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D.C. Partisanship or How I Learned to Stop Being Naïve and Embrace Party Politics

August 1, 2011

As I started to think about something to post I reflected on the many lessons I have learned as an intern in the past 6 weeks. I’ve learned the intricacies of the Metro, where and when to find the best food trucks, and that THOMAS, the Library of Congress’ bill search, is wonderful. However, if I were to boil down my most important lessons it is these: first, I should be much more partisan, second, I really appreciate bipartisanship. Allow me to explain.

Before actually seeing the “sausage” made I used to operate under the theory that I should vote for the “best” candidate. I’d find the one that was closest to me on the issues, but also important were factors like experience, judgment, trustworthiness, personality, and other intangible qualities. Party preference came after all of these factors. This was naïve and mistaken. I’ve learned that, while that sounds nice and maybe one day we’ll live in a happy utopia without partisanship, at the moment all I care about is getting a Democrat in office who will vote the way I want most of the time regardless of if they are the “best” in they way I thought about it previously. This may sound jaded, but what can I say, Washington has taught me to think this way. From the moment I started working here all I’ve heard on any issue that matters to me is, “if the congress were different” or “if the chairman would only call a bring it up for a vote.” The issues I’ve wanted to focus on such as anti-bullying legislation are brought to a standstill by the Republican Controlled House of Representatives. Even if, in theory, some of the Republicans are the kinds of leaders I would have considered voting for in my old way of thinking, now I know better. For example, I’ve now seen first hand how the committee structure is incredibly skewed towards party politics. The chairs of the committees wield immense power and they are hand picked by the party leadership. Unless there is some sort of major change in the way Washington works, it is hard for me to imagine not putting party first in a national election ever again.

I can hear your reaction now, “Wow, that’s incredibly cynical. Surely partisanship hasn’t consumed you entirely?” which brings me to my second and even more surprising lesson, I’m really grateful my efforts with the College Democrats failed. On Election Day 2010 you could find me with the rest of my college dems knocking on doors to reelect a blue-dog Democrat over a Republican challenger. Today, that Republican is one of the more moderate republicans on the hill and is cosponsoring the piece of legislation on which I have been lobbying, the Safe Schools Improvement Act. It is so much more valuable to have his and a few other moderate Republicans on the bill than if he had lost had just another Democrat had signed on. Going to my larger point, it would have been better if democrats had the House, but so long as they don’t I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have Republicans like this one every time I see a staffer’s eyes light up at the mention of “bipartisan support.” I also acknowledge that standing up to party norms is a tough thing to do, and I respect this. I honestly do respect bipartisanship.

I’m so glad I came to Washington. I have learned that this is where I want to work in my future. I’ve learned how much good a single organization and a coalition of partner organizations can do. But most of all, I’ve learned the importance of partisanship. Maybe I can translate this realization into an effort to change the system, make it so those things I used to value, good judgment, leadership, experience, are really what counts; for now, my D.C. lesson is: get everyone I can to vote for Democrats.

A Tale of Two Governers

June 28, 2011

Neoconservatarian Note – This is posted by me because of some reasons preventing Socialistocrat from posting that are quite frankly none of your business. Anyways, ignore my fake animosity and enjoy this article (not written by me) and the awesome alliteration (which is, meta-ly, an awesome alliteration) of the segment title of this italicized part.

 

So I’m in D.C. this summer being an unpaid intern for a super liberal nonprofit
(is anyone surprised) but a lot of my job is blogging. Unfortunately, because I’m
blogging for an organization, I can’t just blindly write my opinion like I do here.
Anyway, I was thrilled on Friday night when the NY State Legislature passed same-
sex marriage. In my opinion this is great, marriage equality is a civil rights issue
and it is embarrassing where we stand as a society on LGBT issues. That said, more
interesting to me was the politics of this whole thing. There was a great article in
the New York Times (a liberal who loves the Times, what are the odds?) about how
Governor Andrew Cuomo muscled the bill through the legislature. This was an
impressive exhibition of political maneuvering and prowess and one that is getting
Cuomo talked about for a potential presidential contender in 2016 (until that sex
scandal happens…you heard in here first). I bring this up because the articles that
mention him as a contender also tend to mention my “great” governor Martin
O’Malley. The thing with O’Malley is I have no substantive policy differences with
him, he’s a good dem and I’m a good partisan. I just always feel like he is an empty
suit. His whole career is made of power climbing and political calculations, and not
the bold calculations like Cuomo just showed. O’Malley is also the catholic governor
of a liberal state that had a chance to pass same-sex marriage legislation. However,
rather than strong arm legislators in the General Assemby, O’Malley took a hands off
approach that, while politically safer, meant the bill failed to get enough support in
the house. I’m not saying he could have passed it, but the governors weight would
have meant a lot and the final shenanigans several delegate pulled to get attention
for their own issues would not have stood if the gov had been breathing down their
necks (can you tell I’m still bitter?).
The point I’m making is read the times piece…

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/

26/nyregion/the-road-to-gay-marriage-in-new-york.html?hp

…and compare these two governors who are very similar on paper but took very
different actions under nearly identical circumstances. God, it feels great to blog my
mindless opinion and not have to be politically correct.

