Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

John McCain

April 25, 2007

John McCain would have made a good president, eight or ten years ago. He probably would have prevented the September 2001 bombings, he wouldn’t have gotten us into Iraq, and he certainly wouldn’t have allowed that scumbag Karl Rove within a mile of the White House. He’s an honorable man who has done his best to do good things for this country.

Unfortunately, he’s now begging for the presidency more pathetically than Bob Dole ever did. Last night he made a spectacle of engaging Jon Stewart – JON STEWART – in a political debate. He was more aggressive, and more garrulous, than he would dare to be in an actual debate against an actual opponent. He started by antagonizing Stewart’s studio audience, characterizing them as hostile; he continued to hector Stewart on his talking points, spewing a continual stream of invective until his time had run out.

When it was over, I found myself wondering why the hell he had bothered in the first place – within thirty seconds he had made clear that he didn’t really expect anyone watching the show to actually vote for him.

This afternoon, an NPR reporter at a McCain rally interviewed a young woman carrying a McCain sign who said that she really wasn’t a McCain supporter, that she had not decided (only 19 months before the election!) who to vote for, but that she had accepted a McCain sign because his team was desperately giving them away and she felt sorry for them.

Al Franken, in a recent book, relates what happened to John Kerry in his race against GWF:

By slapping Kerry around continuously, the President was sending America the message that “Kerry is my bitch.” Kerry, by focusing on his positive, nuanced agenda (including a modest, but eminently sensible health care plan that involved the word “reinsurance”), rather than fighting back with equal or greater ferocity, was whispering the opposite message: “I am Bush’s bitch.”

For years,¬† GWF and his buddy Rove have been smearing McCain at every opportunity and in every way imaginable,¬† among other things characterizing¬† McCain as a homosexual and his wife as a drug addict.¬† McCain’s sudden abandonment of long-held and long-advocated opinions in favor of positions that just happen to coincide with Bush’s communicates the same message: “I am Bush’s bitch.”

It’s a shame. It really is.

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THIS IS NOT A WAR DAMMIT

April 25, 2007

Iraq is not a war. There is no identifiable enemy, and we’re not “losing” to anyone.

Iraq is a police action. Our objective in Iraq is not to defeat anyone; it’s merely to keep the various native factions from killing each other.

There was a time at which it seemed that the only way we would be able to keep the Shia and the Sunni from killing each other was by killing both of them before they had a chance to kill each other, but these days it seems that the primary objective is to just be there, to pretend that what we call the Iraqi government is actually on the verge of assuming the responsibilities incumbent upon a government, to do the policing while we pretend that any day now, they will be magically endowed with the will and the ability to do their own policing.

They will not. We have now learned the lesson that I predicted five years ago we would learn from Iraq: why it took a Saddam Hussein to run the place.

Don’t get me wrong. Saddam Hussein didn’t make Iraq the mess it is; we did. The United States (unfortunately, not just the bumbling fools in the executive branch who got us into this, but all of us) has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, about how we took a world that was kindly disposed toward us after September 2001 and proceeded to piss it off across the board.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we can fix it. Like Yugoslavia, and like a lot of the American states, Iraq is an artificial state – created by arbitrarily drawing crayon lines on a map. By demolishing the Iraqi dictatorship, we triggered a civil war like the one in Yugoslavia that followed upon the death of Tito.

We are not fighting that war. We are not fighting any war in Iraq. Instead, having discovered that we have started a war, we are now attempting to keep it from happening – to simply deny that it is happening, if we can get away with it.

We can’t get away with it. There is a civil war going on in Iraq, and we started it by toppling Saddam Hussein. That much should be transparently clear to anyone who follows the news.

To claim that we have lost a war in Iraq, or even to claim that we are fighting a war in Iraq, is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of the word “war”. The Bush administration calls Iraq “a war” so that they don’t have to call it “a police action”, which is what it really is, or “a fuckup”, which it also certainly is.

Why is Bush afraid to call this what it is? Because police actions are the kind of thing the Canadians and the French do. The Canadians are very good at peacekeeping; wherever you see a UN peacekeeping force, Canada has a strong presence.

On the other hand, Americans are not very good at peacekeeping. As a nation, we are temperamentally unsuited to it. If Bush were to admit that Iraq is a frantic effort to stifle a war that we caused, he would lose the last shreds of public support he’s managed to hold on to.

So why is Harry Reid saying silly shit like “we have lost the war”? That’s merely playing into Bush’s hands. That’s propping up the bullshit excuse the administration has been using to justify the killing and maiming of thousands of American soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

What we should be doing is not wringing our hands about having lost a war, or fondling Nancy Pelosi at press conferences. A real leader with a sense of responsibility would go to the United Nations with hat in hand, admit that we made a serious mistake in Iraq, and ask for a consensus on what we should do to fix it –

and then follow that consensus.

As soon as possible, also, we should start getting our combat forces out of Iraq, and get them back out after that Bin Laden guy.

attention democrats:

February 15, 2007

Not being a Barack Obama fanboy doesn’t make you a racist. Nor is it racist to observe that Obama is a sort of political Tiger Woods (except that Tiger Woods has won a lot more contests than Obama has).

It’s not even racist to say that Obama “isn’t black enough”; it’s just stupid and tactless.

The 2004 election wasn’t even over before the hard-bitten moonbats on Atrios were howling about how long they’d waited for a black president, how excited they were that Obama was going to be in the Senate, what a great man and great leader he was, etc.

This was before he’d served a day in Congress, when his political career consisted of a few years as the Illinois state senator from the neighborhood surrounding the University of Chicago, and an unsuccessful 2000 US House campaign against incumbent Bobby Rush, an exercise in self-indulgence which everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten.

Obama is an obviously bright person with impressive academic credentials. So is Condoleezza Rice, and I sure as hell don’t want her to be president.

Right now, what America needs a lot worse than a black president is a Democratic president. I don’t even particularly care a whole lot who that Democratic president is, as long as it’s not Joe Lieberman; whoever it turns out to be couldn’t possibly be as bad as Bush.

I have a mild preference for Bill Richardson, but I realize already that he’s hardly likely to get the nomination. I will happily vote, however, for whatever Democrat is nominated – again, as long as it’s not Joe Lieberman.

But I’m voting for the Democrat; George W. Bush has amply seen to that. The Republicans could nominate Jesus Christ, and I’d still vote for the Democrat. I just think it’s a pity that Obama, who could have such a bright political future, is going to burn out so early in a flash of ego gratification.

Abolish presidential elections!

February 13, 2007

Karl Rove is already tired of the 2008 presidential election, probably because he’s not going to be making any money in it. (Let’s hope that the stench of Turd Blossom has spread so far that not even the right-wing lunatic fringe will have anything further to do with him.)

Personally, I’ve been tired of presidential elections ever since Rove, the Republican establishment, and the Supreme Court stole the 2000 election for George W. Fuckup. In 2004 we cumulatively spent more than a billion dollars on the presidential election, and there can hardly be any doubt that the price tag next time will be even higher.

And what do we get for our billion dollars? A nice warm illusion that we are co-participants in a democratic government. When you go down to your local polling station, cast your ballot, then go home and spend the evening watching people on TV partying their asses off and making speeches, it’s easy to forget that there’s nothing directly at stake in “the presidential election”.

The Constitution places the power to name presidential electors for each state in the hands of the state legislature; there is no constitutional requirement that any state hold a popular presidential election at all. The constitution provides for Congress to schedule Election Day – the day on which presidential electors are chosen – and the day on which the Electoral College meets. There is no requirement that a popular vote be held, and any state could at any time reassert the direct prerogative of its legislature in selecting presidential electors, canceling the presidential election in that state.

I think this would be a great improvement. Instead of having elections decided by the marginal voter of IQ 80, we would have elections decided by people who are at least intelligent enough to hold elective office in their own right. This would get us one step closer to a parliamentary system like they have in Canada and the UK, where the voter only has to worry about voting for legislators, leaving the task of actually running the government to the legislators who are paid to do it.