May 5, 2004

Things I Can't Stand About the Presidential Campaign.

(A new regular feature here.)

1. Our wartime President, six months before the election, is riding around in a bus, going to small towns in Ohio. (Search term used to find the article I read in the paper NYT in the NYT on line: "pancake"--something I recount here because it's part of the problem. The President is flipping pancakes to justify his reelection?)

2. Senator Kerry trying to make the problem of school dropouts central to his campaign, a typical example of making issues out of things because people care about them not because they are part of the role of the President and a typical example of trying to make it seem as though you will solve a problem by making a show of caring about a problem. In fairness, Kerry has some proposals, $550 million in new spending (for smaller high schools and more tutoring) and depriving dropouts of driver's licenses. So, as usual, spend a lot more money and, for something new, go all punitive on the kids who don't make it in school. (God forbid they might need to drive to get to work or to do a job!)

3. Disney blocking the distribution of Michael Moore's new movie because it's critical of Bush. How many times does this sort of thing have to happen before people who try to suppress speech realize they only impart an aura of righteousness to their opponents--opponents who are easily attacked for what they are saying? Other recent instances of this stupidity: trying to stop Koppel's war dead-reading episode of Nightline, Al Franken sued by O'Reilly. (But free speech is politically powerful: I'm following the progress of this movie in Iran.)

UPDATE: Disney didn't "block" distribution of Moore's movie. I have more to say about it here, but I stick to my point that standing in the way of a speaker gives him a new set of powers. You may still have interests that justify doing this, as Disney does seem to.