By request: grab bag #3


1) As a small-l libertarian (like you), this part of the election year is usually spent by me growing gradually more and more disappointed in one or both of the presidential candidates. This year, as I already know enough about McCain to never vote for him in a million years, I've only been getting disappointed with Obama. Would you care to discuss his missteps lately vis a vis failing to maintain a moral high ground (Ayers, the racism card, etc.) and do you see this as an almost inevitable polluting of a good and well-meaning man by the political process, or just another example of another politician being shown to be just another politician under scrutiny?

My recent post on McCain inspired a heated email exchange as to whether or not these alleged missteps might reveal something important about McCain's character.  It occurred to me, with some surprise, that the Obama supporter with whom I was debating actually thought that it was important to determine which of the two candidates was a finer human being.  It's refreshing to be reminded that educated and intelligent people actually think Obama is a better grade of person than the usual politician.

I never did.  I have a very low opinion of politicians as people.  People who run for office are, well, the kind of people who crave power and fame more than almost anything else.  These are not my favorite kinds of people.  Now, I do think there are some extra-specially awful politicians (no, I name no names).  But I don't think McCain is one of them.  I disapprove of the man as a politician, but I'm not going to not vote for him merely because I think he cheats.  My interlocutor argued that this shows that McCain thinks the rules apply to everyone but him.  I would say that such a belief seems to be a prerequisite for running for office.  Check, say, Al Gore's position on a) vouchers and b) sending his own children to private school.

I have other reasons not to vote for McCain, namely that I do not think I would like the policies he would put into place.  I'm not sure I'd like the policies Obama put into place either, which is why I'm wavering between him and Bob Barr.  But "playing the race card" or any of his other alleged sins won't enter into it.  Politicians will do whatever they think will get them elected.

2) Given that the last couple years' weather and some near future forecasts have not gone the way global warming hypothesis supporters expected, what would it take for you to say, "I think I was wrong." Certainly the true believers will smoothly find another crusade without acknowledging what I believe (but am not totally sure) will turn out to be much ado about nothing, but what about you, Megan? Not that you should be there yet, but what would it take, assuming AGW is either wrong or just not a big deal, for you to change your mind?

Evidence that the planet isn't warming any more.  So far, I haven't seen it.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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