Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: vice president

A rather brilliant critique of John McCain in the most recent Rolling Stone. Money quote:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.

I’ve discussed this a few times in the past few days (elsewhere, obviously). I’ve found myself living in what is, by most accounts, a battleground state, even though no less a Republican spin-meister than Karl Rove predicts all of Colorado’s 9 electoral votes, as well as 264 others, will go to Barack Obama as he swings a full-on awesome 273 electoral votes and wins the presidency. Yes, that Karl Rove. The same one who said that McCain’s lies have gone too far.

When Karl Rove calls you a liar, you’re way deep in it.

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Simply substitute “McCain” for “Rumson,” I think.

It’s also why I’m voting for Obama. Not just that I think he could deliver a speech like that one, but because he just seems that honest. He seems like the kind of guy who would man up when required, the sort who would say, “You know, I thought this was a good idea, but I’ve reconsidered because it’s just politics as usual and it ain’t gonna work. I pledged to you that I would serve you well, and act in your best interest, and I think rejecting this bill is in your best interest.”

I can’t imagine McCain saying anything remotely similar. All I can imagine McCain saying is, “You know, the situation is complicated, and I have a lot of great advisors I lend credence to–”

(and as a sidenote: since when does ‘advisor’ contain an ‘e’? Is that a British thing, like ‘grey’ versus ‘gray’? Because spellcheck keeps underlining advisor and I keep thinking, ‘No, it’s not, in fact, adviser,’ and I don’t really listen because, come on, spellcheck underlines ‘spellcheck,’ which just seems silly)

Point is, this is the wire, and we’re down to it. You can either vote for an old man who thinks that things are fine and he can make them finer and his Caribou Barbie sidekick who’s a joke of a woman, much less political candidate, or you can vote for someone who’s going to bring the change we want to see in the world.

Gandhi said we must be the change we want to see in the world, and now I say we must vote for it.

Lots of major political happenings the past few days. Obama accepted the nomination on Thursday, right down the street from me, but I deliberately avoided any and all proceedings related to the DNC (I have issues with crowds. And crowd control, which seems an oxymoron).

I watched his speech on Thursday. I wasn’t nearly as moved by his as by Hillary’s, but then again, I think that might be for the better. I’ve heard some people complain that it lacked his usual passion and rhetorical flair, but I have to wonder if that would have been the right place for either. I thought it was a basically nuts-and-bolts speech in which he accepted the nomination and then indicated what he planned to do. One of the biggest complaints against him (besides “arrogance,” but don’t even get me started on that) is that many people felt they didn’t know what he was running for or promising. They didn’t know what his policies were going to be.

I think we have a better idea now. We might not yet know how he plans to accomplish his plans, but at least we know he’s got them, and I think that’s the important part for anyone who was undecided, which is really who that speech was addressed to. I was going to be voting for him anyway, regardless of what he said, because really the other choice is a senile old man, and I think that his speech was for everyone who hadn’t already been swayed by his brilliant rhetoric and bombastic charisma.

And how about that senile old man? McCain’s the other big news with his choice of Sarah Palin, the Tina Fey-lookalike Alaskan governor nobody besides Alaskans had ever heard of before yesterday, to be his vice-presidential candidate.

So, basically, I think McCain believes that all the disenfranchised Hillaristas who are so upset Obama beat their candidate, hands down, are voting based on gender and not ideas or politics, so anyone in a skirt will appease most of them. I can’t think of any other reason. His most oft-repeated criticism of Obama is that Obama lacks experience; meanwhile, Palin’s been governor for less than two years, and of a state whose total population is less than that of Brooklyn. One could argue that she, as a governor, has more executive experience, but if one really wants to make that argument, she technically has more experience than any other candidate, none of whom have political experience outside of the Senate.

I wouldn’t make that argument. I think she’s totally crazy and completely scary. She’s anti-abortion rights. She believes Creationism should be taught alongside evolution in school.

And most of all: do you know that average life expectancy for an American man is 75.6 years? McCain turned 72 yesterday. Which means that, if he’s elected, and if he actually manages to live through his first term, it will actually be unexpected. And this is a man who’s battled malignant melanoma four times between 1993 and 2002.

So on one ticket we have a senile old man who wants to bomb Iran and his conservative, Evangelical Christian running mate who’s been a governor for only slightly less time than McCain is yet expected to live.

On the other, we have a man with solid integrity who seems utterly committed to uniting America in the change he sees as a vision for the future, and his senior Senator running mate.

It really should be no contest, and it’s a damned shame it’s not.

Just caught this Yahoo! story that Obama may or may not announce his choice for a running mate this coming Saturday in Indiana. Forgetting for a moment the fact that it’s one of those infuriating stories that poses as news but isn’t really (he may choose! He may not! It might be him! Or her!), I think it makes sense; McCain has said he will announce his own decision on the 29th, which is, I think, just a couple of days after the Democratic National Convention ends.

Obama’s naming his own choice for a running mate would effectively keep him in the news for a full week, and would certainly draw focus on him and his campaign at a very crucial moment. By then we might actually no longer be hearing about swimmers and underage gymnasts (which I, personally, think is a moment that can’t come soon enough, thanks).

The article names a handful of possible candidates, picking Hillary as a longshot behind people like Joe Biden and Evan Bayh, and a couple of people I’ve never heard of, Tim Kaine and Kathleen Sebelius. The latter has an impressive Wikipedia page and a good track record.

I should note I’m disappointed that John Edwards is gone from the process. To be honest, I really don’t care about candidates’ personal lives, and I’d still vote for him regardless of his extramarital activities. I don’t think they have any bearing on the good he’s accomplished, and it’s a shame his personal choices will effectively end his political aspirations.

Then again, I’m also the guy who thinks it’s a crock that some random pastor guy grilled Obama and McCain on issues of faith, because I’m also the guy who thinks religiosity comes in at the very bottom on the list of qualities I’d like to see in a leader.

Interestingly, that Yahoo! article speculates about McCain’s choices for a running mate, and names one by which I was surprised: Joe Liebermann. Who you might remember as Gore’s running mate in 2000. Which strikes me as a turncoat sort of thing to do, especially given McCain’s views on the war in Iraq and etc. The other name was Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and a supporter of abortion rights. Lending credence to that: McCain is apparently surveying constituents concerning his choice–

Underscoring how seriously McCain may be considering Ridge or Lieberman, Republican officials say top McCain advisers have been reaching out to big donors and high-profile delegates in key states to gauge the impact of putting an abortion-rights supporter on the GOP ticket.

Which strikes me as hypocritical. In the same debate in which the candidates were moderated by random pastor guy, McCain stuck by his assertion that life begins at conception. It strikes me as a fundamental dichotomy to consider someone who is pro-choice as a running mate, not to mention morally oppositional.

Bill Richardson has endorsed Barack Obama as his candidate of choice.

I’m surprised by two things:

a) A Democrat has done something right, and made a good choice, and

b) I totally thought Richardson would swing around the other way, to the point that I had figured not only that he would endorse Clinton but also that, should she get the nomination (which is appearing increasingly unlikely by the day), she would choose Richardson as her VP running mate.

Which, of course, brings up the next point, and the pretty much major question at this point:

Hey, John Edwards, WTF are you waiting for?

Obama and Edwards could win the White House with deliberate certainty, and I firmly believe not just that they are the perfect complements to each other, but also the perfect balances. They’re alike in the right ways and different in important ones.

The big news (besides that Bush endorsed McCain) today seems that Clinton broke Obama’s winning streak. By this I might be more impressed had she won any decisively, as the media seems to be saying, but she did not; the only place she won by more than 10% was Rhode Island, and what’s 10% of Rhode Island? Like, 3 people, or something? Seriously, it’s smaller than Delaware, isn’t it? Texas was a squeaker of a primary, 51% to 48%.

The problem, though, is that McCain clinched his nom while the Dems are now still petty-bickering about who voted how when. Obama says he’s the man to beat McCain, but he’s got to get there first.

Personally, I think Obama should invite Edwards onto his ticket now, solidifying his stance. Because if Edwards were still in the race, he’d have diverted votes away from Clinton, I think, and Obama would have won all the primaries yesterday.

There are so many interesting ways this could all go, though. Clinton could lose the democratic nomination, but what if McCain invited her to be his vice president? I could see McCain doing something like that. On the off chance Clinton wins the Dem nom, though, I’m betting she’d go with Bill Richardson for her VP. But in which case, I’d love to see Obama and Edwards run an independent ticket.

They probably mightn’t get enough electoral votes to actually win election, but I’d bet they’d completely fuck up the system hard enough that nobody would know what was happening.

Anarchy rules!

No, but seriously, I really do think the division between Obama and Clinton is doing more harm than good. Not for the Democratic party, mind, because I think the Democratic party does enough harm to itself without having to seek external blame, but because the fact that the two leading candidates for nomination are a black man and a woman is being overshadowed by the woman’s constantly attacking said black man. Clinton is doing more to set feminism back several decades than Howard Stern ever managed.

And the truth of the matter is, I’ve never minded McCain. I wish he’d beaten Bush’s underhanded tactics and won in 2000, because there are few men I could see leading our country through 9/11 better than I think McCain would have.

But I do wonder who he’ll run with.

Truthfully, I’m rather surprised I don’t have much to say about the Obama/Clinton debate last night (I almost reversed those names, than backspaced over it. That’s probably telling. Though of what, I am unsure). I didn’t watch it (my headache prevented much in the way of coherence on my end), but I read most of it, and it seems like Hillary took an offensive strategy, spending most of the evening trying to create doubt in Obama.

Obama’s is, arguably, the position to be in, though that’s not to say that it’s easier. As someone who’s been in a rather enviable position and who has been repeatedly and personally attacked by people jockeying for that position, or better, I admire Obama’s reticence and restraint. It’s something I know I have to learn; I find it extraordinarily difficult to accept some of the slings and arrows that come with outrageous fortune, or sometimes to remain quiet. It’s not merely that success can breed contempt, but also that success is so very often so rarely something one believes one deserves.

Because, of course, success is not external. Success really comes from within, and has no direct correlation to anything either material or acquired; the most successful people in terms of business and wealth can also be the least successful in terms of life.

The more I learn of Obama, the more I feel I like him as a person, which is completely strange considering I’ve never seen the man. The more I see him speak, the more I see that smile, the more certain I become that I want to vote for him. The more I think he’d be good not just for our country but also for the world.

I think Edwards has a similar quality, to some degree, but without the same characteristic ease with which Obama carries it off. Edwards seemed to have to try, which is, I think, why he performed poorly; he was often fighting to gain ground, and sometimes it’s better to just be happy with the ground you’ve got and allow it to grow. Obama seems very happy with the plot of land he’s got, and I think people are realizing, more and more, just how large that plot is, because the deeper one goes, the more lush it appears. And I think I’ve extended that metaphor about as far as it can go, so I’ll leave it.

I think, last night, it became obvious that neither candidate would select the other as VP; the longer this process extends, the more I become certain that an Obama/Clinton ticket is simply completely out of the question.

But Obama/Edwards?

Yes we can.