Part I

I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.

— Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, describing a visit to Bosnia; part of her responsibilities as First Lady during her husband's administration

What really happened is that her aircraft landed, she walked calmly onto the tarmac accompanied by daughter Chelsea, met with a group of seventh-grade students and proceeded to walk and talk with local dignitaries prior to her leaving via armored vehicle. Clinton accompanied African-American comedian Sinbad and singer Sheryl Crow who were entertaining U.S. troops in Bosnia. Tuesday's New York Times revealed the fact that a photographer who now works for them was accompanying the Presidential hopeful and her entourage years ago and he doesn't remember there being shots fired at all. Nor does a Clinton aide who asked for anonymity.

Oh, my goodness! The New York Times caught their little darling lying. Okay, let's use the term "embellishing." Senator Clinton said on Monday that she "misspoke" but did not apologize for the difference between reality and her own version thereof. It gets better than that.

Hillary claims that indeed, she's felt the bitter sting of racism. This I got from Sean Hannity today. She claimed, quite recently, that she was on the intramural soccer team at her Middle School, and a member of an un-named minority, whom she merely describes as being "not born in this country," said to her "I've always wanted to beat a spoiled white American's ass." This is a paraphrase and though I have yet to locate the direct source, I found it on the internet as well, in a blog not connected to Hannity.

And then there was the stupidity of claiming she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary even though she was born long before he earned a modicum of fame.

It Takes A Village, But She Does Worry About Her Daughter

She had the unmitigated gall to claim at one time that her daughter Chelsea was running laps around the World Trade Center complex shortly before the attack on the buildings on September 11, 2001 began. At the time, Senator Clinton was making an attempt to compete for the medal for "My Kid Almost Died On 9/11" with Senator Charles "Chuck" Schumer D-NY. Schumer's daughter was attending a New York City public school perilously close to the towers when disaster struck.  Chelsea Clinton was indeed in the vicinity of the attack, but far out of harm's way, at the apartment of a friend.

The woman who told us that she's got better things to do than "stay home and bake cookies" was quoted as saying that after the Clintons allowed Chelsea to go out on her own, she'd worry about her daughter and the concern would keep her up at nights. I guess she forgot that when Chelsea was in College she was afforded the (necessary) privilege of Secret Service protection around the clock.

It's Really Not All About Hillary With Me

The lady is a liar, that's all.

Sure, Presidents lie. But so blatantly before the fact?

For those who haven't read these daylogs, the reason I'm not voting Republican unless Hillary wins the Democrat nomination is because I want to try something new. The "difference" that Senator Barack Obama is offering this nation. His charisma is unmatched by recent Presidential candidates from both the Democrat and Republican parties. His campaign is refreshing, it has the "grass roots" look and feel to it, (but it's really kinda a multi-million dollar "grass roots" theme park).

Now that Senator Obama is the apparent nominee (even though the Times offers up its desperate hope that Senator Clinton might just win with the aid of political voodoo regarding the popular vote) he's been lobbing a few unpleasant yet effective criticisms in the direction of Senator McCain. I thought better of Senator Obama. However, neither Senators McCain nor Obama have been caught telling such fanciful falsehoods. Nor has either one been investigated for personal fiscal wrongdoings.

I don't care for Senator McCain all that much either. Should he be elected President, he has promised that he's going to "win" the war in Iraq. How? By "staying the course" and continuing to pound his head against a brick wall. Some great mind said "Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results." They're fighting amongst themselves over there, and have been for a long, long time. I admire the Senator's candor, but I think he just doesn't wanna "lose" the war the way President Nixon "lost" the war in Southeast Asia.

Worse, Senator McCain is a Democrat wolf in Republican sheep's clothing. He's a moderate. Bill Clinton had a great deal of success being a moderate. He was aided and abetted, however, by fate and luck. Fate being that he did not have to endure a crisis of the significance of 9/11. Luck being that the economic pendulum swung way over in his favor and the nation enjoyed prosperity. Senator McCain will keep us in the war. Senator McCain will raise taxes. Senator McCain will depend on bureaucracy to administer some of the proposals he's offering. Senator McCain will bankrupt us.

Way back in August of 2006, SciPhi wrote an eerily dead-on few paragraphs about Senator McCain and his chances in this piece. It's a must-read and I submit it as a great prologue to what this writeup will become.

Need I say this any louder:
the Republican ideal
is a free market,
compact government,
and low taxes.

Abraham Lincoln said "Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." Tacked on to Lincoln's Republican ideal is another which has become associated with Conservatism (that neighborhoods, towns, cities take care of their own) which President Reagan attempted to embrace. Reagan was a Lincolnian Republican; had his unfettering of commerce been placed in the hands of honest men, what prosperity we could have seen. Sadly, the Republican ideal must be tempered by a bit of oversight. Right now, those who should be doing the overseeing are lowering interest rates and doing more long-term harm than good.

