Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who Knew Joe The Plumber Was So Sensitive?

So, Joe the Plumber feels dirty.

That's saying something.
You know when a plumber feels dirty, and it doesn't even have to do with work, something must be very, very skeevy indeed.

Or at least very Republican.

In an interview, Joe Wurzelbacher says that some of the things he saw while campaigning for John McCain made him feel "dirty" and were "pretty scary."
And Joe, after all, is a man who has seen the kind of back-ups and clogging that would make most of us truly blanch.

None of the dirty, scary stuff involved Sarah Palin, though.
He's utterly entranced with her.
"Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal," he gushed to conservative radio host Glenn Beck.

And next time Sarah Palin has a scary backup, it sounds like Joe Wurzelbacher is one plumber she ought to be able to get on a weekend.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can We Get A Bailout...

...For Peter Orszag's wig?
You've seen it, right?

It doesn't even look like a bad hairpiece.
It looks like a really good beret.

Surely, somewhere in that $700 billion stimulus package, there can be $350 bucks set aside for a new rug for the nation's new budget director.

My goodness.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Andy Warhol Called: Your Fifteen Minutes Are Up

Rarely does a political action committee's website, by its very name, unwittingly offer the central argument against its own cause.

But if you're honoring Sarah Palin, and your PAC is called, "Our Country Deserves Better..."

In time, campaign '08 will recede enough to look back nostalgically at it, and perhaps we will even miss the phenomenon that was Sarah Palin.

But you can't miss something that won't go away............

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doubling Down

In this just-begun transition period between #43 and #44, Barack Obama (soon-to-be 44), when pressed about doing this or that prior to his official innauguration, has been fond of saying that this nation "only has one president at a time."


For while that little detail may make perfect sense and moreover be technically true, who doesn't feel a twinge of disappointment every time Obama says that?

Bush's approval ratings are trending toward the "too slight to make the needle move" range, the nation's "pessisim" index is the highest ever recorded, and not to put too fine a point on it, but if I were doing the polling, I would ask simply, "Do you feel the country is actually in the crapper, getting buried in the crapper, or is in the process of actually being flushed down the crapper?"

All of which suggests plainly and potently, that if there was ever a time this nation could use two presidents, it's now. Or maybe Bush could simply say to Obama, "Hey, look--I'm basically fried; why don't you move in early, get to work, and I'll be back for your innauguration." Nothing in the constitution prohibits that.

Besides, it's win-win: Obama gets to get started early to everyone's benefit, and Bush, in ceding his office to someone who can use it, gets the first uptick in his approval ratings in years.

Just a little thinking outside the Beltway box.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'll Go With Leaders of Europe For 20, Please

Big Deal. So John McCain got himself all confused about who he was talking to, and who was the Spanish Prime Minister, and whether he would invite him to the White House, and the interview really was something of a mess.

At one point, the interviewer, clearly perplexed and vexed by McCain's referencing Latin America when she was talking about Spain, after all, said to him, "What about Europe?"
McCain responded, "What about me?"

What about you, indeed John McCain.
"The fundamentals of the economy are strong," he says to begin Wall Street's meltdown week. "I would fire the head of the S.E.C.," he then roars. Only the president can't actually do that.

Funny, how the 17 houses seem entirely irrelevant now.
On the other hand, he has the only running mate in modern times who knows how to field dress a moose.
Funny how the 17 houses are the least of his problems now.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mile-High Hypocrisy

Pity poor Michael Gerson.

As a former professional speech-writer, he felt let down by Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech in Denver.

"In tone, Obama's big speech was small, partisan, often defensive, and occasionally snide," Gerson writes in his 8/30 Washington Post column.

But then, as a former speech writer for George W. Bush, Gerson ought to know a thing or two about smallness, nevermind a spoken message that was, from the first, rabidly partisan and more than occasionally snide.

84, ooo fervently-cheering Democrats who felt literally a mile high seemed to feel otherwise.

