Sunday, January 28, 2007

Let the Conversation Begin

That has to be the WORST slogan in the history of slogans. Say it to yourself a few times aloud...

"Let the Conversation Begin"

"Let the Conversation Begin"

"Let the Conversation Begin"

I mean, it's full of oomph if you were, say, a cardboard cutout of Al Gore, but you're running against Barack freakin' Obama! I splurged and bought the Sunday NY Times yesterday and read it cover to cover - here's a link to the Obama article, and the Clinton article (which I think has been pared down from the print version - the print version made me feel much more uneasy about her).

Personally, I think Barack has the whole "thoughtful" thing going for him, while Hillary has the whole "calculating" schtick down. Both are excellent qualities in anything other than politics. John Kerry struck me as a "thoughtful" guy - willing to listen to all sides of an argument before coming to a conclusion. I wonder if thoughtfulness will equate to wishy-washy again in 2008? If so, it's curtains for you, Barack! On the plus side, he's a better speaker than Kerry, and has far less of a voting record to criticize ("So, Senator Kerry, you voted FOR the war, before you voted AGAINST it?!?" "Uhhh, yes. Thank you for taking our political process completely out of context.")

Hillary on the other hand, can't make a decision because she's so worried about how small divisions in her constituency are going to react. Classic old-school Dem. She won't demand troops be sent home (gotta Support Our Troops), and I think (I could be wrong) she said that the war is the president's responsibility. The one thing I do know she stands for is universal health care, which I'm totally behind, seeing as we're the last industrialized nation not to have it. Unfortunately, Preznit Bush launched a preemptive strike in his State of the Union last week which called for some kind of weak tax-deferred health savings fund yakkity. Who knows what that means, either. I feel like Preznit Bush would fit in great at an accounting firm - he's always shifting money around for some reason or another, and everyone has lost the will to keep track of what the hell he's doing.

Honestly, I hate all the horse-race stuff that goes on before presidential elections. It's distracting, it's entertaining, it's depressing. My vote is going to the candidate who first says the following words: Darfur, Iraq + Ethnic Cleansing (in the same sentence), Balanced Budget, Long-Term Economic Growth, Deficit, Upper-class tax rollback (or words to that effect), Nuclear Energy (I'm a fan, believe it or not), and Myspace.

Seriously though, as access to technology increases, we're only going to have more "nuclear problems" with countries like Iran. Can we please use the UN in the manner it was intended - dealing with issues like this? Can we have a global standard that the United States is not exempt from? Great.

Oh, and good news on the free-trade front - seems like the next round of talks in Davos are going to focus on the "technical" issues first, before addressing the "long-term" issues. I love it how billions of dollars in farm subsidies which affect the livelihood of millions of third-world farmers are just "technical" hurdles to overcome. I'm pessimistic, only because they've been trying to get this stuff done for how many years now? I am unsure of what other concessions developing countries are supposed to give up to get the subsidies dropped. I'm guessing it has to do with intellectual property, but I could be way off base here.

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