On rocks in my driveway, political pandering and why it all becomes white noise

The first time I found one of those stone filled baggies sitting on my driveway, I thought it was a very original way of advertising your landscaping business. And it worked in that I actually made an effort to read the small enclosed flyer.

Fast forward a decade later and, unless I clear them off the apron a couple of times a week, my driveway starts looking a lot like the remnants of a long-abandoned gravel quarry. And sure enough, another set of rocks was deposited this morning which I tossed into the trash without taking a second glance.


This, I believe, aptly describes the Sisyphean nature of trying to get your message out there. As soon as you get the boulder anywhere near the top of that mountain, it rolls right back down again or, in this case, a once interesting concept becomes just more white noise.

You either have to accept that a very small percentage of homeowners will read your stuff and adjust your expectations accordingly, or you have to come up with something that pops even more.

Then, like those shampoo label instructions insist, you have to consistently rinse and repeat.

The interesting thing is, the same dynamic applies to the too-regular pandering efforts of our political parties. With the 24 hour news cycle providing constant input and our national case of ADHD, even the best message generally fades away faster than a summer hailstone. But because, on rare occasion, someone’s sound byte does take off and exhibit staying power, the pols keep throwing the figurative spaghetti against the wall, hoping something  sticks.

The thing is, it takes the unique confluence that occurred during the 2008 presidential election for that to happen. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month, two wars weren’t going well, and we had a gifted orator who relentlessly drove the “hope and change” message home. For the first time since Ronald Reagan’s first campaign, a sustained political sentiment carried the day.

But despite the fact that virtually none of these partisan thrusts ever gain any real traction, buoyed by the cheers of the choir to whom they preach, it doesn’t stop the folks in Washington from coming up with their next silly slogan.

The problem is, like it is with our landscaping stone throwers, you have to come up with an ever increasing list of crazier contentions to get anyone’s attention. And, in a kind of hoist by their own petard circular circumstance, that’s exactly what the Republican Party is doing.

Mainstream Republicans – we’re not talking about the crazies here – have shut down the government, attempted to repeal the Affordable care act 50 times, and basically accused the President of everything short of treason, but none of it’s sent him fleeing back to Kenya.

Sure, his approval rating has taken a hit, but it’s not that far off the second term average and Congress’s 15 percent makes his 41 percent look stellar.

So now, to continually feed that eternally ravenous conservative beast, the GOP has to come up with something even bigger to keep their minions from turning on them. And just when I thought they had nowhere left to go, they managed to surprise me and pull it off!

It started with Sarah Palin getting the impeachment ball rolling, which, given her sliding media personality fortunes, might’ve been ignored had not the House moved forward with a lawsuit against the President over a variety of executive orders.

And while suing the President will certainly stir up your base, 60 percent of Americans are not amused.

However, in a massive irony, even House Speaker Boehner clearly understands how damaging any impeachment proceedings will be because a full two-thirds of the country is against that prospect.

In fact, Boehner even went as far as calling this move a ploy on the part of Democrats to rally their faithful and win November votes. But that insight didn’t stop him and his House cohorts from suing the President.

This, of course, begs the question, “what’s next?” Just how do the Republicans plan on topping themselves next time?

The truly fascinating thing is, they either have to make an effort to do just that, or finally get back to governing and risk incurring the Tea Party’s black and white wrath. All I can say is, it will be very interesting to see what happens when the leaves start turning colors.

One thought on “On rocks in my driveway, political pandering and why it all becomes white noise

  1. This lawsuit is another example of a flaw in our legal system. It should always be loser pays the legal expenses for both sides. So you think twice about filing a lawsuit that has minimal chance of winning. And as far as the governmental level, it should be that the officeholders have to pay, NOT the taxpayer. So in this case, if the lawsuit loses (as it most certainly will), Boehner and his buddies should have to pay.

    On the topic of Sarah Palin, I assume you’ve heard of the all-Palin channel she’s launched, http://www.sarahpalinchannel.com. For a mere $9.95 a month you can listen to Sarah all day! That in in itself is laughable enough, but Stephen Colbert went out and registered http://www.thesarahpalinchannel.com.

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