Elite is not a negative attribute.

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I have probably missed the boat on talking about the election at this point; with only a few days to go, almost everything that I've wanted to say about this has been said by someone else (Todd Alcott's endorsements of Obama here, here, and here sum up a lot of what I think).  However, it's worth saying that for me, the most surprising part of this two year long campaign has not been the ascent of Barack Obama, but the complete collapse of John McCain.

In 2000, I remember thinking that I really wished that John McCain had gotten nominated instead of George Bush; aside from not coming across as a barely literate moron, McCain also seemed more thoughtful and more willing to call out people that others in his party were kowtowing to, such as the religious right.  Sadly, over the last eight years, he seems to have lost that edge, and decided to embrace more of the standard Republican line, and it seems like that very thing may have cost him this election.  I have no idea why he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate -- if you name any of her attributes, it seems like there's someone more qualified he could have picked.  It's less a question of experience than a question of intelligence, of introspection, of analysis.  The feeling I get from Sarah Palin, when she is talking about a subject, is like a student in school who simply memorizes something to pass a test and has no deeper understanding of the topic, even on subject she's supposedly an "expert" on.

I don't expect a politician to know everything on every subject.  I don't expect to agree with a politician on every subject.  However, I do expect politicians -- especially ones that are running for a national office -- to display some amount of thought on a subject, even one they don't know much about.  I expect them to be able to tell me why they hold their opinions in a way other than circular logic.  During the second debate, when Obama explained to one of the members of the audience what the credit crunch meant to him, that was something that really stuck with me because it showed a level of understanding that I didn't get from either of the Republican candidates.

I tend to be rather liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal ones -- if the 2000 election had been between Gore and McCain, it would have been very hard for me to choose between the two (and I suspect I'm not alone in that).  This year, the choice is trivial, which is disappointing.  While I think Obama is probably the strongest presidential candidate from either party in a long time (at least in my voting lifetime, not that that has been all that long), McCain is incredibly weak, simply because his campaign has shown a lack of intellectual fortitude that I consider horrific.  The most despicable part of it has been seeing McCain (and even moreso Palin) mock the idea that we might want someone who is smart, who is eloquent, who is thoughtful, who is diplomatic, who is better than the average American to be the most powerful person in the world.

Last time I checked, it's generally a good idea to hire the best candidate for the job.

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It's been a long time. from Things You Don't Care About on January 20, 2009 8:53 PM

No, not since I blogged last, smartasses.Today, we got our new president.  Finally.  Last October, I wrote this entry, shortly before Obama won the election.  Needless to say, I was pretty happy about that.  It's been a very long tw... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Chas Blackwell published on October 30, 2008 7:35 PM.

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