Saturday, January 12, 2008


One of the books I use in teaching is a nice little one about clear thinking by Jamie Whyte. I don't agree with all his arguments but it has great tools for crap detecting. One of his best lines is that you know that a political statement is meaningless when it would be impossible for a sane person to disagree with it: "this country needs hope" - "no it doesn't, it needs despair"; "we want a better health service" - "rubbish! I want a worse one." You get the idea.

Amongst the mountains of verbiage produced by the American Presidential candidates, unless I have dozed off and missed something, I haven't caught a single statement of substance. It all seems to follow Whyte's formula for saying nothing. Is this all there is or am I not listening hard enough?


Graeme said...

And the best part of it is that there are only ten months of it left.

Dom said...

This is just a nomination. It is run by the parties. The parties are asking the population, which candidate should we back. Other parties, such as the Greens, pick a candidate without caucases.

At this point, the candidates are running on a record and they won't deal with specifics since they just want the parties to see how well they can run. The positions are generally known in most cases. Clinton and Edwards want to revamp the medical system Ron Paul wants to pull out of Iraq McCain Guilliani do not etc.

More specific positions will come from whoever gets the nomination.

Will said...

You are correct Peter. Vacuous shit is all it amounts to. Utter fucking balls and shit.

Bourgeois democracy at it's apex. Liberalism in it's most developed form. Where the US leads the rest of us follow.

Larkers said...

One can not say the views expressed here are not polarised.

The US Presidential contest produces little by way of substance. Even Clinton's famed "It's the economy, stupid" is an essentially unexplored suggestion; much more a slogan and certainly not an idea. I was once told of a saying by Eisenhower which could still be usefully trundled out at any election in the developed world today.

"Everything is more like it is now than it has ever been."

Funny, unless you have had to stand on your feet a lot and make it up as you go along and hope to God that no one is writing it down. By keeping their speeches shallow the candidates hope to avoid trapping themselves, or making a complete Horlicks in front of the cameras.

Harold MacMillan's justly famous saying when asked what problems he had had to face seems most appropriate – "Events, dear boy, events." We shall have to wait to see how lucky the successful candidate is when events intervene.

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