Monday, October 01, 2007

Political Update for October, 2007

Presidential campaign

I promised not to write any more McCain articles, but I meant pro-McCain. This isn’t very positive.

First, let me say, “Oh, come on”.

Can't I have one, just one presidential candidate that I think is worthy of the office without watching them pander themselves to death? Or is our system so restrictive, so dominated by these two arthritic antipodal parties that no one can ever hope to capture a nomination without making the most cloying statements and absent the religious drapery?

Well, I guess I know the answers to those questions.

The reason for my outburst is the unseemly pandering by my still (amazingly) favorite candidate, John McCain. I put up with his kowtowing to the now late Jerry Falwell, by making an address at Liberty University, and I groaned when I learned he had become a Southern Baptist (gee, could it have anything to do with the liberal attitude his Presbyterian Church has developed towards gays and the political implications of that), but now, his statement that he prefers a Christian to any other religion in the White House just pushes it too far. Of course he does. So does probably 80-90% of the country if they were honest. And I don’t care about you, for example, feeling that way. But his saying so was undiluted pandering to the social conservatives who consider him a traitor to the party on immigration and campaign finance, even though he seems more conservative than any top tier candidate.

I know McCain came out later to say he would vote for a Muslim if he were the best candidate, and it was not quite as dramatic as this might make it seem, but the point was clear -- please, conservative Christian voters, I'm one of you, I’m one of you, not that New York guy. He’s not pro-life for crying out loud. Vote for me.

Oh, come on, John. Was the White House the price of your integrity?

It’s getting to the point where I will no longer trust you either, Mr. McCain. If you will pander this far to become president, you would pander just as far to get a second term. And that means pandering with power (I’d still vote for you. Hell, I voted for Bush and he can’t get an English sentence out). Keep pushing it and you may have the reverse problem from last time when you were popular with Democrats and independents but couldn’t win the nomination. You may win the primaries to find you can no longer win the general election.

Of course, it's not just McCain, it's all of these guys (and gal). Bill Richardson has gone from a moderate to an uber-liberal, and panders so often and deeply that he told an Iowan audience that Iowa was a terrorist target. If Iowa is, what isn't? North Dakota? Is anyone convinced that he would have said, or even thought that, were not Iowa's caucus so critical? If so, I know a rain forest in Iowa I'd like to sell you.

Then there's Rudy who is so desperately trying to hide his New York socially liberal side that he makes frequent incredible statements, including that 9/11 changed his mind about gun control. I don't care whether you are pro or anti gun control (I say everyone is pro-gun control - they just have different limits), you have to, have to, have to know that Rudy is PRO-GUN CONTROL. Are you still buying his impossibly contorted answers to how he feels about abortion?

One more comment on Rudy. I’m not a big fan of bringing families into the muck of politics but these guys all ask for it. This -- I love you, I love you too -- thing he has with his wife just creeps me out. First it was telling the world how she advised him on bio-weapons after 9/11 with her standing there nodding her head, then it telling us that she would sit in on cabinet meetings, then the whole secret about how they met, and now he’s taking her calls during speeches. If that was not pre-arranged nothing is, and although we will likely never know, I bet it was her idea and he couldn’t say no.

My opinion. She has some self esteem issues and he has to continuously pump her up and make her feel worthwhile or she gives him grief. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. He obviously is head over heels in love, because no sane candidate would have done what he did during a speech. Worse than the Gore kiss at his nomination.

My prediction. Rudy will start to dwindle sooner or later. Social conservatives are starting to realize their problems with him. More people are focusing on his personal life, his “9-11” mania, and it is only a matter of time before his problems as Mayor begin to be recognized.

I barely mention Mitt Romney in these posts, because he is so eager to say anything to please his hoped for voters, there are just no known limits. His Elmer Fudd, varmint hunter imitation earlier this year was all the more amazing because John Kerry had so publicly stumbled with it in the last election. Am I the only one who looks at him and sees a used car salesman? If there was a pandering award, he would win among Republicans (Richardson among Democrats).

It seems somewhat ironic that Giuliani, McCain and Romney are all pretending to be what Mike Huckabee actually is, a Southern abortion hatin’ gun totin’ devout Christian good ‘ole boy and the Republicans won’t give him enough campaign funds to fly from Little Rock to Washington if he won the election. Go figure.

