Wednesday, November 05, 2008

They Call Me Mr. President


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bring on the Fat Lady

Obama takes Ohio and McCain/Palin is but an ugly memory.


It's Obama in a Landslide

Obama gets 15 of the 21 votes cast in Dixville Notch, NH. They had 100% turnout. The bad new is the last Democrat picked in Dixville was Hubert H. Humphrey in '68 and we know how that turned out.

UPDATE: Hart's Location also goes for Obama 17 to 10 with 2 write-in votes for Ron Paul.


Monday, November 03, 2008

*Hopin' for a Landslide

A picture is worth a thousand words and as the inimitable Daryl Cagle states with this one - there's only one way for McCain to win this election. If McCain/Palin comes out on top tomorrow, the Republicans have stolen the election. Again. Fortunately, I don't think this one is close enough for that to happen.

But a mere Obama win is insufficient - we need a landslide. And by we, I don't mean Democrats, I mean Americans, our allies, and the global community of which we are a part (or used to be at any rate). But mostly, our nation. We need to lay waste to the heinous fear-mongering, race-baiting, demonizing, and use of religion as both weapon and tool that have become staples of the modern Republican party. But, as they say on teevee, more on that later.

I don't think for a minute that tomorrow will end our long national nightmare ... it was a long time in coming. It's easy to blame Bush and the last eight years for everything (and Obama has certainly tried to make that case) but that's letting way too many Americans off the hook. At this juncture I almost feel sorry for Bush (almost). After all, other than the Iraq war, he didn't do anything that Ronald Reagan hadn't already done -yet no Republicans will be calling for his sainthood anytime soon.

No it's the ignorance and/or greed that led too many Americans to propel to viable candidacy a ne'er do well bully and drunk (with little concern for the consequences) that brought us here after our incomplete rehab from the Reagan/Bush years. I often wonder how they can sleep at night with the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis and 4189 (and counting) of our military personnel on their conscious but then I suspect they spend as much thought on those lives as they did on the consequence of their vote (though I'm certain many have a flag on their car/home and a nice magnetic yellow ribbon on their vehicles).

My desire for a blowout tomorrow does not reflect any conversion to Obama devotee for me. I do not think he is (or will be) a transformational leader. He's most certainly not a progressive and -change? Well, I won't hold my breath but I am willing to be pleasantly surprised.

In the interest of full disclosure, I mailed my ballot a few weeks ago and cast a vote for Nader. I would have written in a candidate but as those ballots are handled separately I didn't want to contribute to an unnecessary delay in the vote tallying. However, in considering the consequence of my vote, had Obama had the slightest chance of taking Idaho's electoral votes I would have cast my vote for him (but yes, I am sick of the lesser of evil scenarios every four years).

The fact of the matter is that we have a political system in which two self-serving parties, neither of which represents the interests of the majority of Americans particularly well, rule (perhaps that more than anything will lead to our downfall). The end result for this election is a choice of Obama and not-Obama (although those of us in some of the solidly red or solidly blue states can choose an alternative without having disastrous consequences). While Obama/Biden is far from my choice for an ideal ticket, the McCain/Palin ticket is deserving of little more than ridicule (which is pretty sad for those of us who thought we had already hit rock bottom with George W. Bush).

Obama was correct in asserting that John McCain is George Bush redux but not merely because McCain, by his own admission (that's admission Sarah, not admittance), voted with Bush more than 90% of the time but rather because they are very nearly twins.

Jim Hightower once said of George W. Bush that he was "born on third and thought he'd hit a triple" and the same could be said of John McCain. McCain got where he is not because his personal character but by his paternal lineage. But while George W was able to steal home in 2000, John McCain was left on base. Like Bush, McCain the younger was a hothead and a hotdog but he also was never going to be promoted to admiral like his father or grandfather. While we might empathize with his desire to upstage them by becoming Commander-in-Chief that's certainly not a reason to vote for him.

