Tom Flanagan is upset that Calgary’s city council has decided to end fluoride treatment of Calgary’s water supply. This is, as Flanagan correctly points out, against all evidence about the safety and benefits of fluoride in the water supply. Of course, as the Big City Liberal observes, Flanagan is reaping a whirlwind that he sowed by scoffing at “evidence” and “scientists” and so on when it came to global warming. Flanagan belongs to that strange and shrinking group of so-called respectable right-wingers. These are those on the right who like to whip up populist sentiment against the by deriding scientists, elites, liberals, ivory tower intellectuals and the government as being aloof and out of touch but still like to be able to hit the brakes some of the time and admit that yes, science or scholarship or what-have-you needs to be taken seriously once in a while. Some problems do actually require evidence-based solutions.
Of course as long as the majority opinion among right-wing media personalities was of this variety, there was a limit to how much frothing know-nothing outrage made it into the mainstream. There might be extreme or radical proposals on the American right but they had to be at least somewhat rationally defensible. I could call on the example here of William Buckley who had the courage to cast the Birchers out of the American conservative movement. I disagree with most of what Buckley stood for, but at least he had some kind of sense of what was the difference between someone who was strong-minded or opinionated and someone who was just plain crazy.
In today’s conservative movement though, it appears that the monkeys have final taken over the zoo and the energized populists will not heed the calls of sensible conservatives to rein in the crazy. They of course now have two heroes in this approach: Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. Both Palin and Beck have been willing to double-down on the crazy every time they are given the option. They are prepared to entertain the nuttiest fringe stuff from birthers to death panels. Imagine if Palin and Beck somehow got embroiled in this fluoride thing, Palin would be calling on scientists to refudiate fluoride while Beck would draw a weird chart trying to show that big fluoride is connected to Soros, Islam, and the Nazis. If Flanagan is going to use the crazy fringe as a means to political ends, he is going to have to deal with more and more of this kind of thing. This is the tiger he has chosen to ride.
The Peace Prize? The man has done little to draw down troops in Iraq, he’s toying with increasing the troop commitment in Afghanistan, and he’s still moving very, very slowly to shut down Gitmo. Now this is not to say that it’s inconceivable that Obama will merit the Peace Prize at the end of four or eight years – the man moves slowly on everything it seems – but so far the evidence is just not there. It’s also not to say that I would support anything that the party of Beck and Palin would offer up in 2012. Obama is still probably the best choice from among the serious contenders in the 2008 election.
This award for Obama is akin to giving a promising freshman their university degree on account of their potential. Worse, I fear that this takes pressure off of Obama to get serious about shutting down the legal vacuum of Gitmo and deciding how best to extricate his country’s soldier’s from two nasty conflicts where there is little evidence that they can effect much change.
Wow. Maybe he could pick Sarah Palin as his running mate. This is the sort of thing that is easy to joke about, but with the defeated, embittered GOP becoming ever more a self-parody, I would not count out either Santorum or Palin being on the 2012 presidential ticket for team pachyderm.
Monty Python could have written this:
I’m not sure who to believe here, and more importantly, I just do not care – but I don’t think Governor Palin’s people should be particularly surprised that her daughter’s ex, the father of her grandson, is going to talk to the media.
Okay, I’m a bad Canadian, I watched Biden and Palin instead of our own leadership debate last night. It appeared to me that Palin only survived because she had about four pre-programmed answers:
- “We are mavericks”
- “I love America and American stuff”
- “You guys will raise taxes”
- “My state makes the oil”
Everyone seems to be saying that she did okay, but really, what was expected of her? She didn’t melt down and start babbling incoherently so she won? Bullshit.
I don’t know how else you describe a woman who apparently forced rape victims to pay for post-sexual assault medical exams (aka: rape kits). All her talk about being righteous or about cracking the glass ceiling for the women of America. Bullshit. (HT)
In all the discussion of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy and what this does to her mother’s nomination I feel like there’s one figure who has been overlooked. Bristol’s fiancee and baby-daddy, Levi got a raw deal. I mean the 18 year-old grew up in a state where the governor didn’t believe in sex education aside from telling kids not to do it. Levi, if you’d only grown up somewhere that there was an acceptance that, no matter parents said, teens were going to mess around so they’d better have some idea what they were getting themselves into. Now you’re stuck though, staring down the barrel of shotgun wedding at the behest of a woman who likes guns.
Now Levi, I know you called yourself a “fucking redneck” on myspace. I guess that makes you sound tough. I hope, for your sake, that you are. See, your new father-in-law has a drinking problem and your new mother-in-law has no compunction about using her office to pursue personal vendettas. Watch out for these people, Levi, first Mrs. Palin made sure you didn’t hear about condoms and now she’ll make sure you lose your job if you screw up.
I don’t have too much to say about this – it’s the sort of thing that doesn’t have much bearing on Palin as a veep nominee. This is going to have an impact on the race though, here’s why: People like James Dobson might be supportive, but I can’t help but think that this is going to dump cold water on the evangelical base. I’m sure it beats an abortion for many of the so-called values voters, but still, I think this is inevitably going to dampen their enthusiasm for Palin.