Brief political interlude

Like a lot of other people, I’ve been pretty stressed out recently.  Nothing too terrible is going on for me personally, but I’m concerned about the U.S. financial situation, I’m concerned about how that will affect me and my company (if at all) and I’m concerned about the current political happenings in part since I think that they will have the biggest affect on the first two issues.  I’ve been obsessing over politics and polls for the past few months when I would probably be better off “drink[ing] herb tea and play[ing] with [my] screensavers.” At this point, I’m fairly confident that Obama will win (yay!), but watching the McCain campaign’s negative attacks is annoying – in particular since the negative ads are aimed at Obama personally and not his policies (as opposed to Obama’s negative ads which appear to be aimed at McCain’s policies).

The irritating thing is that the political attacks on Obama, from both McCain’s campaign and conservatives in general, are constantly shifting.  First you hear, “Obama’s a Muslim.”  That gets debunked.  Then it’s “Obama’s preacher is a radical Christian.”  Again, someone takes the time to put things into context and debunk the lies and the topic changes again.  “Obama’s is a celebrity.”  Er, never mind that this is based on the number of people that want to hear him speak on policy issues and not, say, on his television or movie career (try comparing the IMDB entries for McCain and Obama sometime).  Turn around and then it’s – “well, no one goes to an Obama speech for anything but the rock concerts.”?!  No, wait, we’re back to “celebrity.”  Then he’s “inexperienced” except when compared to Palin.  etc., etc.

It’s like the Obama attackers have the attention spans of squirrels on meth.  For gods’ sake, pick an attack and stick with it.

Of course, you see this in other contexts too.  Perhaps my (least?) favorite is climate change.  “No, global warming is not real.”  “Okay, maybe global warming is happening, but it’s not caused by people.”  “Okay, it is caused by people, but isn’t anything we can stop.”  Oh wait, then we turn back to, “98% of the green house effect is due to water vapor.”  No it isn’t.  “CO2 lags temperature in ice cores!”  True, but irrelevant.  It’s almost impossible for the lay person to debate the contrarians since they keep shifting their line of attack.  It’s all still wrong, but unless you’re carrying an encyclopedia of climate change, you just aren’t going to be able to counter the crazy.  It’s whack-a-mole with arguments.  The sad part is that the skeptics aren’t stupid.  Many are very intelligent people whose politics (for some reason) cause them to be intellectually lazy about this issue.  Arguments that they wouldn’t accept from a high school student are suddenly too obvious to dispute.

I’ve even heard from a few skeptics in scientific fields and they seem to assume that either a) climate science isn’t a real science, or b) climate scientists just aren’t as smart as the political talking heads you see on the television, or c) climate scientists are all in on a giant conspiracy to keep getting funded and so they are lying about the true state of the world.   Just bizarre.

Bringing it back to politics, you see the same things in McCain’s actual campaign.  He keeps changing his proposals.  Let’s see, during last week’s debate, we heard about a new $300b bailout to help home owners.  Then it turned out that the bulk of the money was yet another bad bank bailout plan (the govt would be buying the loans from the banks).  That got dropped.  Then this weekend, we heard that McCain was going to have a new policy proposal geared toward the middle class.  It was going to include tax cuts on dividends and capital gains.  Huh?!  Now, I consider myself and K to be upper middle class, but I guarantee you that cutting taxes on capital gains and dividends will not help us to any significant degree.  Then on Sunday night, the McCain campaign announced that it wasn’t going to announce any new policy proposals this week.  But now today we learn that McCain is proposing a new plan that features those exact same tax cuts that we part of the non-plan from this weekend.

Seriously.

McCain’s campaign is acting much in the same way I would in a boxing match.  They are doing the political equivalent of screaming like a child and running around the ring, hoping that the punches will land where they were and not where they’ve currently shifted.  It’s pathetic.

All of this makes me wonder what kind of brain rot has infected the republican party.  Did it start with the appeals to anti-intellectualism and rot it’s way up to the policies?  Did it start with crazy policies which attracted anti-intellectuals?  David Brooks seems to think that the republicans just drove away all of their intellectuals and this is what’s left.  I suppose I can buy that.

Anyway, I think it’s time to make some red zinger and see if I can get that 3d fractal screensaver working.

1 Comment

  1. etselec said,

    October 14, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

    Float like a feather, sting like a – wait, what in the world could that be? *runs*

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