Tag Archives: politics

Susan Collins: PAC Money Makes Policy

1 Oct

Susan Collins opposes President Obama’s health care plan, particularly the public option.  The Hangover knows this because one of her staff was kind enough to tell me so in a recent phone conversation.   Consider me cynical.  When in a follow-up I asked the staff member how much campaign money Senator Collins has taken from the medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical lobbies, Collin’s mouthpiece told me that she didn’t have that information.   I wondered aloud if Collins didn’t know how much payola came from those sectors.   I was reassured that while the Collins’ staffer didn’t have that information, it was available at fec.gov, the Federal Election Commission’s website.  This excahnge followed:

The Hangover:  “Don’t you think Senator Collins should provide that (who she received campaign donations from) information?”

Collins  Staff Member:  “The information is available on the website, fec.gov, that I told you about.”

The Hangover:  “Don’t you think that withholding the information makes her look corrupt like all those other Republicans taking money from lobbyists?”

Collins Staffer:  “The information is available on the FEC website, sir.”

Before any Republicans think The Hangover is “profiling,” we heartily acknowledge that Senate Democrats take just as much money as the Republicans do from these lobbies.   That’s the problem.  (It’s no wonder that real health care reform is impossible:  Mandated business creation for insurance companies isn’t exactly health care reform.)

The Hangover took the staffer’s advice and checked out the FEC website.  The information was, indeed, there.  In fact, the report on Susan Collins’ accepted  campaign contributions for the 2007-2008 election cycle was disgusting.  What’s worse is that her tally reads similarly to those of her 99 Senate colleagues serving  “we the people.”  Collins’ list of contributors can be viewed here in it’s entirety, but there are some obvious highlights:

In the 2007-2008 election cycle, Senator Collins received expenditures of:

$26,000 from the American Association of Neurosurgeons PAC

$190, 530 from the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons PAC

$14, 000 from Aetna’s PAC

$20,000 from the American Hospital Association PAC

$20,000 from AFLAC’s PAC (that’s the one with the duck)  

$18,000 from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield PAC

$1000from the Bluecross of Michigan PAC (???)

There are so many contributors listed, The Hangover doesn’t blame the Senator for not providing her staffers with the information.   They’d have to be MIT graduates to follow it. 

In terms of full disclosure, The Hangover gave nothing to Senator Collins’ campaign.  We find this is appropriate.  If any of Maine’s other 1.5 million residents believe that the Senator is looking out for their best interest, all they have to do is pull out their processed checks for the last few years.   It’s likely one is getting according to what one gave.


Common Sense Election Anaylsis

5 Nov

There are a number of reasons that Barack Obama won the Presidency yesterday, receiving more votes than any candidate in history.  Most of them are fairly obvious. 

  • George W. Bush was a really bad president.  Certainly, John McCain suffered from his party and policy affiliations with the current President, just as the majority of people suffered under his administration–unless, of course, you were in the top 1% of income earners, worked for or invested in Big Oil, or were on the Board at Halliburton or Blackwater.
  • John McCain was a lousy campaigner.  McCain’s best moments of the entire election cycle were his QVC skit on Saturday Night Live, his Monday Night Football Interview with Chris Berman, and his concession speech.  His best debate line, “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago,” would have hit harder than a wet sponge if he hadn’t spent the last six months trying to maintain his Party’s base by highlighting his belief in Bush policies. 
  • Barack Obama really connected with the people.  He was a great speaker.  He had a clear message which he delivered with charisma, focus, and detail.  It worked.
  • The Republicans failed to scare the electorate as they did in 2004.  They were unable to generate a polarizing social issue such as “gay marriage” which carried Ohio for Bush in 2004.  In fact, due to the economic collapse, more Americans were frightened of losing their jobs and homes than they were by lame Republican attempts to portray Obama as a socialist, Muslim, terrorist, or–holy cow–a liberal. 
  • Religion, a huge component of Bush’s 2000 victory, became less of an issue.  After eight years of Bush-Cheney international and economic disaster, maybe the good Christian voters began to realize that God wasn’t actually a Republican diety. 
  • Obama ran a clean campaign, and after two elections of Bush-Rove tactics, it appears that a more positive message resonated with voters.  As CBS News reported:  “Nearly every TV ad McCain ran last week was negative, compared to just 34 percent of those by Obama, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Advertising Project released on Wednesday. “
  • When a candidate moves from who-they-really-are to who-they-think-they-need-to-be-to-get-elected, they lose.  Reagan was an ultra-conservative.  Bill Clinton was a centrist.  George W Bush was a God-fearing jughead.  Obama is a liberal (Apparently, not such a bad thing these days).  The 2000 John McCain didn’t court the Religious Right, employed an independent, critical thought process, and wouldn’t have stood for the type of negative campaigning that Bush-Rove used to sink McCain’s 2000 bid.  That all changed in 2008, and the results speak for themselves. 

