Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fires and Debates—Not Fiery Debates

I’m having trouble settling on a single fully thought through topic for the day, so I’ll do a few random thoughts.

More Fires
Subdivision in Montgomery County after fire
The fires around us are still taking up much of our attention. So far I don’t personally know any evacuees, but I have friends who know evacuees, including some who have lost homes. My daughter Social Sphere called from far away at college, with some concern that her house might not still be here when she gets back. I could be pretty reassuring about that, but she did make certain we knew what to grab if we had to evacuate. She visited with a friend from San Antonio who had to evacuate a few days ago, driving out of the neighborhood with flames on either side. But their house survived. 

The odd thing is how little Social Sphere can find in the media about the Texas fires. It made her angry and suspicious that they are trying to cover up what’s happening. Local/state media are of course covering it. We can all see and smell smoke everywhere around us, so we need answers. The devastation is significant enough, though, that we'd expect national coverage.  

When I wrote a couple of days ago, the hot spots included Montgomery County, with areas about 45 minutes northwest of us. In the past day it has been Waller County, just to the west of us about 30 minutes. We know people there and are unsure about their status. From the freeway nearest us, smoke is visible. 

We continue to pray for rain. The temperature is down, topping out at 90 or a little below. After a summer of 100+ degree days, this feels like some relief. But this drought—rain is the much-needed answer.

We recorded the debate and watched it late last night (me and Political Sphere and wife). While I have leanings, I am undecided. Some of the reason is that the field as a whole is light-years better than the incumbent. (Someone on facebook said, “A pet rock would make a better president.”)  

A highlight for me was when Newt Gingritch took the moderator to task for a not-well-disguised attempt to cause contention among the candidates. Fireworks get ratings; I guess that was the purpose of the questions. Also, they tend to provide sound bites for later post-primary use, as Newt knows. I am a fan of Newt’s ability to speak. It is such a contrast to Obama. No teleprompter needed. That’s true of all of them, but Newt is just so quick and at ease. I don’t particularly want him as president (loss of trust issues), nor do I think he has much chance. But I’m glad he’s there; the debates benefit. 

We wanted to see Perry perform. Despite a news media theme that he is a Bush clone, and as prone to misspeaking, I have never found that to be so. However, he does sound very Texan. You’re not at all surprised to learn, for instance, that when a coyote attacked while he was out jogging, he pulled out his gun and shot it. Don’t all Texans carry guns while jogging? No big deal. I thought he did OK. I’m not totally convinced by him; I’ve seen some things in Texas that don’t settle well. I’ve seen other things that I’m rather pleased with. Nothing happened in the debate to move me either direction. 

Mitt has been “accused” lately of courting the Tea Parties. Again, this is a media constructed issue. I read almost everything he said from the last campaign, and try to keep up this time; he’s consistent, and he speaks pretty clearly in agreement with many Tea Party themes, particularly economic ones. I liked how he fielded the question [my paraphrase]: “I don’t think you have to carry a membership card. But if they’re for smaller government, lower taxes, free enterprise, less burden on businesses who create jobs, then I guess we agree.” I’m currently going through his 50-point plan for the economy, that came out a couple of days ago. It was free to download to my Kindle, with read-aloud feature activated, so I can listen in the car or doing other things. So I’ll give it a fair look. [I'll try to be fair to the incumbent's economic "solution" tonight as well, but the leak that it centers on yet another $300 B stimulus gives little hope in any upcoming change.]

I would have liked to hear more from Michelle Bachmann; she was good when we heard her, but she wasn’t in the spotlight. Rick Santorum didn’t have a particularly good evening either. He seemed tense. I hope he stays longer in the race. I read his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good several years ago and very much liked what he had to say. I even thought, “Maybe when he’s older he’d make a good president.” But if that is so, I don’t think this time around is it. 

Herman Cain and Ron Paul didn’t change my opinions. I like limited things about them. I think Cain needs broader experience, but I like him on economic issues. Ron Paul is always interesting to have in the debate, even though he’s not persuasive. I think he shows that the debate actually should be between Republicans and Libertarians. At least then the discussion would be about the Constitution, what it means, how we preserve it--instead of the Democrat idea of “totally transforming” our nation; i.e., ignoring the Constitution and the freedoms it ensures. In a more ideal world, the socialist ideologues would simply move to purposely socialist countries and stop trying to steal our freedoms from us here.

Huntsman lost me when he thought serving Obama in China was more important than serving out his term as governor in Utah, and hasn’t won me back. I’d be interested if someone can share information to persuade me otherwise. But so far I find him unimpressive in this particular field. Still, better than the incumbent.

There was a Mitt moment I appreciated last night. Perry had answered the Gardasil question, fairly well, although I’ve never been satisfied with his behavior on that issue. I was very angry about it at the time. But Mitt graciously pointed out [again my paraphrase], “The Governor said he would like to have handled it differently, looking back; he would have gone through the legislature. We all have those things, looking back, that we’d rather have approached differently. I don’t think there’s any reason to keep dwelling on that issue.” It may be that this was a subtle attempt to say, “So you can stop harping on the Romneycare thing as well,” but I think it’s just his innate niceness. Sometimes I would like him to be a little more “Texan,” for want of a better image. But smooth and gracious are simply in his nature. His polish comes from experience and a genuine gentility, not from a “slick politician” kind of niceness. I know this from watching a long time, but I know it’s hard for people new to him to fathom. I know people like him: good, clean family man, hard-working, strong in his faith. So I don’t have too much trouble believing it’s real in him. While I’m not yet fully persuaded to dive in as a total supporter, if he turns out to be the nominee, I will be glad to help him defeat the incumbent. 

I hope you are not too annoyed by the little ads that appear with this blog. I “monetized” with the modest goal of paying toward my Spherical Model website. The information said they use technology to “read” my material and match ads that fit the content. So I’m very puzzled about an ad I’ve seen the last couple of days suggesting I click through to learn how I can connect with others in Houston to help re-elect Obama. Really? Is there anything in this blog that could be construed by anyone to believe I would want to do that? Actually, I can’t click through anyway; it’s against the rules, so that I can’t artificially inflate numbers in an attempt to get myself more money. But why do they think my readers are likely to be interested in that ad?  

I suppose in my own self-interest I should encourage readers to support my “sponsors,” but in this case, I totally appreciate that that’s not going to happen. Today when I brought up the page, there was a poll about whether to vote for Perry as president; that seems at least plausibly relevant.
* The photos were sent to me in a forwarded email; sorry I don't know who to credit.

No comments:

Post a Comment