Monday, September 08, 2008

Back in the saddle with some political observations

Yes, I've been a mite busy of late, which has precluded my blogging here as often as usual. But I see others of the team have stepped up admirably to take up the slack. Kazim's Objectivism post has generated either the third or fourth longest comments thread this blog has ever seen. Nice to see a good scrap going on in my absence.

Really not much to talk about, except some obvious notes about the 2008 campaign. I have nothing to say about Sarah Palin that hasn't been said. John Scalzi, in a very timely and brilliant post, has some pointed cautionary words for Dems and liberals that everyone needs to read and Digg like mad. Short version: focus, focus, focus, and stop playing into the fundie neocons' hands by losing your shit over the Palin media frenzy. And Phil Plait reminds us why supporters of science, something vital to our nation's very survival (yes, science is that thing, not religion) that has been in freefall for eight solid years, have a friend in Obama. These are the kinds of facts that need to be cutting through the media noise right now. Spread 'em far and wide.

As Scalzi points out, Palin was brought on board to placate the waffling fundagelicals, who were worried McCain wasn't Christofascist enough. And choosing her shows just how easily placated those people are by a shallow ideologue who can get away with telling lie after lie after lie as long as she toes the proper ideological lines. We ought to expect the GOP to play dirty pool, and they are. For my part, the fact that Palin is a creationist wackaloon of dubious character and political experience who attends a Dominionist church with ties to such disturbing, militarist fringe movements as Joel's Army was enough to disqualify her pretty much instantaneously. The GOP will, of course, portray her extremism in the conservative-friendly mainstream media as a feature, not a bug. The thing for sensible people to do is stay on message. Yes, I know that didn't exactly work out for Gore or Kerry. But it isn't over till it's over, and by being diligent and displaying the kind of integrity that the win-at-all-costs neocons can't be bothered with, two months is still plenty long enough to get the message out that the party that has spent the last eight years destroying America from within more thoroughly than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of destroying it from without does not need to be rewarded for their evils with four more years of power.

Addendum: There are many things I don't like about Ariana Huffington and HuffPo, but this post of hers makes more excellent points about the distraction Sarah Palin has quite deliberately represented, and how the Dems cannot afford to fall into the GOP's trap here.

Her critics like to say that Palin hasn't accomplished anything. I disagree: in the space of ten days she's succeeded in distracting the entire country from the horrific Bush record — and McCain's complicity in it. My friends, that's accomplishment we can believe in.


  1. I'm Canadian. It's hard to comment on the US election right now, even as educated as I am on the candidates, because someone is going to take it as some foreigner telling you how to run your country.

    Now, here's how you run your country :P

    Sort of kidding - but really, it seems the rest of the world knows what you have in Obama, but America doesn't exactly get it yet, or maybe are resisting what the world thinks, as if it must be a trick. Let me simply say to you, even though we up here have a Conservative government due to a fractured left wing, we're going to be pretty damn upset if you can't keep the fundamentalist loon and her enabler out of the white house. Palin is a pretty Trojan horse carrying nothing but vile evil inside. Don't let it in!

    It's disturbing as well how awful your media is in. They do the duty of doing what McCain couldnt do - vet Palin - and then the second the McCain campaign yells 'boo' they drop it, worried they'll be called sexist. Why shoudl the media and bloggers be the bad guy for actually doing journalism? Is it because journalism is too close to intellectualism - is actually following the issues instead of reading their PR stories "elitist"? Obama runs on 'change', whether you like it or not, for almost 2 years of campaigning, McCain decides it last weekend and now they act like it was this way all along. In spite of his actual record.

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I don't hate America, but watching McCain go ahead in the polls is making me very nervous, very testy, wondering if the US will blow this amazing chance to hold their politicians accountable for the last 8 years and let the world know they are on a new path. I worry that a McCain win is going to send me over the edge, and put me in front of the US embassy with a burning flag and uncontrollable bitterness. It's scary to think of the anger i"ll be pushed too if the US sticks the middle finger in my face with a McCain/Palin administration. It's too damn close for comfort.

  2. And I'm Canadian and was bothered enough by Bush's first "win". Then aghast at his second. To go for essentially a third helping...

