I was struck by how well both candidates held up for 90 minutes of unrelenting pressure. Iâ€™m not a political scientist, just someone who watches the news, but I thought that Sen. McCain kept harping on â€˜naiveteâ€™ more as a slogan and provocation than a debating point. I thought he was conflating Iraq, Vietnam and the Cold War and going for emotion rather than fact.
I noticed that he took some shots at Russia, and sounded like he was ready for a face-off over Georgia, and that worried me. How many wars are we ready to fight? How many American soldiers are we ready to lose? For somewhere weâ€™ve never heard of a couple of months ago, against a country we were on better terms with a few years ago?
In response to the Russia crisis McCain was seen widely as reckless in his condemnation of Russia. Kissinger said last week that “We have to face the fact that the first shot in Georgia was fired on the Georgian side.” The funny thing in McCain’s Russia answer is that he demonstrated the very reckless behavior that people have accused him of. He recited his over-used “KGB” line that when he looks into Putin’s soul he sees the letters K-G-B. Clever line that completely screws us with any future relationship with Russia. Which hey, three Republican Secretaries of State (Kissinger, Powell, and Baker) say is incredibly important and not worth sacrificing for a border conflict in the Caucuses. McCain’s priorities are completely off base and his over-the-top rhetoric which was on display only makes the possibility of a new Cold War all the more likely.
Maybe itâ€™s from taking care of my little old Russian ladies, maybe itâ€™s from remembering the fear of living in the shadow of the Cold War all my life, but I hope that we can work through diplomacy â€“ war with Russia was the worst-case scenario in times more uncertain even than the present.
Back when Sen. Barack Obama was running against Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary I favored him because he said he would talk with foreign leaders without preconditions. Iâ€™m glad heâ€™s sticking to that. We have no right to send any American soldier into harmâ€™s way before we have exhausted every alternative. I actually heard someone on the radio saying that our troops are over there so that we can fill up our tanks and go to the supermarket, and it was not some lefty being ironic.
I donâ€™t want any American ever to go to war for any other reason than national survival, when no other way is possible.
Some commentators were saying that Sen. Obama didnâ€™t deliver a knockout punch, but folks, this isnâ€™t American Idol. I hope that when we vote it wonâ€™t be based on a clever line or who wore the best tie.
So what do you think?
Senator John McCain on Wednesday injected another surprise into his presidential campaign, announcing that he would suspend campaigning on Thursday and seek a delay in this weekâ€™s planned debate so that he could return to Washington to try to forge a consensus on a financial bailout package.
I immediately thought of the only Republican Iâ€™d ever vote for, the President who trusted the American people to make the right choice, even in a Civil War. The words of President Abraham Lincoln after his re-election in 1864…
It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence, in great emergencies.
On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail, when divided, and partially paralyzed, by a political war among themselves?
But the election was a necessity.
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in other cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them wrongs to be avenged.
–The Face of Lincoln, Viking Penguin 1979
So enough talk about putting the election on the back burner. More than ever we need to know who we will elect in November. Vote as if your life depends on it.
NEW YORK – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is banning reporters from her first meetings with world leaders, allowing access only to photographers and a television crew.
The rest of the story is here. If reporters are barred from the meeting, why bother to film it? A photo-op, perhaps, taking no chances on an embarrassing mis-speak.
The Barack Obama for President campaign headquarters reopened last night at 321 S.Main St. in Providence. The rally was not held in the office. There were too many people to fit so they set up a stage across the street in the park by the Providence River.
I canâ€™t estimate a crowd, especially when Iâ€™m in the middle of it, but organizers were signing people in, so we should have a number — it was big.
â€˜Diverseâ€™ is such a cliche. There was a mix of people I have never seen at one event. Young and old, Irish and Cape Verdean, old hippies, young students and women in business suits talking into cellphones. There were white-haired brahmin Yankees and people just off work. I ran into Stan Israel from S.E.I.U., Sen. Rhoda Perry and Edith Ajello, my friend Karen, a retired nurse, and I saw a Tai Chi teacher in the crowd, as well as a semi-famous artist. I said hi to my friend Carol, who is one of the dreaded â€˜community organizersâ€™.
Things ran mostly on schedule, the setting sun put a limit on how long the speeches could run. Among them were Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Pat Kennedy, Congressman James Langevin, and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts. She was great. If it snows, I would count on her.
Organizers were signing people up to work the phone banks and canvass in New Hampshire. Thereâ€™s high energy and lots to do. If you want to be a part of it, find out more here.
Our nation has suffered such distress lately over the invasion of animal metaphors in political speech that I tried to find a kinder, gentler, purring animal. Except when it bites, scratches, or hacks up hairballs on your floor.
Palin Calling for an End to Investigation She Requested
GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin shifted her tactics for the second time in three weeks on the “Troopergate” investigation, this time calling to end the very investigation that she herself called for and the one the McCain campaign had said was the only proper venue for a probe.
