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Admiration & Mistrust for Barack Obama

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:00 pm - November 24, 2008.
Filed under: Liberal Hypocrisy,Obama Watch

As the president-elect begins to unveil his cabinet and staff appointments, I’m filled with admiration for the boldness of some of his choices, but a growing sense of mistrust at the apparent cynicism of some of the selections.  It seems that for the sake of political expediency, he is dispensing with some of the pledges he made as a candidate.

With James L. Jones as National Security Adviser, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and with Robert Gates rumored to remain as Secretary of Defense, the new president will have a national security team, committed to securing the victory in Iraq, wary of an overhasty withdrawal and not blinded by ideology to the threats abroad.

But, recall how Obama made rapid withdrawal from Iraq his signature issue in the campaign’s early stages?  He used his longstanding opposition to the war to rally the party’s left-wing base and distinguish himself from Mrs. Clinton.

He has long since left that rhetoric behind. Instead of hope and change, Victor Davis Hanson sees the president-elect parceling out posts to:

Clintonite retreads, plenty of the old requisite Ivy-League law degrees, ample influence from establishment ex-lobbyists, de rigueur Sidwell Friends for the kids, and apparent sudden existential angst and uncertainty over FISA, getting out pronto from Iraq, closing down the Constitution-shredding Gitmo, and overturning the McCarthyite Patriot Act — and all to acclaim and relief from aristocratic Beltway pundits of both parties? So that was all the election was about? Just new faces on the same old, same old? And relief that Treasury, the National Security Advisorship, and Defense will be in the hands of well-known centrists? And at least on national and homeland security it is perhaps not the shadow of Bill Clinton, but of George W. Bush, that now begins to loom large?

Had Obama not campaigned as “new kind of politician,” I might trust him more. But, had he not so campaigned, he would not be where he is today.

To be sure, some of his appointments demonstrate his intelligence and political savvy. He knows the country is not where his primary campaign was. And he certainly recognizes that the fall campaign was decided not on foreign policy, but the economy. Indeed, in the first debate (ostensibly) dedicated to foreign policy, the Democrat reassured Americans by readily agreeing with his Republican rival on a number of national security issues.

His appointments do signal a shift away from his campaign rhetoric and toward the more sensible defense policies John McCain espoused. Jonah Goldberg thinks this shift suggests the president-elect might just be “just a cynical, conventional, politician who brilliantly played his supporters’ idealism against them to get power.

A cynical politician he may be, but he could end up being a successful president.  While there is increasing evidence of his cynicism, there are signs which suggest success. For that success or lack thereof, we’ll just have to wait and see.

UPDATE:  Via Glenn, Jules Crittenden weighs in:

As heartening as it may be to see evidence of common sense, the concern going forward is that Obama has shown himself to be lacking principles as well as a spine. Not good traits in a wartime president, particularly in times of economic turmoil.

Stranger in a Strange Parking Lot

Last night, on my way to see Quantum of Solace, the latest Bond flick, I had an experience of which science fiction novels must be made.

From the moment I pulled into the  parking lot at the Century City Mall (where the theater was located), I seemed to have entered a world drawn from a novel of post-apocalytic world.  I heard the mechanical voice from the machine dispensing my parking ticket, but heard no other voice nor saw another person until I emerged from the lot into the shopping plaza.

It was strange as if the humans had disappeared and only their technology remained. There were cars in the parking lot, discarded shopping bags, a stray suitcase in a pile of junk.  But, I saw no organic life.  Not even a stray cat.

Indeed, I hadn’t seen any human beings on the streets outside the mall entrance.  Interestingly, this very area had (shortly after construction had been completed) served as set for the totalitarian future metropolis in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

There’s something surreal about seeing only products created by man without any humans present.  To compound the effect, the first humans I saw were speaking a language I could not recognize.  I would not hear any English until I attempted to go into the bookstore and the staff informed me it was closed.

Then, as I waited for my date in the lobby of the movie theater, I saw a steady stream of people coming down the escalator from the upper tier of theaters, but no corresponding troop going up.

Had I a science fiction novel in my head instead of a fantasy epic, I might have found inspiration in the strange sequence of events last night.  Perhaps Pierre Boulie or Richard Matheson had had such an evening at a different time with different technologies.  And those experiences sparked their imaginations and so led to books which would inspire many movies.

On Buying My First Microwave

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:54 pm - November 24, 2008.
Filed under: Random Thoughts

I jut returned from Target where for the first time in my life, I bought a microwave oven.  It’s not that I’ve been without.  It’s just that for as long as I’ve been living on my own in the U.S., I’ve been using the vintage 1970s Amana Radarange my Dad gave me after he and his wife remodeled their kitchen.

I’d been reluctant to part with this appliance, one of the first microwaves mass-produced for household use.  But, when a friend warned me that old microwave ovens leak radiation, I’d been considering getting a new one for some time, only I didn’t know which one to get.

Finally, something dawned on me.  And it’s that something that spurred me to post on this.  Until my current microwave began to show signs of age–it was no longer effective at popping popcorn–I had been perfectly satisfied with it.  I never shopped for this thing.  Hadn’t tried to find the perfect model.  I just found it in my Dad’s storage room.

So, I realized that as long as I got a decent oven, it wouldn’t really matter which bells and whistles came with the new model, just so at least 1,100 watts of power.  (I had read on some package recently that I would need at least that wattage to completely heat up the product contained therein.)

The long and the short of this little discourse is this:  as long as the product worked, I’d get used to the new model. And I shouldn’t fret so much on getting the ideal oven. I just needed a good one.

So, I just hope this new one works. It certainly looks cool on my countertop.  And takes up less space.

Now, what to do with the old one?

Democrats in Spender-Land

While I’ve long been familiar, largely via Disney, but also through our popular culture, with Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I had never actually read the book.  Having purchased it five years ago, I started reading it this past weekend, on George Eliot’s birthday to be exact.

This morning, shortly after learning that President-elect Obama will be proposing a stimulus plan (i.e. a vast increase in government spending) to jump-start the economy, I read about how Carroll’s fantastic monarch faced problems:

The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. “Off with his head! she said without even looking around.

Seems the Democrats are just like this impetuous but ultimately ineffective potentate. For every domestic difficulty, great or small, they favor increased government spending or regulation.

And like that inconsiderate queen, they don’t look around either, don’t bother to consider whether past spending increases have actually fixed the problems they were intended to solve.