August
6th 2008
Nice work if you can get it

Posted under: American history

Mount IWUS by erikrasmussen.Gail, as you know, I spend most of my waking hours thinking about Human Greatness,” and contemplating bad public art at the same time.  Because, you know Gail, until a President’s or treasonous general’s face is carved on a mountain, he’s just not that great.

She replies, “David, a long time ago my husband and I decided we’d have a vacation where we’d just go to places that had canals. After Bruges, Amsterdam and Venice, we sort of slacked off.”  All those other canals full of human waste in India, Africa, Central America, and other colonized regions of the global South were kind of icky, David.

Who talks (or writes) like this?  Oh, and did I mention:  they wrote these sentences in an article in which they mull over the troubling character flaws of Barack Obama and John McCain!  Can someone pass me that quart-sized mason jar of Pisco Sours now, and sober me up at Thanksgiving when this election is all over?  Here’s one blogger who has packed it in, disgusted by the substance-free presidential campaigns and the even more trivial press coverage thereof (via TalkLeft).  Four years ago, I gave thousands of dollars to John Kerry, a congressional candidate, and a candidate for the Colorado house, and volunteered for all three campaigns.  This time around?  Eh.  The prospect of getting rid of George W. Bush was incredibly energizing for the Democratic Party, but sadly, most American voters were still too easily manipulated by fear four years ago.  I also worked hard and gave away lots of cash in 2006, so it’s very disappointing that the Democrats we helped put in charge took impeachment “off the table” and have been happy to cooperate with Bush on most things that really mattered. 

Bush is done in January, no matter who is elected in November, and he’s already crumpled up like a used tissue and ready for his layup into the dustbin of history.  I’m not saying I’m completely apathetic about the outcome of the presidential election–I thought that those who made the argument in 2000 that Bush and Al Gore were the same and that it didn’t matter which one was elected were out of their minds, and we all have suffered because of the purist sensibilities of the Nader Traitors.  But, I’m just not feeling the need to do much more than show up and vote this time around.  How about the rest of you?

13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Nice work if you can get it”

  1. GayProf on 06 Aug 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Now that Obama has veered far to the right (and far away from his base), the media is “surprised” that he has stalled in the polls or even losing ground to McSame.

  2. Indyanna on 06 Aug 2008 at 10:23 am #

    This about describes it for me. I think I left it all on the playing field back here on April 22. This is your basic tournament organizer’s nightmare: a four overtime 52-48 shootout in the round of four, then people are dozing and channel surfing when they start playing for all of the iron. Maybe things will pick up after Labor Day. HRC was through Philly the other day for a luncheon to thank her big donors–I guess my voicemail was jammed up that week–and she said it’s going to be a lot closer than you think in November. (NB: She didn’t tell ME this; like I say, I didn’t get the voicemail, but this is what the press reported!)

  3. Rad readr on 06 Aug 2008 at 1:13 pm #

    I love your strategy, historiann. I hope others who share your view continue to pursue it — we need Hillary on the ticket, for no other reason than she’s the best person to be a heart beat away. I mean Biden, Bayh, Nunn, the guy from VA? Please!!

    On the one hand, I agree, it’s a waste of time to get too invested in a politican of any stripe. They are, after all, politicians. But thinking back to 2000, no, they are not all the same. And so far McCain seems more likely to be manipulated by the heirs of Cheney, whereas Obama will probably cave to the heirs of the Chicago Boys (but then so did Clinton I and so probably would have Clinton II).

  4. Historiann on 06 Aug 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    Rad–there’s no question that pols always disappoint. But I’m not staying on the sidelines this time around because Clinton isn’t on the ticket either at the top or for VP. I’m highly, highly doubtful that Obama would even consider Clinton for VP for even a minute, although it would instantly unify the party, shore up his weaknesses, and make him look confident and unafraid. He doesn’t want a VP with any charisma or independent national base–he wants to be, a la Hole, “the [boy] with the most cake.” This is his party, and he ain’t sharing. Hence endless talk of relative nobodies like McCaskill, Sebelius, and Kaine, and of unexciting people like Biden and Bayh.

    I just hope he picks someone with a strong left hook, because his campaign needs to start landing more punches. How hard is it to run against Mr. 23% and his best pal, John McCain? It’s funny that the media cheerleaders are dismayed that Obama has lost ground this summer, as GayProf reports–could it be that people just don’t really care what they say any more? (Did you read through that whole vapid “dialogue” with Brooks and Collins? I almost stabbed myself in the eyes on purpose with the tiny sword toothpick that was holding the fruit garnish on my coctail this morning!)

  5. skimble on 06 Aug 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    As a strong Hillary supporter who watched her squander her lead to Obama (who played fair and square), I believe it is perfectly justified of him not to have her on the ticket. The Clinton legacy is serious baggage, and he has several other pieces of legacy business to attend to, not the least of which is his status as an African-American icon.

    TalkLeft misinterpreted my remarks to mean that the election doesn’t matter. That’s not true at all. The campaign is what doesn’t matter, because it is goaded by idiots on television and cheered on by a smaller cadre of viewers than American Idol.

    I preferred Hillary as my first choice but I will vote for Obama. The sad fact of the Obama presidency will be exactly the same as Bill Clinton’s — he will be forced to spend valuable years of his administration futzing with the errors of the previous Bush. Clinton’s surpluses were in response to Bush Senior’s then-record deficits; Obama’s fiscal policies will likewise be in response to Bush Junior’s now-record deficits. Then we had Bush 1′s S&L banking crisis, now we have Bush 2′s subprime credit banking crisis. Then Bush 1, Gulf War 1. Now Bush 2, Gulf War 2. The parallels are disgusting and not accidental.

