Tag Archives: Campaign 08

The Death of a Campaign

John McCain’s presidential campaign is starting to do quite poorly.  According to the latest ABC/Washington Post national polling data, Democratic hopeful Barack Obama has opened a ten point lead –  53% to 43% – over his Republican rival.  Indeed, states that “should have been” solid red like Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida are turning pall shades of blue.  Obama commands such a substantial lead in the electoral college – realclearpolitics.com has currently pegged it at +119 EVs – that ultra-conservative pundits like William Kristol are calling for McCain to “fire his campaign.” Looking back at the history of presidential elections, the Rush Limbaughs of the world have good reason to fret.  Unlike MLB wild-card teams in the playoffs, the electorate does not side historically with the underdog.  Since 1936, only one candidate who was trailing by more than seven percentage points in October came back to win the presidential election – Ronald Reagan.  Needless to say, McCain is a few acting roles away from being Reagan and Obama is no peanut farmer from Georgia.

So far, McCain’s frequent and cringe-inducing attempts at stirring up those same “Reaganites” by referencing Cold War initiatives like Star Wars and listing assorted former USSR heavyweights one after another have been met by either liberal laughter or ignorant silence.  At some point, apparently, McCain’s advisers forgot to tell him that the world has changed since the Soviet Union fell.  McCain’s inability to demonstrate even a tacit understanding of the information revolution or globalization highlights the gap that he is so desperately trying to push back together.  From global capital markets to the importance of international coalitions apart from single-minded and exceptionalist moves towards “coalition-building”, McCain has been unable to grapple with the new political realities he is facing.  Forever tied to the hegemonic policies of the twentieth century by his experience with the Russians and his imprisonment with the Vietnamanese, McCain is slowly watching the death of his campaign.

For sure, almost every major trend that worked for Reagan is working against McCain.  The disintegrating economy, the extremely unpopular neo-conservative presidency of George W. Bush, and the unbelievable successes of liberal voter registration organizations like ACORN have constructed a political tsunami for anyone who rides an elephant to Capitol Hill.  If you need any further proof of this George Lucas-esque “Return of the Liberals”, just watch the smile spread across the face of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) when someone mentions the word “super-majority.”  In fundraising capabilities alone, the Obama campaign is outmatching their Republican counterparts two to one. Democratic National Convention workers outside of the Starbucks I frequent have lines long enough to suggest they are giving away tickets to the Dark Knight sequel.

McCain initially tried to combat the energy of the “Left in the America” by recruiting the mascot known as Sarah Palin.  Drawing on her folksy rhetoric and utter programmability, McCain saw a chance to swing the momentum in his favor by reminding people what “Main Street” is really about.  It turns out that the reason presidential candidates don’t nominate beauty pageant contestants for their number two slot is because they tend to be poor orators.  Independent voters, who at first responded positively to the populist conservativism that is Palin, came to realize that she more closely resembled the former Miss South Carolina than anyone else.  From disastrous interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, Troopergate inquiries that recently resulted in the finding of an ethics violation, and YouTube video of Palin taking part in a ceremony to exterminate witchcraft, the golden ticket that was her selection has turned into a lump of coal.  Ironic that coal is black, because that appears to be the color the McCain campaign has forced itself into constantly, although implicitly, decrying.

Conservative pundits have been quick to say that anyone pointing out racism in the 2008 presidential election has the moral equivalency of someone yelling “Fire!” in a movie theater.  I do not disagree that race should play no factor in this election.  But, to watch the events of the last couple of weeks with anything other than sad disdain for the utter dredges that Steve Schmidt and the Rove Boys have conjured up to spite Obama, the “racism card” just got a lot easier to pull.  It is true that no one associated with McCain ever says, “Don’t elect Obama because he black.” Instead, they say, “Don’t elect Obama because he is foreign.” The contention that William Ayers has any tacit connection to Obama is ludicrous and has been repeatedly debunked since the Democratic primaries. Yet, the newest words written for Palin to speak have her holding rallies in which she claims that Obama “does not see America like you and I see America”, because he is “palling around with terrorists.”  Not only are those incendiary claims patently false, but nothing short of an invocation of closet-racism.  With antagonists of Obama yelling things at Palin rallies like, “Terrorist!”, “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!”, McCain has entirely moved into the dark side of politics.  Bob Herbert of the New York Times aptly described the situation when he wrote, “The Republican mask has slipped.”

With centrists fleeing McCain-Palin stump speeches faster than you can say “1930’s Weimar Germany”, it appears that the long road of service to his country has finally ended for John McCain.  McCain, the self-described “straight-talker” who used to consider the media his “base”, abandoned any remnants of his former honorable self when he gleefully participated in the overtly xenophobic and implicitly racist “Act III” of his campaign.  Honor turned to ambition as soon as he saw his post-convention boost sink faster and disappear longer than the sun in the Arctic Circle.  Then again, I suppose that’s what you get when you nominate a religiously fundamentalist Alaskan to your ticket.

