Palin

McCain has just made the strangest VP pick in the history of U.S. presidential elections, even stranger than Perot picking Stockdale. Palin undercuts the “Obama is not ready” argument as she is way more inexperienced than Obama; she’s pro-life, so his chance to appeal to moderates with a Tom Ridge kind of pick is gone; and no one can say with a straight face that she was picked for any other reason than her gender and pressure from the social conservative wing of the GOP due to her Christianity/pro-life combination. This is politics naked.

The Democrats nearly nominated a woman in the primaries this year; the Republicans have never come close to considering such an action, not even with Elizabeth Dole. And for a candidate that constantly stresses his extensive experience, McCain has made a choice that has nothing to do with experience. This is pretty sad testimony to how much the Rovians control his campaign now, using the same strategy of mobilizing the evangelical vote that McCain used to openly grumble about. I’d hoped for better, but I’m not surprised at disappointment.

There’s a plus side to this somewhere. Let me think. Well, she beats Cheney, I guess.

Biden

The text-messaging stunt didn’t work for me, thankfully, as 3 am isn’t exactly the height of my day.

I expected him to make a safe, uncontroversial choice, but it’s curious that he did not go to someone that could push over a purple state. It’s a long-view plan, not only planning on Biden’s gravitas as a statesman to count more than a bump in one state, but also looking ahead to the actual presidency. The more I think about it, the better it looks.

I still think the most revealing thing I’ve read about Obama is that he is a very conservative poker player. He seems to run his campaign in the same controlled, deliberate way to make sure that at the end of the day he is ahead.

The semester begins

Well, not yet, but it’s pretty close. The workflow is picking up. Tommorow is the TA orientation, which I will help run. My syllabus for the learning community is in the process of being nailed down. And the dissertation is about ready to go out if I can fix the conclusion/excursus by Wednesday. I’m looking forward to teaching again, to auditing a class or two, and to starting a new research project. This semester will probably be fun.

Georgia

It’s pretty sad to see the international politics of the 1960′s-1980′s in 2008. We’re moving back to an Iron Curtain, with Russia doing what it pleases in its sphere. If the U.S. wasn’t so heavily invested in Iraq, we’d at least have the potential to respond militarily to an attack on an ally. Right now, Putin knows any threat can’t be backed up. Eight years ago, this sort of stunt would have been unthinkable, a prelude to WWIII; now it hardly breaks the Olympics coverage. Part of this is that Georgia’s hands are not exactly squeaky-clean in regards to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But that doesn’t give Russia carte blanche to invade Georgia; the Russian casus belli is even more flimsy.