Archive for August 2008
Via Inhabitat (and do read at the link), this interesting video:
I won’t say much more about this: the press and indeed her own state are busily toting up the drawbacks of her being Vice President. But this post by Joe Klein and this post by Steve Benen made me realize what’s up: McCain was a fighter pilot, not a bomber pilot. Bombers are crew-operated airplanes (I’m thinking WWII here, when the studies were done), and bombers fly in formation as part of a group. A bomber pilot was in those days a methodical, systematic, careful man: he was selected for those attributes. He also was a good manager—works well with others, has a crew that is loyal and respects him, and plays his part in the overall bombing mission.
A fighter pilot, OTOH, had just a wingman and was generally a daredevil sort of personality, willing to take chances to get the kill. In dogfights, there was not formation flying, and the willingness to take chances increased one’s survival odds. The last thing a pilot should be in a dogfight is predictable.
For a fighter pilot, the best defense is a good offense. For a bomber pilot, the best defense is to stay in formation so that the other bombers could provide supporting fire (and your own bomber’s gunners could support them) and provide a steady firing platform for the bomber’s gunners, who were responsible for the defense. The pilot left the combat to the gunners and focused on getting his bomb load to the target and then getting back.
For a president, one would want a bomber pilot, not a fighter pilot. For an entrepreneur, the fighter pilot might represent the better mindset.
This morning, following the vetiver theme of one previous post, I used QED Vetiver shaving soap—intense! Any true vetiver fan will want to have this one. The Rooney Style 1 Size 1 Super made a great lather, and the shave, with a Hoffritz Slant Bar and an Astra Superior Platinum blade at the end of its life, was okay: the blade really should have been replaced, but with three passes and a jojoba oil polishing pass, the shave was acceptable. Stetson Sierra aftershave.
Late start today: started The Wire Season Five last night.
At 0:56 she misuses “whom” (using it as the subject of a clause—just one of my pet peeves: people who can’t use good grammar) and (more seriously) at 2:57 she wonders what is it that a Vice President does. Great choice, McCain.
Very good post from Ezra Klein:
You can say this much, at least. She sure won’t be another Dick Cheney.
The choices were all bad. Tim Pawlenty was a lightweight. Joe Lieberman was a liberal. Mitt Romney was a Mormon. Over the past few weeks, it became clear that John McCain couldn’t pick anybody for vice-president. And so he didn’t. Instead, he picked Sarah Palin.
There’s nothing wrong with Sarah Palin. Indeed, she’s a perfectly normal politician. A hardline conservative with a good government streak who’s proven a skillful political comer in a tiny, remote state. It’s just a bit…odd.
McCain speaks often of the transcendent challenges we face. His whole campaign is based on the idea that we need steady, experienced leadership to guide us through a world populated with lethal foreign threats. McCain has amassed that experienced the hard way: He’s a 72-year-old man who’s served in Congress for almost three decades and spent five years languishing in a prison camp. The simple reality of his campaign is that, for reasons of message and age, his vice-presidential pick matters more than most. If the world really is as he describes it, then experienced leadership is enduringly crucial. And it is not unimaginable that there could come a time in his presidency when his understudy must sorrowfully step forward.
Sarah Palin has been in office less than two years. She’s governor of a state with a shade of 600,000 people, and before that she was a mayor of a hamlet with 9,000 people. She has no foreign policy experience. She has no experience making national policy. She has spent fewer than 700 days crafting statewide policy for Alaska. None of this is a moral flaw or personal failing. It just makes it hard to imagine her fit for the vice presidency.
This was, for McCain, a major decision. And we can learn from it. The calculations are gallingly transparent. Understanding that he needed to broaden his electoral coalition, he picked a woman, Understanding he needed youth, he picked a young politician. Understanding he needed to emphasize his reformist credentials, he picked a onetime whistleblower. What he didn’t pick was anyone able to help him govern, or capable of stepping forward in a moment of crisis. Palin is not an experienced foreign policy hand like Lieberman or a successful and experienced governor like Tommy Thomson. Today, McCain chose his campaign over his presidency. Over our presidency. In this decision, country did not come first. Polls did. Palin seems like a promising young politician, but McCain increasingly seems like a desperate one.