Monday, February 4, 2008

BANALITIES ON PARADE

2/4/08

Thank God for the horse race aspects of this presidential election race, which makes it the most exciting since 1980, or maybe 1976. If we had to rely on what passes for discourse, this would be the most torpid race in recorded history. Below is what passes for debate in this race (paraphrasing, not quoting):

REPUBLICANS:

CANDIDATE A:

My friends, my opponent is a liberal and a surrender monkey who doubtless eats cheese. He would have us out of Iraq before he vacates the White House and would have us fighting in Iran within his first year in office. If we nominate him, my friends, the sure consequence will be (Cue the horror film music.) President Hillary! (Audible lamentation arises from the crowd.) I, on the other hand, am just like Ronald Reagan. In fact, if you exhumed the Great Man right now, he would probably look just like me. If you want to nominate a liberal, my friends, nominate my opponent, but if you want to nominate a real man, nominate me. Did I mention that I was POW in Vietnam?

Ronald Reagan! Ronald Reagan! Ronald Reagan!

Liberal! Liberal! Liberal!


CANDIDATE B:

I wish my opponent would stop pretending to be an expert on my record. Call me a liberal, will he? I am not a surrender monkey. In fact, I pledge that if I am elected I will seek a Constitutional amendment forbidding withdrawal from Iraq, and I also pledge to have us fighting in Iran within the first three months of my assuming office. If we nominate my liberal opponent, the consequence will surely be (Cue the horror film music again.) Hillary in the White House! (Wailing and audible gnashing of teeth arises from the crowd.) Furthermore, my liberal opponent is not at all like Ronald Reagan. I am the reincarnation of the Great Man. Why, just look at my hair!

Ronald Reagan! Ronald Reagan! Ronald Reagan!

Liberal! Liberal! Liberal!


At least the Republicans discuss one issue of substance…the speed with which they can replicate the great success of the Iraq war in Iran. The Democrats have completely dispensed with substance (paraphrasing rather than quoting):

CANDIDATE A:

I am the candidate of change. I will build a bridge to the 21st Century. My opponent is the candidate of the status quo who will build a bridge back to the 20th Century. Did I mention that her husband is Bill Clinton?

CANDIDATE B:

I have the experience to build that bridge to the 21st Century while my opponent is a rank, untested amateur who will surely be the ruination of this country due to his youth and inexperience. Did I mention that he is Black, and might have been a Muslim? A Black Muslim, perhaps?


Needless to say, none of these candidates will be mistaken for either Mr. Lincoln or Mr. Douglas. As I said above, thank God for the horse race, and it is interesting. It looks like John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) is the certain Republican nominee (as I intimated in my last post) and that the GOP is thereby signing its death warrant. The Republicans deserve it after nominating George II twice and then nominating a man who considers Bush’s greatest folly (a VERY high bar, by the way) his greatest triumph.

On the Democratic side, two weeks ago I was virtually certain Clinton would be the nominee. With the gap between her and Obama closing, I still think that her superior organization and contacts with the powers that be will win her the nomination, but my confidence in that prediction has dwindled.

Furthermore, while I thought even two weeks ago that both nominations would be determined tomorrow, if one race were to continue past Super Tuesday, I would have said it would be the Republican contest. Now, it looks like the Republicans will wrap it up tomorrow night and the Democrats will continue their sandbox antics for a few more weeks. Note that while it would have been difficult for either Clinton or Obama to secure the delegates necessary to win the nomination tomorrow, a decisive victory in what amounts to a national primary by one of the candidates would probably have forced, or persuaded, the other to concede. Clinton was in a position to achieve such a victory until very recently. Something like a draw tomorrow, or, more likely, a less than overwhelming victory by Clinton will result in not only neither candidate having the delegates necessary for the nomination but also neither candidate knocked out of the race by the cold, hard reality of having been stomped in a national primary.

Could it go to the convention on the Dem side? While that would be great from the perspective of those of us who are interested in politics, it remains highly unlikely. But we can always hope!

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