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The International Writers Magazine: US Election 2008

Bryan Blake
Swiftboating' rears its ugly head, and the self-licking ice cream cone tries to kick its own ass at the same time

You knew it was coming, that it inevitably would show up and slap us in the face to remind us of our failures of ’04.  I don’t think anyone expected it this early – still ten states to go, with the GOP looking more credible, and if not exactly gaining ground every day the thing goes on then at least it looks to be the party that knows what it’s doing – and from within the Democratic party itself, no less, but it has in fact begun, and anyone jumping the gun for a taste of Fall Politics need only read anything spewing forth from Clinton’s hustlers on an almost daily basis for a preview of the All Out War to come.
It seems that the Death Throes of Hillary’s final agonizing primary soap opera are upon us, and we’d all be better off just hiding under a desk until the whole thing collapses in on itself like a dying star, probably after the May 5th North Carolina primary.  Until then it’s going to be so bloody, violent and painful for anyone with a vested interest in the thing that the only thing left for us to do is keep our heads down, come up for air long enough to cast a vote and then duck for cover before exit pollsters and Party Machinists can sink their fangs in and tell us we’re wrong and are endangering the country (“Don’t you know there’s a Clinton running?  What are you THINKING?  She can’t LOSE, it’s absurd!  You fool, you’ve doomed us all!).
Pay no attention to Pennsylvania – consummate fundraiser Governor Ed Rendell has the state locked down, threatening castration for any party dissenters and deportation for all independents voting for Obama – and although she’ll undoubtedly win it, it won’t be by the resounding double-digit margin she desperately needs, and Obama will still widen his lead due to the delegate-sharing nature of Democratic primaries.   Indiana at this point is anyone’s guess, although many of the voters there will be looking to what happens in Pennsylvania, and North Carolina is Obama’s to lose. (Almost another ‘Iowa caucuses effect’, where one state’s decision can influence several of the following states’ primaries, keeping seemingly hapless candidates alive and kicking, which is exactly why saps and cheap con men like Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney stayed alive in their campaigns for so long.)
All of which really comes down to one important point:  the beating that Obama will take in the fall is nothing compared to the brutal pounding Hillary’s team will try and unleash upon him in these last, desperate months leading up to the final primaries and Democratic National Convention in August.  There is no low too low, no bit of mud slinging to obscene, no partial truth and ‘guilt by association’ too irrelevant for her to try and beat the public over the head with in her frantic, last-ditch efforts to do avoid the unimaginable: that a Clinton lose a well funded, party machinery-supported election, especially a particularly ruthless double-barreled attack, or even triple-barreled, if one wants to count the not-inconsiderable contribution on the stump of Chelsea, featuring Bill in a been-there, done-that, wizened-by-experience sage-like role.
Which means Obama must be ready to fend off more of the irrelevant, distracting attacks and ‘scandals’ that her camp has been trying to level him with for the past few months.  With no prior military service between the two Democrats, neither one of them can really look into any accusations of falsifying records, avoiding service or underperforming under fire; besides, anyone dumb enough to try and compare, or even question in public, McCain’s service record deserves whatever grim fate would follow.  I don’t even know that they’d stand a chance of keeping their Senate seat after that, and frankly they’d be lucky to be elected to their local borough water committee, assuming that they’d make it out of Washington alive.  They don’t tolerate any questioning of their bona fide heroes there, and if they escaped being dragged naked through the streets by some General Motors car over a bed of shattered beer bottles then an even worse fate would await them back home.
So all either camp can go off of, with military experience being the pink elephant in the room, are accusations of criminal association and questions of patriotism (among the Democrats, anyway).  At least in an election we’re used to seeing, that is.  There is something different afoot here, something tough to really wrap one’s mind around, and if we survive its fallout we may just come out clean on the other side.  What we’re seeing here is one candidate using the normal brute-force tactics and scorched earth policies that have worked for every politician of her sad, foul breed, from Nixon and LBJ all the way back to Andrew Jackson, and as her day of doom nears she can usually be found running from stump speeches to public sentiment-garnering appearances like a weasel on speed, trying to up her stock as an ‘everyman’ and an Experienced Politician who does, indeed, know what is best for YOU.
