Open Thread: How Are We Gonna Cover Politics?

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I admit defeat.

I’ve grown up in Washington, DC and the surrounding ‘burbs my whole life.  So the political process ignites all kind of conflicting feelings in me.  While we occasionally touch on political drama here, we don’t really put too much stock in all the dog and pony shows.  I had planned to do one big post like this old one on poverty policy from 2008, and maybe a couple on jobs and economic policy and leave it at that until 2012. But last night’s GOP debate just let me know things are about to get bananas. The guy I was most worried about, Jon Huntsman, appears to be a non-factor since he’s a bit too rational. The bets are apparently on Perry or Bachman or Palin, which is depressing. So depressing that I don’t want to watch another political speech without a drinking game/bingo card in hand.

But it isn’t just that.

Most of the active correspondents are based in the US – our politics are what we report on the most frequently. But our user base has been increasingly skewing international – Canadians, South Africans, and British folks make up a substantial chunk of traffic. And in the post-riots aftermath, it appears that England is sorting out what type of nation they want to be. But conservatives and politicians are dreaming up more and more ways to penalize participants in the riots and more and more folks are pointing to a broken social contract and a lack of confidence in government to steer the nation through this. And, around the world, the aftermath of revolution is in the air. The dust is settling, and people are moving to rebuild their fractured nations.

We aren’t just talking about politics. The decisions happening in the next few years will reshape the world.

So the question is how do we cover it? Where do we even start?

  • dr. diogenes

    It’s critical that you cover politics and this election. We so totally need the voice of people of color, and also people outside the US to talk about what the politics of the US mean. The awful white supremacist crap that underlies so much of the hate-right Republicans, that needs to continue to be thrown into relief. Voices from outside the borders are important because you’re outside the information envelope of the US corporate media (although you have that media empire pushing as it can into your world, and your own state/corporate media problems, still your perspective is very useful.)

  • laprofe63

    Maybe I’m getting too old to be scared, but it’s déjà vú for me. I went through this when Reagan got elected–my first election as a voter and the beginning of my addiction to politics. The double-speak, the pandering to fear of social change, genuflecting the ”free market can do no wrong” bullshit–all of it is the same as it was then (30 years later!). sigh.

    I was certain the country was going to go hell if Reagan got elected, and turns out I was right. BUT, I do think that the bankruptcy of the republicans in terms of new ideas is painfully obvious this time around, or at least new ideas that are at all palatable to the majority of us poor schmucks who work for a living.

    Frankly, I think Paul Ryan will go down in history as one of the indirect causes for the demise of the GOP. It is now obvious to all that in their ideal world all the social safety nets are gone–even Newt G. called it “right wing social engineering” (and his back pedaling did nothing to undo the truth of his words). All that gives me just a little bit of hope that people might be slightly more awake now than they were then (though 9/11 brought about a jingoism that counters that).   

    But, my main worry is the deep and enduring racism that is the foundation and the history of our country, and part and parcel of the current republican party that identifies exclusively with the white, wealthy elite. I do think there are those who hate President Obama on principal and in absolute terms, not just because he is a democrat (as they detest the Clintons) but because he is black. A black family in the White House is, I think, a reason for the continued disrespect of the office that we see in some “tea party” folks. (Anyone who dresses in colonial garb is melancholic for the days of slavery and absolute white supremacy, in my mind.) 

    FWIW, I think they hate Obama even more when he mentions his white family, as he did last night. When white folks start suffering economically, all they can see is how all the brown and black folks are ”using up” resources that “rightfully belong” to them. And that is what scares me. It’s the classic trick used in the 19th century: “you may be broke and suffering, but at least you’re white” to engender solidarity (and win votes) from the uneducated white have-nots (and from anyone identified with the white identity of this country’s haves).

    But maybe it’s just me.

  • vee

    Can I first of all say as a EU citizen who isn’t British/English but has followed their politics very closely (and I’m thinking of moving to London for studies) that the blog post Racialicious had about the riots was one of the most insightful things I read about the riots *anywhere* on the web, including the various, very intelligent and typically worthy UK sources. So if you do want to take the blog to that international direction a bit more, I think it would reach an appreciative audience, for sure.  I have never minded US-focus on Racialicious, maybe because it’s never seemed over-bearing, but on some other blogs it has annoyed me that it’s all US all the time. 

    The way I see it, what with the economy and everything, there is potential to make some very radical decisions that could make the world economy less exploitative of the poorer nations and really control the financial markets whose mistakes harm ordinary people more than the people making those mistakes. I hope something like that would happen, but at times like these I really fear conservatism – not just in US/UK but worldwide, who see the interests of the rich as above the poor/the non-rich.

    And in my own country (Sweden), I fear the economic strife furthering racism and racist paranoia.

  • PatrickInBeijing

    It’s a tough call.  For me, the China bashing has already started.  Except for President Obama, the candidates are all people I would be afraid of in a dark alley, and I would not vote for any of them (my bias showing, but let me be honest about it).  So, I know I am going to vote for Obama, and it would probably be better for my blood pressure if I just ignored the campaign.  But I am a political junkie!!  So, I will risk stroke and heart attack and scream insanely at the screen every time an idiot comes on.  And I will walk down the street gibbering insanely to myself after particulary******whatever**** remarks are made.  (And I am NOT joking).

    What will I tell my students?  I dunno.

    There is going to be a lot of very bad things said very loudly by candidates in the next 14 months.

    How should you cover it?  Hmmm, you could talk only about the real and important issues facing America, but if you do, you will be irrelevant to what is going  on.

    I suggest that you do as much and as little as you can stand and feel like.  Whatever you do will be more valuable (to me) than 99% of the MSM.  But it is gonna get ugly.  I am afraid. 

  • dersk

    Perry, Bachmann and Palin are all playing to the same nutjob constituency. Palin’s not in the race, she’s doing just enough campaigning to keep her job (just like Santorum) and Bachmann has too much of the crazy. It’s really between Perry and Romney, I’d say.

    And why does Huntsman worry you? Because he’s the only sane one in the group?

    • Anonymous

      Precisely. Huntsman felt presidential in a way I haven’t seen from the GOP in a long time. He’s polished and has a decent record – a track record in Utah which I am not familiar with but I have seen some of those outcomes, and ambassadorships under two Presidents.

      He would be someone to actually put work in over. I would have had to do massive amounts of research. But he would give Obama actual work.

      However, what’s MORE frightening is how poorly he is being received by the party at large in favor of folks like Bachmann and Perry. Romney I am still on the fence about, but those cheers about the death penalty and ignoring science on climate change? Republicans seem to want all out ideological warfare.