Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back on the grid

Well that was a great vacation. I spent a few days ignoring politics as much as I could; I didn't read a newspaper item about politics, despite subscribing to the LA Times and the Financial Times; didn't check a blog or news Website of any kind.

It lasted about three days. Maybe four. Then I started feeling the urge again.

But it was a wonderful three or four days. Really cleared my head. It was particularly useful to take a step back from the partisanship on both sides. Much as I agree with the progressive/liberal side, I also very clearly remember the political correctness of the 1980's, and sort of still have some scars from that. So I am very sensitive to liberals enforcing ideological purity, particularly with invective and sarcasm aimed at people on their side with different approaches or ideas for reaching a similar goal. Not a big fan of that.

So what did I miss? Some guy named Joe Wilson embarrassed himself and his party by heckling Obama during his speech to Congress. I still haven't watched that, but plan to. I think the House did the right thing by voting formal disapproval. I am a big fan of respecting your ideological opponents, but self-respect also demands that you stand up for yourself occasionally, and I think that's what the Democrats did. I would like to think that I would have the same position if the situation were reversed. I would like to go on record as advocating the same penalty for a Democrat if he/she heckles a Republican president.

The healthcare debate is crystallizing. Is Max Baucus a fool or a hero? Right now, it depends on the time of day, and where you stand on the public option. At the very least, Republicans cannot say that they were not given an opportunity to have their voices heard - Baucus gave them every chance to contribute. If they don't like the final product, that's fine, but they can't claim that Democrats shoved it down their throats.

But if the bill passes without some kind of public option, liberals, particularly the Kossacks, are going to crucify Baucus for giving away the store and not getting anything back. That does look like a questionable strategy.

Obama imposed tariffs on Chinese tires. My question is: was this justified by treaty and/or international law? I haven't been able to find out. I'm assuming it's a bump in the road - I have seen many other trade disputes flare up and then dissipate. My guess is that that will happen here.

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