And in the other corner is . . . well, I can’t say for sure, and I don’t really know that a political term has been written for the type, but it’s a different creature altogether.  What we’re witnessing is something not seen since 1968 and Bobby Kennedy (and maybe Jimmy Carter, but while the man believed in challenging the system and helping the everyman, he was running against the Watergate-tainted GOP, and let’s be honest here: the Democrats could have sent a used Chevy S-10 engine block to the general election and the only people that would have voted Republican are those types of Ford-driving rednecks who can come up with funny acronyms for any car company they don’t like), and who knows how long before that; something that could have gotten Al Gore elected if he hadn’t listened to his advisors so much and ran on what he felt mattered.  
We’re seeing a candidate – not a perfect individual, not someone pretending to be spotless – who seems willing to calmly stand his ground while Hurricane Hillary rages all around him.  He’s doing something unthinkable, perhaps never seen before in US history:  he’s letting the other candidate’s virulent negativity actually help him, refusing to even defend himself publicly or fire back, instead taking what she says and turning it into fodder for yet another thunderous oratorical denunciation of everything crooked, dirty and backhanded that she represents, and actually seems to gladly, willingly and publicly stand for.
If he can hold out just a little longer, and she can continue to shoot herself in the foot, on purpose and seemingly as a matter of policy, I give him the advantage in the fall.  What it will come down to, as always, is whether or not we as voters can wake up, rub the political crap out of our eyes and see that for the first time we do in fact have a choice.  Barring anything short of a George McGovern-style mismanaged campaign meltdown, things should bode well.  McCain doesn’t seem to have the crooked, horrid desire and rabid dog willingness to do whatever it takes to if not win, then take as much away from the other guy as possible: a sad, pathetic testament to just what exactly people of her rotten ilk stand for and represent.
Which isn’t to say McCain isn’t ready to come out swinging, and the laissez-faire approach of Obama’s in the primaries won’t cut the mustard once the conventions are over and the press, who’ve given him a fairly easy ride thus far, start digging into past relations of one of Michelle’s second cousins thirty years ago or statements he allegedly made while still in kindergarten. The really minute and irrelevant attacks will start coming at him from all fronts, but luckily they won’t be powered by the sort of fear-mongering, hatred-spewing, power-obsessed back room politics that have allowed the Clintons to stay alive in national politics this long.  
One more national black eye to the party and all their loyalists will start jumping ship; where they land is anyone’s guess, but the Old Boys are starting to realize that this stuff’s just plain getting old to a hell of a lot of people.  Swiftboating?  Nobody needs it, the optimist in me likes to think that while McCain might not be completely above such a thing, anything he can bring to the table is nothing compared to the unscrupulous and underhanded politics Clinton seems committed to, and what we are likely entering into is an actual presidential election composed of two real and legitimate choices, not a lesser of two evils.  The entertaining part for me, anyway, is watching her repeatedly and confidently make a complete and thorough jackass of herself each time she opens her mouth and spews more fork-tongued lies.
Besides: is there anyone out there who really believes that she sits at home and downs boilermakers on a regular basis, following her tagging of an eight-point on the first day of buck season while having Bosnian sniper fire flashbacks?  Are we really stupid enough to believe these sorts of things?  And even if they were true, are there really enough of us out there that hold these as relevant issues, important qualities for a president to have?  Have we truly been that brainwashed by a decade of Bush Doctrine?
If indeed that is how low you have to stoop, if in fact that is what it takes to be an American President than I don’t really care, and it won’t matter who wins, we’re all fucked anyway.  We’ll get exactly what we deserve, each and every time, and we’ll have nobody to blame as we slide into ruin but our own sorry selves.  
 © Bryan Blake April 21 2008
Management Analyst, Contractor
Bryan.Blake at

23.04.2008* Of course Hilary won. 10% clear of Obama. But can she win against McCain? Or will she 'obliterate' all in her path ash she has promised to remove Iran from the map. Using words like obliterate is Bush language and we already have Bush. We thought this was going tob e about change. Ed

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