September 20, 2018

A Tale Of Two Countries…

I intend to write a lot about American politics (predictably, these will be properly filed in the “Rant” category above – if I am successful).  But this creates problems.  Not political problems.  But problems because I think it is fair to assume that half of the people who will be reading this blog will be Romanians.  And it would be very difficult to stop and explain some of the colorful terms and references that I expect that would be beyond the normal scope of a “casual” observer of American politics.  I just re-read that sentence and it didn’t sound too good.  So let me give you an example.

Last week, after Obama’s State Of The Union Address, an American friend of mine living in Greece sent an e-mail asking if I had seen it.  And I answered back with a short message.  But just “talking” about it got me all amped up and there was more I wanted to say about it.  So I wrote the blog.  And then I looked it over and knew I couldn’t use it.  For example, this section:

  • …Obama just continues to amaze me.  This guy gets dealt the most miserable hand ever dealt to any in-coming, first term president – the totally wrecked economy, a massive oil spill that can’t be stopped, an entire array of nasty and actual villains (Republicans), a non-supporting majority in his own party (the Blue Dog democrats), an absolutely poisonous media environment (courtesy of Fox Noise, Limbaugh, etc.), and even a whole independent “movement” (the Tea Party) dead set on his destruction – and he continues to dance, and spin, bob, and weave his way through them and get some truly historic things done.  He has already passed more legislation than any president since Lyndon Johnson.  And then, in the Lame Duck session he oversees more laws being passed than any president ever.  And he’s only been at it for barely two years!  This cat is cool, man!

When I looked it over, thinking of my Romanian friends and readers, the terms “Blue Dog,” “Fox Noise,” “Limbaugh,” “Tea Party,” and “Lame duck” just jumped out at me.  I had no right to expect anyone outside of America to understand what these terms meant*.  So I deleted the Blog.  But then, today, I wanted to write about politics again and I thought I couldn’t do it because I would probably mean using unfamiliar American terms again.  And then it occurred to me that I was censoring myself.  Worse:  I was prohibiting myself from writing about what I want to write about.  Which kind of defeats the whole purpose of this enterprise.  So, I don’t want to be callous or anything, but if the terms and references I am using are incomprehensible to you, there are two options:  1) just stop reading (and, please, try again next time – I won’t always be talking about politics), or 2.) just drop me a line and ask me what I meant by them.  I will explain it to you personally.

* Okay – but just this time – I will try to define two of these terms ahead of your requests:

A Blue dog democrat is a member of the President’s own political party that, generally speaking, comes from Southern or very rural, very conservative, backward and almost illiterate sections of the country.  You can identify a Blue Dog, even before he is identified for you, because they are slow-speaking, slow-thinking cretin-types who lack the intelligence or imagination to be embarrassed in even the slightest way by the stupidity or implausibility of their remarks or public utterances.

Fox Noise refers to the Fox News Network which, as mystifying as it seems, is the most popular cable “News” network in America.  I refer to it as Fox Noise because it is the only “news” network in America with almost zero content of actual news or fact but, instead, supplies the nation with an unrelenting stream of half-crazed – no, make that full-crazed, entirely, completely crazy – outpourings of cockamamie theories, weird ideology, right-wing “nut-cake” speculations, and just stuff they make up to suit their right-wing owner, the nefarious Rupert Murdoch.  For my Romanian friends:  think of a less tasteful, less intelligent OTV but on steroids and with better production values.  Fox’s audience could accurately be categorized by that increasingly used euphemism of “low information” voters, because they genuinely believe Obama is an Arab or Muslim, who was not born in the US (or believe that Hawaii is a “foreign country”), that he represents either socialist or fascist interests who are trying to take over the country, and a whole array of other crackpot ideas.  There is a growing body of evidence that indicates a high correlation between exposure to Fox News and incidence of a range of behaviors that could be characterized as mentally “unstable.”  And some researchers are coming to the conclusion that a steady diet of Fox News, by itself, can directly cause Alzheimer’s Disease, even among young people. I have been working on student goal setting and ownership of learning with my 5th graders online assignment help this year, and can see that these strategies would fit in nicely


  1. Albert says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I liked how you described what a “Blue dog” means, but Americans are lucky, let’s face it, since not most of their politicians are like that. It is difficult to say the same thing about Romanian politicians, since I did not meet most of them yet, but if you read their interviews or try understand their actions you might think the majority are a kind of Romanian authentic Blue dog’s

  2. Kevin says:


    I appreciate your enthusiasm for American politics. As an American who lived in Romania for a couple of years, I am interested in Romanian perspectives on American politics. However, I am afraid that your generalization of Blue Dog Democrats is a bit simplistic. You are correct that many of them come from the South, and a few might be playing to an uneducated base, there are many who stand for positive principles that I find refreshing. For example, many Blue Dogs fight to get a more sensible and balanced budget, something that the mainstream Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to accomplish. Also, many Blue Dogs are able to win in districts that traditionally vote Republican. That is a huge boon for the Democratic Party. What party wouldn’t want a majority in Congress, even if that means dealing with a faction that tempers its agenda at times.

    Other than that generalization, I enjoyed your post. Good luck!


    • Michael says:

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments. And I do agree with you that, perhaps, my generallization of Blue Dogs was “simplisitic.” But, then, Blue Dogs are not just “simplistic” people but — dare I say — actual simpletons. For example, you say “…Blue Dogs fight for a more sensible and balanced budget.” And, it is true that they are always talking that way. But in December these same Blue Dogs — to a man — all voted to extend the Bush tax cuts, including transferring almost 900 billion to the richest 5% of the population (so much for “sensible”). Now, I know you realize that this negatively affects the natinoal deficit (so much for “balanced budget”). However I am sure these guys are going to become sensible and for a balanced budget quite soon — in fact as soon as they start hacking away at social security and medicare.

  3. Andrew Begg says:

    ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats is a new one on me Michael – I picture them sitting on sun-bleached porches in the deep South watching the world go by, without meanin’ no harm to no one …

    David Foster Wallace’s 70-page essay ‘Host’ introduces a whole new aspect of US political culture that non-Americans might not have encountered: talk radio. You mention the king of US talk radio Limbaugh, but what I didn’t know is that there are Limbaugh clones throughout the country, all ranting away on local stations and invariably rabid Republicans, Obama-birth dissenters who enhance the cult of Palin.

    • Michael says:

      Your imagination is quite correct in guiding you in painting that word picture. But, Oh, Andrew, even your imagination couldn’t even begin to get a grip on the true beast that lurks in America’s heartland….

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