If you're a hotdog behind the controls of a plane you'd better be a hotshot pilot as well but McCain was mediocre at best and we'll never no how much his hot-dogging contributed his being shot down and taken as a POW nor will we know how much disciplinary action his behavior drew or precisely the reasons he'd failed to be promoted because, like his medical records, John McCain's military records are off-limits. McCain is touted as a hero and I don't know whether or not he was one (his military records would provide the evidence) but I do know that we've thrown the word around like too much seasoning and not only has it dulled our taste-buds, it belittles true acts of heroism and those that perform them. He was a POW but that is a matter of circumstance and not a personal qualification for anything let alone president. McCain's hotheaded temperament has been well-documented and it also makes him ill-suited for the office.

I suppose it's ageism to suggest that we don't need someone born in 1936 to lead us in the 21st century yet while I can think of several men of similar age that appear to have their full mental faculties (Alan Alda, Warren Buffet, Jimmy Carter - just off the top of my head), John McCain is not one of them.

If we live long enough, we're all likely to succumb to dementia (she thinks as she readily came up with Berkshire-Hathaway but took another few seconds to recall Buffet) but it's clear that certain factors advance the progression. One such factor is stress and it would be hard to imagine anything more stressful than life as a POW. So while McCain may appear to be lucid much of the time, the fact he can lapse back to Vietnam and refer to the crowd at his campaign rally as "my fellow prisoners", makes it hard to argue that he's of entirely sound mind.

One might argue that his selection of Palin as running mate is another indication of his mind failing but I think it represents cowardice and/or cynicism at their worst. Cowardice in allowing your running mate to be selected for you and/or cynicism in using the religious right as a tool (a means to an end) once again and believing women and rural voters so shallow that dangling a female before them is all that it would take to garner their vote (yes, I know there's a small segment for whom this strategy will work).

So there you have it. McCain in a nutshell. Regardless of what you think of his policy positions (and there are not many on which I'd agree with him) or his campaign's race-baiting and fear-mongering tactics -he's too ill-tempered, a coward or cynic and signs of his mental instability alone (Did you watch the debates?) should be cause for worry and sufficient reason to reject him as a viable candidate for the office of president.

*Droppin' the "g" there is me bein' all quaint and folksy like and I assure you that, as a Minnesota native, I can throw in the Scandahoovian influence with the best of them so, perhaps, I should run for office (after all I've paddled my canoe to Canada from Rose Lake in the BWCA so I have foreign policy credentials up the ol' wazoo or is that the ol' Wasilla).

Beyond McCain's balancing on dementia's doorstep, his physical health is also an issue. Several bouts of cancer and several hundred pages of medical records are not only a testament to his advanced age but his relative health yet his records have not been made available for assessment so we're left with average life span of 75 years to assess McCain's viability through a single term.

First, we might assume, given his voluminous medical records (and the little we do know about crashes, cancer and torture and temperament), that for McCain it will be something less than this average. Second, these determinations are based on how long individuals born today might be expected to live and John McCain was born many, many, many yesterdays ago. So, statistically speaking, John McCain is probably already dead and just hasn't realized it (realization will come tomorrow). That means that if you are voting for the McCain/Palin ticket you are voting, in all likelihood, for Palin as president.

Sarah Palin is a dimwitted, ignorant rube and McCain's selection of her as running mate is an insult to every woman and rural resident with a semi-functional brainstem. Seriously, how stupid (not to mention full of yourself) do you have to be to believe that the President of France is going to call you for a chat let alone talk about hunting from a helicopter with you. However, not realizing an obvious hoax is one thing but her part of the conversation given she believed she was speaking with Sarkozy ... this is one stupid female.

Ignorant, and willfully so, because, for one thing, she continues to misstate the duties/role of the VP even though she has been corrected on more than one occasion - you think she could just memorize the correct response at some point.

A rube because, among other things, she thinks the proximity of Alaska to Russia confers some foreign policy credential on her.

Sometimes the options are so ludicrous, so ridiculous there's nothing for it but to laugh - McCain/Palin is such an option.

While a reasoned comparison of the two tickets (Obama is everything McCain is not - young, vigorous, even tempered and thoughtful - both are reasonably intelligent) argues for an Obama/Biden win, it has little to do with the necessity of a landslide.

