Several things I'm tracking this Monday;
First, Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion are meeting today, and yes boys and girls, an election is coming, probably set for the middle of October. I've said all along that I'm on the fence, but Harper has not impressed me these past months, and I just might have to cast a John Kerry vote and pick the party with the right policies and a leader that is anything but charismatic. Oh well, there's no Canadian Barack Obama in sight, so what choice is there, really?
I don't particularly care about Harper violating his fixed election legislation, nor do I oppose the mission in Afghanistan (and one of my chief worries about a Dion government is that we'll pull out of that country altogether). But I do care about his government essentially squandering the surplus, and I also care about bold action on the environment.
The Conservatives have a point when they say the Liberals twiddled their thumbs for years and years on the environment and climate change. And to his credit, Harper made a serious attempt to "go Green" a while back. The Conservative platform now includes pretty tough CO2 emission reduction targets and $2 billion in investment in alternative energy research, among other things. And I've blogged before about Dion's Green Shift, but I think he will need to make the same argument that Montana governor Schweitzer made at the Democratic Convention last week: that a Green economy creates jobs. It isn't all about more taxes and hardships; transforming the economy is a dynamic and entrepreneurial process that creates more opportunities than the status quo.
For me, this election is going to come down to environmental and fiscal policy. Who will take the needed action on the environment? Who will practice fiscal responsibility and keep the budget balanced? It just sucks that this is going to come at nearly the same time as the US election.
Speaking of which, the Republicans are getting funny. I made fun of some Fox News chump a couple posts back for saying that Sarah Palin has foreign policy experience because Alaska neighbors Russia. Well, turns out, it's an approved talking point:
First, Fox News' Steve Doocy on Friday that Palin "does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia."I must say, the American Right never ceases to amaze me.
Second, Cindy McCain, asked about Palin's national security experience, said yesterday, "[R]emember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia."
And third, we have U.S. News' Michael Barone, defending Palin's credentials:
"Foreign policy experience? Well, Alaska is the only state with a border with Russia. And it is the only state with territory, in the Aleutian Islands, occupied by the enemy in World War II."
On Friday, after Doocy's absurd argument, Jon Stewart called him a "moron."
Since then, the argument seems to have been embraced by the Republican
establishment as a perfectly sensible thing to say. Indeed, it's apparently
become an official talking point.
To reiterate a point from the weekend, Palin has never been to Russia. She's never demonstrated any expertise on U.S. policy towards Russia. She doesn't have any background in international relations at any level. But for Republicans, the fact that she's lived in a state near Russia is somehow a qualification for national office.
Finally, I'm sure everyone is anxiously following the news on the Gulf Coast this afternoon. While there are scattered reports of levees being overtopped in New Orleans (water flooding over the levees, not breaking them down), so far, there is certainly no widespread flooding on the scale of Katrina. The storm has weakened considerably (now a Category 2), and the worst seems to be passing. So it looks like New Orleans really did dodge the bullet this time, but if you ask me, that city still doesn't have a good defense against a major hurricane. If this had been Category 4 or 5 when it made landfall, I'm almost positive it would be under water right now, even three years after Katrina.
And Ray Nagin is still mayor of New Orleans?