In Which Our Hero Finally Plays Presidential Pundit
Amazingly enough, the election is a little less than a month away and I havent written my feelings on the whole thing. We will now take a brief pause while everyone says quietly to themselves, "Who gives a flying monkeys ass?"
In this little droning, I think it important to say that I have been identified as a Democrat by some of the people who read me, a Republican by other people who read me, and a snotty rat bastard by just about everyone else. My political beliefs are painfully out of vogue in our current reality, as I am a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. If I had to choose a political party, I would leave the country because as the massive amounts of soft money pouring into the coffers of everyone running for office shows there is only one party. The green party, and I dont mean the one where Ralph Nader tilts against the windmill of GE, General Dynamics, Microsoft, Time/Warner and White Westinghouse. No, I think I should differentiate by calling them the Long Green Party.
No, I dont mean the guy from Battlestar Galactica either. That was Lorne Green. And he is dead anyway.
Much like this campaign has been.
It all started the day the last election was over. Bill Clinton had won again, and the Republican Party couldnt quite understand that the American People had elected a man they held out to be Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West and the hippie who slept with their girlfriend while they were away at National Guard training so that they didnt have to get drafted and go to Vietnam. So, they decided to do the only thing they could think of. Blame us. The voters just werent smart enough to realize that the President was a liar and a cheat, and they spent the next two years finding some way to hammer that home to us. Believe me, Im not going to rehash the whole Impeachment thing, and I dont want to give my thoughts on the Clinton Presidency until it is all over, but you cant understand how we got to where we are today without understanding that the two parties came out of that election planning for the next one.
The Democrats spent their time healing old wounds and making sure that they were solidly behind Al Gore, who was definitely going to run. They learned in 1996 that the best way to have a chance at the White House was not to have the kind of fighting that had kept them shut out through the 80s. Clinton had no challenger in 1996 and could spend his time going after Dole while Dole had had to fight through the primaries. By the time he'd won the nomination, he had to wait until the convention to get any more campaign money, and Clinton had plenty to spare. If a strategy works once in politics, everyone will do it until it doesnt work anymore, so Gore made friends or rebuilt burnt bridges with all of the possible Democrats who might run against him. Oh, he had Bill Bradley as a challenger, but Bradley peaked before the first primary and was mostly kept around so that people would pay some attention to the primaries.
The Republicans on the other hand, wanted to have someone who they knew could win. They knew they had the money, they had the issues, and they could plug in just about anyone into their plans. They couldnt get Colin Powell, as hes too damn smart to run for President, so they started looking around the party for someone they could throw against Gore. And they found George W. Bush. Oh, sure, he had some primary challengers, but most of them were red meat thrown to the Religious wing of the party to let them know that they were still going to listen to them. Theyd have Gary Bauer up there, but there was no way they would let him WIN anything. So, the Primaries moved along, and for a brief shining moment it looked like John McCain had a chance. He had a great message (get the money out of politics) had a great personal story (being a POW in Vietnam instead of using the National Guard to keep from actually doing any real military service), but his massage was one that the people who run the partys dont like. So, in the second primary, he was out spent, lied about and crushed like a roach u8nder one of George W. Bushs office chairs.
Gone are the days where the President could inspire us to do great things. Could you imagine a Presidential Candidate saying that we shouldnt ask what our country can do for us, but what we would do for our country? We never did become that land, and the Presidential candidates now are Santy Claus, giving us tax breaks, money for college, better cable TV, the internet and baseball stadiums. Gone are the days when a President could say that we will do something because it is right, not because it is popular. Gone is the day when a President would be someone who we could think of as trying to make the country better that we were as individuals. Now, they cater to our basest needs, pander to our deepest fears, and strive to live by the common dichotomy where we want government out of our lives except when it comes to doing those things we dont want to do, like teaching our children how to turn off a TV or tell our neighbors to turn down their stereo.
Now we are stuck with Gore and Bush. Oh I know we have some third party candidates, and they have appealing messages, but lets face it, they have about as much chance of being elected as I have of waking up next to Helena Bonham Carter.
Gore and Bush. These guys are not people you want leading a country. Hell, you wouldnt have even been friends with them in college. Oh, youd know them, since you could copy Gores notes from class if you had a hangover and couldnt make it that day, and Bush could get you some primo weed, but you wouldnt actually talk to them about anything of import. Gore would have gone on and on about the kind of crap you dont even remember from playing You Dont Know Jack and Bush would smile, and then interrupt to tell you about how much money his dad has.
And these are our best and brightest.
These are our future leaders?
Al Gore revels in the minutia of government but cant seem to go a week without making his resume more inflated than a 24 year old who calls his job selling tickets at a movie theater an "Entertainment Director for a Multinational Chain." Oh he did a good job as Vice-President, and his reinventing government initiative got praise from both sides of the aisle until he announced he was running for President. But in the end, hes the kind of guy who should be managing a Radio Shack, not inspiring us to do great things. And yes, Mr. Gore, I do need a coaxial cable to connect my VCR to both my stereo and my TV, and I dont want to have that annoying hum anymore.
