Dysmey Post > Essays > The Joke of Election 2008

The Joke of Election 2008

The context of this essay is the campaign of 2008 for the presidency of the United States. The candidates are John McCain of the Republican Party and Barack Obama of the Democratic Party. McCain chose Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his vice-president running mate. In Indiana the current governor Mitch Daniels, a former aide to the departing president, is running for a second term against Democrat Jill Long Thompson.

My sister the editor has been working with the local Democratic party to spread the good word about the upcoming election. I have been reading her Web log entries. She is finding it unpleasant because

  1. some people have already made up their minds to vote for John McCain, and would not vote for anybody else, even if that anybody else were Jesus Christ;
  2. some people not only do not know who is running against the current governor, but do not even know who the current governor is or how his policies have made things worse for us.

We will not discuss those people she met, who think that Obama is not an American citizen (he is one, born in Hawaii, even if his old man isn't), or that Obama is a Muslim or crypto-Muslim (he would not be having preacher trouble if that were true), or that he is a baby-killer (meaning abortion supporter, but they say that of all Democrats).

Politics: Nothing shows up people to be total fools like politics, especially when the issues are so unreal.


Let's get the governor out of the way first.

The list of Bads from my sister's site comes from her attempts to enlighten the people she visits on her canvassing rounds: OK, the Republican Dude forced us into daylight-saving time. He sold off the toll road. He's going to sell off the lottery next.

The lottery is no doubt the kicker to most people here, whose buying of lots of Ohio lottery tickets was what got our state's Lottery set up in the first place. But the governor's attempt to sell off the lottery will fail, no matter how benevolent his motives. The legislators lose their legal lottery kickbacks through the Build Indiana fund in the last fiscal crisis. If they can't have their lollie back, whyever should they let the governor have his?

Update: The proposed lottery selloff is no longer an issue because it can't happen legally. [T]he U.S. Department of Justice said such a move would not comply with federal law. (Indianapolis Star, 25 October 2008). While the governor could ignore the ruling, he decided it was wiser to look elsewhere for scholarship money that the lottery sell-off was supposed to pay for.

My beef is also the governor's use of the guy he defeated in the last election to force the closure of my local library district, which is what the local government consolidation report implies.

For these,
… for appointing as DMV head some dumbass executive who obviously thought the citizens of Indiana worked for him, and
… for actually believing the fairy tales of IBM in giving it the task of running the state welfare agency (which may well be one of the customers whose contracts were underbid and whose projects may never be profitable for IBM):
I want the governor out of office.


I myself have never heard of McCain until I became aware of his communications manager, Torie Clarke, the youngest sister of Caitlin Clarke. I have learned thus that McCain is an ill-tempered orangutan, and that during his early Senate career Torie had to keep him on a leash, saving him not only from his own constituency — so conservative that a lot of them are ultra-nationalist Birchers — but also from ruin as the Keating Scandal of the late 1980's threatened to sweep him away. McCain would not have survived without Torie.

McCain's voice has a bit of an echo because it is coming from deep inside the shoes of Barry Goldwater, the kami of American conservatism, into which McCain fell while trying to put them on.

I do not understand how McCain was chosen as the Republican candidate. (And no, I do not believe that primaries are as they seem.) To me this is just another case of the Republicans injecting their version of the T-virus into a moribund politician so that they would have a viable zombie, um, candidate. They did the same thing with Bob Dole back in 1996. It did not work then. I suspect the only reason the Republicans think they can get away with it this time is because the opposition candidate is, um, young and, ah, charismatic and, eh, married to a ladysmith.

As for McCain's running mate: You know, if McCain was that desperate for a woman as his vice-president, he should have stuck with what he knew and chose Torie. Sure, Torie was never a politician. Sure, Torie is a statist in the mold of Nelson Rockefeller. However, at least she could handle herself better than that what-the-hey from the Great Whiter North. That corrupt and ignorant polit is a ball and chain around McCain's arthritic ankle, because it implies that McCain is so incompetent he can't even do background checks.

But none of this matters. The above-all important thing is that McCain is running, not against Obama, but against the damage left by eight years of a greedy but cunning incompetent, his ventriloquist dummy, and his equally incompetent minions. Rolling Stone in 2004 wrote of the curse of Dick Cheney, whose career has been strewn with disasters affecting everyone except him. It turned out that El Dubya survived where Nixon, Ford and his father failed only because El Dubya was the dummy to Cheney the ventriloquist. The disaster is ours. And McCain is running against the ache in the pit of our collective stomach from knowing that McCain would just keep on keeping on the causes of the disaster: The futile war, the diminished freedoms, the crumbled economy, and the political corruption that makes the Glorified Redneck a model of civic virtue.

Really, all McCain has now are the ignorant and gullible χ vote and the angry, bitter φ and ψ vote. And these are not going to be enough.

Politics: What makes this worse is that it is so ephemeral. A hundred years from now, nobody but historians will know that there was an election or who won it. They will not know the details, and they will not remember the anger. But the kicker will be that nobody will care.

republicans in the slime

I normally vote Republican. And I will certainly vote for one Republican because he had the balls to vote against the Wall Street love and kisses package — twice!

But the Bald Git and his lackies has dragged the party through the mud and the slime. Worse, the party seemed to enjoy being dragged through the mud and the slime. This is surely true of the χ, who are despised by the party leadership as much as by any Europe-loving academician. And yet the Republican Party is the only alternative to the faux socialist party whose leadership slavishly follows the trends of European academia, and whose only saving quality right now is a charismatic candidate learned in the oratorical technique of every preacher from the dawn of Southern history.

I would say that this would be the nadir of American politics … except that there is no bottom to drop out, and that we will doubtless have a long way to sink.

addendum: the republican goat hunt

An article from Reuters ponders what the Republican Party would do if it lose the election. The article reports:

Analysts and some party activists say losing the White House will highlight the pitfalls of relying too heavily on a narrow foundation of [χ] whose support has nonetheless become crucial to Republican electoral success.

Evidently the Republican Party leadership, for whom those analysts and activists are their mouthpieces, are prepared to use the χ as scapegoats. It is easier on the leadership to dump on somebody than to admit that they were incompetent boobs in letting Cheney, Karl Rove and their wooden dummy dictate policy. And the leadership hates the χ anyway: They help the Republicans win elections with their legion of voters, and the leadership still hates them.

And the article's talk about the Republican leadership looking for that creamy nougat center, that will take the edge off all those whackos they have to rely on, is a fantasy. All that means is that the leadership are tired of the χ, but cannot get rid of them. And no matter what they say, you cannot dilute your party principles in the name of inclusion, lest the the whackos leave and form their own party, leaving the Republicans a permanent minority in the same way the Episcopalians and Lutherans are rain drops in the ocean of the American people.

Written by Andy West on 11 October 2008. Updated 6 April 2010.