June 30, 2008

What If . . . ?

Quite a while back I voiced my . . . incredulity . . . sure, why not, at John McCain for positing that "the fight against radical Islamic extremism was part of the “transcendent challenge of the 21st Century."  Ezra Klein points out that he is now offering this same response as the answer to the question of what "is the gravest long term threat to the U. S. economy."  I agree with most of what Klein says here - regardless of how much you want to push national security as your chief qualifier for office you've got to throw folks a bone on that question and give an answer that actually touches on the day to day fears and worries about the economy that most of the nation is dealing with at the moment.  (McCain better be careful or he's going to back himself into a Giuliani.)  

But I was especially delighted to see this from Klein:  
There are essentially two sets of premises under which you could answer this question. The first is the real world, which contains likely threats to the American economy. Things like a deep recession that's worsened by a credit contraction. Or oil prices that turn out to be skyrocketing not because of transient speculation, but enduring global instability and a dawning recognition of peak oil. Or a health system that isn't fixed, and is chewing up 30 percent of our GDP in two decades.

The other set of premises is the fantasy world. This is more like Marvel's "What If?" series. What if the Supervolcano explodes? What if we have an "I Am Legend" style pandemic? Or a "28 Days Later" zombie virus? What if "radical Islamic extremism" prevails and terrorists establish a global caliphate?
Anytime that references to Marvel's What If . . . ? series make it into the political debate is one more day that we can say with quiet confidence that truly, the terrorists have not won. 

PS - Of course it does.  Wikipedia has a list of all of the What If . . . ? issues.

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