George W. Bush. If you listen to him speak, his qualification for being our President is that he isnt a drunken reprobate anymore. He told us to look at Texas to see how he would run the country. I have been to Texas, and this little speech did nothing to inspire my confidence. Texas is last in health care, last in child health care, 39th in education and the air in Houston is so bad that they put it in Mason jars and sell it as Diet Coke. Maybe Bush does a good job as the Governor with the least power of Any Governor in the Nation, but his plan for Texas seems to be to give tax cuts to millionaires (which he did twice), not fund child health care (which he delayed implementing for 5 years), and help education by saying that he will do something about it at some point, and kill people while making fun of their appeals. But he gives reporters cute nicknames, so that makes it all OK, right?
Both say they want to be "Education Presidents." I dont know how to break this to them, but the President has neither Jack nor Shit to do with schools. Local school boards and state governors handle them. Both say they want to give back a projected surplus that doesnt exist yet, and is built on numbers that are said to have little bearing in reality by the people who create them. Both want to put Social Security in the hands of the stock market, forgetting that the stock market crashing is WHY we have social security in the first place.
OK, on a side note, even if there are going to be big surpluses, why is everyone wanting the money "back?" Are you forgetting the Trillions we still owe and are paying interest on? Lets make a quick little comparison. You make about $30,000 a year. You owe, say, $1,000,000 on your credit cards and havent been able to make your full house and car payments for 20 years. You get a raise of $5,000 a year so that you can make your minimum payments and put a couple of hundred toward your old debt. Do you A) Put that money toward your credit card debt? Or B) Give $6,000 back to your boss so he will be nicer to you and maybe keep you in your cubicle for another 2 years?
If you said B, you have a career in politics in your future.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled Droning.
Pundits on the TV are making their predictions, so I might as well make mine. Its just as valid as theirs, and maybe a bit more so, since I called the psychic line with the fat Cajun woman I saw on TV and she said, "Child, you have the gift. You got it all right, darling, and that man youre seeing? Hes into the drugs you need to drop him like hes on fire. You beware that stuff, chile."
You know? Now that I think about it, maybe if she couldnt remember my gender, she wasnt so good a psychic. But Ill forge ahead anyway.
The race isnt as tight as they say it is. Bush is going to win as long as a couple of things dont happen. First, Bush has to go the rest of the month without seeming too stupid. No more ads showing white people pulling kids out of public school because they are "too diverse", no more sad attempts at subliminals that are denied until someone does a freeze frame, and if the Bush campaign are the ones who sent the debate prep tapes to the Gore people to try and create a scandal they had best all get ready to be out of power for another four years, and Bush better have invested the millions he swindled out of Texas taxpayers with his Baseball team.
Why do I think it is such a lock? Simple. Gore has limited support and if people think that there is a chance that Bush will win, they will switch to him at the last minute. The race WILL be close, and were going to be up late, but the South will go solidly for Bush, and that will tip the scales.
I would like to say that Joe Liberman was a good addition to Gores ticket. Hes a thoughtful, intelligent man I disagree with on a number of issues, but I think that basically he would be a great Vice-President and a good President. But hes Jewish. And down south, they still dont much care for Jews. When I was down in Texas last year, in a trip most people who know me now call Corys Folly, I didnt quite grok this until I was being taken to the airport. The man driving me to the airport talked to me about a number of things, and he struck me as a nice man who had worked hard his whole life. He wasnt well read, but who is anymore? He liked his house, his grandkids, his wife and the Great State of Texas. After he dropped off the other people and we were alone he asked where I was from. When I said I was from Minneapolis, he told me he was glad I wasnt from Jew York.
Too shocked to say anything, I listened as he went on and on about how the Jews were the problem with the country, and only stopped when I changed the subject. I didnt confront him on it, since, lets be honest, that takes a level of guts and activism that Im not capable of in a state with a concealed carry law. But I still think about that when I read the polls where people say they dont have a problem voting for someone of a different race or religion. Sure, were supposed to say that because were "enlightened", but in that voting booth, you dont have to wonder what the person asking the question will think, and any sort of old prejudice will come out and not have to answered for.
And in a close race, any reason to vote for someone else will do. Some will vote against Gore because of who he is. Some will vote against him because hes Clintons Vice President. Some will vote against him because they think hes a liar. I will vote against him because he supports GATT, NAFTA, the death penalty, welfare reform that will come back to bite us in the ass when we have our next recession, free trade with China, censorship, and Elian Gonzales living with that freak show in Florida instead of his biological father. And some, not a lot, but some, will vote against him because they feel that he is an agent of the Zionist New World Order.
Which means that for another four years well get a pot smoking, draft-dodging liar whos made most of his money through weaseling it out of the government. Lets hope that hes smart enough to keep Alan Greenspan in charge of the FED and to get someone on his staff who knows where Serbia is.
Me? Im voting for Jello Biafra. He said that if he gets elected, hell ban SUVs. And thats good enough for me.
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