Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

October, 2008:

“Folksy” doesn’t belong in the White House

Say "nuclear"

Say "nuclear"

I’m dismayed by the number of people who seem to think that being “folksy” is a good qualification for a presidential or vice-presidential candidate. Being able to connect with people is one thing. Using slang, bad grammar, and incorrect pronunciations for common words is something altogether different. Comedians and television writers get damned good mileage from it, but do we really want it from our public officials?

Personally, I want someone smart in public office, especially in the office of President of the United States of America. When I say “smart,” I don’t just mean IQ. I mean having enough of an education to know how to speak in public, to use proper grammar, to pronounce common words correctly, to know enough about science to talk intelligently, to process information rationally, to negotiate effectively, to look at evidence objectively, and to know when to ask for help. There’s more to it than that, though. Someone “smart” understands that appearance matters… visually, audibly, and behaviorally.

Folksy appears uneducated. It probably doesn’t appear that way to uneducated people, but to anyone else (who has an ounce of honesty)… it does. However, everyone looks favorably upon well-spoken, even folksy people. Well-spoken doesn’t mean using big words, literary flourishes, clever allusions, and mythological references. It means having the ability to get your point across cleanly and clearly, using proper grammar and a relatively solid grasp of the English language. That doesn’t offend or alienate anyone.

That’s what I want in the office of President. We haven’t had it for 8 years now and, although McCain has it (or used to), his runner-up has precious little of it. Obama has it in abundance. Biden has it, too. When I visualize our president sitting down with other world leaders to discuss matters of global importance, I cringe to think of someone saying “new-cue-luhr” and “you betcha” and winking and stumbling over facts and simple scientific issues. If that happens, it reflects poorly on us as a country. It looks laughable. It looks farcical. It looks sad.

Culturally Moderate

I read a article today from The Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne Jr. about how Republicans are divided about the McCain/Palin ticket, which he attributes to a number of different causes. That aside, he also made the following statement.

Conservatism has finally crashed on problems for which its doctrines offered no solutions (the economic crisis foremost among them, thus Bush’s apostasy) and on its refusal to acknowledge that the ‘real America’ is more diverse, pragmatic and culturally moderate than the place described in Palin’s speeches or imagined by the right-wing talk show hosts.

I don’t know about conservatism having “finally crashed” but I do agree about its refusal to acknowledge that America is more “diverse, pragmatic and culturally moderate” than what the right-wing seems to believe (even leaving out the absurd conservative caricatures of Limbaugh, Coulter, and the like).

I believe that moving too far from center on either side will have negative consequences. I don’t want Democrats controlling the Presidency and all of Congress any more than I want the Republicans controlling it all. There needs to be a balance… something that will force both sides to meet in the middle because, as we’ve seen before, if there’s nothing forcing them to do it, they won’t do it.

C’mon, November 4th!

It will be so nice once November 4th has come and gone. It’ll be even nicer after all the legal challenges and recount demands and accusations of voting irregularities are finished, too.

I haven’t seen many of the TV ads because I don’t watch much television, but I’ve seen a few. I think I may even have seen one or two that were not misleading… but I may have only dreamt that. Most of what I see, from both candidates’ sides, is misleading at best and blatantly incorrect at worst. The few that have not been terribly misleading were ones where the candidate doesn’t talk about his opponent. They’re refreshing… sort of.

Presidential elections seem to bring out the worst in people… emotionally and intellectually. Once the election is done and the winners cheer and the losers sigh, perhaps things can get civil again. They usually have in the past. I hope this year is no exception.

It’s like a dream come true!



Ummm… Ouch?!?

I can’t believe he got up so soon.

(I couldn’t bring myself to file this one in the “Humor” category)

Mix it up.

I really would like Obama to win the presidency. If that happens, what I would also like is for Republicans to control at least one of the houses of Congress. Having the Presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives all controlled by the same party, either Democrat or Republican, is a bad thing, in my opinion. We should never have another “rubber stamp” Congress the way we did for the first six years of Bush’s term (on either side of the fence) since it tends to nullify the system of checks and balances that the Constitution lays out.

An even better solution would be to eliminate the party system altogether, but that’s not going to happen… and is perhaps a topic for another post.

Kudos to Joe

Joe Wurzelbacher, that is. He’s the “Joe the Plumber” of last night’s presidential debate fame. I’ve read about some of the interviews he’s given and I’m really impressed at the way he’s taking it. When asked about how he’ll be voting, he declined to say, but offered some words of wisdom.

I’m not telling anybody anything [about voting]. It’s a private booth. I want the American people to vote for who they want to vote for. I just want them to be informed.

He followed up with some words discounting his “celebrity” status.

I’m a flash in the pan, not a megastar. I’m not Matt Damon. I’m not any of those guys who have droves of women and men who want to be them or will vote for them because Matt Damon said so. I love his movies but I don’t have that kind of power.

Right now, I’m just completely flabbergasted by this whole thing and I’m sure if it happened to them they would be so, I just hope I’m not making too much of a fool of myself, and can get some kind of message out there, to watch actions and learn for yourself. Don’t take other peoples’ opinions. I mean, read it yourself.

He really comes off like a guy with a good head on his shoulders… well-spoken, humble, and intelligent. We need more people like him.

And no, Joe. You’re not making a fool of yourself. Cheers!

Maybe sad… but true!

UO is still the best MMORPG out there.

My Sister at the Penn National Horse Show

My oldest sister Cindy showed on Hunt Night at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show with her horse Patrick. She did a great job!


Yes. I am a registered independant.