Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who is winning?

Looking over the US politics as an American in London I have to say that last couple of weeks have been a bit sad. The DNC was a pretty defining moment.  Obama is likely to be a President children will have to remember in 100 years.

The stage was set for McCain to do what so many democrats and even a few Republicans had done: lose with dignity.  Given his age, the present economy, the global situation and the possibility of Bush people remaining in power to "reform" the country combined with the poor state of things generally would tend to work in favor of Obama.

On top of this Obama is a rather classy act. 

McCain is probably really a classy act.  He stayed in Vietnam when he could have come home because of family contacts, he worked against Bush for some of the past 8 years and worked towards immigration reform.

But in this case he has for some reason unleashed a nuclear nightmare on America, and it is one that is producing an angry and depressing simulation of a democracy that can only make Americans and the world more cynical.

I imagine Palin going home to Alaska and telling her husband all about her plans as VP.  Ever now and then she stop talking and he asks a question.  What are you planning on doing?  But Mrs Palin just looks up and starts talking off a prepared script.  She does not answer questions.

What is rather disturbing comes from Habermas.  Habermas impressed me in his stress that some standard of rationality in public debate had to be defended to promote ability of discourse.  In Palin what we see is amazing.  Monday the GOP comes to the RNC talking about how Obama lacked necessary experience and was playing up to star power.  Then suddenly someone they generally know nothing about shows up and they embrace her for her star power? 

A is not A in this universe.  Neo-Conservatives just image what ever they want.  This trend has also extended to the UK.  Here the Tories are noteworthy for their utter silence in public policy.  They have improved their PR image to some extent but when faced with the real issues of the UK they remain strangely silent.  Boris Johnson has faded in to obscurity, and David is not out much.

Palin's most disturbing feature is that she is just an effort of the old guard to bring up a young prince to save a kingdom.  The Myth of the young prince is powerful in anglo traditions and also has religious grounding in the Bible Belt.  They cynical effort to conduct image politics by hiding their VP selection from questions but not from scripted TV settings is not in the service of the state or its people.

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