Thursday, February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. 1925-2008

He was a conservative I hated to hate. I admired his perverse perspicaciousness, his clever pleonasm, his gifted periphrasis, his polysyllabic dexterity. He had no sympathy for antisesquipedalianism. Though he was wrong on many things, he charmed you with his style. and generally was not nasty to his opponents in intellectual combat. Born to wealth, he unashamedly enjoyed its privileges. He was personally gracious to his many friends and debated others with skill and good humor. His libertarianism did allow him to denounce the futile war on illegal drugs, which was one of the few point on which I found myself in agreement. A man of many talents, including playing the harpsichord, he will be missed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yawn -- Nader is Running Again

Ralph Nader is right on the issues, e. g., that we live in what is dangerously close to a plutocracy and that making Medicare universal is a better plan than either Clinton or Obama offers.

The only possible justification for his candidacy is that it would actually change the political climate in ways that would make what he advocates more politically feasible in the future -- his own reason for what he is doing. Will it? I doubt it seriously. But as long as he does not prevent a Democrat from being elected, let him have his say.

Should be be allowed in the presidential debates? Only if he qualifies in enough states to make him a possible winner and the reputable polls show convincingly that at least 15% of voters intend to vote for him.

King/Queen or President?

The way Hillary and Barack are quibbling over the details of their respective health care plans, you would think they were running for Queen/King, that the day after they took office they could by royal decree enact their version into law. Any policy either of them recommended could be rejected, modified, or put aside for one Congress prefers.

So all the debate about whose plan is better is a minor point at the moment. Each has strong points, and both have weaknesses. Either plan would be a lot better than any Republican President would support. Neither is as good as simply making Medicare available to everybody.

The question before us is whether Hillary or Barack should be the Democratic nominee, and that will not be settled -- and should not be -- on the basis of which has the better plan right now. Remember: we elect Presidents not Kings or Queens.

In any rational discussion each would acknowledge the valid criticisms against what they offer and merely claim that their proposal is on the whole better than the other's and the best that can be hoped for in the current political climate. Boy, am I a dreamer!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Suddenly Feeling Ancient

I always thought that "Golden Oldies" music was the good stuff from the 40's and 50's. I just learned that radio now uses the term to refer to the 1980's! Boy, do I feel old.