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.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nine days and counting...

"[Donald Rumsfeld is] the only man in America who knows where the bodies are buried in the Pentagon," House Majority Leader John Boehner said Sunday morning during an interview by George Stephanopolis on ABC's This Week. Boehner (R-Ohio) was touting the current secretary of defense as the only man experienced enough to get this country through the Iraq crisis.
As the number of the Pentagon's foot soldiers' bodies in Iraq tips the 100 mark this month, Boehner's words were hard to hear. I can't imagine how callous I'd have to be to have them trip over my tongue so glibly. Nor how arrogant I'd have to be to say them nine days before this midterm election.
For the life of me (wincing even there) I can't think of anything to say to that.