Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First Spouse

We're hearing much vaporous rhetoric this election season concerning the "change" we need to make in our politics. Most of the rhetoric is coming from the Democrats, and one wonders exactly what sort of change they have in mind, but one change is becoming increasingly obvious. If either of the Democrat candidates wins the presidency there will be a stark transformation in the nature of the person who fills the role of first spouse.

If a Democrat prevails in November we'll go from the classy Laura Bush to either the decidedly unclassy Bill Clinton or the virago Michelle Obama. Ms Obama, in case you haven't heard, has followed her announcement that she is now, for the first time in her adult life, proud of her country with the tactless insult that America is "just a downright mean" country. Somehow one gets the feeling that Ms Obama doesn't much like being an American. Neither she nor Mr. Clinton will bring to the White House the quiet grace and elegance Mrs. Bush did. She'll be sorely missed.


Why the Young Don't Vote

I was listening the other day to the host of a local talk show discussing with some college kids the lack of interest in politics among young people and why the young are so unlikely to vote.

The host thought that youthful apathy was a shame, but I didn't see what the problem was. Why should young people care about politics? Most people become interested in the process when they start paying taxes, owning property, raising families, and serving in the military. It's when they become invested in society and start thinking about the future that they begin to see the importance of the ideas which will determine that future. Until then they're much too preoccupied with their studies, sports and the opposite sex to spend the time it requires to learn about what's going on in the political arena.

The problem, in my opinion, is not that young people don't care about politics. That's normal. Nor is it a problem that they don't vote. Those who don't keep abreast of the affairs of state are doing the right thing by not voting. The problem is that our politicians, in an attempt to exploit the ignorance of the young for their own political gain, lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1971 thereby enfranchising a demographic group which is very unlikely to go to the voting booth with an informed opinion on whom they should vote for.

It does not enhance democracy to have an electorate consisting of large numbers of uninformed voters. It's bad enough that many people over 21 really have no well-thought out idea why they're voting for the person they are, but it makes the problem worse when we add to their number by encouraging 18 year olds to join them.

While we're on the subject he's a voluntary voter disqualification test. If you can't get at least twelve answers correct perhaps you should consider recusing yourself from voting while you bone up:

  1. Which political party is most likely to let you keep most of your paycheck?
  2. Which political party is most likely to appoint judges who will rule on matters of law according to what the constitution says?
  3. Which political party is most likely to scale back spending on national security?
  4. Which political party looks most favorably on abortion, gay marriage, and the secularization of society?
  5. Which political party is most likely to reduce the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S.?
  6. Which political party is most likely to favor measures which will make us a "color-blind" society?
  7. Who is the current Secretary of State? Vice-President?
  8. Which party currently controls the House of Representatives?
  9. Which party currently controls the Senate?
  10. Who is the current Speaker of the House? Senate Majority Leader?
  11. Who were the last two justices appointed to the Supreme Court?
  12. Who is the current Chief Justice of the United States?
  13. Which party favors policies which would lower the price of oil and gasoline by increasing the supply?
  14. Which party is more likely to try to make it easier for businesses to operate profitably?
  15. Which has more value, the dollar or the Euro?


  1. Republican
  2. Republican
  3. Democrat
  4. Democrat
  5. Republican
  6. Republican
  7. Condaleeza Rice, Dick Cheney
  8. Democrat
  9. Democrat
  10. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid
  11. John Roberts, Samuel Alito
  12. John Roberts
  13. Republican
  14. Republican
  15. Euro

How'd you do?