The quote from Lincoln above is right in line with one of Senator Obama's platform planks: that America will not become a welfare state but a workfare state. Hard work and sacrifice is the only way to pull us up out of the perilous fiscal and social troubles caused by the government of the last eight years, painted to look like Republican leadership. The Bush advisors can best be described as a room full of doctors surrounding a patient who is bleeding to death, and treating that patient only with band-aids and a drip of saline solution. The sad reality is that the President (I like to call him the "nucular" President, 'cause his eyes glow in the dark, kinda like those of a deer's in the headlights).

My accountant told me that I'd be receiving a check sometime in May for about eight hundred dollars. This is an "economic stimulus" device, says President Bush. Bullshit! It's sheer insanity! Some day, a newsman will interview the then-former President George W. Bush and ask him to justify why, in the history books, his name should not be inscribed underneath the title "WORST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES." The President will respond with an attractive power-point slide that looks like this:




Rumor has it that, instead of the checks, Bush wanted to give everyone in the country a nifty Cross pen with the Presidential insignia on it. Then one of the neoconservatives hanging around the White House heard the name "cross" and, thinking it was the "word," gasped, "Mr. President, the public may get the wrong idea!" At the time, he was reading robwicks's piece about who conservatives are, and I quote, "Some fear that conservatives would force religion on them and their children, and there may be some merit in that view, at least as it pertains to some conservatives."

Bette Davis was said to have uttered these words upon learning of the death of Joan Crawford: "My mother told me only to speak good of the dead. She's dead. That's good." I hereby invoke that saying with regard to the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. Some would look at today's Supreme Court and say the damage to our liberties has already been done. I disagree. The likes of Falwell weren't nearly as powerful nor influential when my hero President Reagan was in office. Yes, I said my hero. And now I'm not trying to be funny. I'm doggone serious. There's never been a Conservative like him.

So Why On Earth Do You Endorse Obama?

I gamble. I don't have a gambling problem, but I gamble nonetheless. My party has nothing to offer but someone who'll gladly step into the cement shoes Congress will fashion for him. Dammit, when I wanted a war hero, when our country needed a war hero, Bob Dole didn't make it. CAUTION: I'M ABOUT TO PLAY THE RACE CARD. Barack Obama is a different sort of hero, one who will unify this nation and help Americans re-define themselves by looking at themselves and each other. I sha'n't go any further because I've discussed this in other pieces.

The gamble is this: right now, manufacturing jobs are oozing out of this country like toxic waste from the 55-gallon drums at Love Canal. The housing "bubble" has burst. Economic anxiety is causing people to slow down spending which only hurts other people (like me, a small business owner). And our situation with regard to foreign policy; well, we're slowly but surely becoming the world's version of the kid from school whom always had the paper with "kick me" taped to the back of his jacket.1

Many of you who'll read this are too young to remember the fear mongering going on when Japan was prospering, and rumor had it that they'd not only bought Rockefeller Center in New York, but all sorts of wonderful, neat All-American things. Remember that? I knew you didn't. Japan's financial pendulum took a pretty hard backswing there after they did that; so guess what, they don't own Rockefeller Center any longer. The Japanese are still pretty well off, but until recently they were whining and mewling about their economic woes similarly to the way we're whining and mewling now.

Tishman-Spier (a developer and real estate landlord in New York) now owns it. And part of the firm's vast collection of modern art is outside, on the promenade, for all to see, and inside of the buildings too. Tishman-Spier also owns The Chrysler Building and a few more of New York's most prime properties, and, God bless their souls, has committed $1 billion (billion with a b) to renovate the rotting Westside railroad yards and trackway in lower Manhattan, creating a "city within a city."

So back to my point. Obama's said he's gonna pull out of Iraq faster than Tom Cruise would pull out of one of his boyfriends if the paparazzi discovered where their tryst was taking place. Barack Obama has a kind of Franklin Delano Roosevelt feel about his policy. Robin Toner in Tuesday's New York Times sums up my feelings about the element of change in Obama's plans; I "yearn for something new, beyond the ideological stalemate. In his book “The Audacity of Hope,” he wrote, “They are out there, waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”

Now, I was a little taken aback by the fact that he lobbed some of Senator McCain's mud back at him and hit the great war hero in the face with it. Obama had been much more civil, rising above the hysterical vortex of muckslinging that Senator Clinton resorted to. Obama also had a horrible decision to make, and he chose the right path; he's distanced himself from his pastor; the man who performed his marriage ceremony and baptized his children. The reason is, the vitriol that Rev. Jeremiah Wright spews from his pulpit makes Rev. Al Sharpton's rhetoric sound like the purring of a waiter in a fine French restaurant trying to convince you to order what the chef wants you to, and sell you a bottle of wine for $100. Now, I find Rev. Wright's wailings amusing — including howling not once, but four times, "God damn America" and cited reasons which were deserving of the use of the words, yes, but from a pulpit, no. Additionally, he's going to get his Trinity Baptist Church into some tax problems if he keeps up holding what amount to Obama rallies instead of delivering Sermons each Sunday.

