It’s Election Day
Via Cheryl’s Mewsings and Pharyngula:
It’s nice to see the news networks exercising restraint and not trying to panic people over the financial crisis.
Personally, I’m a lot more worried about this:
[Via Rachel Maddow]: Several different Brazilian politicians are running for office using the pseudonym “Barack Obama.” This is made possible, according to Maddow and this article in the Guardian, by a quirk in Brazilian election law that allows candidates to run under whatever name they choose.
While I’m thrilled that Obama is popular among people who have no influence over whether he actually becomes president, I’m also curious. Does anyone know the history of this election law quirk, or what its intended purpose is?
Up next: Sarah Palin takes on the Umbrella Corporation.
Among the many reactions to the Sarah Palin nomination I’ve read so far, one of the most interesting from a storytelling perspective is this piece by Noah Millman [via Andrew Sullivan].
Millman argues that while Palin is “totally unqualified to be President at this point in time,” that doesn’t matter. McCain will probably live long enough for her to get the on-the-job training she needs to become qualified. And if, God forbid, McCain should die before she’s ready, she can always “appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor.”
Millman’s logic here reminds me of Debt of Honor, the 1994 Tom Clancy novel in which Clancy, having contrived to get his protagonist Jack Ryan appointed as a replacement VP, then has a disgruntled JAL pilot fly a 747 into the Capitol building, killing the President and much of the Congress. Ryan assumes the presidency, an office he could never have been elected to, and turns out to be exactly the leader the country needs.
As fiction this is pretty neat stuff. As a real-life scenario for presidential succession, it’s got some problems.
Of course Millman is naive to assume that Palin, having been thrust “prematurely” into the presidency, would even consider resigning. If she did decide to resign, I think she’d have to keep that a secret from Nancy Pelosi and Robert Byrd—nos. 2 and 3 in the line of succession—until after she appointed a new VP. Having resigned, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to reappoint her as Vice President, since she’d have proven herself unfit for the most important responsibility of that office.
But the biggest problem of all is simply this: even if everything happened exactly according to Millman’s plan, we’d end up with a President none of us had voted for. How’s that supposed to be a good thing?
The above did raise another question for me, though. What if John McCain dies, not in 2012, or in February, 2009, but in October, 2008? Does Palin automatically become the Republican Presidential candidate, or does the GOP have to reconvene in a panic to pick a whole new ticket? What if he dies so close to the election there’s no time to pick someone else?
Also, she smoked pot when it was legal in Alaska, but she didn’t like it.
These are the first two things I learned about Sarah Palin when I flipped on MSNBC this morning. Which either says something about her, or the stupidity of cable news commentary, or maybe both.
Oh, and then there’s this.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, a brilliantly insane opinion piece by Andrew Clavan (via hilzoy):
There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society—in which people sometimes make the wrong choices—and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.
“The Dark Knight,” then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year’s “300,” “The Dark Knight” is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.
Who do I have to bribe to get this guy to review Bad Monkeys?
And, by the way, nicely played. After listening to Clinton’s non-concession speech, I was actually worried for a few minutes, but then Obama’s much more presidential address reminded me that, oh yeah, he’s good. Had to be, to get this far. If anyone can figure out a way to safely defuse Her Dreadful Ambition, it’s him, and as one of the Many Pundits said last night, this is a great test of the diplomatic skills he’ll need to deal with Iran and Cuba.
As for Clinton, she’s reminding me a lot of Ayn Rand at the moment, in the sense that I think she’d make an awesome character in a novel. My favorite bit, which comes via Andrew Sullivan: if you take Clinton’s invitation and go to her website to offer her advice on what to do next, the first line of the “advice” form is fixed to read “I’m with you Hillary, and I am proud of everything we are fighting for.” Additional comments are optional.