Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jenna Bush in 2049!

Very well put, Mr. Kristof!
Mrs. Clinton has proven herself an excellent senator, and presumably would make a superior president. Yet...28 years...two families! That needn’t be decisive, but it’s too important to be ignored.

Nobody loves Kazakhstan more than me, but...

But I got to say, Bill Clinton is trying to make me really dislike him.

Read: An Ex-President, a Mining Deal and a Big Donor.

Is Clinton doing it for the good of his foundation? For the good of Kazakhstan? Sorry, this sounds very, very fishy.

And what is with the timing of this story? I saw nothing related to current events and actually caught the story when it popped up on my Google mail news feed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tuesday is a HUGE day!

I can't recall being excited about a politician, until May. I was disappointed to read the NYT endorsement of Clinton, but was far from convinced.
Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would both help restore America's global image, to which President Bush has done so much grievous harm. They are committed to changing America's role in the world, not just its image.
On the major issues, there is no real gulf separating the two.
It goes on to say how they are impressed with Clinton's experience and concludes that she's more qualified/best choice.

OK. That's one opinion, but no policy differences of note and generally an acceptance that "experience" wins the day.

I will let three people express the way I would respond...

Bryant Jones, a 25-year-old, white, normally Republican voter, quoted today in Roger Cohen's column:
I'm 25 and for my entire life a Bush or a Clinton has been in the executive office, either as vice-president or president. The United States is not about dynasties.
Not a usual for me, but William Kristol on today's op-ed page:
Right now, Hillary Clinton is ahead in the polls in almost all the big states voting. She is a tough and capable campaigner, and she may be able to hold on to those leads. But it is now clear that putting her in the White House brings a hyperactive Bill back in with her. Who needs it? Liberals and Democrats can get basically the same policies without the Clinton baggage, and in choosing Obama, they can nominate a more electable candidate.
Most importantly, Toni Morrison, as quoted from a letter printed in the NYT:
In addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it.

Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace -- that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.
And I was not convinced by Mr. Krugman comparing Obama to Clinton in 1992. Huge difference.

I'm daring to be excited!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not Enough Innocents Abroad

Last week's opinion on Peace Corps, Too Many Innocents Abroad brings up some old questions about the value of the organization.

I don't think that the article was as anti-Peace Corps as many responses I read seemed to imply. It was asking for some self-evaluation, which can't be bad.

Peace Corps isn't a development organization (and shouldn't be compared to one). What kind of organization it is...up for debate. I love it and sometimes hate it (for many of the reasons mentioned in the article). But I think its best strength is as cultural exchange organization. (Well covered in the letters that followed and the response from Senator Chris Dodd.) It will keep getting support because a lot of people, especially me, know that this is valuable. Impossilbe to measure, but also impossible to deny for anyone who had gone through it. I was so humbled by what I learned about being an "outsider" from my two years in Russia as a volunteer. It was invaluable for me, even though there are a lot of things I might want to change about the old PC. I considered leaving after a year and would have, but really thought the people I worked with valued my contribution.

As a policy suggestion, rather than just recruit more older PCVs, we need Peace Corps in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, if we could convince those governments of the value of exchange and solicit the invitations needed. Nothing would be better for "peace" than dumping some snot-nosed 25-year-olds (like I was) into a really odd situation. It would be tough to find valuable, semi-structured, sites, but I am sure there is something Americans could be good for in these well-educated countries. I still maintain that cultural exchange and cooperation on "soft" issues like the environment was key to thawing relations with the Soviets. I can't imagine it was less scary to visit Russia in early 1980s than it would be to visit Tehran today.