21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check + Readers Letters

The Cheesehead Victory Lap
James Campion
Obama & McCain In Driver's Seat
'I have a dream of a new American language'.  - Dan Bern

Mere seconds after the Associated Press had called the Wisconsin primary for Barack Obama, a surprisingly early projection, nestled as it was within a lead paragraph describing his once unbeatable opponent's campaign as "fading", the young senator stood at center stage grinning from ear to ear. He waved his outstretched arms aloft in the vain attempt to silence 20,000 screaming revelers, who had crammed into a Houston arena for what was described on the program as a rally, but had long mutated into something more. The eruption of sound signified a sudden awareness that this was now the opening stride to a symbolic victory lap.

By this time every cable news network had cut from what was the latest in an agonizing series of plodding stump speeches by Hillary Clinton, during which the beaten candidate had refused for a month of primary and caucus whippings, ten consecutive in all, to congratulate its winner. A week removed from first place and looking more like the boondoggled heroine of a Rod Sterling script, Madam Shoo-In was being unceremoniously bumped from primetime to make way for the speeding bullet from Illinois, the closest politics has come to producing a phenomenon in any a lifetime.

A black man, cheered as a conquering hero, a few giant leaps closer to becoming the president of the United States, in a city named for a slave owner who traded Native Americans like cattle and pilfered land from Mexico.

The sound of his voice booming from the television filled my outer room as I sat furiously banging on this keyboard, trying like hell to come to grips with the very real feeling that this might actually happen; that the system will be yanked from its moorings and sent packing with yesteryear's hokum -- the cynicism still beating strong in my heart, but the chills bolting up through my spine and into the weary frontal lobe.
What the hell is happening here?

I was moved to write that Wisconsin, a blue-collar state bloated with old-world Democrats, entrenched Reagonites, and far less than ten percent of its populace comprised of African Americans, had finally put the dirt on the Clinton Campaign.
    But I did not. Not yet. Not now.

    The numbers supported it. Obama had claimed a stake in every possible voting block, taking what the pundits described for days as a "no-excuse" prize; meaning it was not one handed on a platter of race, youth, independents and a GOP mass exodus that spinners at the rival campaign could downplay as just another fluke.

    Ah, but if you spend enough hours hanging around the subject of big-time politics, and are forced to unfurl random thoughts under a byline, you had best be prepared to dismiss the looming danger of "real feelings". That's when instinct kicks in, what I call "the reporter's wince"; you're left calmly conjuring too many false alarms, too many bad prognostications, and far too many failed stabs at giddy prophecy.

    Step back and exhale, remember that the blood and guts of the Arkansas Mafia is thick with dark history and the skeletons in the Democratic Party will rattle when you least expect it. Gary Hart, Bill Bradley, Hubert Humphrey, Ralph Nader were all its blindside victims.

    But then I was moved to turn away from this infernal word-machine and glance over at the tube to see that, incredibly, the man kept smiling and the crowd kept cheering.
    What the hell is happening?
    Wait, I told myself, inching closer to midnight on what had clearly morphed into Victory Lap Tuesday; this was no time to deal in absolutes.
    Not now. Not yet.
    At least not on the Democratic side.

    The Republicans have come to different conclusions. Whatever Mike Huckabee is doing, it has little to do with 2008 or presidential politics. He is working emptier rooms in the hopes of making a case for speech time at the convention, a place on the ticket, or bigger checks on the lecture circuit. For weeks now this has been about John McCain, even if until this past Tuesday he was reticent to say it out loud.

    All that changed after his own convincing Wisconsin triumph, where the embattled Arizona senator pulled an even 45-45 percentage tie in conservative voters, a pertinent factoid for a Right Wing punching bag in a critical fall swing state.
    It was enough motivation for him to launch into the first of what will be hundreds of national election speeches aimed at identifying himself as the protector/anti-tax warrior/experienced candidate in the face of a mind-numbing socio-political sprint the likes of which has not been hinted at in the checkered history of this great nation.

