Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Making of John McCain.

Michael Leahy of the Washington Post writes a fascinating and riveting account of Mac's pre-POW days, and the huge influence of his father, grandfather, and other mentors. Simply marvelous storytelling.

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's VP Choice.

Are we ecstatic by John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate? Ecstatic? Not really. Perhaps there were stronger, more experienced choices, but not very obvious ones. Mac's competitors for the nomination were all damaged goods, and all suffered the political liabilities of being white and male while Republican. Yes, the Zeitgeist has turned on The Man.

So what were McCain's goals in choosing a VP? Somebody that could step in to be President, but the wrong political choice for VP would render that concern moot. His choice would need to break GOP "tradition" (white male running mates) if there would be any chance to win the Presidency.

The dismantling of the Gingrinch Revolution of '94 (which truly sought to court minorities into the party) and the subsequent control of the GOP by the brain-dead (Hastert, McConnell) or the corrupt (Delay) has lost the party at least a decade in expanding the conservative movement to "non-traditional" groups. Thus, there are no African-American GOP members of House or Senate, and precious few Hispanic members.

The GOP women in the Senate are either a bit shopworn (Dole, Hutchison), too liberal for the party base (Snow, Collins), or otherwise unacceptable (Murkowski). Women Republican members of the House are a rather anonymous group (why is the subject of another conversation). Palin is one of a handful of women Republican governors. The reaction by the GOP base to her selection has been enthusiastic (Lieberman would have kept the base home on Election Day), and may - may - draw moderate women to the ticket. Politically, Palin was the best choice.

Palin has been been swimming with the sharks of Alaska politics - the Murkowskis, Ted Stevens, and Don Young - and has beaten them. She is quite knowledgable on energy issues, and as governor has experience in actually running a government. On these matters she is more qualified to be President that Mr. Obama , who has been running for President since his election to the US Senate in 2006, and has particpated in damned little real leglislation. That Mr. Obama has pulled off what he has does say something about his political and leadership skills (let us give credit where credit is due). The "experience" issue may have been a dead end for McCain anyway; a look back a previous popular Presidents can reveal some rather short resumes (TR, FDR, JFK).

Palin had better be a quick study on the national issues on which she is unfamiliar, and please let her not say anything stupid out of obligation to say something in which she is not knowledgable. Leave that to Mr. Obama.
Does Sarah Palin Hate Polar Bears?

During our return to The Estate this afternoon, we caught the first half-hour of NPR's All Things (Ill) Considered, in part to see how conflicted their hosts would be about McCain's choice for VP, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. After the typical NPR selective reporting on the event (for example, they noted the congratulatory message from the Obama/Biden 2008 office, but not the snarky statement made earlier by a spokescritter from Obama World Headquarters), the show turned to an in-depth story of the retreat of sea ice (supposedly caused by global warming, supposedly caused by human activity) in the Alaskan Arctic, and the mortal threat that this phenomenon was to polar bears.

We did not understand the connection between the two stories until reviewing Wizbang tonight, which featured an interview with the same Governor Palin by Glenn Beck made some weeks earlier. The topic was Governor Palin's lawsuit against Uncle Sam to keep the Endangered Species Act - which now extends its protective "rights" to the Polar Bear - from being used to block oil and gas production along the Alaskan Continental Shelf, ANWR, and the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve. These are the regions of Alaska where the Polar Bears of Alaskan Heritage are likely to be found.

Aha! NPR has made a link between Sarah Palin and the (potential) Ursacide of the Polar Bear: if the bears were now under pressure by losing their ice habitat, the (presumably) polar-bear-hating Palin would seek to destroy the rest of their living space for oil!

In fact, the Story of the Polar Bears, the Governor, and Big Oil has another bizarre twist: it seems the green-extremist organization Greenpeace does not want the Polar Bear listed on the current version of the Endangered Species List. This is because the revised version which included the Bear also provides that its endangered status cannot be based on global warming claims. Therefore such claims could not place other animals on the list, nor presumably force industries (read: Big Oil) to cut back on carbon emissions to (supposedly) slow global warming, which would (supposedly) help the threatened organism. Therefore, the ESA could not be used as a pretext to stop further oil and gas production by claiming that the oil and gas would increase global warming, even while the production activity in itself would pose no threat to endangered species. Thus, Greenpeace in a snit.

We really don't know know Ms. Palin's disposition toward the Polar Bear, although the photo above (from the Anchorage Daily News), indicates that she appreciates bearskin in general. We do, however, know her view of Moose: great in stew.
Note: No Polar Bears were harmed during the writing of this article.
Just Say Anything.

Oh a mighty winds a blowin’, it’s kickin’ up the sand,
It’s blowin’ out a message to every woman, child and man
Yes a mighty winds a blowin’, cross the land and cross the sea,

It’s blowin’ peace and freedom, it’s blowin’ equality.
Yes it’s blowin’ peace and freedom, it’s blowin’ you and me.

- A Mighty Wind

Give us some air, we have the vapors! What a show, what fireworks, what a speech! No national ill was not caused by BushMcCain, nor was it without an Obama cure. And those ills shall be healed because, well, because we want it to be so. And he wants to do it all for us, because this isn't about him, it's about us. Yes: the fireworks, the temple, the stadium, the motion picture soundtrack, the adoration of the multitude - that is for us.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fool's Gold.

The 29th Olympiad in Beijing is drawing to a close. It's been a great success for the PRC, with the distractions of sports, celebrity, money, with a slick campaign to portray China with a Disney World like tidiness. The concerns for air pollution and violence by a deranged individual were the only blemishes on an otherwise perfect propaganda campaign. Cheery memories of the Beijing Olympics will in be in dissonance with the behavior of China's authoritarian regime, complete with brutal political and religous persecution and agressive regional ambitions. We will all no doubt find the happy Olympics image of China preferable to believe.