Monday, October 20, 2008

Last gasps

It's a mere 15 days until the long, long, unfucking believeably long U.S. presidential campaign finally draws to a conclusion. I've been following this thing pretty closely for about a year now and as much as I've enjoyed and been enthralled by it, I'm also really ready for this to be over. I need to stop hitting 25 or so US political websites every day so I can get caught up on the latest news. Cathy's become a US presidential election widow and we don't even live in the US. Needless to say, she's very confused by this turn of events.

And while it's foolish to say that Obama has this in the bag, only the most blinkered of individuals would say that things don't look very good for Obama right now. The fat lady might not be singing yet, but there is a a robust looking woman waiting off in the wings practicing her scales.

You know things are grim for the Republicans when many right-wing pundits have essentially given up on the 2008 election and are planning for 2012. Several are also coming out for Obama, citing his calm as a mark in the pro column for him and Palin as a big negative for the McCain campaign. Oh, and newspaper endorsements are running about 3-1 in Obama's favour.

This is prime time weirdness in the election now. And it was even Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama over the weekend that got me thinking that way. It's lots of little things, but mostly its the hate and bile that's come from some elements of the Republican party. I hasten to add that I don't think all Republicans are stupid, racist xenophobes. In fact, I bet that a very small percentage of them are that way.

But man, you see some of the videos that have been making the rounds. The people who believe he's a "secret muslim" (God love Powell for saying he's not, but even if he was, so what?), a socialist, a communist, a terrorist and other things. That you have crowds and McCain/Palin rallies actively harassing reporters from media outlets they don't like - MSNBC, CNN, NY Times, etc - and rushing up to get autographs from reporters they think are doing the best job of covering their candidate - Fox. Some reporters have claimed to have things thrown at them.

When you have politicians saying parts of America aren't the "real" American or wanting to make sure that political leaders are really's just ugliness. It's startling, in fact. Yes, Americans are far more passionate about this election than Canadians were about ours that just wrapped up. And that's to be commended. I'm fairly embarrassed by the turn-out of our last election.

But with all that passion and enthasism you also getting to see the ugly side as well. And yes, I'm focusing on the Republicans right now, but there's been ugliness from the Democrats as well. Some of the attacks on Palin's family have been above board (yes, I'm probably guilty of that too, in the heat of the moment). I do wish the grand debate of ideas and vision which seemed so likely earlier the summer between Obama and McCain had happened.

But it didn't and I'm sure there's no shortage of opinions on which candidate and party is to blame for that. But most of the garbage seems to be coming from the Republicans. I hope it's one last gasp of breath from a vile, minority cross-section of the US electorate that will go the way of the dinosaurs (some in that group will likely deny the existence of dinosaurs. I hope to be able to deny their existance a few decades from now if anyone asks).

However, until they take their last gasping breath and die, it's still disheartening to look at. I like to think I'm not quite so naive as to believe that if Obama gets elected he's going to solve the financial crisis and heal the divide that has driven America mad the past eight years, but surely he would be a good step in the right direction.

Last Five
1. Firecracker - Ryan Adams
2. Pure and easy - The Who
3. Gas station sandwich - Sean Panting*
4. Stupid now - Bob Mould
5. Fated - Matthew Good Band


Anonymous said...


Don't you live in Iqaluit? Is everything perfect there now?

Not to be harsh, but why don't you write something more productive about the country you do live in, rather than spilling all that bile on a country to wish you do not belong?

KOTN said...

To quote noted philosopher Homer J. Simpson:

"It's funny because it isn't me"

No one throws things at me.... I should try harder...

towniebastard said...

Well, I write about a wide variety of topics. Writing about one single thing would drive me quite mad in short order. But as it happens, I have something rattling around in my brain about the ongoing Nunavut election that I was thinking of doing this evening.

Additionally, I think the US election is fascinating and, without getting too melodramatic, a deeply important one. The world is a better place when the US lives up to its enormous potential, something that hasn't happened with Bush and likely wouldn't happen with McCain/Palin.

There's no guarentee that things will radically change with Obama, but I have the hope it will. To break out the cliche, as a citizen of the world, what happens in two weeks will impact me, even way up here in Iqaluit.

