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Having watched all except two of the Republican debates, I am beginning to lose interest.  The only real question last night was who would be most on attack.  In reality the answer was Santorum on health care versus Romney, but that was too late to either help Rick or to have that much of an impact on Mitt.  It might be a nice mental exercise to think what would have happened had that attack occurred with the same ferocity in Iowa, but "what ifs" matter little now.  After last night, barring something unexpected Romney will win Florida and thus be near impossible to stop from the nomination.

Unless and until someone confronts him about his outright lies.

During the debate numerous fact-checking organizations blasted out tweets etc that it was not a blind trust.

A few reminded people that Romney had attacked Teddy Kennedy in 1994 for his blind trust.

Yesterday to deflect criticism about having voted for Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Massachusetts primary, Romney tried to say he had never voted for a Democrat when a Republican was on the ballot.  Except in 1992 the Republican primary was the same day, with George H. W. Bush being challenged by Pat Buchanan.

Sometimes Romney is as lawyerly in his answers as was Bill Clinton.  Except Clinton did it with far more skill.  Mitt's approach is to keep talking - fast - not answer the question if he can pivot to his talking points.

There was NOTHING on education, other than Romney again mentioning that when he was governor, even before he was governor, he wanted English only and English immersion.

I did not hear regulation of the banking sector specifically addressed - only in passing as the issue of Fannie & Freddie was brought up.

When Ron Paul is the most sensible person on stage -  as he was in his answer about how his religion would influence him as president - I fear for this nation.  Even as I do not believe that any of the four would defeat Obama unless the European economy totally collapses -  which is why I think the European community will continue to struggle through rather than allow things to unravel, because they are comfortable with Obama and more than unsettled by the prospect of any of the Republicans - even the tone of the campaign that would be waged against the President by either Gingrich or Romney would damage this nation.

A few more perhaps not so random thoughts below.

Few of my students will have watched last night.  They have a test today, and will have focused on that, even though they had the period to study yesterday and have had the study guide for several days.  For which I suppose I can be grateful, because I am not sure I can offer a cogent explanation for Gingrich's performance.  Except of course that Newt is well known for imploding in various ways.  Erratic is perhaps the kindest word that can be used for him.

It might have been interesting to see how many of my students could take apart the remarks made WRT the Declaration of Independence.  I found myself tweeting in frustration at the misinterpretation.

While there is no doubt that in 1776 those in Philadelphia knew they were moving to a new nation, the Declaration itself did not establish a nation.  Read carefully, starting at the beginning and note what I bold:  

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

13, not one United States,  States (the legal term for an independent entity) capitalized and united not.

Note also the end, lest you think that a mistake, at the beginning of the final paragraph:  

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America
 and that that paragraph does speak of "United Colonies"  and says that they
are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

States, plural.  There was as yet no formal basis for a unified government.  The Articles of Confederation was being worked on simultaneously with the Declaration, the committee for the former beginning in June, and not sending it to the newly independent states for their consideration until November 1777.  It was at that point practically in effect, even though the unanimous ratification necessary for it to be official was not achieved until March 1, 1781, less than 8 months before Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.

The language about unalienable rights in the Declaration is aspirational, an espoused principal, but has no more legal meaning than do Jefferson's words that when the people are subject to despotism

it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security

Article III of the Articles states

The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare . . .

There is no provision for the dissolution of the Confederation, and the Preamble do our governing document, the Constitution, reminds us that the union continues -  in order to form a more perfect union.

God makes no appearance as "God" in either the Declaration or the Constitution.

What does appear in Article VI of the latter is the statement about no religious tests, in the same article in which we are informed that ratified treaties are included as the supreme law of the land.  The Treaty with the Bey of Tripoli was negotiated by the administration of George Washington and ratified without dissent in the administration of John Adams, by a Senate including other Founders, and declared that the United States was NOT a Christian nation.  Nor can we say the nation was founded on "Judeo-Christian principles" since the formulation of "Judeo-Christian" is a 20th century invention, that few of the Founders had ever met a Jew, and that at least one state - Maryland where I teach - barred Jews from state public office by its Constitution - after all, the Act of Toleration for which many praise Maryland had actually required execution for anyone who denied the Holy Trinity, even though that was never enforced.

