• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post


    No, I’m still not dead, and yes, I’ve been posting intermittently–thanks to those who’ve asked after me. Lots and lots to think about. If you want to know what I think about the Palin selection, a few scattershot lunch-hour things come to mind:

    1. I’ve been saying until I’m going grey that I don’t think of the president as the rainmaker- or rockstar-in-chief. I’m doing quite well at finding meaning in my life, prioritizing which goals I want to pursue and which will remain wistful dreams, and staying informed so that I can do my best as a man and citizen. I don’t need the president to be an inspirational leader and keep me roused from my complacencies or any of that nonsense. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you expect me to flip out about the Palin nomination because she’s not a super-cool Somebody.

      There’s room to maneuver there–this is not a disaster on par with the Harriet Miers nomination, I submit. Miers was being tapped for a job that required evaluating arguments according to a pretty well-defined knowledge set. There was little indication that she had that knowledge set; she appeared to have devoted her career, instead, to developing her managerial and networking skills. But the job of president or vice-president is somewhat different. Wonk-ish presidents can do disastrous things; talented but untested presidents have been known to learn as they go.

      Understand, Palin is not necessarily the type of Nobody I might have envisioned for the Washington Outsider president of my dreams. I would have preferred someone with long experience in the private sector, accumulating a track record of decades dealing successfully with the ups and downs of market forces and competing parties and priorities in multi-national corporations. And trying to inflate Palin’s experience into something it’s not–her state totally borders on Canada, so she’s practically the Secretary of State!–is ridiculous and is making some Republican commentators look like total idiots. As Leslie Watkins says at Virginia’s place, we have “unclean data” now, but to the extent that we can judge at the moment, there seems to be a good possibility that Palin has the raw materials for and that her learning curve is sufficiently steep for the Executive branch. We’ll certainly see, won’t we?

    2. To all my European and Europhile friends who are always bitching that the American electoral process drags on and on pointlessly, and that it would be so much better if we limited campaigning to just a few weeks before the election–well, you’re kind of getting your wish, aren’t you? We’ve got a candidate who’s coming in out of nowhere two-odd months before 4 November, and she’ll be vetted without having beamed at us from a thousand press conferences and campaign ads since 2007. Don’t even think about screeching that this is a ridiculous situation because there’s not enough time to appraise her accurately.
    3. OMFG, her husband is hot.
    4. Attacking the Palins’ daughter is really, really, really unwise, and I hope the left-liberals who think they’re helping Obama by doing so will wake up. We are not talking about Amy Carter here. Bristol Palin is a teenager (so most Americans want to protect her) who will soon be a young married woman (so most Americans will identify with and admire her). The more good grace with which she and her parents respond to attempts to make her into a symbol of conservative hypocrisy, the more voters will be turned off. I’m not saying that because I want Obama to win; I’m saying it because I think we all benefit when both competitors in a presidential race bring it and don’t screw things up for themselves. If you reflexively think this girl’s life is compromised for good because she’ll be busy rearing a child instead of applying to Yale, you are going to lose huge swathes of the electorate.
    5. The title refers to this Cocteau Twins song, not to anything you speakers of German might think:

    8 Responses to “Fotzepolitic”

    1. carolyn says:

      Too bad most of my fellow liberals can’t take their cue from Obama’s classy response. For 5 minutes, I was as caught up in the Bristol baby-drama as I would have been in any other celebrity gossip… and then I moved on. Because, honestly, I have no stones to throw at this particular glass house. Having helped to raise a stepdaughter who shows absolutely no interest in following any of the guidance given to her by her various parental units, I’ve observed pretty much the entire spectrum of “teenagers will do what they do.”

      On a completely unrelated note, I’m heading your way in October and would love to meet up for after-work drinks at some point during my visit. Let me know how best to contact you once I have a more specific itinerary.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I’ll send you my cell number, Carolyn. Exciting! Can we maybe get Jess to come down from Boston?

      And yes, thanks for reminding me: Obama does deserve recognition for not taking the bait.

    3. I agree with you on the hotness of her husband. 😉

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      Right? I’m as heartily sick of the election as everyone else, but at least now there’s eye candy.

    5. Maria says:

      Bristol Palin “will soon be a young married woman (so most Americans will identify with and admire her).” Really–you think so? Perhaps coming from the rather progressive state I do (Minnesota), or perhaps because I’m a Gen-Xer, or maybe it’s because I’m a fag hag, or because my married friends were much older than 17 when they got married–I just don’t see “most Americans” identifying with her. Admiring a minor getting married? Really, Sean? Trust me, I’m not being sarcastic. The idea of most Americans identifying with and admiring a minor getting married just blows my mind… Even if the marriage doesn’t happen until she’s 18, it’s still so young. BTW, I agree with Obama, she is OFF-LIMITS in the presidential race.

    6. Maria says:

      Further thoughts: I do think a lot of Americans can identify with the situation–parents dealing with a pregnant child or with their son impregnating a minor. A lot of women can identify with the situation–an unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancy, most pregnancies are unplanned, in fact. It’s just the getting married part that doesn’t jive with my personal experience. But, I’ve only lived in four states–three in the Midwest and one in the South, granted, I’ve visited a lot of states and provinces… 😉

    7. Rondi says:

      Todd is definitely cute. And am I mistaken, or does he have an earring? Did I just hallucinate that?

    8. Sean Kinsell says:

      Maria, I don’t think that most Americans identify with Bristol Palin because her early pregnancy and marriage is like theirs. I think they more identify with where she sits in relation to the attention she’s been getting: she’s about to get married and has a gajillion people taking public positions on the situation. I think people see that happening and think that they would be unfairly beset and put-upon in her situation, and it makes them want to defend her. I think a lot of people felt the same about Bill Clinton during all the inquiries about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, actually; even if they believed what he’d done what wrong, they didn’t think he’d asked to have his private life paraded in front of the world (even if, unlike Bristol Palin, he’d signed the Independent Counsel Statute for renewal).

      Rondi, I hadn’t noticed, but I’ll be watching now.

    Leave a Reply