Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Eight Weeks To Go.....

In eight weeks we will have an answer (well, maybe - I guess after Gore V. Bush we can't say that with certainty anymore) as to who will be the next President of the United States.  My own take on the process is that the election is a crapshoot at this point (hmmm, I'll have to look up the Vegas odds for the election).  Neither of the candidates has really laid out a strong philosophical foundation for their various issue item arguments (Health Care - What should the government's role be and why? / Taxation - What is their philosophical basis for the architecture of our tax structure, and what will be the resultant broad impact of their approach? Etc....), so it's difficult to asses how the American voters will line up. Hmmm, that raises another question - who's going to vote, or not vote?

What we'll probably see over the next eight weeks are individual campaign reactions to world events; gaff's on the part of one or more of a candidates team or supporters; more tabloid news items on one or more of the candidates; a speech or two; and a couple of "debates".  The economy will undoubtedly, and should, play a large part in the debates.  Despite the absence of laying out their philosophical basis for their approach to the economy, each candidate has at least put forward some thoughts on how they would address health care, jobs, taxes, and national security.  So, from these "entrails" we're left with figuring out how they might actually handle the issues.

John McCain is somewhat easier to feel that you understand.  He's got a longer track record, we kind 'a know who's advising him and who his friends are, and even his quirks are predictable.

Barack Obama is completely different.  We really don't know who he is, and are unsure how to predict his moves.  We really don't know who his friends are, because he's disavowed those we thought were.  We really don't know who's advising him, and since he's been somewhat teflon-like in his development and not leaving many traces, he's hard to predict.  Maybe the better analogy for him would be a point guard in basketball; faking right, and going left.

Is this the best approach to choosing our President?  It can't be, but it's what we've got at this moment.

On Nov. 4, Remember 9/11


Balint Zsako
THE next president must do one thing, and one thing only, if he is to be judged a success: He must prevent Al Qaeda, or a Qaeda imitator, from gaining control of a nuclear device and detonating it in America. Everything else — Fannie Mae, health care reform, energy independence, the budget shortfall in Wasilla, Alaska — is commentary. The nuclear destruction of Lower Manhattan, or downtown Washington, would cause the deaths of thousands, or hundreds of thousands; a catastrophic depression; the reversal of globalization; a permanent climate of fear in the West; and the comprehensive repudiation of America’s culture of civil liberties.
Many proliferation experts I have spoken to judge the chance of such a detonation to be as high as 50 percent in the next 10 years. I am an optimist, so I put the chance at 10 percent to 20 percent. Only technical complications prevent Al Qaeda from executing a nuclear attack today. The hard part is acquiring fissile material; an easier part is the smuggling itself (as the saying goes, one way to bring nuclear weapon components into America would be to hide them inside shipments of cocaine)..........
So what we have is one presidential candidate who still seems to be casting about for an overarching strategy; and another one who is not entirely sure whom we’re fighting. We can hope against hope that in the next two months, these two men will discuss, in a deliberative and encompassing way, the best ways to protect America from what some nonproliferation experts believe is a nearly inevitable attack. We should, in fact, demand that this conversation take place, because nothing else matters.  MORE....
Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, is the author of “Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror.”


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