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

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A User’s Guide To Economic Crisis

So there we were in a certain universe.  The Great Campaign of ’08 was proceeding exactly as all the others, with a very familiar final act unfolding before us all.  That is to say both candidates were proceeding to out-dull one another into a submission hold of fatigue and predictable political ploys.

YAWN.

And then, in the midst of this election of Change (TM) something truly remarkable happened.  Something actually changed.

And of course by “change” I mean “collapsed on an epic level” and by “something” I mean the United States economy.  Not that economy hasn’t been an issue the entire election, but now something has started to happen that has given both candidates an opportunity to rise to the occasion… to take bold uncompromising steps toward leadership as a crisis unfolds in this election’s latter days.  And, to their credit, one candidate DID make a slight halfhearted attempt at it.

NONE OF THE REPORTERS REALIZED HOW CLOSE THEY HAD ALL COME TO DEATH THAT DAY.

So with both Obama and McCain trying their best to sound as much like one another (and the polled preferences of the majority of likely American voters), their opinions on the matter are effectively irrelevant.  I imagine they’re JUST as irrelevant by phone or in person, in case it matters.  The important thing to note is that the immediate state of everyone’s credit and finances is in the hands of the US Federal Government.  So really, how can there be anything to worry about?  They do such a bang-up job on everything else.

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AT WORK

The United States Department of Pulling Numbers Out Their Asses have apparently generated a $700 billion dollar price tag on what is, to my understanding, the economic equivalent of cleaning out an engine and all its filters so it doesn’t blow up on Dead Man’s Curve down by the old Thompson Farm.  Except that no one knows if engine gunk is actually the problem.  But whatever that problem is, it doesn’t act like anything else that’s ever been solved by conventional means on a car engine, anywhere, any time.

For the average citizen, there are two main responses to this crisis.  The first is open sarcasm.  As such, here are your Final Four brackets for all the banks in the Free Market.  Everyone feel free to start office pools, I’m sure that’s why it was created:

The other path is political action of some sort.  And here I have a proposition to my fellow Americans.  A proposition as to the path that we can take in the immediate, for we are fortunate enough to have a catastophe too fresh to wear off by Election Day.  Allow me to outline my proposal.

For the next few days, and on into forever, you’re going to hear Republicans and Democrats do what they do best: blame each other for shit going wrong.

Since a few Republicans suddenly decided that NOW they were gonna remember the Constitution, it’s already begun.  The point-counterpoint that followed as even the President seemed to shrink to irrelevancy only served to further drive home the point that zealots and pricks have taken over Congress.

Mind you, I’m not saying the bailout is a good thing or a bad thing.  I find it a CURIOUS thing when one considers a few points.  First, the majority of economics experts are predicting something far less dire than people seem to be imagining (myself, at times, among them).  The second thing to keep it mind is that if the US taxpayer winds up having to foot this bill, and I honestly don’t see how we’re not gonna get stuck with this, then there’s a HOST of other things $700 billion dollars could be used for that don’t involve a plan that might not even work.

A few examples?  Well, $365 billion could fix every collapsing road and every shitty railroad line in the United States.  For another $185 billion we could establish BOTH a national health care system and a universal automated health information system, something I was shocked to learn we don’t actually have already (the two groups with the finest communication of respective medical histories in this country are veterans and convicts).  That’s $515 billion, and I’m not done.  Because if the Gila Bend solar array is any indicator of potential, another $85 billion could conceivably provide power to nearly SIX MILLION US HOMES and that would STILL leave us another $100 billion for the infrastructure necessary to carry that power from the southern deserts to wherever the fuck it needs to go.

It should also be pointed out that these projects all address issues that have ALSO been pestering the United States Congress for several years, each one of them threatening this nation in one way or another.  It suddenly becomes very funny how Congress can come up with 700 billion dollars when their rich friends are in trouble.

ONE OF CONGRESS’ NEW LOCAL OFFICES.

The apologists for this bailout will make a big deal about how the government may recuperate all its losses from flipping reams and reams of shitty credit.  Because if there’s one thing everybody’s going to rush to do, it’s buy bad loans from the government.  They also point out that any one of the ambitious projects I just brought up will DEFINITELY mean a tax increase (which isn’t totally true, but it might).  They don’t mention, however, the number of jobs an infrastructure overhaul alone will create, to say nothing of side industries.  Definitely a tax, but definitely a return, which is more than we can say for Operation: “Panic And Throw Money At It”.

