Friday, February 15, 2008
2K9: Our Next President
He's got my vote!
IT'S OBAMA, PROBABLY. This time next year, any criticism of the President, or any criticism that could be construed to be critical of the President, will run a very real risk of being tarred w/ the racism brush. Listen for the sound of the blogosphere's great collective hesitation.
Like most of the country, I first saw our next President in 2004. I was a newly-former quasi-anarchist and adbusters reader, and was just starting to (try to) think clearly about politics and its effect on everything else. Hating the living hell out of Coke and President Bush for fun and self-satisfaction was still appealing, but I was just beginning to suspect it'd be better to aim higher.
With a head full of The Hidden Persuaders and its thoughts on the de-evolution of elections into mascot competitions (voting for the man, not his platform), I meet Barack Obama interviewed in a news segment covering the 2004 DNC, back when he was a lowly state senator. I don't remember a word he said, but his candorous mien raised my eyebrows. He sure seemed like he was being honest. I thought to myself, "too bad the Democrats can't run this guy for the highest office. He'd be mascot par exellence. But he's too young and inexperienced for them to consider".
But nothing, turns out. They had the same idea, and decided to go for it. Looks like their gamble is going to pay off.
Maybe it was a controversial assertion once, but this mascotism is an accepted way of the world now. Each of the two viable parties have a competing vision for America. Most of us cross our fingers and hope the party we like better (or hate less) picks an ambassador who can charm and seduce enough of those clueless voters who aren't already on our side to get himself elected and start making our preferred vision a reality. This story on 21-year-old Democratic super delegate Jason Rae illustrates the principle in hardball political terms: Rae is only a junior in college, but his determination to secure the presidency for Democrats enables him to push back against phone calls from Bill Clinton and John Kerry, as well as a personal meeting with Chelsea Clinton. Where others might be starstruck, he is adamantine -- not about policy, but about voter appeal. "'Both have good positions," he concedes, "but it's about who can win." Stuff that in your stoge and smoke it, President Clinton sir.
Who could do this? And at such a tender age? Could Bush Derangement Syndrome be so potent as to embolden thus? The attitude of political enfants terribles like Rae might well be an as-yet uncategorized inverse of Godwin's Law:
"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."
The inverse? Comparisons to Nazis or Hitler extend and elevate the importance of participants in a discussion. It's so ennobling to be the antagonist of a completely contemptible villain. That's why it's become fashionable to implicitly accuse Bush of being both too stupid to be President and a criminal mastermind in the same breath, because both those slanders are easy to to levy against rich white guys, and the ultimate white guy villain is obviously guilty of every possible charge. Remember RatherGate (for a laugh, read the last sentence)? Remember all the "he's still a hypocrite... or something" grumbling after reasonable doubt of forgery was put to bed? Contradictions cease to exist when absolute self-righteous certainty is at the wheel. Making Bush out to be a latter-day Hitler -- a figure so overwhelmingly, obviously evil that one is excused from the usual qualifiers of objective, "look at it from his perspective" fairness -- is easy. Encouraged, certainly. It puts on the pretense of living in a dangerous time, but it's a fakey, exciting scare. Like a horror movie, with about as much genuine threat. (Michael Moore slanders the crap out of Bush without so much as an angry letter from the government[and if he has received such a letter, my hyperbolic point still stands, and you know it]). The real danger in our socio-political (kiss my ass, that's the word for it) climate is to audibly suspect that a non-white culture not only might be the bad guys, but so dangerously vile that leaving them alone is both impossible and suicidal.
No no no no no la la la la la! Too awful to contemplate. Doesn't the mere thinking of such a thought make us the bad guy, even if (hypothetically) we don't think we are? Of course. Actually believing another culture to be inferior is bad. Hitler bad.
So that can't be it. The obstacle to our total joy and happiness can't possibly be the diverse cultures (good, good, good) outside our national borders, but only the patriarchal oppressors (old white guys) all those other cultures hate for probably very excellent reasons. Let's keep a clear head here and focus on getting rid of Bush. Bush no good.
Both Hillary's and Obama's disapproval for all the bad things Bush has done is well established, which makes them both "good" candidates -- or at least "good enough" for the huge sigh of relief the left and their dupes have been aching to breathe these 8 long years. Now the only remaining question is which iconic savior Bovine America will applaud, adore, and excuse the most. The non-white African-American messiah? Or the non-male Woman-American mommy? God, it's so hard to choose. But can you believe there're people out there who are too damn dumb to recognize the pure, aggressive eeeevil of Bush? They must be eeeevil too, or so fanatically, religiously ignorant they can't tell right from wrong. Not like us. We need someone like us. But better. Someone who could never ever, not even remotely, be confused with the eeeevil of Bush.
