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.