    Through political cowardice (a la Harry and Nancy), Democrats have allowed themselves to become habitual janitors who clean up the GOP’s intentional spills.

  6. James Stripes on 06 Aug 2008 at 3:25 pm #

    Call me a “Nader Traitor” if you wish. I went farther in the process in 2000 than any year before or since–as far as my state’s Democratic Convention. Officially I was a Gore delegate because I prostituted myself on caucus night since it was already clear then that my candidate, Bill Bradley, was finished. There weren’t many of us at the caucus, so switching my vote to match those of the other four gave me good chances to become the alternate to the county convention. I seized the day and played the game for its educational value. Then the Bush/Gore debate helped me decide whether to vote for Gore or Nader. Gore failed to inspire and I wasted my vote. But don’t blame “Nader Traitors” for the Bush White House. Put the blame where it belongs–newspapers, schools, television, mindless voters that eschew real thought, and the Supreme Court.

    In 2004, things were different. Kerry demonstrated a clear understanding of foreign policy and earned my vote. Again lies prevailed and we gained four more years of shame.

    Obama has a tough race ahead of him, not least because the American voters have enough of a penchant for self-destruction to seriously consider a man without a single redeemable idea (although in 2000 he stood with Bill Bradley for campaign finance reform–a goal he has abandoned). The Obama Presidency (if the United States shall to continue) will need to resolve some fundamental economic problems in the first 100 days or the 1930s may start to seem prosperous in comparison. God help us all.

  7. Historiann on 06 Aug 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    James–good to hear from you. You Nader Traitors are not entirely to blame–but you cheered on a destructive media-driven narrative that it would be the same either way with a President Gush or President Bore! And good luck with resolving those “fundamental economic problems” with the (U. of) Chicago Boyz serving as Obama’s economic gurus.

    Skimble: You’re right, TalkLeft misrepresented your piece a bit, but I think you’re spot-on on the media in this campaign, and I’m with you all the way. I like your description of the Dems as “habitual janitors.” Sorry you won’t be blogging any more–perhaps in the New Year?

  8. Roxie on 06 Aug 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Don’t we have to place some of the blame for trivialization and hysteria in campaign coverage on the “progressive” blogosphere, which has helped to drive some of the finger-pointing around race? I think Bob Somerby has been brilliant on how self-destructive this is on the part of the left — It doesn’t help Obama’s cause to be making this the story of the day, every day.

    But you’re ahead of the moms in having made up your mind to show up and vote, Historiann. They are so disheartened and disgusted that they are seriously considering staying home, for the first time in their political lives — and they have always campaigned and voted for Democratic candidates.

    Please pass the tiny sword toothpicks and maybe a gin-soaked olive or two. That might help get them to the polls.

  9. Historiann on 06 Aug 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    Roxie–yes, good points. Somerby has been on fire lately (as in today’s post)–unfortunately, because I wish there weren’t so much for him to get fired up about. But, he’s the originator of the media critique, especially when it comes to Dem nominees over the past few decades.

    I’m surprised you didn’t register an opinion about the poor doggie who lost her life in Colorado Monday morning in the jaws of a cougar! I hope your mothers are more responsible than that.

  10. Roxie on 07 Aug 2008 at 9:31 am #

    Well, so far the moms have managed to protect me from the cougar-like creature that’s been roaming the woods near Queer the Turtle U. recently, so I guess that means they’re responsible. Of course, I suppose it could also mean they’re just lucky the cougar hasn’t figured out how to use the campus shuttle bus to get to our neighborhood!

  11. Clio Bluestocking on 07 Aug 2008 at 9:39 am #

    Today, a headline in the New York Times (online) said that Obama’s stand on abortion may alienate Catholic voters. Leaving aside the fact that most politicians’ stand on abortion is a non-stand, why does he need to court people who adamantly oppose abortion (not to mention a whole host of other reproductive rights)? They have a name for opponents of abortion. Its called “Republican.”

    That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the Democrats for me. I expect them to oppose the Republican party in more than just attack ads, not to be the left end of the Republican party. I end up feeling profoundly alienated from electoral politics because I feel like none of the candidates really give a damn about the issues that concern and affect me. They are too busy chasing the voters who think people like me are freaks.

    I sometimes wonder why they don’t try to reach out to alienated voters. There seems to be a lot of us. Then, I realize that they can either count on our votes because who else are we going to vote for? Or they think that voters who don’t vote, also don’t count. Non-voting can be seen as a political statement, even if it isn’t a particularly effective statement.

  12. Historiann on 07 Aug 2008 at 10:16 am #

    I feel your disaffection this year, Clio B. This of all years is the year to press for a real progressive agenda–and yet, the Dems are still running scared of Mr. 23%! Asinine. (And, although I personally think it’s redundant to point this out, but a truly progressive agenda doesn’t use reproductive rights or feminist issues as bargaining chips when courting independent or Republican votes!)

    You could always write in another person’s name, whether or not they’re official candidates, or you could vote for a 3rd party candidate. People on both the left and the right have options outside of D or R: Cynthia McKinney is running on the Green party ticket for Prez, and Bob Barr is running as the Libertarian Prez candidate.

    And Roxie, I’m glad to hear that you’re safe and sound. There was another cougar shot in Colorado yesterday–a little guy (only 60 pounds!) It’s too bad.

  13. Ann Bartow on 10 Aug 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    Obama’s move to the right upsets me (to put it mildly) but ironically, this might actually make him competitive here in South Carolina. Quite the quandary.

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