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Palomar Observatory

Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of year, with cold.

I have a few friends who have been real sick this week. R´ was actually briefly hospitalized with a major cold/respiratory thing. I was traipsing around, counting my blessings for missing this one and feeling so damn good when the cold hit me last night like a ton of bricks. Feel like hell. Prone on the couch , living on matzo ball life support. So don't expect Hemingway today. I only got so much.

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George Will offered a pithy and somewhat dyspeptic analysis yesterday on the race to the presidency which I found interesting. Mostly in its omission. It is titled Confident Conservatives, why 2012 could be a good year, even without defeating Obama. Give it a read, but keep a dictionary in one hand, Will gets extra money from Webster every time you open it up to try to understand him.

You can read him and draw your own conclusions but I think that he is saying a couple of things, in a nutshell. Casting a glance at the current crop of Republican candidates, it is a safe bet that Obama is going to clean our clocks this year but it is okay because we will take the Senate and bring government to a standstill. And we can get back in our big fat SUV's because we have enough fossil fuel to make it a few more centuries at least, fake reports of global warming notwithstanding.
Although they have become prone to apocalyptic forebodings about the fragility of the nation’s institutions and traditions under the current president, conservatives should stride confidently into 2012. This is not because they are certain, or even likely, to defeat President Obama this year. Rather, it is because, if they emancipate themselves from their unconservative fixation on the presidency, they will see events unfolding in their favor. And when Congress is controlled by one party, as it might be a year from now, it can stymie an overreaching executive.
...Before this year is many months old, discerning conservatives may decide that Obama probably has been rescued by the Republican nominating electorate and hence it is time to begin focusing on two things other than the 2012 presidential election. One is capturing the Senate. The other is preparing the ground for a better presidential nomination competition in 2016.
So I have a couple questions as I said, George. Do we really want another four years of standstill, infighting and partisanship, with every governmental rule accompanied by a nasty gnashing of teeth and threat of shutdown and paralysis? Putting partisan politics side for a moment, is that a good thing for our nation?

Conservatives have been casting Obama as the foreign born muslim version of the devil incarnate for the last four years. I certainly have my issues with him. But if he is so freaking awful, why is there such a good chance that he gets elected again? I would think that you guys would have a shoo in. Maybe the problem isn't finding an ideal candidate, but instead a palatable platform?

Look at the murderers row of loonies in this year's clown car. Tin hats aloft, quoting scripture of hellfire and damnation, is this the best you can do? Romney is definitely the sanest of this bunch, but he packs the inspiration of a mid level manager at General Motors. Your wife, of course, works for Rick Perry, a man who never paid too much attention in history class and is now reduced to trying to battle Santorum and Bachmann for the most "saved evangelical" status. Can you pin a whole campaign message on smiting the sodomites? Perhaps your problems are more systemic. While the extreme views of your candidates might wow them in Des Moines, it is possible that they will not resonate so well with the national audience.

Iowa is a scary place. Apologies to my friends at Grinnell and the faithful blast reader from Council Bluffs. When a buffoon like Rep. Steven King is a presidential kingmaker, we have serious problems folks. You have to adopt the most outlandish positions to win a republican primary and then spend the rest of the campaign convincing everybody that you really didn't mean all those things. Because your party sounds really goofy and mean spirited and out of touch with the normal american populace.

Paul of course, would be a godsend for Obama. How many more rabid newsletters are waiting to be discovered? It would be a gift a week for our president. I don't think Romney would be a bad choice but don't know if an overwhelmingly christian electorate could vote for a mormon and his stance on abortion is troubling to me. I do think that he would try to act as a conciliator. But many Republicans who got elected on the last go round promised to lay off the social issues stuff and turned out to be lying. So you don't really know what kind of agenda he has. Don't think he is helped by his sons playing the birther card.

I guess, like most americans I want the whole election to be over. Our national ignorance is making me sick to my stomach and I already have a cold. I find myself longing for the days of Bush I and Clinton when we Americans had leaders that could put their differences aside and work together for the good of the country.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Robert,

I was just cleaning up ancient emails on the gallery computer and came across this note from you. I don't remember if I ever responded (on another computer) so I will now (6 months later - my bad!) Anyway, I really enjoyed meeting you at the disastrous mint show, and have been enjoying your blog ever since. Our musical, political, and culinary preferences seem to have much in common. Your commentary on G. Will's commentary on the Great Circus of Iowa was the only bright spot in this embarrassing national disgrace. Well, not the only one, the other was when Ms. Bachmann rejected Cain's "9-9-9" plan, not on an economic basis, but because ..."999 upside down is 666, the sign of the DEVIL!!!" What a "debate".

My significant other and I just returned from a trip to Death Valley to hike, ogle the grand scenery, and decompress. It was as beautiful as ever, but the Stovepipe Wells motel experience has deteriorated. In former years (during holiday season) most of the fellow visitors were quiet, serious young couples from Europe and Japan. Now they've been replaced by large loud family groups from China and India. The new world economy has spoken. We then made a brief foray to LA for select Pacific Standard Time shows: "Proof," the print show at the Norton Simon; "Now Dig This," at the Hammer; a great little show at the Natural History Museum; The Japanese American Museum; and Tobey Moss. A lot of great art in 2 days!

I hope you have a spectacularly wonderful 2012, and that it will include our paths crossing again!

D