Gerson called the speech "orthodox."
Perhaps it was a wee bit. For a Democrat. Which, Gerson may want to double-check, Obama is.

A man who crafted speeches with George Bush's smirk in mind is let down by the strong, stirring--and yes, partisan--language of the man hellbent on replacing him in the White House and attempting to clean up the sorry mess he will leave behind.


Funny, how many on the right, after eight years of partisanship so fierce and unrelenting that some of them talked in terms of permanently "neutering" the opposition, now feel let down that that opposition is being so...partisan.

I would ask Michael Gerson, how does it feel?
But then, that would be snide.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is busy actively stumping for John McCain. At a recent press breakfast (Sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor), she touted McCain's tech credentials. This is particularly odd since McCain has admitted that he does not know how to use a computer.

Tech credentials?

Hey, you can say what you want about John McCain online.
No, really--say whatever you want. Why not? He won't be reading it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

At least Their Hats don't Say "VD"

The story of this now nearly half-over baseball season is the Tampa Bay Rays. As of this writing, they are now a full (and incredible) 2-1/2 games ahead of the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox in the American League Eastern Division.

But even casual fans might notice this season that something seems missing from the Tampa Bay name. There is. And as Dana Carvey might have said as the "Church Lady," it's "SAYT-n!"
Yup, they used to be the Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays. But this season, they lost the Lucifer handle, and swam with the straight and narrow aquatic thing.

And suddenly, having shed the devil, the Rays are in first place. Coincidence? Only to athiests.

The Rays are good; they are young, they have speed, good pitching and a skilled veteran skipper in Joe Maddon. They may challenge right to the end.

But here's my question for the Rays braintrust: why tinker to the point of dropping the "Devil" part of your name out of obvious concern for karma, but leave the same initials on your team's hat? ("TB")

No team has ever won a championship in any sport sporting the initials of a communicable disease. And as Casey himself would have said, "You can look it up."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chutz-pah, n.

"Brazeness, gall." (Yiddish)
Use it in a sentence? Try this one:

"Cheney says Democrats on 'destructive path.'"

Now that's chutzpah.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Does Hillary Want (From Me?)

Have I not paid proper obeissance?
Have I not given her her due?
Have I not suffered through these fifteen months of "ClintonII: This Time It's Personal?"

I have an idea for her: why doesn't she do like the late Sen. George Aiken (R-VT) suggested the U.S. do to disengage from Vietnam during that war -- just say she won and go home.

What does she want (from me)?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Who Says You Can't Get A Plumber On Weekends?

It's the weekend. Your toilet's backed up. You can get someone to come out, but it will take two days, and be rather expensive. Nearly $2 billion, to be exact. Besides, it's not really your money. It's our money.

Congratulations, NASA, on making the most expensive service call in history.
I just wonder -- did they at least try first to just jiggle the handle?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Disgruntled? Join The Club, Scottie

Former Bush Press Secretary-turned author Scott McClellan is being called lots of things for his new best-selling press-and-tell book, "What Happened."

Among them, "self-serving," "disengenuous," and "unprofessional." (And that was all by the same person, mind you.)

I would also add, "smarmy little prick."

For even though McClellan now seems to want to "do the right thing" in terms of exposing White House malfeasance, where were his cojones when he had the chance to really make a statement?

Curiously, though, in all the administration's name-calling, in all the many ways different Bushies said the same thing (we're "puzzled," "sad") about McClellan, there is one word he has not been called once: liar.

The only thing more curious is the official word the White House has used to describe, and dismiss McClellan: "disgruntled."

Here is a former employee who is "disgruntled" after witnessing up close the train wreck
of the Bush administration. Get in line, Scottie. And join the 81% of the rest of us who have felt disgruntled for years, even while you were still smiling that piss-pants little grin of yours and daily doling out the same stinking stew of lies you now decry.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An(other) Inconvenient Truth

Hillary Clinton is fast-becoming that mythical person at an old-time wedding ceremony who, when the assemblage is asked if anyone would say why "this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony"--actually stands up and says just that.