P.S. I keep getting told to be super careful what I post to the internet so I just
want to make a clarification that my nom de plume is meant as a joke in response
to “neoconservatarian.” Not since I’ve had any intellectual thought have I considered
myself anything close to a socialist (except for maybe the Bernie Sanders kind, but
even then, he hates the Fed too much, but I digress…). Just wanted to make it clear.
I am a moderate democrat who goes by the name socialistocrat because I think its
mildly amusing. Just saying…

College Political Science Professors

June 6, 2011

The reason why I’m updating this website after so long is because I was looking through Rate My Professors when I realized exactly what I love in a college Political Science teacher. My guy last semester was like this, and one of my guys next semester is like this too. And I realized that it’s the perfect fit for me, even though I probably would have never thought it at the time. Why Rate My Professors? This quote came up, and it made so much sense.

He tells it how it is, but has a slight liberal bent.

I love it. Love it love it love it. Exactly how I’d categorize most of my Political Science teachers so far. Why do I love it, as a neoconserjkln;aedfsa (such a hard word to spell, and if spell check is going to get it wrong anyway I may as well really fuck it up)? I love it for the same reason I don’t watch Fox News. I could listen to a conservative preach to me about the dangers of the expansion of government and cutting back on spending and be very happy. I’m not getting the most out of college if I do that though. I don’t want to be taught by people I agree with in a somewhat philosophy based course. I want to be taught by someone just different enough to fuck up the notions I have in my head. I know I’m wrong on a couple issues. I have these ideological ideas that are just plain wrong. What I love is having a moderate liberal to reign me in. Someone moderate enough to make sense and not be insane partisan, but liberal enough to disagree with me. That’s what terrifies me the most; arguments against my beliefs that make sense. And, for whatever reason, moderate-liberal college professors seem to be able to do that very well. And I love it. I love being told, “You’re wrong. And here’s why.” And then not being able to respond because I know the guy is right. It fucks me up just enough for me to realize that while in reality I do know a decent amount and have good ideas, I’m not always right. Sometimes the things I believe in the most are complete bullshit. When they’re pointed out to me, I take those moments and try to learn from them. Call me weird, but I remember one time my professor called me out on a point I was making. I was wrong. He told me why, and I realized it. Instead of backpedaling and defending myself I just smiled at him. He got me. It was great. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a crazy hardcore libertarian-conservative hybrid, but anything that destroys my hardset beliefs and ground me in reality is something that I try to appreciate. Believe it or not, it’s part of the reason I like talking with Socialistocrat. We’re different ideologically, but he fucks me up just enough that I learn regardless of whether or not he knows it. We talk politics for fun. We debate for fun. It’s not angry in the slightest; we make more jokes while talking politics/debating than angry faces. He’s one of those people that’s different ideologically that makes just the right amount of sense. And I hate it, but I love it. God damn you, Socialistocrat.

The Blog’s New Direction

June 6, 2011

First of all, I’ve given up on this blog. I’m tired of doing it regularly. I get less than 10 hits a day, 15 if I’m lucky, and I did a lot of work on it. I have other responsibilities, and, for the first time in my life, recognition that there aren’t enough hours in the day, and quite honestly I have other things that are going on that are more important. What I’m turning this into is essentially a journal. I’m not out to provide great content. I honestly don’t care if you (the reader) is happy with what I’m writing. I’m doing this for me. If I want to write something, I’m going to write it. A year and a half can go by without me updating this website and I won’t care less. I just like knowing that this website is here. For me. So that when I decide that I want to vent, or something comes out that I must share with the world, I can fulfill my selfish desire. So yeah. That’s the direction that the blog is taking. Feel good about it, feel bad about it, whatever. I am officially doing this for me. Posting probably won’t be any more regular, but I’ll feel a lot better about everything knowing that this site is for my benefit and not yours. First step; never categorizing another post. Clicking categories used to piss me off so much. It seemed like such a waste of time. So no more of that. Yay.

MITCH DANIELS IS AN ARAB

April 25, 2011

I cannot believe I’m posting now

For one thing, I am the most busy academically I have ever been. I have sooo much I should be writing and yet I’m not. Additionally, in the last few weeks I’ve heard Keith Olbermann, Karl Rove, and Dan Savage speak and not posted about any of them. And yet, I feel like I want to procrastinate more and writing a quick post on Mitch Daniels is the perfect way to kill time.

You see, as a liberal, I currently LOVE the Republican field. Seriously, Donald Trump? Michele Bachman? Rick Santorum? I could not be happier with these choices of candidates for President Obama to smash. However, there is one conservative that keeps me up at night here running scenarios. That man is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Daniels is a smart, conservative, popular governor of a swing state. He’s not a joke, he’s an excellent speaker, and he’s one of the only people in the Republican Party smart enough to realize talking about social issues only alienates potential voters. He would be an incredibly tough candidate to fight off.