I am frustrated at times by how poor the understanding of our founding documents many in public office or seeking it seem to demonstrate.  Is it deliberate distortion for political advantage, or sheer ignorance?  Either way, it tends to poison our political discourse, as i heard last night.

In the past hearing such drivel would make me even more determined to make a difference by continuing to teach, to have my students learn to read accurately, to think more acutely.  

Now?  I seriously wonder whether my efforts are spitting into the winds of a hurricane, or something of even less effect.

This is a ramble.  

Because today is the natal day of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, I was up past midnight, posting my tribute diary as the new day began, and tending it for a while.  Perhaps I am cranky because I am tired.  I acknowledge the possibility.

Perhaps the thoughts I offered via twitter last night and in this post are but rambling connections of words.

It is not merely the words offered by the Republican contenders, but the responses from the audience.

Last night a man named Abraham, a Palestinian-American who is a Republican, asked a question and asked to have his existence recognized.  The candidates treated him with disrespect, probably because they are still into Muslim bashing.  The only thing is this - the vast majority of Palestinians in this country are Christian.  Most Arabs in this country are Christian -  Maronite, Melkite, Coptic, Antiochian Orthodox.  Most Muslims in the country are not Arab.  In their desire to pander the candidates seemed not to recognize this.  Were he Muslim, the name would have been Ibrahim, not Abraham.  

The candidates complain about those who would divide us by class, even as they continually seek to divide us by race or religion or ethnic origin, sometimes directly, often with dog whistles.

Were my wife not tied to Washington DC by the job she enjoys at the Library of Congress, by her passion for pre-civil war history and culture, I would be so inclined at the end of this school year to take my pension and social security and go elsewhere - perhaps in the US, perhaps to another country where at least health care is guaranteed - something that as I age concerns me more.

Perhaps it will be better for my mental health if the Republican contest does come to an early end.  

For now, I must continue to watch, to try to help my students understand what is happening in the country which we will be leaving them.

Listening to last night's debate, I feel as if i owe them an apology.

And now?

Off to school.

Be well.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think when Romney says we are (0+ / 0-)

    a nation founded by Judea-Christian beliefs, he means there was an understanding by the founders that the old testament was openly infused into Christian beliefs at the time--and going forward. You may be taking his statement too literally.

    Thanks for your commentary

  •  For the sake of my mental health.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, ER Doc

    I haven't watched any of the debates - just the after the fact comments about them here and other places. You lost me a little in your jump to a discussion of the Declaration of Independence. What was the misleading reference made to it in last night's debate?

  •  Jon Stewart Said It All A Few Weeks Ago (8+ / 0-)

    I don't mind that Mitt is rich. I am not mad Mitt is rich. I just don't like HOW he became rich. There is a big difference.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:40:15 AM PST

    •  What's astounding to me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PBen, Nisi Prius, Mr MadAsHell

      Is that if anyone questions his tax rate or if any of those funds were ill-gotten Mittens gets as hysterical as a cat in water and SCREAMS about 'class warfare'.  

      Yet they have no problem scapegoating poor people, or those who have fallen on hard times and need food stamps.  I guess 'class warfare' is only okay if it's directed down.  The hypocrisy is astounding.

      I watched last night's debate and I wonder what kind of person would be a member of today's Republican party.  These candidates clearly think their audience is stupid and they aren't wrong.  Oh, and Frothy Santorum wouldn't know Marxism if it crawled up his ass and sang sea shanties.  10 more months of this nonsense - ugh.

      you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

      by Dem Beans on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 07:43:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It WAS amazing how contemptuous they were to the (5+ / 0-)

    Palestinian-American. Newt must have said "Israel" at least 5-10 times in his comment, togeher with endless praise for israel and contempt for palestinians. They do keep on their talking points.

    Of course it's hard to know which are more delusional: Log Cabin Republicans or Palestinian-American Republicans.

  •  Keep in mind... (0+ / 0-)

    Most voters probably don't know what a blind trust is, nor do they understand the nastier effects we could expect if English-only ever does become the law of the land. (Many Republican leaning voters probably wouldn't care even if they did understand.) What can we expect if people play up his hypocrisy vis a vis his attacks on Ted Kennedy? In the case of Republicans, they'll remember that he ran against Ted Kennedy and, by definition, that makes him a hero.

