Saturday, August 12, 2006

Meeting Jack Carter

Jack Carter, Walden's Coffee Shop, Reno, NV
Originally uploaded by Bob King.

I was really favoribly impressed by Jack Carter, I have to say. He's an easy-going sort of guy, a man who seems to consider his image without calculating it.

Up close and personal, it was clear there were no artifiical colorants, preservatives or added fillers, unlike some opposing candidates we might immediately think of. What's his name? Enron? Exxon? It will come to me, I'm sure.

He wasn't trying to dazzle me. There was no lingering taint of a Dale Carnegie course. He knows his rhetoric, and he is clearly aware of what to say and what not to say - but it was high-calibre rhetoric, backed up with solid understanding of the issues at hand.

Oh, and there wasn't a instance of the usual emotional appeals to pride or fear. He was aiming at my fore-brain, and I appreciated the respect for my intelligence.

He was asked what his top three issues are and he stated::

National Security
Energy Independence
Health Care

His positions on these are all moderate and pragmatic; appealing to a broad range of folks on either side of the political divide. And on a debate focusing on these issues, he's gonna eat Sen. Enron's lunch.

He's got sensible, pragmatic approaches to all these issues, and a very practical minded view as to what a "national security threat" is.

He's able to talk to a mixed group of supporters and the curious without seeming overwhelmed, anxious or seriously concerned about any question they might ask. I was told that Sen... ENSIGN! yes, that's it. Ensign..

I was told Sen. Ensign's chief of staff was there. He didn't ask any questions. Now, that's what you call a failure of human intelligence.

When I asked him personally about Autism issues and what he knew about disability politics, he told me candidly "almost nothing."

He also told me he really didn't have the time to think about it. Myself, In his place I would have been tempted to let whatever it was flow in one ear and out the other, with grunts at socially appropriate moments. Instead, he cut me off and told me he didn't have any free brain cells for it at the moment. My words, not his.

Anyway, he's very aspie-friendly. And that's important in a couple of ways. First, of course, from the obvious viewpoint that he understands aspie/autie communications and indicated that he'd be more than willing to listen when he had some free disk space.

But from a broader perspective, completely aside from the concerns of a sometime disability advocate, Aspies are disproportionately represented in the technical fields, and of course very concentrated in fields related to national defense. I find his degree in nuclear physics reassuring; it's unlikely that he will be easily baffled by bullshit.

Now, being who I am, I'm sometimes surprised as to what comes falling out of my mouth. I call myself a functional multiple because these days I'm usually favorably surprised. In this particular case, it was in regard to the Internet, and I was hard-pressed to refrain from blurting out that I wished I had thought of what my mouth had just said firstt. Could have been awkward to put that into context at the time, don't 'cha know.

Anyway, the emerging importance of the Internet to the Democratic cause, in particular is a given. But someone insertednto the bit-stream between brain and mouth that to tamper with the Internet - as large commercial firms would like to do - is a very, very bad idea from a national security standpoint.

Katrina proved what a vital national-security asset it is to have a robust Internet that is not routed through dedicated, proprietary choke-points, with priority allocated to high-paying advertising sites.

The origin of the Internet; DARPANET, than ARPANET was mentioned in one or two words, and that is all we needed to say. Vital, viral, unkillable, national security asset. I didn't have to explain what commercial chokepointing implies in regard to it's vulnerablity to subversion and attack in a crisis; he got it in one.

God, I like talking to smart people.

And of course, considering the fiasco we are in, a Senator needs to speak Wonklish just to comprehend briefings on some really complex, intractable issues.

I'll be doing an email interview with him asap, and while I'm clearly also a supporter, I do not play slo-pitch. I'm looking forward to some straightforward answers to some serious questions of principle.

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