    I also see Obama as a vote for not McCain. I highly doubt significant improvements from him. At least from what I can see, the US needs above all else to completely readdress its spending, and that includes immediate mass withdrawal of troops. You can't afford not to.

    I didn't agree with everything from Ron Paul (the US desperately needs universal health care) but he's just what the doctor ordered.

    Oh, and I guess I can't belittle you Americans too much for your voting record since it seems like Canada's set to (though hopefully not) re-elect the Conservatives. Ugh.

  3. goon said:

    >>it seems the rest of the world knows what you have in Obama, but America doesn't exactly get it yet, or maybe are resisting what the world thinks

    Unfortunately, a large section of americans resent what the rest of the world "thinks" about us, and find it an affront that Obama is popular outside of the US. It's some bizarre sign of being fundamentally unpatriotic

    It appears that to be patriotic, you need to piss of the rest of the world.

    Just my perception from within the loony farm.

  4. >I will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best- available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees.

    This is from the link on the Obama responses to the science questionnaire. This statement alone, specifically that part that says "not on the ideological," is probably enough to sink him with a lot of evangelical and conservative voters. It's sad, but I know that the religious reading of that statement is that he's going to make decisions without god (or from the conservative standpoing, without regard to lobbies)--and that's not going to fly. I just wonder if those numbers can make/break the results?

    Goon: America doesn't exactly get it yet, or maybe are resisting what the world thinks...

    Uncle Bob is dead-on with his reply to this. With conservative voters (and religious minded voters), Obama's popularity in other nations is a strike against him--as odd as that is. I actually think having someone as a rep who is liked by the people we need to interact with on the world stage could be helpful to us on some level; but I can't miss that many people don't feel similarly in my country.

    >I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

    There are many Americans who feel like it must be something in the water. I often feel like reality is surreal based on what I see going on/happening around me. In fact, the moment you recognize you are an atheist on this planet, you can't help but be somewhat spooked about why so many believe in something that in no way appears to be "there." Is it any wonder, if they are the majority making the choices, that the processess and choices will seem off-kilter?

  5. Here's another Canuck weighing it to tell you Yanks how to run your country. You probably won't be surprised to here (read) that I'm also extremely nervous/scared/pissed/frustrated/enraged/baffled by the goings on. This is for two reasons:

    1) It bothers me when people, even with good intentions, set about fucking up a significant part of the world, hijacking global issues and interests that should be focused on the betterment of overall human society instead of trying to fend of a reversion to the dark ages.

    2) It's an unfortunate fact that Canada follows the USA's lead, especially in recent years. Steven Harper, our PM, irritates me and pisses me off, but what is truely objectional about him and his government is how they beg for scraps of the USA's approval. They aren't the only ones to have done it, but Harper seems to me to be determined to prove just how badly he wants to be Bush when he grows up.

    Canada, and much of the world, reacts to US intentions and actions. For several years, the general reaction has been AGAINST the USA, except among a handful of conservative governments. American leaders often say how the US leads the world in many ways - speaking momentarily for the world, we'd like you to lead somewhere we actually want to follow. And, by the way, ushering in the End Times is not one of those places.

  6. I'm actually not amazingly concerned about the Canadian election. The comfort we have is that even though the left is divided between a number of parties, we do outnumber the conservatives, and so they are more or less forced to placate us and avoid extremist positions (well, moreso than the US). I'm not happy that Harper will be PM yet again, but the Liberals partially deserve it for making Dion the leader and being so poor at expressing his positions. I backed Paul Martin even during the corruption allegations because dammit, he is amazingly intelligent and doesn't soundbyte the issues. Martin was a good leader in my view and paid the price for the people before him.

    Hardly an ideal situation here, but our stamp on the world is hardly comparable to the US, who are set to reward 8 years of corruption, cronyism and cowardice with a few more, simply because McCain decided to be the 'change' candidate just out of nowhere.

    It's sad that in half an hour, I'm relying on SNL to come up with a McCain = liar/Palin = nutjob narrative that will influence the media (who seemed this year to be strangely influenced by whatever NBC's comedy writers dictate?)


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