That the 2008 presidential campaign began at the tail end of 2006 is a testament to this nation’s pervading sense of fatigue wrought by the continued criminal jockeying of the Bush Administration. We have gotten to the point as a society where the impeachment that should undoubtedly be visited upon the biggest Washington crook since Richard Nixon will never happen. Three years ago, we might have had a shot if Bush hadn’t still been riding the dwindling wave of support he managed to retain among Southern states and evangelical reprobates. But now, in the mace-ridden days of the Two Thousand and Seven, most of us have given up hope for the visitation of justice upon those who have been nothing less than obvious in their manipulation of the general public and shameless, backhanded, substantially illegal augmentation of the Executive Privileges. The Jester King solidified his reign when he pushed the Patriot Act through Congress, a governing body full of spineless Yes-men who willingly passed every piece of legislation their sovereign leader suggested. Hell. King George didn’t use his veto power until this year, six-and-one-half years into his failed and corrupt presidency that has crippled the United States and invariably given the upper hand to China, who will now easily supersede our influence as we go bankrupt attempting to clean up all of our messes.
And this is all old news. The only thing left to do is ride out the final, grueling days of this administration and hope they keep the culpably arrogant policy fuckups to a minimum. With Democrats now controlling the House and Senate, Bush’s uncanny knack for tripping over land mines will probably be only minimally affected and certainly not curtailed in any significant way suffice it to say that even a minuscule amount of progress puts us in a better place than we were. At least there will be nationwide celebrations in 2008 when this gang of crooks is finally flushed out of Washington and written into the history books (rightfully so) as one of the most destructive political mobs this country has ever suffered. There will be momentary peace between people of all ideologies before liberals and conservatives run back to their respective corners, lefties searching for a way out of Iraq and righties looking to plant another warhawk…only this time, they want one that can Win.
One of the more egregious fallacies seems to state that Bush has been instrumental in unwittingly forging new alliances between people of opposing parties throughout the country. Some seem to interpret this newfangled common ground as a positive step toward a multi-idealistic coalition, but harboring such a thought for more than a moment should be a punishable offense. Remember, folks. The Republicans who have turned against the Jester King have done so only because he has been inefficient in bringing about military victory. His inability to crush the opposition has infuriated these people, and when posed with a new choice in 2008, don’t be surprised if they throw the nomination to John McCain if only for his recent psychotic turn during which he has marched up and down the country with new sales pitches for the Iraq War. Somewhere along the line, McCain lost his right to the Compassionate Conservative badge. Now he wants to mix blood into the mortar and reverse our unbroken string of military downfalls in the latter half of the 20th century.
Not surprisingly, though, most of the media’s attention thus far has been spent on the Democratic candidates who are all vying for a chance to build the next administration, one that will hinge upon re-birth and reversing a lot of bad mojo. The hope is that the next election will yield better candidates. We are still reeling from two terrible farces in a row, and 2004’s Bush-Kerry showdown represented a new low in presidential politics. It was like being led into a dungeon and having to choose between the Iron Maiden and the Pear of Anguish. What was anyone supposed to say?
But those days are behind us, thank God, and now we can get down to business. There are at least a few qualified people pining for the Democratic nomination, and the pervading gloom and doom of years past just might dissipate if we put the right person on the job. That being said, I’m going to call it right now: Hillary Clinton has no chance whatsoever. Any support she possesses at the moment will dissolve once people grow tired of her bulldog face and seeming disinterest in the people to whom she is advertising her so-called expertise. Remember, this is the First Lady who incompetently bungled her attempts to reform health-care. She is a moody, contemptuous carpetbagger and will spend the rest of her days in the Senate thanks to the people of New York who didn’t have the good sense to send her back to Arkansas where her time would have been better spent selling expensive, rotted-out houses to boozy lottery winners and corporate ex-felons.
