Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Sole support — update

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Lincoln Chafee just confirmed that he although he’s dropping out of the presidential race, he is available for consideration as vice-president. But he does have to pick up his dry cleaning first.

Sole support

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Lincoln Chafee has dropped out of the presidential race.

I’m sure his supporter will be disappointed.

House rules

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

News flash: Paul Ryan has announced that he’ll run for Speaker of the House if the GOP will pick out all the brown M&M’s first.


Monday, October 12th, 2015

Here’s that video from Colbert about nobody wanting to become Speaker of the House. It’s still funny (and still kinda not funny).


Sunday, October 11th, 2015

The other night on a friend’s recommendation I recorded Stephen Colbert’s show to catch a bit he did on the multi-car pileup that is the House Speaker’s succession. (Or, I guess, secession. For two men in a row.)  The piece was indeed hilarious.

I wound up watching all of the show (although fast-forwarding a rather empty interview with James Corden who, yes, can sing and dance, but who seems to have nothing to say) and then came upon the musical guest:  Halsey. I recognized her song, “New Americana,” which is at #95 on the U.S. charts but constantly on my radio, and decided to learn a little more about her. I looked her up and learned that she’s 21, grew up about 30 miles away from my birthplace, and is biracial, bisexual, and bipolar. And then it occurred to me that, even 10 years ago, any one of those three would have disqualified you for any number of things; now you can be on network TV and mention all of it in your official biography.

Meanwhile, the GOP is acting far crazier than any of the bipolar people I know.

Who is the worst CEO in history?

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

I’ll give you a hint: She’s running for President.

Dog-bites-man massacres

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

If you haven’t yet, please invest the 12 minutes to watch the President’s statement about today’s mass shooting, at a community college in Oregon. I say “today’s,” because we now have one every day. Given that these shootings are now business as usual, you may not have seen this.

There’s an old saying in journalism, that dog-bites-man isn’t a story, but man-bites-dog is, because the latter is so unusual. I remember when the Colombine high-school-shooting massacre happened in 1999, the news was not just awful, as today’s was, but also breathtaking. How could this happen? It was so massive, so unusual, so man-bites-dog. I was in an airport — in Colorado, I believe — and started making and receiving cellphone calls about the massacre, as every television station in the airport started carrying news about it.

Now it’s 16 years later, and we’ve made zero progress on gun violence, and we now reside in a time when there’s a mass shooting every day, so it’s not unusual. It’s dog-bites-man.

For the record, I like guns. I used to like them for hunting, and I’ve always liked them for target practice — either paper targets, or cans, or skeet. More than 40 years after learning how to shoot as a boy, I’m still a good shot. Most of my family shoots, most of them for target practice, some of them still for hunting. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-gun-massacres.

A few years ago, there was a study that showed that more gun laws equate with fewer gun deaths. Here’s some reporting on that. I don’t want all the guns rounded up. (That’s impossible anyway.) I want better profiling, I want a slower application process, and whatever else will help restrict crazy people from easily accessing automatic weapons and taking them to college campuses, shopping centers, movie theaters, and every single other place that we congregate.

I want the idea of mass shootings in this country to become unusual again.


Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Jeffrey Toobin feels differently than I do about John Boehner.

Leadership is ultimately tabulated from results. I can’t think of any positive results for Boehner. But I still believe he wanted to do better.

Citizen Boehner

Saturday, September 26th, 2015

I have a number of friends who have been influential and highly placed Republicans. (I say “have been” because most of them have left the party. Or, perhaps more appropriately, the party has left them.) They’ve run campaigns, or served in significant roles in various statehouse or federal administrations. Two years ago, I was having lunch with one of them when I heard myself saying, “I kind of like John Boehner. I don’t agree with him, but I think he’s an American patriot. And I feel sorry for him.”

Yesterday, when I saw that he resigned,  while my Democrat friends were cheering, my heart sank. As I posted on one liberal friend’s Facebook page, “We’ll see how much you like what comes next.”

Vitriol isn’t new to American politics, and isn’t new to politics anywhere. (As the histories of ancient Greece and Rome attest.) But I wish we had less of it, and more focus on areas where viewpoints converge to fix actual problems. One of my former-Republican friends advises people to find the area of agreement and work on that. To do that, people have to stay civil. We could use more of that.

I’ve done my fair share of mocking political leaders I don’t agree with; lately, unless they’re truly vile or evil (same word, spelled differently), I resist. I woke up this morning again to find hundreds of my Facebook friends going on about John Boehner’s “orange skin” and his propensity for tears, and giving ha-ha-ha’s at him. Here’s what I feel I know about John Boehner:  because he came from humble origins, he was indeed frequently moved by finding himself second in line to the presidency; because he actually cared not only about the aims of his party but the needs of the country, he tried to wrangle a recurring heretic mob into agreement. Was he a successful Speaker? No. Will we like what comes next? No. Part of me believes that Boehner is doing this now so that he can go out on his own terms — refusing to shut down the government again, because now he’s free to work a deal with whomever he likes.

One of Boehner’s stated goals was to be an historic Speaker. I can’t find a previous example of a Speaker stepping down in precisely this fashion. So now he’s made history. It’s not the history he wanted, and not the one we should have wanted either.

Video stars

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Remember this guy?

Now we’ve got this guy.

One didn’t win. The other isn’t going to either. But in the meantime, they’re video stars. Of a sort.