Politics Round-Up August 19 2013 Edition

the past sucked

Cracked reminds us that the world isn’t all that bad, compared to that horrible place called the past.

Paul Waldman of the American Prospect considers the issue of morally compromised art, and the impact on the upcoming Ender’s Game adaptation, in the wake of a piece by author Orson Scott Card comparing President Obama to Hitler. Considering the political leanings of most media types, this is a different concern for conservatives, since there will be more statements on which we disagree with the stances of artists. Although I always saw boycotting a work of art because of the social positions of the artists as something social conservatives did.

But once a piece of art is created, it exists on its own apart from the artist’s intent, not to mention what the artist believed about other matters having nothing to do with that particular piece of art. The more profound a piece of art is, the greater its ability to speak to our own lives, enabling us to find meaning in it that the artist never intended. Card’s ideology isn’t particularly evident in Ender’s Game, and now we’re talking about a movie, not even Card’s book itself but a derivative work created out of the efforts of a few hundred other people, nearly all of whom probably find his views abhorrent.

But still, isn’t there some point at which an artist’s views or acts are so repugnant that you just don’t want to get within a mile of anything they’ve touched? It isn’t hard to think of extreme examples. Let’s say you found out that Justin Bieber had secretly become a Grand Dragon in the KKK—would you still be OK with your daughter putting up a poster of him? What about Chris Brown? Can you hear a song of his without thinking of him punching Rihanna in the face? Because I sure can’t, and I wouldn’t want to give him a dime of my money.

So perhaps there’s a difference between how we judge particular pieces of art and whether we choose to support the artist. When you put your money down, or even when you just make an affirmative decision to take in that person’s work, you’re doing the latter. I read Ender’s Game some years ago, but once I found out what Orson Scott Card’s views are like, the thought of reading any of his other books made me feel morally contaminated. I’m not going to tell anybody else not to read them or not to see the movie, but I just can’t escape that feeling.

Edward Morrisey thinks that the Republican party should look to Governors in 2016, instead of senators like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

Obama Hillary

Chuck Todd suspects Hillary Clinton’s prominence would hurt President Obama. I’m not so sure about that, since the perception that a likely successor will come from the Democratic party will probably help him avoid some of the problems of lame duck presidencies.

Todd and Co considers her strategy.

What’s interesting is that in talks with strategists on both sides of the aisle, there is universal head-scratching over her decision to engage this early. The long campaign didn’t help Clinton in 2007-2008. Short campaigns are always more helpful to well-known front-runners. (See: Booker, Cory.) But if you’re Clinton, you may be thinking that you need to make sure there is no room on your left for another Obama, and it could be why she’s willing to risk her bipartisan political standing so early. Then again, that’s fighting the last war.

Studies comparing intelligence of the religious and the faithless have gotten some attention. It kinda makes sense to me that a decision that requires one to disagree with your family and neighbors weeds out the less intellectually curious. And then the irreligious tend to raise their kids the same way.

Noah Rothman of mediaite wonders if the media is turning Trayvon Martin’s mother into the next Cindy Sheehan.

By 2012, the infatuation that the media had with her anti-war activism had reversed itself. Still a figure of empathy but no longer the subject of admiration, Sheehan became a peculiarity. Losing her son in the war probably ruined her private life, but the media allowed her to scuttle her public life forever. Sheehan was elevated into a public figure in order to advance a cause and, once her value to that cause had been expended, she was abandoned.

It is a sincere hope that Sybrina Fulton does not allow herself to be used in this fashion. Already, the signs are becoming clear that the media is happy to employ the moral righteousness of her loss to advance causes they believe are worthy.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has hinted at a possible presidential bid. Chris Cilizza considers his choices.

Since losing the 2012 race to Warren, Brown has been floated as a candidate in the John Kerry special election (he, smartly, passed), the 2014 open Massachusetts governor’s race and the 2014 New Hampshire Senate race. Any of those races are a better option for him than running for president — if “better option” is defined as having an actual chance to win. We have written and continue to believe that Brown’s best option BY FAR is to run for governor next year, since Massachusetts voters have shown a willingness — or even a bent — to put Republicans in the governor’s mansion.  Brown should think carefully about what race he chooses next; losing two contests in a row is a death knell for his political career.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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