Sunday, September 28, 2008

Memos to the candidates

McCain: Talking about a "League of Democracies" doesn't just sound silly ("Summon the League to the Hall of Heroes, Dr. Destruction is at it again!"), it also doesn't make much sense as an idea. "We're going to start our OWN international institution and we'll only invite the democracies that like us, so there!" At this point that's like, what, the UK and Poland? I agree that there are states on the Security council who aren't exactly our friends (Syria, China, Russia) but I don't think the answer is to create our own separatist UN. I mean, fine, there's the Arab League, but I don't think they're really the guys we want to look to for government and international diplomacy ideas.

Obama: Stop being so damn nuanced. Every time you say, "John is right about that factual statement, but I think his plan is bad," most people just hear, "John is right." Meanwhile he's talking about you like a retarded four-year-old who can't understand why eating lead paint is bad for you. Clarifying why he's full of shit is good. Taking the better part of five minutes to get to your damn point is not so good. I know you hate the soundbite, but this isn't NPR. Get it together.

McCain: Terms like "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" and "it's not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning" will hopefully become great bumper stickers someday, because as campaign slogans they're too damn confusing to parse. Also I am very interested in how a defeat in Iraq could "make things more complicated throughout the region, including in Afghanistan" given that Iraq is in the Middle East and Afghanistan is in South-Central Asia. Exactly which region are you talking about? Pan-Muslim land?

Obama: Start hammering back on McCain for some of his BS. We know, for instance, that he's profited from earmarks. If he's got no shame in plugging Conservative websites during the debates, you could at least tell people to google some of his abuses of the system, too.

McCain: Nobody thinks your bad jokes are funny, as evidenced by the several times you made your creepy smirk with no response. There was a particularly toothy one that just gave me the creeps (can't seem to find a good picture of it, will keep looking). Also, I'm not sure if the fact that every answer about foreign policy was prefaced with, "Well you know I've been to South Ossettia- got lunch at Glubasz's Drive-In- let me tell you, that was some good pie," really helps you out all that much. There's no question that seeing facts on the ground is always useful- on the other hand, recent inventions like telephones, photography and the Internet make it so that it IS possible for people- like the CIA, or say, the President- to know what's happening somewhere without actually being there in person.

Obama: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland the Czech Republic have all been democratic for almost 20 years. I think they'd be surprised to hear they're still on the "fledgling list." For the record, my short list of fledgling democracies would include Pakistan, Liberia, Nepal and Bhutan. Actually, at this point, maybe even Iraq. Not Afghanistan, though.

McCain: I know you want to seem like Mr. (Capt?) Rambo on Iran, but here's the thing: half the population is under 25. Most of them don't like Sharia, certainly not how it's implemented in practice there. We all agree Ahmadinejad is a dick, but the previous President was actually pretty darn moderate, and we also know that unlike a lot of other places, at least the country as a whole respects their democratic institutions (it is the only state in the Middle East besides Israel where an elected head of state was voted out of office and, A- left after his term, and B- continues to live as an everyday citizen, not killed, not exiled, not imprisoned). In other words, the country is primed for a change- but it will come from within, not without. We have to encourage the Iranian dissident population- who don't like the mullahs but don't want to have American visions of what their country should look like imposed on them- to want to step up and take power. Not only is not talking to Iran at all a bad way to foster good will with the FUTURE rulers of the country, the people we want to be positively disposed towards us, but punishing them with more sanctions is a particularly bad way to get them to like us. Ahmadinejad having nukes is bad and nobody wants that to happen, but he is not going to be around forever, and treating the whole country as a bunch of Ahmadinejads is stupid and counter-productive.

Obama: You let McCain get in three free shots about Iran nuking Israel, a second Holocaust, etc. Those were tailor-made to get old Jews nice and scared. You have GOT to go on the attack with that shit, because even though people like my Grandma are life-long Democrats, voting for a black guy who "might be a Muslim" scares the tacky golfing shorts right off them. If you lose the Jews, especially the old Jews, you're fucked. Remember that. They will definitely vote, and you need them.

Shape up for next time, bozos.

Coming up next week: the VPs ramble and preen for the cameras, and everyone wishes they were dead.

(Transcripts available everywhere, including here.)

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