So there you have it. I'm like the Grinch That Stole Christmas. My icy-cold, minuscule Republican-voting capitalist heart has grown bigger and bigger.

Wherefrom cometh thy information, you say? Here:








Auduster said this piece was "incoherent", among other things. However, thanks to artman2003, I corrected two very serious errors that would indeed lead one scanning the piece to believe that it was. Shame on me. I pray the Court find complete and utter lack of sleep and exhaustion a mitigating factor in the crime.

1. liveforever says re 2008 US Presidential Election: America isn't "the kid from school whom always had the paper with "kick me" taped to the back of his jacket." It's the bully, the big overgrown, slightly imbecilic but dangerous guy who everybody fears... and hates.


Part II


Here it is again, that most American of contact sports, election season. Every four years we engage in the practice of selecting the person whom we collectively will grow to dislike during the ensuing 4 or 8 years, depending on how quickly we reach our limit of tolerance. I discount the possibility of death by disease or other more dire machinations as I am convinced that the only persons who possibly would run for US President are in fact golems. Everyone knows you can't kill a golem because they're already undead. Shoot them, burn them with napalm, run them over with a rampaging vehicle of public opinion, all that is needed for their instant resurrection is the smell of campaign cash.

I have to admit my viewpoint wasn't always this jaundiced. I can remember a time when I had the (however misguided) belief that whomever we elected as our Chief Executive desired what was best for the nation. I could blame my cynicism on my own advancing age. I've lived long enough to realize the futility of many of my best intentions. I figure the President is heir to his or her own ineffectiveness. In short, I no longer believe that the President of the US has the ability to do great good. I do, however, believe the President is capable of doing great harm.

We arrive at the crop of contenders for the 2008 race. There are at this point three survivors. On the Republican side we have John Sidney McCain, on the Democrat side are Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Getting to this point has been a slugfest, to say the least.

Republican contenders

On the Republican side McCain has won out over a field which included Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Sam Brownback, and Tom Tancredo.

First, let's eliminate the weak sisters. These candidates may have had some good selling points but for various reasons failed to gain traction with the voters.

Sam Brownback- ok, who the hell is Sam Brownback? Nobody knows, so Brownback goes down for a quick 10 count.

Tom Tancredo had a following among those conservatives who want a real US immigration policy, but he failed to get attention.

Duncan Hunter is from California and has serious conservative street cred, but again he is a national unknown. His last political foray was running for California governor against Arnold Schwarzenegger, a contest in which he was soundly terminated by Arnie's star power. Californians never learn, but they got what they wanted, so they should be happy to have their RINO (Republican In Name Only) in Arnold.

Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor during and after the 9-11 attacks, failed to play west of the Hudson River. Actually, he did ok in New Jersey too, but what's the difference between New Jersey and New York? He had a few problems relating to his marriage, (what New York politician doesn't?), and his choice of police chief (who had his own problems), translated into weak skills in filling important positions. Giuliani chose to wait until the Florida primary to enter the fray and by then the thundering herd had passed him by, displaying the poor tactical leadership of his campaign. So long, Rudy.

Ron Paul, Congressman from Texas, is an advocate of actually doing what the US Constitution mandates. He believes in a federal government which strictly adheres to the limits imposed on it by the Constitution. That, along with his isolationist stance, has gotten him portrayed as the crazy old uncle who comes out of the bedroom with just his jammy top on. Damned funny, good for a laugh, but for God's sake don't bring him out when we're having guests over.

The heavy hitters

Fred Thompson

That leaves the serious contenders, the heavy hitters. Everyone waited for Fred Thompson to engage, but like Maverick in Top Gun he seemed to freeze at the stick, and when he finally got going it was too late. I enjoyed hearing Thompson speak inasmuch as he appeared to be the only real adult with thoughtful answers. He refused to play the sound bite game, a move I also appreciated, but it didn't earn him the love of the media. Fred went down from a TKO in the third round.

Mitt Romney

Next was Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor. He was a serious contender, having real world experience as a successful businessman. He managed to reform Massachusetts budget, putting them on a much more sound financial footing, a considerable feat for a Republican governor in a Democrat stronghold. He also demonstrated his managerial abilities by bringing the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games to a successful conclusion. He has impeccable political pedigree with his father being former Michigan governor and Presidential candidate George Romney. Mitt is a family man, he's wealthy, successful, telegenic...and a Mormon. The media gave him a continuous rectal examination regarding his faith, enough to rouse the suspicions of the Fundamentalist Christian wing of the GOP. They had their suspicions that Romney actually believed his religious tenets, making him a puppet of what they regard as a cult. The fundamentalists ignored the fact that several Presidents have less than fabulous credentials when it comes to living out their Christian claims, some being arguably completely godless. Romney still had widespread support from many in the conservative and business wings, enough so to be a fly in McCain's ointment.

