Joe the Optimist
For Biden, hope springs eternal.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007, at 10:45 AM
But it was Bill Richardson who spoke most explicitly on the UFO issue last weekend. Speaking to Dell employees in Texas, Richardson said that if he became president, he would continue his long fight to release top-secret files on Roswell, New Mexico's infamous "flying disc" recovery. In a foreword to Roswell Dig Diaries, a 2004 Sci Fi Channel book, the New Mexico governor wrote that he has never been satisfied with the government's explanation and that the "American people can handle the truth." Considering Richardson makes up part of the "ET Ticket," I guess it should come as no surprise.
Giuliani and Richardson have even managed to use aliens for political gain. The terrorist threat pales in comparison with an alien invasion, so if Giuliani can protect us from little green men, then Osama should be a walk in the Pakistani park. Richardson's assertion that he would release top-secret Roswell files if he became president implies that he is willing to run a transparent White House with all nonalien issues, as well.
One more thing—it shouldn't come as a shock, but Mike Gravel is a believer, too.
Health conscious: The politics of illness is particularly sensitive in this election, with so many candidates and their spouses battling one disease or another. Fred Thompson announced in April that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma but that the cancer was in remission. Before that, Elizabeth Edwards revealed that her cancer had returned but that her husband's campaign would continue. And now Rudy Giuliani, pushing his health-care plan in New Hampshire, is rolling out a new radio ad discussing his experience with prostate cancer, which he defeated in 2000.
"I had prostate cancer, five, six years ago," Giuliani says in the spot. "My chance of surviving prostate cancer, and thank God I was cured of it, in the United States, 82 percent. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England, only 44 percent under socialized medicine."
It feels icky to discuss life-threatening illnesses in PR terms, but it's no accident that Rudy chose to weave his own story into his message about health care. We're used to seeing warrior Rudy, victory this and security that. We're not used to seeing vulnerable Rudy.
Of course, there's good vulnerable and there's bad vulnerable. In Thompson's case, people initially wondered if he would be able to launch his campaign. In Edwards' case, allies speculated that he would drop out. But Rudy's case is—forgive me for saying it—a good one, at least from the political angle. For one thing, he beat the cancer. (Look out, Islamofascism.) But more importantly, it softens him up. As Elizabeth Edwards might say, he has stared the worst in the face and not blinked.
This sort of human touch—candid without being cheesy—is just what Rudy needs. For him, religion is private, and the same seems to be true for other personal and emotional issues. But personal narratives matter to voters. We know he's willing to put people in a hospital. It's also good to know he's been there himself.
Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.
Photographs of: Cap Fendig courtesy Cap Fendig; screenshot of The Huffington Post.