Saturday, April 26, 2008

On Election Hiatus

Dear Fellow Founder-Stalkers,

We noticed that our posts were more and more frequently about the 2008 Presidential election and less and less about proper founder stalking, so we joined a group blog that allows us to discuss more modern-day issues without sullying our reputation as an unimpeachable founder-stalker. We shall resume founder stalking after the election, or whenever we feel like it.

Please read Political Cotton Candy for now.

And don't cry darlings, we'll be back soon.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Did You Hear That Obama Actually Won Texass? We Wonder Why Not?

Dear Fellow Founder Stalkers,

Behold, the CNN Election Center Results for Texass' March 4, 2008 Primary AND Caucus. As you know the Texass Two-Step allocates 2/3 of the state's delegates for the primary vote and 1/3 for the caucus vote. Texass has (sortof) finally finished counting up the day's votes and Senator Obama has emerged victorious!

Senator Obama 99

Senator Clinton 94

We have not seen this much reported in the news, so we thought that we would draw your attention to these facts. Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bush-Clinton Oligarchy

Dear Founder-Stalkers,

Have you ever thought about the fact that from 1988 to 2008 the President of the United States has been named either Bush or Clinton? That is twenty years of two families dominating the presidency--twenty years! Let's look at the definition of an oligarchy, shall we?

Oligarchy (Greek Ὀλιγαρχία, Oligarkhía) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers). The word oligarchy is from the Greek words for "few" (ὀλίγον óligon) and "rule" (ἄρχω arkho). Compare with autocracy (rule by one person) and democracy (rule by the majority).

Yes, dear Founder-Stalkers, there are important differences between an oligarchy and a democracy. When the same two families dominate the presidency, then we can say that our political system is the rule of the few, not the rule of the majority. With the presidency controlled by two families and with the consolidation of political power into the Executive Branch that we've seen over the past twenty years, our government has become less majority rule and more oligarchic rule. For the past twenty years--a generation--we have allowed the same two families to control our government. If we saw another nation allow two families to dominate their politics, then we would not hasten to call that nation an oligarchy. But, when we look at ourselves we somehow still think that we still live in a democracy. How strange, we think. Of course, we know that many of our leaders have been born to privilege and have been somehow distant relations, but we believe that our current oligarchy is different in kind and we fear the effects of an entire generation (current college students were born between 1986-1990) that knows no other president than either Bush or Clinton.

Many of the Founders were concerned with the question of how to limit political family dynasties. GW was the perfect choice to be our first president many argued, in part, because he did not have a son and thus would not be allowed to set up a hereditary president-monarchy. John Adams was feared on account of his politically active son, JQA, and the family was often tarred with the "monarchist" label by politicians of both the first and the second generations. Since the Adamses we've had other important political dynasties--the Harrisons, the Roosevelts, and the Kennedys--but, none of these family members ruled back to back like we've had recently. In fact, we've not had two families so completely dominate American politics since the Hutchinsons and the Olivers divided all of Massachusetts Bay Colony's political offices between them--and, we know what happened to them.

Tommy wrote a letter to Gerrymander on January 26, 1799 when he was hoping to become president that pretty well sums up his political principles and pointedly denounces hereditary office holding:
I do then, with sincere zeal, wish an inviolable preservation of our present federal constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the States, that in which it was advocated by it's friends, & not that which it's enemies apprehended, who therefore became it's enemies; and I am opposed to the monarchising it's features by the forms of it's administration, with a view to conciliate a first transition to a President & Senate for life, & from that to a hereditary tenure of these offices, & thus to worm out the elective principle.
We understand that Senator Clinton, and indeed one day Chelsea Clinton and Jenna and Barbara Bush, have the right to run for president under our Constitution. We understand further that if the people choose them, then these Clintons and Bushs are justly the President of the United States. We just wonder if this kind of oligarchy is really in the best interest of the nation.

M.O.W. believes that when Senator Obama argues that Senator Clinton represents "politics as usual," that this might be a part of what he means.

What say you, Founder-Stalkers?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

M.O.W. Causes Controversy!

Dear Founder-Stalkers,

Our last post on our experience at the Texass Two-Step and our reflections upon Senator Clinton's negative campaign strategy, which we called the "politics of alienation," has caused quite a stir over at The Rhetorical Situation. We are trying mightily to come up with something clever to say in response to all of their important points, but in the meanwhile, we thought that you might enjoy listening in/being a part of the conversation.

P.S. Our dear friend forwarded us the above picture as a t-shirt for sale around the interwebs. We found it very wrong, obviously, but yet kinda funny, and perhaps apropos to this post in an earnestly ironic kinda way. Please don't hate on us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Obama Beats Hillary on Patriotism

M.O.W. voted twice for Senator Obama yesterday. The first time we used one of those new-fangled electrified machines and the second time we signed our name to a list. We have to admit that we had never caucused before now--we are relatively new to Texass, after all. We found the caucus slightly disorganized, but we believe that it only appeared disorganized because most of the people there had also never been to a caucus before and we none of us quite knew what we were doing. Thankfully there were a handful of folks there who had been doing the Texass Two Step seemingly for decades and they kept things organized.

