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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    Sticks and stones

    Decades ago, the Cold War was fought with careful subterfuge and precise propaganda. Those days are over. The global War on Terror has ushered in a new model – winning hearts and minds with bombast and tired clichés. In a White House news conference last week, President Bush declared that if the U.S. is “”interested in avoiding World War III,”” the Iranian nuclear program must be dismantled. It’s the latest in a war of words that has announced an “”axis of evil,”” lobbed Hitler comparisons galore and coined the over-the-top neologism “”Islamofascism.”” Let’s dial down the rhetoric – or the terrorists will win!

    Faltering farmers

    Since the earliest days of our Republic, when Thomas Jefferson envisioned an America populated by humble yeoman, the farmer has been a central component of the American ideal. Iowa, a rural state, gives farm interests a disproportionately critical role in presidential elections. Legislators send home billions in pork-barrel farm subsidies every year, keeping the storied American farmer on life support. But despite our obsession with the folks President Bush famously declared “”real Americans,”” farmers aren’t as fabled as we think. Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, recently noted that there are now more World of Warcraft players in the U.S. (about four million) than farmers (around two million). Sure, agriculture is still an important part of our economy and our daily lives. But mining virtual gold and hunting imaginary dragons are becoming just as important as well. Perhaps we should consider moving presidential primaries to cyberspace (no more squabbling over which state is at the front of the line) and giving lavish federal subsidies to online gold-farmers instead.

    Truthiness and consequences

    Commentator Stephen Colbert is best known for his parodic punditry on Comedy Central. Now, he’s bringing his unique brand of truthiness to the campaign trail. Last week, Colbert announced his intention to enter the Democratic presidential primary in his home state of South Carolina, complete with a campaign sponsored by nacho cheese Doritos and an online drive for petition signatures from adoring fans. However, Colbert’s comic candidacy may have very real consequences: if he manages to get listed on the ballot – a task that requires a mere 2,500 signatures from registered voters – the Colbert campaign could violate a slew of federal election laws. Cynics may say the stunt is a clever way to lure more viewers, but Colbert’s run is satire on a grand scale – and commentary on our expensive, heavily regulated election cycle.

    Putin’s presidential parallel

    U.S. relations with Russia may grow chillier every day, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is warming up to one American president known for his cozy fireside chats. According to the Washington Post, Putin – who is seeking a legitimate backdoor to prolonging his presidency – is now consciously comparing himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Both he and Roosevelt, in Putin’s mind, were strong, charismatic leaders who rescued their nations from turmoil through executive muscle – and stayed in power for years. Yesterday, Russian state television devoted a programming block usually reserved for news stories criticizing Washington to a documentary extolling Roosevelt’s leadership. And since early 2006, “”there have been numerous newspaper articles, a major conference, and several documentaries on FDR’s life”” promoted by the Kremlin, all drawing connections to Putin’s presidency. Too bad Putin’s nothing like FDR. All the analogies in the world won’t patch up Putin’s petty authoritarian reign over Russia.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat Opinions Board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler, Connor Mendenhall and Jeremiah Simmons.

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