Landis

So, the isotope analysis confirms that he was cheating, according to the NYT.

I feel a little chumpish, because I believed him. I felt like the French targeted Lance because he was American and won their race too many times, and now they got Landis–and they were able to get the results leaked before they were confirmed, so he was guilty either way.

Too bad about this. But is there really anything wrong with doping? I mean–is it cheating? Is it any more cheating than, say, using a bicycle is? Is running without shoes the only real sport?

I don’t know if these results are final or not (he was supposed to have had some amount of steroids in him for medical use). I’m not really a cycling fan–my dad was all about it. I think it’s lame. I think it starts with cycling and ends up with NASCAR.

Sports either need to be a direct reflection of an athletes skill or strength for non-team sports. Team sports are cool as long as winning and losing has as much to do with team spirit as it does the athletics. When machines get involved, it really starts being about engineering.

Come to think of it, I’d like to see golf where evey player had to use the same clubs (of different sizes).

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"Checklist" liberalism

This is an interest post. The idea is that the blog-fueled Lamont campaign may be ending “checklist” liberalism. In other words, Joe can say he’ll support affirmative action, and he can say he’s some kind of pro-choice, and maybe against drilling in ANWR, but unless he somehow moves the ball in a kind of essential Democratic way, it doesn’t matter.

It’s about time.

This isn’t the same as a demand for ideological purity–you can be for drilling in ANWR both in a self-interested corporatist way and in a pro-labor sort of way–but it a demand for some persuasive structure to a politicians beliefs and motives.

Being “bipartisan” isn’t one of those motives–that’s a procedural approach, not a substantive one. If it means unilateral disarmarment (e.g., the gang of 14), then substantively, it only means that the Republicans win, with Joe getting to bask in the glow of being so “reasonable.”

Some bloggers have started writing polemics against the “myth” of a centrist America. I hope they are careful to distinguish between Americans and Americans engaged in politics. America, I still believe, is polarized, but they are persuadable to accept reasonable centrist positions. For that reason, it probably takes a very great politician and leader to advance a truly centrist agenda (Clinton). Those that form the moving parts of political parties, on the other hand, gravitate towards the extremes. This basic dichotomy occurs every time we see a primary and then a general election.

Another problem is “centrist” can mean almost anything. Is someone like Arnold who is socially liberal and yet who is pro-business a centrist, or is Governor Riley of Alabama, who is socially conservative yet somewhat fiscally liberal a centrist? Add that problem of creating a true centrist essence to the fact that what’s considered “centrist” has gone far to the right of public opinion in the last 15 years, and you have nothing.

But Liebermann is not a centrist. He’s a conservative that ran as a Democrat to defeat a liberal Republican (Weicker), and, as such, had to pay homage to certain checklist groups.

Well, those checklist groups haven’t been providing for any victories lately. Time to drop them.

Overrated Rice

Now that Condi has failed to make any meaningful dent in the Israel/Hezballoh-Lebanon situation can we all admit that she is just as incompetent and useless as the rest of the Bush junta Conservatrons that bulloxed every up from the start? There’s more to Secretary of Stating then reviewing the troops in interesting boots. As if being asleep at the switch on 9/11 wasn’t enough!

Arnold Will Be Back

I’ve never had the hatred of Arnold that many California Democrats do. First of all, during this entire time I’ve been far more concerned about President Bush. Arnold can’t do too much harm because he has an entrenched Democratic legislature nipping at his heels. Honestly, having a split government does have it’s benefits. Last but not least, the left-right axis in California is almost entirely along the labor/business divide. The Democrats in California are powered largely by unions, so-called “trial” lawyers (i.e. the plaintiff’s bar), minority interests, and, to a lesser extent, New Left orgs like environmentalists and feminists. The Republicans are basically a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce.

In other words, as California Democrats at the state level, we are not voting on war in Iraq, gay rights, pet Christian issues, and the like. It’s not an unimportant axis, but it’s not as complex or as absolutely extreme as at the federal level. The socially conservative California Republican is a rare bird with almost no political power on the state level.

The worst thing about Arnold is that he’s a little too transparently a politico. When Bush was riding a wave of popularity, Arnold’s agenda was right wing to da max. When that didn’t last, Arnold hired a Dem chief of staff and moved back to the center. If he was a Democrat, we’d hear how he was against the minimum wage before he was for it, etc. Problem is, a guy like Angelides, who’s made a career out of state level office, isn’t going to be any different in that regard.

I will vote for Angelides. But he’s going to lose, so he’s not getting any time or money.