Romney also suffered by the continuing candidacy of Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor. Huckabee siphoned away a substantial portion of the evangelical and socially conservative vote due to his credentials as a former Baptist minister. Had Huckabee conceded his bid, Romney may well have had the strength to evict McCain from contention. Romney shocked many with his withdrawal from the race. People speculated about his motivation, thinking he may have withdrawn for the good of the party, or perhaps by demonstrating that he is a team player, he gets to go to the head of the line next round.

Mike Huckabee

Finally, we have former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, inheritor of the office from Jim Guy Tucker who in turn succeeded Bill Clinton. Huckabee seemed to be very opportunistic, doing and saying whatever was expedient instead of embodying the tenets of his mainstream Christian pedigree. This unappealing quality, along with his role as ankle biter to Romney, enabled John McCain to finish at the top of the GOP heap. What Huckabee succeeded in doing is splitting the conservative GOP vote, making McCain winner by default. Huckabee also, by continuing his run until McCain had numerically locked up the nomination, alienated the GOP movers and shakers. This has made him to some degree persona non grata, almost assuring that he will not be in line for the next Presidential nomination by the Republicans.

John McCain

John Sidney McCain is the most unlikely person to become standard bearer for the 2008 Republican Party. Part of McCain's portfolio is his rebel stance in regards to party loyalty. It wasn't so long ago there was serious speculation that McCain might jump to the Democrat side of the aisle following his defeat by George W.Bush for the GOP nomination in 2000. McCain has repeatedly crossed the aisle to co-sponsor legislation with Democrats. McCain-Feingold was legislation which sought to limit the influence of money in presidential politics, legislation which has proven to be a cure worse than the disease it sought to end. McCain-Kennedy was the so-called illegal immigration amnesty bill which went down in flames amid a huge public outcry this past year despite President Bush's wholehearted support. McCain-Lieberman was a failed bill to limit greenhouse emissions by electric utilities, industrial firms, and refineries at a hefty cost to the economy. John McCain, one of the famous 'band of 14' who helped to remove the teeth from the threat to filibuster over judicial nominations, thereby stopping much needed action on judicial appointments. John McCain, who for a time was seriously courted by John Kerry as a potential Vice Presidential running mate for his 2004 White House bid.

John McCain seems to suffer from an identity crisis. He spends most of his time disguised as the gopher in the Chucky Cheese arcade game Bop the Gopher. He stays hidden until he pops up only to issue an apology for something said by one of his supporters, and has even apologized for his Democrat rivals on one occasion. The other part of the time John McCain is working to establish himself as The Invisible Man, a task at which he seems to be succeeding admirably.

A brief aside...

This is the GOP nominee, John Sidney McCain. I remember the last election cycle when John Kerry was the nominee of the Democrat party. He was the beneficiary of an effect called 'cascading'. He won a couple of the initial contests and the others quickly fell into line for him, a cascade of acclaim which gave the Democrat party a very weak candidate. Notes were taken by political operatives. In what had been an inadvertent cascade in Kerry's case lay useful information. What if a willing press could create a deliberate cascade? If it were possible to so influence the primaries and caucuses, the press could then select who the nominee for either party might be. Is it a coincidence that John McCain had nothing but love and hugs from the press until he stood alone at the helm of the GOP ticket for 2008? McCain was endorsed by no less than the New York Times, a newspaper not known for its conservative leanings. Why would they choose to endorse McCain unless they believed he was the weakest candidate in the Republican stable? It seems like an amazing set of coincidences, but in politics at this level there are NO coincidences.


Let's switch sides of the aisle and have a look at the Democrat hopefuls for 2008. This side of the aisle has produced much more sound and fury than their GOP competitors. As of this writing there are 2 contenders still vying for the crown, Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. To be where they stand is the culmination of a hotly contested battle, one which has produced many casualties.

The Dem contenders

The field started out with Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Tom Vilsack, and Mike Gravel. The Democrat race is as notable for its absentee candidates as it is for the ones running. Absent is Al Gore, the man who lost to (some say won over) George Bush in 2000. John Kerry is also AWOL, as is Evan Bayh, General Wesley Clark, Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, Russ Feingold, Al Sharpeton, and Mark Warner. Let's look at the candidates for a moment.

Joe Biden is a long time Senator and according to many the most qualified nominee of the Democrats, but he failed to gain traction.

Chris Dodd, another long time Senator had the same result as Biden.

Dennis Kucinich, ultra liberal escapee from the mothership provided comic relief until he retired to defend his Congressional seat in Ohio.

