Jackasses and Elephants–1/15 in history

Thomas Nast--"A Live Jackass Kicking A Dead Lion". 1/15/1870

Thomas Nast–“A Live Jackass Kicking A Dead Lion”. 1/15/1870

It was on this day, 15 January 1870, that the famous American editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast–also known for taking down the Tammany Hall ring and its boss William Magear Tweed through is political cartoons–cemented the jackass as the symbol of the Democratic Party.

However, contrary to conventional thinking, Nast wasn’t the first person to associate the jackass to the Democratic Party. During the election of 1828, opponents of Andrew Jackson labeled him a “jackass” for his beliefs. Jackson embraced the image and often used it in his own campaign imagery. The Democratic Party had been associated, in one way or another, with the Jackass since.

Andrew Jackson's ass

Andrew Jackson’s ass

But what about the elephant? Well, we can thank Nast for that one, too. In an 1874 cartoon, Nast has the Democratic ass hiding in a lion’s costume frightening the forest animals (labelled as various newspapers) and the elephant (“Republican vote”). The issue at hand was whether or not U.S. Grant would run for an unprecedented third term as President. Here’s a link to Harper’s detailed description of the cartoon.

The Third Term Panic

The Third Term Panic

After this cartoon ran, the Republicans quickly adopted the elephant as their symbol and the rest, as they say, is history.

As a side note: Nast is also credited with creating the first images of a modern Santa Claus.

Santa Claus and His Works. Harper's Weekly, 29 December 1866

Santa Claus and His Works. Harper’s Weekly, 29 December 1866

Best quotes in American History

This one comes from the trial of accused cannibal Alfred Packer. At his sentencing, the judge declared: “Packer, you depraved Republican son of a bitch, there were only five Democrats in Hinsdale County and you ate them all!”

If only present day politics could be solved this easily.

Democrat Senators asks the President to Delay Obamacare; Fears election loss

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Washington–Fearing a loss in the upcoming midterm elections, sixteen Senators met with the leader of their party to discuss delaying the rollout of Obamacare. According to sources, the Senators told the President that they did what he asked for during the shutdown fiasco and now he owed them a favor. They helped the President distract the citizenry from the spying, Benghazi, and IRS scandals with the shutdown, and now they want him to fulfill his duty as party leader and assure that they will get re-elected next November. “We have to win re-election,” Senator Mark Begich (D, AK) said. “There’s a reason why we exempted Congress from the ACA, and if I don’t win re-election then I’m going to have to sign up for Obamacare. Do you think that any one of us wants to do that?” When pressed, the White House had no comment, but it is believed that the President doesn’t give a crap what they want.

Schrodinger’s or Pandora’s?

There are two unique boxes in the world as we know it. The one in which lives (or doesn’t live) a little cat and one in which resides that which we don’t want to ever see.

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In this health care debate I see both boxes as in play. We’ve already opened Pandora’s at the urging of Nancy Pelosi; we’ve passed it to see what’s in it and now we are all trying to figure out how to get parts of ACA back into the box while allowing the rest to roam free. Unfortunately, we are right now in a strange debate that sounds quite a bit like Edwin Schrodinger’s theory. But it doesn’t work with ACA no matter how hard people try.

During the Government Shutdown mess–no need to lay blame since it rests with both parties–we were reminded time and again by those of the left side of the aisle that Obamacare is “law” and that those on the right side of the aisle should accept the “law” and should “fund the law.” I’ll agree that it is a law and that the Republicans should have handled their grievances differently; all laws have a right to be repealed and that’s the process by which those righty’s should have gone. However, since it is a law, and since my civics classes taught me that only Congress can pass and change laws, I fear that we are entering into a Schrodinger’s dilemna. A dilemna what will lead us to opening another Pandora’s box. As the President continues to make changes at his discretion–he’s just delayed the individual mandate penalty by nine months and other Democrats are pushing for other extensions as the elections near–including various waivers for groups and corporations, there seems to be a pall that has fallen over the left. If this is a law, then what right does the President have to change things as he is? ACA can’t be a cat in a scientific box; it either is or it isn’t a law. The President either respects that it is a law, or behaves as though it isn’t and then we can’t be upset with the hostage holding that the Republicans attempted during the Shutdown. If it isn’t a law, as the President would appear to be saying with his behavior, then where did the Republicans go wrong. Congress is the keeper of the purse; they can fun and defund what they will. And there she is, Pandora, all tempting with her box.

