Sunday, October 05, 2008

Clearing my desk

Rich Lowry's Valentine to Governor Sadie won him a W.P.I.T.W. salute from Keith Olbermann. I don't know. As Republican porn goes, it was a lot less disturbing than the bear-on-girl action described in Lewis Libby's novel. (I refuse to call him Scooter. If you are over 24 and are still known as Scooter, or Choo Choo, or Mookie, or Boog, you'd better be a major league ballplayer.) It makes me wonder what he might have written had he gone to prison as the jury and the judge intended. Remember the Libby Commutation? You'll find it on page 124 of the almost-complete Reasons to Impeach George W. Bush, right after Bad Touching of German Chancellor. It's off the table? Make that Reasons to Loathe George W. Bush.

Speaking of other forgotten things, remember the war(s)? It was in all the papers last summer, just before the financial system imploded. I'm almost certain it's still going on. I've been racking the still-unracked portions of my brain trying to figure out how this ignorant bit of stuff rose to national prominence, and I think I have it. Joe Biden has a son who is an Army (?) reservist and has just been ordered to Iraq. In response, the Republicans decided they had to find an office-holder with a child in the military. Not so easy in the chicken-hawk party. ("Volunteering" is for the working class.) Ultimately their search took them all the way to the International Dateline. OK, you have a better explanation? McCain insisted on someone who could play the flute a little? Had a degree in journalism from Home Depot Community College? Knew a good recipe for moose meatloaf?

I know politics has long been a matter for the marketers; I read The Selling of the President long ago. But people might be more motivated to pay attention if the slogans were a bit more specific. I'm not saying spell out your policies, but at least mention your guy by name, like the snappy but amiable "I Like Ike" and the near-orgasmic "All the Way With JFK." These bland, generic phrases could apply to any product. The Obama campaign's "Change We Can Believe In" was vague enough, but after the convention it morphed into the Yoda-like "Change We Need" (so vote we should, I suppose). New Yorkers of a certain age are inevitably reminded of Con Edison's once-ubiquitous "Dig We Must." McCain is going with "Country First," which sounds like an ec0-friendly margarine. "Try new Country First, made from recycled motor oil. Mmm, I can't believe it's not diesel!" I was an English major, so it aways reminds me of the dirty pun in Hamlet:

Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia: No, my lord!
Hamlet: I mean, my head in your lap.
Ophelia: Yes, my lord.
Hamlet: Did you think I meant country matters?

The Elizabethans loved wordplay, the bawdier the better; we rely on footnotes. Of course, it's one of John's pet names for Cindy (the other being "trollop"). It's also a subliminal reminder of exactly what Sarah Palin adds to the ticket: a vagina.

Speaking of the McCains, is anybody buying that story about injuring her back (or shoulder) by shaking hands? Much has been written about Mrs. McCain's involvement with prescription painkillers (a prescription means you're morally superior to pill-heads who score on the street), but it isn't clear how she first became, what's the word, dependent. How many times has she been to the emergency room? Why the makeup applied with a trowel? People in her tax bracket get Botox injections, they don't pile it on like mimes. Unless they're covering bruises, of course. I'm not saying John McCain beats his wife -- that would be Swift Boating -- but his uncontrollable temper from early childhood on is a matter of record. Maybe that's why they need so many houses. There isn't time for the entire faculty of the Harvard Medical School to evaluate his records thoroughly between now and November; what about hers?

As you can probably tell, I'm impatient for the end of this campaign, which feels like it started during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I'm resigned to voting for a man whose favorite movie is Chariots of Fire. Say it ain't so, Joe. At least Obama and I agree that Blood On the Tracks is Dylan's best album; it's probably the closest I've ever come to total agreement with a politician. Look, the American voter is like a diabetic in a pancake restaurant. You look over the menu and try to pick the dish least likely to kill you. Real change is a possibility only when the restaurant burns down, as it did in 1860 and again in 1932. I'm sorry to say that we have now only a small kitchen fire. So -- pancakes versus waffles, fruit topping versus syrup, hope for the best, expect the worst. I guess you can go look for an organic salad bar, but you might as well lie down in the parking lot and wait for a semi to back over you. I don't mean to suggest that Obama-Biden isn't five trillion times tastier than McCain-Palin, and more nutritious too, but it's all sweet batter in the end. A year from now (barring a catastrophe) we'll be complaining about Obama's energy policy, Obama's failure to fix the health insurance mess, Obama's appointment of some idiot to run the White House travel office. See you there.

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