Your Big Fat Election Brain Dump, 1/11/08
Because I haven’t pissed you guys off enough recently, that’s why.
* I was asked just before the New Hampshire primary who I was voting for, which confused me, because I don’t live in New Hampshire; Ohio’s primary isn’t until March 4. Even then, I’m not going to be voting for a presidential candidate in Ohio’s primary, because it’s a closed primary and I’ve been registered as an independent for as long as I’ve been voting. No soup for me.
But this doesn’t particularly worry me. In a matchup, I’ll take any of the top Democratic contenders over any of the top Republican contenders, because aside from the fact that there are no Republican candidates who I have any interest in voting for (I find McCain the most congenial to me philosophically and the only one who, should he win, won’t have me looking somewhat wistfully at the New Zealand immigration site to see if I have enough points to qualify), there’s also the simple fact that no Republican administration is going to be as motivated as a Democratic one to stop doing all the fucktarded things the Bush Administration has done over the course of the last seven years. Sorry, guys, the dude has trashed your brand.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that if the Democrats nominated a circus bear I’d vote for it over any GOP candidate, although I probably would vote for a circus bear over, say, Huckabee, because the bear would almost certainly know more about foreign affairs. But Clinton or Obama (or even Edwards, although I suspect he’s already toast and just hanging about to be kingmaker)? Really, not a problem.
* Well, if I were going to vote for one of the Democratic candidates, which would I vote for? Honestly, I have no clue, partly because since I don’t get to vote for either, and would be happy with either, I haven’t given it that much thought. But also, I’m happy to have the two of them debate each other and give everyone a good look at their positions and such. Emotionally, Obama appeals to me; he’s good with them there word thingies, and also to be blunt about it, having a President Obama would make it feel like the American people were doing a Ctrl+Alt+Delete on the previous eight years, and there’s a lot of appeal to that. But Clinton’s selling point — she’s already got the presidential apparatus ready to go — is not insignificant either. And also, you know, I don’t really have that foamy “Clintons are made of pure, baby-pureeing evil” thing going on, either. So I have no idea which I would go for. Since I don’t have to worry about it, I won’t.
* People who loathe the Clintons, singly and severally, like to cling to the shibboleth that her negatives are so high that when it comes right down to it people just won’t be able to will themselves to vote for her, and thus: President McCain (in a best-case scenario). I think these people are kind of high. Hello, McFly: This is a Clinton we’re talking about. You can’t kill them, they just keep coming, and you don’t need to look any further than New Hampshire for proof of that. What GOPers really fear about the Clintons is that at heart they have that same amoral “fuck you, I’m going to win this thing” vibe going that the GOP have made a bedrock of their recent character, and they do it better than Karl Rove and an entire flying squadron of College Republican automatons could ever do it.
Ask yourself, Clinton loathers: if in some alternate universe 2000 had been between Dubya and Clinton (either Clinton, they come as a package deal), do you think the Clintonistas would have tolerated the Florida vote count shenanigans? Does anyone really believe that Bush would have walked out of that the winner? One of the things I’ve always said about the 2000 election is that ultimately Bush won it because the Republicans were willing to snorkle through pig shit to get it, while the Democrats, and specifically Al Gore and his people, didn’t want to get their precious widdle hands mussed. When it came down to it, Gore didn’t want it enough. “Not wanting it enough” is not going to be a problem for Clinton.
For all the people who seem to believe that Clintons are universally loathed simply for being Clintons, it’s worth remembering that for the entirety of Bill Clinton’s second term (you know, the one he was impeached in), his approval rating never dropped below 54% (according to Gallup); as a contrast, the last time Bush saw an approval rating higher than that was the first couple of weeks of his second term; he hasn’t been at 50% since May, 2005 (alternately, his disapproval rating has been greater than 50% since August ’05). Al Gore’s cardinal sin of the 2000 campaign (aside from not fighting for it at the end) was running away from Clinton’s popularity; all he had then was himself. Hilary Clinton isn’t Bill Clinton, of course, for better and worse, but I think nevertheless the expiration date on the “Everyone hates the Clintons” meme is coming up a lot sooner than the Clinton haters suspect.
These are reasons that I can’t help but think the GOP would rather face Obama than Clinton in the general election: because I doubt she’s as unpopular as some folks want to believe, and also, when it comes right down to wallowing in the pig shit and going after your opponent with a splintery baseball bat, no one does it better than the Clintons, and the GOP is out of practice dealing with an opponent who not only hits back but is out to break your fucking skull. Obama’s already been marked as someone who wants to take the high road, which is to say, he’s a sitting duck for a smearing, and we all know how the GOP loves a soft target. The Clinton’s aren’t going to put up with that crap. The first 527 to try to Swift Boat Clinton is likely to get its collective ass handed to it.
* That said, I think it’s entirely possible we’ll end up with Obama as the Democratic candidate, in which case the GOP had better hope smearing still works, because that’s all they’re going to have on the dude. There’s no one out there who thinks Obama has experience; that’s not why you buy the Obama package. You buy it because the guy is smart and inspirational and makes people feel like a better day is coming; indeed, one of the more astute (and positively heretical) ideas I’ve read is the one that suggests that Obama is the true heir to Reagan, not for his policies but for how he makes people feel about where it’s possible for the country to go. If that’s anything close to the truth, then I hope the conservatives enjoyed their time at the top, because it’ll be going bye bye.
* Also, the GOP field? Monkeys. Or more accurately: Jesus Monkey, 9/11 Monkey, flip-flop Monkey with perfect hair, Monkey who wins teh Internets and fails everything else, and John McCain, who is not a monkey, but who is two years shy of how old Ronald Reagan was at the end of his second term, which is worrying. I want John McCain to tell us right now who his VP choice is going to be, because I have a sneaking suspicion that knowledge is going to be relevant in his case, and if he picks a monkey of the same quality as the rest of the GOP field, it’s back to perusing the New Zealand immigration Web site again.
But aside from McCain, seriously, y’all, what the hell? Is this field really the best you can do? Don’t get me wrong, Huckabee’s Chuck Norris ad gave me a giggle, and I think it’s nice that Ron Paul gives the “I read Atlas Shrugged every year and it gets better every time” crowd something to do through the chilly winter nights. But this is no way to run a railroad. I sincerely do hope McCain takes the nomination, because although I disagree with him substantively on a number of policy points, at least saying “President McCain” doesn’t make me want to vomit in my mouth a little, the way “President Romney” or “President Guliani” does (saying “President Huckabee” doesn’t make me want to vomit, but does make me want to sigh heavily and shake my head sadly). I can live with a President McCain. But I’m sorry for you Republicans you don’t have a better set of candidates to choose from.
* Bloomberg? If he does jump in, he’s a Perot, not a Nader. Another thing for you GOP folks to worry about in an already worrying year for you.