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the two parties

A friend of mine recently paid more than a month of her salary for a plumber’s visit. I commented on her Facebook page, jokingly: Is it Joe the Plumber?

This reminds me that, well, Joe is probably not doing house calls any more, since he is supposed to be living off the sales of his book, right? I completely forgot about it and decided to Google “Joe Plumber Book”. I could not find a single result with an announcement with the book being published, rather I got tons of blog entries about the announcement of the book “deal” last November. Fear not. Amazon.com came to the rescue after I wised up and added “Amazon” to my search keywords. For sure, it showed up on the top of the results:

JOE THE PLUMBER: FIGHTING FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM

Is anybody surprised by “American Dream” being in the book title?

And the publishing date is listed as February 6, 2009, but the book is listed as Out of Stock already. Lots of people apparently want to know what Joe has learned from his 15-minute of fame. (Or, has he?)

Granted, I have not read the book. Free, maybe. Definitely do not plan to shell out any dough for this book. Sorry, Joe. Please don’t take it personal. It’s just that all my hard-earned money apparently is going to pay for the bonuses for the Wallstreet Hotshots!

Judging from the reviews though, it is a pretty one-sided book. As a matter of fact, folks expect it to be one-sided, so that Liberals/Democrats will rate the book 1 or less star, and Conservatives/Republicans will give the man some credits for “telling it like it is,” no matter whether the reviewer has actually read the book or not. My prediction? Reviews and ensuing verbal fights on Amazon.com will be more entertaining than the book itself. (Don’t forget to read the comments on the reviews too! Got to love the Internet!)

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My 10-year-old came home with a 10-page homework packet last week, a research report on this presidential election. (Let me not start with the fact that the packet is from 1997 and asks for an example of a printed ad in newspaper or magazine. I don’t remember the last time I saw any candidate spending their money on a printed ad, at least, not in publications that we read at home, e.g. The Economist…)

Here is what I learned:

1. It is not easy to find out what exactly the Democratic party and the Republican party stand for.

We went to both parties’ websites and we ended up frustrated and confused. The “party platform” manifestos put out by both parties read so similar: they both use the same vague, generalized statements to show that they are THE party that will watch out for the little guys, the working American families. Both parties believe in education, better teachers, and the freedom for parents to choose the best education for their children.

I had to explain to my son that nobody will come right out to say, “Oh, yeah. We are going to raise your taxes, and we are not going to do anything about the education system nor the health care crisis.”  You just have to read between the lines.

Here is one great example from the “Republican Party Platform 2008” document:

“It is not enough to offer only increased access to a system that costs too much and does not work for millions of Americans. The Republican goal is more ambitious: Better health care for lower cost.

First Principle: Do No Harm

How do we ensure that all Americans have the peace of mind that comes from owning high-quality, comprehensive health coverage? The first rule of public policy is the same as with medicine: Do no harm.

We will not put government between patients and their health care providers.

We will not put the system on a path that empowers Washington bureaucrats at the expense of patients.”

(By the way, how many people actually read this document?  It is entirely fascinating the wordsmith effort that went into this…)

The GOP certainly did not state that they are against “health care for all” since that, on the surface, will certainly provide bad PR and negative sound bites.

2. The symbol for the Democratic Party has been a donkey since the 19th century:

nast_gop

The donkey has its origin in Andrew Jackson‘s campaign in 1828 when he was called a Jackass, and Jackson, true to his larger-than-life persona, adopted the image of the strong-willed donkey for his campaign. The symbols of elephant and donkey were later popularized by Thomas Nast’s political cartoons, (in which neither animal was portrayed in a positive light, therefore, it’s indeed curious that both parties readily adopted the images!)

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