WARNING! WARNING! THIS IS NOT A JOKE!
Please, if anyone you love or hold dear lives in Dover, Pa., please beg them to GET OUT NOW! Leave their possessions and flee. Pat Robertson has sicced God Himself on the whole town for voting out of office the entire school board who supported teaching intelligent design in the public schools. This is no joke! We all saw what God did to New Orleans because they know how to party.
If I may switch gears wildly to get back to politics again. I found the story in this morning's Times-Dispatch about yesterday's luncheon dissecting the gubernatorial campaign fascinating and, might I say, kind of offensive. The very idea that after the fact these guys who run the campaigns come together and draw back the curtain and let us pathetic rubes see all the knobs and dials really does bother me. During the campaign the various strategies (which we know to be political because we are not idiots) are framed by the campaigns as matters of principle and policy. Then after it's all over they openly state that polls "whether accurate or not" allow candidates to alter their message and that no matter how repugnant voters find negative ads, they will always be used because they work. Even more offensive — despite its measure of truth — was the statement by Ken Hutcheson, Jerry Kilgore's campaign manager, that "as a society, voters are very lazy. They are uninformed because they choose to be uninformed."
That may very well be true. But candidates don't care that voters are ignorant. In fact, they probably prefer it. Then they can continue to give skin-deep, stump-speech answers to important questions or evade answering them altogether.
The article put me in mind of a brief piece by William Falk in the current issue of The Week. "To stand on principle," Falk writes, "a politician needs the flexibility of a yoga instructor and a short memory. Changing circumstances inevitably create the need for an entirely new position on "the rule of law," "the will of the people," or other such noble abstractions. ... Politics is a rugby scrum, not ballet. It's about ideas some of the time, and self-interest most of the time, but very rarely is politics about principles. Both parties will say and do whatever is necessary to win. We might all be less cynical if the players of this game, now and then, would just admit that."