vendredi, août 08, 2008

Link to my Friday online "Washington Post" article

No Messiah

I'm sure that there are folks who won't vote for Barack Obama because he's black (see article by Charles Blow linked above).

I feel stupid even writing that, because to judge someone on their skin color seems so utterly ridiculous.

We don't know if this is a small or a larger group of voters, because it's so tough to correct polls for racial bias, or guilt, or simple lying.

That's challenging enough. But then it gets more interesting. Why else doesn't Obama feel "like us" to voters?

Because he seems elitist at times? I have to say, this is one of my pet peeves. The way John Kerrey seemed to talk down to his constituents drove me nuts. But I can't stand the down home hypocrisy of a George Bush, either-or maybe I don't like the idea that sometimes breeding doesn't tell.

I have a feeling that there are many white, working class voters who felt that Hillary, with all of her jagged edges, was much more "like them." That seems odd in itself, because Obama's the son of a single mom who succeeded on the power of his obvious intelligence and perhaps his faith in himself. It may be more a matter of demeanour than of fact-but demeanour counts.

Because he seems a little judgmental? I don't like to be told what to eat, either.

A bit full of himself?

And what about the experience factor?

John McCain has a lot more experience in the Senate.

But he seems very uninformed on some of the basic foreign policy and economic issues that are going to be critical as we try to figure out how to get out of Iraq, deal with Al Queda, negotiate trade agreements, cope with global warming---well, you get the idea. And off-shore drilling is just more of the same sleight of hand solution to immediate problems that the Republicans have been offering recently.

He doesn't have Obama's rock star charisma-although he has charisma of his own. And perhaps charisma is a legitimate factor to weigh in making decisions about a President. I mean, look at how good Carla Bruni has been for Nicolas Sarkozy.

I wonder what Barack Obama or John McCain is like in person. I wonder how much of what we think we know about them is simply wrong. Or I wonder if indeed, they are "like us"-complex, sometimes ignorant, often driven by emotions they can't quite parse.

I guess we don't get to choose a Messiah. But again, we didn't recognize him when he came the first time, did we?

mardi, août 05, 2008

Changing of the guard?

It appears that there is a big political realignment going on-but how long it will last or what it signifies is hard to tell.

As Democrats and independents surge, the numbers of registered Republicans are declining. In recent years, many statehouses have gone Democrat, as have the Governorships.

In the article linked above, politicans and pollsters offer some reasons for the shift: more young voters, urbanites moving out to the suburbs, and more candidates who don't take far left positions.

The advent of centrist candidates like Bob Casey Jr here in Pennsylvania is what I find most fascinating. Does this signal a closing of the gap between the reds and the blues? Or are these candidates confined to states where there are lots of independents or conservative Democrats?

The polls tell us again and again that on issues like gun rights and abortion, voters tend to hold nuanced positions. If the trend towards the center continues, we may see the two main parties finally start to allow for dialogue, even dissent, within their ranks. If not, the party elders may find themselves party poopers.

lundi, août 04, 2008

fool me once....

I think I will remember this summer as the summer of the poison ivy. I'm sure I could have avoided getting it all over one arm and various other body parts if I'd been a little more careful. But I can't resist an innocent weed-heedless of the three-leaved vine or plant next to it.

Blame the first five weeks on inexperience. There wasn't a lot of poison ivy in the Brooklyn yards where I played as a child.

This new infection I must blame on my familiar vices-haste, and carelessness, and lack of follow up.

Hopefully this time I'll be frightened enough to be less careless the next time.