Sunday, September 28, 2008

From Daniel Larison
  • The Democratic “defensive crouch” on national security, that instinctive, fearful huddling that entails caving all major points of disagreement with the opposing party in order to appear “credible” and “serious” on this issue. McCain and Obama said almost identical things on foreign policy aside from Iraq, which leaves the undecided voter trying to discern between the presentation of these nearly-identical views. I have found the small consolation that Obama is at least a slightly more cautious hawkish interventionist, so that’s something.
  • Misesian common sense on the bailout. The pols may be grandstanding (like cancelling convention events owing to a hurricane nowhere near the convention ‘to show you care’) or they may really care but they’re still wrong. ‘Do nothing.’
  • Analysing Palin’s interviews. She ‘don’t know much about’ lots of things and it’s starting to show. Palin’s political style is the logical extreme of the Bushian folksiness-trumps-expertise and McCainesque “authenticity”-trumps-policy approaches. She is a natural product of mass democracy’s ongoing pursuit of charismatic mediocrity, in which voters not only seek someone with whom they can identify but also actively discourage politicians’ cultivation of expertise. Expertise grates against their egalitarianism, and so they try to avoid it in their political leaders. She is essentially the anti-Romney; she is the antithesis of a technocrat. If he thinks “getting into the weeds” is important, she wants to race right by them. That is part of the reason why a lot of people love her, and why most people detest Romney.
  • The entire Palin episode has been like some drunken bacchanalia that gave way to a terrified awakening several weeks too late. When her critics were painting her as a new Eagleton, her supporters were laughing at them as lunatics filled with hate, and now they are beginning to think that the haters may have been onto something. The GOP is experiencing self-immolation, and I can’t say that I am very bothered by that.
  • Yes, Tina Fey’s making fun of her is kind of cute because Fey is.
  • Not that the Russian vote is big enough by itself to change anything but a lot of the ethnic Russians who are here, including immigrants and second- and third-generation Americans, seem to favor the Democrats anyway for a number of other reasons. Fitting into the RC and Jewish immigrant-worker mould, still true of people who no longer really practise and are no longer labourers. (A lot of Joe Biden’s appeal: ‘he’s one of us’.)
    Neither candidate will acknowledge that the Georgians escalated the conflict. The establishment is foursquare behind NATO expansion, “democratic” solidarity and standing up to Putin, and perhaps no one more so than Obama’s running mate. The electoral calculation behind this position seems to be that there are not enough ethnic Russian-Americans in this country who will take anti-Russian posturing ill, so there is basically no political downside to railing against Russian perfidy.

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