But regardless how you feel about the plan, one thing we can ALL agree on is the need to do precisely what DIDN’T get done this week.  Which is to say, something productive.  Maybe the bailout is a better idea, maybe it’s not, but… I don’t know… ISN’T THIS WHAT WE ELECT THESE FUCKERS TO FIGURE OUT?

And so enters my aforementioned humble proposition.  I propose, my fellow voters, that we all do something to blow their fucking minds.  Something none of their pollsters could POSSIBLY envision.  We act like responsible voters.  We use our powers of democracy to attack the REAL culprits of government ineptitude in the face of crisis.

We vote against incumbents.

GET. OUT.

Fuck all if they’re Republicans.  Vote Democrat.  Democrats?  Vote Republican.  Or vote third party.  Just make a showing against whoever is CURRENTLY in office, and that you’re eligible to vote against.  Rush the polls.  Toss a bunch of close races the other way, or narrow the margin of a sure-thing enough he or she notices.  Send them a message.  All of them.

Current economic wisdom says this crisis traces its roots as far back as the mid-1990’s.  Now I don’t know the numbers, but I HAVE to guess there are a lot of motherfuckers (and fuckerettes) who have been in the Senate and the House since at LEAST then.  I’m talking Republicans and Democrats ALIKE.  Maybe it’s time these fine individuals sought work elsewhere.

So fuck it, then.  They can’t get their act together, for WHATEVER reason?  They ALL let this situation get to this point in the first place.  Let’s remind them they work at our pleasure.  Let’s make them feel some real “change”.

ON NOTICE

Out For Now…

– Paris ‘Rev’ Battle

(If you’d like to know which of your current Senators or Representatives are incumbents, and whether or not they’re up for firing this year, the full lists by district may be found here and here)

You Can Put Lipstick On A Pig, But It’s Still A Lost Election. Or: My Second-To-Last Comment On This Debacle Called The 2008 Presidential Race

This has been the pivotal week.

This is “read my lips, no new taxes” and “it’s the economy stupid” and “I actually DID vote for etc, before I voted against it.”

It’s “The Moment”.  It happens in every election, and it seals the deal.  Sometimes it comes early, and slaps a label on a candidate they can’t shake (Kerry The Flip-Flopper), and sometimes it comes late and gets used as a weapon against a crucial voting block (Obama The Woman Hater).  Either way, The Moment is as inescapable and inevitable as its results.  Results which, over the last week, have become all too apparent.

Mind you, I was preparing a draft for this latest blog entry entitled “Calling The Election For John McCain” before this happened.  But events early this week have made what was going to be a simple assessment of solid red states and battleground poll numbers is instead going to turn into something perhaps a little more flashy here in the home stretch.

This has all been going downhill for Obama since the selection of Sarah Palin.  What at first seemed the baffling pick of a woefully under-experienced and unknown VP candidate quickly crystallized into a cohesive and effective strategy from the GOP side.  Steve Schmidt has apparently learned well from his dark master.

“WHAT IS THY BIDDING, MY MASTER?”

“GO FUCK YOURSELF.”

Much like Chase and Ackroyd in Spies Like Us, she’s a decoy.  They put Palin out there as a target with an Alaska-sized bear-trap sitting right next to her.  And the Democrats stepped right the fuck into it.

WOULD IT BE INAPPROPRIATE TO CALL HER A ‘TROJAN HORSE’ WITH LIPSTICK?

It started with the experience question.  As some rare souls in the media mainstream (if the Post can even be called that) have somehow miraculously noticed, Obama got sucked into an argument that he was preset to lose.  By attacking Palin on the experience question, they set themselves up for a counter-attack on Senator Obama’s own experience, his consistent weak spot.  This led to a “tale of the tape” style back-and-forth between the two campaigns over whether community organizers, small town mayors, or governors with states that have roughly the population of a large trailer park are better experienced to lead this entire nation.  The Democrats played into this nonsense by essentially pitting the HEAD of their ticket against the number two on the Republican side.  So even if the argument is won, it’s lost.  It will read that if Obama’s having trouble with Number One, how’s anyone to believe he’s going to beat Blofeld?