It only happened in the movies. ("The Graduate," for instance.)
Now it's happening in politics.

The clear will (and popular votes) of most Democrats are with Barack Obama.
But Clinton has undeniably racked up huge victories over the past few months. "The Biggest Loser" she isn't. Winning primaries in California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania is nothing to sneeze at.

And she keeps winning, basically going 1-1 with Obama with each recent week's slate of two primaries.

Not enough to stave off the inevitable perhaps, but enough to keep things mired where they are.
Tough to tell someone who keeps winning that they've lost.

Even if they have.
And that's the Dem's inconvenient truth.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

McCain the Magnificent!

First, Hillary Clinton started referencing Rocky after her comebacks on the campaign trail.

Now John McCain is channeling Nostradamus.

In a speech in Ohio on Thursday (May 15), McCain envisioned how he saw the world in five years. In this near-future world, McCain is president, naturally. (Which is the first indication of his not-so-Nostradamus-like powers of prophecy.)

McCain sees the war in Iraq finally over (having now shaved 95 years off his original prediction), Osama Bin Laden captured, and, among other things, public education thriving.

He also foresees gas returning to $1.00 a gallon, Wayne Newton winning a Grammy, and Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill doing "Dancing with the Stars" together.

Asked by a reporter what his prediction was with respect to the Federal deficit, McCain put his hand to his forehead, closed his eyes, and said, "I'm thinking of a number...."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Would Abe Say?

Sen. Hillary Clinton has challenged Sen. Barack Obama to a series of "Lincoln-Douglas"-style debates. Those debates, held in several Illinois towns in 1850 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas for a U.S. Senate seat, became famous for their substance (slavery was the dominant issue; no record of any questions about lapel pins), their civility (there was no moderator) and their simple word count. (Each candidate spoke cumulatively for 90 minutes.)

I think Obama should agree to the proposal immediately, upon one condition: that Clinton actually starts acting like Lincoln. You know, dignified, respectful, scrupulously fairminded.

You want to debate like Lincoln?
Campaign like Lincoln.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"ABC." Stands For...

"Attack Barack Completely." Or, issues that have (A)lready (B)een (C)hewed (over.) American Broadcasting Company? Nah, a new low in American broadcasting history.

Alas, ABC's Philadelphia debate ended up telling voters a lot more about Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos than it did about Obama or Clinton. Will Obama wear a flag lapel pin once again? Does his former pastor love America as much as he does? Yeah, those are the burning issues that keep anxious Americans up at night.

This anxious American is only sorry he stayed up as late as he did last night, watching two men I used to respect tarnish themselves and a proud network. Somewhere, Peter Jennings is shaking his head.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Who You Callin' Condescending?

In attacking Barack Obama's "small town" comments with the zeal of a hungry horsefly on a pile of hot, stinking you-know-what, Hillary Clinton -- as usual -- reveals more of herself than she does of Obama.

Both Clinton and McCain, in the attacks on Obama, cite his comments as proof that he is "elitist" and "out of touch" with working people. That he is condescending to them.

How, by telling the truth?

And, in truth, Obama's comments ("inartful," as even he agrees) were easy to manipulate by his opponents. But it doesn't make them any less accurate. The real problem is, one must read in them a slight degree of nuance. As in, it is not that there is anything wrong with religion or guns, for instance, but rather that those things have been used as wedge issues time after time by those in both parties (but mostly Republicans) where the only (and usually intended) effect is to distract from larger economic issues.

Ever read "What's the Matter with Kansas?"

Obama apparently believes that people -- blue collar and otherwise -- are fundamentally intelligent enough to see and understand what's been done to them. Clinton and McCain clearly do not. Better to stoop down low and rant that Obama is being an elitist and belittling some hard working Americans' religion and their love of hunting. They not only know better, they're the ones being condescending.