A landslide is needed to make it clear that we, as a united people, Americans, will no longer tolerate the hatred, racism and bigotry that has been cultivated by the Republican Party and harbored by religion.

I'm not saying that racists, bigots and haters are only on the right side of the political spectrum but what I am saying is that, as an institution, today's Republican Party, through its spokespersons, candidates and national committee recruit, incite, foster and give voice to these people. As an institution, they promote divisiveness not on issues or particular candidates but on class attributes.

The Republicans may have rendered liberal and conservative meaningless (I'm still trying to figure out how a word that has liber [free] as a root can be a negative and I can't for the life of me discern what is conservative about the modern Republican unless it refers to the number of people to which they believe wealth and power is due) but that's not the same thing as rendering them useless.

No, liberal along with elite, has become something to avoid. Elite used to mean the best of the best -Nobel Laureate, Navy Seal, olympic athlete, summa cum laude graduate -but now although it's synonymous for educated, literate, well-informed, articulate, in Republican vernacular it is also something to hate (hence the attraction of Palin who is none of that while Obama is, as we all know by now, a liberal elite). I can understand why Republicans and Evangelicals are united in their derision of higher education as studies have shown that the higher education you have attained the less likely you are to be either a Republican or religious (particularly a fundamental Christian/Evangelical) but I can't understand why this would work as a divisive tool with the average voter - why they wouldn't prefer to elect someone demonstrably smarter than they are? Nonetheless -a hate-mongering tool used routinely on the stump and in ads by Republican candidates and the RNC.

One would think that Republicans would have to employ a little more subtlety (right former-Senator, Allen?) when fomenting racism and bigotry and, more often than not they do - they talk about Obama being different, not seeing America as they do, using his middle name (for no apparent reason), they may darken a candidate's skin color in an ad, talk about defending marriage (or failing to do so) rather than denying rights but their intent is clear - bring the hatred, the dark side, the base if you will, to the fore in a despicable effort to further their agenda -consequences be damned. Here, unfortunately, is where they partner with religion.

For those who hide behind or use religion as an excuse to be, for example, against gay marriage - I call bullshit. I don't care what inanity you believe, the facts are that every religious sect cherry-picks its dogma by selective interpretation of its given holy text so why is their vehemence saved for something that's barely mentioned? They dismiss some things by metaphor others by the state of the culture at the time the text was written but not homosexuality. I suspect most of this is due to ignorance of biology (but a discussion of our woefully inadequate educational system is for another time) - they believe homosexuality is a choice.

Galileo was imprisoned as a heretic for advocating something we all (well most - the whole functioning brainstem thing) take as given now - that the earth revolves around the sun not the geocentric view given a literal interpretation of the bible -interpretations were modified. While scientists haven't yet identified the specific genetic and epigenetic factors responsible for sexual orientation there is no doubt that it is not the result of making a conscious choice.

The Mormon Church (one of the most inane religious sects) has spent more than $20 million dollars to deny gays and lesbians the right to marry in California and I'm still trying to figure out how same-sex couples marrying is a threat to heterosexual marriage but then I've only been married 30 years (tomorrow) so I suppose we could still be torn asunder. I think the Mormons have cause for worry though because when the good Christians are finished with the homosexuals they'll need another target - maybe it will be those that they don't think are real Christians -like Mormons.

In his first inaugural address, Lincoln closed by saying:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Obama is not a Muslim and even if he were that would not make him an enemy. Same-sex couples are not our enemies. Hatred racism and bigotry born of ignorance ... that is the enemy. I don't believe in angels but I believe in the notion of the better angels of our nature and hope you bring them along to the polls. We need a landslide to save us from our darker nature. Don't give it voice. Don't vote McCain/Palin.

At the very least, as Jim Hightower writes today:
As we traipse merrily into our voting booths, let's revisit the quaint notion that a government ought to be minimally competent.
Finally, I'm fairly certain I can count the times I've thought George Will was right about something on less than my full complement of fingers but I sure hope he's right here. Oooh - Larry Sabato's crystal ball, which has a fairly good track record, is also looking very promising and it's tragic that Obama's grandmother didn't live to see it.

Labels: , ,