I thought the best thing John McCain did when he first became the “presumptive Republican nominee” for President was attaching himself to George W. Bush like some bizarre reversal of a Siamese twin separation operation.
I mean how stupid is that? Bush is almost inarguably the worst President we have ever had. I say almost inarguably because of course there are those who cling to his greatness because they are simply true believers (like Cheney) or simply profiteers (well, like Cheney). But, amongst dwellers in the real world, according to polls, the guy is down to a 25 percent approval rating. (I even find that disturbing: who the hell are these 25 percent people?) He can’t ever go out in public; his only speeches are given in front of a lot of soldiers – and I bet even THEY are frisked for bullets nowadays. American Idol didn’t want him anywhere near their “Gives Back” shindig. His daughter was married in utter secrecy – it wasn’t a national celebration as even occurred with Tricia Nixon, scion of the dreadful Richard M.; she got married in the White House Rose Garden as first children are supposed to.
Bush couldn’t even go to a secret fundraiser in safely Red Arizona because of the threat of protesters, so he had to go to an even MORE secret fundraiser. That is how unpopular this guy is. Everything going wrong is laid at his Constitution trampling feet: from 4,000 dead in Iraq, to the plethora of home foreclosures, to Global Warming, to warrantless wiretaps, to water boarding, to outing CIA agent Valerie Plame, to making up intel about Iraq, to 5.5% unemployment, to $4.50 gas – and that’s at ARCO! (I remember with some nostalgia when we were complaining about THREE dollar a gallon gas – those were the days, a month ago, remember?).
But nevertheless, there’s McCain, the “straight talker,” the “maverick,” clinging to the man’s pant leg like an insecure lapdog. And everyday, it seems, he tightens his grasp– as if on a timetable to make his policy reversals 100% by election day. For example, McCain recently said he’s OK with Bush’s policy of warrantlessly wiretapping Americans. He’s long ago jumped from the always specious Straight Talk Express to the Imperial Presidency Handbasket to Hell. He suddenly loves the tax cuts that he railed against in 2001, embraces the religious freaks he scoffed at in 2000, and loves loves loves not only the Iraq war, but prospects of one in Iran. I keep hearing about how conservative Republicans are going to stay away from the election instead of voting for him. WHY???
And let’s not forget how brutally the Bushites slew McCain’s presidential bid in 2000 – advancing gossip about his fathering an illegitimate black child (in reference to his adopted Bangladeshi daughter) – that he didn’t quite re-assemble all his marbles after his vaunted five year stay at the Hanoi Hilton. The former is despicable, the latter I’m still debating internally.
So not only is he attaching his wagon to a plummeting star, it’s a star that once seriously kicked his ass and took down his number. This would all seem to be stupid politically, and pathetically desperate personally.
But I naïvely keep overestimating the wisdom of the American electorate.
But then you take a gander at the polls, and this elderly poseur is getting upward of 45% in the polls, neck and neck with Barack Obama.
Despite all the hell we have gone through, and how our society has drifted into depression – certainly emotionally, and soon, economically – there is still this same old insane red state / blue state divide.
The brain boggles at the illogic of it all.
But of course my brain goes to the diabolical. Can we even believe the polls that are making it seem like, on the one hand, everybody sick of Bush but yet on the other hand, apparently some of these same people want Bush part deux. Or is it trois. Why should we believe assorted polls, that tend to lead public opinion rather than report it, anymore than those dvm (damn voting machines)?
Are there enough people who just will not vote for a black man? Perhaps it’s Obama’s turn to play the race card: the white race card. After all, he is half white so perhaps the rednecks can concentrate on that and feel better about their vote, remaining loyal to the ghost of Jefferson Davis.
Or has Karl Rove and his predecessors – along with the die-hard propagandists with the large megaphones such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and the rest – so convinced enough of the populace that the Democrat (sic) Party is the equivalent of the Communist Party – godless who want to take all your money and screw up your kids’ minds with stories about evolution and global warming. Not to mention gay marriage and declaring “defeat” in Iraq.
And then you have the unhappy circumstance that the Democratic nominee is not only black, but his middle name is Hussein, and he was raised for a time in Indonesia, a hotbed of Muslim terrorism. And thus, it can be logically construed, Obama is yet another stealth candidate who will co-opt the government, and boot Jesus from the classroom if not the church, and, you know, do things like clean up the air and give us affordable health care – at our expense.
The long process of dumbing down the United States began with Ronald Reagan and his war on public schools in California, and continued with nefarious “No Child Left Behind”. So it’s no wonder a large segment of the population, who along with all of us, may be pumping $5 a gallon gas, and losing their homes and their jobs, yet are far more terrified of a middle name.
After seven years plus of George Bush, Democrats would seem to be in the vaunted “cat bird seat”. And John McCain is W’s heir apparent? Please!
But don’t say, “Bring it on”. Be afraid, be very afraid – not of terrorists, but of terrorized voters who can’t seem to be hit over the head enough. We must show them how good they will feel when it stops, and that may be a very difficult battle. The Democrats represent the best antidote to Bush, have better ideas than John McCain, and certainly the best candidate in decades.
But that won’t stop people from being stuck on stupid. So heed the warning of the polls, and, as Frederick Douglass once intoned, “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”
by Robert Illes
Robert Illes is an Emmy winning television writer and producer, currently developing series for Nickelodeon and TV Land. He is an LA native, and a graduate of USC, who lived in Sherman Oaks for 23 years before escaping to Santa Monica (but visits a lot). A member of Valley Democrats United, Bob is also an AirAmericaRadio freak, active in the Writers Guild mentor program, as well as the Democratic party, and is constantly Bush bashing, fighting for verifiable voting procedures, and fighting against Jerry’s Deli showing Fox News on their overhead TVs. What’s the matter with those people!?
Internet radio show “Funny is Money” starring Bob Illes is now on nightly at 7 p.m. Pacific time www.shokusradio.com
This article originally appeared in the Valley Democrats United newsletter, Margie Murray editor, on June 11, 2008. We have republished it with permission.