Then this shit happened:

Which is memorable apparently for being so memorable, to hear everyone tell it.  I’d almost erased this moment of retarded levity from my memory and now it may go down as the lamest joke to ever win an election.  Observe:

This is what an overworked candidate looks like, incidentally.  And likely campaign exhaustion is what led to this strategic level fuck-up.  See, a fully refreshed and prepped Barack Obama would have had every ounce of Sarah Palin intel ready to spring into action from the depths of his Vulcan-like mind to prevent uttering those exact words at THIS exact time.  And it would have recalled that atrocious bit of semi-humor and it’s apparent bumper sticker appeal among “working class whites” (racist people).  Or at least recalled before the audience did, and started laughing about it.  You can see him almost realizing what he’s saying halfway through it after their gleeful response, if you look closely.  If it had broken through fully he probably would have cracked a laugh, and with good reason: Because calling Sarah Palin a pig by accident is fucking funny.  Not good for your campaign, but funny.

So the Republicans respond by snapping that bear trap shut with an outraged, ‘OH NOES OBAMA CALLED SARA A PIG WTF!!!1!’  Oh, and a hastily thrown together advertisement I’d love to show you, but apparently CBS made YouTube take it down because it contained illicitly gained footage of Katie Couric, a statement that shouldn’t sound sexy but kinda does anyway.  This is the same CBS that ran a story with fake documents discrediting a sitting president during an election year and tarnishing the reputation of their finest anchor.  But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

In any case, that text-message outrage leaked it’s way into the sea and was snapped up for the journalistic gangbang called the 24-hour cable news cycle.  The Obama campaign was, to say the least, a bit rattled.  There was a poll slip, then a dead heat again.  If you don’t believe they were rattled, observe their response.  Witness Obama’s thunderous denunciation:

Heartfelt, emotional in places, played well in the room, and entirely too late.  Obama slammed the barn door pretty hard, but the horse was already contending for the Triple-Crown.  And if I’m calculating this correctly, Obama is mounting his primary defense on the assumption that everyone is smart enough to know the difference between an exhausted non-comment turning into a funny moment and an actual insult.  In other words, he’s hinging his bet on the political acumen and keen observational skills of the American public.  I’ve never seen a more effective way of losing than that.

For those of you all high on “hope” and “change” (or anything else) that makes you think that somehow this election will be different, I apologize for killing your buzz.  I know that sucks.  But now for the injection of some hard cold factual analysis.  Voters are essentially ignorant, as most serious studies on the matter have apparently concluded.  Social scientists are nicer guys about it and don’t use words like that, but there’s very little doubt you can call an electorate who believes the things they do in the numbers they do anything but that.  Ignorant.  And the answer is YES, this dirty little episode is going to make an impact, an impression, AND a difference.  The Republicans can even pretend some moral high ground my not mentioning it anymore (they’ve already stopped), because they’ve gotten what they wanted out of it.  Unified, overwhelming support for the ticket among their own base, something they’ve not really had up until this point.  And the results speak for themselves.

According to MSNBC, this “Palin bounce” over the “enthusiasm gap”, has not only erased Obama’s lead in national polls, which are mostly garbage anyway, but cut significantly into his electoral vote advantage.  That’s a number that actually makes blood-pressures rise on campaign buses when it jumps around like this.  And it’s coming from a network that doesn’t like to report bad news about Obama, so you know it’s got to be REALLY bad, if not worse than they’re making it sound.

Whatever the case, the raw numbers are as follows: Obama’s gone from being a 28 point favorite in the race for electors to having a 6 point lead, by their estimations.  Most of this is a result of traditional red states which had looked like possibilities for Obama now firmly slamming the door in his face, and the movement of Florida from a total toss-up to leaning McCain’s way.

But all of that is just the beginning.  The Republican juggernaut of church-going suburbanite voters that put the least likable President in US history in office twice is now amped-up behind McCain.  Well, behind Palin at least, but it got them off their asses and that’s pretty much all they need.  The sheer NUMBER of votes these people can generate has been the death-knell for every Democrat candidate since Carter’s re-election attempt.  And the Obama campaign has pulled out… basically nothing.  If ever there were time for a late-game rush on some “hope and change”, now would be it.  This week, with hurricane coverage obscuring politics they may have gotten a reprieve for a moment, but if Team Obama wants to field some crazy last minute move, they have forty-nine more days to make it work.

BASICALLY FUCKED

But don’t look so down!  My very LAST post on the election will be about who I’M actually voting for, and why it doesn’t matter in the end because American democracy is past salvation.  That’ll be sure to cheer  you up.

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

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