Wednesday, December 3, 2008 WCL sees the world (pt. II).

On why Hillary took the Secretary of State post: "If you do the calculus--and of course we're working with the supposition that Hillary is a power-hungry wench--then the only reason for her to have accepted is that she thinks Obama might not survive his first term. Think about it: as Secretary of State she would be perfectly situated to take hold of the Democratic nomination in 2012. After all, she was the runner up in 2008. Who's going to stop her? Biden? He won't be able to put up a fight against the Clinton machine. I can already imagine a weeping Clinton invoking Obama's words in order to help heal the country. Look: she mentioned this very notion in the primaries when she talked about RFK, so there's no doubt this scenario is on her mind."

On why homosexuals might not be around in 50 years: "I am working based off of two assumptions here. First, that homosexuality is largely hereditary or at least hormonally determined during pregnancy. And two, that gays will by and large win the right to marry. As for the first assumption, I do believe culture plays a role in sexual development, but a relatively small one. Much like one's height is determined primarily through genetics but can be affected by diet, one's sexuall orientation is largely determined before birth but can be molded by culture.

Now, think about the strides we have made in genetics in the last 60 years. DNA's role in heredity was determined in 1952; in 1972 we know the sequence of a gene; by 1978 we have the first test tube baby; in 1996, we clone a pig; by 2003 we have decoded the human genome. So we're moving quite along, clearly accelerating in our pace of genetic discovery. Therefore, I don't think it's long until we figure out the mechanisms that lead to homosexuality. Perhaps there is a gay gene, perhaps it is the hormones that are released during pregnancy. If it is genetic, then homosexuals that begin marrying en masse will no longer be in the reproducing population, and therefore, the gay gene will dwindle out of existence. If it is hormonal, then scientists will determine a way to counteract such an occurrence in the womb, perhaps in the form of a pill. Who knows? But my guess is that given the choice, most parents will opt to take a pill and ensure that their newborn will grow up to be heterosexual, because in the end, parents want to have grandkids."

On how Obama should tackle Iran: He should seek the grand bargain with the Iranians because it's the only smart option on the table. But first, he should help consummate a deal between Syria and Israel. The Syrians have been asking us for quite some time to be the backchannel negotiator in talks with Israel, but Bush has refused to play that role. Obama should shepherd this process along, because if and when he is successful, it will give him a great deal of political capital and credibility if he then turns his eye towards Iran. The last thing Iranian politicians want is for the US to ask them to sit down at the negotiating table for bilateral talks in good faith. The truth is that the Iranian people would like to see a deal, and Obama is just the kind of new face who could deliver. While the US lacks leverage, they will be able to depend heavily on the Europeans' support to get a deal made. Then, if Iran proves intransigent to a good faith agreement, Obama will have the leverage to take more severe measures without international backlash."

On Andrew Sullivan's pace of blogging: It's outrageous. I thought that once the election was over, his posting would die down a little, but the guy is just unstoppable. It wears me out."

On his father's application for a position in the Obama administration: "Sure, dad. You've been a lifelong Republican who has lived abroad for the past 30 years and you think you can just use your Chicago "connections" to get a low level post in the Energy Department? The man is clearly delusional. Knocking on some doors in Indiana is one thing, coming to DC for the inauguration without a ticket is another thing, but the idea that he could land this job is just pathetic. He's been drinking way too much of the Obama Kool-Aid and I am personally embarrassed by him."

On the European Market Cafe being closed on a Saturday at 11am: "What do you expect? Living up to their stated heritage, I suppose."

On the silver lining of universal healthcare: Look, I think universal healthcare is a bad idea because it comes at an outrageous cost yet will accomplish little. But the silver lining is this: though it will signal the decline of the U.S.'s absolute power, it will end up increasing the U.S.'s power relative to other countries, and relative power's the only type of power that really matters in the end anyway. The fact is that if Obama enacts any sort of universal healthcare plan, then he will surely implement stringent price controls which will bring down the costs of these prescription drugs and high-end medical procedures. That means that the drug companies and medical equipment companies will no longer be able to depend upon the largess of the American healthcare system to finance its R&D. Same, too, with the Europeans, who have been getting a free ride off of our healthcare system because we're the ones footing the bill for all the expensive technology and innovation in the field. So that means the Europeans will once again have to start paying for their share of medical innovation and we will be able to save vast amounts of money by no longer propping up the capital-intensive R&D labs. The down side, of course, is that we will slow our pace of medical discovery and potential cures for future generations. We are basically cutting funding for the discovery of technologies in the future in order to pay for today's health maladies for all. It's actually the opposite of 'progressive' when you think about it."