Levy Trump and Cecil. No, it’s not a law firm. No it’s not a children’s book. How today’s news cycle obsessions can become tomorrow’s forgotten story. What is worth your time? From MH-370 to Ebola today’s lead story is tomorrow’s forgotten junk, to be thrown out with the pizza box from last week, and the recycling. Today’s obsessions include a lion who has attained personhood by virtue of a name and a graphic demise at the hands of a opportunistic hunter, who happens to be a dentist from the suburbs of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and a political candidate who is the leading republican, according to the polls. You’re not allowed to criticize Trump, or you’ll be blocked or shouted down. Fortunately for those who support the New York real estate and casino developer, former TV reality show host and purveyor of Miss America and Miss Universe beauty pageants, there is no criticism of the candidate himself. Oddly enough, people who claim the polls are rigged, also claim the polls show Trump to be the best chance for Republicans to win the 2016 presidential race. Yes, people are making wild claims about Trump’s potential for success. If republicans and the country wants him, fine. But let’s take a look at polling, political polling and the foibles of making predictions about a presidential race which is yet to gel. Not only are there fifty state primary elections or caucuses to get through, there are actually fifty state elections that make up the Presidential election itself. What about Trump as a third party candidate? Minnesota’s Jessie Ventura is offered up as an example. How does one state’s gubernatorial race in the 90’s predict a win for ‘The Donald’ in a three way presidential race? Does it? What about Ross Perot’s experience in the 1990’s. The media spurs uniformed speculation driven by polls that cannot and do not predict Trump’s, or anyone else’s performance in an election more than a year from now. It’s time for a frank discussion about political polling and its limitations, aside from allowing Cable TV news the opportunity to show graphics and charts and make baseless announcements about front-runners and ‘winners’. As far as Republicans are concerned, no matter who is nominated it’s going to be very tough to build a winning election organization with people who are frustrated, angry and scared of the future, and who have not demonstrated an ability to organize, work with each other, or get out the vote in the recent past. Republicans seem to be looking for a personality to lead them out of the wilderness, rather than take it upon themselves to start solving problems and present a viable agenda. Not a good omen for the 2016 cycle. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.
Summer Walk and Talk. The rules of the Walk and Talk Podcast are: No prep. No Planning. You walk. You Talk. Slash and Burn, Walk and Talk. At the peak of the summer it still doesn’t feel right to get down and dirty on the political front. There’s still a sense that the topography of the political battlefield will change at some point, and it will be back to the drawing board for the scores of presidential candidates, who are as plentiful as the corn growing in those Iowa fields. Besides, there’s Sturgis, air shows, local summer celebrations, fireworks, kids playing on the lawn, charcoal fires for steak and so…much…summer. Yet, if you look carefully, the sun has changed its angle slightly and in Minnesota at least, we’re just a month away from the State Fair. Every year, at some point during the state fair, the weather changes and we all know what that means. Fall is coming. So if you’re tweeting and face booking about one of the presidential candidates, watching the 24 hour cable channels religiously, hanging on every word of every shouting match, you’re missing real life going on. While people engaged in the business of politics are busy … the average person in the United States couldn’t care less right now about the latest spat between Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, or Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Big stories of the summer? The Planned Parenthood video is a doozy. The Chinese stock market collapse (which is being called their 1929) could become the black swan story if the perfumed princes in Beijing can’t get control of things. A calamity like this in Asia would have far reaching implications economically in the US and the world, and in terms of foreign policy. Commodity prices seem to be in a long term slump, and yet some media outlets are talking about inflation. Still, all these potential game-changers are just storm clouds in the west, on a warm summer night. A little lightning on the horizon, and maybe some rain and thunder by dawn. The romance of summer supersedes all that political noise, and it’s a good thing. Seriously, who doesn’t prefer the soft hum of summer twilight to some gas bagger on a podium? Sponsored by Baklund R&D.
Simple Solutions. On the campaign trail, it all sounds so easy. ‘Take the fight to ISIS’, ‘Take from the rich, give to the poor’, ‘Make America Great Again’, ‘Fix the economy!’, and so on. Lots of barnstormers mostly rolling through Iowa hayfields, standing at picnics, throwing out bromides and quick fixes for whatever ails the nation. With so many politicians, suddenly all our problems seem, well solvable. We want our foreign policy ‘problems’ and economic problems solved as quickly as we reorder a latte, or another salad with the right dressing. When things don’t work smoothly, we throw a tantrum and demand fixes right now. In political theater we want sound bite solutions and we want problems solved preferably before the end of the show. There isn’t anything a podium pounding politician or talk show host can’t solve, dammit! Just send in the special forces, give everyone a tax cut, shut down the border, open up the economy, light up the Russians and the Chinese and well, make American Great Again. Right? The latest ‘truth tellers’ don’t really propose any solutions, they propose more rhetoric. Who’s to blame? We are. We don’t want to know how complex our problems might be. We don’t want to know how difficult they are to solve, when it comes to corralling 435 Congressmen, 100 Senators, countless cabinet secretaries, experts, lawyers, Supreme Court Justices, and the media. We just want someone to tell us what we want to hear. Send in a few hundred ‘special forces guys’ to take care of ISIS, or a B-1 Bomber. Fix the economy. Cure the moral character. And shut those liberals up while you’re at it. What this country needs is a businessman! What this country needs is a General! What this country needs is (fill in the blank). What this country needs is a grown up electorate. Given a steady diet of onion rings, Fox News (or CNN), or the Daily Beast and Buzz Feed, what are the chances that will happen? Sponsored by X Government Cars.