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Economist Links

Interesting thoughts from the Economist. No commentary, since they are saying a lot of the things I’ve said. Too bad I found these articles today versus yesterday or earlier.

Richard Milhouse McCain

Republican Party Smear Tactics

Effects of the Financial Crisis

Election Money

All interesting, and color the campaign. In the end, it seems clear to me that the Republicans have less substance to offer than the Democrats. I hope Obama wins in a landslide so we can put the first nail in the coffin of smear politics.

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Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

David Brooks on Sarah Palin

From Monday’s New York Times, David Brooks (emphasis added):

Experienced leaders can certainly blunder if their minds have rigidified (see: Rumsfeld, Donald), but the records of leaders without long experience and prudence is not good. As George Will pointed out, the founders used the word “experience” 91 times in the Federalist Papers. Democracy is not average people selecting average leaders. It is average people with the wisdom to select the best prepared.

Sarah Palin has many virtues. If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she’d be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness.

Both of the italicized points are important. Note that she indeed took on “a corrupt establishment” to institute a MORE corrupt establishment, with worse governance. Note also that Brooks is laying the groundwork for his inevitable endorsement of McCain – McCain’s experience matters more than Obama’s vision, and Biden and Palin don’t matter as much. You heard it here first.

Either way in the same article, I think Brooks is wrong here:

The feminists declare that she’s not a real woman because she doesn’t hew to their rigid categories. People who’ve never been in a Wal-Mart think she is parochial because she has never summered in Tuscany.

As a feminist, I think she’s not good for women, not that she’s not a real woman. Gov. Palin is bad for women because she doesn’t show the best of humanity, but the worst – the aforementioned excessive decisiveness, not to mention a sense of entitlement, not to mention the way she condescends to anyone who is critical of her opinions, not to mention the bad policies and lack of compassion. Note also that I’ve been to Wal-mart, but never to Tuscanny. Shame on you, Mr. Brooks, for playing this game. Moreover…

Look at the condescension and snobbery oozing from elite quarters, her backers say. Look at the endless string of vicious, one-sided attacks in the news media. This is what elites produce. This is why regular people need to take control.

The condescension is indeed “oozing”, but from the Republicans, towards those who ask people to sacrifice to make their country stronger. The attacks are anything but one-sided. See my previous post on the matter. The media has let the McCain camp call Palin independent when she is not, and let her make ad homenim attacks on Obama.

Luckily, Mr. Brooks backs off from this attack, if only because of his personal view of the last eight years:

I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice.

And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires prudence.

What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.

Which is why I believe Obama is better, even than McCain – he takes on complex issues complexly, thoughtfully. He is of average people and has proved to be among the best of us, with high ideals for people around him and his country.

Filed under: Culture, media, Politics, , , , , , , , ,

Palin: What Bush doctrine?

Note: If you don’t know what the Bush doctrine is, you’ve been living in the tundra trying to build a bridge to nowhere. Alaska jokes aside, foreign policy matters for the Executive Branch, and being aware of the most important American foreign policy shift in the last 60 years is a little important. From the ABC interview, enough reason not to vote for McCain:

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view.

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

Ermmm… This is downright scary. There was a time when Americans respected leaders we could look up to. Now we want them to be average peers. I thought we celebrated the exceptional.

Sarah Palin had ample time to prepare for the interview, which itself was fully managed by the campaign, and lives in, as she says, a state where you can see Russia.

Matt Gonzalez (Green Party) is a more serious VP candidate than Palin. Hilary Clinton would have been, too. If the rule was that McCain needed to get a woman to steal some of the Hilary vote, McCain should have selected Christie Todd Whitman. Then, the question would be whether liberals (and New Jersey) would go to McCain. He would be seen as a maverick by picking a true moderate. And Obama couldn’t simply set up camp in the middle ground and let the Hilary supporters come to him. Instead McCain antagonized half the country, and made the “maverick” moniker a joke.

Oh… The Bush doctrine is the idea of pre-emptive strikes against potential threats. It overturns over 100 years of no war except to defend allies or to respond to attacks. It was used to start the Iraq War.

Filed under: Culture, Philosophy, Politics, , , , , , , , ,

Liberal Media Indeed

Wow… Good article I just saw. I took classes in college about this, and I’ve referred in tha past to media “framing”. This is the best data gathering I’ve seen yet:

http://gripedujour.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/media-still-full-on-in-the-tank-for-mccain/

This has been an ongoing gripe of mine. Nice to see actual data to back it up. If only a news station would pick it up and report on it. Side note: On the Media is a great NPR program that discusses media biases. You, very meta.

ALSO: More on my ongoing campaign to get elected to US presidency in 2020/2024 later. If anyone has policy questions, I’d gladly answer.

Filed under: Culture, media, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

Release – Vijtable a Candidate for 2020 (or 2024)

Assuming things won’t change very much in the next 12 years, I’ve decided to start thinking about my run for president. Critics say that mainstream candidates don’t actually write what is on their websites. Since I’m so small-time, nobody can accuse me of that.

I’ll eventually come out with my platform, but here is the “About Vijtable” part of my future campaign website.

Thoughts on Government in 50 Words: The role of government is to protect the weak from the strong, and promote common good. Don’t tread on me. Taxation requires representation. All actions should be carefully considered, and hotly (though respectfully) debated. Dissent defines democracy. Government must endeavor always to choose what is right over what is easy.

Basics: Born and raised in the US, and living currently in New York. I am eligible to be elected before 2020. I’m being intentionally vague for the sake of temporary privacy.

Intellectual Background: I am intellectually curious. I love to debate, even if I’m bad at it. I like being proven wrong with facts. I am a student of science, religion, political science, and a little sociology and psychology. I studied religion and political science in college.

Religious Views: Don’t ask, don’t tell. I am agnostic with Buddhist leaning. I take other people’s beliefs seriously, even if I don’t know whether they are true or not.

Qualifications: Spent time in education, television, marketing, website design. For two years, I was a middle-school math teacher in an under-resourced community in California. I have spent the years since working at a non-profit dedicated to increased worldwide cooperation . (Again, apologies for the intentional vagueness.)

Politics: I call my self a “social libertarian” and an “economic moderate”, probably closest to this, but not exactly. I believe that the Constitution guarantees a maximum of freedom on social and economic issues EXCEPT in those cases where it puts safety, security, or the health/welfare of the USA/it’s people at risk. To me, social issues trump economic issues, though they are closely tied. As major parties go, these positions currently align most closely with the Democrats. I have not yet chosen my party affiliation – in recent history, Republicans are better at winning, but worse at being honorable and honest while Democrats see nuance, but don’t connect as much with voters.

Voting Record: Generally, with Democrats. McCain in 2000 would have been a particularly difficult decision. Ultimately, I voted for Nader in 2000, since the state in which I voted was safely Democratic, and went easily to Gore. I voted for Kerry in 2004. Unfortunately, McCain is much worse now than then. My 2008 vote will be Barack Obama. He would be a better president.

Political Heroes: John Adams (Alien & Sedition Acts notwithstanding), Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Stephen Biko, Nelson Mandela (early-life militancy notwithstanding), Martin Luther King, and more peacemakers and chance-takers. I would add Thomas Jefferson, but he was so hypocritical, and employed nasty political tactics like FUD, that I cannot.

Filed under: Culture, Politics, , , , , , , , ,

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