After my Detroit Tigers bombed in spectacular fashion late this summer, I turned to politics as a way to cheer me up. Everything I've read there is infinitely more entertaining than the performance the Tigers have put on in the second half of the season; the way things are going for the Republicans in particular is almost enough of a distraction for me to let go of the baseball season entirely. Anway, what follows are some completely random and not necessarily related (or interesting) thoughts:
- I just can't bring myself to harbor any ill will towards General Petraeus. "General Betray-Us" (as MoveOn wrote in their typically strident fashion) just doesn't seem like a fair moniker for someone that seems by all accounts to be a decent and competent person. What has he personally done wrong? Was he supposed to decline the task of navigating the U.S. out of this mess? Was he supposed to get in front of Congress and say "We can't win this thing. Send all the troops home tomorrow." We all knew what he was going to say before he went to Capitol Hill-who exactly did he betray?
- I just read two excellent articles in this week's New York Review of Books and would highly recommend both. The first one deals with Al Gore and provides some interesting insight into his background on his motivations; the second one is about the Supreme Court, and might make you want to crawl under your bed for the next 5 years or so if you feel the same way about the court that I do.
- If I never read another word Christopher Hitchens writes, my life will be infinitely sunnier. Although I'm a longtime fan and apologist of his, I'm entirely sick of his arrogant, iconoclastic approach. As a reader, it pains me to read someone whose every line is set up to make you seem like a COMPLETE AND TOTAL ASSHOLE if you don't completely agree with every word he says. Regardless of whether I agree with him (and I still often do), I've had enough of his brutish, jackass style.
- I am flat-out distressed about this rush to move the primaries back further and further. Although, it seems reasonable that in the future things could be amended so that certain states aren't always ignored for the first few months, it is flat out bad for Democracy if the primaries are this clustered together because it makes money too decisive a factor. If the primaries get so clustered that twenty states vote on a candidate in January, there's just no time for smaller (and possibly superior) candidates to build momentum. The big candidates have more money, which affords them a larger staff, more opportunities to travel, and the ability to spend money on ads in a much larger number of states. Everyone may hate political ads, but their reach and influence (especially if the candidates aren't personally in the state a lot) is indisputable. If the primaries stay this clustered, I don't see how anyone but the front-runner in each party could win in any given year.