Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Six days...What if they gave an election and no party came

Each night, and all day on CNN, the political pundits grow increasingly frenzied. They fidget and knit their brows. Across their faces swims a strange mix of confusion and self-satisfaction. Satisfaction at their apparent ease catching national politicians and planners with their heads up their asses. Confusion at the ease of it.

I’m not sure if it’s too much for them to wrap their collective heads around or if they can’t bring themselves to say what is a more logical conclusion – no party wants to win this election.

Despite frantic fumbling by individual candidates to win their own seats, for the political parties as wholes, winning this midterm is the ultimate nightmare. And some very savvy upper echelon pols are skating deftly to make sure they are not left last on the ice.

Actually, for all the bemoaning of voters who choose Dancing With the Stars over debates, this election foreplay entertains more and seems tailor-made for Jerry Springer – now that DWS has kicked him off – to referee.

Yesterday, the Dems pulled out their big gun. Swiftboat John Kerry trashed the troops.

If the Dems were planning the fastest, bestest way to stop their forward momentum, a better ploy or a better messenger doesn’t exist.

Kerry never steps on his tongue, or on a joke, or tells a joke for that matter. And if the ultimate breakdown of his considerable communication skills did accidentally happen, he would have apologized. Skillfully. Immediately.

Then GW gets on the horn with Rush Limbaugh and steps on his tongue. Well, no great surprise that, GW stepping on his tongue. But his handlers are more than deft at keeping him on message. Still GW declares Cheney and Rumsfeld to be doing a bang-up job and, if Reps retain power, the two will stay until the bitter end.

First, if there is a way to scare the bejeezus out of centrist Republicans, it is to invoke Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh made even Fascist Reps uncomfortable with his mean parody of Michael J. Fox. He’s Alex P. Keaton for Chrissakes.

Second, there's content of GW's re-animated, if unsaid, stay-the-course message.

Then, as if the pitiful job Rumsfeld has been doing hasn’t been underscored enough, Rumsfeld’s Central Command “leaked” a brightly colored bar chart showing violence in Iraq spread right past the midpoint between peace (green) and chaos (red). That, on the front page of the New York Times and flashed several hundred times today, was to drive home the point of how bad the war is for those who can’t read or comprehend without colors. Think threat level orange.

A couple of high points from last week. With all the doom mongering of how screwed up Operation Enduring Freedom is and with individual Republican candidates building border-sized walls between themselves and GW, Bush decides to skyrocket his visibility, taking Rumsfeld (hasn’t he been looking a bit subdued? Notice how despite his calm face in a press conference last week, he continuously banged the lectern with his fisted hands) along for the public ride.

Other, Late Indiscretions

Less than two weeks before the midterms, Sen. Barack Obama unnecessarily announced he will run for president in 2008. Pundits opined it was to give the Dems a face to rally around.

From my grandfather’s knee, I’m a yellow-dog Democrat. And I cringed.

Obama’s a beautiful, honorable, faithful, intelligent, caring man. Most of us YDD’s remember electing, once upon a time, an honorable, caring, faithful, intelligent, charismatic man, whose only drawback was his lack of experience inside the beltway. And our hearts broke watching Jimmy Carter eaten alive. That Carter grew into one of this country’s greatest statesmen and our superhero for good versus evil doesn’t help lessen the sting that he could not ever get a good grasp of that power while in office.

Personally, I didn’t need the angst over a decision to try that again. Not before this impending election. And I'm not alone.

And for those all-important Rep centrists who may swing the vote to the Dems, you know, the ones who are undecided and ones who are past dead broke, jobless, with none or third world health plans, it won’t escape their notice that he is black, married to a white woman and Ivy League educated. Jeez. Could anything be better to bring out the Klan vote?

Correction Nov. 3. Obama's mother is white, not his wife. I refuse to just edit out my careless mistakes. I was a Steve Brill journalist. We don't hide anything. It's my blog. Get over it.

With those vote-leaking drawbacks, Obama looks like he’s worth it and could possibly bring it home. But facing that decision before the midterms doesn’t help rally a Democratic vote, nor any other kind.

Then there’s Foley.

The only reason the Republicans didn’t take care of him sooner and quieter is that they weren’t afraid enough of what would happen if the word got out. After all, no matter how sleazy, since 16-year-old pages in DC are not legally minors, the political fallout is not apparently a legal one.

