Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a few (grudgingly relented) words on the unholy mess of the 2008 presidential race

I suppose it can't be ignored. I finally have to write about the damn 2008 race for president.

Major gripes (to get them out of the way):

***1*** There is such an obscene amount of attention paid to this Democratic Party nomination mumbo-jumbo, you can't get through ten minutes of ANY newscast without it popping up. Is it because Hillary Clinton is a woman? Is it because Barack Obama is black? Is it because the race of delegates is so close the media is itching to declare one or the other dead? How about the real agenda: let's take the news off the war in Iraq!

***2*** About the itch to declare one of the potential nominees dead: The media's been chomping at the bit to toss the first fistful of dirt onto Hillary Clinton's coffin for months. But she's the motherfucking Energizer Bunny and she's not going anywhere until it is a done deal. I don't quite imagine her taking this to a 2004-Manchurian Candidate level (as JJ posits), but she's not stepping aside that easily.

***3*** Exit polls. At this stage the odds may be against Clinton, but they're not impossible. And yet people are screaming for her to get out of the race? If people seem so convinced by exit polls, then why bother with an election in the first place? The political pundits (who become more and more disgusting the more I see them.... I'm talking to you, George Stephanopoulos) appear literally offended by the idea that Clinton will take this race all the way to the convention. God forbid.... but wait. Isn't that the point of a political party convention? To announce the candidate?

***4*** Polarizing the Democractic party. Why are people so so so willing to spew vitriol about whether Obama or Clinton is a better candidate? To this day I still don't see much of a difference between the two.... they both would make fine presidents. Their policies are so much the same that one would really have to nitpick to get to anything resembling a marked difference. That said, there are people in this world who would rant and rave to their dying day that this isn't the case. One has to be better than the other, right? Or maybe that's just what the news is trying to make you think.

As I grow older, the less enamored I am with the news media. Of course I still somewhat fetishize local news anchors, but that doesn't change the fact that the media becomes so much more transparent with each passing month about trying to inform your opinion of just about anything. And nothing like a presidential race to get them all warm and tingly inside. The race for the Democratic nominee is not (and never was) locked up tight, so it just seems that by piling on the attention to it they want you to polarize. They want you to have strong feelings about one or the other. They want you to put aside your feelings on whether or not Clinton or Obama will actually be good at the job. They want you to develop your gut instinct. They want to get dirty.

As I grow older, I also hate politics more and more. I hate getting in political conversations with people because it's the perfect place for people to feel comfortable to at last voice their opinion. And oh the opinions people have. I have my own opinions (opinions are like assholes.... everybody's got one), and I don't care enough about them to get into a neck-straining argument with someone over it. I just don't care that much. Maybe I'm the perfect example of a jaded American who thinks they can't make a difference.... because that's the way I feel. Picking Obama or Clinton, in the long run, isn't going to make a bit of difference; they probably would make the same plans and do the same things. They both campaign on their promise of change (a tactically sneaky docket to be on, considering of course the flagrant display of dick-measuring the Bush administration has forced on the world), but somehow someone warped that into Obama as the only one seeking change. Obama talks and talks and talks about how he won't pander to all the special interest groups that use our government like marionettes, in hopes that you'll believe that Clinton is someone that would. The ugly truth is that Obama is (or will be) just as entangled with special interest groups as he claims Clinton already is. That's just how things work. In fact, EVERY presidential candidate, on both sides of the aisle, pontificate versions of this down-with-special-interests campaign. They really do. Find me one presidential candidate who hasn't.

All that said, I really don't care who becomes the Democratic nominee. I really don't. Just get it over with and be done with it already. I've come to the point where I just won't watch or read or listen to anything involving the 2008 presidential race. I turn off the TV. The talk and talk and talk has been so cloying and so predictive and so nauseatingly similar that I just can't have that shit in my head. No thanks.

I suppose I have my reasons why I prefer Clinton over Obama, and for that matter why I prefer Obama over Clinton, but they're not enough to get riled up about. I don't have one of those flaky "I just don't like him/her" arguments that the news loves to sneak in there with their on-the-street interviews. That's just not good enough. The things that Obama and Clinton say are not their own words.... they're the words of careful campaign planning set at a steady simmer. They'll say whatever they have to say to get your vote. Is Obama really that good of a speaker? I don't think so, but that's what everyone wants you to think. Is Clinton really that much of a doer? Probably not, because that woman's got a lot of baggage in the way. Besides, I think Obama AND Clinton, whoever ends up as the nominee, have such an uphill battle in the way of the crap that's left behind in the White House, neither of them can really flip everything around.

And so that leads me to a few words about John McCain. If there's somebody's sincerity I believe, it's his. Certainly his over Obama's or Clinton's. The problem is.... I really don't like what he's got planned. Perpetuating the cancer of the Bush administration on our country and our planet is really really really not what I'm going for, so unless he plans on completely changing his strategy, he will not be getting my vote. I'd like to say something less substantial like "Oh, he's too old", but that's a fickle argument. That didn't bother people who voted for Ronald Reagan, who was well on his way to La-La-Land even in his first term. It didn't bother people who voted for Bush with Dick Cheney, he of brimstone smile and occluded arteries. Even if it is cute to poke fun of McCain's age, at say this blog for instance (the Golden Gate Bridge! ha!), it's not that big of a reason to vote against him. Unless of course he chooses a real whack-job for a vice president, who would take charge in the event McCain dies in office.

I'd like for one of these three candidates, honestly, to address the fascist slum den that the United States government has become. I want them to address the fact that someone has neutered both the Senate and the House of Representatives. I want them to address that "checks and balances" has kicked the Supreme Court out of the car a hundred miles back at some abandoned gas station. I want them to address the fact that somehow the title of President has allowed a horrifying perversion of executive-branch power. I want them to address the people who are guilty of these crimes, and I want them to address the fact that these people are accountable for those crimes.

And that'll get my vote.


J.J. said...

And that's the Word.

Christina said...

Wow - we agree.

Writeprocrastinator said...

"As I grow older, the less enamored I am with the news media."

If you think this is bad, '80 was actually worse in that you didn't have round the clock coverage and the media was not as intrusive in the personal lives of politicians.

They rode Chappaquidick (sp?) all over Ted Kennedy until it died, then beat it like the stuffed effigy that is Roy Roger's horse, Trigger.

While I am of the school that Hilary should bow out, I agree with you that it is her right to fight this until the end and this is certainly her best to win.

Writeprocrastinator said...

Um, you're it.