So this puts things between John Edwards and Barack Obama, the two silver-tongued lawyers who will be one-and-two when the DNC convenes to choose their runner. One of them will most likely be the other’s Vice President after all is said and done. Obama is the rockstar, riding an almost unprecedented wave of Instant Support for very little reason at all except that he has promised to bring his New Politics to the White House. A nation thirsty for a change in the status quo greedily lapped up his promises and made him a household name. But those promises are beginning to seem more impotent with each passing day. He has been dishing out backhanded compliments, deftly discrediting his opponents in a way that looks very similar to what I’ve been seeing in politics since I had any conception of it whatsoever. If we haven’t seen a smear campaign yet, it is only because he can afford to play it cool until the final orgiastic grudge matches take place when the candidates will, without a doubt, take dirty swipes at each other to catch those one or two points in the polls. Obama’s continued use of his catch phrase has planted a certain distrust in me, and I can’t help but feel saddened that he is not what I hoped he was. Part of this has to do with his short service record, and part of it, I think, has to do with the fact that we all hoped a little too strongly that someone New had finally taken the stage.
Without any degree of certainty, I’ll say he will probably end up somewhere in the middle–honest for a politician but far from what was promised. Perhaps he just buckled under the pressure, which might be evidenced by his lack of ability to provide many details on how he plans to implement his policy initiatives. Last week’s debate succeeded in doing nothing else but ensuring that Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, and Dennis Kucinich are already beaten. It was supposed to be Obama’s moment to break away from the pack, but Clinton is a little slicker than that. She’s got a whole book full of notes from her days with Bill, and Edwards–Edwards is just about as cool as they come, and he happens to be the only candidate who has put serious thought into nationalizing health-care without resorting to vague generalizations. That wins him points in my book…but only for the moment.
It’s Mike Gravel , though, who came through big. What he lacks in manners, he makes up for with passion. Quite frankly, his brazen willingness to look the other candidates in the eye and express his dislike for them is a refreshing derivation from Business As Usual, and I hate to think it is precisely this passion for fixing everything that went wrong with the Bush Administration that will be his undoing. Stumpers haven’t been popular since the 1800s. We all remember Howard Dean’s gaffe in 2004 when he made the mistake of showing emotion during a campaign speech. He was pegged as a raving lunatic immediately, and a nomination run that wasn’t looking too bad spontaneously fell apart right in front of his face.
But yes. Gravel. We’re talking about the man who launched a one-man filibuster in 1971 and single-handedly forced Nixon to end the draft. That, friends, is resolve, and it is a resolve no current Democrat can lay claim to. With the House and Senate backing down in light of Bush’s most recent veto of the Emergency War Funding bill, the Democrats are looking yellow-bellied once again. They’ve offered to replace withdrawal timelines with benchmarks for the Iraqi government, which accomplishes virtually nothing in the way of expediting our retreat from that catastrophe. Gravel proposed making the Iraq War, on the grounds of Cheney’s duping of the American people, felonious in its own right, and while he could never garner the type of support he needed for such a proposition, the simple willingness to propose such a thing should appreciated. Let’s face it. Gravel is more pro-active than anyone I saw on that stage, and he is the only one that stands out among the crowd unless you consider Kucinich who only does so because he has a more annoying whine than the rest of them. (Points to him too, though, for writing up that impeachment booklet.) Gravel’s support of the National Initiative and his planned overhaul of the current tax system makes him the only partially un-regurgitated option currently running this race.
And who is left? We’ve got Chris Dodd from New Hampshire whom I’ve come to like since watching Tim Russert host a talk at Boston College featuring Dodd and ass-backwards homophobe Sam Brownback. What Dodd has going for him is a sense of compassion and a grandfatherly sort of demeanor that puts one at ease, and furthermore, he seems sincere–more or less–about helping the underprivileged and extending basic rights to every citizen in the United States. His two-year stint in the Peace Corps doesn’t hurt either.
What he doesn’t have going for him is his past, which is dogged with unabashed money trades involving big-time lobbyists and an unfortunate incident with Ted Kennedy in the 1980s when the two weren’t so old and fat as they are now. Something about Dodd and Kennedy harassing a waitress, who had to bear the torture of having Fat Teddy’s genitalia laid gently upon her lap. Who knows if it’s true? Then again, does anyone really believe that Chappaquiddick was an accident?
Whatever the case, we’ve got until November 2008 to come up with a solution for the country, but the truly disconcerting thing is the very real chance that everything we’ve been watching on TV is nothing more than an elaborate hoax perpetrated by strange men dressed in shadows. If we know anything about American History, we must recognize this as the going Rule of Thumb.