Romney and Obama

by John Quiggin on September 2, 2011

I was thinking about the possibility of an Obama v Romney matchup in next year’s election and it struck me that, in a lot of ways, Romney looks like Obama’s role model. That’s true in terms of their signature policy achievements (very similar health care policies), their general lack of (and even disparagement of) commitment to particular policies or principles, and their acceptance of the centrist view of the world in which the correct position is always midway between extremes, however those extremes may have been determined, and whatever their substantive content. Romney’s success in winning office in Massachusetts was a model for Obama’s success in what is (at least in Obama’s view and that of his advisors) an essentially rightwing country. Romney even gets some diversity points for being a successful member of a minority group.

As a temporary alien and permanent foreigner, I don’t have to worry about voting. But, of course, like everyone else on the planet, I will be significantly affected by the outcome. Still, as long as the Congress remains divided, it’s hard to see a choice between Obama and Romney making a big difference (of course, I thought that about Bush v Gore, so there you go).

Fringe?

by John Holbo on September 2, 2011

I liked Season 1 of Fringe ok, and I liked Season 2 … somewhat less well. In fact, I almost gave up. The fact that the main characters are sort of one-note was getting more obtrusive. There seemed to be more stinker stand-alone episodes. But the overall story arc still seemed promising. Things really picked up in Season 3, so I’m glad I stuck it out. Sort of the same thing happened as in Season 3 of Lost, and for similar reasons: the ‘Others’ got more interesting. I think the characters in Fringe have less character, charisma, chemistry, something, than the assembled Lost crew. But that’s measuring by a pretty high standard. And Fringe has managed to be the X-Files all over again, without being about aliens, without just retreading Scully and Mulder. And Fringe doesn’t seem doomed to be dramatically unresolvable, as Lost for sure was. (I was so sure there was no way to end that series that I didn’t mind the ending. I’d already priced that in, as the finance guys always lie.) I think that the basic material is in now in place for original sf story-telling; for fun, Lostworthy twists and turns. With characters switching sides, changing in fundamental ways and landing very far from where they started. That would redeem the one-note weakness to date. Of course, what do I know? I haven’t even watched the season 3 finale yet, so I’m probably not even going to read the comments you write until after the weekend. (Sorry, man.)