Tuesday, May 19, 2009

South of the border again

You know, some of the best traffic I've ever had on the blog was when I was writing about the US presidential election last year. And so, in a sad attempt to get back some of that traffic, a couple of things I've noticed in recent days from south of the border.

Just in case you thought Barrack Obama could only hit home run speeches when running for president, just read his commencement address to the graduating class of Notre Dame. I enjoy that people, myself included, still tend to underestimate him or question his wisdom in doing some of the things he does. Give a speech on race relations in the middle of a vicious primary battle. Are you nuts? Accept the nominations for the Democratic party in an open stadium with roman arches in the background? Madness. And yet he's rarely, if ever, had a speech flop, especially if it was a big one where lots of people were paying attention.

So I suspect he knew full well what would happen when he went to Notre Dame. He knew what kind of racket he would kick up and took that opportunity to give a speech not just on the value of public service and working together, but also a eloquent discussion on the values of being pro-choice while working hard towards eliminating the need for abortion whatsoever.

It also helps when you make the argument about the need for intelligent public discourse while sounding very thoughtful and articulate while most of your opponents look like raving lunatics on cable.

I'm sure he's going to screw up massively at some point...all presidents do. But I wonder how deep the Republican party will be buried at that point.

Also interesting to note is Jesee "The Body" Ventura making the rounds. I fully expect to see him on The Daily Show or Colbert at some point this week. Ventura has jumped into the ongoing debate about torture in the United States and has made some good points. Plus, it's not like Ventura's ever been lacking in a good sound bite. I mean, come on:
["Water-boarding] is torture... It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders."

Ventura, who is an ex-Navy SEAL, was actually waterboarded as part of his training. So he has some idea about what he's talking about. But there have been others on TV talking about what it's like to experience this who have been ex-military. But Ventura knows a soundbite. That one is too good. If you're a journalist and Ventura gives you that, inside your head you're doing the Dance of Joy because that quote is Gold.

And if you want another try this from, of all places, The View, where he crushes deeply annoying Elizabeth Hasselbeck:
"If waterboarding is OK, why don't we let our police do it to suspects so they can learn what they know?" he asked. "If waterboarding is OK, why didn't we waterboard [Timothy] McVeigh and Nichols, the Oklahoma City bombers, to find out if there were more people involved? ... We only seem to waterboard Muslims... Have we waterboarded anyone else? Name me someone else who has been waterboarded."

My only complaint is that I deeply wish Ventura was going around saying this even two years ago, instead of making these observations in the much safer political climate he's in now.

I think that's good for now. I wonder if that will spike the stats any...

Last Five
1. Put your record on (live) - Corinne Bailey Rae*
2. Hold me - Weezer
3. Fancy claps - Wolf Parade
4. I still haven't found what I'm looking for (live) - U2
5. Acid tongue - Jenny Lewis


Anonymous said...

Barack and Jessie. Damn spellcheck. ;-)

Ron said...

I see this as a measured attempt by the Democrats to hobble the right wing of the GOP. The torture memoes are the main plank of this and the main response from the republicans is a call for an inquiry/charges to be laid and to send out people like Cheney to defend the torture policy.

The democrats will never let any formal inquiry be set up as the Memoes are going to give them the presidency for the next 8 yrs and possibly the House and the Senate too. Cheney's blustering on TV is a good tactic in terms of trying to face down the issue but only if he wins. The problem for "dead eye" Dick is that he isn't just fighting the Democrats, he is fighting a whole disenfranchised segment of the Republican Party.

Ventura and his ilk are the alienated moderates in the GOP who are now coming back with a vengence. They aren't Obama's catspaw they are socially progressive and fiscally conservative Americans who were ignored in the part for the past 30 yrs by the GOP but never felt comfortable in the DP. These people are alot more like you and I than anything we might previously have seen in the GOP.

The outlook for Cheney and the supporters of the Bush admin is pretty bleak. The only way they can avoid their legacy being forever labelled as "Torturer" is if Obama calls an inquiry or brings up members of the Bush admin on criminal charges. That would give those not charged cover to continue their work in the party ("It wasn't me etc., etc. - it was those bad people over there!") but it won't happen.

Anyway - I hope Cheney and his ilk are forever remembered as the men who brought a great country to its nadir. These people are too corrupted to punish. All they deserve is public scorn, which is coincidentally exactly what Ventura is doling out in large amounts.