Friday, November 2, 2007

Dooh Dooh, Dooh Dooh

An eerie set of hubcaps menaces the Alps.

As such things usually do, Dennis Kucinich's admission that he saw a UFO, which by the way means "unidentified flying object", has brought on a veritable zoo of commentary. Here is the question and answer that started it all:

RUSSERT: Shirley MacLaine writes in her new book that you sighted a UFO over her home in Washington state, that you found the encounter extremely moving, that it was a triangular craft, silent and hovering, that you felt a connection to your heart and heard directions in your mind. Now, did you see a UFO?

KUCINICH: Uh, I did. And the rest of the account. It was an unidentified flying object, OK? It's like, it's unidentified. I saw something. Now, to answer your question. I'm moving my, and I'm also going to move my campaign office to Roswell, New Mexico, and another one in Exeter, New Hampshire, OK? And also, you have to keep in mind that Jimmy Carter saw a UFO, and also that more people in this country have seen UFOs than I think approve of George Bush's presidency.

Kucinich at debate: "I did" see a UFO

He said he saw something that he couldn't identify. He didn't claim it was spacemen, invaders from Mars, or what have you. That hasn't stopped the character assassination, though. Eric Kleefeld writes:

Dennis Kucinich just got a little lonelier in his position on UFOs. During the debate this week, Kucinich cited Jimmy Carter's well-known experience as another example of people seeing strange things in the sky.

But now Carter has told CNN that he does not at all believe the object he and about 25 other people saw — a round object that changed colors — was actually any sort of alien spaceship.

"It was unidentified as far as we were concerned, but I think it's impossible in my opinion, some people disagree, to have space people from other planets or other stars to come to us," said Carter. "I don't think that's possible."

Jimmy Carter Distances Himself From Kucinich On UFOs

I'm not surprised that Jimmy Carter wasn't paying attention, but Kleefeld should have known better. He's a journalist. Kucinich didn't say it was an alien spaceship, either.

I agree with President Carter, incidently, at least mostly. By the laws of physics as we understand them, where the speed of light is an absolute limit, traveling from star to star is far too costly a thing to be done routinely. The time and energy required are almost prohibitive. No one's going to take that much time and trouble just to make a few blinky lights in the sky. Whether the scenario that results is more like Independence Day or Childhood's End, when they arrive I suspect we'll be in no doubt.

Among those not paying much attention was Chris Cilliza:

Asked about the statement by actress Shirley MacLaine that Kucinich had seen a UFO at her house, Kucinich said that he had. He quickly sought to clarify -- an "unidentified flying object" he said holding up his hand -- but man oh man.

The big news tonight: DENNIS KUCINICH HAS SEEN A UFO.

Obama did not take the bait when asked whether he thought there is life on other planets. "I believe there is life here on Earth," he said, turning his answer into a domestic policy statement.

UFOs and Alien Life

Even though he pretty much got the gist of the conversation right, Cilliza still managed to conflate the two ideas - that there are UFOs and that there's life on other worlds, and imply that Kucinich said he saw spacemen.

And even though he didn't do it, I'm certainly not going to criticize a candidate for either believing or not believing that there's life elsewhere in the universe. There's life on this planet, why not elsewhere? Not admitting to the possibility strikes me as foolish. Not believing there's intelligent life elsewhere is another thing, though, since there's so little evidence of it here.

Kucinich is an eccentric guy. His idea for a "Department of Peace" sounds positively goofy, particularly considering that we already have one. But that same eccentricity sometimes motivates him to say the things that are on the minds of many of us:

Washington -- Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich questioned President Bush's mental health at a meeting Tuesday with The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board, repeating concerns he has previously expressed about Bush.

Kucinich based his questions about Bush's stability on remarks the president made about the prospect of a nuclear Iran precipitating "World War III."

"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich told the Inquirer before Tuesday night's presidential debate. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."

Dennis Kucinich questions President Bush's mental health

I don't want him being President, but we've already made worse choices. Twice.

A TPM reader summed this thing up nicely:

Altimit wrote on November 2, 2007 2:05 PM:

This whole UFO incident just serves to highlight how screwed up this country is. Admitting you might have seen a UFO gets you constantly lambasted, yet admitting you DON'T have an imaginary friend named Jesus destroys your chances of holding a position in office even more.

Jimmy Carter Distances Himself From Kucinich On UFOs

In the admittedly unlikely case I'd have to choose between believing a guy who honestly said he saw something in the sky he couldn't identify, and a guy who says his god talks to him, I'll trust the spaceman.

It's no wonder we keep electing the sorts of people we do.

UPDATE: Added a link to the other guy who makes Kucinich look good by comparison.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for Kucinich, being identified as a "Friend of Shirley" isn't going to decrease his eccentricity factor or win him many friends. I'm sure you remember when MacLaine was so closely associated with J.Z. Knight - she of Ramtha fame -- back in the 1980's. In fact, Knight and her "Ramtha channeling sessions" were the reason MacLaine bought a house in Washington in the first place. Eventually, Knight fled the state when it was discovered that she had bilked her spiritualist clients for thousands of dollars. What a crowd for Kucinich to have been hanging with.

It probably wasn't fair of the moderator to have asked Kucinich such a silly question, but when one is a presidential candidate every litle thing is under the miscroscope.

Cujo359 said...

Judging someone by the eccentric friends he has qualifies as another dumb way to pick a political candidate, IMHO. Yes, it's part of who he is, but most of us, if we have any intelligence and imagination, have at least one acquaintance who'd make Shirley McLaine look like Mr. Spock. I'd hate to have my life described by their narratives.

Why didn't the moderator pick some issue that Kucinich is "out there" on and cover that? Why talk about how many blinky lights he saw at Shirley's place? It isn't just unfair, it's idiotic.

Anonymous said...

I think it might have been self-rationalization, i.e., "Yeah, we know we've been marginalizing Kucinich and not taking him seriously as a candidate, but we have a really good reason for it - see what a flake he is?"

Admittedly, I don't take him all that seriously as a candidate either, but it has nothing to do with UFOs.

Cujo359 said...

I suppose you're right, Eli, but Kucinich has given them enough valid material over the years that they don't have to touch this stuff. I know it's infotainment, really, but still ...