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Posts Tagged ‘palin’

So the big news of the day is Sarah Palin’s resignation as governor of Alaska.

Supposedly, Palin has grown sufficiently sick of being savaged by the media as to warrant resignation. MSNBC is running a report that says she wants to be out of politics entirely, to take the time to raise her family.

Of course, many people are unwilling to believe that someone as fond of the spotlight as Palin would truly be getting out of it for good. Thus, the theories are flying – what does this resignation really mean? Especially regarding 2012?

One theory is that she’s pregnant again. All things considered, I’m not sure that would stop her from working or running – there were times when Trig seemed as much a campaign prop as anything else.

Another is that she is, in fact, doing this in order to free herself from any constraint on running for the Presidency in 2012. This, to me, seems somewhat illogical, since it gives all of her primary opponents the ammunition of ‘she ditched her state once her numbers dropped and oil revenues slowed down, how’s she going to handle the Presidency?’.

Last but not least, she may be planning to run for Lisa Murkowski’s Senate seat in 2010, thus keeping her in Washington and close to the power elite while she builds for a run at the Presidency in 2016. This would also allow her to avoid having to run against Obama’s re-election juggernaut, which is likely to be formidable, and allow some of her 2008 issues to fade from memory. Murkowski herself seems to be aware of this possibility, given that she slammed Palin’s decision before the ink was dry.

So what do you think, faithful readers? What’s going on behind the trademark wink?

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So, as all the world now knows, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has become the latest politician publicly revealed as being unable to keep it in his pants.

It’s no secret, especially in these troubled times, that people in positions of power have stressful jobs and sometimes need to get away from their day-to-day lives. However, this doesn’t necessarily extend so far as to simply disappear without a word to your family or your staff as to where the hell you might be. That’s irresponsible at best, and criminally negligent at worst.

The fact that he was in Argentina having an affair, though sensationalized by the media, is very much secondary to the dereliction of duty we saw there.

Also, Governor? Don’t blab about family values and the Ten Commandments while you’re screwing around. That kind of hypocrisy will come back to bite you in the ass.

Which brings me to 2012.

Sanford was considered to be a contender for the Republican nomination. I think he can probably kiss that prospect goodbye.

We’ve already seen John Ensign fall victim to the same issue, Bobby Jindal firmly stick his foot in his mouth on (among other things) volcano monitoring, Newt Gingrich get blasted for calling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, Rick Perry suggest that his state secede from the Union….

Things don’t looks so good for the GOP in 2012. Romney and Barbour are certainly prospects, but for how long?

Did they all get together at the party convention last year, shake a Magic 8-ball and say “OK, in April *point* YOU get to screw it up, and *shake* here’s how. In May, it’s *point* YOUR turn, and you’ll do it *shake* like this…”

Next, we’ll find incriminating pictures of Sarah Palin with HER hot Argentinian mistress.

Actually, I’d pay good money to see that.

NOTE: I know that there has been no shortage of Democrats with blanketeering issues (Clinton, Edwards, Spitzer etc.) – but they’re not the ones in the news right now.

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I suppose the title of this post is a little misleading, in that if I have bothered to list something here, then I apparently at least a partial fuck about it, enough to write about it. Some would argue, though, that a partial fuck is in its own way more pathetic than no fuck at all, but most of all, these nine things could vanish from the face of the earth and I would not miss them in any way.

1. Miley Cyrus

By extension, Hannah Montana and High School Musical in their entirety. So, so sick of seeing these bloody things advertised on everything that is large enough to contain a facsimile of Miley’s unfeasibly large and artificial smile.

2. The dodgy activities of the neighbor of the boyfriend of the daughter of the former employee of the college buddy of the pastor of the husband of a defeated vice-presidential candidate.

Why are the media still squeeing over Sarah Palin? Until she gets indicted for something or runs for office again, stop trying to make a scandal over people she might vaguely recognize if she passed them on the street.

3. Slash fiction

House isn’t screwing Wilson. Snape did not bugger Harry. And I’d be willing to bet that Ernie is not giving it to Bert.

Just stop.

If you want to write fiction with gay protagonists, and include explicitly or implicitly sexual scenes, then great – I have no issue with this, and will quite happily read it. If you want to take somebody else’s characters out of context just to have them shag, regardless of how inappropriate and unrealistic it might be, I think you might need to root out whatever pathological impulse is driving this and stomp on it.

4. Screamo

This is where I’m going to sound like an old person: if you can’t make music without screaming tunelessly into the microphone while your band throws their instruments down fifteen flights of stairs… don’t bother. Find something else to do, like whining on your MySpace about how nobody understands you. At least there, I don’t have to encounter it.

This is where I hope to sound less old again: there is such a thing as good emo, contrary to some of my earlier assertations. Panic at the Disco, The Academy Is, and several other bands from the FueledByRamen/DecayDance stable are well worth a listen.