    I do agree with you that Romney is a poor man's Clinton. Because he isn't very good at it, I expect he'll be eminently beatable in November if - as I expect - he wins the GOP nomination. But I don't think the victory will be won on the back of Romney's questionable business dealings. There just aren't enough people out there who understand what anyone is talking about in that department, and most who do understand are already firmly in one camp or the other.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:00:12 AM PST

  •  A random "thank you" for doing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, maryabein

    something I can't bear to do. :)

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:16:59 AM PST

  •  Ken, (4+ / 0-)

    throughout Maryland there are elected officials who can't understand the plain language in the Open Meetings Act.

    So don't expect much when it comes to the founding docs.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:20:51 AM PST

    •  Oh I know weakness of our electeds in MD (0+ / 0-)

      where I teach

      we had an elected chair of the School Board who insisted on opening Board meeting with explicitly Christian prayer.

      He also wanted to bar Clarence Thomas from speaking at a middle school commencement exercise because he viewed Thomas as a traitor to blacks -  Thomas had been very gracious to a group of students when they had visited the Supreme Court, and I thought it was wonderful that he agreed to come to their ceremony -  one does not have to agree with him to respect the office

      Teaching as I do in Prince George's County, the roster of corrupt elected - and appointed - officials is staggering, sometimes approaching the proportion of places like NJ, CHicago, and Louisiana

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:25:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Having also lived in PG County: (0+ / 0-)
        He also wanted to bar Clarence Thomas from speaking at a middle school commencement exercise because he viewed Thomas as a traitor to blacks -

        That clued me in that you were talking about PC County.

        "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

        by CFAmick on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:06:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Remember Ken, that as bad as it is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot

    it is not as bad as 1968. In our earlier years Presidents and many others were shot at and killed and our cities were filled with areas of mass destruction. Its bad but we have come from worst and we are going in a better direction now, all be it very very slow with many missteps.

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 05:24:03 AM PST

    •  at the rate we are going (0+ / 0-)

      with the rhetoric we are hearing, I will not be surprised to see political violence again.  After all, we have been hearing it pretty clearly from the Tea Party movement, haven't we?

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 06:47:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  From reading histories (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nisi Prius

        of the time before the English Civil War, I have been struck by the cultural divisions between the aristocrats and ordinary people who believed in "Merry Old England" on one side, and the Parliamentary reformers and Puritans on the other. There are many parallels with the contemporary U.S., and I work that the ending will be just as ugly.
        Cavalier and Roundhead were both dire insults at the time, just saying.

        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

        by northsylvania on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 07:55:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You watched 17 of the 19 debates! You now qualify (6+ / 0-)

    for a new car, new snow shoes and all the electro shock therapy you feel you need to snap back into reality. well done teach but I hope you didn't make your students take on such a difficult assignment.

  •  Heh, I just wait to hear about them here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abelia, TampaCPA

    I've only got one teevee and its gotta last awhile.

  •  What I heard last night was two self absorbed (5+ / 0-)

    weasels having a debate over who's the biggest sleazebag, "You're the biggest sleazebag"/ "No, YOU'RE the biggest sleazebag"...........
    didn't hear much about what these two egomaniacs are going to do for the average American, and what I did hear was mostly a steaming pile of b.s.

  •  So much for that old adage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania

    that Republicans never attack each other. I thought both Romney and Gingrich came off very poorly last night, Gingrich even worse than Romney, and enough has been learned about either of them to ensure that neither will be President.
    But given the short-term memory problems of the electorate and the media, it could be that when these things are brought up in the general election they will be dismissed as "old news".

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

    by kareylou on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 07:10:02 AM PST

  •  As you stated, "is it deliberate distortion.. (0+ / 0-)

    .or sheer ignorance."  I think it is a  combination of both with an emphasis on deliberate distortion regarding the founding of this country.  It is breathtaking when they(republicans)wrap themselves in religion and then attempt their historical revisionism in too many areas especially as you pointed out regarding our Declaration.  I'm just in utter disbelief as you so aptly stated at  "how poor the understanding of our founding documents" is; and it seems there is no commentator or moderator to challenge them.  

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