fox News. Furthermore, how long will it take before people start to get suspicious about a candidate who believes she's capable of being President but is too afraid to talk to people armed with nothing but microphones and tough questions? And will any of her primary opponents point that out in order to save their own necks when things get desperate for them, or could she make it all the way to the general before Bidden or some other not-the-candidate calls her out for hiding from reality in Reality TV?

But I'm not going to blog about that, either.

Why not? I'm going to bed, because I'm taking my son to see Kung Fu Panda 2 tomorrow, and that promises a level of awesomeness none of these things can hope to compete with.


kaytiethelion said...

Ahhh, finally! Loved the blog! Keep 'em comin'! Have fun with the little one tomorrow, I hear that movie is good!

kaytiethelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benjamin Gorman said...

Kung Fu Panda 2 provided all the advertised awesomeness!

Anonymous said...

This may just be the first time I have been mentioned in a blog...(uncle from Dallas who is really enjoying the Mavericks run--and we hosted the World Series and the Super Bowl, but I wouldn't brag--er blog about that!)

Benjamin Gorman said...

Uncle Kim, I don't know if you saw my link on Facebook today:

Kudos to State Sen. Wendy Davis for prioritizing education! I have to admit, the state of Texas is really impressing me lately. I am starting to think I've judged it too harshly.