Tag Archives: Politics

The Politics of Celebrity

At the Republican National Convention in 2012, it was Clint Eastwood who made a splash with his speech regarding President Obama.  At the Democratic National Convention in that same year, Kal Penn of Harold and Kumar fame, made a veiled reference to Eastwood’s speech and made overtures toward younger Americans to vote.  In 1964, actor Raymond Massey made a campaign commercial for Republican Barry Goldwater.  Actor E.G. Marshall filmed a spot for Hubert Humphrey in 1968.  Paul Newman campaigned for another Democrat in 1968, Eugene McCarthy.  Sammy Davis Jr. endorsed President Nixon.  Singer Pearl Bailey in 1976 for President Ford.    Even Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon endorsed Ralph Nader in 2000.   The list of celebrities endorsing and campaigning for Presidents and presidential candidates is almost endless.  I once watched a PBS documentary entitled, “Vote For Me”, where the then head of the Oklahoma Democratic Party referred to politics as “show business for ugly people.”  He was alluding to the entertainment value of political campaigns and how the political process had become superficial over the years.  This documentary was filmed in the mid-1990s.

Today, it seems as if politics and entertainment industry have come together as one.  Entertainers of all political stripes are now engaged in the political process by adding their opinions to the issues, events, and candidates of the day through social media and traditional media outlets alike.  Has the separation between politics and entertainment become blurred over the years?  Do you believe that entertainers have any influence on the political process?

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Do You Follow Politics?

The Politics of Celebrity

The Application of Ideology

There are four primary ideologies espoused in the United States.  We usually discuss them from a left-to-right perspective, so that is how they’ll be presented here.  First off, an ideology is a clear, coherent, and consistent set of beliefs about the role of government and its relationship with the individual.  Those on the left side of the ideological scale tend to believe in more federal government involvement, while those on the right side of the scale believe in a federal government that is smaller in size and scope.  We will look at the four primary ideologies (socialism, liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism) from an economic perspective.  The baseline interpretation of each ideology, for our purposes here, is founded on economic principles and government’s reach within the economy.  When social issues (i.e. gay marriage, abortion) or the military are discussed, that consistency which makes up the fundamental makeup of an ideology gets clouded.  Here are some brief descriptions of the four ideologies:

Socialism:  This ideology is found on the left-hand side of the left-to-right scale. Socialists believe in curbing the excesses associated with private capital, but also they believe in a more active government intertwining itself within privately run businesses.  The end result being that privatization would no longer exist, and that which was once private becomes “public” in the form of a government controlled and regulated economy.  Socialism would provide more government programs to those in need, but would also need more taxes from the public to pay for those programs.

Liberalism:  Moving to the right of socialism is the liberal ideology.  Liberals tend to believe in the role of government as a “safety net”.  Government is designed to help those in need through social welfare programs.  This may sound like socialism in theory, but liberals do not believe in government controlled, or statist, society.  Private capital and businesses may be regulated and taxed by the federal government, but they would not be taken over and controlled by the government either.

Conservatism:  To the right of the liberal perspective is the conservative ideology.  In the case of the conservative, he believes in a smaller government which is cut down to size by reducing the number of social welfare and spending programs in the United States.  Conservatives also believe in cutting taxes.

Libertarianism:  The ideology at the most right of the scale being described here is libertarianism.  Libertarianism, at its American core, was promoted during the American Revolution.  Classic liberalism, as it was called then, supported a federal government that had very limited powers.  The definition of limited powers would be derived from the United States Constitution.  Simply put, if there was  a question on the size and scope of the federal government, then the Constitution would be final arbiter in settling a governmental dispute between the federal government and the states.  Only that which is written specifically for the federal government in the Constitution can belong to the federal government.  That which is not a federal government power would then belong to the states.

Can we apply ideological interpretations to the state and local levels?  Is there such a thing as “socialist garbage pickup” or “libertarian libraries”?  Do ideologies matter at the state or local levels or are we looking for politicians who apply pragmatism rather than ideology in their decision making?

Do Political Parties Matter At The Local Level?

Please explain your answer.  Do political parties have a purpose at the local level?

The Definition of Politics

In his seminal work, “Congress:  The Electoral Connection”, David R. Mayhew says among things that “…politics is best studied as a struggle among men and women to gain and maintain power and the consequences of that struggle.”  Do you agree with Mayhew’s assessment of politics?

Chuck Hagel’s Nomination

Former Republican United States Senator Chuck Hagel (Nebraska) is President Obama‘s pick to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense.  He has to receive a majority of support from the Senate in order to be confirmed as the new Secretary.