We are soon to be done with eight years of an imbecile of a president who once famously said about himself, "I don't do nuance."

How deflating to realize that two of the three candidates to replace that man don't do nuance, either.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Call him Senator John McConfused.
No, not about his now near-daily flubs about who's who (Sunni, Shiite) and who's
training Al-Qaeda (Al-Qaeda) and who's not (Iran).

No, it's bigger than that.
In his opening paen to Petraeus, John McCain once more observed that withdrawing now from Iraq would constitute a "moral and political failure in leadership."

Quick, Senator (and no coaching from Joe Lieberman!): then what does getting into the biggest foreign policy debacle in U.S. history constitute?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Where $390,000 is Minimum Wage

Tomorrow (April 8) is the Boston Red Sox Home Opener. Fenway Park will look clean and fresh and new corporate logos will have sprouted on available wall space over the winter like mushrooms. Happens ever year now. This is a very corporate-savvy, market-driven ownership group in Boston. Nothing wrong with that. Helps pays the bills. And the bills are gigantic.

The average major league salary this year rose above $3 million for the first time. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez alone will make $28 million for the season. That's more than several teams' entire payrolls. (The major league minimum salary is $390,000.)Ted Williams, perhaps the greatest hitter ever to play the game, topped out at just over $100,000. A decade or so before he died, Williams was asked, considering the player salaries of today, how much he would ask for were he playing now with his record. "There isn't enough money," harumphed Teddy Ballgame.

Indeed, the stars of Williams' era, often considered baseball's golden age, played for mere fractions of what even today's mediocre players make. Players like Frank Robinson, Duke Snider, Whitey Ford and Harmon Killebrew. Each one is a Hall of Famer. Not one of them ever made a million dollars playing baseball. And yet, in a wonderful new book of interviews collected by former Baseball Commissioner Faye Vincent, the pure love of the game is echoed in tones of joy rarely heard from today's crop of ballplayer millionaires.

The book is called, "We Would Have Played For Nothing."
Word is the owners are at work on a companion volume tentatively titled, "Now You Tell Us!"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

R.I.P., N.R.A.

Well, its biggest booster, anyway.
May Charlton Heston rest in peace.
And I guess we can now take his gun, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Raise Your Hand If... give a sh*t who is, isn't, may, or may not be in NATO. Or who is or isn't onboard with a missile defense shield in Europe.

On the same day that President Bush prepared to huddle by the Black Sea with Russian President Vladimir Putin, figures were released in Washington that only further blackened the economic cloud in our own country.

How about a shield for Americans from the widespread fallout of a recession that is sure to get worse?

80,000 more U.S. jobs were lost in March -- the most in five years -- driving the national unemployment rate up to 5.1 percent. The economy has now lost 232,000 jobs in just the first three months of 2008.

And we're worried about who to extend the NATO franchise to?
We're worried about mystery missiles somehow, someday, some way falling somewhere in Europe?

Like you, and me, and your neighbor don't have enough to worry about with the insecurity of our jobs, and the stew of stress bubbling all around our mortgages, our healthcare (if we have it), our shrinking spending power and our kids' diminished futures.

Nato? Missile shields? Are you kidding me?
Like I said, raise your hand if you give a sh*t.

You can put your hand down now, Mr. President.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Richardson = Judas? No, Carville = Crazy Man

You don't get a nickname like the "Ragin' Cajun" by being demure and decorous. But that doesn't excuse politico James Carville from calling a very decent man and the Governor of New Mexico, "Judas."

Okay, Mr. Carville, we get it: you love Bill and Hillary Clinton, you are their most loyal ally in the world, and you will be with them till that last dog dies. We get it. Loyalty is a wonderful thing. Except when it's not. And it doesn't look so wonderful when someone like you equates the withholding of it to consigning someone to death. "Ragin Cajun?" How about the "Delta Drama Queen?"

