I don’t take much comfort from polls and maps and statistics, whether the subject is the World Series or the election. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. In the meantime, I do take comfort from the following:
* Christopher Hitchens on “Sarah Palin’s War on Science”:
This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity
Read the entire Slate article here.
“I don’t believe she’s qualified to be President of the United States,” Hagel told me. “The first judgment a potential President makes is who their running mate is — and I don’t think John made a very good selection.” He scoffed at McCain’s attempts to portray her as an experienced politician. “To try to make the excuse that she looks out her window and sees Russia — and that she’s commander of the Alaska National Guard.” He added, “There is no question that this candidate is arguably the thinnest-résumé candidate for Vice-President in the history of America.” …
For Hagel, almost as disturbing as Palin’s lack of experience is her willingness — in disparaging remarks about Joe Biden’s long Senate career, for example — to belittle the notion that experience is important. “There’s no question, she knows her market,” Hagel said. “She knows her audience, and she’s going right after them. And I’ll tell you why that’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because you don’t want to define down the standards in any institution, ever, in life. You want to always strive to define standards up. If you start defining standards down — ‘Well, I don’t have a big education, I don’t have experience’ — yes, there’s a point to be made that not all the smartest people come out of Yale or Harvard. But to intentionally define down in some kind of wild populism, that those things don’t count in a complicated, dangerous world — that’s dangerous in itself.
“There was a political party in this country called the Know-Nothings,” he continued. “And we’re getting on the fringe of that, with these one-issue voters — pro-choice or pro-life. Important issue, I know that. But, my goodness. The world is blowing up everywhere, and I just don’t think that is a responsible way to see the world, on that one issue. And, interestingly enough, that is one issue that stopped John McCain from picking one of the people he really wanted, Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge” — the Independent senator from Connecticut and the Republican former governor of Pennsylvania. (Both men are pro-choice.
Read the rest of the essay, including whether Rep. Hagel would accept a post in a McCain Administration, here. Rep. Hagel is a man and a Republican I’d be proud to vote to for.
* In between wrestling with pumpkins, I did hear brief mention that Gov. Palin might, just might release some medical information this week. Then again, she did tell NBC’s Brian Williams,
“So be it, if that will allow some curiousity seekers, perhaps, to have one more thing that they can either check the box off that they can find something to criticize, perhaps, or find something to rest them assured over. Fine. I’m healthy, I’m happy, had five kids. That is going to be in the medical records. Never been seriously ill or hurt. You will see that in the medical records if they’re released.”
Note the “if” in the last sentence, which means I’m not holding my breath. Disappointing too but not surprising is the sloughing off the transparency of democracy, denigrating American citizens concerned about experienced leadership as “curiosity seekers”.
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