Equal time for endorsements!

>> Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In the past month, I've mentioned two endorsements of a presidential candidate, once because the endorser made a fine ecumenical statement while offering the endorsement, and once because the endorsement was pretty fucking surreal.

Some regulars, however, interpreted these blog entries as being approvals of the message--that is, they seemed to think I passed along these celebrity endorsements because I thought they were reasons to vote for a candidate, and don't care what the celebrities in question have to say.

Of course, in neither case was that the point of my blog entries. But I will say two things on the subject. First, that for some of us, a celebrity endorsement is less about the endorsee than the endorser. That is to say, for instance, that while I don't think Bruce Springsteen's endorsement of Barack Obama is a reason to vote for Obama, I do think Bruce Springsteen's endorsement of Obama is another reason The Boss is a pretty fucking cool dude in my book. It's important from that perspective. Conversely, knowing (for instance) that Neil Young supported Ronald Reagan in 1980 is something that still has me wondering what the hell Neil was smoking at the time (and yet Frank Sinatra, who supported Republicans all through the last decades of his life, including Reagan, remains an epitome of capital-C Cool as far as I'm concerned; no, I don't know what's up with that, either). Secondly, let me also add that there's not necessarily anything wrong with being swayed by a celebrity endorsement. Take, for instance, John Cleese: Cleese is a smart, educated, traveled, well-spoken, funny guy who has endorsed Obama; voting for Obama because John Cleese is John Cleese might be kind of dumb, but voting for Obama because John Cleese is someone whose opinions, intelligence and expression persuades you isn't any different from finding a college professor or newspaper editor or blogger persuasive just because Cleese is a comedian. No, Cleese doesn't carry any special water with me, personally, I'm just using him as an example: you know for yourself which famous people you think are on the ball and which ones are asstards, and if your impression is that somebody is intelligent and informed, I don't think you should disregard him because he makes a living playing piano, throwing a ball, or writing books about elves with ginormous breasts or whatever.

Anyway, what prompted this post was the realization that I haven't done anything to feature endorsements of John McCain, and I realize that this is probably unfair of me even if the endorsements themselves weren't the point. Therefore, in the spirit of fairness, I hereby offer this link to a recent major endorsement of Senator John McCain's campaign for President Of The United States. I realize there's less than a week left in the election cycle--I hope this post evens things up a little, and placates those who have felt I've been remiss in not acknowledging Senator McCain's supporters. Sorry it took so long, and you're welcome, although, really, there's no need to thank me.


Random Michelle K Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 1:18:00 PM EDT  

I wondered where you were going with that, and if you'd lost you mind.


vince Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 1:21:00 PM EDT  

Eric, you are just too evil :-).

Yeah, I'd heard about this. I've commented elsewhere that, in my opinion, the way the war on terror has been mishandled has seriously damaged this country's prestige and economy, while doing serious damage to a Constitution I swore to uphold when I was in the military.

Al-Qaida and their supporters are, in my opinion, clear examples of evil, as most terrorists are. But stupid, in general, they're not. They understand, as apparently the current administration doesn't, that there are a lot of non-military ways to damage a country.

Two areas where I can be ranked as a conservative is national defense and the Constitution. But national defense is more that just a military - its the economy, the infrastructure, education (part of the reason Germany lost WWII is the fact that it chased away several Jewish geniuses, including Einstein), and controlling critical resources. And the Constitution is the bedrock this country is founded on. Start dismantling it, then you're dismantling the core of our country.

Given this, it doesn't surprise me that they'd consider influencing the outcome of our elections. What they appear not to understand is that it's not just the president, but the Congress as well who sets policy, makes laws, determines budgets, etc. If McCain wins the presidential election, he'll still need to work with a likely Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

In the mean time, I'll be glad when I can vote (no early voting here in Minnesota). I've made my decisions at the national, state and local levels. I'm tired of the ads from both sides at both the national and state level, especially the attack ads.

Personally, I'm not thrilled with either presidential candidate, although I see good in positions from both, and see little difference between the two in other positions. I think both candidates are making promises they can't possibly keep given the realities of the economy and current commitments. Both have said little or nothing about things that are important to me, like the elimination of the unconstitutional Patriot Act, investment in technology and education, and the criminal lack of accountability and waste in government agencies (such as happened and continues to happen with Katrina rebuilding and the Iraq war contractors). But I have made a choice after reading everything I could find about how each has voted in the past and what each has said directly or through proxies.

I will, however, admit I really can't stand Palin and her "folksy" approach. Yeah, she appeased the evangelical right wing of the Republican party, but really, Senator. There were better choices among Republican women.

Eric Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 3:02:00 PM EDT  

Vince: I agree with you about al Qaeda not understanding our institutions, and I think the number of things al Qaeda doesn't understand about the U.S. is a pretty long list and played a role in their 9/11 planning.

I think they really believed that a targeted attack against symbolic reference points for the economy, military, and political sectors would be devastating, not in a 3,000-people-dead way but in a collapse-the-government way. After all, in much if the world targeting the national bank, the parliament or head-of-state's home, and the military central HQ would bring a nation to its knees. But we Americans happen to live in a country so vast even we can't seem to get our heads around it, and so the WTC was just another office complex and the Penatgon just another military facility. Had the fourth plane hit either of its alternative targets, it wouldn't have been the first time the White House was burned down or the first time Congress had to meet somewhere else--bad, yes; end of America, not by a long shot.

If McCain wins, he'll have to work with Congress. If Obama wins, he'll have to work with Congress. Both men will be constrained by certain realities, from bureaucratic and legislative inertia to domestic considerations. Am I surprised al Qaeda doesn't get that? Not really. But I have to admit it's kinda funny watching them try, especially in light of Governor Palin's "palling around" canard. How could I resist the snark, I ask? I'm only human!

John the Scientist Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 3:56:00 PM EDT  

Hey - Eric - I'm in Charlotte drinking a Cheerwine at this very moment!

Unfortunately, in 30 mminutes I'll be 30,000 feet over your head.

Eric Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 5:50:00 PM EDT  

Aww--maaaaan. It would've been nice to catch ya', John, but even if I hadn't been stuck in the office, it takes about half an hour just to park at CLT.

Hope you enjoyed your half-hour at our less-than-averagely-pleasant "International" Airport. (I don't even know if it still serves those flights to England and Germany or not, tell you the truth.)

Seriously: safe flying, man.

John the Scientist Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 12:04:00 PM EDT  

It was about a 45 minute layover, including the time I needed to get from one terminal to the other, and it beat the hell out of the layover on the way over at Philly, let me tell you. I kinda like the Charlotte Airport, and unfortunately, I'm a bit of a connoisseur.

I flew over the heads of 5 of the UCF this trip - Janiece and Anne, you, Nathan, and Kate.

I'm DONE with traveling this year. Someone in the UK was begging my boss to send me to London in a week, and I said no. Yes, it involved something disgusting that you know about, but that was not the reason I said no. My kids are getting mad at me.

John the Scientist Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 10:03:00 PM EDT  

What is so wrong? Refusing a trip to London? ;-)

rbird Friday, October 31, 2008 at 2:33:00 PM EDT  

oops, no...my brother trick ol' gullible me into thinking he was going to show a for-real celebrity endorsement of McCain. It's a shock to get the taliban when you are expecting Paris Hilton.

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