An Open Letter To The President-Elect Of The United States Of America

tideofhope

Mr. Obama,

Forgive the rather unwieldy and crude medium by which I choose to address you.  However unlikely it is that you’ll actually read this message, I felt it would have a better chance of completing it’s intended journey from an open internet forum than at the bottom of a White House mail bin.

Firstly, congratulations on one of the most decisive electoral victories I’ve seen in my lifetime.  In terms of clear mandates, yours is nearly transparent.  Also, Obama victory parties had way better weed than McCain parties would have, so thanks for a great Tuesday.

obama-wants-to-legalize-marijuana

I should begin by explaining precisely why you did not receive my vote.  Ironically or understandably, depending on your political persuasion, it is much the same reason John McCain did not receive my vote.  It is certainly not a referendum on you as a thinker, orator, or campaigner.  It is also not a referendum on Senator McCain as an able and moderate member of the government for many years.  In fact, as I’d written earlier, I am still of the belief that both the Republicans and the Democrats succeeded in putting their absolute best candidates forward during this election.

No sir, it was a statement on the nature of BOTH your parties, whom you have the unfortunate duty to represent to the world at large.  For as long as I’ve been alive, the Republicans have drawn support from religious fanatics whose presence in this society quite frankly makes me uncomfortable.  The Democrats meanwhile, have carried the banner of an economic and cultural policy born in the leftism of American academia.  This is an environment that seems to lean toward a British-modelled Orwellianism just as frightening as anything Pat Robertson could dream up, only with less Jesus.  Once upon a time, I could take comfort in that at least the Republicans favored LESS government with which to attempt to impose their will on me.  But the last eight years have proved that even Republicans can raid the Treasury, or in this case run up the Federal credit line.  BOTH parties are capable of limited-engagement unpopular foreign wars with ambiguous goals, though I will give you a Democrats sense of SCALE on the matter is generally smaller.

paintballtank

ABOVE: WAR UNDER DEMOCRATS

In short, I’ve seen a series of back-to-back catastrophes on the Presidential level, and until someone proves to me that they can do well in spite of the party they’re attached to, then both said parties can seek a vote elsewhere.  In other words, my vote is up for grabs every election, and I’d like to tell you how you can impress me enough to secure it for a 2012 re-election.  I know this is one man’s opinion, but I feel it’s statistically safe to say I’m not the only one thinking this at the moment.

First of all, I’m a rational person.  My expectations of your office aren’t messianic in nature by any means.  To hear some of the fawning tripe out there, half the country expects to have flying cars and health insurance by the end of the first hundred days.  I am not that person.  So long as you’re not vacationing at a ranch two hundred days out of the year, I can assume that you’re moving as fast as you can.

BUSH RANCH MODE

SEE THIS?  DON’T DO THIS.

But move you must, obviously.  And the question on punditry’s collective blabbering lips everywhere has been: Move how? My question, and the point of this posting, is this: Will you be the centrist you promised everyone during the election?

Much has been made from your campaign staff about “governing from the center”.  Your affinity for Lincoln’s method and idolization of the “Team Of Rivals” model is well noted.  And considering your initial pick for Secretary Of State, it looks as though you may on some level be adopting the same policy.  This is a good sign.

My concern, as a moderate, is that the party you represent may take advantage of your presence to push forward an agenda just as extreme on the left-hand path as the one everyone feared while strolling down the right-hand path these past eight years.  Their vehement push to get government assistance to the utterly failed auto industry bespeaks this sort of cronyism and agenda-based governing.  I do understand the unions helped you get elected, but on that issue I would implore you to inject some common sense into the argument at your first available opportunity.  I did not approve when seven hundred billion dollars went to stabilizing CEO paychecks, and I will approve even less if some of it is allocated to an industry whose crown jewel of innovation is the Chevy Aveo.

aveos

I’M SUPPOSED TO SUBSIDIZE CRAP WITH A HATCHBACK OPTION?

These are the kinds of moves that are going to drive the moderate base of this country away from supporting your initiatives in other areas.  On many issues, you and I are in agreement for reasons that are rational and cohesive.  The Gitmo detention facility is an international embarrassment of the first caliber.  Shut it down.  I can and do receive government car insurance, I may as well have access to your health insurance, too.  If you get your sights on Bin Laden, take the shot.  No one REALLY cares what Pakistan thinks about the matter.  And fund stem cell research till the cows come home.  I have Parkinson’s and ALS in my family history, and I’d like to live.