    It was a rusty presentation, appearing to be more a test-model for the big time than any tangible platform, but it was nonetheless a fair glimpse into the difficult task before the Republicans this summer; make people ignore the sweeping radiance of Master Barack and a groundswell of two-to-one voting for Democrats. He will most certainly need to do better than piss-raining on everyone's Hope Parade by couching this momentum-charged press frenzy as "an eloquent, but empty call for change."

    This has been a losing strategy for what is left of the Billary Charge, which was on display two nights later in the Austin debates. More of the same "solutions" and "readiness" mantras garnished with a smatter of insults and accusations, couched in last-minute semi-passionate and "human moments". Pulled in all directions, her camp in fighting on whether to mud-wrestle or take the highest road to a political future beyond this speed bump campaign, she was uneven in one of the last televised chances to stop the steam train, and drew no real blood.

    Some of my colleagues went as far as calling it a conciliatory performance, her final sentiments a valedictorian moment.
    But perhaps the smarter of the Clintons has seen the writing on the wall, much of it on the front page of The NY Times, which in a desperate grapple to stop the rapid decline of subscriptions has turned into the London Mirror by plastering salacious innuendo about the Republican frontrunner and a sexy lobbyist running wild in 2000 on its historic front page. This caused every last one of his Republican "enemies" to reunite against the evil liberal monolith, just as they will against the other one; CLINTON.
     What the hell is going on here?
     Hillary knows.
     And this is why the man keeps smiling.


I must quote H. Rap Brown, regarding your analysis of the 2008 Iowa Caucus (IOWA: WHAT HAPPENED?: Right on, right on, right on. Your now-consistent gonzo style provides the levity required in digesting the ever-increasingly shitty tone of our times, and beneath it I find a credible perspective: Those fuckers are crazy.
    The GOP should be the most fun to watch for the desperation index. My current favorite there is Romney. His voice goes up to the first harmony part, thirds, fourths, and fifths. I wonder whether I can find him saying the same words before and after--I really do think he's harmonizing with himself. A win in New Hampshire might produce that lower part from the Nineties sensation of Sacred Harp choirs. Or maybe he'll just freak out on live TV, a Republican version of Howard Dean.
    I notice that Obama has acquired a slight vocal roll, i.e., preacher tone, to his oratory. It may be that the lack of sleep is simply leaving him to lean on old patterns, or he may have switched from Harold Washington to Martin Luther King as a political role model. Or he may be good enough to play the Les Paul *and* the Stratocaster as only Eric Clapton has demonstrated over time in actual rock. What this country needs *is* a rock star in charge. GWB was set up to rock our world; too bad he could only tip it over.
From the swirling Hades of East Texas,
Brad Morrison

Maybe it was the illness-induced insomnia that prompted me, but for whatever reason I paused to think about the Obama victory today. Madam Shoo-in is unlikable, and the slimy politician sheen does not wash off. Her transgression: she's still with Captain Fun. Maybe she was to be commended for sticking it out during the last few years of the presidency. But papers should have been filed the day Al Gore gave up the ghost. Now what is her prime contingency (Democratic women) going to think about her remaining staunchly silent about a very public humiliation? That she's not confident enough to stump as Hillary Rodham? That Captain Fun's connections are too good to give up? Maybe she did want to do what she could to save the marriage, and that's certainly applaudable. But she did it at the expense of her presidential candidacy.

Perhaps Ms. Rodham is not so "inevitable" after all, huh?
    Here come the fangs and claws.

Aloha, JC......
You've got the New Hampshire Primary figured out -- right on the "money". (NEW HAMPSHIRE: SAME OLD SONG & DANCE -- Being deceptively influenced by the Wealthy Corporate News Media and the Wealthy Special Foreign & Domestic Interests, AKA -- All American Political Lobbies, with the Corrupt & Misleading Election Polls, both prior to the election AND the exit polls.
    By the way, if you noticed, many of the exit poll takers were very young, with Obama holding double-digit mystery leads. These polls were conducted by whom? Young college-age kids...hmmmm?
HAPA 1234

When Hillary said after the New Hampshire victory that she "found her voice", did anyone bother to ask where it has been these supposed "thirty-five years" she's been on the scene?

