Wednesday, September 3, 2008

She Likes Machine Guns, Capitalism...and Pot

That headline does not refer to tonight’s birthday girl, Dawn Eden (and note that this month’s Debate at Lolita Bar occurs Sunday, Sept. 28, NOT tonight as it normally would) but rather to tonight’s other conservative female star, Sarah Palin. (But if my birthday party co-organizers were able to follow my suggestion about putting the Republican Party convention on the video monitors at the club Plumm, I may be able to see both simultaneously.)

It’s interesting that Hurricane Gustav both interfered with the schedule of the St. Paul convention unveiling Palin and put a spotlight on a man (from my Brown days) considered for her role, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Judging by the way the media, dazzled for about half a day, are now heavily beating the “doubts” drums on Palin, there must be a lot of people wishing Jindal had been the pick — v.p. speech from a storm-ravaged city, etc. Might have been good theatre.

But what little we know about Palin so far seems OK to me.

•As noted above, she’s a machine-gun-wielding, avowedly pro-free-market pot smoker (she admits she used it during the short time pot was legal in Alaska, as indeed it was without civilization coming to an end, as I’m sure she noticed). That hasn’t made her pro-legalization, but then, even the Libertarian Party candidate this year is reluctant to come right out and call for legalization (he, like Ron Paul, says leave it to the states, while Palin says focus on meth instead).

•My parents, not overly political folk, did indeed immediately like Palin and find her more down to earth and likable than any of the other candidates (an unexpected political lesson from my day in Norwich, CT last Friday prior to my Boston sojourn, which included that libertarian conference I mentioned Sunday). My Boston-dwelling, left-leaning acquaintance Nancy Tewksbury may be right to warn some of her fellow lefties in a mass-e-mail that they should not dismiss this element of Palin’s appeal, not to mention her appeal to some disgruntled Clinton supporters.

•If I were Lorne Michaels, I would be irked that Tina Fey is no longer on the Saturday Night Live cast, though others (who unlike me have actually seen the show in the past several years) assure me other cast members can handle it.

•She so far seems fairly normal despite the rapidly-circulating, almost panic-inducing rumors about her (1) being a Buchananite (she apparently just wore one of his buttons as she did for other visitors, later supporting Forbes, as did I at one point), (2) being in the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party (it seems rather that her part-Inuit husband may have been, which would be fine with me, of course — I’m generally pro-secession, whether that means respecting the secessionist desires of Georgia, Ossetia, or even Hawaii, whose recent push for Native American-style semi-autonomy may well be something Obama and his supporters consider respectable), and (3) being the mother of her grandchild (something about which the left would presumably not be morally outraged — though it turns out to be false).

Richard Spencer of Taki mag is rightly happy about her, at least one blogger at Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine, interestingly, is not (no pleasing some people), while Reason notes that pro-Ron Paul blogger Meli Oped (that’s his real name?) interviewed Palin about Paul a while back and was pleased that she said:

“He’s cool! He’s a good guy. He’s so independent. He’s independent of, like, the party machine? I’m, like, right on…so am I. The party machinery, on both sides of the party, you know…Americans are tired of the incessant partisanship that gets in the way of doing the right thing for this country.”

Sounds pretty cool.


Meanwhile, another Paul supporter (who went on to argue in favor of Bob Barr at one of our Debates at Lolita Bar), Avery Knapp, was in St. Paul yesterday for Ron Paul’s “alternate” convention of dissident libertarian Republicans, and I hope he found time to meet up with my co-worker Jeff Stier (who’s attending both the Democratic and Republican conventions) and New York Post’s Kyle Smith, who are also in that town this week.

But for those of us merely experiencing politics via the media this week, here are some other interesting developments:

•Comic book writer-artist Erik Larsen, a co-founder of the comics group Image, never known for its subtlety (it gave us Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, for example), seems to be signaling his presidential pick on the cover of the latest issue of Savage Dragoncan you deduce his preference?

•My friend Laura Braunstein, like Sarah Palin a “hot librarian” type (but unlike Palin, actually a librarian), notes a swell Onion video on the Republican Party/minor party tension.