I don’t expect you to wave a magic wand to revive the economy.  I don’t even expect you to pull us out of Iraq, as I think you know doing so too precipitously would cause more trouble than going in did.  I would like to see a moderate, RATIONAL approach to the central issues of our age without having to let Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank conduct a hippie love-in on the Senate floor.  I know as the chief executive you only have so much power on domestic issues, but… they’re listening to you, sir.  They’re ALL listening.

And so am I.  If a Presidential candidate can actually turn into the President he portrayed himself as during the campaign, THAT would be change I can genuinely believe in.  What sent my vote to a third party candidate was my inability to believe that either you OR John McCain would turn out to be what they said they were.  With the election over, I can impart on its victor the honest desire that you will prove my cynicism wrong.  Please be the moderate you promised.  Please be the President we need.

Good luck.

Hail To The Chief…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

On The Threshold Of Electoral Fury, Two Scenarios Emerge

voting_machine_1

It seems the bards of our media age are all singing in perfect harmony before the eve of the Election of 2008.  And indeed, this is a storied hour.  The longest so-called “cycle” since the horrifically long Senate fiasco of the Late Roman Republic in 72 BC is now drawing to a close.  It was an epic tale, periodically even prompting my own internet-spewed two cents worth, which has paraded and stomped its way across every form of human communication for seemingly countless months.  And the gods alone know what our country will look like in the next 24 hours.

As alluded to, the screaming chorus of our informed media has reached a near-universal common pitch in their election swan song.  And, quite frankly, it sounds like they’re proclaiming the second coming of a completely neutral and non-religious though nevertheless messianic figure guaranteed not to offend anyone (sorry, death threats again).

Here, let me just give you an example:

rolling_stone_obama

REALLY?  I MEAN, REALLY?

In all fairness, that’s from the end of the primaries, but it’s a sentiment that pretty much spread when the journalist set got over their Hillary-despair.  If you don’t pull a check from Rupert Murdoch, you pretty much want this guy to either win the election AND/OR father your love children.  I was going to make an Anderson Cooper joke here, but my blind Tuvan manservant said it might be offensive.

So far as analysis of the situation goes, their celebration seems by every measure to be inevitably appropriate.  Virtually every poll, old and new, shows Obama in a runaway.  Except when they don’t.  It looks like the key result of the economic crisis (and corresponding cooling of charm vis-a-vis folksy frontier governors) has taken it’s toll on the electorate, prompting an unbreachable acceleration of Obama’s movement toward the White House.  The most modest of polling data shows Obama within (if not AT) 270 electoral vote.  That’s like a blackjack score where you win the world.  Just thirty days ago I predicted here that McCain’s long sought-after unification of the GOP “base” under the Palin banner would seal Obama’s fate.  That’s what I get for making predictions more than thirty days out.  Though in my defense… Nationalizing all the banks?  Man, who would have seen THAT coming?

So, that should be it, really.  Since the integrity of the American media is unassailable and beyond reproach, especially on cable, we may as well talk about how blue the map is going to look tomorrow night.  I could make the rest of this article about what I think an “Obama America” will look like.  After all, never once in ALL of history has the vaunted 4th Estate mislead or misrepresented the will of the American people in ANY capacity, has it?

deweypwned

COME ON, YOU HAD TO SEE THAT COMING.

Shit.

Well, okay.  We can explore the other possibility.  I’m almost hesitant to say it honestly, since it runs counter to the truth that everyone’s talking boxes have been going on about.  Nevertheless, I’ll venture toward this possibility:

BARACK OBAMA MIGHT LOSE

I know.  Breathtaking.

But for the purposes at looking to the other side of this apparent electoral blowout, let us explore a contrary possibility.  We’ll play a little game called “if history holds”.