Yes, N.M. Gov. Bill Richardson owed something indeed to former Pres. Bill Clinton, who had, to a very real degree, "made" Richardson by appointing him both U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., and U.S. Energy Secretary. That's loyalty to BILL Clinton. Get it?

What is Carville's point? That Richardson's loyalty must be to the entire family?
What does he owe Chelsea, for instance?

Hillary? As a presidential candidate himself, Richardson ran against her, for goodness sake.
What, that wasn't disloyal by the Carville Code of Clinton Commrade Conduct? But now he is being disloyal because he favors a different candidate?

Bill Richardson owes Hillary Clinton exactly nothing.
James Carville owes Bill Richardson a big, fat apology.

Monday, March 24, 2008

On Your Knees!

Depending on who and what you read in the wake of Sen. Barack Obama's Philadelphia speech on race, he either hit a home run or barely squibbed a single past a drawn-in infield.

Unless you are noted race relations expert and baseball sage Pat Buchanan.

To Buchanan, Obama not only struck out, he used a corked bat, took steroids, and bet on his own team to boot. On his blog, "PJB" (which sounds oddly like a sandwich of some kind, no?), Buchanan levels quite likely the harshest review seen yet of Obama's speech:

"It is the same old con, the same old shakedown that black hustlers have been running since the Kerner Commission blamed the riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and a hundred other cities on, as Nixon put it, “everybody but the rioters themselves.”

Wow. Barack Obama--Harvard Law grad, U.S. Senator, Presidential candidate, black hustler.
And Lord knows if there is one man in America who has the record of tolerance, wisdom and ethical high standards to be quoted as a voice of reason on race relations, it's Richard Nixon.

Did Buchanan even hear the speech?

"Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.
Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to."

Interesting, because in the Obama speech I watched and listened to, he very much dwelt on both sides of the racial divide, and spoke about white fears and concerns in a way rarely if ever heard from from a black leader.

But, wait it gets better. For slaves, that is.

"First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known."

See? Slavery was the best thing that ever happened to those "black folks." After all, they got to get rounded up like animals, lose all human dignity, do 200 years or so of forced labor in another land, suffer generations of lost and uprooted families, AND--get Christian salvation. See? It was win-win-win-win-win!

Oh, Buchanan also has advice for the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., the man whose comments Obama forthrightly condemened.

"Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American," Buchanan says.

See? It's all about knowing your place in this great land of liberty.

And with that, one assumes Massuh Pat stalks back to the Big House in a huff. Damn but those shufflin' darkies get uppity sometimes.

Especially when they run for President.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

That Is "SO" Cheney... it not?
So, in response to an interviewer's observation that fully 2/3 of all Americans now think the Iraq War was a mistake, the so-called Vice-President says, "So?"

So how about that?

Give the man his props--he does not give a shit about you, me, the guy next-door or the Gods who presumably hate hubris. Presumably he does care somewhat for dear and (up to now) loyal old friends like Mickey Edwards.

Edwards, a lecturer at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Politics and former Republican colleague of Cheney's in Congress, wrote a dark and damning "I don't know you anymore" type of op-ed in this weekend's Washington Post. ("Cheney's Error.")

Edwards' upshot? That Cheney would be basically happier in a dictatorship than in the three-branched Democratic government in which he serves. Edwards makes the simple but astute point that in our government, the founders (wisely) put the power to wage war in the hands of the people, through their elected representatives in Congress. So Cheney's snarling "So?" in the face of widespread public opposition to his, I mean Bush's war is in fact no small thing.

It is in fact the grievous error that Edwards describes it as.

So? So nine more months till we get to say "So long."
But that still seems so long.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Now I've Heard Everything

So, Rush Limbaugh accuses someone else of being a "hatemonger." This from a man who broadcasts daily to millions of listeners who tune in mostly to mentally "ditto" his hateful rant of the day. Ever hear Rush go off on the Clintons or any other significant liberal Democrat you care to think of? (My personal "favorite?" Two days after the Virginia Tech massacre, Limbaugh said the shooter "had to be a liberal.") Hate rarely comes in so many different, dripping varieties. Or in such dulcet (if drug-induced) tones.

