Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Morning After. The GTL Apologizes. Good News For Reality.

Like Gregor Samsa, I awoke this morning from uneasy dreams, having gone to restless sleep after the first presidential debate last night.

I handed the first debate to John McCain for not seeming crazy and not getting angry. He managed to get in a few tried-and-true zingers to Obama's character which seemed to hit their mark. But amazingly, the people, for the first time in decades, did not warm to the angrier man, but to the better ideas.

CNN has some encouraging results, which indicate that the GTL may have to raise his expectations for the judgment of our wonderful nation and its registered voters.

Republicans have traditionally won elections through smears, mockery, naked contempt, and successful attacks on the character and manhood of their opponents. They have used dirty tricks like voter disenfranchisement in poor urban centers and jamming Democratic phones on election day.

Let's also never forget their successful thirty-year campaign to paint their carnal greed as the seemingly principled "philosophy" of deregulation and trickle-down economics, which the first president Bush rightly recognized as "voodoo" before he realized it just might fool enough of the people to bring about a serious redistribution of wealth to himself and his country-club cronies.

But mostly their triumph came due to mastery of the condescending sound-bite. To my amazement, these snippets of ridicule almost always seemed to meet their mark. A perfect example, and one which I refer to frequently, came in the 2000 race between Al Gore and George W. Bush:

Bush told the assembled audience, "My opponent has hired a consultant to tell him what kind of clothes to wear. Can you imagine? A grown man hiring someone to tell him what clothes he should wear?!"

I thought, "Oh, my God. He's going to win."

And I was right. In one sleazy and hypocritical put-down, Bush had erased in the minds of the public decades of public service by Al Gore and replaced them with an image of a hapless, clueless, scared sissy. It didn't matter that Bush had a phalanx of his own consultants and powerful spinmeisters creating the presidential W out of whole cloth.

With all this in mind, I watched the debate last night looking for McCain to stumble seriously, forget basic facts, or otherwise reveal his cognitive limitations. I was also hoping that Obama would skewer McCain with his own self-contradictory statements on abortion rights, the economy, the Bush tax cuts, and all the other things this so-called principled senator has flip-flopped on in his lust for the Big Chair.

But none of that happened. And McCain did get to follow the old formula created by Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, and others on the Right.

So naturally it appeared to me that McCain had carried the debate, even as Obama held his own. As a frequent visitor to this page commented, "it was a tie, and a tie is a win for McCain."

Thank you, America. I apologize for underestimating you.

All my love,

The Gun-Toting Liberal.

Post-script: I have been asked to make my first political speech, in Lowell, Massachusetts, next week. I will be speaking briefly against Question One, a referendum to eliminate the state sales tax.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Flamsey said...

Obama never said that 30% of all corporations do not pay taxes. He did not say that 95% of Americans have not gotten a real tax cut in years and that 5% and really the top 1/100 of 1% of Americans. The super rich, the mega millionaires have gotten far richer in the past 30 years than at anytime in the history of the country. That they exploit tax loopholes to avoid paying even close to their fair share.

He did not say that the corporations have taken control of this country and that they pay lobbyists to write the laws that congress passes to favor their way of life.

The country has been hijacked and there is no plan to take it back.

This bailout will not work. It will only delay the inevitable crash a few weeks... maybe until November 5. After that it won't matter.. no amount of bailing will keep the ship of state afloat.

There needs to be campaign finance reform in a big way ... all private money should be banned. If the people finance the campaigns the people will get to choose their leaders.

He did not say that Afghanistan is un-winnable, and that we ought to get out of there and reform our energy policies to keep from funding the terrorists...

I was not impressed with either candidate.

Good luck with your speech... at least the people in Massachusetts get to vote on referendums. Most states don't let the people vote for anything but their "representatives".