Balancing Power

As much as I hate to admit it, maybe Peggy and Joe have a point here. Perhaps Obama would actually be better served, politically speaking, by an overtly hostile, antagonistic Congress.

To flip sides and revision this into a Canadian context, wouldn’t most people agree that a minority government better represents the will of the general electorate rather than a majority with virtually unchecked powers?

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16 Comments

Filed under Obama Administration, US Politics

16 responses to “Balancing Power

  1. Ti-Guy

    Any poll nowadays that does not factor in what the public actually knows about what the government is doing is completely worthless. And that’s not a question the mainstream media likes to address very often, since the ignorance is largely a factor of their lousy reporting. When it does, it insists that it’s because the parties are not doing enough to educate the public, which means they need to buy spend more on political advertising which benefits…the mainstream media and its army of marketing, communications, and political consultants.

    A fantastic scam, when you think about it.

  2. I’d certainly agree with that. It’s a precious bit of duplicity on the part of the media.

    How about they do their jobs and actually inform the public rather than simply act as stenographers and compliant microphones for whatever propaganda is issued by politicians. Ah, but then they might be accused of “bias” in their reporting if they were to editorialize, so it’s kind of a Catch-22 for them.

    Somewhat related, check this out:

  3. Ti-Guy

    How about they do their jobs and actually inform the public…

    Inform and educate (two slightly different aspects involved in learning).

    That doesn’t fit the commercial paradigm I outlined above. It’s not necessarily intentional (I don’t have a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise, except for the observation that “journalists” are the least open to criticism of any group of professionals I can think of, owing largely to an absence of enforceable professional standards), but more a paradigm we’re trapped in. When you try to escape it, all your left with is poorly-resourced independent media and, let’s face it…a style of media that most people don’t have the attention span for.

    It’s taking a long time for that industry to realise that there is no market in educating people (truly educating, I mean). That’s why we’ve socialised it, for the most part. We could have avoided this situation long ago by insisting media conglomerates, the primary function of which is entertainment, resource their news divisions properly and not try to reduce costs through “cross-platform synergies” and other administrative failures that prize efficiency over everything else. But it’s too late and they’re going from bad to worse; using an uneducated public to drive the news cycle that further lowers everyone’s standards and expectations.

  4. Indeed. And what we have now is largely “infotainment” rather than actual news. The notion of “educating” the citizenry about important issues that impact their lives is relegated to Public TV (PBS, C-SPAN, or here in Canada C-PAC) which garner minimal viewership because it’s “boring” and insufficiently stimulating.

  5. sapphireandsteel

  6. Ti-Guy

    I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who insist that in every other activity, there is no gain without pain; nothing earned if nothing is sacrificed. And yet, when it comes to education people either want it all (riveting, interesting, novel, not too lengthy, etc. etc.) or they won’t value it at all.

    There is of course a way to make education unboring but that has to start in childhood and adolescence. Once you reach adulthood and are used to being entertained your entire life and especially if you believe education is only as valuable as what the market will pay it, it’s too late and it doesn’t matter anymore. And that’s what the data on newspaper and magazine circulation, book sales, television ratings and box office returns are telling us. People no longer value true education and being truly educated no longer matters.

    And remember, I’m not talking about degrees or diplomas here.

  7. Ti-Guy

    Great (and appalling) clip from Current TV, by the way. The only thing worth paying attention to these days in the media is the reporting that explains just how bad it’s become.

  8. S&S — 🙂 I liked the toddler’s response to being told he’d won the completion: “Yeah, big deal.”

    Reminds me somewhat of the old Monty Python sketch that compared the intelligence of BBC programmers to that of giant penguins.

    Speaking of which…

  9. What an odd clip.

    It’s actually quite humbling to watch (or listen to) Mastermind, Brain of Britain and other such programmes featuring know-it-alls with vast storehouses of completely useless information.

    BTW, Lady Penelope’s chauffeur was the ironically named “Parker”.

  10. sapphireandsteel

    I always love the mastermind send-ups

  11. Brilliant.

    More Mastermind fun…

    Compare that to the dreary creatures that show up on American game shows.

  12. sapphireandsteel

    Also, America will never produce a Charlie Brooker…too bad cause they could use one.

  13. counter-coulter

    …wouldn’t most people agree that a minority government better represents the will of the general electorate rather than a majority with virtually unchecked powers?

    RT: That only holds true if the majority truly has unchecked power. Problem is, even with 60 votes, you can’t get the Dems to agree on anything; even things that are supposedly base Democratic issues.

  14. The odd thing about American gov’t is that it’s best when it’s divided. The best periods of US gov’t in my life time were the 12 years Reagan & Bush Sr. were Prez & the Dems had 1 or both houses of Congress & the last 6 years of the CLinton presidency when the GOP ran congress.

    The worst was when one party ran the show in DC: The Jimmuh Carter admin the 1st 2 years of Bubba’s admin & the 2004-06 stretch of Dubya’s presidency.

  15. Mike — Does seem that way, doesn’t it?

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