Other Election Highlights:

  • Last night, the Fox News Channel crew looked and acted like a bunch of six year-olds who raced down the stairs only to find coal in their stockings.  Boo hoo.   Waaaaaaaaw.
  • Ben Affleck’s Keith Olbermann skit on SNL (perhaps the best episode of SNL since the glory days of the Belushi era).
  • The Hangover finally voted for a Presidential Candidate who won.  (It’s the first time since 1980, and that was a mistake.  Hey, I was a binge-drinking teenager at the time.)
  • The Hangover is still trying to remove John Edwards’ populist hook from his mouth, firmly planted during the primary season.  Only a true douche bag could have campaigned “for-the-people” while knowing that an affair with the biggest coke slut of the 1980’s was waiting to come tumbling out of the closet.  What if his message (which was a good one) had caught on?
  • Anne Curry delivers good news:  anytime, anyplace, but especially on MSNBC’s election night dressed in all black:

Maybe the mainstream media isn't so bad, after all.

Red State Voting Guide

29 Oct

In what has been a divided country, the “Red States” have had the pleasure of delivering not one but two Geroge W Bush Presidencies to the nation.  Those victories have been attributed to Karl Rove’s 2000 annexation of the Relgious Right  (Bush, a god-fearing, down-home, let’s-have-a-beer-with-him rancher, was one of ‘them’) and 2004’s gay marriage fear tactics.  Luckily, the 2008 election is without Bush and Rove, and voters are actually in the position of having to consider substantive issues.  This would, indeed, constitute progress.  The Hangover wishes to ease the fear of Red State voters.  Even if forced to vote on policy, there are still plenty of good reasons to remain in your comfort zone and cast your ballot for the Republican, John McCain.  

The two main areas to consider are Iraq and the Economy. 


As one might guess, the former Navy man and POW is a bit of a hawk.

A January McCain Q and A with reporters:

Q: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years — ” (cut off by McCain)

McCain: “Make it a hundred.”

Q: “Is that …” (cut off)

McCain: “We’ve been in South Korea … we’ve been in Japan for 60 years.  We’ve been in South Korea 50 years or so.  That would be fine with me.  As long as Americans …”

Q: [tries to say something]

McCain: “As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. That’s fine with me, I hope that would be fine with you, if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Queada is training and equipping and recruiting and motivating people every single day.

August 2008

McCain:  “Victory in Iraq is finally in sight.”

Apparently, Senator McCain can see a long way into the future.  That’s a real bonus for a President.

Result:  If you think that the war that has cost 4188 American lives (with only 30,000-plus wounded) and a long term American presence in Iraq is a good idea, you can feel good about voting for John McCain. 

Bonus reason:  McCain claims to know how to “get Osama bin Laden.”  It’s too bad he’s been too busy campaigning for the last seven years to tell George W. how to get that done.



Free Trade:

There’s little doubt that American companies have been exporting manufacturing jobs to our NAFTA partners and third world nations.  It’s more profitable to produce products in places with slave wage pay scales and little if any environmental restriction.  But while the American manufacturing base has lost jobs, the service industry has grown and will continue to do so.  

McCain’s views on free trade are readily apparent:

McCAIN: “I am a free trader.”  (10-15-2008)

McCain from the National Politcal Awareness Test 2004

Q: Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?

A: Yes.

Q: Should trade agreements include provisions to address environmental concerns and to protect workers’ rights?

A: No.

Result:  If you’re happy to give up that exhausting manufacturing job at Ford, GE, or any other factory in the area formerly known as the Industrial Heartland, you’re in luck with John McCain.  Give him your vote.

Bonus Reason:  You’ll likely be able to enjoy a career at Burger King, Wendy’s, or dare-to-dream Applebee’s.  You might get to meet Ronald McDonald.


Deregulation has brought us the Savings and Loan Scandal of the ’80’s and ’90’s, astronomical gas prices, Enron and the like, and the current financial crisis.   

In a 2003 interview with CNN:

John McCain: I am a deregulator. I believe in deregulation.”

In April, 2008

McCain:  “I am for less government, less regulation.”

September 21, 2008

Q: In 1999, you were one of the senators who helped pass deregulation of Wall Street. Do you regret that now?

McCAIN: “No. I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.”

Result:  If you believe, as John McCain does, that big business knows what’s best for the country and will operate their businesses in an ethical manner that will benefit all of us, then feel good about casting your vote for John McCain.  After all, what are the odds that we taxpayers will have to pony up another 700 billion to bailout the financial industries, 153 billion for the Savings and Loans, 25 billion to the automakers, or a measly 400 million to AIG? 

