This is truly the season of anomalies. As Hillary Clinton rode to a massive victory in West Virginia, home of a large white, modestly-educated, older, racially invested population, Travis Childers won former Senator Lott’s seat in Mississippi. Despite video ads depicting Childers as the love child of Barack Obama and Reverend Wright and Vice President Cheney’s visit in support of his opponent, Childers came out on top for the third Democratic win in Republican strongholds in recent weeks.
And disregarding what some refer to as the numbers game, Hillary maintains that she will never give up and intends to fight on for the good of her supporters. It’s hard to say where she generates the strength to keep producing that manic smile she sports but between her and McCain it’s more than a little discomforting to think either of them would be picking up that phone in the White House at 3AM. Besides, as someone asked recently, is that the only time emergencies occur?
Rationales regarding the politics of the moment are truly fascinating – – John McCain is described as a candidate for change (wherever did he get that idea?) and the media and Republicans alike still spin his overblown image as a “maverick”. His stand against torture apparently enhances that image though some think it just identifies him as, well, kind of human. Trying to forge a bi-partisan compromise about judicial appointments and come to some resolution regarding immigration issues inflamed the right wing of his party, but according to his voting record in the Senate he is, on most issues, a reliable conservative and a strong supporter of the war in Iraq.
And while Hillary carries on in the hope that some avalanche of misfortune will stop Obama in his tracks, the McCain people help out by dropping little nuggets of poison into the well of mainstream opinion, mainly in the person of weaselly little Joe Lieberman. With his studied remarks he would like everyone to understand he is just throwing out thoughts to chew on, nothing partisan mind you, but isn’t it interesting, he says, that a Hamas political advisor thinks Obama would make a good president. Whatever is one to make of that? Obviously, Republicans, like most folks, have concluded Obama will be the Democratic nominee and want to get started early questioning his loyalty and the possibility that he is, shudder, a Hamas plant.
Putting stuff like that ‘out there’ isn’t about change even if one were to believe McCain could lay claim to being an agent of change in the first place. And it isn’t about national security either. It’s just the same tired old scare mechanism the Bush administration has employed in campaign rhetoric, its state-of-the-union messages and its calls for more and deeper inroads into the Constitutional protections most Americans consider their birthright. If the Swiftboat smears of John Kerry and the purple bandaids at the Republican Convention seemed about as low as one could go, Lieberman and the rest of the McCain crowd appear to be striving to hit new lows in the absence of constructive programs and meaningful change of any kind.
The McCain speech recently on global warming and the environment in general was a classic. Perhaps it was side-splittingly funny because of the wonderment expressed at things that have concerned many people for some time but about which the conservative audience he was addressing have been largely uninformed or unconcerned. Somehow, after all this time, melting glaciers and other shocking occurrences described by the good senator, whose party has sloughed off any attempts to address such problems, not just for the past seven years but pretty much forever, was quite a chuckle.
And then there’s the president’s announcement that he gave up golf in 2003 out of respect for the troops in Iraq, especially those who had lost their lives there. At last he made the ultimate sacrifice for his disastrous decision to invade a country that had no WMD and was not involved in 9/11.
There are those who may regard this as a meaningless gesture, but they are probably not golfers. Others may just throw up their hands in disbelief that the country is in the hands of politicians who turn logic on its head and deal in irrelevances.