Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Gladiation: Palin versus Putin Chess Match

Nobody is (yet) asking for a Medvedev vs. McCain vs. Obama, and Putin vs. Palin vs. Biden chess mini-tournament. Or some similar tournament, even with earphones and coaching only on the American side. Maybe they should be. Take Go or some other strategic game instead of chess if you believe it more revealing of the capability of a candidate for the highest executive offices. I suspect that many Americans would be appalled by the lack of strategic skills. Who is both willing and able to protect America (nevermind the colonies and occupied territories)?  How will voters decide?

One major problem with democracy as practiced in the United States of America : no one knows whether candidates are the most able to do the job, or just to campaign. In other words, is the better snake-oil salesman the one who sells the most product that doesn't work, or the one who has the product that works but won't gip buyers who don't need it?

It is not at all clear that the American candidates are seeking office because they believe they are the most fit.  Are they? Do all of them think so? If so, one might evoke a Catch-22 (designation registered to Joseph Heller) wherein Palin, deeming herself qualified, demonstrates that she isn't. Would Palin be able to play better than Cheney in the Caucases? Or know better than to try? Would McCain have to delegate everything, or would he actually trust himself to make decisions?

I think American voters should consider the abilities of candidates vis-à-vis their counterparts in competing nations, to pick a winning team. That's what an election, a presidential-and-vice-presidential election, is about. The nation is picking the captain(s) of it's team.  I played a little after-school pick-up basketball. Folks who played knew who was who, and there weren't big surprises as to who would be the captains, and only some surprises and disappointments as to who would be their picks--in what order. It might be useful to think about the presidential election in that way.

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