Mr. Campion,
This is the most honest, funny, and engaging political commentary out there amongst the usual howling wolves, braying beasts, and bleating sheep. You should be commended for doing your homework and putting your obviously extensive political savvy on the line in such a radical way.
    Don't EVER become "One Of Them"!
Alison Myrna

Who the hell wants another Clinton in the White House? Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton; what is this the British Empire? Didn't we blow half of Iraq to pieces for those poor saps to avoid a dynasty?
A. Pasco

Huckabee does not and will not receive the support of all Pro-Life Christians in the party.  (THE HEART & SOUL OF PARTY POLTICS Part I/Part II ) The reason for that is because most pro-life Christians are also fiscal conservatives and they know all too well about Huckabee's tax hikes in Arkansas and his illegal immigrant stances.
    Thompson is doing incredibly well in South Carolina as this is written and I will put it down here Jan 18th 2008, Thompson carries South Carolina. He is a fiscal conservative, military hawk, social conservative who is smart, shrewd and already a trained actor. He will do well and will be in it all the way to the convention.
    These next 8 weeks will show Obama why you don't fuck with the Clinton War Machine. They can be as devastating as hell when they want. Forget Bimbo Eruptions. A Clinton dirt digger will inevitably find a picture of Obama snorting coke out of some hooker's cleavage or something equally devastating. That's how they roll or as my favorite actor on The Wire, Omar says..."That's How They Do".
    Clinton may not win these primaries and caucuses, but she won't certainly pull out before the convention either. Oh man, would I love to see political hand-to-hand combat on the floor of the Democratic National Convention this summer and that is what just may happen.
    And while it is true that the Democratic Primary is this election season's Flying Circus, the GOP doesn't get off Scot-Free either.
    The GOP cast of characters is about as weak as we have seen in a long time. McCain is a joke, Rudy doesn't stand a chance and Huckabee...yeah, like we need another Arkansas Governor in the White House.
    Nope, this is not only the silly season but the season that shows anyone with any ability to lead this country was chased out by the prospect of a media anal exam that no one is designed to pass.
    Anyway, the Silly Season is upon us and may we all smile a little more each day over the antics of the idiot's who would hope to be President.
Bill Roberts

Thank you for repeatedly pointing out that Huckabee is a fucking religious fanatic with ridiculously dangerous and anti-American fascist views. Somehow he's managed to snow the supposedly "Left Wing" press with his witty retorts and self-effacing humor, playing bass in a rock band, and affecting this hard-working, underdog persona. He is plainly a harebrained Zealot, who should not be representing anything beyond the lunatic fringe of this country.

I was an Obama guy until the Kennedy's started slobbering all over him. He should run in the other direction from that ancient American Royalty bullshit -- FAST!
    Tough to jibe the "Change Man" routine with that tired repeat of sixties nostalgia.
Mary From The Clarey

Are the Democrats just stupid or suicidal? The party's two frontrunners are northeaster liberal senators -- a woman and an African American, both anti-war, pro-tax, pro-choice, gay-rights candidates?
    Has anyone (besides you, my man) been paying attention to how this backwards, bigoted, frightened, atavistic nation votes every four years?
    I have three words for these naïve, pie-in-the-sky, alleged "progressives": Good Fuckin' Luck.
Edward Tripak

© James Campion March 1st update 2008

Independence Rules 15.02.08
James Campion
Nothing has crossed the divide of this polarized nation than the quickly emerging, highly influential, and increasingly mighty Independent vote.
Goodbye Super Tuesday
Romney Bails/Madam Shoo-In & Master Barack Draw
James Campion
Only one party has managed to rubber-stamp a presumptive nominee, John McCain, whose right-wing obstinacy and an abject rejection from the south has all-but gained him a seat on the big ride.

More Opinion


© Hackwriters 1999-2008 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy - no liability accepted by or affiliates.