Thursday, January 22, 2004

What Patrick Says
Some of you who read this thing of mine often know that I am a strong supporter of a manned space program, so you might imagine that I am jumping for joy at the Moon-and-Mars plan from the pseudo-president.

What I was can best be described as speechless. But, thankfully, Patrick has found the perfect words: The phrase that summed up my reaction to Bush’s grandiloquent announcement last week: I felt trifled with. I wanted to say, this is stuff that matters, you lying sack of shit.

GO READ.

Why Dean Won't Win
I just finished watching Diane Sawyer's interview of Mr. and Doctor Dean, and it is my informed judgment that there isn't a chance in freaking hell that they will make it into the White House.

They are too damn real, too human, and too like the rest of us.

They came across as someone you would want to sit with and have a cuppa. She's thoughful and a little shy and has a high wattage smile. He seemed uncomfortable--mind you, this was Diane I'm-going-to-empathize-with-you-if-it-kills-you Sawyer and if she comes across as creepy in person as she does on tv it's enough to put anyone off their feed--but trying be as natural as possible.

And that is their mistake.

After watching American elections for thirty years, I have come to the conclusion that a large body of Americans want their presidents to combine the skills of a great politician, the untouchability of European royalty, the morality of a pope, and the horse sense of jes' folks. They will buy anyone who projects that image, however phony. When they elect someone they KNOW it's not their ideal, (hey, Bill, where are you?), they are always uneasy about him, even when the man manages to do a good job.

It's very frustrating. Take the much-reported Dean "loss of temper" thing. I just saw that bit of film, and guess what? I saw a frustrated man who had just been defeated let out some steam in a room full of supporters. Not the brightest idea in an universe where your political opponents, the hostile media, and YOUR OWN PARTY are waiting to scrape off your hide and nail it to the barn door, but EXACTLY what I would expect a normal human being to do.

Did you know George Washington and John Adams had tempers that could blister paint at two hundred yards? Or that Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression? Teddy Roosevelt was a galloping egotist; His relative FDR was serially unfaithful. Thomas Jefferson had children with his slave mistress who was possibly related by blood to his deceased wife. But they were all fairly decent presidents, wouldn't you say?

No, I'm not endorsing Dean. I have doubts about him, as I do about all the candidates. I will endorse the winner of the primaries, because, damn it, four more years of neocon policies scare me more than almost anything else in this world. What I am doing is pleading for a focus on policies instead of personalities. I am asking that we try to accept that a man running for president is a MAN running for president, and to judge him on his record and his ideas.

You can stop laughing now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

No, I didn't Watch, Thanks for Asking
I've never listened to a single State of the Union address. They are not about the State of the Union. They are about the state of the Presidency and, every four years, about the incumbent's electability.

If you want a real State of the Union report, go here. In a body full of liars they seem to keep honest.

And the news suck, boys and girls. The Long Term Budget Outlook was probably written by the bureucratic equivalent of Stephen King.