And someone else is a hatemonger?

Mind you, Limbaugh's target this time, Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., has certainly spewed some rank and rancid stuff. No question. (And no delay or dancing around it in Obama's stern and swift

And you can be sure that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb hasn't forgotten Limbaugh's 2003 race-neutral observation on ESPN that "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well...and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve." (Sounds a lot like coach Gerry Ferraro, no?)

But someone else is a race-baiter?

The kettle in this case (Rev. Wright) is indeed and in fact black.
The porcine, pill-popping pot is still best-described by the title of Al Franken's book: "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot."

And you can look it up.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Answer: "Sure, And If My Aunt...

...Had a d**k, she'd by my uncle."

The Question? What is the proper response to Geraldine Ferraro's comment, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

Oh, and if Geraldine Ferraro was your aunt, you would understand why your uncle drank.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

But Like, She IS A Monster

What? Like there is some question about that?

Calling your opponent a "monster" in a U.S. Presidential race, even via a surrogate (Barack Obama's now ex-advisor, Samantha Power) is probably unacceptable.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton, of late, seems to sprout more heads with more distinct personalities than say, the mythical hydra. Which, most would agree, would be fairly placed at least in the "general monster" category.

There was cooing, congenial Hillary at the Austin, Texas debate, turning warmly to Obama: "I am honored to be here with Barack Obama, honored..." Only days later, there was the snapping, steaming Hillary in Ohio spitting, "You should be ashamed of yourself, Barack Obama!"

Got whiplash yet?

And truthfully, what Clinton said at a meeting of military officers and national security experts in Washington last week was actually monstrous. She said that both she and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain were ready to be Commander-in-Chief; Obama was not. She and McCain, Clinton piously intoned, could "put forth a lifetime of experience." Barack Obama, by contrast she taunted, could "offer a speech he made in 2002."

Nevermind for the moment that that was a speech in which he went on record opposing the Iraq War which Clinton supported. More importantly--and more like a monster--Clinton broke a longstanding, unwritten rule that you do not throw a fellow member of your party under the bus to potentially be run over in the general by the opposing party. Politically, yes, that is monster-like.

Sorry, she is a monster. The only question is, which one?
Cruella Deville?
Catherine the Great?
Loch Ness?

The Boston Herald's Margery Eagan compared her to Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction"--popping up out of that bathtub every time you think she's dead.

Tough to say.
Tougher to watch.
But Barack Obama should be glad that his days of sitting mere inches away from her at Democratic debates are over.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hope This!

Several scenes from movies come to mind in the wake of Texas and Ohio and the carnival attraction ("She takes knives, she takes a bullet--she will not die!") that is increasingly Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama's message of hope and positive change? Very nice. Nice enough in fact to finish second. Or last, if you prefer. (And don't nice guys always finish last?)

Clinton, as Tina Fey on SNL made clear, could care less about being nice, being positive, or hoping for anything other than total victory regardless of the body count or the blood spilled.

Hillary? Hope?
To paraphrase the famous scene in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, "We don't need no stinkin' hope!"

No, a shiv in the back works ever so much better in politics.
Just ask Clinton.
Whose next attack ad is rumored to end with the words, "I'm Hillary Clinton--and I got your hope right here!"

Saturday, March 1, 2008

It's 3AM...

...My kids are asleep. The phone rings. It's the Clinton campaign.

"Do you realize it's 3 o'clock in the morning?," I say.

"Do you realize that Hillary Clinton is ready to be President on day one?," the perky young caller responds. "And if that red phone rings in the middle of the night at the White House--just like it just rang at your house--she will know exactly what to do, unlike that untested neophyte who you may or may not have been thinking about voting for."

