Monday, June 23, 2008

The Crowded Table

Have you noticed that already in the course of this presidential election Barack Obama (among others) has been criticized for saying that he might be willing to negotiate with, say, Cuba or Iran if it seemed fruitful to do so. Such willingness, apparently, might make America look weak.

The thing that increasingly amazes me as I think about this is that a lot of the same people making this critique believe that the US would look weak if it were to take "any option off the table." But apparently in this lexicon, diplomacy literally is not an option. Leaving all options on the table is shorthand for "We reserve the right nuke Tehran."

So, it's sober politics to say, "Well, we might nuke you if it seems useful." And it's crazy talk to say, "We might talk to you if seems useful." Got it.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Clear All Cookies

Cindy McCain has stirred up controversy recently because when asked for a family cookie recipes, she offered up one taken from Rachel Ray's website. Then, when asked on a later occasion for a favorite recipe, she borrowed one from and said it was from a friend.

On one level, this is a little embarrassing, not so much for the plagiarism but because it seems to reinforce the idea that the McCains are as old as the their detractors say--nobody under the age of 40 thinks that you can successfully plagiarize from websites that come up on the first page of Google hits.

Mostly, though, I hope she keeps doing this. I remember when Hillary Clinton had to go through this as a prospective first lady. Two or three more times and it will be hilarious performance art. It might even keep magazines from feeling like they have the obligation or right to ask first spouses for recipe tips.

Seriously, who cares what cookies the first spouses make? At this point, presidential candidates are likely to be married to men or women who don't spend much time baking. Accept it and move along.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Oh No, PUMA People!

So there's an online movement calling itself Party Unity My Ass that seeks to... I'm not sure what. It opposes Barack Obama and seems to oppose the Democratic party because "It is no longer the party of FDR and shared responsibility. Now, it is the party of wannabe rich libertarian Democrats."

I wonder what there problem is with libertarian Democrats. All we want is social freedom (the right to do mostly what we want so long as we aren't harming others), reproductive freedom (and in general the right to make private medical decisions) and equal treatment under the law (as with the right to same sex marriges). Why should any of that bother these people?

Given that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agree generally on the major issues, what are these PUMA people so worked up about?

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