Monday, October 20, 2008

What does he stand for?

Chris Orr on what McCain's Veep choice says about him:

Lieberman and Palin are, after all, about as distant from one another--ideologically, culturally, characterologically, even geographically--as two contenders for the GOP vice presidential nomination could possibly be: a Jewish, pro-choice, moderately liberal, not particularly colorful, Northeastern, Washington establishment (former) Democrat for whom foreign policy is always Topic A vs. an emphatically Christian, pro-life, very conservative, hyper-colorful, far-West, anti-establishment Republican for whom foreign policy has never been an identifiable concern at all. [snip] The fact that, denied the guy he really wanted, he opted for someone at the opposite end of pretty much every imaginable spectrum, suggests that he has very little idea what he really believes, how he intends to govern, or what role he'd expect his vice president to play in his administration.

What the McCain camp is saying when it says he wanted a running mate who reinforced the "core message that he was a maverick," is that he wanted to make a choice--be it left or right, a play to the center or a gift to the base, a close personal friend or someone he'd barely met--that everyone would agree was "outside-the-box" (if you're feeling generous) or "exceptionally risky" (if you're not). As has become abundantly clear over the last several weeks, this love of placing reckless bets, of inventing heroic dramas in which he can star, is central to McCain as a public figure. It's also perhaps the most compelling reason he should not be president.

Yeah, no kidding. A man who risks the fate of our nation in such a manner ought to be disqualified from being president. Historically, a VP was almost completely irrelevant to the political process and was treated accordingly. Starting with Nixon, the VP spot became a launching pad for the presidency, and starting with Gore it became an important and highly influential office due to its proximity to the presidency. What this reasoning proves is that the VP office for McCain is little more than a sinecure to complement McCain's moral vanity and self-conceit and, of course, to get him elected. Country first.

Of course, these days his campaign doesn't have a single message or argument at all, but rather are engaged in the act of shouting over themselves.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.