Here's another segment of Viewer Mail from the David Letterman show. This is the broadcast of December 23, 1988, for those of you keeping score on a calendar.
Y'know, it's pretty impressive when someone can go from being ridiculed and shamed with a nickname like "Cancun Ted" and then get pushed aside within a short period of time as "Fist Bump Ted." But if anyone could do it, Ted Cruz probably would have gotten a lot of votes.
By the way, I remember when Barack and Michelle Obama gave each other a happy fist bump, and the Republican Party and Fox "News" went mad-crazy over calling it a "terrorist fist jab." Of course, there's a wee difference -- the Obamas were celebrating him winning the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Ted Cruz and his GOP buddies were celebrating that they'd blocked veterans from getting healthcare, notably for those getting sick while in service from toxic burn pits.
Thanks to reader John Kurko for bringing to my attention this great response from Jon Stewart to Ted Cruz's video trying to explain his actions. It's impressive when someone can be funny while outraged, furious fact-checking.
From the archives. This week's contestant is Allison Tolz from Montreal, Quebec. And I didn't get either the hidden song or composer style. It's a tough one. I will say, though, that my first guess for composer style was one of the three that the contestant thought it might be -- and the correct answer has a connection to them. So, I made another guess and was right. When composer Bruce Adolph slowed the piece down, I did guess the hidden song right before host Fred Child gave a big clue -- though that doesn't count either. I'll add that, once knowing what the hidden song is, and it's very famous, I still had a very difficult time picking it out. There are a few places where you have a chance of guessing it -- but if you do, and get the composer style, too...hat's off!
On this week’s episode of 3rd and Fairfax, the official podcast of the Writers Guild of America, the guest is Courtney Lilly who talks about his rise from staff writer on such shows as The Cleveland Show, Guys with Kids and My Boys to showrunner on Black-ish and Mixed-ish..
The other day, I was listening to Sirius/XM radio in my car, and came across a song I’d never heard before from a musical I was only slightly aware of, called NEWSical.
The show was a very long-running revue off-Broadway (I was boggled by how long) – marking over 3,000 performances, which is around nine years. It still plays around the country, and was even settled in Las Vegas for a while. (For all I know, it’s still there.)
The show lampoons news events, and as such has kept changing over the years, being updated. And occasionally had guest stars making an appearance, among then Andrea McArdle (the original Annie), SNL’s Cheri Oteri, Emmy-winner Jackée and LaToya Jackson. One of NEWSical’s original stars was Chistine Pedi, who’s a friend of my pal Mark Evanier – and people who read his site have likely seen him post some of her work. The show was written by Rick Crom, and got two Drama Desk nominations in 2011, for Outstanding Revue and Outstanding Lyrics.
It’s the latter which is what most caught my ear. It was a song called “Dr. Phil.” And I thought it was extremely clever. Helped by a very good impersonation.
There’s a new third party that is attempting to form, with its goal to give a voice to all views – not just moderates, but conservative and liberals, too, who feel disenfranchised from the Republican and Democratic parties. I think forming a third party is absolutely fine, but there seem to be big problems with it.
On the surface, “We welcome all views,” sounds great. Except I’m not sure if those with a conservative view want to push things that are part of a liberal agenda – and I don’t think liberals want to support any parts of a conservative agenda that are abhorrent to them. Further, though today’s GOP is pretty strictly far-right today, the Democratic Party already does have very liberal Democrats from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to moderate Democrats like Maggie Hassan and Chris Coons (and a great many others, especially in the House) and conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin and Jon Tester. So, if you generally support Democratic Party agenda, it’s hard to not find a place in the party. Given that the Democratic Party leans to the left, I’d think that most dissatisfaction in the party is from it not being progressive enough. Would those people want to join a party that aligns them with unhappy Republicans?? Some, perhaps, but enough for a viable, serious third party??
Which leads into another big problem. The name of this third party is the Forward Party. And I think that is a truly terrible name. As I mentioned, its mission is to span all views for the disenfranchised. But --
First of all, I think most people who are unhappy with their troubled party today are the disenfranchised moderate Republicans, deeply uncomfortable with the fascist direction of the GOP. We’ve heard and read about a great many former Republicans who now have left the GOP and say they are independents. Or even some say Democrats, because they want to affiliate with a party that can correct the course. There are certainly some Democrats who feel the party is too liberal for them, but there’s been no serious movement of them leaving the party on a scale of Republicans.
And second, the name “Forward Party” sounds progressive. It doesn’t seem to cry out to Republicans, “Come join us!” It actually seems almost prohibitive to conservatives, even moderate ones. Further, it sounds like it's going after liberals more than Republicans. It’s not (supposedly), but that’s what its name says. Which is troubling if the name confuses some and draws people from the left, wanting to be even more progressive.
The person who has been talking about this the most on TV has been former Republican congressman David Jolly, who left the GOP several years ago and has been a very good analyst on MSNBC. In his appearances, he has been aggressively insisting that has no "official role" in the Forward Party -- with which, he notes, one of his organizations has merged. The thing is, that’s significantly underplaying reality. While a few groups have merged, it’s three major ones in particular that form the foundations – and Jolly’s Serve America Movement is one of them More to the point, while insisting that he has no “official role,” he comes across like a spokesman for the party explaining bullet points off their Talking Points Agenda. And to be clear, that's fine, no problem with that – but not if remains an official MSNBC analyst.
It’s not surprising that another of the groups forming the core triumvirate is the Renew America Movement founded by former Republicans such as former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, Trump’s short-lived Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, former Trump advisor Miles Taylor, who wrote the famous “We’re the advisors protecting you from Trump” article as “Anonymous” and George Conway (who despite his virulent hatred of Trump is associated with the deeply conservative Federalist Society). Nor is it surprising that another founder of Forward former New Jersey Republican governor Christine Todd Whitman. But what stands out, is that another of the founding groups is one headed by Andrew Yang.
Andrew Yank ran for the Democratic nomination to be the leader of the party as it presidential candidate, and lost. He then ran for mayor of New York City in Democrat primary, and again lost. And so, now, after losing twice – for major positions he had absolutely no experience for – he quits the Democratic Party to become a founder of the new third party, Forward. In fairness, that pretty much capsulizes how I’ve always seen Andrew Yang. He seems to be smart and talented in his fields, and even with good intentions, but largely clueless how governing works and pretty much a self-promoter.
So, if a third party wants to come along and build solid, thoughtful support – good for them. I think it’s a tough hurdle in the United States, but there have been somewhat-strong third parties. Indeed, the Republican Party didn’t even come into existence for 100 years. But…the Forward Party seems to have added some of its own hurdles to an otherwise reasonable effort.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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