Monday, January 28, 2008

The Unthinkables

Yowza! Yowza! Yowza!

The pundits are punting. The MSM and the net have a plethora of primary prognostications — with the exception of the dour realist Clive Crook over at the Financial Times who notes the long-term and continued right-wing economic fantasies.

With no fast-forward button, we'll have to join the braying experts (I can write that when I don't handicap the pending primaries; so there) in waiting for Florida and Super-Tuesday results. Meanwhile, we have our monkey's paw moment. Most of us wanted contested races in both parties rather than the rolling boredom of a known nominee early.

The weak have stumbled or fallen, but it's still two dogs after the rabbit for Dems, and the GOP wolf pack snarling and snapping on the other side. After the racially charged South Carolina Dem vote, let us pause to consider the unlikely, the unpleasant and the unthinkable.

  • Unlikely. Everything will be settled or at least known by February 6th. In both parties, gracious losers will accept the trends of the big day, and rally behind the leader to heal any wounds before November and give us voters clear reasons to believe their nominee will lead American from our Bushy swamp.
  • Unpleasant. Americans unwilling and unable to vote for either the black man or the white woman. Following the Obama sandlapper success, Florida won't really be a test. Voters there have proven for many decades that they are so raw and self-righteous that they often check their brains at the polling place door. Voters in America's dangling state are about 81% white and have never shown a proclivity to prove their open-mindedness to anyone. Instead, votes and exit polls on the following Tuesday will let us know whom voters are willing to go for, how much they hate one or both Clintons, and maybe more than we want to know.
  • Unthinkable. Voters so terrified of change that they elect another Republican. Far more extreme that a victory of hope over experience, this would be a nationally failed IQ test. The U.S. and world rubble of the right-wing economic policies should be more than enough to prevent this. Add the piles of nearly 4,000 American soldiers and even more of our contractors. Then the GOP filibuster rule in the Senate has prevented even the most obvious legislative corrections for seven years. You'd think American could never be so irrational and emotionally needy as to consider sending a McCain or Romney to complete the destruction.
In truth, we are likely to have a bitter campaign all around. The overly competitive and relentlessly pragmatic Clintons seem devious and amoral. The squishy Obama fully satisfies no one with his vagueness.

Our real hopes for Democratic reform come January 2009 lie in the befuddled Republican voters. Their candidates differ much more than the Dems, who share the me-too traits of toothpaste or other commodities. Of course, the Dems have the luxury of huge, obvious failing of right-wing policy and implementation to unite their views.

In contrast, the GOP candidates remaining are deliciously divisive. From the Giuliani who actually is pretty much a liberal Democrat to the not-Christian-nor-conservative-enough McCain to the laughably mercurial Romney, none satisfies enough wingers to rally them for November. The Republicans can only hope that enough independent and right-leaning Dems panic at the idea of the huge changes necessary that they vote emotion over thought.

After we so foolishly re-elected George the Lesser, my pessimism scampers like a rat in the basement. I thought the unthinkable today when we heard from an elderly family friend. She asked us to find and send her the clip from the Globe that included a question and answer from her 12-year-old grandson to Obama at a restaurant in South Carolina.

Supposedly, a certain Jesus was also 12 when his mom found him discoursing with the scholars in the temple in Jerusalem. In contrast to such an illustration of precocity and wisdom, our chum's grandchild may portend his parents' and their peers' votes. He asked, "Hey, Obama, what are going to do about foreign policy?" After hearing the intention to get us out of Iraq, the boy later said he wasn't satisfied. "'I don't want another Democrat,' he said, professing admiration for Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. 'We have enough of them.'"

We can likely forgive a 12-year-old for being a bit ignorant and parroting what he hears at home. In fact, I'm familiar with the poverty of information in this hometown paper, the Florence Morning News. Unfortunately, we don't yet know how many adults will be unable bring themselves to vote for the change they say they want.


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