Bonus Reason:  If we keep getting to bail out all these industries, maybe we’ll be able to claim the capital  losses on our own taxes.

Debate Hero: Sarah Palin or Marge Gunderson

3 Oct

In the 2008 Presidential election, the Republicans have cast themselves as Main Street, ready to take on the Ivory Towers in a WWE steel cage match.   This someone-you’d-like-to-have-a-beer-with, regular-person-as-your-fearless-leader strategy worked for them in the last two contests, and in the down home-speak now preferred by the GOP:  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  No surprise there.

But last night’s debate left the Hangover wondering why Palin was doing her best impression of Marge Gunderson, Frances McDormand’s steadfast policewoman from the film Fargo.   Palin incessantly reminded us that John McCain is a maverick and that her experience as mayor of Wasilla (population 9780) qualifies her to be Vice President.  In-between, she dropped more Fargo-isms than we could count—in case we didn’t know that she really was just an above-average average American at heart. 

If you watched, you were treated to such figures of speech as (complete with that northern, folksy accent):

“you betcha”     “back ya up”     “a heckuva lot”     “goin’ on”   “tap into ’em”  “bless their hearts”  “comin'”        “bringin'”          “sayin”      “hockey game”      “hockey mom”    “Joe Six-pack”   “darn right”     “change is comin”     “doggone it”    “there ya go again”      “work with ya”    

Vice President Gunderson??

Vice President Gunderson??

It turns out that Palin may have more talent than we’ve given her credit for.   Sarah does Gunderson/McDormand better than Tina Fey does Sarah.  And that’s saying something. 

With all that’s going on in the country right now, it’s time to give the American people a break.  If the Republicans are going to shove this hometown schtick down our throats with Palin, the least they could do is give her Steve Buscemi as a campaign sidekick.  Then the farce would be complete.

McDonald’s McCafe an Election Indicator

30 Sep

McDonald restaurants from coast to coast are introducing a McCafe line of espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes.  The McCafes are already active in 2500 McDonald’s, with over 14,000 units expected to serve them by the middle of 2009.  McDonald’s main purpose here is to add to their bottom line, but the willingness to expand into this market segment reveals a significant perceived shift in American society.  McDonald’s knows Red State America like no one else, making this move a key indicator in the 2008 Presidential Election. 

Twenty-five years ago the only people in the US drinking cappuccinos, espressos, and lattes lived in Seattle, Los Angeles, and the Northeast Corridor.  They were poets, gays, displaced Europeans, Ivy League elites, and girls whose Dads had sent them to Nice for the summer.  Things changed when Starbucks burst onto the national scene in the 1990’s, becoming the purveyor of foamy coffee, Italian slang, and alternative, non-threatening music.   Whether due to marketing, good coffee, or stratospheric sugar content, many Americans started drinking Starbucks-type concoctions.  In the third quarter of 2008, Starbucks sold over 2.0 billion dollars worth of coffee in the United States.  Those sales can’t have come in Blue States alone.

Naturally, McDonald’s wants a piece of the action.  It’s clear that the 29 billion-in-annual-US-sales behemouth has determined that the citizens of Wichita, Missoula, Gary, Little Rock, Davenport, and Cheyenne are ready to abandon their Chock Full o’Nuts tin cans for a McCafe Hazlenut Iced Latte.  If the mindset that governs our heartland’s most important drink of the day can be altered, then the thought process with which Americans choose their President can also evolve.

This mid-American transformation will extend right into the 2008 election.  McDonald’s is certain that their customer base (not exactly your Northeastern Liberal Elite Obama-types) will drink these foofy mega-coffees.  The Hangover is equally sure that this means the Red Staters are ready to expand their range of political thought.  Typical Republican scare tactics will fall short and “change” will rule.  Obama will carry some traditional Republican states and win.  McDonald’s tell us so.

The World of Commander McCain

27 Sep

In September 26th’s Presidential Debate, Republican hopeful John McCain often touted his vast experience in both domestic and foreign affairs.  McCain entered politics in 1981, when he retired from the Navy.  According to his talking points, the Senator was heavily involved in many of the most critical American political actions of the past 25-plus years.  And if that’s the case (who would doubt this man of honor?), why haven’t things turned out better for the United States?

