Friday, September 05, 2008

Obama on O'Reily

Part one. Interesting stuff. Whatever you think about O’Reily’s style, I do think he follows up on Obama’s answers, which is welcome.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Korean Currency Woes

Things are not looking good in Korea when it comes to the economy, with fears that we may be facing an economic crisis. The picture bellow shows green highlighted stocks, which indicates that the price has fallen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain/Palin: Can I Still Get Behind the Ticket?

So McCain surprised the lot of us when he picked Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, and his decision and Palin’s background have been the talk of the town since. I am still trying to wrap my head around what this means for McCain and my support for his campaign. Coming from the left, I will give you a rundown of what I like about her, and what I don’t, and weigh whether I can still give my support to the McCain ticket.

Pros:
1. She helped clean up Alaskan state politics. Alaska has been a state notorious for corruption, and the previous Republican Governor Murkowski sure didn’t help the situation. Palin took on a standing Governor within her own party, and forced him out of office over his pork bail centered policies. Obama can talk about change and reform, but taking on your own party and risking your political career takes more than flowery language, and Palin surely risked a lot in taking on corrupt politicians in her own party. It is one thing to condemn the opposition for their missteps, it is another entirely to stand against your own clan and call them out for their deception and deceit. She should be commended for that.

2. She is young, pretty, and has one of those biographical backgrounds that make for a good movie. While I despise the identity politics that has plagued the American system for the last 20 years, having a women from a rather modest background (and who has a real blue collar, union card carrying husband) rise to VP slot on a major party’s ticket is a positive thing. I don’t get the feeling that Palin’s hometown charm is fake or artificially constructed, and that can be refreshing. Even though I like to consider myself elegant enough not to be swayed by the personal aspect that fuels the stories built in these campaigns, I can’t help but be a little excited about having a black President or a female vice-President. I try to put that youthful excitement aside when picking a candidate, but it surely plays a part in this campaign, and McCain was smart to pick someone that could inject some historic enthusiasm into his fight.

Cons:
1. She is a social conservative. She is against abortion, even in cases dealing with rape or incest. She opposes gay marriage, and supported amending the constitution to forbid it. I personally believe gay marriage should be allowed, and that a nation that prides itself on its freedom and justice for all, can not morally deny individuals the right to make legal partnerships with those they love. Understandably, McCain has also opposed gay marriage (Obama hasn’t, but he has said it was up to States to decide, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement), but I find Palin’s commitment to the constitutional amendment more committed than McCain’s. If McCain wanted to court the social conservatives, he would have made his apparent opposition to Roe vs. Wade a central part of his campaign, something he hasn’t done. To her credit, Palin recently gave birth to a child with Down syndrome, a symptom she knew about before the child was born, and still decided to keep the child; she is clearly dedicated to the pro-life cause. I however, am not, and I have issues supporting someone who is opposed to abortion in all cases.

Her stance on creationism is also troubling. E.D. has brought this up in a previous post, but it sounds to me like she was willing to cede ground on this issue without committing herself to it. By saying she is accepting of “debate” on this subject makes her sound like all the other creationist loons who claim they just want “debate” and “discussion.” If they actually looked into the facts, they would recognize there was already debate on the subject and they lost soundly, and I would prefer to see my politicians stand up against these anti-science theocrats than coddle them.

2. She has little experience. Sure, she has more "executive" experience than any of the folks running at the moment, but does being the Governor of Alaska for 2 years really make her qualified to lead the free world? I don’t think it does. Having said that, the Obama camp needs to be careful how they criticize her and the experience issue; those in glass houses and all. At least the McCain ticket has it in the right order; the top is highly experienced and ready to lead, and the second in command is less so, unlike Obama’s campaign. But I would personally like to see both places on the ticket as possible Presidents, and Palin just doesn’t have that background yet. This is going to be the big question posed to the McCain camp over the next few weeks, and Palin is going to need to perform adequately at the debates to squelch these concerns.

3. It is not yet clear what her association was with known racist and moron extraordinaire, Pat Buchannan. Harry’s Place has jumped on the meme that she was a supporter of his in 1996, as have other left leaning sites. I would like to know exactly what she thinks of the man, then and now. Going back to glass houses, I know I shouldn’t be too critical of someone’s past associations (being on the radical left for years, I supported plenty of appalling individuals), but I believe she should make clear how close she was to his campaigns and his ideology. If she explains that she supported his 1996 campaign because she saw him as a reformer, but did not know about his less than savory ideas and repudiated those ideas, she could put it to rest. I don’t want to say that this is a breaking point for me, but it would be hard for me to vote for someone who supports a racist Jew hater like Buchanan.

Conclusion:

I believe McCain’s Palin pick is a purely calculated move, and one that does undercut the ‘experience’ meme he has fostered throughout the campaign. If McCain really wanted to buck the establishment, and pick a candidate that is both bipartisan and risky, he would have picked Joe Lieberman. A man whose characteristics and positions I believe the American political system needs more of. Facing a rebellion within his own party over that pick, and looking to attract the 18 million Clinton supporters, he chose a woman that has a lot going for her, but does not bring time tested experience to the ticket I am looking for. At the same time, it reinforces the image McCain has built that he is a maverick willing to buck to the establishment to make government work. Furthermore, he picked an individual that was going to make the social conservatives happy, but piss off folks like myself who have supported McCain from the start of his campaign. I will likely still vote for McCain in November, even if Palin’s support for the war in Iraq seems more lukewarm than McCain’s, and even if I have a difficult time stomaching her more socially conservative positions. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never have an ideal ticket up for grabs, and that compromise is understandable and acceptable. I have said in the past that I am a one issue voter, and as long as McCain does not backpedal on democracy promotion, I will still see him as a superior candidate to Obama.