Sunday, July 29, 2012

An Uninspired Campaign

The strongest argument that the Republican Party can make in favor of candidate Mitt Romney is that he isn't Barack Obama. He most certainly was not the candidate favored by the Tea Party or many other more conservative Republicans, in spite of efforts to paint him as such. The nomination of Mitt Romney was a fairly decisive defeat of the Tea Party's influence within the Republican Party and a victory for the central leadership over the base.

The strongest argument that the Democratic Party can make in favor of candidate Barack Obama is that he isn't Mitt Romney. He fails to inspire the base, even with his alleged achievements. The strongest argument in favor of Barack Obama is potential judicial appointments, as Mitt Romney would appoint people like John Roberts who voted to uphold Obamacare. "Hope and change" makes a good mantra when a candidate is fresh, but not after failing to deliver either for four years.

Small wonder that partisans react so angrily to having it pointed out how little difference there is in this campaign. The standard comparison of "not a dimes worth of difference" is even stronger given just how similar the two candidates really are. Mitt Romney wrote the rough draft of Obamacare, and Barack Obama has shown greater militarism than even George W. Bush.

The cries of "this is the most important election ever" are even louder than before, and yet those cries fail to inspire the base of either party. These cries are meant to convince the reluctant base to come out and vote in spite of, not because of, the candidates that the party is running. They are also a vain attempt to convince third party voters to cross party lines, which sometimes does happen if a candidate is appealing enough. In the 2012 electoral race, it would be hard to describe either candidate as "appealing enough."

It will be interesting to see how a campaign between two unappealing candidates develops. Negative campaigning, trying to appeal to fear in order to bring out the base, will be the only option for both candidates, but ultimately that will reinforce the basic problem that neither candidate is good. It will also be interesting to see how the two parties arrange to negate the opportunity being given to third parties this time around.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bain Capital

People within the Obama campaign are making comments about Mitt Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital. It is possible that Mitt Romney is much more heavily involved in his company than previously claimed, and that there may be legal grounds to prosecute Mitt Romney for such. Some even comment that the charges may rise to the level of felony.

The question is, if the Obama campaign is confident enough to make these allegations, why is the Obama administration not confident enough to press charges? If there exists sufficient grounds to suspect illegal activity, then there should be sufficient grounds to open an actual investigation into those potential activities.

Of course one could claim that opening up an investigation at this time would be clearly politically motivated. A stronger claim could be made that doing so after the convention, once Mitt Romney is officially the nominee, is politically motivated because to do so then would hamstring the Republican campaign. If an investigation is opened before the primary the Republican Party would have time to recover and potentially select a new candidate.

Another possible interpretation is that those making the claims against Mitt Romney know that sufficient grounds for an investigation do not actually exist, but that the public might become sufficiently convinced that the eventual vote in November can be swayed against him to a degree sufficient that Barack Obama is reelected.

Finally there is a lesser but real chance that there is substance to the accusations, but an actual investigation would not be launched unless it appears that Mitt Romney actually poses a threat to the Obama reelection campaign. Barack Obama won his first office primarily by having his opponents removed from the ballot on technicalities, so this would be in character.

A best case scenario would be if an investigation is launched before the Republican convention, tainting Mitt Romney sufficiently that a new candidate has to be found at the last minute. A sufficiently large number of delegates are either open or stealth supporters of Ron Paul, which would mean he has a very realistic shot at the nomination in that event. Since the Obama campaign is gearing up for a fight with Mitt Romney, this scenario would result in chaos all around. Still, it would be a chaos with a chance of producing a desirable outcome.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We Need More Fear

According to the Department of Homeland Security, warned that hackers are attacking software that controls medical devices, elevators, video cameras, security systems and a wide array of other sensitive operations. Except that is not included in the details of the report.

In the details of the report, a software vulnerability was found. There was no indication of any planned or attempted attacks by hackers into those systems. It was revealed that hackers could access through the discovered vulnerabilities, but not that this weakness had been exploited.

The internet has been a major problem for government officials. News reporting and political commentary are no longer confined to the major media outlets anymore. Not only does it disseminate news stories that said officials would rather keep buried, and not only does it enables large scale organization to oppose controversial decisions, through the actions of people like Julian Assange the users of the internet can now rip the mask off of the government and enable people to see just how ugly it really is.

In "Atlas Shrugged," the character Francisco Danconia compared the San Sebastian Mines to ripping the cover off of hell and letting people see it, saying that he had outdone Nero. Wikileaks has done the same thing outside the realm of fiction.

It is no surprise that congress was recently debating SOPA and PIPA. Small wonder as well that net neutrality is so heavily discussed. Government officials are afraid, and want more power to deal with what they fear. To get more power, they need to make a significant portion of the population afraid as well.

Threats need to be exaggerated. Just as when the neocons warned about the Iraqi threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and just as they warn about Iran's nuclear capabilities, in both cases exaggerations, the threat of the hackers has to be magnified to a degree sufficient to terrify people.

If remote control medical devices are hacked and disabled by hackers, that would be terrible. If an elevator was to suddenly plummet due to the actions of a hacker, that would also be terrible. There is no indication that this is happening, and those who issued the press release know this. The vulnerability was all they needed to hype it into a threat though. They needed more fear, and that is why they reported this the way they did. Only with enough fear can they try to take on the internet.