I’m going to side with the Democrats on this one. ACA is a law. ACA should be treated as such. If the Republicans want to do away with it, win the next set of elections and vote it out like we did with slavery, alcohol and voting right’s issues. We’ve had bad laws before, assuming that ACA is one of these, and we’ve ridded ourselves of their burdens before. And since it is a law, I thing what we are missing in all of this–as we argue amongst ourselves over who is and isn’t really getting letters from their insurance companies saying that they are being dropped from their programs–is that the President is, once again, extending his powers beyond that which is allowed by law.

Obama has compared himself with Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan. Granted none of these were true comparisons based on accomplishments, but it is frightening that he looks to three presidents who did their best to ignore the Constitution and the duties specified to the various Federal offices. One has to wonder what “executive privilages” have been written into the heft that is the sum of ACA. And this is where things get frightening: We are in the midst of watching a president continue a horribly destructive pattern of illicit and illegal presidential expansion of powers and no one seems to be noticing. Instead, the media has us all bickering over the petty minutia of Obamacare while the obvious is running rampant before us and we don’t seem to care.

I can hear Pandora’s box opening and inside it we might actually find ourselves a dead little cat.

Sect. of State Kerry took the “stupid” option

IG_stupid

As if there wasn’t enough rancor in the realm of politics, our new Secretary of State, John Kerry, stood at a clearly divergent path and had the opportunity to close the chasm. Instead, he opted for the cliff and dove head long, like a political lemur, into the abyss.

In one of his first public statements as the newly appointed Secretary of State, Kerry addressed a gathered audience of German students and said,

“The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid – if you want to be. And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.”

Unfortunately, the following statement went mostly unheard by both the German students, who were laughing–either at the statement, or, more likely, at the U.S.–and by Americans.

“And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that’s a virtue. I think that’s something worth fighting for. The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view.”

Sadly, there is no tolerance.

Google “Christianity is a mental illness” and you get 2,420,000 hits. That’s the tolerance that Kerry insists we have? Read the comments following the articles (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/26/us-usa-kerry-liberties-idUSBRE91P0HJ20130226 or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/26/john-kerry-right-to-be-stupid_n_2764973.html). I suppose that’s tolerance? Blaming Democrats for the Obama re-election because of “stupidity”? Blaming Republican “stupidity” for eight years of George Bush?

If anyone really wonders, and I mean with sincere curiosity, as to why we have faced a fiscal cliff and now face sequestration, all they need to do is look at how each side of the political aisle views one another. To steal a line from Mrs. Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Right now, Republicans are stupid, Democrats are idiots. Congress is an insane asylum, and the inmates are running the institution. The idea that there is any way that for civil discussion is remote simply because neither party is willing to concede that the other has even the slightest mental faculties. This is a top down issue. Obama commented recently,

“Maybe they couldn’t understand the whole thing [his jobs bill] at once,” the president said to laughter. “We’re going to break it up into bite-sized pieces, so they –they can take a thoughtful approach…We’re going to give members of Congress another chance to step up to the plate and do the right thing.”

There is something inherently wrong when the President is pandering the his political base by calling the other side too dumb to understand a complex proposal. It is sad that the audience found humor in this. Worse yet, no one in the main stream has called him out. And for every example one can find for Democrats debasing the Republican party, you can find just as many the other way.

Meanwhile, our new Secretary of State announces to Europe that Americans have the right to be stupid. I wonder which “Americans” he is referring to? Is this another attempt to pander to Democrats during the sequestration boondoggle? If so, then John Kerry took the stupid option. If not, all Mr. Kerry did was add fuel to a tire fire called American politics. I suppose we’re all just stupid since we have an opinion that stands contrary to those of others. Welcome to American tolerance. Thank you Mr. Kerry for finally clarifying what some of us in the middle already knew.