Tom Vilsack is a non entity to the public, a non-factor in the race.

Bill Richardson was a serious contender from his credentials but working from New Mexico, a state with a small population, found himself with too small a base to be viable.

John Edwards took a swing at the Presidential pinata, but missed badly when Clinton and Obama got all the ink and the air time. He was relegated to jumping up and down on the sidelines shouting "I'm still running, y'all!" Nobody heard him and he went away.

Mike Gravel is still in the race (I think), but he's orbiting far out in the political solar system, locked in an icy darkness while Clinton and Obama bask in the light (and sometimes in the heat).

Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama is a first term Senator from Illinois, and has been taken to task as being too inexperienced for the job. He has as positive qualities an impressive speaking ability while actually saying nothing. He is the candidate for change while being very nonspecific what those changes might entail. He is regarded as the most liberal Senator in a body which contains Edward Kennedy, so that statement puts Obama so far left he may be sitting in the grandstand instead of playing in left field. Obama has a lovely wife named Michelle, who has revealed a thinly veiled resentment toward the US. Her resentment is intact despite her and Barack knocking down some serious money these last several years. Michelle reaps over 300K per year in her employment. They both have come under scrutiny for their affiliation with the Trinity United Church of Christ, a church headed by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Some of Wright's sermons have been exposed, sermons loaded with vitriol against certain segments of society. Wright's congregation follows what has been termed Black Liberation Theology, a belief system which is outside the tenets of mainstream Christianity, being much more 'Afrocentric' in its teachings. Obama has sought to sidestep the issue, claiming he wasn't in attendance when the inflammatory statements were made from the pulpit. This seems incredulous considering the sheer amount of those utterances. Obama and his wife have been financial contributors to the church, an action which supports the contention that Obama is supportive of the church and its message. Obama also has his children to consider. They too are exposed to the acid from the pulpit, hearing a message that America is the reason for the plight of black people, totally negating any idea of self responsibility for ones choices in life. If you end up as a drug addict, it isn't your fault for choosing to take drugs, it's the fault of the government for bringing the drugs into the society. If you come down with AIDS, it's not your fault for having unsafe sex, it's the government's fault for developing and introducing AIDS into the black population as a means to control the number of black people.

Obama seems to be losing support, his free pass from close scrutiny having expired. His involvements with an indicted political fundraiser named Antoin 'Tony' Rezko have sullied the squeaky clean image Obama has heretofore projected. As the election process unfolds, it's a safe bet to expect further revelations regarding Obama. Never underestimate the power of a politician who can enunciate an entire sentence, especially after the last eight years.

Now, for the 'Pièce de résistance', Hillary Rodham Clinton. Where can one begin when recounting the adventures of the junior Senator from New York? The thing about Hillary Clinton is that she claims credit for being part of her husband's presidency while accepting none of the blame for its failures. Hillary has experience galore in government, being part of the Watergate Committee Hearings of 1974 early in her career. She was tasked with development of procedures to be followed in that investigation. The results were less than stellar with her work being described as 'ethically flawed'. Some of her recommendations were to deny President Richard M. Nixon legal counsel, and to 'not hold any hearings with or take the depositions of any live witnesses'.

My, how the years have flown. Who can forget Travelgate, Cattlegate, Filegate, or myriad other peccadillos concerning the former Clinton Administration? It warms the heart and mind just anticipating a return to those halcyon years.

Just these last couple weeks we have been treated to a display of Clinton's management style. While the conservative talk media has been engaged with Obama and his relationship with his flamethrower pastor, all Hillary had to do is sit back and let the conservative media do her work for her. The first rule of political combat is "When your enemy is bent on destroying himself, get out of the way and let him." Is that what Hillary did? No, my brothers and sisters, it emphatically is not. Instead of being circumspect and letting Obama take his hits she instead regaled us with the tale of her trip to Bosnia where she and her entourage had to run for cover from sniper fire. It turns out the story is a complete and utter work of fiction, a lie fashioned from whole cloth. Usually finding support from the mainstream media, imagine her shock and awe when that mainstream media recounted her visit complete with sedate stroll across the tarmac. What Hillary managed to do is pull her opponents chestnuts out of the fire and refocus that fire upon herself. Clinton has a character flaw, one she apparently shares with her husband, which says "Why tell the truth when I can tell a perfectly good lie?" That tendency, along with her poor political judgment should disqualify her for the office.


These are the choices which will produce our 2008 Presidential nominees. To paraphrase former Kansas Senator and Presidential candidate Robert Dole when he remarked concerning America's three living former presidents, (Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon), Dole referred to them as "Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil, and...Evil". Those are the choices we have.