There Is No More Time – Contact Everyone You Know

After wallowing in my own disgust for the Republican Party and its supporters for about a week now, it has become very obvious that the time has come to do something substantial.  Writing articles about “facts” and “issues” is important, but only when dealing with people who care to begin to evaluate them.  As the Republican National Convention demonstrated, rationality and logic are not agreed upon frameworks for discussion. Mitt Romney denounced “Eastern elites” as the son of a Fortune 500 CEO-billionaire from Massachusetts.  Rudy Giuliani slandered “cosmopolitanism”, despite having mayored the largest American city and having openly supported an extremely liberal social agenda.  Sarah Palin argued that she has the experience to sit shotgun in the largest and most powerful government in the world, because she has run a town of five thousand people and possesses a vagina that works.  John McCain contended that his military service is enough of a qualification for office, despite having graduated fifth to last in his class at the Air Force Academy and having crashed five – count them – five aircraft before finally being captured. (Not that flying an airplane well would give him the qualifications to be President either.)

The fact of the matter is that Obama and Biden have to win this election or the United States is in serious trouble. Not the kind of trouble we have witnessed in Iraq, where the United States demonstrated that it could massacre a couple hundred thousand people and walk away with only a financial debt and a few thousand dead soldiers.  I’m talking about the kind of trouble that comes to your doorstep, creating problems that will force you to make decisions you’ve never had to make before.  If John McCain becomes President, or worse, Sarah Palin, with a contingent of social conservatives behind the wheel, I firmly believe that the United States will place itself and all of its citizens in clear and present danger. This is not like past presidencies, where we could make some proxy war mistakes and lose a couple more friends at the United Nations.  This time, the nuclear weapons are falling into place and we are telling their owners to go fuck themselves.  The Cold War came this close to committing global annihilation and we didn’t learn anything. We are so close to making this pretty little blue planet burn grey and red. So very close.

In the timely words of Radiohead, “We are not scaremongering, this is really happening.” McCain’s stated policies on Iraq, Georgia, and Iran are actually frightening.  McCain favors prolonged military action in Iraq, despite the pleading of generals in the American military, who believe that we can no longer protect ourselves if another conflict were to present itself.  We have the most professional and highly trained military in the world – they do not make statements like this unless they sincerely mean it. McCain supports the continued financing of the Georgia government, which demonstrated utter recklessness by provoking Russia into an armed overreaction in a highly volatile and newly democratic region.  It is true that democracies almost never attack other democracies, but democracies attack non-democracies more than any other state-group in international politics.  We cannot keep arming countries – it will come back to kill us.  It already has in Nicaragua, Panama, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea…the list goes on.  Bush just pushed through one billion dollars in aid to Georgia – one billion dollars, no questions asked – in order to continue the ridiculous provocation of Russia.  Russia is looking out for Russia, and if I was in Putin’s place and I cannot honestly say I would have a different foreign policy.  NATO and the United States are basically telling Russia that historical mistakes cannot be rectified, much like the English and the French to the Germans at Versailles.  Keep pushing them, watch what happens.  McCain believes that pre-emptive military force is justified against the Iranians, if they continue to develop nuclear energy. These are the preparations for the first truly global “World War”. These are the justifications that could easily culminate in the first regional nuclear war. Israel is geographically all alone, clutching their nuclear deterrence like someone walking down a dark alley at three in the morning. Iran feels contained behind treaties like the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and threatened by the presence of American battleships directly off of their coast.  What would you feel like if someone held you at gunpoint your whole life?

These are just a few of the most severe situations that absolutely have to be diffused in the near future through pure and unadulterated diplomacy.  Obama is clearly the person that we need to do it, McCain has stated he won’t.  My hands shake a little when I imagine John, the tortured war veteran, so painfully metaphorical to the French after World War I, still remembering those wounds at all times, sitting down to negotiate (or not at all) with angry foreign leaders.  We have to stop making demands and start listening to what our “enemies” are screaming.  Can you honestly listen to Putin or Ahmadinejad and not hear some truth in their words?  I’m not saying start giving them the USSR back or cut off Israel, I’m saying back the fuck off of their shit.  America needs to stop projecting its power abroad with battleships in the Red Sea and SAM missile batteries in Poland.  THE RUSSIANS ARE NOT GOING TO INVADE POLAND YOU FUCKING HAWKS. The Bush Administration has insisted they are in place to stop nuclear attacks from countries like North Korea on Europe. Fuck you, you lying pieces of shit – the missile range of the currently non-existent North Korean bomb can’t even reach the Western coast of Canada, let alone Europe.  Locking everyone in their boxes is going to make everyone want to escape.  And they will.

There is no more time – contact everyone you know.  Now is time when you have to participate in politics like you’ve never participated before.  Putting posters in your Illinois or California or New York apartment window is irrelevant – the Democrats have already won these states.  If you have any relatives in any red state, or, more importantly, any swing state (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, etc.), call them.  Make sure they know what is going on, because the United States no longer has a functioning media.  There is no trusted anchor, telling us the facts.  There are only people like Hannity, who should be deported to Antarctica for his lack of character.  There are only four companies that own every single TV station.  Four.  Viacom, GE, Disney, and News Corp.  The news has become entertainment and money laundering – whores to the highest bidder – and no one is going to hear about the reality of the situation unless you tell them.  Sure, the internet helps a lot – but not enough.  Polls are putting McCain ahead of Obama by 4% right now.  The end of comfortable times could be very near.  They are certainly closer than you think if McCain/Palin wins this election.  Pick up the phone.  Write some emails.  Rally the troops.  Or we are going to be the troops.