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Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Labels: John McCain
posted at 8:23 PM
I Remember That Guy
Anyone watching the news over the past ten days knows two things about the election coming up:
John McCain seems to be falling behind.
Barack Obama is a terrorist.
These two developments are connected. As the economy dives closer and closer to an "Apples For Sale" level, Americans are increasingly frightened. From everything I've read, and the little I actually understand, you damned well ought to be.
Because we're a diverse people, we also have unresolved wars in Iraq, a joke of a health care system, prison overcrowding, an addiction to petroleum, and a score of other issues that should have been taken on by a competent government, but I don't feel like looking backward again to the past, when I should be telling the American people what I'm going to do for them.
I'll try to get to that.
Now, however, the country is nervous, jumpy, and an emotional powder keg ready to be set off by the smallest spark. I suppose that's why it's so astounding that John McCain, a man whose political career has dealt often in common sense, has decided to allow his campaign to brand an American citizen, a United States Senator, and a man with tremendous achievements, as a terrorist, or at the very least, a terrorist sympathizer.
At McCain and Palin rallies over the past couple of weeks, barely veiled assertions have been thrown regarding Obama's relationship with a man named William Ayres. Bill Ayres was a member of a terrorist group that did some depicable things, this is true. Ayres and Obama did work together on the board of a charitable organization. Ergo, Obama pals around with terrorists.
Never mind that Ayres' group did their deeds when Obama was 8 years old, the Senator is a terrorist, and you should be scared. And because the final line of our national anthem is now just wishful thinking, it worked.
McCain and Palin rallies have been increasingly hostile, with yelps from the crowd of "terrorist!" "traitor!" and cries of "Kill him!" The campaign has actively bred a mob, and it is a mob they have on their hands. Some footage from a Palin rally:
As a person born and raised in Ohio, I am completely embarrassed by this footage. I spent over twenty years in the state, and I do not know who these people are. They appear to be willfully ignorant, frightened, and in the case of the woman who keeps jumping in front of the camera, mildly retarded. I know these people exist in every state in the country, and in every part of the world, but I'm still mortified.
Friday, at a McCain town hall in a hall in some town in Minnesota, McCain took questions:
I was flipping around the TV that day, and Chris Matthews was commenting on all of this, noting that McCain's actions at this rally reminded us of what it is we used to really love about John McCain. He's right. We finally get to see a glimmer of the man a lot of us wanted to vote for in 2000 before McCain's campaign was sandbagged by the same people whom he has hired to run his current campaign. His poll numbers will probably react favorably.
Matthews' effusive praise reminded me of something else.
A favorite movie of mine is Quiz Show, which was about the quiz show scandals on American television in the 1950s. The gist of it is, a college professor and son of a prominent family, Charles Van Doren, goes on one of these shows, finds out that it's rigged, and even though he knows better, plays along anyway. He becomes wealthy and beloved across the country, and as an investigation reaches fever pitch, he testifies before Congress.
At the conclusion of the speech, Professor Van Doren is praised by the senators on the committee for the "guts it took" to admit the truth, and for being so forthright. The politicians are effusive with praise for Van Doren's admission of wrongdoing. Just as the lovefest begins to spiral out of control, a congressman from upstate New York, Steven Derounian, said the following:
"Mr Van Doren, I'm also from New York. A different part of New York. I'm happy that you made the statement, but I cannot agree with most of my colleagues. You see I don't think an adult of your intelligence ought to be commended for simply, at long last, telling the truth."
You started this fire, Senator McCain. I'm not going to thank you for spitting on it now.
posted at 9:36 AM
Pop Culture v. Logic
posted at 11:00 AM
Pretty good, and about what I expected. Biden has plenty of experience an a masterful command of the facts, and Palin knew her answers well enough to not freeze up, even when some of those answers had nothing to do with the question posed.
People seemed to like Palin's folksiness, and that has been her strong suit, definitely. Even when the candidates first entered the stage, she could be overheard asking Senator Biden if it was all right if she called him Joe. I didn't realize until later what that was actually about.
The line that she delivered that seemed to enrapture her groupies the most was when she chided Biden for noticing that, while time only moves forward, we as humans have the capacity to recall things that have happened before. Sometimes, we even make the connection between present circumstances and things in the past that led to them. I find it a useful quality, which keeps me from putting my hand down on a hot stove ever again. Not so the governor of Alaska:
"Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future."
Now, the worst part of that is how transparently stupid this notion is. It seems like we might go ahead and let Wall Street do whatever the hell they want now, since remembering that they just destroyed the economy is "backward-looking."
The most pathetic thing about her answer is that it revealed how utterly scripted Governor Palin was. She was ready to recite it for over an hour. And she knew she couldn't deliver it effectively, unless she first received Senator Biden's permission to call him Joe.
Palin did fine last night, and if you're comfortable with that, vote for that ticket. If you realize, as many did, that her performance last night is the absolute best that she's capable of, you may still have grave concerns. Like many other politicians, when she has a script to work from, she's quite good. I, however, looking to the past for lessons, worry about how this sort of politician reacts when the script is gone, and no one is telling them what to do.
posted at 7:03 AM
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