Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back on the O-train

I've written and re-written these thoughts, or thoughts similar, in e-mail exchanges all day. I've talked them through in quite a few conversations as well, so I only just realized I didn't blog about it.

What? Shut yo' mouth! Stop the presses! Stop TIME! No blogging? WTF?

Sure, that sounded smug, but I haven't been 'blogging' much lately, so I can get away with it I think. I'm sure I can handle the disappointed [few], anyway.

I'm back on the O-train again!

Yes, I'm still super-pissed about Obama's FISA vote(s), and I will continue to support the ACLU in challenging the Constitutionality of the law. I'm very disappointed in Obama's seeming tack to the right on certain issues. But, just for the record, I want to address those numerous assholes who think Lefties like me expected too much from "Centrist Obama". My first comment is "FUCK YOU!" And if you show me your face, I'll say it then too. Bring a hanky for the spittle.

For clarity without spittle, let me just say that the disappointment with the FISA vote has more to do with Obama keeping his word. The tack to the right on other issues is the same. Lefties like me aren't disappointed when Obama expresses Centrist tendencies, we're disappointed when he whores himself out to us for our money, our votes, and our vocal and activist support, only to sell us out for political expediency. Make no mistake about it, he has done that more than once. Happily, I can say he hasn't done that anywhere near as many times as McCain has, and continues to do.

On the level of integrity, Obama is light years ahead of McCain, and be-damned his POW-POW-POW history. You can't be tortured for five years, only to come home and leave your disabled wife for a rich heiress, and hitch your wagon to financial thugs (see Keating 5) who bribe you to not only look the other way, but to actively get involved to use your political influence to make others look the other way.

As I had forgotten a few times in the primaries while Obama was being "pummeled" by his boxing opponents, it looked then - as it does now - to the world like he was taking a beating, and he was. Even now, just as then, the media and the pundits keep trying to frame the general election as they did in the Democratic primaries. The salient point that was true then and is true now is that yes, his opponents are landing blows, but they're throwing wild hay-makers like bar brawlers. What they don't get is that Obama is NOT brawling, he's MMA fighting. (For the record, John McCain considers MMA to be "human cockfighting", although he apparently has come around to a different perspective, as he has so often done on nearly every important issue this political season.)

I think that's the best way to frame the contests today. Obama's "old school" opponents, those who still want to fight the battles that started more than 50 years ago, those who want to fight the cultural and ideological wars of the mid to late 20th century are still using the tactics from those eras. Obama is fighting 21st century style. He's practicing political Jiu Jistsu, using verbal Muay Thai, and sociological Krav Maga. MMA fighters know that taking blows and getting bloody is all part of the fun. You treat your opponent with respect, you step in the cage without kid gloves on knowing that blood will be spilt, and you FIGHT! You fight to win, but you also fight fair, at least fair enough to be able to live with yourself at the end of the day. Obama is definitely treating McCain with more respect than he's getting from McCain, but probably more respect than McCain deserves.

In most of these fights, it gets rough, but it always comes down to three things, and ONLY THREE THINGS: 1) Stamina. 2) Skill. 3) Luck.

Just as a matter of physical reality, Obama definitely has more stamina than McCain. He's physically and politically in better shape than McCain by decades. Never mind basketball, we all know Mac can't raise his arms high enough to even masturbate effectively, but when was the last time anyone has seen McCain expend more energy than required to get red-faced and pissed off when someone questions his honor? (Insert "POW cry" here) George W. Bush took more vacations in his first year than some presidents took in their entire terms in office, especially while at war. McCain not only inevitably takes naps, but it's pretty much a doctor's prescription that he does, considering his age. Of course, McCain is a major supporter of the pharmaco industry, and apparently has a healthy relationship with Ambien (no doubt Viagra too), but drugs only get you so far.

I haven't seen anything in McCain's history to suggest that he has any real political skill. The obvious - and only - path after his scandalous involvement as part of the Keating Five was to do whatever he could to differentiate himself from the perception of corruption endemic to his party (my how times haven't changed). So Mac tried to become the Maverick, and he bribed the media to buy into that falsehood, and they went all-in! But despite what the M$M tries to shove down our throats, the truth is that McCain is the same scum-bag he's been since his bullying days in elementary school, when he knew he could always count on daddy to bail him out of whatever mess he got himself in to.

Children of privilege, it is assumed, are better prepared to serve and to lead. It is almost always the case that the officers are from privileged stock, and the IED-fodder - er- enlisted folks -  are from the peasant class. It's history folks. Lest ye be fooled by legends like William Wallace, the truth is that those from privileged stock are never the deliberate bullet-stoppers. I know this will piss off many by my saying it - and it is not something the Obama campaign should get behind - but the only reason McCain is a "war hero" is because he was a BAD PILOT! As for the many stories he's told about his time during confinement, they are all as contradictory as his policy positions are these days. (Note to those assholes who think McCain's record is off-limits because he was a POW, know your facts before you open your holes).

So when it comes to political skill, Mac played his weak hand with his incredibly weak VP pick. I get what he and his advisers were going for, but they already had all the PUMAs they were already going to get, and possibly lost a significant number of the GOP base in the process. Mac massively underestimated the body politic. By picking Palin, Mac demonstrated quite effectively how Republicans truly perceive women as nothing more than ornaments or accessories. At the same time, he portrayed his actual disdain and disrespect for the Executive office. (Again, I get that. How could anyone who lost the shot at the presidency because someone from his own team laid a hot steamer on his face, only to go on to owning the highest office in the world for eight years? I'd be pissed too!)

It is obvious that Obama is the clear leader in terms of stamina and skill, but luck is always just luck. It's a slippery matte, it's a ref with a bad vantage point, it's a little sweat in the eye. It's still entirely possible for McCain to "get lucky" by landing that sucker punch, or being opportunistic as always and getting lucky with a slip by Obama or one of his surrogates. But that is NOT a successful strategy, as Hillary Clinton learned the hard way. If your only plan to win is based on your opponent making a mistake - and it clearly seems this is McCain's only viable strategy - then you should just bet your campaign funds against yourself.

But then, that would be just as immoral, unethical, and illegal as being one of the Keating Five.

I'm feeling good right now. If McCain picked Huckabee, I would have been considerably worried. Hell, McCain could have been a REAL "maverick" and picked Ron Paul. Despite what has played out so far, a McCain-Paul ticket (aside from sounding way better than McCain-P--- how do you pronounce that?-PAY-lin) would have been the real Indie-swaying ticket.

Fuck's sake, I thought an Obama-Paul ticket would be unbeatable. I'm calling it now - and I think Obama is too, which explains the right-ish tack, Ron Paul supporters are the swing vote in this cycle. Ron Paul is everything Kucinich and Nader were hoping to be each time they ran. (For the record, I am way to the side of Kucinich, and give a tip of the hat to certain Nader policy ideas, and I am only aligned with Paul to the extent of his Libertarian attributes - which beyond that I think he is a nutter.)

But I know that most Americans think about politics as much as they think about cleaning their toilets. They do it only when they have to, and the "when" is always open to interpretation. So if this election is truly about anything, it is CHANGE vs. EXPERIENCE. But not Change for the sake of change, or Experience to bring about change, but REAL CHANGE in all the ways that matter. Experience doesn't actually enter into the discussion, and it never has, as Hillary learned and as McCain seems to be learning. It is not even Change vs Judgment, which it seems that McCain has learned, but a bit too late. You can't be "change on the fly" and Mac should know this by now. The media fails to report it, but McCain has done an exemplary job of defining who he really is. Without any help from the M$M, most Americans know that McCain cares about nothing more than McCain becoming president, and damn everything that happens until then and afterwards. So, at the end of the day, the election now truly is about nothing but Change, which makes the whole thing volatile. Change defined as WHAT (very) specifically.

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