•And as Don Boudreaux noted in a mass-e-mail, a genuine anarcho-capitalist is blogging at New York Times this week: Pirate-loving Pete Leeson is a guest blogger at Freakonomics — and I’m pleased to see his book about pirates now has a much better title than its old working title of Anarrrchy. (Note: Neither he nor I am endorsing the thieving fundamentals of pirate behavior — nor the behavior of more familiar left-wing anarchists like the assholes pointlessly destroying random citizens’ property near the Republican National Convention this week.) Even better: Leeson’s first post mocks UFO and Bigfoot sightings, and skepticism is as close to my heart as anarcho-capitalism.

Coincidentally (since this is, after all, the Month of Sex on this blog), I have repeatedly been told that there is a very popular recent porn film about pirates. I’m not sure why pirates should be considered particularly sexy (as opposed to, say, hot librarians), but if that helps boost Leeson’s book sales, I think it will be good for the economy in the long run (I mean for systemic/analytical reasons, not because the book industry requires stimulation).


Neil C. said...

Sounds perfect….except for being a ultra-right-to-lifer who believes creationism should be taught in schools. And while the GOP harps on Obama’s lack of experience, he’s an elder statesman compared to Palin, who has a more likely chance of eventually having to take over.

Todd Seavey said...

You mean more likely chance than Obama to take over? Has the left despaired so quickly? Oh, you mean more likely than Biden. OK, I hear you.

Well, I will just say — very broadly speaking — that while I am an atheist and on the abortion issue a moderate, I think the government spends 98% of its time doing things completely unrelated to religion one way or the other, thus making me more concerned about econ and the like. I wouldn’t rule out Palin on her pro-life views alone, but then, neither would I rule out Obama on his radically pro-choice abortion views, either (and it might reasonably — and without reference to religion — be argued that bordering on infanticide is more troubling than bordering on thinking a zygote’s a person, insane as I regard both positions as being).

Or to put it another way: bad econ views hurt the economy, but stupidity about evolution doesn’t actually stop evolution, so that kind of insanity I tend to regard as the lesser of two evils (nutty as it is to believe, say, that national ID cards are the Mark of the Beast, as one interviewee on Reason’s blog suggests she may believe).

Until Virginia Postrel runs for president, they’re all mixtures of good and bad qualities.

Neil C. said...

You mean more likely chance than Obama to take over? Has the left despaired so quickly? Oh, you mean more likely than Biden. OK, I hear you.>>

I’m certainly not on the left, more like centrist…though I am a “Moral relativist” to those of a religious ilk. :) I’ve heard about the Obama/infantcide thing, but to be honest, haven’t paid too much attention to it, because it seems like a Fox News story taken out of context. I just think picking Palin shows a lack of judgement on McCain’s part and a pandering to the few women who are still POed about Clinton not being the choice.

Todd Seavey said...

I see that one non-Puritanical catchphrase has entered the lexicon thanks to Palin, by the way, for good or ill: VPILF.

Neil C. said...

Think an episode of 30 Rock will pick up on the similarity?

Marc S. said...

(Leaving aside question of how to weigh the social consequences of unwanted pregnancies against economic drag imposed by taxation & government spending)

If only Republicans hewed more to the traditional definition of “fiscal conservatism” – don’t spend a lot on government solutions to social problems, and don’t spend more than you take in – I’d feel more neutral about the social issues/economic policy tradeoffs between Obama & McCain.

But since the agenda is now to push for tax cuts without corresponding spending cuts, or debt-financed spending increases (e.g., Iraq war), the Repubs now seem to be pretty far to the negative side of the utility spectrum. If the John McCain of 2001 or 2003, who opposed the Bush tax cuts in favor of paying down of the national debt, were running, maybe it would be an interesting choice. But given how much he’s “sold out”, I figure the amount of damage Obama could do through increased social spending pales in comparison to the amount of debt we’d incur from expanded military action under McCain, whether paid through higher taxes now (unlikely, but painful) or further deficit spending (more likely, and more painful).

Laura said...

A real “hot librarian” type would never “[ask] the library how she could go about banning books”.

Neil C. said...

That damn liberal media! Finding out facts instead of just leaving her alone. How long before YouTube has a “Leave Sarah Alone!” video?

Todd Seavey said...

Sounds like she’s outgrown those issues, though, which is good — and the root problem is of course the existence of public libraries.