International Writers Magazine: Reality Check
+ Readers Letters
Cheesehead Victory Lap
Obama & McCain In Driver's Seat
'I have a dream of a new American language'. - Dan Bern
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
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
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
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
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
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?
And this is why the man keeps smiling.
March 1st 2008
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
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,
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
Perhaps Ms. Rodham
is not so "inevitable" after all, huh?
Here come the fangs and claws.
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?
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?
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"!
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?
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
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.
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
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
I have three words for these naïve, pie-in-the-sky,
alleged "progressives": Good Fuckin' Luck.
Campion March 1st update 2008
has crossed the divide of this polarized nation than the quickly emerging,
highly influential, and increasingly mighty Independent vote.
Romney Bails/Madam Shoo-In & Master Barack
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.
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