5. Superhero movies

Facile plots, wooden acting and outrageous special-effect budgets. Did I miss anything?

There are a few exceptions to this, of course, but haven’t we had enough superhero movies for one decade? Maybe something totally new and creative and well-acted wouldn’t actually kill anyone.

6. The Jolie-Pitt family

Nothing else I can really say here. There’s drama. There are many babies. There are tabloid ‘scoops’. I simply don’t care.

7. Drug-resistant hyper-virulent strains of bird flu

There’s no point worrying about this. It’s hyper-virulent. It’s drug-resistant. So if it has your name on it, you’re going to get it. Take the usual precautions you would take against getting sick and hope for the best.

8. Snowed-out global warming conferences

It was ironic to hear about it the first time. Now it’s just annoying. Yes, it’s still going to snow. Sometimes even in May, or September. That’s because the issue is more complex than “OMG the world is gettin hotter :(“. Many people have chosen the path of referring to the issue as ‘climate change’ in order to make it less confusing for the retards who point to snowflakes as proof that global warming is a myth.

Ultimately, even if we’re not actually causing global warming, we are still pumping ton after ton of toxic chemical shit into our air and water – shouldn’t we be doing something about that even if we’re not staring the Grim Reaper in the face?

9. The novelty song about ‘Barack the Magic Negro’

It’s racist. It aired on the Rush Limbaugh show. Was anyone still looking for proof that Limbaugh is a dick? This was just one more example in a long career of dickitude.

This may well be all I have to say on any of these topics for the rest of 2009 if not beyond. Now for some more positive content.

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Sometimes, there are T-shirts one absolutely must have.

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Perhaps the only silver lining to the twin catastrophes of Ike and Lehman is that the media dust is finally settling on McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for running mate. With that in mind, I’m going to try to look at both tickets with as strong a hype-filter as I can muster.

First of all, I should say that McCain made a risky but brilliant move in picking Palin, for a variety of reasons: she’s young and fresh; she’s attractive and charismatic; and she’s a member of a “minority demographic”. These three things collectively neutralize a massive piece of Obama’s media advantage, while also giving McCain some much-needed credibility with the less moderate elements of his base. Many of the nation’s “likely Republican voters” care about a candidate’s views on only three things: guns, gays and God. To which Palin gives them a longed-for yes, no, and hallelujah.

Obama, in choosing Biden, has made a sensible choice, but one which is too safe, too pedestrian, to fire the imagination of today’s news junkies. Living as we do in the era of the ever-shortening news cycle and 24-hour coverage, Obama’s choice still barely made a splash compared to the hype preceding it. Joe Biden has strong economic and foreign policy credentials, both areas in which Obama needed bolstering, but he still went with what is being perceived as a boring option. After the weeks of “will they, won’t they” regarding an Obama/Clinton ticket – the suspense almost reaching Mulder and Scully levels – the press were rather more disillusioned than they would have been with Clinton, Kaine or Sebelius.

McCain has, with his choice, largely abnegated his own attacks on Obama’s lack of experience. Obama, with his, has severely damaged the credibility of his message of overthrowing the Washington establishment. With both of these central thrusts rendered impotent, it is hardly surprising that of the two now-completed tickets, the favorable coverage has predominantly been on the more audacious – and more glamorous.

Of course, none of the above even begins to address the question of anyone’s fitness for the position to which they aspire. Swiftboating aside, there are of course pros and cons to both of them.

The Vice-Presidency of the United States has in many cases been a position of great prestige and little actual responsibility. The President has a chief of staff, a communications department, a wide-ranging and experienced Cabinet, an Attorney General, a Surgeon General, the Joint Chiefs and the various intelligence agency heads from whom to draw information. Amongst all of this, the opinion of a single person, even a Vice-President, does not necessarily carry much weight. Historically the role has often been to perform largely ceremonial duties, staying out of the way while the actual governing gets done. These have been Vice-Presidents whose sole purpose has been to continue sucking air longer than the President, should the need arise. However, it is this last function which is perhaps the most terrifying of all; it is simply flabbergasting to think of some of these people being thrust into the position of running the country should that “heartbeat’s distance” abruptly shorten. I imagine that very few people were thrilled with the notion of a President Quayle, and I confess to great trepidation regarding the possibility of a President Cheney.

While other Vice-Presidents have executed their offices laudably and very much to the nation’s benefit, I would not wish to lose sight of the fact that the primary duty of a Vice-President must be to step in and fulfil the constitutionally appointed duties if the worst should befall a President. A Vice-President should be someone solid, reliable, just as much “ready to lead from day one” as the President; what happens if on January 19th, as the President-elect jets into DC, the plane has an accident? I, for one, have to trust that at any moment, the second-billed actor in the great play will be in the starting gate and ready to run the same race. Mixed metaphors aside, I believe that Biden would be the more capable President of the two VP candidates, were anything to happen to Obama. Given the continued existence of white supremacist movements in this country and others, this possibility cannot and must not be ruled out, sickening though it seems to civilized people. In a crisis of such magnitude, America needs someone with the experience to act as the nation’s guiding hand. A fresh face still finding her expensively-shod feet would be a catastrophic backup should McCain’s advancing age get the better of him, saddening though that prospect is.

