A few weeks back I expressed an opinion that John McCain was going to win the US Presidential election. Part of that was the polling, part was a relentless lack of faith in the American mass...the bits in the middle, and a part was a strange desire to play devil’s advocate.....just in case
Of course in the interim a couple of freight trains hit his candidacy, as both the economic chaos and the insane, and irresponsible, choice of Sarah Palin imploded on him.
The first didn’t have to impact quite so badly, although there is no doubt that anything with the tag “Republican” on it would have been a target then, but McCain’s response simply underlined that he was a man out of time, as Obama put it. That said I almost felt sorry for the poor old fella, quite clearly out of his depth and floundering about when reasonably he should’ve been sitting in one of the 13 homes he, as a maverick, owns, enjoying the quiet life. Instead we were all exposed to one of the more pathetic sights I’ve seen in politics, as he tried, like the train in the old children’s story....I know I know I can, I know I can...to play catchup and understand, except, unlike like the train, with his relentless breathy, gormless “Fight for.....”slogans, John simply couldn’t.
Then there was Palin. It was bizarre watching the media fawn all over her post RNC. He speech, read from a teleprompter and cliché ridden simply wasn’t very good. It was dishonest and insubstantial and she had little to with it beyond providing a well dressed talking head. Of course, those same commentators have changed their wee minds now.
But, she got the raves then. And she did exactly what she was expected to do, she, to, to use the cliché, energized the Republican base. Unfortunately, that base, overwhelmingly was scaringly batshit crazy, and Sarah soon exposed herself as both viciously ambitious and alarmingly ignorant (which appealed to those who see intelligent thought as elitist). Those outside the base..the other 55% of America who are not nuts, went fuuuuuuucccccck and ran a mile…or at least most did. Some, happily sit somewhere in between..your swinging voters who are really too dim to make their minds up either way after months of this.
I have to be honest, I get some sort of perverse pleasure reading the wacko sites and blogs, and I don’t think I’m the only one. A fine place to start for an hour’s WTF entertainment is the Readers’Blogs section of Real Clear Politics, itself a fairly good resource for articles and links, as well as polls although the right wing bias of the place means it’s fairly selective about who it uses in its averages...GWU, with a strong Republican bias is fine but Research 2000, commissioned by, but independent of, KOS is not. But if you head down to the lower right hand corner of the front page and click you are on your way to Obama is Marxist (Obama is the new Stalin is a current fave) / socialist / baby-killer / Muslim / Manchurian candidate / terrorist / terrorist lover / non-American / N**ger and every other insane variation of that selection, and, yep, there you’ve found Palin’s Republican base: ignorant but angry as hell, and the result of years of isolationism, shitty media & education and money raking hate vendors like Malkin and Limbaugh. Those are Palin and Rove’s real Americans. Do you laugh or cry?
And I’ve become a polling addict....I go to FiveThirtyEight several times a day. I’m really finding hard to give a toss about what’s happening in my home country but I’m fascinated by the massed moronic soap opera that is the American election.
So, do I still think McCain will win..well yes, given the way the “energised base” laps up every little scrap of fear filled garbage about Marxism and wealth redistribution without having any idea what either term actually means, and the way that middle bit still lives down to my expectations, maybe. Is the divide in America too great between that elite and that energised base?
I hope not.
Ok..is that playing the devil’s advocate enough?