So why post about this now? Well, news broke that he is, get this, A SECRET ARAB! That’s right, MITCH DANIELS IS AN ARAB! MITCH DANIELS IS AN ARAB!

Perhaps I should explain, Mitch Daniels recently accepted an award from the Arab American Institute. Apparently, unbeknownst to anyone (see: me) Governor Daniels’ Grandparents were Syrian. That’s right, MITCH DANIELS IS AN ARAB!

Now, of course, this shouldn’t disqualify him from being President, however, this is the only stupid thing I have found to pin to him. Other than this, I disagree fundamentally with positions, outlook, and goals but those are substantive issues and have no place in the American political colloquium. So, hopefully this stupid attack will stick and he won’t run. After all, he has to get nominated by Republicans. So in Conclusion, MITCH DANIELS IS AN ARAB!

For more info on Daniels see this

Buy My Shirt

April 13, 2011

No one reads this, but I was randomly looking through the internet and decided to make a blog shirt. So go buy it so I get money.

How Treyarch Screwed Us

March 25, 2011

I’m an idiot. You know that, I don’t have to tell you. But you don’t know why I’m saying it. I’m here to tell you why. Ok, so I was really into the Call of Duty franchise (that makes me a nerd, not an idiot, we’re getting to the good part). I was 6th or 7th prestige on World at War (on the Wii, strangely enough (amazingly fun game despite how much people put it down)) and I got up to Level 70 10th Prestige with about 22 days of playing time on Modern Warfare 2 on the PC (please do not comment on this, I know it’s sad).

Needless to say, when Black Ops was announced I was exhilarated. I was wondering how long it’d take me to get to 10th prestige level 70 again, basically just assuming that I’d get what I expect. And trust me, I had high expectations. But everything I heard pointed toward Black Ops being the best thing to happen to me in my life ever. Tough to live up to? Not in my opinion at the time. Black Ops was going to be fantastic. Anyone in my position agreed. Especially on the PC (I didn’t have my Xbox 360 at the time). We were finally going to get dedicated servers. It looked like Treyarch was actually going to give a shit about the PC for once instead of just ignoring us and focusing on the Xbox 360 version.

Well, then the game came out. Sorry for generalizing, I’m sure some people with supercomputers will disagree with me, but on the PC it sucked. Minimum requirements were well within my range, but nope, 15 frames per second was good for me. For those of you who don’t know, 15 FPS is basically unplayable on a first person shooter. I don’t feel comfortable with under 30 or 40 at a minimum h0onestly.

What happened? Treyarch did four major things that screwed the PC community and really angered me. First of all, they coded wrong. Instead of making a PC game, they made an Xbox 360 game and hastily made a few changes and threw it on the PC to get some more money. I won’t get too technical, but the lazy coding essentially made the game rely on parts of the computer that it shouldn’t, therefore making the game slow. Secondly, more of a personal gripe than anything, instead of saying “We screwed up”, Treyarch blamed the user. “Black Ops doesn’t work on your computer? Get a better computer” was what was said over and over again on various message boards. Instead of blaming shoddy coding and a bad game, somehow I was to blame. The third thing was perhaps the most annoying: reliance on post-release patches. My Playstation 3 friends are probably with me on this one when I say how annoying it is. Instead of releasing a finished game, Treyarch released a half finished game to meet their holiday deadline and basically just decided to download and install updates over the internet as they finished writing the game. Essentially, they gave us a half-finished, half-playable game. Finally, they DRM’d the hell out of it. I got Black Ops for  the PC for Christmas and I got an Xbox 360 for Christmas. I wanted to exchange the PC version (which seriously sucks, as you can tell) for a generally good Xbox 360 version. The problem is Steam. I had to enter a product registration code to activate my game, and now that that code is in the disk is pretty much useless. I can never trade in, redeem my money, etc. And I’m sure as hell not shelling out another $60 to support Treyarch’s failure of a game.

Look, I had this awesome tie-in about how you can relate the timeline of Black Ops to Barack Obama, but seriously, you’re smart, fill in the blanks. I’m too pissed at Treyarch right now to talk about politics. Now excuse me, I have to go download Patch 1.07, run it, see that it didn’t fix anything, and never open the program again until next patch when I will proceed to do the same thing.

 

EDIT (Several Hours Later) – Guess what, everyone. That’s right, I just fixed Black Ops. As embarrassing as this is, go into C:/Program Files/Steam/steamapps/common/ and then right click BlackOpsMP.exe or something along those lines. I have Windows 7 so this may be different depending on what you have, but I went to Compatibility and then checked “Run in 640×480 Screen Resolution”. Graphics suck, but honestly I just wanted to play and now it’s playable and my kill/death ratio is now consistently above a 1.0. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pissed about the above, I shouldn’t have to resort to these kind of tactics, but at least I did it.

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