The Blue Raccoon

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Getting Played
Politics as just another content provider for reality news teleivsion

TV Cello (1971) by Nam Jun Paik (1932-2006) Performer Charlotte Moorman (1931-1993).

While walking yesterday evening through the unexpected warm spring evening of March in Richmond-in-Virginia, a city bus passed by and I observed a placard attached to the side that queried, "WHICH HDTV IS BEST FOR YOU?" and arrows pointing to opposite ends of the question, and two different prices, due to the various attachments and whizbangs that come on these devices.

And I thought about this in a political sense. We are getting asked basically to choose which HDTV is best for us, whether or not we want an HDTV. The Dueling Democrats competing for convention delegates are two versions of the same appliance, though one may have a sharper picture, or clearer sound.

Today, state Democrats cast votes that are described by the vidiot box's talking heads in eye-bulging, vein-pulsing excitement as "crucial" and "defining." My guess is the needle isn't going to really move much: billion eyed audience, you read it here, that my guess is neither Clinton nor Obama will seal the deal today. Clinton, bloodied but unbowed as they say, will be able to spin whatever happens as a victory because it isn't a total defeat, and Obama can make one of his patented stem-winder speeches to get people stomping their feet and chanting his slogan of the week, and say he won because Clinton didn't take everything. And on we'll go to Pennsylvania or Lower Slobovia or whatever's next.

What would amuse me, in a schadenfreude sense, is if somehow Huckabee managed to thwart McCaine from getting all the delegates he needs in this one fell swoop.

Then again, I see this as emboldening the enemies of the U.S. Constitution. I'll tell you in brief why.

The other night, I was at a dinner party. A bright, articulate cosmopolitan mother of three was there and describing her adventures in southern Missouri, where she went with her family to procure a service dog trained to detect the falling blood sugar of one of her children afflicted by diabetes. The kicker to this is that a religious group trains these rare dogs and an applicant must attend services at this particular institution of faith and endure harangues from the pulpit.

Her description of the the spittle-projecting, screaming minister denouncing McCain and Obama, using these Internet lies to besmirch the Illinois senator, and saying that after Obama wins--a foregone conclusion to this preacher in Missouri--then the country will be such a wreck, a good Christian soldier like Huckabee will be needed to set things right, and the golden era of a U.S. theocracy can descend upon the land. These are people who think The Handmaid's Tale isn't a dystopian novel, but how things should work.

My tour of the Deep South these past few weeks demonstrated to me, albiet in an anecotal way, a genuine suspicion of the front running candidates--no matter their political stripe. Still, there is a solid evangelical political consitituency in the nation that has hijacked the process by making religion a candidate's validiation point. Never mind that our greatest presidents were either never asked or weren't over-board in their religious faiths. When Billy Graham started hanging out with Richard Nixon, we started having problems.

Today's true believers are re-writing history to suit them, and they tie everything to abortion and cutting welfare and policing the morals of the culture. There never was a golden age of U.S values, except on 1950s television, or in rural provincial back waters where women and minorities were second class citizens and almost invisible.

So that it comes down to is: it's a 50-50 political environment; a pathetic zero sum game where even the most idealistic must sell themselves out just to get their message out, even as they make critical compromises to do so.

We should ask why Obama, for example, hasn't said almost nothing about getting mercenary forces like Blackwater out of Iraq. He's made passing mention to why the United States is building the largest embassy ever in its history in Baghdad, which you can read about here and here. We're not leaving anytime soon. [Image via Bruce Gagnon at Space4peace].

Nor has much at all been said about killing off these Brobdingnagian anti-missile defense projects that include this leviathan radar array called SBX attached to a former Russian oil rig platform, so large that in deployment the thing couldn't go through the Panama Canal.

The current administration's spending on missile defense ballooned to $11 billion -- far outstripping energy research funding--and could grow to $19 billion. That's billion with a "b" for you readers at home.

And what of the recent report that some 2.3 million people in the United States are behind bars -- more than any other nation on earth? Why do we tolerate this? Says the Washington Post, quoting a Pew research document, "One in nine black men ages 20 to 34 is behind bars. For black women ages 35 to 39, the figure is one in 100, compared with one in 355 for white women in the same age group." And, "Although studies generally find that imprisoning more offenders reduces crime, the effect may be less influential than changes in the unemployment rate, wages, the ratio of police officers to residents and the proportion of young people in the population."

I don't hear the Dems talking with any consistency about these pertinent subjects (among many others), about these colossal waste of funds, exclusive of the Iraq debacle. Nor has either one of the candidates leveled with the U.S. citizenry and said in point blank fashion: You have to ask yourselves, is it worth cheap gas for your motor vehicle to send your husband, father, uncle, wife, daughter, neice off to some desert nation perhaps never to return, or come back maimed and mangled and mental? If it is, then fine. That's what we'll do. But know what you're asking for; don't delude yourself with 9/11 rhetoric and patriotic fervor.