One could surmise that if Obama wins the nomination he will alienate liberal women who support Clinton. If Clinton wins, she will probably alienate the black voting bloc, so regardless of who gains the nomination a significant portion of the Democrat coalition will become disenfranchised. On the Republican side McCain has already alienated a significant portion of the Christian/conservative wing of the GOP. The question remains then which candidate will alienate the largest portion of his or her constituency. Add Ralph Nader and shake, don't stir, for a delectable political cocktail.

At this point it remains to be seen who will win this contest, but I have a sneaking suspicion who will lose. The inevitable loser in this dogfight will once again be the American electorate.

There is much written on the 2008 Presidential Election, although the amount here is surprisingly small (as of yet). Many of the candidates are covered above, but one thing hasn't been discussed above, a facet that is very important: the fact that the 2008 Presidential election will hardly take place in a vacuum, but will be a nationwide election for all of the Representatives, one-third of The Senate, 11 state houses, and many many local elections, from mayor down to the proverbial dog catcher.

For the many foreign readers of this site, and many US readers who might be unclear on the matter, the President doesn't have some of the powers attributed to him. One of the largest powers of the presidency is actually the bully pulpit, the fact that the presidency carries enough respect around it that when he makes a statement, people are inclined to believe him,until he has throughly proved himself a liar. For example, the drive to war, even though engineered by George Bush and Dick Cheney, worked because they had control of the Senate and House, and the ability to convince or cow some democrats in both to go along with the war. Of course, by the 2006 General Election voters, seemingly upset over the Iraq War, or perhaps just showing fickleness to the party in power, voted a majority of democrats into the house, and, by a small margin, the senate. While the 2008 congressional elections might show some surprises, there is a good chance that the democratic margin might grow, perhaps substantially.

This means that if John McCain does win the presidency, he will be working against a stiff headwind. Any legislation he introduces has a good chance of being vetoed, and in some cases, there may be a large enough margin of democrats and liberal republicans to override his veto on some matters. Democrats in the house and senate can make the months of confirmation hearings that follow his inauguration quite difficult, choosing to grill his Secretary of Transportation on how they can run the nation's transportation ticket when they got that speeding ticket back in 1983. And, if they want to get really nasty, they can form special committees to investigate any scandals that might be buried somewhere. McCain is, I assume, well aware of this, and wants to avoid it.

One of McCain's pledges so far has been to keep the race about issues and ideas, rather than character politics. With perhaps some optimism, I think there is a genuine desire to avoid a scorched earth campaign, but I also think McCain is smart enough to know that if he pulls out the stops, and runs a campaign of FUD against Obama, playing the Jeremiah Wright video and starting to let people talk about "Barrack Hussein Obama", that it will be a Pyrrhic victory for him. This will stir up the type of hatred from the senate and house that will lead to the type of opposition outlined above.

In addition, McCain and his supporters are probably thinking of the long term prospects of their party. One of the basic strategies of the republican party was the Southern Strategy, to keep rural, conservative voters (in the south and elsewhere) in their column, and then to win elections by swinging a few key states. I've written elsewhere about the philosophical ramifications of this, as well as how it backfired in one case. But for a more immediate look, it might be interesting to look at a map put together by my friend Qousqous, showing the party affiliations of congressional districts:

While one of the things this map does is show that most of the conventional wisdom about Red States isn't true, it is true in many of the Blue States. The Republican party is down to one seat from New England, and its distribution across urban areas of the West Coast, Central Atlantic and Upper Midwest also look tenuous. In some ways, I think this is identity politics in reverse: many suburban voters who might consider themselves moderates now associate the republican party, (however unfairly), with some of the worst stereotypes of rednecks. This might have caused long term damage to the party, and as more and more Americans grow up in a more pluralistic society, last ditch efforts to appeal to people's fears of those who are different might prove totally suicidal.

This presidential election, perhaps much more than most presidential elections, is about more than just who gets to fulfill their ambition for a position of prestige. It is also about congressional elections, the future of parties, and the future of the country. For those reasons, I think that McCain will have to run a safe, polite race against Obama, even if it means defeat. If he chooses to attack Obama in an underhanded manner, it would make his term next to impossible, and put the Republican Party in a position that it might take ten years or more to recover from.

So finally, here it is, the day of the US presidential elections. November 4, 2008.

The lines were supposed to be long. Ann scoffs.

"I'm going to go around 10 a.m. It'll be after the morning crunch, people will be back to work, but it'll be before the lunch crowd, and I'll be able to just walk in and vote, like I always do."

No no no! Not this time! They say the lines will be HUGE! Long! Even you, with your special reality distortion field, will not be able to combat the lines!

I'm a pessimist. If the weatherman says a gentle rain, I bring an umbrella and food for two days. Ann never has any doubt that when she walks off a cliff a road will be built under her feet. She makes reality change by her presence. I've seen this happen so many times I no longer doubt her. Except sometimes I still do.

