A MeanMesa visitor, at home after a long day, is pressed by appetite to prepare dinner as quickly as possible. A quick tap on the kitchen radio brings up the evening news broadcast already in progress. The full introduction to an audio clip has clearly just begun a few moments before, and only the recorded voice can be heard. The identity of the speaker, although probably announced in the lead up, is missing.
All we hear is the recorded audio.
MeanMesa's question at this point is simple enough. Is the voice in the recording that of a Republican or a Democrat? Further, can such a distinction be drawn exclusively from the content of the recording? The words of the message?
Now, with a set up like this, a rambling, MeanMesa tirade about Republicans probably wouldn't surprise anyone reading further. However, this posting is hardly intended just another "blog soaking tirade." This posting is a reader participation exercise, and you, being the reader here, are invited to give it a try.
The answer to the question posed above is a discouraging "yes." However, that conclusion, especially when only proffered entirely by itself, couldn't have much persuasive weight given the perceptive nature of our visitors. More "meat" must be introduced if the claim is to be more than simply another empty "bag of bones," that is, an overly dramatic bag of "sour grapes" after the last election.
So, the premise arises from the argument that by simply listening to the words spoken by a politician, even in the case when the identity of the politician is unknown, a careful listener can accurately determine whether he is hearing the voice of a Republican or a Democrat.
Is such a determination actually possible? And, if so, how exactly can this be done?
Here's the clue. If the voice is discussing strictly politics, that is, if all the uncertainties posed by the speaker deal exclusively with the "will of the people," "everybody knows," "Americans have spoken" or some similar claim to representational legitimacy, the voice most likely belongs to a Republican. On the other hand, if the words include phrases such as "I think we ought to...," "The solution I'm coming up with is..." or "one good plan to solve this would be...," then we may conclude that it is a Democrat speaking.
If, per chance, it is one of the recently elected tea bags speaking, the game changes. The grotesquely unpredictable comments originating from that crowd are so easily identified that the joy of a correct guess loses its shine.
Returning to the utterances of the "power parties," the listener can accurately differentiate between the two possibilities by this simple exercise. Pay attention not the the message so much as to the exact words which comprise it. Although the now road weary lament that Republicans have no discernible plan to do anything required for thoughtful government has been bandied about too long already, this simple contextual test puts the "money where the mouth is" on the issue.
MeanMesa mentioned earlier that this was to be a "reader participation" posting, and here's the game. Even if you, as a player, accidentally know the identity of the speaker before the game begins, you can pretend ignorance. All the other rules will still apply.
When a politician is scheduled to appear on a talk show or television interview, pay special attention to exactly what is said in the message.
If the content is being constantly "authorized" by political claims of popularity at the expense of the riskier presentation of possible solutions, the speaker is, most likely, a creepy little, risk averse, overly bombastic Republican.
At the counter point, if propositions leading to action -- risky propositions which might, in fact, not even turn out to be good ones -- are presented, the speaker is, most likely, a risk taking Democrat speaking with the intention of solving this problem or that one.
We have all endured the results of the Rovian "perpetual campaign" waged during the autocracy. Incredibly wretched, counter productive executive and legislative schemes issued forth like flies on sun-baked potato salad. Thoughtful, valid plans which might have served the interests of the country were discarded instantly in favor of one liners, talking points and sleazy slogans guaranteed to keep the hill billies and bigots in a "nose bleed" state of half witted, war making, nationalistic frenzy while the Treasury was being looted.
This challenge to the MeanMesa reader is perfumed with an unusual confidence. Take a moment during the next "news" program, listen carefully in this way to the politicians who speak and test the theory.
In every case, you will detect either politics or statesmanship.
Those are the choices. Nothing will be easy. Ever.