So with the question of the Vice-Presidency taken care of, who would make the better President? As I mention above, I believe that the vice-presidential choices ultimately put a point in Obama’s column, but that is merely one point among a great many. How do they stack up?

There are a number of deciding factors which will make or break the election for a candidate. The American public’s willingness to vote based on race or gender alone is a worrying one; a reading of online political forums quite clearly shows that there is a small but vocal subset of the population who intend to do just that, regardless of the issues. This, however, cannot be gainsaid by any words or actions by the candidates, and I can only hope that these particular groups cancel each other out enough to leave the rest of the playing field level. The deciding issues, I believe, will be Iraq (and the broader “war on terror”), the economy, and religion.

Yes, religion. Let us admit here and now that the idea of separating church from state is a myth. The new President will be sworn in on a Bible, the Pledge of Allegiance he speaks will refer to “one nation under God”, and it is inevitable that the very convictions that have shaped his views for much of his life will carry over into his actions as President. It will take at least another generation for there to be a paradigm shift of such magnitude that a candidate will be elected without any scrutiny of his or her religious beliefs, and many of the voting public want to know that the country’s top dog believes in their God just as ardently as they do themselves, in order to be able to put any trust in his decision-making. And this is what will guide any talk of same-sex marriage, of abortion, of any of the political issues where we are splintered by religion. Republicans have an edge here, since the more “conservative” positions tend to be better aligned with the Christian viewpoints. But there is a broader issue here: typically, those of us who are non-religious simply roll our eyes and try to logic our way through questions of religion. Those of us who are religious stand firm in the sure knowledge that Holy Scripture has already provided the answers. It is not hard to see that the latter angle inspires more passion in its adherents. At most, the former resent the intrusion of religion into their political arena, but the latter fear its removal from theirs – a much more powerful motivator. Many of these people will vote for the candidate who appears to most closely follow the guidance of the Divine, and this is a sufficiently large group as to significantly benefit McCain.

On Iraq, the candidates will inevitably be pigeonholed into the “bring ’em home” and “stay the course” boxes. The soundbite-driven news outlets will not allow any room for nuance and subtlety. As such, this part of the vote will come down to the gap between those who believe we are doing more good than harm in the Middle East and vice versa. The debates will allow them to say more, of course, but even those will be restricted to mini-speeches of pre-determined length and content rather than a frank and equal exchange of ideas; there’s no such thing as a real political debate any longer, merely a fencing match between two advertisers. However, short of a major event in the war on terror, I believe Obama has the edge here. A lot of us are sick of this war. Sick of hearing about it, sick of paying for it, sick of their country being viewed with suspicion and contempt by other nations. Truman once used the metaphorical line “Don’t spit in the soup, boys – we all have to eat.” America has been spitting in the international soup for too long now, and I believe Obama will be considered less likely to continue the spitting.

Discussion of the war, and the resulting drain on the US Treasury, will bring us to the economy. This is of course among the most complex issues that anyone faces; there are three hundred million people in this country who want their government to do more for them but still leave more cash in their wallets. This dichotomy is the core around which such phrases as “big government” and “fiscal conservative” orbit at breakneck speeds. Ultimately, though, despite the plethora of small things which make up economic policy, the intricacies of the federal budget and appropriations processes, this will boil down to which candidate does the best job of selling their policy: the one who’s trying to give you bang for your buck, or the one who’s trying to reduce the buck in the first place. Generally I would say that McCain would have an edge here, but Obama has a convenient Republican administration to blame for a national debt spiraling out of control and for gross budget deficits, and that accusation may stick.

On the whole, then, I think Obama has what it takes to make it through. Not necessarily in the landslide which some Democrats have optimistically predicted, but without having to worry too much about hanging chads.

Is he, however, the better man for the job? From what I’ve seen, I don’t think he’s perfect by any stretch, but I do believe that America needs the kind of change he purports to stand for, and I do think he can pull it off. I have a fair amount of respect for McCain (certainly more than for certain other noteworthy Republicans), but I can’t bring myself to trust in him as much as I can Obama.

You’ll notice that I left health care and education out of the big-issue list. These are important issues, but I personally believe that they will be more in the nature of tie-breakers when Super Tuesday rolls around.

I’m sure I can find more to say on all of the above, but I think I have at this point been loquacious enough to get at least an implicit “tl;dr” from pretty much all of you, so I’ll stop here. 🙂

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