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Okay Mr. Gravel, like the vast majority of Americans, I have not watched any of the super-early Presidential debates, and I probably won’t for some time. Thanks to your commercials, I have decided to give you a bit of my attention. So why, oh why, did you choose these now infamous bits?

I’m still trying to wrap my head around them –and I don’t mean any supposedly deep meaning to them. I’m trying to figure out why they thought these almost caveman-themed ads were a good idea. Yes, they’re different from other political commercials –but so’s superimposing your campaign URL over footage of nitro-burning funny cars.

No, whoever came up with these sort of freaky gems decided that they wanted to send some kind of message. Okay then… here are a few of the readings I made from these commercials:

  • Mike Gravel is an angry mute
  • If you’re stuck in the wilderness, you better hope Gravel isn’t out to get you
  • Mike Gravel might just kill us all
  • Mike Gravel will help us, for a price
  • Mike Gravel: The world turns to ashes campaign
  • Mike Gravel pick up rock, Mike Gravel throw rock, rock go splash!

If there were deep meaning to these ads, they’re so deep down and lost in the bizarro-world mindset that dreamed them up that I don’t dare go after them, lest I get pulled in. But what sort of person has a mind this dark and twisted? I was curious to see what this Gravel was all about so Googled and found out the man was a goddam US Senator …from Alaska. Holy shit, and here I thought Ted “Series of Tubes” Stevens (R-Alaska) was an outstanding case of Land of the Midnight Sun crazy. What the fuck are they feeding these people up there? Bears? These godless killing machines must have have poisoned the state. Yes, Mr. President, I know we get a lot of oil from this area, but –damn it, sir– it’s time to accept the state as a basket case and cut our losses before it spreads to our borders through Canada. Fire, Mr. President. It’s time to take some of those extra nukes and show the Eskimo (pardon, Inuit) what Northern Lights really look like.

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A lot of fuss has been made about the dollar amounts the various candidates have announced this quarter.

Momma has her $26 million plus a $10 million surplus from her senate race. Although he hasn’t officially announced his earnings yet, Obama reportedly used his Diet Jesus skills to net some $21-23 million.

Edwards chimed in with roughly $14 million, while Richardson pulled in a not-too-shabby $6 million. Dodd swung $4 million, I guess being chair of the Senate Banking Committee helps, and Biden pulled a measly $2 million.

On the Republican side, the Stormin’ Mormon kicked major GOP ass with $22 million, Giuliani came in second with $14 million, and McCain lagged behind with a paltry $12.5 million considering he still thinks he’s the inevitable candidate.

The real winners here? At first glance you’d say Clinton and Romney, and you’d be half right.

Clinton was fully expected to rake in cash, and even this enormous number is not all that surprising, but the real star of the Democrats is a Mr. Obama, who managed to net a larger donation base, with over 80,000 donors, than Clinton and her 50,000. Most of Obama’s donors obviously did not contribute the maximum, which means Obama has an entire mailing list of donors who are legally capable of donating more money and who have been willing to do so in the past.

On the GOP side, Romney is the clear winner here. Considering the man lacks any real name recognition outside of Massachusetts and Utah he has managed to propel his campaign to the top of the financial totem pole with his rolodex alone. Whether he has staying power remains to be seen…

Another interesting point to make is that, despite these numbers being record shattering in and of themselves, what is most interesting are the disparity between the Democratic and Republican candidates. Romney beat out every other Republican candidate, yet tied Obama in terms of funds. Even Biden and his 2 mil beat out all of the other 2nd and 3rd tier GOP candidates by leaps and bounds. Huckabee managed a pitiful $500,000.

Now lets see what things look like this summer when the second quarter results are due.

Read any political blog or newspaper column and you’ll see authoritative analysis of each of the major candidates for the Presidency in 2008.

At The OuterLoop, we understand just how ridiculous any sort of analysis is.  We see the shallow attempts at gaining legitimacy that these publications and writers seek.  We sneer at their pompous sense of self importance…the presumptiveness (my own word dammit) of their self fabricated media identities clamoring for a piece of the spotlight for one fleeting moment before being buried in obscurity and succumbing to the beckoning depths of Google’s search results.

That’s why The OuterLoop is doing its own analysis.  Not because we’re hypocrites (we are), and not because we like typing in the first-person plural despite having, as of press time, only one contributor to this blog, but because we thought it would be fun to shed all of the speculation about each candidate and pigeonhole him or her into a category consisting of 1 (one) loosely connected word (palabra), a tactic that is patently unfair but much more fun than writing about their policy initiatives.  Here goes:

The Republicans:

Rudy Giuliani: Abortionist
John McCain: WALNUTS!
Mitt Romney: Hanes
Sam Brownback: Backwards
Mike Huckabee: Eat Fresh
Duncan Hunter: Dukestir’s BFF
Tommy Thompson: Totally
Tom Tancredo: Look-alike
Newt Gingrich: Bookworm
Jim Gilmore: Exciting?
Chuck Hagel: Rude

The Democrats:

Hillary Clinton: Bangs
Barrack Obama: Black?
John Edwards: Fag
Bill Richardson: Que Rico!
Dennis Kucinich: Shorty
Chris Dodd: Pssh
Joe Biden: Ctrl/Command-C

Enjoy.  Have a happy Tuesday!