Early on in the debate, McCain stated, ” We Republicans came to power to change government, and government changed us.”  He later added, It (meaning the money laden system of politics in Washington) corrupts people.”   This is one arena where McCain knows of which he speaks.  He was one of the infamous Keating Five:  A group of Senators found wielding influence for Charles Keating, director of the corrupt Lincoln Savings and Loan (There’s that deregulation, greed, and collapse formula again).  After receiving more than $100, 000 of Keating’s ill-earned dollars in campaign funds, as well as stays at Keating’s Bahamian vacation home, McCain attended hearings with federal regulators on behalf of Keating.  In the words of the Seattle Times, this placed McCain (and the entire group) “under an ethical cloud for years.”  It also led to McCain being found guilty by the Senate Ethics Committee of “using poor judgement” in acting on Keating’s behalf.  The incident does prove that McCain can work across the aisle–the other four members of the Keating Five were Democrats.  The Hangover is puzzled as to why that wasn’t featured in McCain’s considerable self portrait last night.

McCain did manage to mention that he’s been to Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Georgia (the country) and New Hampshire (the state).  He also boasted of meeting with Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Misha Saakashvili, and General Patraeus.  He looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and saw “a K, a G and a B”  Perhaps McCain was drunk at the time.  Just about the only thing McCain hasn’t done is kept track of how many houses he owns.

Through connections in Washington DC, The Hangover has gained access to a video of McCain actually taking on terrorists in New York City.  Only great modesty must have prevented McCain from sharing these exploits with the American People:

Sarah Palin’s Banned Books

8 Sep

The media frenzy surrounding reports of Sarah Palin’s attempt to ban books from the Wasilla Public Library is somewhat off the mark.  On becoming mayor of the thriving Alaskan metropolis in 1996, she did not attempt to ban specific books from the town library.  She simply inquired with the librarian about how she would react if Palin did attempt to ban books.  It was a rhetorical question, Palin claimed, according to the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman.  This puts the Hangover at ease.  Luckily for those left wing advocates of free speech, Library Director Mary Ellen Emmons actually had a backbone (not to mention respect for the Constitution) and symbolically told Palin to take a long walk off a short iceberg. 

The good news is that if the McCain-Palin ticket is elected, the nation will enjoy some consistency in the Vice Presidential positition.  If one of Palin’s first acts as mayor is to determine what level of censorship she could wield in her position, she’ll feel very comfortable behind Dick Cheney’s desk.  He doesn’t believe we know what’s good for us, either.   It’s certainly reassuring to have such honest, god-fearing leaders to do our thinking for us.  The Hangover would hate to waste time reading books and following government, especially with the season premiere of Desperate Housewives only weeks away.

This being something of a literary site, The Hangover had to wonder just what books Palin was hoping to strike from the library.   Consdier me cynical, but there had to be some specific targets.  To determine what works these might be, we scanned the list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 and tried to discern which qualified for her lets-get-rid-of-them platform.

The Hangover immediately eliminated the following from Palin’s agenda:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Little Black Sambo, and Native Son:  How many African-Americans can there be in Wasilla?

Sex (by Madonna), Sex Education, Girls and Sex, Women on Top, Boys and Sex, What’s Happening to my Body, Asking About Sex and Growing Up:  With all the kids they’re popping out up there in Wasilla, I don’t think sex was a worrisome issue for Palin.    Apparently, they’re good at it.

Brave New World, Of MIce and Men, The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies:  These books are only read by eastern and urban elites who vote Democrat.  No one in Alaska would be caught dead with any of them.

Slaughterhouse Five, The Dead Zone, Tiger Eyes, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cujo, Scary Stories, The Goats, The Pigman:  With the hunting and outdoor sporting culture in Alaska, anything involving possible game and/or killing of possible game has to be considered acceptable reading.

All poetry could be considered safe:  No one reads it anyway, outside of the beret-wearing fops in New York and San Francisco.

To be honest, The Hangover had never heard of many of the books on the list.  And if we’ve never heard of them, it’s probably safe to assume that a busy hockey mom and Mayor like Palin never did either.  That takes care of another eighty.

Palin’s Possible Targets:

By process of elimination, The Hangover concludes that Palin had two particular volumes which she wished to eradicate from the Wasilla Public Library’s shelves:

  1. Private Parts by Howard Stern.  Howard is one of those northeastern liberal intellectuals.  And he has a potty mouth.  And he is one of America’s strongest advocates of free speech.  You can’t have that kind of thinking threatening the way of life in Alaska.
  2. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling.  If Wasilla’s children became engrossed in reading about the fantasy world of wizards, puny English kids, Cheney Voldemort, Dumbledore, and Harry, they wouldn’t have time to play hockey, babysit their many siblings, and have underage, unprotected sex.  

The country owes a debt of gratitude to Library Director Ellen Emmons.  Censorship is defeated.  And because of that, The Hangover’s dream is alive–hoping to one day author a book that will vie for consideration on the 2010-2020 list of Most Frequently Challenged. 

What?  Who wants this blog shut down?