Politics and Media Headlines 12/24/08
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Winter Solstice from the South Loop of Chicago!
We're all Cratchits (Editorial, Lexington Herald-Leader)
'Tis the day before Christmas Eve, and someone somewhere is reading or watching the epiphany of Ebenezer Scrooge… But, in this season of slumping 401(k)s, upside-down mortgages and lowered expectations, Scrooge's example of finding bliss by tossing around wads of cash may not be working so well. We, therefore, humbly offer an anti-Scrooge: Bob Cratchit.
This is the year to take a cue from Scrooge's overworked, underpaid clerk, who:
? Was grateful just to have a job, any job.
? Didn't need money, stuff or status to be happy.
? Lived grudge free, even defending his miserable employer against Mrs. Cratchit's reasonable resentments.
? Found pleasure simply in the company of his family and imbued his children with the same outlook.
(And, remember, the Cratchits had no health insurance and a family member who had a pre-existing medical condition.)
So, in this special season, may we all be filled with the easily satisfied spirit of Bob Cratchit, who didn't carry any plastic. And, oh yeah, God bless us, every one.
Bob Cratchit is a symbol of the helplessness felt by the working poor in Victorian England. They were entirely at the mercy of the upper classes. That’s why another Charles Dickens classic came to mind when reading this editorial. It was very much against type for Oliver Twist to have asked for more of the pitiful porridge doled out to him by his supposed betters.
My hope for 2009 is that more of us will be filled with the spirit of Oliver Twist than that of Bob Cratchit.—Caro
George Bailey, Subprime Lender (by Liz Gunnison at Portfolio, thanks to WRhouse at Corrente)
Miserly old Mr. Potter was right: It’s a Wonderful Life hero George Bailey never should’ve given those loans to the likes of Ernie and Bert.
Yeah, definitely George should have stayed in the water and drowned. It's positively un-American to help people.—Caro
Tomorrow rewrites yesterday (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
Tom Tomorrow has completed his highly deceptive review of the year 2008. My response is to the left. Here are a few things that [he] left out:
1. The "progressive" blogosphere's fake outrage over Hillary's perfectly justified RFK remark.
2. The prog-blog embrace of the anti-Hillary "darkened video" smear.
3. The left's repetition of every demented anti-Clinton smear ever leveled by the right-wing press during the 1990s. ("Vince Foster! Vince Foster! Vince Foster!")
4. The left's utter refusal to read Evelyn Pringle's exposes of Chicago corruption, which prove that nearly every time Blagojevich received a "pay to play" bribe, Obama -- by a strange coincidence -- got money too.
Click through for much, much more.—Caro
Obama Won Because of Cold Hard Cash (by pop culture writer Steven Stark)
Conventional wisdom dictates that Barack Obama was swept into office on the winds of change… [T]he press fell all over itself proclaiming the Obama operation as the harbinger of a new, realigned type of post-Internet politics -- able to mobilize a massive network, mostly of the young, at a moment's notice. Turnout was predicted to set new records. In reality, turnout was up, but not by much, and the young comprised nearly the same percentage of the vote they always have. As for Obama's decisive victory? It was about what one would expect from any challenger to an incumbent party running in the midst of a recession and the worst economic crisis in a generation.
Still, the Obama campaign did make political history with an unexpected innovation: it brilliantly used the Internet to convert enthusiasm into money. And that helped make Obama the greatest political fundraiser of all time. Essentially, then, he won the presidency the old-fashioned way, using his vast resources to first wipe out Hillary Clinton and then overwhelm John McCain.
And speaking of all that money raised, since the FEC won’t be looking at the data, how do we know that some very rich people didn’t buy a lot of pre-paid credit cards and deplete them, $100 to $150 at a time (so as to come under the $200 reporting floor)? We really don’t know if people cheated to contribute to Obama. It would definitely be the Chicago way.—Caro
Former presidents named to co-chair inauguration (AP)
WASHINGTON - Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton are among more than a dozen honorary co-chairs of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.
Corporate sponsors pay for inauguration parties (USA Today)
WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama is not taking any corporate or federal lobbyist money to pay for his inauguration, but businesses and their lobbying arms are lining up to underwrite the celebrations surrounding his swearing-in Jan. 20… These gatherings aren't new, but government watchdog groups say they offer a view of the ways special interests can curry favor with politicians. "These are lobbyist-sponsored soirees to have a great time and schmooze with members of Congress and congressional staff," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen. He said many of the events are "inherently unfair" because they aren't public.
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