Sunday, September 28, 2008

Some interesting reading today

The NY Times today features an op-ed piece by John S. D. Eisenhower, called "Presidential Children Don't Belong in Battle." Chillingly, it describes how the author had an agreement with his father that he would kill himself before allowing himself to be taken captive. Will Sarah Palin discuss this with her son?

The NY Times also ran a six page investigative report on John McCain's ties to gambling. His knowing that this report was coming, on top of the Times' linking of Rick Davis to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, illuminates McCain aide Steve Schmidt's conference call diatribe against the Times.

The LA Times ran an editorial called "Bush the Arrogant" that blasted Bush for being complicit in the financial crisis and for attempting to foist off on the American public a bailout plan that would justify the expansion of its own power. The financial crisis mirrors the ignorance, greed, and deceit of the Iraq War: " ... in both cases, the pattern is the same. Ineptitude led to crisis; crisis then became the argument for the radical expansion of executive power."

Unfortunately, the Times editorial board refuses to take a stand on which candidate can best resolve the economic crisis. Although they lean toward Obama in their analysis of who will bring about open, intelligent, honest government, they are apparantely awaiting a knight in shining armor to save us all.

There is an essay by Shankar Vedantum in the Washington Post called "My Team vs. Your Team: The Political Arena lives up to its Name" that posits that voters identify with their party in much the same way they support a sports team. Thus moderates, with no team affinity, have a much less clear view of the differences between candidates. Vedantum quotes Gary C. Jacobson, a politicl scientest at UC San Diego: "Party identification is part of your social identity, in the same way you relate to your religion or ethnic group or baseball team."

According to this essay,

"There are certainly people who think carefully about issues before deciding which side to support, but that cannot explain why the electorate has become so intensely polarized on so many unrelated issues. Knowing whether a person is a Republican or a Democrat today tells you far more about their views on many issues than it did in previous eras.

One implication of this thesis is that it makes little difference what positions presidential candidates take on issues. People's views -- on the war, immigration or the economic bailout -- come down largely to their party affiliation. "

1 comment:

mike said...

Obama is turning out to be The Big Let-Down of ’08.
Obama kept insinuating that He is The Second Coming but every time we’ve held our breaths waiting for him to change water into wine, we’ve been disappointed. Obama kept telling us to ‘tune in next week!’ and he never delivers, the miracle never comes. There is nothing there.
Obama’s has a problem with clarity. I have systematically studied both his autobiographies and I still don’t know what kind of man I’m dealing with. When he was first showcased on TV, my interest was aroused. I used to find Obama enigmatic, but now he just comes off as vacuous, empty.
Obama’s two books address the questions of “Journey of Discovery to Where?” and “Who Am I?” We can all relate to such pondering. But Obama does not give us an answer. If he has found the answer since publishing those two books two years ago then he hasn’t told us yet.
McCain has been on a longer and harder personal journey. There can be nothing more extreme than surviving daily torture for five years. Can you imagine that? To be beaten day-in and day-out, starved, your hands and legs bound by chains? McCain already knows what he can take, and humbly knows where he breaks. Every man and woman has a breaking point. It is very human. McCain already knows his, even though he held out as long as he could.
What trials or stories of human devastation has Obama endured? I can’t imagine being Black in America is an easy thing. But Obama was raised in Polynesia by white grandparents and then went on to Harvard, community service, the Senate, and now the presidency. Obama’s journey seems to have been very easy. His skin color opened all the right doors for him instead of slamming them shut. Obama didn’t march against segregation. Obama didn’t fight for affirmative action. He planted no tree. He carried no water for that tree. Obama has just come along and picked the fruits. That is easy street. This is not a great American story. This is not a triumph of will over adversity. This is a story of baby-boomer entitlement. This is the story of the yuppy next door. These stories are a dime a dozen on aisle 3 at Whole Foods.
You may agree or disagree with McCain but at least you know where he stands. He has a long track record to judge him by. McCain has a long list of hits and misses. He has made mistakes (like us all) but that is because he had been trying to do things and change things all his life. Obama markets himself as the candidate with an unblemished record, but that is only because he doesn’t have a record. We have nothing to judge Obama by. All he gives us is his word and we are supposed to put all our trust in his future promises. But these promises keep changing: Obama has produced two contradictory promises on Iraq, two contradictory promises on NAFTA, and two contradictory promises on taxes. Are we supposed to judge him by the original promise he made, or by his most recent one? The candidate who flows with the changing winds of polls is the lightweight. That much we know.
I feel very embarrassed for buying into the Obama phenomena. Maybe now that the weather is changing I see things in a new light. I feel sheepish for falling for the marketing pitch. Where do I go to get a refund?
I think that many voters like me are looking for clarity in our next president. I feel I know what kind of man McCain is, and that I can trust him. McCain gets my vote.