We waited in line outside of our polling place and Founder-stalked for a while (was Jimmy Buck really the worst president or has GWB out done him in suckyness, we wondered and discussed with our line colleagues), then we filed into our church polling place (most polling places seem to be churches in Texass, they being in such abundance) and stood around for a while. There was an awkward moment when the dozen or so Republicans outted themselves and were asked to hold their caucus elsewhere. Then once the Republicans had removed to another location we Democrats got in line to sign our name and declare our candidate. After so doing the votes were counted (and witnessed by second parties--no shenanigans here!) before the Chair made his announcement:


Now we divide up Clinton supporters on one side and Obama on the other and we elect our County Delegates (M.O.W. is proud to say that we will represent Senator Obama at our county convention later this month--step one in our master plan to get to go to the DNC). After a few resolutions were proffered from the floor and many handshakes and congratulations were exchanged we Democrats parted the scene to watch how the rest of the state(s) voted in their own precincts.

As you would expect, M.O.W. enjoyed our time at our caucus. We love being among the politically active people. We love when old, young, white, black, brown, rich, and poor come together to act politically. We saw that they who caucused were respectful of one another, interested in politics, hopeful for the future, angry about the past. We talked, laughed, stood, and sat together. We acted together to make decisions.

We formed a community last night--however briefly--and we knew it.

We shared a lot of information and opinions. We talked, in particular, about why we supported Senator Obama and how we felt when we were told that we were mere members of a herd that did not know rhetoric from reality. As you can imagine, our fellow caucus members were a wee bit sensitive about this question.

Once we returned home and turned on the news M.O.W. quickly lost the afterglow of our political community building experience. 3 AM phone calls. All rhetoric. Unprepared. No plan. Meetings in Canada. Ug. It seems as though HRC would win Rhode Island, Ohio, and Texass and that she would do so by nasty and negative invective against our hero.

After our experience at the Texass caucus we wonder about the wisdom of HRC's choice to try to win the Democratic nominee at all costs. As we have already discussed, rhetoric is nothing more than a tool of language; rhetoric binds a community together; rhetoric allows us to avoid violence. They who critique rhetoric are really critiquing the people because they are implicitly arguing that the people do not know right from wrong, true from false. They who critique rhetoric presume that the speaker is a manipulator and that the audience has been easily manipulated. The good folks that we spoke to at the caucus last night were very aware that the criticisms of Senator Obama's rhetoric were actually criticisms of them and they were hurt by them. They defended their choice, they defended their right to choose, they defended their judgement.

Senator Clinton's attacks on Senator Obama put the citizens on the defensive as much as they put Senator Obama on the defensive.

And M.O.W. wonders at what cost? Senator Clinton is squandering the peoples' opportunity to unite the nation and re-invigorate the political process and she is so doing for her own benefit at the expense of the people and the nation. We would remind you, dear founder-stalkers, of the founders' original understanding of patriotism. According to Henry St John Bolingbroke, from whom the founders learned about patriotism, a true patriot would defend the the peoples' liberty by defending the constitution, would reject party and faction, and would seek to unite the nation behind one vision so that all could work toward the common good. The patriot did not do any of this for her own benefit--we must never seek power for our own sake--but, rather the patriot acts for the good of the people.

We ask, dear fellow founder stalkers, by these criteria who is the patriot? We believe that it is clear that Senator Obama alone possesses true patriotism. One candidate is a war hero, yes, but that is not the same as being a partriot by Bolingbroke's (or the founders') standard. Another candidate is a party hack, a policy wonk, who claims that her experience with her party gives her the credibility that Senator Obama lacks. Senator Clinton is mistaken. Her experience makes her a part of the problem, not the solution. The true patriot rejects party in order to unite, Senator Clinton embraces party in order to divide.

And divide she will if she continues these attacks on Senator Obama and the people. She cannot divide Senator Obama from his supporters without alienating them from the political process. Alienated voters do not vote. If Senator Clinton thinks that she will defeat Obama with negativity in the primary and then re-gather together his constituency to support her in November, then she is seriously misguided.

Alienated voters do not vote. And Senator Clinton is practising the politics of alienation.

As we witnessed in our conversations at the caucus last night the people are very aware that they are being insulted by Senator Clinton, the media, and the Republican Party (this is the company you keep Senator Clinton?). They are tired of politics as usual. They want to believe that we can make a difference in politics and improve all of our lives. Calling the people stupid followers of empty rhetoric is a failing strategy because it will only alienate those Americans who are excited about politics for the first time in a long while.

All of the pundits last night urged Senator Obama to find a way to respond to Senator Clinton's attacks while still staying on message as the uniting candidate who stands for hope, change, empowering the people, and the end of politics as usual. M.O.W. believes that his strategy is clear:

Senator Obama must draw from the founders' understanding of patriotism to win this election.

Senator Obama already behaves as Bolingbroke described the Patriot. He already seeks to protect the people's liberty by defending the constitution, he already rejects party and faction, he already seeks to unite the nation for the common good. He needs to stay on message and be more clear about why Senator Clinton is NOT a Patriot and why her attacks on him only prove precisely how far away she is from the founder's ideal of patriotism. In other words, Senator Clinton's negativity needs to be turned against her to show that it is precisely the thing that makes her unworthy of our trust.

Senator Clinton stands for politics as usual, Senator Obama stands for patriotism