Sunday, August 31, 2008

How convenient of Gustav

This, of course, is Gustav V (his four forebears were in 1984, 1990, 1996 and 2002: the coincidence with even -numbered years is because male and female names alternate in precedence). All Gustavs to date seems to have been mostly harmless.

Gustav V's prime achievement so far is denying George W Bush an opportunity to show up at St Paul's Xcel Energy Center for his successor's coronation. Probably that is to the relief of all persons concerned.

Peter Baker, for the magazine section of this weekend's New York Times (from where the telling cartoon above also came, one of a telling sequence by R. Kikuo Johnson) wrote a long piece which sets out the tortured relationship between Bush and McCain, claiming the two men have not spoken since May:
Eight years after their epic Republican primary battle of 2000, the first-place finisher desperately needs the second-place finisher to win in order to validate his own legacy. And the runner-up now finds himself saddled with the baggage of a man he never much liked to begin with, forced to live with a record he personally considers deeply lacking and portrayed as if he were a clone of his longtime adversary. As John Weaver, McCain’s former chief strategist told me, “I’m sure McCain is thinking, Is Bush going to beat me twice?"

Anxious denizens of Bushworld worry that McCain will beat himself and in the process take down their best chance for deliverance when it comes to the verdict of history.
The article then considers at length what Bush's legacy will be: about which Baker is surprisingly positive. Then he addresses McCain's problems with Bush, before winding up by considering how Bush is increasingly regarded as irrelevant: the media caravan has moved on; and the dogs are barking elsewhere.

The essay is worth the reading. Even if it offers little validation of what it purports to describe.

Far more fun is Maureen Dowd.

In today's Times she is going on "a vacuously spunky and generically sassy chick flick" fantasy, and using her stilettos to puncture Sarah Palin's "black go-go boots":

The legacy of Geraldine Ferraro was supposed to be that no one would ever go on a blind date with history again. But that crazy maverick and gambler McCain does it, and conservatives and evangelicals rally around him in admiration of his refreshingly cynical choice of Sarah, an evangelical Protestant and anti-abortion crusader who became a hero when she decided to have her baby, who has Down syndrome, and when she urged schools to debate creationism as well as that stuffy old evolution thing.

Palinistas, as they are called, love Sarah’s spunky, relentlessly quirky “Northern Exposure” story from being a Miss Alaska runner-up, and winning Miss Congeniality, to being mayor and hockey mom in Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of 6,715, to being governor for two years to being the first woman ever to run on a national Republican ticket. (Why do men only pick women as running mates when they need a Hail Mary pass? It’s a little insulting.)

Now that's writing.

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