There is a long pause, as I look out the window and realize there is a streetlight out.
"It's 3 o'clock in the freaking morning," I softly repeat.
I hang up the phone.

"Who was that?," my wife asks without opening her eyes.

"Just some wackjob. 'Night..."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Memo To McCain: I'm Not Your Friend

It's like a talking-tic: every sentence of every speech begins or ends or has somewhere in the middle the words, "my friends..."

Has any politician--any human in history!--ever so overused that expression of faux-familiarity as John McCain?

The answer is no, my friends.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We're Just Not That Into You

It cannot be easy to be Hillary Clinton these days. Gone is the (self-created) aura of invincibility. Now observers try to divine whether she is saying farewell in how she says she's soldiering on.

But here's an irony. Hillary lately has taken great, if now a fatalist's delight in mocking "Messiah" Obama. His followers, she suggests, have their heads in the clouds, their eyes rolling back, and their outstretched arms thrust heavenward. They chant "Yes, we can" with the first-time fervor of the politically naive and innocent. Wouldn't it be nice, she sarcastically says, if we could just "wave a magic wand" and we would all be united and all the lobbyists would "just disappear.?"

Personally, my own magic wand would magically make the Clintons at long last disappear, but that's beside the point.

By contrast, Hillary paints herself as the tough, pragmatic realist.

The irony is that many who support Obama over Clinton do so exactly out of a sense of the very same tough, pragmatic realism. It's simple: Clinton, by very dint of who she is, has zero chance of being a uniter. She would enter a Presidential race as Democratic nominee with the highest negatives of any candidate in modern history. She is, partly through no fault of her own, a living, ongoing, permanent target of enmity. That will not change.

Barack Obama comes in with none of that history. And that, for many voters, is the key to their support. A pragmatic, realistic calculation to support the Democratic candidate with the best chance of actually creating some rudimentary bipartisanship.

No magic wands required, Hillary. Nothing starry-eyed. Just some steely, stone-faced realism. Get it?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pity The Poor White Man

Fortunately, in the wake of Super Tuesday, Barack Obama has shown he can attract support among white men. I say "fortunately," because, prior to that, the storyline was developing that white men, especially rural white men, were "without a candidate" on the Democratic side.

On the Republican side, of course, voters shopping exclusively for a white man had a Macy's full of 'em for months. (In fact, it was the only choice they had.) With once-full Republican showroom now down to just three models (McCain, Huckabee, Paul), "white" and "male," are still the only choices.

But if you're a voter who insists on that old standby in his or her President, the good, ol, white male, the Democrats have nothing to show you this year.

Imagine that--looking at a party's candidates for President, and not seeing a single one who looks like you. I mean, what is a poor, white guy to do?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mitt: Mendacious To The End

"If this were only about me, I would go on.

Said with a straight face, Mitt Romney uttered those words to the Conservative Political Action Committee earlier this week as he quit the 2008 Presidential race.

It's about more than Mitt? Hardly. It is never, has never, could never be about more than Mitt. This is the most self-important, self-directed, and the in the end, self-deluded candidate in modern times. There is no room for it to have been about more than Mitt. Like what, there was some higher, loftier purpose in Romney's running for President? Please. But leave it to this Herculean heaver of hefty bullshit to make it sound that way.

"I feel I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney further piously whined. He had to stand aside for the simple reason that his campaign was a failure, and was going nowhere. Hey, no shame in that. Romney is hardly the first Presidential hopeful to go down in the primaries. Plenty of them--Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Thompson, Giulliani--have dropped out just since January.

And not one of them felt compelled to make their withdrawal seem like some kind of grand gesture of sacrifice and selfless patriotism.

