Beavers upset USC, first presidential debate, Sarah Palin

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Thursday, the Oregon State Beavers held on to upset the No. 1 USC Trojans and damage their national title hopes for the second time in three years. This year the score was 27-21. Since 2006, the Trojans have posted a paltry 2-3 record against teams from Oregon while running up a 22-2 record against teams from the other 49 states. The result of Thursday’s game is interesting because it really opens up the NCAA football rankings. Nate Beeler political cartoon Curiously, just three weeks ago, Penn State crushed Oregon State 45-14 (and seven of OSU’s points came in the fourth quarter when the scrubs were in). Despite what the talking heads say, I guess you just never know. On any given Sun-, uh, Thursday or Saturday. . . .

First presidential debate

The first presidential debate happened last night. It did not seem to go strongly one way or the other. No major gaffes or deathblows yet. CNN reports: “A national poll of people who watched the first presidential debate suggests that Barack Obama came out on top, but there was overwhelming agreement that both Obama and John McCain would be able to handle the job of president if elected.” Here’s another CNN article: “Analysis: A few jabs, but no knockout in first debate.” Hmm, well if the race for president is fairly close, perhaps we should have a look at their running mates to inform our decision. We know Senator Joe Biden is well qualified. So, what about Tina Fey, I mean, Sarah Palin?

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Palin Mini Me political cartoon I’ve now watched a number of clips of Katie Couric’s “exclusive interview” with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Here’s a short video: Palin On Foreign Policy. I have to say, it’s pretty embarrassing to see someone in so far over her head. Here’s another clip, longer this time: Sarah Palin Speaks Out. Ignoring her political views entirely, it really feels like watching some random (well-dressed, professionally made-up) person off the street trying to act like she has adequate expertise to run the country. Just wow. I couldn’t watch the whole interview. Terrifying. Not because Palin seems like a psychotic personality (of which there are many in Washington), but because she seems wildly unqualified for this role, even vacant. How was she so unprepared for those questions, so lost? At least it wasn’t as bad as Miss South Carolina Teen USA’s geography answer, right?

Questions of experience

Since Barack Obama’s short tenure in Washington is often used against him, let me say this: At least Obama is intelligent and articulate enough to convincingly BS his way through areas of his experience that are lacking. To his credit, Obama seems perceptive, sophisticated and capable of grasping complex ideas and relationships. I don’t worry that he won’t be able to figure things out as he goes, especially when surrounded by knowledgeable advisers . . . or, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton, to “fake it until he makes it” as President. While less important (but still very important), I cannot say the same of Palin, who came across in the Couric interview as remarkably uncultured and empty-headed.

Here’s a historical note on “experience” among presidential hopefuls: Once upon a time a man named Abraham Lincoln was also an inexperienced, one-term senator from Illinois . . . and he ended up doing pretty well for himself and the country.

Bush Fat Cat political cartoon Buying the office of the president

I can emphasize this strongly enough: If you are running for one of the two most powerful government positions in the country, you ought to be able to speak about economic and foreign policy issues without the average citizen being embarrassed at your lack of competence. (Srsly. I’m totally cereal about this.)

Wait, what am I saying? That’s a completely unrealistic expectation. This is a deMOCKracy! All that matters is how much money you can raise from corporate sponsors and spend on marketing.

W.

For a caustic comparison of the idea of “inexperience” to the current White House administration, here is a description of George W. Bush that I ran across at Yahoo! Answers from a user named Timmy! (yes, like the South Park character):

Perhaps I’m missing something, but if an inexperienced failed businessman turned politician & reformed alcoholic, with almost no travel or diplomatic experience and the IQ of a boiled potato can be allowed to win a blatantly rigged election, then the office of president (small case intended) can’t be held in that high regard now can it?

Ouch. That reminds me: I forgot to mention the new political standards for ethics.

Let’s hear it from the man himself:

My job is a job to make decisions. I’m a decision – if the job description were, what do you do – it’s decision maker.
George W. Bush, Tipp City, Ohio, April 19, 2007

Yep, this is our America. A global beacon of bumbling arrogance. Can we have the country back now, please, Bush family, before it’s too late? On that note, I am interested to see what Oliver Stone has done with his film on Bush the Younger, dubbed W. A surreal approach, perhaps? I don’t know. Reality has been pretty surreal lately.

Lastly, Google turned 10 years old yesterday.

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