Exploded

Not content with minor coincidences, Barack Obama’s ancestry apparently poked through Drudge the other day and found out about the Strom Thurmond/Al Sharpton connection. From the Baltimore Sun:

“According to the research, one of Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 census in Nelson County, Ky. The same records show that one of Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves”

The Hillary camp will no doubt use this as ammo when the REALLY greasy politics comes into play during primary season especially considering how important the black vote is in the primary. Here are some other interesting tidbits from the piece:

“Reitwiesner’s research identifies two other presidential candidates, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, as descendants of slave owners. Three of McCain’s great-great-grandfathers in Mississippi owned slaves, including one who owned 52 in 1860. Two ancestors of Edwards owned one slave each in Georgia in 1860.”

There, that’s more like it. Let’s level the playing field a little bit.

Anyone else find it disturbing that all this is coming up now? I mean, I understand all the hubbub about Strom Thurmond, first off he’s dead, and secondly it wasn’t as though he was a good person. I fear the worst when the most compelling thing about a campaign right now revolves around what your great-great-great-great grandfather did.

Self described libertarians are one of the most sought after demographics in American politics. True libertarians, CATO cheerleaders and Goldwater babies, tend to be wealthier, more politically active, and fiercely loyal to candidates and their parties.

These are the statistical traits that have for so long tied libertarians to the GOP.Lady Liberty

Yet talk to anyone who seriously subscribes to the ideology and they will tell you just how disillusioned they are with both political parties, in fact they always have.

“I’ve never been happy with the GOP”

or

“The Democrats could never be small government.”

That last concept, small government, is so antiquated, so irrelevant, that the idea that it is still considered an attainable goal is laughable. Many will cite Ronald Reagan as a hero of small government, and they’d be right in a sense. Reagan oversaw an enormous amount of deregulation while in office, freeing up so much money that he quintupled the size of the military.

The military doesn’t count as the government? Since when?

The truth of the matter is, in a liberal-republic such as ours, eliminating government oversight can never, ever happen. If libertarians were serious, they would advocate for the privatization of the military, of the post office, of fire departments and the police. In America, there isn’t much talk about privatizing our most basic institutions, is there?

Canvassing libertarians will proudly wear t-shirts with pot leaves, hoping to entice stoners all over the nation to let go of their Hot Pockets and get out to vote. They cite a firm belief in gay rights, yet most of the most prominent libertarians on the GOP side either publicly oppose granting these rights to stay in office, or they stay silent and hope people won’t notice.

Have libertarians failed the GOP, or is it the other way around?

I argue it is neither, libertarians have failed libertarianism. How can a true believer elect a party that brought the Patriot Act TWICE, suspended habeas corpus indefinitely, and has done more to harm gays, immigrants, students, intellectuals, and small businesses, all of whom are considered constituents to the true free market cause, more than any other so-called advocacy group?

The answer is simple, American libertarianism speaks from the heart but acts from the pocket book. For all of the hot air that the GOP version of the movement makes about freedom, they almost always vote their wallet first.

If libertarians truly believe that the only suitable role for the government is the defense of the people, then doesn’t a basic guarantee of healthcare fall under that category? Why can’t the government act as a broker on behalf of its citizens?

The Department of Defense negotiates with weapons manufacturers on behalf of the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen in the Armed Forces. Imagine what would happen if each and every service member were instead forced to purchase their weapon individually from a weapons manufacturer. In times of peace, those who couldn’t afford a weapon simply wouldn’t get one, but if war were to break out a weapon would have to be produced on an expedited basis and funded by tax dollars.

This is precisely what happens with healthcare. Those with no health insurance, the vast majority of whom simply cannot afford it, don’t go to the doctor until they are incredibly sick. A simple cough that could have been treated with $40 worth of antibiotics now becomes $5,000 in hospital care to keep him or her from dying. See my point?

The government could act as a broker between insurance companies and tax payers, giving them vouchers with which they could choose their own unique healthcare plan from the exact same companies that are offering care right now. These companies would be forced to compete for government contracts, just like military contractors do.

Small businesses would no longer be forced to pay outrageously high premiums (right New Jersey?) just to keep their employees insured, since a smaller amount would go to the federal government instead. Employer provided health care is unfair to small businesses who are already operating on razor thin margins.

Medicaid, Medicare, Plan D, all of these are doomed to fail. Government cannot subsidize healthcare and still offer good service…it can, however, use its size to bring competition to a fair level.

It is in this spirit that I argue the Democrats, not the Republicans, offer the most promising platform for true libertarians. Look at the GOP with an honest perspective and try and say that freedom can exist in a party moving more starkly to the right every day. Within the Democratic party there is room for discussion. The election of libertarians like Sen. Jim Webb of VA, the position of pro-business Dems such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and the embrace of conservatives such as Sen. Bob Casey show a party that is willing to evolve.

The Democrats are not an organized political party, they bash heads, bicker, fight and argue. It might be disgraceful and it might be unprofessional at times…but it’s freedom.

What an excellent start to my blog, but hey, the truth hurts.

Putnam was elected to the house in 2001, and the 32-year-old uber-conservative has, in recent months, been acting as the pointed weapon (read: functioning penis) of the Republican minority. The GOP has used him as a strategic mouthpiece due to his relatively innocuous committee assignments and he’s been the House Republican Conference Chairman since last November.

I just don’t like him. He’s loud, obnoxious, and is constantly ragging on Pelosi for “breaking campaign” promises even though the Democrats have been in power for less than two months.

I have no problem with Republicans per se, I’ve even voted for one or two. Many of them are nice enough and they tend to have impeccably parted hair, but Putnam strikes me as a disturbing indicator of the rising tide of young arch-conservatives. A brand of right-wing ideology that discourages compromise and discourse in favor of sharp parliamentary tactics that swing policy from left to right without taking into account any sincere reason.

Whatever, I’ll stop with the big words now. The guy even looks like a douche bag.

Just look at him.