Let me not leave out the front running Democrats. Hillary has just announced that she is in favor of giving every child born in America $5000. Is she kidding? That's BILLIONS, MANY BILLIONS of dollars a year. Is she merely signing her name to a giant virtual billboard screaming out DON'T WORRY. I'M STILL A SOCIALIST AT HEART or was this a mere momentary surrender to pandering fever? Maybe, as her staff quickly made it clear that this was not an official position (as if what the candidate says shouldn't be paid attention too -- they are just not responsible) and I am guessing, they hope it is quickly forgotten.

Obama is so desperate not to look like a French loving neo-liberal that he is prone to making hawkish sounding noises he couldn't possibly have a real interest in -- like attacking Pakistan and keeping troops in Iraq.

For debating purposes only, none of the candidates would be as much fun to watch as Mike Huckabee and Dennis Kucinich one on one. They are personable (MH the more so) and funny (DK the more so). Plus, they actually say what’s on their mind, which usually does one no good at all, at least during their lifetime. Compare that hypothetical debate to the stilted scripted one we are likely to get if Hillary Clinton and Rudy G, or any of the other automatons go at it. Yaaawwwwn.

Maybe Mike and Dennis should take a note from Gingrich (I’ll get to him) and get on the stage with someone from the other side of the aisle. They might even get some ratings. As of right now, who is actually watching these debates? I have given up watching them for more than a few minutes at a time. I had a laugh the other night listening to debate questioner Juan Williams make a comment about all the young people watching – was he kidding? What young people in this world did he think were watching that debate?

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned Fred Thompson yet, despite his high polling numbers. He will flame out. I am not even sure he will be here in February. And since he has said little but that he’s a conservative and a Republican, there is little to comment about.

Gingrich is another story. One of the few politicians in America who is always terrific to listen to you. I would never vote for him because he was too power hungry, too egotistical and too partisan when in office, and he hasn’t convinced me he has changed. Just now he has decided he will not run, supposedly because he can’t keep working with his American Solutions organization. He just figured that out? Newt is smart, and he may have realized, that no matter how much he would enliven debates, he couldn’t possibly win. He would not draw 10 % in any state but his own (and I’m not sure of that).

I don't know who I'm going to vote for, but I do know that, as usual, I don't want to vote for any of them. Good grief, that's how I ended up voting for Bush last time.

How to interview Ahmadinejad

Leave it to a college president to make Ahmadinejad sound reasonable about anything. Ahmadinejad was absolutely correct during his Columbia University speech that the fear of research into the holocaust is unlike our desire to have everything else investigated. We learn all about the womanizing and slaveholding of our forefathers, study our own quirks and perversions, spend billions on research, but this one topic, which raises such hackles among Jews and many other people, is considered out of bounds, unless you adhere to the approved story line.

I have heard too many times on tv last week that the holocaust is the most researched event in history. Maybe so. I wouldn’t know. But there are reputedly something like 60,000 publications on the civil war and I don’t know how many on WWII, Napoleon and the Bible. I don’t know from where the idea came that the holocaust is the most researched area. Moreover, I for one refuse to believe that holocaust research is the one area of human endeavor which has not been tainted by exaggeration, bias and outright fraud.

He is also right, regardless of how hypocritical he is, that it is wrong that people in Europe actually can and do go to jail just for questioning. That is not only an absence of free speech it is as insane behavior as found in the Islamic regimes which punish people for “insulting” Islam.

I understand what those who promote the holocaust are concerned about. They are afraid that if any holes are found in the holocaust story that it will be used politically against Israel and against Jews. I have a shocker for them. The people who will do so already hate Israel and/or Jews. Obviously, not having responsible research doesn’t work either. The same people already believe in The Protocols of Zion. When you close a door off to research or make one group of people “protected” from historical research you merely stoke the fires and create resentment. Bad idea. We should stop.

I suppose that some who read this would decide that I must like Ahmadinejad or would make one of those silly comments, like calling him “your friend, Ahmadinejad” or even call me a holocaust denier. Oh, well. There is no more reasoning with them than with him. Either deal with the muttonheads or keep my mouth shut.

