Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Momma Told Me: You Better Shop Around!

Alexander Cockburn has a pretty good analysis of the outcome of Super Tuesday at Counterpunch, certainly an improvement over his remark a couple of weeks ago, that “To ensure her husband's victory in his reelection race in 1996 Hillary insisted Bill chop poor mothers--a good slice of them black--off the welfare rolls.” Cockburn’s said stuff like this before, blaming Hillary for the use of cluster bombs in Kosovo, as though Bill would commit his crimes only under pressure from The Dragon Lady. I think that sort of stuff, even if it happens to be true, should be left to the likes of Limbaugh, who couldn’t decide whether Hillary was a lesbian nymphomaniac who killed her lover Vince Foster, or a heterosexual dominatrix who drove Bill to chase interns by withholding sex. To be fair, though, in most of that earlier article Cockburn stressed that the Clintons are a team: “They are without doubt among the most unprincipled duos ever to have operated in the upper tiers of American political life.” No argument there.

There’s an important point in today’s article:

It's becoming clear that as the economy tilts into recession prominent conservatives are coming to the conclusion that it might be no bad thing to have a Democrat win the White House this year, get stuck with recession and the mess in Iraq for four years, until the Republicans recapture the Congress in 2010 and the White House in 2012. On Super Tuesday Limbaugh came right out and said it in plain language: "If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, Obama or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit rather than a Republican causing the debacle. And I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative."

I’m not so sure, myself, that the Democrats will keep Congress in 2008. Most Americans are pretty pissed off by their collaboration with Bush since 2006: the war in Iraq continues, the US economy “tilts into recession,” and so on. My first impulse is that the Republicans should be stuck with the White House and Congress this year. But on second thought, why should the Democrats get off easy? They’ve helped Bush run this country into the ground, ever since he took office in 2001, before the September 11 attacks. Their conduct since they won Congress in 2006 only made it impossible for them to blame Bush convincingly for what has gone wrong.

It may make no difference how I vote this November, since Indiana’s electoral votes haven’t gone to a Democrat since 1964. The Republicans are in so much trouble this time that it could happen again, but I think McCain could do all right here. We’ll see how the Indiana primaries go in May.

But be wary of what you read in the corporate media. Today’s New York Times has an article titled “Luck and Defiance Rescued Limping McCain Campaign” online, but “McCain’s Political Rebound Defied Popular Wisdom” in the print edition. (The International Herald Tribune kept the original headline, I see.) By “popular wisdom,” of course, the Times meant party elites and the corporate media. As Fairness and Accuracy in Media noted while Giuliani was still running:

Indeed, the media conventional wisdom a few months ago was that Giuliani's strength was his ability to compete broadly. As put in: "The fact that Giuliani can compete in New Hampshire--where he previously was believed to be too far behind GOP rivals Mitt Romney and John McCain to make a serious stand--is another indication of the surprising buoyancy of his candidacy."

A more accurate interpretation might be that the media made an early decision to treat Giuliani as a front-runner. The fact that voters thus far have been much less interested in him is somehow taken not as a sign that the media made a mistake, but rather treated as just part of his plan to win the nomination.

I'm not optimistic about the future, regardless of who the nominees are, or who wins in November. With Clinton still standing by her support for the war in Iraq (on the ground that Saddam Hussein was a megalomaniac, which would also require an invasion of the US itself), and Obama's saber-rattling at Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran -- not to mention his admiration for the butcher Ronald Reagan -- I don't see much reason for Hope, the keyword of Obama's campaign. But then, as the philosopher Walter Kaufmann reminded us, Hope was the final evil in Pandora's box.

P.S.: I noticed a few days ago that the attack squads were already going after anyone who doubted their candidates' Godhead. Now Avedon at Sideshow expresses the gentlest skepticism about St. Barack, and about any politician who would Bring Us Together As One (and I'd add JFK to her Bill Clinton as a beacon of Hope that didn't exactly light the world), and one of the Saint's minions strikes. Fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen...

P.P.S. Embedding is disabled for the original music video, but here's Living Colour playing "Cult of Personality" on Arsenio Hall in 1988. "I been everything you want to be ... I exploit you, still you love me."