Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Self-Sufficiency of States?

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Clay Bennett Cartoons – Power Restored

Americans like to complain about and question the role of government. However, when disaster strikes, Americans, who once scoffed at the idea of federal services, are typically the very people demanding federal assistance from government agencies like FEMA.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, works together with state and local emergency management officials to coordinate governmental responses to disasters that overwhelm the resources of local and state authorities in the United States. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, FEMA can provide food, water, shelter and medical assistance for disaster victims as well as longer-term recovery assistance through low-interest loans to businesses and homeowners. FEMA has been involved in recovery efforts following natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, and following man-made disasters, such as the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 and the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Nevertheless, half the country truly believes the government, specifically the federal government, is never the solution and always the problem. Yet, they were silent during the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, the September 11th terrorist attacks, the destruction caused by hurricanes Katrina, Irene, Issac, and now the inevitable devastation of hurricane Sandy. Moreover, the governor of any state impacted by a disaster will only receive assistance if they, not the federal governement, first declare a state of emergency and formally request from the president that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster. Not surprisingly, all governors representing states impacted by the aforementioned hurricanes jumped at the opportunity for federal assistance despite the fact that some have openly questioned the purpose and function of such services in the past.

The above Clay Bennett political cartoon raises serious questions concerning the function of government and federal services. Is government the solution or the problem? Is there any state in the union that is truly self-sufficient?

–TERRANCE MULLINS

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Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on Race in the U.S.

John Sununu’s racial comment on Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama has caused some to wonder if the nation has become more racially divided since Obama was elected in 2008. What do you think?

The Daily Show: Republican Candidate Said What About Rape Now?

Richard Mourdock forgets the first law of fetus club.

The Irrelevancy of Facts

English: Barack Obama at the Fort Worth Conven...

English: Barack Obama at the Fort Worth Convention Center during his presidential campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Dave Delay)

In politics, a campaign strategy is a strategy to communicate a candidate’s platform in order to win an elected position. In a perfect world, candidates running for public office would merely explain to the electorate why they, the candidate, deserve their votes. The campaign strategy would simply be on the merits and the electorate would be well informed on the issues thanks, in part, to an objective and competent news media.

However, it is not a perfect world and the electorate is not well informed. As such, political campaigns heavily rely on the spinning of facts and the spreading of misinformation to win elections. Negative ads and spin doctors (i.e. campaign surrogates) now make up the core of the successful political campaign. Facts are now increasingly irrelevant to both the political campaign as well as the news media.

The result is a campaign agenda to depict Pres. Barrack Obama as a secret Muslim communist-socialist-fascist who not only hates America, but has secret plan to destroy her. Equally, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is portrayed as a heartless non-Christian über capitalist who not only hates workers, but has Machiavellian plans to destroy the American middle-class.

Whom do you blame for the seemingly irrelevancy of facts that has saturated political campaign strategy?

–TERRANCE MULLINS

A Party in the Electorate

voting day in a small town

voting day in a small town (Photo credit: Muffet)

In the final days before an election candidates and their campaigns ramp up their ground operations to mobilize the party-in-the-electorate—the great mass of party faithful, occasional, and cross-over supporters that can lead to electoral victory.  The term party-in-the-electorate is most often used to refer to the base of a political party; likely voters who have time and time again come out to vote for party candidates.  They are the dependable votes that a candidate must turnout on the day of the election, and they are the foundation that must be built upon by the addition of party-leaning and cross-over voters.  As the election nears, candidates will barnstorm as many states, town halls, diners, and stadiums as they possibly can.  Candidate voices will fade and crack and their messages will become more strident, often times revealing the real uncertainty in their voices.

The secret to the presidential election of 2012 will not be determined by the swing of undecided voters as they make their votes, as many pundits have restated and restated over and over again for months now.  Rather, the election of 2012, like most elections before it, will in fact be determined by the turnout of the party-in-the-electorate.  If democrats turn out in sufficient numbers in states like Ohio, Virginia, and even Florida, President Obama will only have to add a respectable number of undecided voters in those states to win an electoral landslide.  In the days after the election pundits will talk about the role of the “undecided” voter in the election, but the final words will eventually turn to women, Hispanics, African Americans, young people, blue-collar white voters and how heavily they showed up in the polls.  If the democratic base stays home Mitt Romney wins—period.  Do your own analysis in the days and weeks ahead.  Watch the news, follow the polls.  The position I have staked out in this blog will be easily tested, and I welcome it.

–DENNIS FALCON

Video Glossary: Primary Elections