Tis the season of the anxiety - if you're a person who gets passionate about politics.
My mom wouldn't watch the debates and won't talk about politics. I'm avoiding most polls and predictions and only listening to the half of my podcasts that don't freak me out. So if it's a story about scientific studies or Abraham Lincoln or a new play on Broadway, I'm your girl. Ask me the current poll numbers? Not so much.
But a few stories/ideas have permeated my anxious haze, and here they are:
1. Colin Powell Endorses Obama.
Also he likes Obamacare. And he is completely one hundred percent right about bipartisan progress being Congress' job. And he's still a "moderate Republican" - he says that's a dying breed, while name-dropping GHWB, Howard Baker, etc. I think he held off to make the most impact. What do you think?
2. The Mourdock Story Is Not Dead Yet - Thanks to Republicans John McCain and Jay Leno. John McCain un-endorsed Mourdock until he apologizes. I was surprised because McCain has been lambasting Obama on foreign policy (Mr. Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran doesn't think the President has gone far enough, anywhere). But McCain does still have a maverick side, and I'm always glad to see it rear its head.
3. The President Is FINALLY Taking It to Congress. It's about darn time. I thought Biden's line about Congress needing to "get out of the way" of progress was really strong. Obama didn't use that, but he does say that Congress needs to get off their butts and save us from the fiscal cliff. Btw, the crowd goes WILD when he answers the Mourdock question.
4. The Atlantic Lurves Bloomberg, Says He's A Brave Thinker. Well, Bloomberg, like, say, McCain, is a brave thinker on occasion, and bounded by his experience on other occasions. But I guess that's the bravest you can get for a successful politician. The article spends way too long on the stupid soda restrictions, but then gets to some interesting questions on popularity, getting things done, the state of journalism, etc. This quote is worth sharing:
On why high approval ratings mean you’re failing:
If I finish my term in office … and have high approval ratings, then I wasted my last years in office. That high approval rating means you don’t upset anybody. High approval rating means you’re skiing down the slope and you never fall. Well, you’re skiing the baby slope, for goodness’ sakes. Go to a steeper slope. You always want to press, and you want to tackle the issues that are unpopular, that nobody else will go after.
Which, okay, it sounds like they are Proclaiming Something Momentous. But in reality they are just talking about how parental engagement and academic encouragement can make a huge difference in kids' achievement and success - one that it is difficult and expensive to replicate in schools. But if you didn't know that, you aren't paying much attention, right?
If you are looking for a take-away, the article does suggest certain specific ways to engage - like setting expectations. To be sure, I have always found that everybody tends to rise or fall to the level of expectation - so if you expect more of your kids, they will probably achieve more. There is an implicit affirmation of a kids' potential given by high expectations. Not mean ones, mind you, but ones based in pride and hopefulness.
And one policy note: even though parents can make a huge difference, so can teachers. As the kid of two teachers and the beneficiary of some great teaching, I can tell you that teachers can add something invaluable by giving kids their own expectations, respect, challenges, and yes, love.
Both parents and schools are important.
6. I'm Tired of Explaining the Reasons I Don't Want Romney to Win. Luckily, a friend shared Republicans explaining the things THEY don't like about Romney: