Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Category: politics (page 2 of 2)

I just watched the nation’s first female presidential candidate endorse the nation’s first black presidential candidate.

And yes, I cried as I did so.

I’m an Eagle Scout. On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.

And man, at this moment, am I ever proud of my country.

Rock on, Hillary Rodham Clinton. What a brilliantly, beautifully dignified legacy you have. What a brilliant, beautiful speech you made on this, the anniversary of our country’s finally recognizing women’s right to vote.

You have not done your gender proud.

You have done our country proud. You have made me proud to be an American.

For that, I thank you. For that, I will be forever grateful.

This morning, I talked to my brother. My brother and I have a sometimes somewhat awkward relationship; he’s a “Born Again” Christian (I suppose my mother didn’t do a good enough job the first time?), and I’m, quite obviously, not. I don’t know what I’d call myself, actually, mainly because if I could sum up my faith easily I wouldn’t be writing a book about it (but I can’t, and so I am). When my brother and I speak, we usually try to set aside topics of religion and politics so that we can, you know, smile at each other and mean it.

Over the course of catching up (Christmas might well have been the last time we spoke. If not, sometime in the early spring?), I learned that he’s shortly going to be teaching science, math, and history at a middle school or somesuch. I didn’t get all the particulars.

But I wonder: how can a born-again Christian possibly teach either history or science? I’m fairly certain my brother believes two things:

1) God created the entire universe, from scratch, in six days, and

2) He did so approximately 6,000 years ago.

Now, mind you, I have nothing against the story of Creation, and of Adam & Eve. As fables go, it ranks up there with Aesop in its simplicity, message, and ability to teach young’uns a thing or two. Personally, I tend to think that one of the things that can tell you most about about a particular culture is its Creation story. Many of the tribes originally on this continent believed that the world was born on the back of a turtle emerging from the mud. Pretty much every culture has its own.

The Christian creation story seems to be one of arrogance and domination. Man created separately from beasts and in the image of a deity, and then handed dominion over all the land (and we wonder that the environment is currently buggered). It’s very little surprise Bush considers himself a born-again Christian.

I wonder about the curriculum. Didn’t some Kansas school board vote a couple of years ago about whether to give equal representation to both the science of evolution and the story of Intelligent Design (about which there is nothing intelligent whatsoever; if God does, in fact, exist, God does so in a way that transcends such an adjective as ‘intelligent,’ anyway).

The thing is, I do think everything in schools should be given equal representation, just not in the ways most boards attempt to implement it. I think we should start teaching children about the nature of myths and stories early. Like, in kindergarten, or even preschool, and I think that, when we teach children about creation, we should tell them every story of creation we still have on record. I think children should learn that God created the world in six days and that it came into being born on the back of a turtle (to name but two creation stories), because I think in so learning, they will begin to understand the real origins and meanings of stories. I think it will make richer their relationships with each other, and throughout life.

And then, when they are ready to learn more about physics and evolution and biology and reproduction, they will understand the science of it but still appreciate more subtle meanings. The child who learns how science works in equal measure to why we tell the stories we value might just change the world.

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.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Christopher Hitchens, but it’s mostly a divergence of thought and (perceived) personality. I’ve heard myriad stories that he’s not the most gracious of individuals, but then again, they’re just stories, and I’ve only heard them. I’d be interested to meet him. I think I’d have a lot to talk about that because of that divergence of thought; while I agree that there are few worse developments in all of history than organized religion, I just can’t make the leap of faith to atheism.

But that’s beside the point. Because one of the things I like about Hitchens is that he seems to truly believe in and stand behind what he says and writes and thinks. He seems a deeply principled man, certainly more deeply than many of the so-called quote-unquote Christians I’ve encountered.

Like here:

“Believe Me, It’s Torture,” in which Christopher Hitchens answers the for-some-odd-reason controversial question about whether waterboarding is torture by being waterboarded himself.

Brilliant. Well done, Mr. Hitchens.

(I’ve often said that anyone who says they’re not sure whether waterboarding is torture [or, worse, denies it is] should be themselves waterboarded. You know. Since they’re not sure and so they can figure it out. Only fair, I’ve always thought)

Well worth reading. Both powerful and extraordinarily well written.

(via)

I think I make it pretty clear I don’t know a whole lot about the intricacies of the political system (even if that’s never stopped me from opining about the candidates therein). I say that because I just read this article in the New York Times, which concerns Obama and his decision to opt out of the public campaign financing system, about which I have little clue. The article states it goes back to 1976 and the Watergate scandal, and also that:

Under the federal presidential financing system, a candidate this year would be given $84.1 million from the Treasury to finance a general election campaign. In exchange, the candidate is barred from accepting private donations, or from spending more than the $84.1 million.

The next paragraph notes that Obama raised more than that limit in February and March alone, so I’d kind of think it would behoove him to not get into it. I mean, if the difference is that he could spend $84 million publicly, or twice that privately . . . well, it’s well known I ain’t no maths major, but it seems a no-brainer.

What bugs me is that the article gives two paragraphs to what McCain’s advisors think of the decision (spoiler: they’re not happy and think Obama suxors. Because they, of course, want to beat him and will use any opportunity to badmouth him). What also bugs me is that the article doesn’t actually comment on what this means.

And while I’m not sure what it means, or what effects it might have on the election process, what I wonder about is that latter itself. Because the article states his decision comes because the financing system is “broken;” as 2000 demonstrated, so is the election process itself.

Of course, Obama can’t just outright declare himself above the election process and the new, like, Emperor of America (our last was Norton. Seriously. Awesome story. Look it up).

But what I like about Obama most is that it’s neat to think he might. Maybe somebody should just toss a sword at him the next time he’s by a large-ish body of water. Quick, get on that!

CNN projects that, for the first time in American history, we have a black candidate for president, as Barack Obama surpasses the 2,118 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

This is, of course, not really news to anyone who’s been paying attention; Hillary became an also-ran as many as weeks ago. If I say that she desperately clung to mathematically impossible odds, though, instead of saying that she fought the good fight, I’ll probably be accused of misogynism, so I won’t.

Instead I’ll just say I’m both relieved and excited.

Lots of talk, now, about VPs. CNN notes that “the pressure is on” Obama, now, which I find rather odd, especially considering that, so far as I know (and I’d hope I would), McCain still hasn’t chosen a veep, though he secured the nom months ago.

I’ve heard several potential candidates mentioned. Three interested me. Edwards was the first.

Today, I read someone mention Gore. I’m not sure Gore would accept, though; he already was VP for eight years, and then had a failed presidential bid. He does bring both added cache (now that he’s got both an Oscar and a Nobel Peace prize) and experience, but… yeah, just not sure.

And then, of course, there’s Hillary.

Obama has said he admired Lincoln’s cabinet because Lincoln filled it with people he didn’t necessarily agree with; given that, maybe he would ask Clinton to run with him.

But then again, given Hillary’s performance in this primary, I’m not sure I’d want to run with her, were I Obama. She made it nasty. She made it personal. She attacked and went negative, and I’m just not sure that’s the sort of politician Obama would want to associate himself with.

The New York Times today with an article on Americans’ indifference to the war.

Because, apparently, the way to make more Americans aware of what’s going on over in a land most people who support the war probably couldn’t point to on a map is to publish an article about how little people care about it:

Even as we celebrate generations of American soldiers past, the women and men who are making that sacrifice today in Iraq and Afghanistan receive less attention every day. There’s plenty of blame to go around: battle fatigue at home, failing media resolve and a government intent on controlling information from the battlefield.

Except, of course, we’re not celebrating generations of American soldiers past, nor the women and men who are making that sacrifice today . . . today stands in memory of those who have made that sacrifice–those whose lives have been lost.

So far:
Since the war began on March 19, 2003–10,770

With, apparently, between 23,000 and 100,000 wounded, although I don’t quite get that disparity; that’s a difference of 75,000 people. I wonder how they’re measuring.

And though Memorial Day is supposed to be for American service personnel who have lost their lives, I thought I’d expand it to include the 91,703 Iraqi civilians who’ve died as a result of US occupation.

(nb–I realize those websites have names that don’t really lend themselves to citation [antiwar.com, for one, seems to wear its raison d’etre on its sleeve], but their information gathering methods seemed mostly sound)

Via Nick Mamatas, whom I’ve mentioned a few times this week in discussing Amazon and POD, I found this pamphlet on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (warning: opens a .pdf in a new tab), featuring multiple soldiers talking about their experiences being gay in the military.

I think it’s well worth reading. It’s affiliated with the Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which apparently exists, at least partially, to “Lift the Ban.”

When I was in college, I took a sociology class for which I had to maintain a journal reflecting on the class’ readings, many of which had to do with equality; my thesis, for my journal, ultimately became that I didn’t care about equality–I simply wanted the best qualified, most able person performing every job. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy had just become a hot topic back then, and my position during the class was simply that I didn’t care about anything besides function. Male, female, gay, straight, black, white, whatever–my ideal is that the people best able to perform any particular job do so.

I still feel that way. I think it’s why I’m against the Orange prize, and also, more important, why I support Barack Obama for the presidency–not because he’s black, or because it would break the status quo, but rather because, quite simply, I think he is far and away the most able candidate to do the job. It has little to do with who he is or whom he loves and everything to do with what I believe he can do.

But I didn’t write it. Will Shetterly did, and it sums up everything I would have said better than I probably could have (and certainly: more succinctly).

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.

Yesterday, Barack Obama made a speech that’s getting quite a lot of attention. If I’d been home in South Jersey, I probably would have recruited some friends to try to catch it; he spoke in Philadelphia, apparently just across the street from the Constitution Center. Thanks to Alma for emailing me the link to its transcript, and now I’ve found it on Youtube. It’s long, but I think it’s well worth watching:

It’s a brilliant speech by a powerful orator. I don’t think I’ve seen such an excellent speaker so long as I’ve seen any political candidates ever. It rivals “Ask not what your country can do for you.” It rivals “I have a dream.”

It is about unity over division.

And it reminded me of my personal favorite candidate, John Edwards.

Obama spoke on race; Edwards built his platform around class, which is just as divisive as race (and is often so intricately tied, one to the other). Division? Yes, there is white and black, Latino and Asian. But there is also 300,000 versus 150 million (top income earners versus everyone else). There is also the Hummer-driving, Starbucks-drinking, valet-parking population of Hollywood and its handful of burbs versus the Coleman stove-burning, seedy motel-showering population of so-called Tent City not even an hour away in Ontario (and probably walking distance from Ontario’s Outlet Malls).

Here’s a speech Edwards gave at the Service Employees International Union (you’ll note, at time of linking, its front page features a banner with Barack Obama):

And a spot he did about his beliefs and hopes to bring America together:

Reading about Tent City gives me a bad feeling; that it’s happening to those people. That it could happen at all. That they are giving out armbands now.

Back in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, a similar situation occurred across the nation.

This is not now a crisis; it’s been headed this way for a while, and it’s only getting worse.

And I think the two subjects of this post, Obama and Edwards, can get us through this, but I think they need to commit. I think it’s about time Edwards quit waiting around to see who might earn the nomination and endorsed Obama before it’s too damned late to do so, and I think, at the same time, it’s time for Obama to shake Edwards’ hand and offer him the VP spot on the ticket. It’s time for the primaries to be Obama & Edwards v. Clinton.

Obama & Edwards: Yes we can

I followed my own earlier link to Will Shetterly, and I discovered this video:

About groups of people who’ve been forced homeless, many by recent foreclosures caused, it seems, by the recent crises in the subprime mortgage industry and the US economy overall, the latter of which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is in the shitter, with the dollar fallingfallingfalling hard. The American dollar is so low even the Canadian dollar is now worth more. The American dollar is so low it’s probably rivaling the peso or the yen at this point.

But this isn’t about the American economy. Fuck the American economy, and furthermore fuck any country that could possibly allow such a thing as a tent community to occur. Fuck any country in which people are so completely disenfranchised, so completely ignored, that I live in this fucking county and I hadn’t heard about it until twenty or so minutes ago, because I’m constantly surrounded by hipsters in lowriders who drive Porches and park valet.

I live in West Hollywood, close enough to Hollywood that I can almost see its sign from my bedroom window (there’s an apartment in the way. My roommate has an unobstructed view). I used to work in a gym where people drove Hummers and Bentleys and Mazeratis, and I drive, two days a week, down to USC, a campus full of students with affluent and influential parents. George Lucas has donated untold millions of dollars to his alma mater (which is great, don’t take me wrong) while across the street, teenagers choose carefully their school outfits for fear of wearing the wrong color. Every day, I realize how lucky I am to be teaching, while every day again I receive a DPS (that’s Department of Public Safety) notice that someone got mugged or shot or worse.

And now I discover that, an hour from where I live, a group of people fallen on hard times have founded a “tent city.” Where they rely on churches for handouts, and where they look to group trips to the DMV to obtain ID cards they can use to visit a hotel where they might shower (and, who knows, maybe even sleep in a bed. One can dream, can’t one?). Where they reside and remain when they’re not working the one day a week at the job they managed to find in an unstable economy.

And now, where they face eviction.

Was your first thought mine? How could people living in tents be evicted? Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Apparently, Ontario has decided that only Ontario residents can reside in “Tent City.”

I assume they mean “residents” and “reside” for various definitions of each word.

Ontario is, in fact, now issuing arm bands to people. “blue for Ontario residents, who may stay, orange for people who need to provide more documentation, and white for those who must leave.”

In 1939, Jews are required to wear armbands or yellow stars. This, of course, came six years after the Nazis, in 1933, suspended civil liberties for all citizens.

You know. Like, say, a commander-in-chief usurping full executive power. Or, I don’t know, an attorney general authorizing illegal wiretapping.

Those kinds of civil liberties.

America is currently a country in which one of its most prominent newspapers (The Los Angeles Times) can print the following sentence: “Another resident, clearly confused, seemed relieved to get a white band — not understanding it meant she had to leave.”

Yes, clearly confused.

The ACLU of Southern California noted: “We are concerned that however they go about trying to reduce this population,” which seems ominous wording indeed. They promise they are continuing to monitor the situation, though, which I’m sure will make everyone breathe a collective sigh of relief.

I was going to quote “First They Came,” by Martin Niemoller to end, but I think I’ve made my point without it.

At the beginning of each semester teaching writing so far, I’ve faced two obstacles. The first is unlearning 5-paragraph essay format, which most high schoolers learn as rote as any Gospel.

The other is elevated diction. Somewhere along the way, most students have discovered that their high school teachers are impressed by their use of the vocabulary contained in the SAT, no matter how inappropriate a word choice. My instruction is simplicity: I tell my student I am a writer and have read widely enough that they’ll never impress me with their words, only their ideas.

I recently caught this video, with Keith Olbermann’s comments on the Geraldine Ferraro racist-remarks fiasco:

Apparently, someone needs to tell Keith to scale it down a bit.

“In your tepid response to this Ferraro disaster, you may sincerely think you are disenthralling an enchanted media–”

I mean, seriously.

Now I admit, I’ve liked Olbermann. His comments on the end of habeus corpus were terrific.

And maybe it’s because he’s a commentator that he goes beyond journalism and into judgment (“disaster”?).

But seriously, this buttoned-up guy with his mile-wide pinstripes is the same dude who gave SportsCenter the “en fuego” catchphrase, is he not?

When Jon Stewart was on Crossfire, he mentioned the theater of political comentary. Olbermann seems to prove pretty well that theater is not restricted to Tucker Carlson’s bow tie.

After the Nader debacle, I changed my startpage from MSNBC to CNN. It’s not much better. Are there any good news venues any more? Right now I’m set on the New York Times, but even that doesn’t feel like exactly what I’m looking for.

Also: isn’t Clinton’s lack of response precisely what she attacked Obama for, when he didn’t outright reject Farakhan’s endorsement?

And finally: Geraldine Ferraro? Seriously? I respected her, once upon a time. But I don’t respect racists.

Yesterday, I posted about the viability of a McCain/Clinton ticket versus an Obama/Edwards ticket. Which shows you just about how I feel about their ideologies; Clinton, to me, does not feel like change–she feels like more of the same-old, same-old that has tirelessly run this country into the ground.

But to be serious about it:

What I’m tired of is Clinton’s attacking people, because it seems to me more a sign of weakness than her crying gimmick (which is what I believe her tears are). I don’t know any of her issues, nor her platforms, because it seems like she spends all her time talking about what terrible shape this country is in, how much she cares about it, and how everyone else would suck at fixing it. What the hell does her hypothetical phone call at 3 in the morning have to do with any valid current issue?

Nothing. Because it’s silly. It’s an appeal to the pathos of the red phone in the Oval office (does that even exist any more?).

She calls Obama inexperienced. I don’t know, maybe my math is off, but it looks for every intent and purpose like she only has four more years experience as a senator (Obama ran and won in 2004; Clinton ran and won in 2000). I don’t think that’s a great deal of time. Sure, she had some experience as a First Lady, but last time I checked, First Lady is not an elected office. That she spearheaded a failed reform to healthcare in 1994 doesn’t impress me, though her child insurance work does.

Really, while First Lady, she only ever had the power her husband (who stepped out on her numerous times [and I note that because doesn’t seem a particularly strong or assertive thing for a woman to do]) gave her. While senator, her record speaks for itself: vote yes for authorizing invasion of Iraq, vote yes for the PATRIOT Act, etc.

But in enumerating, I’m very nearly engaging in the very thing I’m speaking against, while avoiding what I mean to speak to, which is that Obama, to me, signifies change. Obama, to me, signifies that something important in this country can turn toward hope, and peace. Obama has worked with Republicans to effect change: this, to me, signifies that he’s willing to work far and wide across party lines (he’s even sponsored one particular bill with McCain). Obama, to me, signifies that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore, and we’re going to do something about it, dammit, to really make a difference.

Obama, to me, is part of the change I want to see in the world.

Obama & Edwards: Yes We Can

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.

From CNN.com, U.S. Fires Missiles at Somalia.

Citing, of course, “a known al Qaeda terrorist.” Killing three women and three children, so far, though the Pentagon won’t release further details and the military says it’s still collecting casualty information.

CNN seems to have spoken to one District Commissioner Dherre, though:

Dherre told CNN he did not know of any Islamist extremists in the village.

The United States conducted similar strikes in southern Somalia in January 2007 against al Qaeda targets, hoping to kill some of the militants suspected in the 1998 attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

U.S. officials later confirmed they did not believe they achieved that goal.

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.

I found the image below when I started up Firefox to see the front-page MSNBC article on Ralph Nader’s declaration of his third run at presidential candidacy.

nadermsnbc.jpg

It irritated me for myriad reasons. The first came prompted from my years as a writer and editor; such a typo is just sloppy, and I think it says one of two things- either the journalist in question has such an extreme bias against Democrats that he or she felt the need to repeat the information twice, or that much of the article is simply cut-and-pasted from another source. The latter might well be the case; the bulk of the article probably came from a release from the Associated Press or somesuch, and it was just plopped in.

Which does, in fact, little to comfort me.

Someone somewhere wrote it. And two me, the repeated text is a direct swipe. I suppose I ultimately categorize as a Democrat; so far, this cycle, I favor an Obama/Edwards ticket (I’d’ve loved the reverse). But I have similar feelings for McCain as for Clinton; neither strikes me as a terrifying choice, and both strike me as adequate. In ’04, I cast for Kerry/Edwards.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t vote in ’00. I’m from Jersey, so I don’t think it made much of a difference either way.

But here’s the thing; I don’t know if Nader cost Gore the election in ’00. It’s entirely possible, I suppose. But you know what? I don’t think Gore would have handled the ’00-’04 well, either. I can’t imagine Gore having been president on 9/11. Perhaps it would have bucked him up and forced him to grow a backbone, but Gore always struck me as the most milquetoast of politicians. The only thing I knew about Dan Quayle as VP was that he couldn’t spell ‘potato,’ but I was, like, eight at the time; I knew less about Gore, and I was in college when he was VP, studying political science at one point, even.

It’s nice Gore won both the Oscar and the Peace prize for his environmental work, but I don’t recall much initiative toward the environment he took during his ’92-’00 terms. The current movement toward green (and that’s the environmental one, not Nader’s political party) is too little, too late, and I’m probably one of the few people with a scientific background who doesn’t believe in global warming, because what we’re facing is something a helluva lot bigger than that, and it’s called climate change (the change has been exacerbated and speeded by global warming, but global warming is just the start).

People blame Bush for not becoming involved enough in the environment and the Kyoto treaty, but the thing about the weather is that it didn’t just change. I remember being scared about holes in the ozone as early as 4th grade, which I think would’ve been around the mid-80s.

I don’t claim Nader’s candidacy siphoned votes away from Gore; if people were going to vote for him, they would have. If Gore had demonstrated more effectively he was a better candidate, people would have voted for him.

My feeling is that ’00 never should have been a Bush/Gore election in the first place. Bush smeared McCain six ways to Sunday, and before then, McCain had the better numbers. And if I could’ve chosen leadership in retrospect post-9/11, I’d want McCain in the role.

Nader can run. It won’t matter. To believe that McCain and Clinton are different candidates simply because one’s blue and the other’s red is folly. Obama is charismatic enough it’s not going to matter who he runs against if he wins the nom; he’ll win or lose depending on his campaign, not on his opponents.

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