THIS time it'll be different! Obama's running against John McCain, the Evil Sarah Palin, the stupid George W. Bush legacy, the war in Iraq, and small-minded religious fundamentalists who believe in creationism, the sanctity of marriage (read: no homos in OUR town!), and the need to travel the world to bring war to the benighted people who still don't believe in Jesus' love. Long lines! And you'll have to fight off Republican men in poorly fitting clothes and Hush Puppies to get to the voting machines! Sweartagod!

I get to the polling place, an elementary school named Forest Edge in Reston, Virginia (one of the battleground states). Walk to the gym.

(Where are the lines? Where are the crowds?)

(Where is the gauntlet of media I had to run through?)

Walk into the almost-empty gym at high noon.

(I am going to eat my shorts if Ann's right again.)

Eight people in line to vote. An old man. An old woman. A working-age man. A woman in faux leopard skin coat, coal black hair piled high like Amy Winehouse with killer stiletto heeled boots (*growl*). Mid-thirties slacker dude. A harried looking young mom with two year old who looks like she's about to cry. A fifty year old guy. Another fifty year old guy. They all look alike. And then me.

I get out my cell phone and text Ann.


She writes back.

"HA HA!!"

That's right, two exclamation marks, just to rub it in. I think, "bitch!" One exclamation mark.

So how was YOUR voting place?

"I walked right up to the desk. No line."

Fuck me running. "Did anyone scurry around and get you coffee while you were waiting?"

"No. The service was abysmal."

Voting places aren't supposed to be like Starbucks, I gently remind her.

"Well, why the hell not? This is the next growth industry."


"OK. Done. Voted for Obama."

"You were talking to me while you were in the voting machine?"

"What? Like you can't do that?"

"I thought it was frowned upon."

"No." She looks around. "No one's frowning. I'm good."

I hear her gather up her stuff and strut out to the car, off to the next errand.

"What's next?"

"The DMV. My license expired a few days ago."

I groaned. "You're driving on an expired license? Oh my god."

"Yeah, and they expect me to bring them a bunch of ... paperwork." You can hear the scorn in her voice. Those small-minded bureaucrats! "Birth certificate, death certificate, Social Security card, blah blah blah. And I have to pay some sort of... back taxes..." Again, The Scorn. Other people do this. Not her.

I groaned again. Surely, surely the Virginia DMV would hold the line on reality. Surely they'd make her do all the things they say they're going to do.

Radio silence for forty five minutes. I imagine a small minded clerk giving Ann the third degree, asking for paperwork like a Customs official in his glass booth. I imagine her sweating. Oh wait. I've never actually seen Ann sweat. Hmmm. What does that look like? I imagine her groveling. Wait, she doesn't do that either.

A text message beeps. "Leaving DMV with valid, new license and on my way to trade ratty Caddy for sweet Lexus."

She calls a few minutes later. Nothing stops this woman. How did it go?

Not perfect, apparently. The DMV asks for height, but doesn't ask for weight any more. That's good isn't it? "Well, sort of. Yeah. But then I went to the gentleman from Ghana who takes the photos, and I ask him if he can make me look like Angelina Jolie. He starts laughing. I tell him I can wait hours until he gets the lighting right. He says, Ma'am, you are beautiful, all your photo look good. I say, good? Good? Honey, we're not here for good. We're here for Maxim."

The DMV has failed me. She leaves the DMV, and I'm just picturing three or four clerks still laughing to themselves, saying 'That was some crazy funny white bitch.'

She's clicking out to the car. I hear the squeak of the security alarm as she opens the door. She's in motion again, always moving, moving like a shark, getting things done.

She never did pay the tax.


I think America's due for a turn around. I can feel it. Get out of Iraq. Reduce taxes. Become more tolerant of gays and lesbians. Fix this banking mess. Hang a few CEOs in public squares as an example for the rest of them.

I just have one suggestion for our next president. Are you listening, dude? I've got a great suggestion for Secretary of State. This woman can get things done.

In politics, love is a stranger, and when it intrudes upon it nothing is being achieved except hypocrisy. All the characteristics you stress in the Negro people: their beauty, their capacity for joy, their warmth, and their humanity, are well-known characteristics of all oppressed people. They grow out of suffering and they are the proudest possession of all pariahs. Unfortunately, they have never survived the hour of liberation by even five minutes. Hatred and love belong together, and they are both destructive; you can afford them only in private and, as a people, only so long as you are not free.
~ Hannah Arendt in a letter to James Baldwin, 1962.

I choose this quotation to begin a write-up on the election not primarily because it concerns African-Americans - although it has the added advantage of reminding us how much has changed since 1962, when they were not "free" - but because it concerns love and hate.

