When the Republican race for the presidential candidacy started, I thought it’d be fun to write a series of columns tracking the 2012 election campaign race from its beginnings to its conclusion this November. I’d poke fun at fatuous press dribbling, the evasions, and misrepresentations of the candidates, etc. That ended when I realised that the whole Republican race was a freak show beyond parody, consisting of nothing but gimps, lepers, and glue-sniffers. Well, it wasn’t that bad but you get my gist. There was Newt Gingrich, talking about Outer Space; Rick Perry, high as a kite on painkillers; Herman Cain, and his ladies; Rick Santorum, wanting to puke over JFK; Michele Bachman doing her low-budget Sarah Palin schtick; a few other nonentities; and, of course, Ron Paul. All Mitt Romney had to do was stand there, smile, and do nothing to remind people he was a Mormon. He won easily. There was no point writing about it.
Romney’s a preppy, upper-crust CEO type, lacking in people skills. As for Obama, the days when he would appear on TV instead of American Idol and ramble on about whatever he wanted to, Chávez-style, are gone, but he still has a high opinion of his charm and oratorical skills. The president was reportedly delighted with the GOP’s selection. The Democrats set the tone early, as Obama surrogates started digging for filth on this well-groomed, caffeine-dodging executive. Ancient yarns about Romney the teenage school bully and Romney tying his pooch to the roof of a car were unearthed as evidence of his diabolical character. Hacks and media lapdogs ran with both tales, but neither really took off.
Next, the Democrats decided to reignite the “Culture Wars” by making it mandatory for the Catholic Church to provide free contraceptives to frisky young lassies in their institutions and, also, Sandra Fluke. Cue conservative outrage, and lots of media jibber-jabber about the Republican war on women, Republicans tying women to the roof of Mitt Romney’s car, the Republican Taliban, etc. It worked for a bit, but then passed. Then, came attacks on Romney’s business record, as Obama surrogates portrayed the Wooden Mormon as a cackling, top-hat wearing capitalist of the sort Mayakovsky drew in Bolshevik propaganda posters in the 1920s. Apparently, there was nothing Romney loved more than bathing in cash after asset-stripping a firm and firing all its employees. These attacks backfired because there are plenty of gazillionaire Democrat asset-stripping venture capitalists and a few politicians voiced their disapproval of all these attacks on capitalism, which is, after all, a big part of the American Way of Life. So, the strategy then shifted to outright innuendo and lies… a whispering campaign that Romney hadn’t paid taxes since the Mormons practised polygamy in the 19th century, and, oh yeah, that he kinda sorta killed some dude’s wife, while taking a bath in money. Kinda.
That last attack, which appeared in a Democrat ad, and was swiftly revealed to contain no truth whatsoever, impressed me with its sheer chutzpah. The media duly talked about it for a few days, whilst Romney just stood there, wooden, preppy, grinning nervously; eager to escape to the next board meeting where he could perhaps fire some people and take a bath in money. He dispatched an underling to make a weak response, and, then, a few days later accused Obama of running a campaign based on “division and anger and hate”, an assessment not entirely without merit, but then he let the attack slip away and soon we were back to talking about his dog strapped eternally to the roof of his car yipping for release.
How times have changed! I enjoyed the election in 2008 because it made so little sense. Obama talked sweetly, conjuring a magical fluffy cloud out of words, inviting the people to come float away with him to a wondrous land where there was no hate or political division, and where the government didn’t keep foreigners locked up forever at Guantánamo Bay. This time around, it’s all about personal attacks, innuendo, gibberish, and appeals to special interest groups. Still, 2008 and 2012 do have one crucial factor in common… in neither campaign, has Obama run on his record. Four years ago, it was because he didn’t have one, so, it was all hope, change, and millenarian blather; this time around, he does have a record, but it’s clearly not anything he wants to talk about, other than, “Yeah dude, I totally blew a hole in bin Laden’s head”. The media is still pretty friendly to Obama, so they’ll happily run with stories about Romney’s dog or push unfounded accusations about his business record if they get an opportunity. Thus, the election is about everything except what’s important, which is something that rhymes with “economy”. Instead, we get a perpetual side show display of inanity, bumbling, distractions, and general rottenness. I’d say, “Wake me up when it’s over”, but I’m about to leave the country for a few weeks, so, that may not be necessary. I’ll save my nap for when I get back.
24 August 2012
I’ve noticed a great deal of “battle fatigue” amongst those covering this excuse for a political campaign. No one, but no one, has ANY enthusiasm whatsoever over it. Yes, many of us are willing to vote for “the lesser of two evils”, but there’s no “fire” in it. On the one hand, Mittens is unrepentantly greedy… “Yes, I screwed people unmercifully to get where I am today. I’m secretive, and I don’t owe you a damn thing, except to pay extortionate taxes so that I and my friends don’t have to… and I’m going to cut all programmes for ordinary people because I and my friends don’t want to pay for them”. On the other, Obama’s supremely feckless… “I promised to end the wars and close Gitmo… but that wasn’t expedient, so I didn’t do it. I won’t do anything that’s remotely unpleasant for me and my backers. If you don’t like that, find another planet to live on. I know that the One Percent parties hearty whilst most people suffer, but that’s life. I like the money that my rich backers give me, so I won’t cramp their style”.
In short, many people want to vote for “none of the above”. Neither the GOP or Dems are trusted… NEITHER. The Dems are seen as having turned their backs on New Deal square-dealing and the GOP’s seen as violating the principles of its most-revered leaders (Lincoln, TR, and Ike). Both are seen as greedy and grasping enablers of the rich… the Dems are simply less blatant about it (and will keep the social safety net somewhat intact). That’s why no one has any “fire in their belly” over the present campaign. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. Everybody just wants it all to end, and we all know that we’re stuck with this shit for two more excruciatingly-long months. I think that the turnout this year will be the lowest in decades, if not in history. That’s sad… and it vitiates every criticism that American “conservatives” and “liberals” hurl at Russia… especially, if the turnout at the American presidential election is less than that in the late Russian election (65 percent of eligible Russian voters actually cast a ballot in 2012, compared to 63 percent of American voters actually voting in 2008). Vova will lift a glass and smile… and he’ll have every right to.
Mr Kalder’s struck a vein of pure gold here. However, who’s going to listen?