Monday, June 30, 2008

John McCain

John McCain is a regular guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I actually enjoy Mr. McCain's visits to the show. He often gets much more than the 5 minutes at the end that most guests on the show. Mr. McCain and Mr. Stewart do seem to like each other an the first half of the interview is always fluff but the second half tends to be more hard hitting.

In April of 2007 Mr. McCain went on the Daily Show and Mr. Stewart really went hard at him about the Iraq War. The look in Mr. McCain's eyes seemed to say "What is going on here? I thought you were my friend." and for part of the interview it seemed like Mr. McCain was not going to come back again. In fact Mr. Stewart reached across the desk at the end, offered his hand and said "Still friends?". Mr. McCain was recently a guest on the show but the interview was not nearly as hard hitting.

At the time of the April 2007 appearance Mr. McCain's campaign was not doing so well. He was out of money and it was looking like he was not going to make it to the end. Soon after this appearance though things started to turn around (Mr. Stewart attempted to take credit during Mr. McCain's most recent visit).

I have often thought that Mr. McCain and Mr. Stewart's relationship was unique. That while Mr. Stewart liked Mr. McCain he was still willing to make fun of him and Mr. McCain respected Mr. Stewart well enough to play along or at least understand the joke. Turns out I as wrong. According to article written in 1999 by Michael Lewis (A former Salomon Brothers trader who wrote two of my favorite books: Liars Poker and Money Ball) Mr. McCain does have the ability to charm the media without really trying.

I am not really sure who I am going to vote for in the general election. My past track record of voting in Presidential Elections is not really that great. There is always something that prevents me from being able to vote. I made four attempts to vote in the 2004 elections but I was moving on election day and I did not have the time to wait to vote. Each time I went back the line was even longer. If I had taken all the time I spent on the 4 different trips to the polling station I might have been able to actually pull the lever but I would wait for 30 to 60 minutes and then have to leave to address some issue with the move.This year is looking to be the same. I am probably going to have to do the absentee ballot this year.

I am not sure who I am going to vote for. I actually feel good about the two candidates. I am hoping that the race for the oval office stays positive. I am looking for the candidate that will be most willing to switch off the campaign and move to governing mode once the election is over. So far I think both candidates are even on this point.

I think that it is going to come down to economic policy. Whoever wins is going to inherit a tough situation. I am not sure I would want the job. In some ways I almost think that the best course of action is to let the markets play out with minimal intervention.

High energy costs are going to be troublesome but market economics should eventually correct the situation. However, I do not think a gas tax holiday or increased drilling is the answer. Conservation seems to be best answer. I have noticed that the number of Hummers on the road has decreased and my local Toyota dealer has told me that most Corolla's are sold before they even hit the showroom. It is not just Oil that is bullish. In fact I think that most commodities such as corn and soybean are doing well. The US farmers should do well this year which is a good thing since they are going to have to use the money to put fuel in their tractors and trucks.

Things should eventually even out. Higher fuel costs create a market for smaller more efficient vehicles (although part me thinks that this might be a good time to get a Honda Ridgeline). Mass transit and other alternative transportation options become more popular. As much as I enjoyed the $.99 a gallon gasoline we had 5 years ago I am not afraid of $5.00 either. The short term is going to suck but we might be all better off in the long term.

Hopefully, Mr. Obama starts to show up on The Daily Show since it is really the only TV show that I get my news from (I tend to read). This is probably the first year that I have been an undecided voter.

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