Palin’s Attorney General, who initially launched an internal probe into Palin, even before the legislature began theirs, is now asking the legislators to withdraw their subpoenas of Palin aides and Palin’s husband.
Weâ€™ve had eight years of secrecy, cronyism and â€˜trust usâ€™. We canâ€™t afford four more.
Fox News was on this morning. They said the Federal Reserve was putting up $100,000 to buy the Kramdenâ€™s mortgage.
â€œThis isnâ€™t an unsecured loan,â€? said Ben Bernanke. â€œWeâ€™re taking the house as collateral. Itâ€™s our guiding principle to let the markets regulate themselves and let people and institutions take responsibility for their choices, but this is a special case.â€?
â€œThe Kramdenâ€™s house is situated on a lot that borders a block ravaged by foreclosure. A vacancy here will invite vandalism and demoralize the remaining homeowners. The whole neighborhood could crash. Additionally, the Kramdens have ten children.â€?
â€œTen children!â€? cried Brit Hume, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. â€œWhat a beautiful thing!â€?
â€œYesâ€?, choked Greta Van Susteren, â€œSarah Palin mailed the family a box of frozen mooseburgers in solidarity.â€?
â€œGod– sheâ€™d make an awesome Fox newscaster, she should have her own show.â€? They beamed for a moment.
We have Alice Kramden on camera now–
â€œRalph wanted to be here but heâ€™s driving the bus today. We just want everyone to know that we donâ€™t consider this a handout. For the last two years we have been paying interest only on our mortgage. With the 11% interest rate we will be paying now we hope that we will have enough of the principle paid off to get a conventional loan in five years. And we want to thank Sarah for the mooseburgers, we were going to give Spot to the pound because we couldnâ€™t afford to feed him.â€?
Then the story switched to a kid who had put most of her tuition on credit cards and was living in a cardboard box while still attending classes. Before she could speak I was jolted by a screeching alarm. I woke up and remembered that I never watch Fox News, so I put on my glasses, and got up to get a cup of coffee.
President Bush, remember him? After Black Monday he was expected to put his foot down, and tell the nation that there was no more funny money being printed up to bail out the stock market. They were going to have to take their losses like us peasants. But something caused a U-turn…
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” With little explanation, President Bush on Tuesday scrapped a statement he planned to give on the tumultuous financial markets, abandoning any press coverage of his meeting with key economic advisers as more developments roiled Wall Street.
As announced by the White House, Bush was scheduled to make comments to a pool of reporters after huddling with a key financial working group led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Its members include Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other key government figures in the field of commerce.
Yet after the session began, the White House told the press never mind. Spokesman Tony Fratto said only: “We decided it would be best to limit public comment about markets today.” He declined to offer any explanation about why limiting Bush comment would be best, or why on this particular day.
Well, that was yesterday. Today I am thrilled to find out that my tax dollars have bought me a 1/3,000,000 interest in AIG. I canâ€™t wait for the dividends to start rolling in. Happy days are here again.
Nice story in today’s Providence Journal about recognizing something precious in our midst every day. Pleasant Valley Parkway is a tiny green space tucked away behind Chalkstone Avenue with its own stream.
It emerges from under Academy Avenue to meander on its own through a grassy, tree-lined median between the lanes of Pleasant Valley Parkway, giving it a look that justifies the roadâ€™s name. It curves east after a few hundred yards, into a concrete channel built for it in the 1930s. Then it goes straight to a culvert under Davis Park, behind Roger Williams Hospital, where it vanishes until reappearing momentarily before joining the waters of the Woon-asquatucket River on their way to Waterplace Park, Narragansett Bay and, eventually, the Atlantic Ocean.
This year that anonymous stream will be getting a name: Pleasant Valley Stream.
It wonâ€™t be the only one. Six other streams in the watershed of the Woonasquatucket River â€” five in Smithfield, one in North Smithfield â€” and Pleasant Valley Stream have been nominated for naming by the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council.
Nothing changed but perception. Thatâ€™s everything. Read the rest of the story here.
To the McCain camp — nobodyâ€™s perfect, so letâ€™s stop playing â€˜gotchaâ€™ and focus on the issues.
When Senator McCain delivered a speech this morning on the upheaval on Wall Street, he referred to several federal agencies and regulators that he pledged to reform to better serve both investors and the public. But in listing the organizations, he didn’t get all of the names right.
He referred twice to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, a government-mandated non-profit entity that restores funds to investors with assets in bankrupt or failing brokerage firms, according to its Web site. The acronym is SIPC, but Mr. McCain reversed the letters and both times read the initials aloud as “S-P-I-C.”
For Mr. McCain, the slip is doubly unfortunate coming just one day after he issued a statement in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
We have less than five weeks to pick a president. The candidates are all sleep-deprived and stressed. What we really need to know is what they will do if elected, because our future depends on it. Fiscal policy and international relations are less sexy than slips and gaffes, but if we care about our country weâ€™ll study up, and get out and vote in November.