See, because if history holds, McCain will start the evening with a surprise bang as the independents of New Hampshire re-assert their love for the old man.  This will have all the talking heads in a tizzy about the possible implications, thus ASSURING that everyone in the country is aware by lunchtime or just past that the first indicator state went red.  If history further holds, the incoming barrage from the East Coast isn’t going to do Obama any favors, either.  The whole country will learn WHY Virginia has gone red every election since 1964.  And a subtle combination of xenophobic white turn-out in north Florida and a weaker-than-expected showing for Obama among Hispanics is about all it would take at this point to lose everyone’s favorite electoral fuck-up state.  Obama’s likely built up huge margins to win New York and Pennsylvania, but the first signs of real trouble will come when the results start moving westward.

redneck_special_forces_1

ABOVE: SOMEONE IN FLORIDA WHO MAY NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA

See if history holds, middle America will still be suffering under a lingering fear of that Hussein in his name and the color of his skin.  It’s not that everyone is racist, but enough are to make a statistical difference.  In unfortunate concentrations, that’s the sort of force that could swing a lynch-pin state.  Michigan is probably going blue, but Ohio might be in trouble.  It’s difficult to gauge how well his primary showing there will translate to a national race.  By the time it gets much further West, it’d be no surprise that he loses Colorado, even if he does manage to flip New Mexico, Iowa, AND Nevada from red to blue.  At this point, even an unqualified showing on the West Coast wouldn’t really help.  If history holds.

What are some signs that this might happen?  Well, as many are fond of pointing out, Obama’s campaign IS history making.  It’s altered the electoral map, it’s altered American’s perception of itself AND the world’s perception of America.  It’s brought out more enthusiasm and is expected to bring out more VOTERS than any election in… well, ever I think.

For all those reasons, I think it would be foolish not to assume this candidacy has altered the nature of our polling practices.  Never more has communication of facts on the ground been joined by the incessant humming of a billion other forms of media communication.  For every story you get in a mass mailer about Obama being a secret Muslim or McCain collaborating with his NVA captors in Nam, you get another 24-hour media blitz about the latest “gaffe” to make all the people who still wear monocles pop them out in shock.

Did anyone ever stop to think that polling data might be gloriously FUCKED because of all this?  There’s already the emerging story about most of these polls not including people who are only using cell phones (which is everyone I know, I think).  Common sense says that might lead to an even GREATER Obama lead, but I’ll be damned if I’m taking that for gospel.  Mix in the unexpected factor of people who’ve said to a pollster YES I’m gonna vote for Obama because it seems like the “in” thing to do, and you have a glorious recipe for misinformation.

There’s also the perpetual Democratic reliance on “the young people coming out in DROVES this time, I SWEAR IT” that perplexes me to no end.  College age kids have two underlying and fundamental traits, folks.  They love to talk shit, and they hate DOING shit.  Obama may have every Facebook page on campus buzzing, but believing that’s going to lead to massive voter turnout from the campuses of the United States is a stretch I’m not willing to make until I see it happen.

joecollege

VOTING TUESDAY, OR PLAYING HALO?  I’LL GIVE YOU THREE-TO-ONE ODDS.

So let me put this in the most succinct way I can manage.  For McCain to come out on top tomorrow, he has to defeat the numbers.  For Obama to do so, he has to defeat HISTORY.

The good news for Obama, in this scenario, is that he already has experience doing that.

So what’s my final call on the election, after all these months and on the eve of the great event?  I honestly see one of two things happening.  Either it’s the Obama blow-out everyone is expecting, or it’s going to be a LONG-assed night tomorrow.  Fortunately, I have a bottle of whiskey and a television in my bedroom.

My only other word on the matter will come afterward, when I break character, get personal, and tell everyone who I voted for.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

And Then There Were Two

M/O

Well I made a promise, and I kept a promise. I vowed not to speak again on the campaign until we were down to two official candidates. Little did I know.

Honestly, probably best I kept quiet about the internal affairs of any party. I get disgusted enough by the majority of BOTH their antics in pursuit of swing votes like my own, so we’ll leave it at that. I will only say I think ‘superdelegates’ are a colossally asinine idea.

Anyway, without getting too deep into the situation, I’ll just make a list of my most recent observations concerning how Senators Obama and McCain are likely going to throw down before November.

BADAAAAAASSSSSSS!!!!!!!

BAADASSSSS!

So first off, the right honorable Senator Barack Obama, finally wresting victory from the jaws of a deluded loser. It’s not as though this win wasn’t self-evident since at least early March, but the upshot to this, er… unexpected delay is that Obama’s campaign has had extra time to craft their general election strategy. Of course, so has the GOP.

