Campaigns - Sheer Entertainment


Although struggling already through a solid year-and-a-half of mind-numbing campaigning by some 18 candidates (at one time or another) and cringing at the thought of being exposed to another nine months plus, I've been well entertained at times. It's been fun just to see how Obama has developed his "black pulpit delivery" a la the styles of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and a mighty host of African-American pulpiteers. He's got the cadence but not Jesse's couplets…yet. I learned in her "60-minute" interview with Katie Couric the other evening that Clinton drinks all the water possible, the better to maintain her physical resources. Priceless information.

The whole subject of speechifying is interesting, though the off-the-cuff presentations are far more enlightening. Some candidates need a script, while others can get by easily without even using notes. Some do well on the stump, while others snooker the talking-heads-interviewers or are thoroughly skewered by them. Russert of Meet the Press skewered Clinton, but couldn't get anything over on Huckabee the other morning. A Baptist preacher has to be fast on his tongue just to survive a squirrelly church. Russert was a pushover.

McCain can be terse and smile in the process, predisposing some dire fallout later and leaving one with the impression of the WWII Japanese officer in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai. He can also be funny, as when he mentioned being "tied up" in 1969 at the time of glorious Woodstock and its dope-heads, hippies, flower-children, LSD-freaks, and free-lovers, some sort of commemoration for which Clinton had favored ladling out a million dollars of taxpayer funds…the penultimate earmark in terms of zaniness and self-serving.

In another "60-minute" interview the other evening, Obama explained that he started his campaign by giving out details of what he would do (though one wonders at this), but that what people need now is a leader…sort of "out with the nitty-gritty and in with the passion." He's adopted the Pogo Approach – "We have met the enemy and he is us." (Walt Kelly's invention). What Obama said the other day was, "we are the ones we've been waiting for," but he meant, "We have met the savior and he is me." Obama has also made much of the fact that he was a "user" back in those wild-oat-sowing days, the better to connect with the teeny-boppers, cool cats, and old hippies of today.

Both Clinton and McCain are doing the high-wire act (one slip and it's gangbusters) in trying to explain their flip-flops or outright irreparable mistakes, about most of which they should just say nothing. Last fall, Clinton reckoned in an appearance before the congressional black caucus that the government should give $5,000 to each baby when she/he escapes the womb to face a cruel world. Since about 4,000,000 babes arrive each year, that works out to some $20 billion in just the first year.

Later over in Iowa, she allowed that it would be a good idea to give every earner a $1,000 tax-cut per year in behalf of her/his IRA. This amounts to more than the baby-boon (up to $25 billion), but she would pay for it with higher estate taxes. Then…about those driver-licenses she thought would be great for illegals…before she thought that maybe that wouldn't be so great, like being for the war before being against the war. Shades of John Kerry. At least, she doesn't mention the babies and the IRAs anymore.

McCain voted against Bush's tax relief but now has to explain why he thinks that relief should be permanent. He insulted the "Swift-boaters" who had the goods on John Kerry in 2004, but doesn't mention this subject now, perhaps wondering what those wicked conservative "swiftees" might come up with to prove that he's actually a democrat masquerading as a republican. Shades of that awful "tax-reform" he finagled with Senator Feingold, one of the most rabid republican-haters! Long live the PACs. MoveOn.org is alive and well.

Huckabee did himself no favors in that outrageous appearance at TV evangelist Kenneth Copeland's digs, although he smoothed out Russert's attempt to hang one on him over that. Maybe the Huck didn't figure that Copeland would put the whole scene on TV, wherein he pledges his loyalty to Copeland…or his ideas…or whatever…or whatever Copeland claimed. Egad! At least Senator Grassley has ceased investigating Copeland for now. Keep listening for the spin, although Huckabee was frank enough to say he needed that fundraiser. He needs all the fundraisers he can get, not that any of them will help him much outside the South and a couple or so Midwest states. God is not that popular in a lot of places. One wonders if Huckabee knew what Copeland was up to when he screamed that bit of exploitation in his church service.

In a late-night session in the fall of 2006, soon-to-be speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Mr. Speaker, once again, as a mother and a grandmother,” demanding that the votes be recorded. Apparently, she hadn't caught on to the fact that a chamber full of fathers and grandfathers didn't make that claim as a point of privilege or some such thing. Last fall, Clinton said, "I say this nation can shatter the highest glass ceiling – because that’s what Americans have been doing for over 200 years." In other words, the gender card is now being played by these two powerful women, and it's interesting to see their strange concepts of qualifications to be leaders. Well…it's their turn, isn't it? Egad!