Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss voter suppression, the worst GOP candidates and the War on Christmas.
1) Are you at all surprised that Republicans are finally admitting they tried to keep blacks and other minorities from voting in the presidential election and what do you think the admission will mean for them next time around?
Bob: Not a bit. Jim Greer confirmed what we've all been talking about. I wrote a column here about what needs to happen next. Specifically, our national elections should be federalized. The FEC ought to standardize the operation and regulation of any election that involves federal posts. The states, and chiefly the states with Republican governments, have abused the privilege of conducting our most sacred civic duty and now we need to take the toys away.
Chez: I'm somewhat surprised but I think the reason for it answers your second question. I honestly can't see them changing tactics next time and I think some are offering up this little confession with the knowledge that it's not going to change a thing. It's a stupid, arrogant gambit, but I also can't be entirely sure they're not right in assuming that they'll figure out a way to get away with it regardless of whether people actually know it's happening. If they have enough people in office at the state level, although they weren't fully successful this past election, they might be able to pull it off over the next couple of years. One thing's for sure: they will not stop. They have to eliminate the power of that voting bloc to stay politically viable so look for more underhanded schemes aimed at doing so.
Ben: I'll be honest - I don't really know what to make of it, so to a degree it was surprising. It's a good thing that some of them have owned up to doing something terrible, and I guess you can kind of call that progress. However, unless the GOP radically changes its political platform it has no choice other than to engage in voter suppression if they want to win. They are facing a serious demographic nightmare going forward as the country changes its ethnic make up, so stopping minorities from voting is the only thing they can do. If they continue to have anti immigrant, intolerant policies that only appeal to angry white males, we'll continue to see voter suppression. So the admission doesn't really mean anything for next time around.
2) Who was the lesser presidential candidate, John McCain or Mitt Romney?
Bob: Wow. That's a great question. I'd have to go with Romney because at least McCain had some integrity buried down there somewhere. Then again, he almost foisted Sarah Palin onto the national stage and potentially a heartbeat away from the presidency, so that draws McCain down by many, many notches. And still, Romney was far worse.
Ben: That's an interesting question Frederic. As a political candidate, Romney was considerably worse. He ran a spectacularly pathetic campaign through the primaries and the general election that only worked because the Republicans threw so much cash at him. Romney did have his moments (the first debate being his finest hour) but he made so many stupid mistakes he will go down as one of the worst candidates that ever attempted to become President. However, I actually think he would have been more reasonable in office than McCain. The Arizona Senator is completely insane when it comes to foreign policy, and while Romney tried to play the hawk during the campaign, McCain genuinely is one. Romney may have talked about getting tough with China and Russia, but I get the feeling McCain would have had no qualms threatening them with real force. Also, the fact that McCain brought on Sarah Palin severely damaged his credibility as a serious leader, and while Romney would have brought in some ideologues, there's no way he would have allowed anyone like Sarah Palin anywhere near his candidacy. So I guess it evens out at the end. Both were terrible.
Chez: I've said this before: Mitt Romney was the worst presidential candidate the GOP has nominated in my lifetime and may very well be the worst candidate at the worst possible time, period. It was shocking stupidity to try to run someone like Romney, but I admit that considering the clown car primary, Romney really was the only choice -- the least of all possible evils besides maybe Huntsman, whom the Republicans were never gonna go for. That said, despite continuing to be a pompous, sneering plutocrat, Romney will likely disappear into oblivion where he belongs. McCain, on the other hand, has proven that he STILL can't get over being beaten by Obama four years ago and has been on a vindictive tear ever since, making him one of the worst EX-presidential candidates we've ever seen.
3) How are you preparing for the War on Christmas? (Me and my family have gathered canned goods, flashlights, a first aid kit, and we cleared out space in the basement we can turn into a shelter.)
Chez: Well, I guess it depends on which side you intend to be on. I, for one, have mounted specially modified anti-aircraft artillery on my roof armed with red nose-seeking surface to air missiles. Each one has "SEASON'S GREETINGS, BITCH" painted on the side of it. I've also stocked the freezer with a bunch of steaks made from the various animals I stole from the local living nativity scene and I plan to torch the giant Christmas tree over at the Grove here in L.A. and replace it with a large pyramid made entirely out of barely legal Asian porn DVDs. This is one war I aim to win.
Bob: I'm preparing for the War on Christmas by acting as a Trojan Horse. My beautifully decorated tree, my nightly holiday music, my total obsession with all things Christmas is merely a ploy to undermine the holiday. So watch out!
Ben: As an agnostic with Jewish and Christian heritage, I'm torn between three worlds making Christmas a very hard time for me. Part of me wants to join the atheists and denounce public displays of religion, the other part wants to kill Santa (after all, we topped Christ, so it makes sense we finish the job on Father Christmas), and the other wants to sing carols and eat turkey. Surely there's some sort of Switzerland when it comes to the war on Christmas where you don't have to take sides?
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