That's why Hillary won't get the nomination. Even with the aid of the mental fire blankets of vicarious feminist fantasy and hysterical anti-sexism, she seems maybe kind of mean, doesn't she? We've been mean to the world this entire century. Just mean. Let's, you know, give peace a chance. Other than catching bin Laden (which should be a lot easier than waging a whole war, right?), it's time we gave the world a firm handshake, a big smile, and a fond farewell. That's the will of, if not "the people", then quite a few of them. We appreciate Hillary shattering the glass ceiling to break into the boys' club and all, but she's not the face we want to put forward.
But her disadvantages as a presidential candidate are strengths for, like , a reverse-spoiler, aren't they?
Bad cop, blank cop
Sorry, drifted off for a second thinking about Obama. Isn't he exactly how you imagined your fantasy honest politician to come across? Lots of eye contact; lots of clear, assertive timbre, with just the tiniest hint of steeling himself against the impossible odds of an uncorrupted man coming to Washington; handsome, but not pretty? And, you know, smart? Finally, we won't have to be embarrased in front of the other countries! Won't it be great, to have a virile, yet non-evil man in charge for a change?
Obama's their horse, dear readers. Uh-oh. Does calling him a horse seem maybe racist to you? Like if you squint? Better rephrase, to be safe.
Obama's their MAN (that oughta be slander-proof [for me]). He's the panacea all the snobs accused Reagan of being, way back when. The Secretariat* of our day. Oh damn, the horse thing. Sorry. I promise I wasn't secretly insulting him under cover of innocent analogy.
*I can't find the Gary Trudeau quote, so I'll paraphrase from memory: "After the national trauma of Nixon and Watergate, Secretariat's Triple Crown win captivated America. One woman went as far as to say the horse 'restored her faith in humanity'. I like to think Reagan was the Secretariat of the '80s."
What about McCain, you ask? What about him. He had the populist appeal to have clobbered Gore back in 2000 if your idiot party had nominated him (and criticism of his war on terror would have been muted, AND the Democrats wouldn't have taken up the rhetoric of the vociferous left to get back in power, but of course that's all academic now). He isn't half as indefinably inspiring as Obama, and that's all anyone has the stomach to care about anymore. Hell, even you don't want him. I can't wait to read all the "I held my nose and voted for McCain" blogs of wailing and lamentation on November 5.
Don't pin your hopes on simple scandal bringing him down, either. The country's too used to liking him now. He could cop to anything (barring murder or child abuse, which he probably hasn't done, gang) with a face of brave honesty and get away with it.
And you haven't thought to ask "what about assassination", have you? Depends who pulls the trigger. If it's definitely some white power extremist, we(the nation, not just conservatives)'re in real danger of a second Clinton presidency. If it's someone the left claims was a right-wing nut, but there's room for doubt, McCain wins. If it's an Islamist gun or knifeman, as I predict it will be if it happens, McCain takes the oath wearing a symbolic pair of barb-wired boxing gloves. If the Democratic nomination goes to Obama's vice president, and that somehow isn't Hillary, than I have no idea. Probably McCain, unless the former VP candidate has Obama-level charisma and dreaminess, and odds are he won't. If he isn't Hillary.
In fact, Hillary might try to off him in a fatal "accident" (don't give me that look. You know she's thinking about it), but even that won't be enough to overcome the gut "...nuh-uh" most of the country is going to feel when they see her name on the ballot.
So, barring Sirhan Sirhan II, Barack Obama is our next President. We can pimp (whoops!) the conservative option as hard as we want, and should. I don't expect it to work, not least because our heart isn't in it. Lick your wounds with a funny t-shirt, and start thinking hard about how we're going to defend ourselves against the government on one front, and without the government on the other front, come 2K9.
P.S. InstaPunk here. I warned him explicitly I would do this. Young punks do get the bit in their teeth. But assassination talk is offensive. And I really hate it when one of our own indulges himself in the same kind of nonsense we've seen this week from the mummy Brit twat Doris Lessing. America is way above assassinating Barack Obama. It's not 1963 anymore, no matter what all the cartoon dudes think. Time to grow up. Obama is just not that threatening. To anyone. He's a cipher. Nobody conspires to kill empty suits. He has no real beliefs. He's Jimmy Carter, with better delivery. My apologies, Brizoni, but it's not like I didn't tell you what would happen. This is bad taste, it's uncalled for, and worse than that, it's utter nonsense. Enjoy the rest of the post, everyone.