Admittedly a stretch, but in light of all the rest, bet there was at least one Republican who wanted word out. So, lose a few seats and a majority. Democrats won’t be able to fix it in two years. Blame them. Get the seats back.

Remember the rumors of the Clintons, et al, not giving it their all to defeat Bush in 2004, with an eye to taking it all in 2008? That seemed pretty far-fetched as anything more than, perhaps, late-night alcohol driven speculation.

Compared to the machinations of this election season, that was nothing.

This is the election no party wants to win. Party leaders on both sides know the penalty for the party in power not pulling miracles out of their butts is forfeiture of the ultimate prize, the 2008 presidency.

It will be interesting to see who skids into the soft, safe snow and who is left negotiating slick ice for the next two years.

What’s a real shame is that no one really cares what happens to the country in the mean time. That’s a given.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Kerry attempted to trash Bush. People interpreting it as him trashing the troops is an unfortunate side-effect of the fact that he has pretty extreme foot-in-mouth disease. Its kind of funny to see everyone go frothy at the mouth over this after all the malaprops that have come from Bush over the years. But at any rate, he did clarify this in a later press conference.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

See, I don't buy that. On its face, the comment was troop-bashing. Kerry is too much the wordsmith to make a rookie mistake like that. But, say, he took too much cold medication or accidentally dropped acid, he waited more than a day to make it right. That's like a prosecutor wanting the jury to go home with the damning words of his star witness, unrebutted, ringing in their ears. You can't unring that bell.
And there was no real damage done to Kerry himself. He has his eye on 2008. By that time, this backlash that actually pales compared to what he took from the swift boat guys, will be long forgotten.
I'd say it was an anomaly, but there has just been too much of this going on. My point.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous bbebop said...

"Kerry never steps on his tongue, or on a joke, or tells a joke for that matter."

umm, actually kerry steps on his tongue all the time. or his lines. my wife reminded me i said that about him during the 2004 campaign. it's almost like he's having a conversation with himself. he starts to say something, then puts in a tangential aside (maybe a joke, even), before getting back to what he was saying.

and he does it again, and again, and again.

i think it's in the wiring and ain't gonna change. if he wanted to run again, i thought he'd need some intensive communications therapy. tell a story. start. continue. finish.

or tell em what you're gonna tell em. tell em. and tell em what you told em.

a little discipline, please!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

I'll give you that. But this one felt contrived. And considering he exceeded three news cycles in this all-important election week before attempting to fix it...well. Even I'm not that witless.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous thegoreyears said...

John Kerry is one of the worst politicans I've ever seen. The only reason he gets elected is because he's in Massachusetts, which seems to be one of the few states in the country where the only requirement for holding office is to at least have the appearance of being reasonably intelligent. I don't even know how he won the damn primary. I suspect vote fraud, but I can't prove it.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Dr. Chadblog said...

obama's wife isn't white, she's black (as if it should matter).

1:33 AM  
Blogger Mickeleh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Nan said...

Sorry, Doc, you're completely right. His mother is white. That's why I really miss a copy editor.
And we're not talking our views here. Of course it shouldn't matter. But there is still a lot of racism in the American electorate. Can it be overcome? I sincerely hope so, and sexism as well. But we're talking a party that should be committed at this point to getting out a message of purpose, not adding more questionables to the mix.
Tell me after the election Obama is running, and I'm on board completely.
In fact, anyone who knows me has heard me predicting for six months that he will be our president.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Mickeleh said...


It's the week before the election. Bush and his Iraq policies are the prime issue for most voters. The Democratic party is running distinguished vets from the Iraq war.

So, which of these really seems more likely to you?

a) Kerry wanted to disparage Bush. (after all, the controversial remarks came in a string of jokes about Bush)
b) Kerry wanted to say that only stupid people serve in wars.

Now... look at all the folks in the Bush White House and Republican Congress that managed to get out of serving in Viet Nam: G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney (5 deferments), Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, George Felix Allen, Ahscroft, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove,

There's a gang who truly believes that only stupid people serve in wars. They were all smart enough to avoid going.

"Only stupid people serve" is the way they lived their lives.

1:18 PM  

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