Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Presidential Elimination

It's nearly November, and I suppose I'm ready to start paying close attention to the Presidential hubbub. I'd prefer waiting until next November, but I'm beginning to find it embarrassing to be more knowledgeable about NASCAR than I am about the Presidential candidates and issues. I wonder if Dale Jr. has considered running? Hell, Dale Sr. might be able to carry Illinois. Alas, neither of them is running, and neither are Jimmy Johnson or Jeff Gordon, so I need to do some research to see who is running. This time I'll start by pretending that every candidate is a qualified one. I will then slowly and methodically eliminate them as I run across evidence that there is no way in hell I can vote for them. If I am left with two candidates, I may flip a coin. If I eliminate everybody, as is more likely since I live in the real United States of America as opposed to the fictional one portrayed in West Wing (why doesn't Alan Alda run for real, I'd vote for him), I will start over again. If someone withdraws before I eliminate him or Hillary, I will devote an entry to noting their passing from the election.

Today, I must reluctantly eliminate Rudy Giuliani. I'm reluctant, because there is a lot to like about Rudy. He is pro-choice and pro-gun control, so I can overlook the fact he cheated on his wife (I would overlook this regardless), has no foreign policy experience, wasn't a great mayor of New York before 9/11, may be at least partially responsible for the number of lives lost on 9/11 (failure to improve fire department radios - http://therealrudy.org/radios, command center placement, command center humidor, etc.), and may not have been that spectacular on and after 9/11 (see Grand Illusion, by Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins). What I can't overlook is that Daniel Pipes is giving him foreign policy advice. Pipes immediately blamed the Oklahoma City Bombing on Muslims. In 2002 his Campus Watch website encouraged students to report professors of middle Eastern studies for "analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students." He told the American Jewish Congress "[The] increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims...will present true dangers to American Jews." He wrote on his website this September that, "In a Jerusalem Post piece six years ago, 'Preventing war: Israel’s options,' I called for shutting off utilities to the Palestinian Authority as well as a host of other measures, such as permitting no transportation in the PA of people or goods beyond basic necessities, implementing the death penalty against murderers, and razing villages from which attacks are launched. Then and now, such responses have two benefits: First, they send a strong deterrent signal “Hit us and we will hit you back much harder” thereby reducing the number of attacks in the short term. Second, they impress Palestinians with the Israeli will to survive, and so bring closer their eventual acceptance of the Jewish state. Christopher Hitchens, who has himself been called a neo-conservative (or at least an ally of the neo-conservatives), called Pipes a "person who confuses scholarship with propaganda and who pursues petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity." Daniel Pipes' inclusion as an advisor isn't the only sign that Rudy's foreign policy might just be a continuation of whatever it is we have now, but it's the only one I need to see.

So, Rudy is off the island. Here is who is still in: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel, Chris Dodd, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Ron Paul. Tune in next time to see who else should be sent home.

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