Love and hate are things that we can only afford when we are not free because when we are free and actually able to chart our own course through the world, we inevitably have to make compromises with reality. The heart is the organ with which we long for the blessed rule of our own kind, who we love, while holding in contempt those who oppress us; but the brain is the organ with which we have to find our way once we are free to do so. Democrats have not been enslaved for the last eight years, but to listen to many of them they experienced the time in a similar way. They are moving now from an era defined by their hearts, by love and hate, to one that must be defined by their heads. They are moving from a dreamworld of expectations to the point where expectations meet reality. I want to talk a little bit about that point.

Call me a party pooper or a Devil's advocate. But I can talk about this point because while I have no particular animus towards Barack Obama, I do not feel much love for him either. I judge a man by his actions and this man has very few actions to judge. His biography is certainly impressive but has consisted for a number of years now almost purely in the act of running for high office, firstly in the United States Senate and then the presidency. None of this means he will necessarily be a terrible president but it certainly does not guarantee he will be a great one either. He may be either, and the battle to determine which it will be has not even yet begun.

I do not mean to detract from the immense symbolic importance of this moment, or the beauty of the fact that the political process has reached out and touched so many millions who formerly felt themselves excluded from it. They used to hate and now they love. I understand why this fact brings such joy and it is understandably going to be our focus for some time. So, I drink to Barack Obama. I drink to his opportunity to meet the expectations of his followers; because the only moment that could possibly be more sublime and beautiful for them than this one is if their dreams eventually come true.

But then, I must say a few words about reality.

Barack Obama has been propelled into office by a loose coalition with loose definitions of their aims. They want "change", which is to say they don't want things to stay how they are, not that they all agree on the desirable endpoint of this "change". This is not necessarily a problem. Ronald Reagan - who, whatever you think of him, was a transformative figure of the sort that Obama hopes to be, only he represented the other side of the dialectic - was not elected thanks to a detailed policy manifesto either. But the parts of his coalition may not always agree, and if the economic pie continues to shrink, they will fight all the harder over the crust. Obama desperately needs to unite the nation behind him because he can not build his elusive "change" on a sectional basis.

Then there is the war in Iraq. I understand, I think, the psychology at work behind his Iraq policy and those who support it. They did not want this war from the beginning, and never saw it as legitimate - many did not even see the president who launched it as legitimate. The war burdens their souls and they want to set themselves free to focus on home. They want a vast act of catharsis by which they can will the war out of existence. They never wanted it in the first place, after all. So let's get it over with, they say. But you cannot will this war out of existence. If you try, it will show you how very real it is, very hard, very soon. Iraqi leaders say Obama knows this.1 I certainly hope so. But do you?

I do not intend to mentally traverse the globe, anticipating everything that might go wrong in every region. Democrats have long been aware of how their domestic goals can be destroyed by adventures abroad; they learnt that lesson from Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War. Obama's expansive domestic goals will cause foreign countries hostile to the United States to try their luck. Joe Biden said it himself, and he assured us Obama would respond accordingly. Well, Joe, that surely depends on the extent of the sacrifice required to make that response. And America's enemies - yes, America has enemies beyond its shores and not just in the Bush White House - know this, too. So we shall see, and we shall hope.

What makes this analysis particularly relevant is the collapse of international finance capitalism. As the world rises from the embers it is going to need a new system to regulate globalization, and the content of that system is going to be up for influence. We face a truly global problem and the solution for any of us consists in the solution for all of us. And this solution depends on the new system - who buys into it, and who buys out of it. It depends on trade and capital movements - who they are free for, who they are not free for. And Obama will have one moment to be the Leader of the Free World who moves us to this new system, and to define its content for the good of America and the rest of the world. And if he fails, things will not be so easy.

My point is merely that there are problems; big problems. In this election America started itself and the world on a journey that could see us arrive at a better place; not a solution, for there are no final solutions. And so for a while we can just love the way the journey has begun. America has entrusted a charismatic leader to guide them as he sees fit, and the rest of the world will embrace him for so long as he meets expectations. Disappointment will be fatal - for the United States of America, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, it could be final. The expectations of those at home can be deferred for longer, but not for ever. By his works shall we know him. And as Barack Obama goes to sleep tonight, the day after the election, I think expectation will weigh on him more than optimism will elate him. It certainly ought to.

1. "Iraq confident Obama won't withdraw troops too quickly",

Barack Obama

The BLACK candidate for presidential candidacy.
The BLACK presidential candidate.
The BLACK president.

Because America has elected a BLACK president it is now so very obvious that we as a country have moved on and have past the issue of race. It makes me feel all fuzzy inside to know that race is not an issue. Good thing too. If race was an issue then he might end up as the representative of his race. Then a screw up would have huge negative effects. But that is just silly, because we obviously don’t care about race in America because we just elected BLACK president.

God bless America.

(Never mind that he is as white as he is BLACK. That is just a technicality like how the BLACK golfer Tiger Woods is half asian and a quarter BLACK)

If you can’t hear me its because I’m in parenthesis.

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