I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

More political blather

A few months back, I said that Ron Paul was the first Republican candidate I could imagine voting for. He's still in the race, but stalled at about 5% support, which is actually a lot better than I thought he'd do. And, there's a vague chance I might actually get to vote for him. If Romney doesn't drop out of the race, then the Republican nomination might actually roll on to the convention, meaning NC would actually have a voice in the primary process for the first time since I've been a resident of the state. Still, that would mean I'd have to register as a Republican, and I just can't see myself swallowing that kool-aid. And, while Ron Paul is very closely aligned with many of my political views, the has two big strikes against him:

1. There are charges, based on things that were written in a weekly newsletter that he used to publish, that he's a racist. The charge of racism gets flung around a lot in politics. Bill and Hillary are getting slapped the label, which shows how trivial the word has become. Still, I have read some of the quotes, and they are bothersome. Paul's defense is that he doesn't remember writing them, that he thinks they were the words of some staffer writing as him. I'll buy this... most politicians write very few of their own words. Still, that just puts Paul back into the "just another politician" camp and removes some of the edge from his talk about personal responsibility.

2. The whole gold standard thing. Paul is an advocate of returning to the gold standard. He feels that the value of money is completely arbitrary as long as its valued against other currencies instead of an actual, physical commodity. Which is true--except that it's arbitrary when valued against the actual, physicial commodities as well. Gold has no inherent god-given value that magically allows it to determine the true worth of a dollar. The value of gold floats on the arbitrary whims of humanity as much as the value of currencies float. So, I'm afraid I lump gold standard advocates in the same box in my head that holds flat-earthers and creationists.

One thing I will say in Paul's defense: He's anti-abortion, but at least he has the philisophical integrity to then also be anti-death penalty. "Pro-life" politicians who would fry half our prison population and who passionately advocate war drive me crazy.

However, all this talk about Paul is pointless in a way, because he's definitely not going to be a candidate for either party. If he runs as a libertarian, he'll pull down the cool 1% they normally get. Maybe his higher visibility might boost the take to 2% or, dare I dream it? 3%!

The all or nothing nature of the american political system galls me. I've lived 43 years and never once had a politician representing me, and doubt I will in the next 43 years either. The only thing that I can draw a little joy in is that a lot of the Republican chattering class is about to find themselves in the same boat. The most vocal elements of the Republican noise machine--the unholy trinity of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity, loathe John McCain. Coulter said this week she'd vote for Hillary before she'd vote for McCain. Assuming that they are too be believed (a dubious assumption, I know), then a McCain victory would be fun just to either see the mental contortions these vapid talkers go through to convince thier listeners that there were pro-McCain all along, or else see if they remain firmly anti-McCain and wind up blamed for a Republican defeat in the fall.

Finally, in a wierd instance of media bias this morning, I noticed two headlines stating that Clinton and Obama were now tied going into Tuesday's primary. But, when I looked at the actual articles, Clinton had a 4 point lead on Obama, 47-43. Now, sure, that's within the margin of error. But, it's not a tie. The headlines would be less biased in saying that Clinton has a slight lead.


crossed said...

Actually, within margin of error IS a tie, because you can't distinguish the two candidates' chances based on the scores. The statement that they are within the margin of error means that the apparent differences can't be distinguished from sample error with a set minimum level of confidence.

Speaking as a black-hearted conservative myself, I hope that Clinton wins, because she's a lot more beatable than Obama. Of course, from the point of view of the country's good, I'd reluctantly support Obama. If I were forced to vote in the Democratic primary. Oh, and if I were a citizen. Ideally, I'd vote for McCain. If I were, you know, a citizen.

Just read Bitterwood, incidentally. After a first chapter that made me concerned that I had just bought an updated version of the Gor books, it wasn't bad at all, definitely in the top half of books I buy from the bookstore on spec.

James Maxey said...

Thanks, Crossed, for reading Bitterwood. By the way, while I'm not an avid reader of the Gor books, I don't take it as a slight to be compared to them. I view the Gor books as a direct relative of Conan, and my real introduction to fantasy came from all those great Conan comics Marvel put out back in the 70s and 80s.

Politically, I'm a bit to the right of the republicans and a bit to the left of the democrats. I'm not moderate, just balanced in my extreme views. I can't see myself as supporting McCain. He's by far the most hawkish candidate running. And, the free speech limits in McCain-Fiengold preventing advocacy ads from running in the days before a campaign are shameful. That said, I think he'd be a better president than Bush. Despite all the swipes against him as not being a true conservative, I think he can actually bring some fiscal sanity to the table. Tax and spend democrats are a disaster--but the tax-cut and spend model of the republicans of the last twenty years has been an even bigger disaster. I don't even know what the national debt is any more... 4 trillion? Five? And, right now, all the candidates are silent on this, even though it's probably the biggest threat to America's safety and security. McCain probably won't do a thing to fix it, and could well make it worse, but he's probably got a marginally better shot at it than a democrat since the house and senate are going to be in democratic hands.

crossed said...

McCain's the only serious candidate for years that's a deficit hawk, so he has that going for him. Plus, as you say, a Republican President and a Democrat Congress may indeed be a recipe for lower spending. Of course, the real problem is in the bizarre perception of the electorate that borrowing endlessly is, in fact, OK. This is not, however, something that is restricted to political matters, as the nation as a whole (and my own nation, the UK) carries a significant and increasing amount of personal debt.

On most financial matters, I am way right of the Republicans. I don't give a toss if people want to have sex with each other or take drugs or whathaveyou, though; if I didn't think that the Libertarian Party was a bunch of orthodoxy-obsessed and fractious fantasists, I'd be more towards their general point of view... I'm a free trade, open borders (free market in labour), cuts in welfare, anti-minimum wage sort of guy (which is what I meant by black-hearted conservative), but I don't pretend that a significant number of people, for one reason or another, are going to end up worse off under the sort of government that I would prefer.