So, OK. I'm in Obama's camp. For the novelty of his candidacy, I think, and maybe because of some of that hope he dispenses like ketchup at the Hardee's. But in the end, if he does manage to wrestle this nomination process from two of the most tenacious political street fighters in recent times, he'll have much to answer for. The Clinton campaign has started running the Republican campaign for them considering how Hillary said she and McCain were the most experienced and deserved to be president.

If Hillary stays in the race, and for seven weeks continues to muck up the environment prior to Pennsylvania, while McCain and Bush are able to bad mouth and Obama all day long, then what's the point to any Democratic campaign at all? I return to the Democratic voting Republican ladies standing in my line during the Virginia primary: some Republicans are voting Democrat in essence just to play with our heads.

And Obama is inheriting a catastrophe, and there are many, many millions who want to see him fail and who'll work with determined and deliberate zealous energy to undermine him during every single moment of his public life. I don't want Obama to be this generation's Jimmy Carter, I really don't. Perhaps Obama is a "posing conservative." But maybe that's the way he could ever hope to get elected in this shambling makeshift republic.

And if it is McCain v. Obama, and they conduct every nasty maneuver brewing in the infernal cauldron of Rove's dirty tricks kitchen, and Obama loses, then we get what we deserve. The political process is a farce, but if Obama is trounced, then it becomes tragedy. Problem is, we who cannot expatriate to foreign climes will have to endure what follows, just as we've had to endure the past eight long years, and watch the country just slide away.

If you've just not gotten our fill of Obamadness, a Richmond blogger at West of Shockoe provdes one stop swooning. It's better than listening to the blithering and blathering on television.

This I gleaned from Wonkette.

Here is His Hopeness at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2008. The comments to Wonkette's snarky descriptions are more interesting, as they tend to be in opposition to each other. Some say this is like Dukakis and the tank. I don't see it; Obama isn't displaying his national defense prowess, or lack thereof, by posing as though operating farm equipment.

Two polar opposite remarks:

by PopoZao at 02:55 PM
@TheRainWhisperer: Because for 9 out of 10 Americans (the ones who don't vote in a primary but do vote in a general election) Barry Hussein Idi Amin Obama is more alien than a Martian.

I think the Democratic Primary process has created the false impression that Barry has widespread appeal.

Poor McCain sounds like he is in complete disbelief that Barry is the best the Democrats have to offer up to him every time Barry's name is mentioned. I can't wait to see his self-righteous ass get whupped by McCain. Barry acts like his santorum doesn't stink as bad as the rest of ours but it does!

by ultramk at 03:01 PM
The thing that gets me, is that even sitting on a goddamn tractor, the dude still looks like the president.

You know, aside from the speeches, and the sincerity and all that shit, the dude is straight out of central-fucking-casting. He's presidentier-than-presidenty: he's the presidentiest. He's clay-oven-baked-president-covered-in-tangy-president-sauce-served-with-a-side-of-hot-mesquite-grilled-president.

This, from Lance Mannion, a pragmatic view of a Clinton loss tonight and what it'll mean for Obama. It's a Blame The Media argument; similar in theme to the one I'm making with the title and image at the top of this post:

Clinton is going to lose

Big day tomorrow. Vote early, vote often.

Based on what I've been reading I predict Hillary Clinton's going to lose.

She'll probably wind up pocketing the most delegates but she's going to lose.

The Media will see to it.

It's unlikely she'll get out and out beaten across the board, but she'll still lose. She'll lose by not beating Obama across the board or she'll lose by not winning in every big state or she'll lose by not winning by a large enough margin in the states she's supposed to win or by not coming close enough in the states she's expected to lose or she'll lose by not getting the votes of the right demographic or she'll lose by not getting enough votes in the demographics that were going to vote for her anyway or she'll lose because not enough people tell the exit pollsters on their way out how excited they were to cast their vote for her.

Whatever, however.

She's going to lose.

She's going to lose because they're going to say she did and they'll say it because they want her to.

This is not sour grapes. This is the way it's been going on for fifteen years now. And those of you who think that this is a good reason not to support her, so we can get away from this, those of you who think that Obama will somehow be able, through the sheer force of his personality or the beauty of his rhetoric or the wonderfulness that is him or through the plain fact that he is not a Clinton need to consider this very real possibility:

The reason he's a media darling now is because he's not a Clinton. He gives them a way to dump on the Clintons while congratulating themselves on how cool and post-partisan they are.

If and when Hillary's beaten and Obama's the nominee he becomes the Democrat running for President.

And you watch.

If the Republican running against him is John McCain then every single move Obama makes will be the wrong one.

Everything he says will be a lie.

Every time he appears to win he will lose.

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