Thursday, July 08, 2004

You didn't say "may I"

Values, values, values, enough talk about values from the candidates. It’s really the emptiest of empty rhetoric. If a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, a political candidate is someone who will spend $100 million in ads whittering on about his “values.”

Although some newspapers, and Slate’s Today’s Papers quote Bush as responding to a question asking him to compare and contrast Cheney with Edwards, who the questioner breathlessly described as “charming, engaging, a nimble campaigner, a populist and even sexy,” with “Dick Cheney could be president,” he actually said “Dick Cheney can be president.” The conditional tense is a little beyond Shrub (“is our children learning?”). Still, there’s an arrogance to the words he chose to challenge Edwards’ qualifications, which everyone notes are comparable to Bush’s 4 years ago, or indeed Dan Quayle’s when Bush the Elder picked him, as if Bush gets to decide what the minimum standards are. The question isn’t whether Edwards “can” be president--he’s over 35, native-born, and a rich white male--but whether he “should” be. Cheney spent the rest of the day crying in an undisclosed location because he thought Dubya thought that he WAS sexy.

Follow-up: 3 months ago I mentioned a 99-year old (now 100) British man who killed his wife of 67 years. Today he “walked free,” although possibly with a cane or walker. He was given a 12-month “community rehabilitation order,” which I looked up. It’s basically probation. “You must work with your supervising officer to find ways of stopping your offending. You are expected to make every effort.”

Correction: that Iraqi minister of human rights is actually the “minister of justice and human rights,” which Robert Fisk points out is a unique combination of responsibilities. He’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping.

A few days ago a Russian tv news show host, Savik Shuster, criticized Russian politicians for not debating changes in social legislation. He said that “when those in power refuse to embark on a dialogue with society,” the result is street protest and repression. Speaking of refusing to embark on a dialogue, Mr. Shuster has been pulled from the air, the second tv commentator canned in the last month.

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