As usual, spinning like a top while standing still, he morphed into Mitt 37.0 (and counting): reluctant Republican warrior, falling on his sword for the good of his party, even though he personally was prepared to bravely soldier on.
In truth, the only reason Romney could even entertain remaining in the race was because he was largely bankrolling it personally by this point. So much for the selfless warrior narrative. But then, Romney has never let the truth interfere with a good line of bullshit he was putting down.

But what separated Romney's remarks from mere (and more) vapid pandering
to something more repugnant still, was this:
"In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

This from a man who suggested that his five strapping boys were doing the equivalent of military service by criss-crossing Iowa in a luxury bus and posting silly campaign jokes on their white bread website.

The only thing America refused to surrender to was a phony flim-flam man named Mitt Romney. Now that, would have been truly terrifying.

Monday, January 28, 2008

State of the Union: Is It Over Yet?

Well, I lasted ten minutes.

This was George W. Bush's last State of the Union Address, but more importantly, it was my last time having to listen to George W. Bush give a State of the Union Address.

What was, for the first six years merely irritating, has become in this last, genuinely nauseating.

Forget the details of this man's train wreck of a presidency, forget the substance. Let's talk image alone: what president in history has smirked his way through a State of Union? What is that? What strange tick explains it? What is missing in this man to allow for that?

I lasted long enough to hear Bush lay down the law to Congress on earmarks. It's about transparency, dammit, he lectured. Really? And what about this President's unprecedented use of his so-called "signing statements," wherein he has signed laws but simultaneously noted that he may not actually carry them out as the peoples' representatives have legally instructed him to do?

Transparency? This administration does not know the meaning of the word. Only last week an exhaustive study revealed that, in all, the President and his aides used fully 935 lies to mislead the American people about the War in Iraq.

The only thing transparent about George W. Bush and his entire misbegotten legacy is that its origins were tainted, its entire tenure has been tainted, and everything it has touched has become tainted.

Including us.

And it will take more than a new president to wash it away.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Barack & Roll (Name That Tune)

It's a long road yet to Denver, and the 2008 Democratic nominating convention.
Hell, it's only the morning after the South Carolina primary, and still more than a week from Super-Duper-Tsunami-Spectacular Tuesday. (If the Super Bowl were also held on Super Tuesday, would the nation simply implode from the sheer super-ness of it all?)


...something has subtly or perhaps not so subtly shifted. In the mere space of a month or so, the sheen of brand Bill Clinton has been scratched and dinged, possibly irreparably. And in attacking a fellow Democrat. Hard to believe.

But not just any Democrat.

Yeah, yeah, yeah--it's been a giggle all these years to enjoy Toni Morrison's original observation about Bill Clinton being America's "first black President." But in the nasty hand-to-hand of South Carolina, here was the discomfitting spectacle of that same man beating up on the man who actually is black, and actually is attempting to become the nation's first black president. No joke, no giggle, no Bill and Hill bullshit. The real deal.

And what did he get from the erstwhile "brother?" Low blows. Distortions. And in the waning hours, outright contempt. The former President reminded people that hey, even Jesse Jackson had won South Carolina.

What the hell does that even mean?

One could say that, like Lucy, Clinton's "got some 'splaining to do." But one could also have the feeling now that maybe it doesn't matter.

The original 1992 "two-for-one", value-added-in-the-White House dynamic instead may now become two-for-one, value-reduced. In showing (or reminding) us that it was, is, and will always be about them, that they will say and do anything to get what they're after, both Bill and by extension Hillary have made enemies anew.

Probably not what Hillary and her campaign had in mind. And certainly not what they need. Not with a woman facing the highest negatives of any modern presidential candidate. (Up to 45%, depending on the poll.)

But there it is. Obama wins in South Carolina and, in speaking afterwards, sounds like the Fresh Prince of hope and inspiration. The Clintons speak afterwards, in the wake of their failed mudslinging, and sound like peeved brats who are old and spent.

In 1992, Clinton's theme song was Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow." It could just as well be Obama's now.

For the Clinton's circa 2008? Easy. "Yesterday."