Not for nothing, but what I wouldn’t give for a chance to interview Ahmadinejad. I would even shake his hand to get it and I hate the guy. Many presidents have shaken the hand, even hugged, far worst monsters than him. Television anchorpersons have no clue how to interview him. Here’s the trick. You just introduce the topic and let him talk – even seem to agree with him. We saw what happened when he got on the subject of gays in Iran. He was irrational.

The anchormen who have tried to interview him before failed because they were too busy playing lawyer against someone who will not grant any premise that might be controversial. Once a premise is not granted (e.g., have you said you want to wipe Israel off the face of the map?) there is little to follow up with. When that happens to a lawyer, he or she gets to whip out evidence of the premise from a deposition or document. Most interviewers don't get to do that (Tim Russert being an exception on Meet the Press).

If you must argue with him, just accuse him, don’t ask him if something you know he said or did is true or not. Let him deny away. You know who knows how to do it out of all the people on tv? Bill O’Reilly. He’s often not fair. Sometimes he even browbeats people into accepting his factual premise. But he understands how to do it.

Why Supreme Court Justices should stay off of tv

Clarence Thomas is loved by conservatives and hated by liberals. I masochistically read what these guys write, and whether his opinions are right or wrong, I believe he is the most consistent of all the justices in his jurisprudence. It’s impossible to be perfect, and no doubt his political views influence him.

However, just watching a few minutes of him on 60 Minutes (not my show usually) the other day, he reminded me of a bitter ex-lover or someone who was unfairly put in prison for ten years. Yes, his Supreme Court nomination was politics at its worst (and I still believe Anita Hill; I just don't think it should have been brought up). But, on the other hands, however good or bad you might believe he is, he was the least credentialed person to be nominated since Nixon was in office, with the possible exception of Bush's Harriet Miers pick, despite his Yale schooling.

Take this quote, for example: "My job is to write opinions. I decide cases and write opinions. It is not to respond to idiocy and critics who make statements that are unfounded . . . ". Well, he is right, of course, but sounds a little too bitter. Try watching a video of the interview. Oh, he’s bitter, all right. Even when he said the interviewer's name, angrily, in passing, I cringed.

His television appearance was brought about the publication of his biography. In it, he referred to some political opponents as “left wing zealots” or some such partisan and derogative terminology. That, of course, makes it easier for left wing zealots to claim that he is biased against them and not following the law. Guess he may have confirmed that for them.

The Supreme Court is the most secretive of political bodies. It must be to function, sort of like the only way Ozians could take the Wizard seriously was by not looking behind the curtain. While it would be good to know if someone has lost his or her mind on the court, or is acting unethically, the members have historically had a way of pushing someone aside when it becomes necessary. It’s rarely the problem.

Unlike secrecy in the administration or congress where we have a right (forget about national security issues for a minute) to know what’s going on with our democratically elected leaders, the court is supposed to be, at least in theory, basing its rulings on interpretation of law (stop laughing now). The court, as is well known, has little power of its own, just the authority that the other two bodies, the press and the people want to give it. And that has been worth a lot. Without respect, that would cease in a heartbeat. Let them see the human side of the Justices too much, respect will go out the window as fast as it does for a U.S. Senator who gets caught with his pants down in the airport men’s room.

Note to John Roberts. You can’t keep the members of the court off of tv if they want to go on, or from writing their biographies, but I would urge you to suggest to them, that C-span is appropriate for Supreme Court justices, not 60 minutes or Maxim Magazine, for that matter, and books on jurisprudence do more for the court’s all important image than tell-all bios.

Not suggesting censorship or bullying. And I have enjoyed recent debates on C-Span including or between Supreme Court justices. But, this was a lot like accidentally catching your parents in bed. Yccch. Just didn’t need to know.

3 comments:

  1. The most troubling thing about what McCain said is,"the Constitution says America is a Christian nation...". Now, call me too hard on the candidates if you must, but I do think someone running for President ought to have a pretty good idea of what is actually in the Constitution before they start quoting it. His candidacy is a disaster and he has lost much of the respect I previously had for him. You are so right. He has joined the crowd of "say anything to get elected".

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  2. Agreed, but looking around the field, and America's challenges, I still want him to win and think he has a longshot's chance.

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  3. Anonymous11:44 AM

    finished reading...we did cover most of it last night....good post
    -Don

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About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .