STUFF….There are lots of serious issues floating around the ether these days. Too many serious issues, in fact. My brain is about the consistency of tapioca pudding right now.

Still, here’s how I feel about what’s going on. I’m not going to pretend this is based on any kind of detailed research, it’s just my overall impression of a few different things:

  • Al-Qaqaa. The evidence so far seems to indicate that the explosives were indeed looted after the invasion. But does it matter? Is 380 tons of this stuff really important in the grand scheme of things?

    I still don’t have much of a sense for that, but I don’t think it’s really the issue anyway. Rather, it’s yet more proof that despite the administration’s supposed concerns with WMD, they fought the war and its aftermath as if they had never really cared about WMD in the first place ? with too few troops and no real plan for postwar security. Even now I don’t quite understand that, but whatever the reason behind it, al-Qaqaa is a pretty good metaphor for both the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence and their lack of concern for anything farther away than the next election.

  • Election fraud. Elections always produce both fraud and legitimate error. In a country of 100 million voters, even 99.9% accuracy will produce 100,000 honest mistakes.

    So far, I haven’t seen anything to make me think that this year is worse than any other. Problems are certainly being scrutinized a lot more closely than in the past ? as they should be ? but that doesn’t mean the actual number of problems is any greater than in previous elections. It just means we’re all paying more attention.

  • Minority voter intimidation. This, on the other hand, really does look like a carefully planned part of the GOP strategy for election day. I suspect that internal Republican polling shows President Bush losing ground in swing states, and they know now that keeping the minority vote down is their only remaining hope.

    This could get very, very ugly if it really turns out to be a widespread operation to challenge voters on election day and cause chaos in minority-heavy neighborhoods. Very ugly.

  • November 3. Is American really more polarized than it’s been anytime in the past century? I don’t know. The New Deal was pretty polarizing. The Vietnam War was pretty polarizing. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that the conventional wisdom is right, and the mood today really is worse than even in the 30s and 60s.

    So what happens if Kerry wins? All out war from a Republican Congress, the same kind they waged against Clinton? And what if Bush wins and tries to pack the Supreme Court with Scalia lookalikes?

    I don’t know. But it sure doesn’t look pretty either way.

On the other hand, there’s always catblogging. Speaking of which, have I mentioned that my cats were featured in the New York Times today?