Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Man Bites Dog, Is Ignored? (Politics)

If a McCain speechwriter were to begin supporting the Obama campaign, that'd be news, right? This is the thesis supporting a piece that argues mainstream media is pro-Obama. The idea is that the mainstream media should be publishing man-bites-dog stories, but suppressed it because it was harmful to Obama.

Apparently, one of the (likely many) speechwriters involved in Obama's campaign grew disgusted actually watching the sausage made, and switched brands. Disgust with politics isn't new, to be sure, and the quoted description of why she defected doesn't seem particularly shocking. It's not clear this is serious news. It's also not clear the new brand offers a better sausage-making environment.

What does seem clear is that (a) people can change their minds, (b) this is completely legal in America, and (c) if her disgust catches on, her former candidate will have some serious selling to do in four years. In the meantime, a Democratic House, Senate, and Presidential Mansion will be something to see. When it fails to deliver -- and when have politicians ever really delivered? -- it'll simply put the shoe on the other foot: we'll have Republicans complaining that Democrats squandered the country's trust with all the power to enact anything they pleased, and they just voted themselves into more money to share with their favored interests.

Business as usual.

Before we get a wave of explanation that the Democrats rescued the United States from war in Iraq, it might be worth reminding everyone that on the watch of the outgoing, can't-run-again, second-term Commander-In-Chief, troop reductions had already been scheduled and Iraqi provinces (currently 13 of 18) had been regularly turned over to Iraqi control. For example, Anbar province -- of which we've heard so much -- was turned over last month, and just now Iraqi control has been returned to the province of Wasit. 13 of 18; mostly done, no? An estimate earlier this year suggested that post-surge security improvements might enable Iraq to take control of all provinces this year. What an embarrassment that might be to the Obama campaign, eh? Obama's threat to bomb America's ally Pakistan has even been one-upped: not only have enemy sanctuaries in Pakistan continue to be targeted, but the existing Commander-In-Chief just bombed an enemy nation to deny al quaeda sanctuary, halting a cell directing foerign fighters into Iraq. How embarrassing is that?

Just wait for it. Obama will take credit in due time both for withdrawal from Iraq, and for the drop in oil prices. As the economy recovers, he will take credit for "making" the jobs.

Why is it that the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue always seems to want to take credit for the work of better men? The work of people with real jobs? People who risk their own life's savings, or lives, to improve the world around them?

Politicians make me nearly as ill as those who try to paint them as great idols to be worshipped.


Afterward: In lampooning Palin on funding fruit fly research in Paris, France, Huffington Post authors seem to miss the part about funding frogs to do what Americans could do just as well, with perhaps a bit less corruption. The concept of studying fruit flies didn't strike me as the principal jibe -- it's not like Palin criticized in any way the fruit fly research done in the U.S. every day -- but the fact someone in Congress had arranged to fund research to be conducted in a country whose laboratory ethics and results seem to be influenced by nationalism rather than a love of the truth. It's not like there is any evidence the French could do a better job than Americans designing and carrying out research on the same strain of flies. Paying foreigners to do research where they will be influenced to find specific results has a nasty history, and we'd have more accountability (and employement) employing American scientists.

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