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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

BS or Comedy? You Decide

The author of a good discussion concerning "The Unbearable Rightness of Being Anti-War" added some thoughts on forgiveness and our inability to understand the moral complexity of our society. This leads to a great opening for politicians, who take advantage of the public's desire to resist moral dissonance.

The Washington Post has had some good coverage of current events, including this piece on a new policy on Cuba the Bushies might already be sorry about.

There are moments when the bullshit level just gets too high for me, and yesterday was such a time. I felt that way yesterday as suggested by the piece I linked yesterday at the end of my "Sunday In The Burbs" post. My actual thought was "what the hell is this guy talking about?" President Bush has found campaign finance religion -- he opposes uncapped groups (disclosure rules, so regulated, but no funding limits) known as 527s, who are behind these swift boat ads. The ads that dominated the month. It is a sad commentary on our political system.

Anyway, the ultimate stupidity of this matter is not that President Bush sounds like a lying hypocrite for supporting something that he opposed in the past (no big supporter of McCain-Feingold, he, nor am I) and doing so at a mighty convenient time. No, the whole point really is that the matter is really irrelevant to the issue at hand. Oh, it is quite understandable, since it allows people to bring up MoveOn.org and George Soros, and equalizes both sides. A pox on both sides.* It is sort of a Nader technique.

No, the ultimate stupidity is that the response doesn't make any sense. Critics of the ads are not upset that ads exist. They oppose the content of said ads. They are not even upset that ads are connected in various ways with the campaign, at least if they were truly honest about the whole matter. They are upset that these particular ads are and that the Bushies take a Sgt Schultz "we know nothing!" stance. Finally, they are not upset that independent groups exist, partly since they have their own. They are upset at what the group is doing. This is not rocket science.

The President's stance doesn't make any sense as applied to the matter at hand. Is he saying that if a regulated group said the same thing, it would be okay? Surely, he supports the rights of organizations to promote their views and purchase advertisements to do so. Thus, the ads themselves would exist in some form even without 527s. So, at the end of the day, he isn't really saying anything. Though one might think from some of the coverage that he opposes the content of the ads.

Of course, this is the whole point. We are adults here, we know what's going on. Some, such as the conservative leaning Volokh Conspiracy blog feign ignorance. Though at first not sure, they are wary that the the President is supporting limitations on the freedom of speech. The utter emptiness of his stance is ignored, the hypocrisy winked at, or partly defended as a reasonable cynical move. The press is somewhat the same with their penchant for just supplying talking points of both sides without analysis. I guess this is better than simply misinforming the public on what the President said. The Daily Show must be loving this stuff.

Anyway, congrats to Ted Lilly, former Yank (and Oakland A), for having a career game -- a complete game shutout against Pedro Martinez. He helped the Yanks out by doing so, but I'm glad for him personally. Also, Scott Kazmir -- the Mets prospect traded to Tampa -- actually had an okay start against Seattle. Many feared that he was being rushed to the big leagues, but he pitched five decent shutout innings. Tampa started scoring runs in the top of the next inning, so he's 1-0. [Scoring corrected]

* This is just not true, but the imbalance is so much that people find it hard to accept the reality of the whole thing. For instance, only one side requires loyalty oaths to those who go to their rallies. I mentioned this to someone who isn't as into this stuff as much as I, you know the average voter.

She was shocked because she has a basic sense of what this country stands for, even if we don't agree on various issues. She also was quite upset when someone lost their job because he supported the candidate a client at his firm didn't like. Also, she is always sure to vote. Such idealism is appealing, even from those likely to vote for the wrong person.