As a product of a European family, I've found the often-unbridled American sense of optimism and self-confidence (We're Americans, we can get through this, we can accomplish anything we put our mind to, etc etc.) to be strange, undesirable, and capable of producing unwanted outcomes.
Barbara Ehrenreich calls this "the delusional optimism of mainstream, all-American, positive thinking". I agree, and think it's a partial cause of the mess this country is in. We just assume that foreign banks will always want to hold the dollar, because America is, of course, the premiere business location. We assume that our healthcare must be the best in the world.
She's right that a dose of realism is urgently required as we face the extreme challenges of waking up to our reduced place in the world in the next decade or so.
"We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself."
The reinvigoration of McCain's campaign following the unveiling of Sarah Palin makes me think this is a trend we'll see in the next few Presidential elections - the pick a VP nominee from nowhere, as long as she/he has a good story to tell.
Of course you can't get away with such a person actually running for the top job and winning. Voters as a group don't let that fly. See Howard Dean for close but no cigar.
But the VP nominee is different - you really only need 1 vote - that of the P candidate. And sometimes all it takes to get that vote is a little executive experience, and a good story.
So look out all you mayors, comptrollers, high school principals, hockey team coaches, and moms/dads. You could be next to be called upon to serve your country!
“Sarah Palin is the most remarkable success story in the history of American politics,” - Fred Thompson
A McCain ad saying Obama supported "comprehensive sex education" for kindergartners.
Another saying Obama will raise taxes on the middle class.
Here's what I'd like to see: A debate where the only topics discussed are third-party assesments of the candidates' plans. For example: a segment where Brian Williams or whoever starts with the summary findings (below) of the Tax Policy Center's review of each plan, and asks each candidate to react.
Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years, according to a newly updated analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Compared to current law, TPC estimates the Obama plan would cut taxes by $2.9 trillion from 2009-2018. McCain would reduce taxes by nearly $4.2 trillion. Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers. In contrast, McCain would cut taxes across the board and give the biggest cuts to the highest-income households.
The Obama plan would reduce taxes for low- and moderate-income families, but raise them significantly for high-bracket taxpayers (see Figure 2). By 2012, middle-income taxpayers would see their after-tax income rise by about 5 percent, or nearly $2,200 annually. Those in the top 1 percent would face a $19,000 average tax increase—a 1.5 percent reduction in after-tax income.
McCain would lift after-tax incomes an average of about 3 percent, or $1,400 annually, for middle-income taxpayers by 2012. But, in sharp contrast to Obama, he would cut taxes for those in the top 1% by more than $125,000, raising their after-tax income an average 9.5 percent.
In two words, this is exactly what worries me about Sarah Palin. The fact that the Republican base, and even some moderates, could project on her the image of what they think the perfect politician should be like (even if she isn't it).
Is it possible that GOP delegates, concerned about the slate of scandals coming out from Alaska, will mount a serious effort to nominate someone else for Vice President?
It would have to be a very well known, staunch conservative. Someone like James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, or... Dick Cheney! Perhaps Darth Cheney is masterminding the whole thing as we speak!