Regardless of all that, the question of the hour seems to be swirling around possible running mates. Some people are under the impression that Obama has utterly no choice but to extend the offer to Hillary. I’m not sure what dimension these observers are living in, but it appears to be one where John Edwards doesn’t exist. Or Ted Strickland. Or Chet Culver. Or any one of a NUMBER of well-thought-of complimentary Democrat governors dotting the landscape. Why, I ask you logically, would Obama pick a running mate fully half his own party just told him they can’t stomach? Guys like Edwards and Strickland are well-known faces in some battleground states, including my own. Or, failing that, someone with military or foreign policy to balance out the fact Obama has about two squirrel shits worth of experience in it.

Have I mentioned that for the first time in my life, I’m in a swing state? Places like North Carolina represent the unpredictable nature of this campaign. Everything that may work for or against Obama in this area (high turn-out among blacks, draw of college kids that normally don’t vote, the defection of white Democrats toward McCain) is purely speculative. This state hasn’t voted Democrat for a president since 1976, but all the rules are changed now.

So in short: Fresh off beating the unbeatable Clintons, clearly invigorated, and clearly coming with a plan, the Obama campaign promises to be one of the most dynamic in modern history. And what’s even better, it looks like he’s got decent competition…

Son, Your Ego\'s Writing Checks Your Body Can\'t Cash.

“SON, YOUR EGO’S WRITING CHECKS YOUR BODY CAN’T CASH.”

Enter Senator John McCain, who is doing his level best to appear unimpressed by this whippersnapper that’s got all the young’ns excited. Which is a tough job, considering that this election came in a package marked “change”, and it’s going to be perpetually difficult to convince younger voters that one of the oldest candidates to ever run is a paragon of radical thinking.

Still, young people don’t do so well deciding Presidential elections in this country, so there’s that.

Either way, McCain’s campaign so far looks a little dualistic in nature, if not schitzophrenic. On the one hand, now that the general election is officially on, McCain can highlight his strongest appeal among swing voters. That is mainly that most Republicans can’t stand him. It looks like the campaign has firmly decided to say “fuck the conservative base”, assuming they’ll opt to vote AGAINST someone named Barack Obama even if they despise McCain. Which they do. Makes sense; it’s presidential politics 101. Court the crazies in your party till it’s down to two, then run back toward the middle as fast as you can. Also, careful not to bang your head on the other guy, cause he’ll be coming the other way, doing the same shit.

On the other hand, John McCain isn’t moving a goddamn inch on the economy. Consider for a moment the STATE of the economy and reflect what a strange tactic that is. His first general election attack on Obama is an engagement in McCain’s weakest field, money matters. His line of attack is to try and define Obama’s most liberal economic tendencies as a BAD thing. There’s even been some recusitating of the old ‘tax and spend’ label that used to scare people away from Democrats. At the beginning of a long hot summer of high gas/food prices, home foreclosures, and a screaming for SOMETHING to be done about it, John McCain’s campaign is attempting to turn Obama’s “change” message into a LIABILITY. All the while his own economic plan looks pretty much exactly like Bush’s did in 2000. They pull this off, and McCain could go down as one of the most brilliant politicians in history.

And then there’s the real (forgive me) elephant in the room, McCain’s own potential VP nominees. As much noise as the media is making about who might ride with Obama on the dusty campaign trail, his decision is far less critical than McCain’s on the matter. If McCain wins, he’ll be 72 when he’s inaugurated. He has lingering health questions by perception if not fact, and Democrats are going to key in on that. The voters will know (or at least suppose) that his vice-presidential candidate is MORE than just an academic feature of the campaign. It ideally needs to be someone who could be President, if need be. An easy guess would be any one of the people who showed up at his cook-out in Sedona in April; Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, and Charlie Crist, for example.

There For The Taking

So that’s how things are looking now, other than the bump-by-bump potshots starting up over the sordid pasts of lobbyists and buddies-of-3rd-world dictators that everyone seems to have working for them. Apparently now it’s against the rules to have anyone with dirt on the team. I always thought it’s how these people GOT their jobs. Weird.

On a personal note, I will say I’m excited, as a political junkie and as an American. Because it looks like we’ve finally got an election with two real stand-up guys in it. Or as close to stand-up as 20+ years in the American political system and the virtue of having risen to national prominence on two book deals and a speech can possibly be.

Out for now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle