As I watch the vice presidential debate tonight I'm slowly realizing that we deserve the leaders we get with our popular defiance of anything intelligent and substantive. It's taken me a while to grasp this because my attention span -- hey look something shiny -- has been affected by stultifying popular discourse -- wonder if there are any cookies upstairs, yummy cookies, cookies are really yummy, just like ice cream. Our leadership is a symptom of basic problems in our culture. We strive for excellence and quality in everything else; our cars, our airplanes, our factories and schools and then choose the worst possible option when it comes to our leadership.
One thing that Palin shares with Bush is the way she wears her ignorance like a badge of honor. This allows her to parry any kind of challenge or complex idea with a wink and a cute smile that drives straight through our flaccid Joe Sixpack cerebral cortexes and right into our limbic systems. Oooo...Sarah pretty...shiny...we're good...America always right....and shiny. I think Blicky's latest plan with Rove is to engineer a way for the information to travel to the motor cortex directly and wait there until we're in the voting booth.
Every time Palin utters the names Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il I feel like somewhere there's a social studies book inexplicably bursting into flames. It's as if she might start drifting off and talking about Padhkavilijad the Princess of Hungary and Shuskamucharad the Emperor of Scotland and hope we don't look it up. If we do, she'd wink at us and say "Joe, may I call you Joe...Sixpack?" Oooo..so pretty...so shiny.
In the current intellectual climate, Lincoln would have lost to a Bush or Palin because real wisdom and substance gets vilified as elitist within the present system. Here's how the debate with Lincoln and Palin would play out.
Lincoln: To allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he deems it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade [Iraq] to prevent [al Quaida] from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, — "I see no probability of [ al Quaida working with Saddam Hussein, or the existence of WMD]"; but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."
To provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood. (Letter, while US Congressman, to his friend and law-partner William H. Herndon, opposing the Mexican-American War,15 February 1848)
Palin: (Smiles) Can I call you Abe? Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that's for sure. And it's not what our nation needs to be able to count on. We'll know when we're finished in Iraq when the Iraqi government can govern its people and when the Iraqi security forces can secure its people. And our commanders on the ground will tell us when those conditions have been met. [And Grand Pasha Hestashabawedacon of the Kingdom of France and the Sumerian Emperor Meshanipada] also is working with us are knowing again that we are getting closer and closer to that point, that victory that's within sight. John McCain knows how to win a war. He knows what evil is. You betcha. My Amygdala responds: Fear! Fear!...not good...terrorists will get ice cream.
It's time that a normal Joe Six Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice-presidency. I think that has kind of taken some people off guard, and they're out of sorts, and they're ticked off about it." (Pasted together from debate and pre-debate quotes) Mmmm sixpack...yummy...make me forget fear....