WJM said...

unfucking believeably long

Consistency. "un fucking believeably long" or "unfuckingbelieveably long". -ed.

Jason Hickman said...

It's coming from the Republicans now because the Demos appear to be winning.

I can remember some rather overheated language coming from the Democratic grassroots when the Repubs were on top, especially during and and just after the '04 election. And before *that*, the Republicans were, in some cases, foaming at the mouth when the Dems were riding high with Bill Clinton.

At no point in time were all Republicans or Democrats acting like idiots. But in all cases, enough of them were to be noticeable.

I expect that if Obama wins, you'll see a lot of smashmouth stuff from the Republicans - right up until the pendulum swings back to their side, when it'll come from the Demos. Sad perhaps, but that seems to be the way it is.

Anonymous said...

The people who believe he's a "secret muslim" (God love Powell for saying he's not, but even if he was, so what?),

I think the operative word here is 'secret'. And because Powell says he's not, then he's not?

Too much is unknown about Obama or rather un-listened to; his connections to Ayers being one notable example. Then there's his connections to another notable Chicago criminal.

What does this guy have to do to get the people to actually question his integrity, kill someone on live TV?

Whatever happened to people being allowed to question presumptive leaders? Does that right disappear in a media blitz and an "It's not fair" press release?

Something Wicked This Way Comes, and there'll be a lot of shamefaced voters when it does.

towniebastard said...

I don't normally respond to anonymous posts, but I'll make an exception in this case.

I think plenty has been written about Obama, Ayers and Resko but the thing is, people do not care. Not at all.

And you can't make them. I think most of the American electorate has read about Obama's connections to Ayers and Resko. They just don't think it's significant. No grand media conspiracy. Most of these stories have appeared on the front page of the NYT.

And again, plenty of people have questioned his intergrity, but the majority of Americans believe he's a stand-up, honest man. You can disagree with that, you can be frustrated by that. But it's also the reality of the situation.

There will inevitably be a letdown period once he's elected ( put the odds at 93.4% as of this morning), but I still believe he'll do a good job. Certainly better than the alternative.

Megan said...

The opinion of an anonymous jerk is worthless. (See, I'm posting this under my own name.) I can't take anyone seriously if he or she hides behind anonymity to bash someone else. Maybe it's my reporter background.

I do appreciate that you publish these things. It's good for us to see them. Besides, it reinforces my belief that they are worthless.

towniebastard said...

I tend to evaluate each anonymous comment as it comes in. I mean, it's simple for me to set up that I don't take anonymous comments, but I think that limits discussion a bit. Plus some of my friends post anonymously, rather than set up a blogger account.

The only ones that get punted are anonymous comments that are personally abusive. I've had, no kidding, some guy stalking me for about three years now. Pops up every now and then, is an asshole, then disappears. It's honestly baffling why s/he does it as I always kill these comments. Just trying to get into my head or something, I guess. Kind of pathetic, but welcome to the anonymous world of the internet.

Jackie S. Quire said...

My own 2 cents:

Nunavut has pleanty of politicians with criminal recrods. Or openly disturbing pasts.

They can be reported on, they can be discussed... but when it comes down to it, people just don't care sometimes.

I'd wager the issue's the same in the States. If people have decided they like someone, no media conspiracy in the world can convince them otherwise.

After all, they are moderately-intelligent human beings.... not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge from MotherCorp, FoxNewsCorp or whatever your media outlet of choice may be.

Way Way Up said...

I find it just a little disturbing how pathetically paranoid some Americans seem to be. Obama might be Muslim, Obama has ties to a gang, Obama is a secret member of the Mickey Mouse Club blah, blah, blah. Some people just can't accept reality I suppose - and that reality is that McCain and the Republicans are toast. To the Anonymous posters, Best take a time out and deal. You'll be better for it in the end my friend.

And I should add that I think Townie's commentaries are very fair. I should think it would be a challenge to write about politics and try to take a middle of the road approach when you have your own political views as well. Its something I wish I was more successful at. Heaven knows it would spare me some grief.

KOTN said...

Ayers was Chicago's Citizen of the Year when the two first met.... the city that gave us both Mike Singletary and The Blues Brothers can't be that wrong.