Left Coastin'

The dog (and elephant and donkey) days of summer are certainly upon us in this national election year, with ugly politics making their way into the headlines on a near-daily basis, with the more-colorful events involving members of Hollywood's finest. In the last several weeks alone, anti-incumbent newsmakers have come from Michael Moore (of course), MoveOn.org, cartoonist Ted Rall, Whoopi Goldberg, Linda Ronstadt, and even Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry is getting into the act.

Getting Fired is Not Censorship

In Las Vegas this past week, long-forgotten has-been singer Linda Ronstadt found herself in the gossip columns culminating from her Moore-praising/anti-Bush outbursts at an Aladdin casino singing performance. This follows the dismissal of Whoopi Goldberg by Slim-Fast after she had made graphic jokes about Bush. Predictably, both of their supporters, including Michael Moore (of course), are trotting out the censorship and the First Amendment charges. Moore called the Aladdin casino manager "stupid" and "un-American" for booting Ronstadt out of the casino.

What Moore doesn't understand ? or understands fully, but enjoys his usual spin ? is that these businesses are private enterprises that hire performers to maximize their bottom line. If Ronstadt willingly deviates from the reason she was hired, and angers and alienates half of Aladdin's customer base in the process, a dismissal would not only seem understandable but necessary. Much like I cannot send my clients at work copies of my posts on Catallarchy. Unilaterally preaching my political views to customers is far from being what I was originally hired to do.

Goldberg's and Ronstadt's employers were not censoring, but merely exercising their own First Amendment right as well.

Racism OK if from the Left?

Media bias seems like a worn topic, but a couple events that have happened in the past few weeks need to be addressed.

First, Ted Rall ? the same cartoonist who suggested that Pat Tillman was a "sap", "idiot", and whose only reason of volunteering was to "kill some Arabs" ? printed a cartoon earlier in the month outlining various torture techniques, a la Abu Ghraib, for various members of the Bush Administration. In the second frame of the cartoon, Rall, who is white, refers to Condoleeza Rice as a "house nigga", while a black man wearing a t-shirt reading You?re Not White, Stupid asks Rice for her "hair-straightener" back as he escorts her to an "Inner-city Racial Re-education Camp." Now, this isn't a small-time cartoonist featured in a local alternative newspaper. He gets printed in 140 newspapers, including the Washington Post. Am I suggesting he shouldn't have created the cartoon? No. But what is interesting is how this would've played out in the media if situations were different.

While the cartoon got noticed around the blogosphere, I typed in "Rice" and "Rall" in Google and searched to see what sort of news coverage this was getting. I got all of two hits. Imagine a pro-Republican cartoonist describing a prominent African-American Democrat in the same way. Would I have received more than two hits on Google?

(Michelle Malkin rakes Rall over the coals in her excellent column)

Secondly, Linda Ronstadt said this during her Vegas performance:

It's a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I'd rather not know.

Put aside for the moment that Linda cannot tolerate being in the same room with someone who has a different ideology or religion than her (yet has no problem getting up on a soapbox to announce her views). As Neal Boortz pondered, imagine if she said she would have a conflict with an audience member who was simply a Democrat or Muslim. Would this tidbit get more coverage beyond the usual Boortz type commentators?

Squeezing out the Middle

It hasn't been a secret that there are many conservatives, generally affiliated with the Republican Party, who are open to voting for someone else based on their frustration with the Iraq War and/or massive federal spending. Some may consider Kerry's camp, banking on the possibility of a split government creating the gridlock necessary to handcuff spending. Some may consider the LP candidate Michael Badnarik as a 'protest vote' to the GOP.

Quite frankly, I'm among those who can see the value behind voting for Badnarik or Kerry in the fall. But for a few moments upon reading another Moore rant and Rall's 'Torture' cartoon, I wanted to run to the nearest voting booth and submit my hanging chad vote for Bush, just out of spite.

My reaction was momentary, but I'm getting the feeling that the fire n' brimstone "Hate Bush" rhetoric will do more to drive away the undecided so-called swing voter base into Bush's arms rather than draw them into Kerry's camp. I've actually gotten some feedback first-hand amongst acquaintances of mine, who submit that antics from the likes of Moore and MoveOn are actually swaying their minds in the GOP direction.

Hollywood celebrities and singers may sell their films and CDs well. But paradoxically, there is a large number of the same base who place Hollywood celebs in very low regard with car salesmen and trial lawyers. They are viewed as pompous, whining, spoiled millionaires, 'do as I say-not as I do', and so on. Thus, a mid-October Madonna or Baldwin rant will do little to help their prized Notbush candidate.

Furthermore, even those who mildly dislike Bush aren't going to swallow all the worn out Hitler and Nazi comparisons very well. If the center-left crowd is serious about drawing in moderates and Independents under their umbrella, their best bet would be to distance themselves from the Ralls and Moores and other loose cannons, asap.

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I am one of those who will

I am one of those who will vote Bush, with relutance, come November. My residency is in a swing state and I do not want to help Kerry get elected in any way shape or form.

there is a large number of

there is a large number of the same base who place Hollywood celebs in very low regard with car salesmen and trial lawyers. They are viewed as pompous, whining, spoiled millionaires, ?do as I say-not as I do?, and so on.

You just described the Democratic ticket: the pompous, whining millionaire and the trial lawyer.

Furthermore, even those who mildly dislike Bush aren?t going to swallow all the worn out Hitler and Nazi comparisons very well. If the center-left crowd is serious about drawing in moderates and Independents under their umbrella, their best bet would be to distance themselves from the Ralls and Moores and other loose cannons, asap

How can you be so sure that the Hollywood left, Ralls, Moores ,etc. do not represent the core rather than the fringe of the Democratic party. They are prominently championed by those squarely at the core of the Democratic party. Rememeber screenings for F911 in DC attended by Boxer and Daschle??

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Entertainment/ap20040623_1809.html

Sending a message to islamofascists that were not backing down is sufficient to sway my vote.

I'm doing my best to

I'm doing my best to encourage any disillusioned-Republicans-turned-Kerry-supporters to vote Badnarik. It particularly makes sense if you live in a state that's not a swing state. Actually, it makes even more sense if you're upset with Bush on Iraq and his spending since Kerry will do nothing different than Bush and attempt to bloat the budget even more than Bush.