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The Man Nobody Wanted

by : David Cox
Wednesday March 5, 2008 - 11:59

By David Glenn Cox

There is something strange going on in the political landscape of America. Something both parties see as a threat to national security, well to their national security at least. The candidates of both major political parties strike terror into the hearts of both political parties’ leadership for the same reason, and for opposite reasons.

Last year it was a foregone conclusion that the Democratic nominee would be Hillary Clinton, no one doubted it for one minute, she had played the party game, accumulated a war chest, received all the right endorsements. She was a snowball rolling downhill and the Republican’s couldn’t wait, chomping at the bit to energize their base by chewing on a Clinton backside once again.

She followed the game plan to a T; she spoke to AIPAC with innuendoes of bombing Iran. She spoke to the chamber of commerce about increasing free trade, she spoke in Selma about her long struggle, while in her Ivy League school, to promote the dreams of Doctor King. She spoke in Ohio about the need to bring back manufacturing jobs and she spoke in Chicago about the need to strengthen organized labor. Now she sits in her hotel suite wondering, "Where did I go wrong?"

But in the boiler rooms of the Democratic Party the discussions are not so nearly introspective. Hillary loved the party establishment and the party establishment loved Hillary and now, Hillary’s toast. It would be obvious to blame the candidate and some will, but this is more about a party establishment that is out of step with its own base.

"There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am "
(SuperTramp)

The party sets the rules, the primaries, frames the debates, gives logistical support, points checkbooks at candidates. In short, a candidate can’t win without the party and, conversely, shouldn’t be able to lose. Dennis Kucinich found this out quickly, that the hammer that pounds the anvil can be turned upon you. He was the voice and conscience of the party, his integrity its one redeeming virtue, a lone voice crying in the wilderness to which the Democratic Party answered, Shut up! Hillary’s talking!

The situation would be dire, indeed, if it weren’t ten times worse on the other side. The Republicans run their party slightly differently. There is a royalist sentiment to it, they take turns. Dewey lost, Eisenhower won, Dewey was history and then it was Nixon’s turn. Nixon lost, so it was back to the end of the line for him. Goldwater lost so he was out. Then Nixon again, but with his little accident it was then Ford’s turn since he was a sitting President, elected by only one vote, Nixon’s.

Ford lost so he was out, then it was Ronny Raygun’s turn and he won so then it was Bush’s turn. Bush won on Reagan’s coat tails but when America found out that Bush wasn’t Reagan, Bush lost, so then it was Bob Dole’s turn. Dole lost so then it was John McCain’s turn but he was beaten out by a line jumper. The underhanded tactics of Lee Atwater found a new soul to posses in the person of Karl Rove. The unsuspecting McCain was blind-sided by the monsters Reagan had wrought. They not only ignored the 11th Reagan commandment of "Speak no evil of other Republicans," the heretics sacrificed McCain on the pyres of racism while they chanted, Willie Horton, Willie Horton, Willie Horton.

In Presidential elections, Republicans move to the right and Democrats move to the center. That allows the Republican nominee to paint the Democrat as a bleeding heart liberal. McCain just isn’t loony enough for them. He’s against torture and made deals on immigration and doesn’t thump his Bible nearly enough!

The troika of the Republican Party are:
1. The fiscal conservatives, the tax-anyone-but-me crowd. Drown Social Security in a bathtub, Yee Haw! Bang bang!
2. The John Birch wing, "We gotta do something about all these blacks and Jews and Catholics, boy, things sure were good around here back in the 50’s, the 1850’s! And,
3. the fundamentalist Christians, "For God so loved the world that he told me to exclude you from it."

Let me say this right here, there is an aspect of this lunacy to be admired. For each branch is loony enough in its own right, the racists looking backwards, the money grubbers destroying their own fountain of wealth just to keep from painting it, and the fundamentalists. I was in a fundamentalist church and in the lobby was a large portrait of Jesus kneeling before the Liberty Bell. He was reaching out to feel the crack with his hand and looked as if he were about to weep.

It scared the living crap out of me, in their mind Jesus worships them. They are the sacrificial lambs that Jesus admires from afar. Without each of the three cooperating, their chances are nil. But they come together and cooperate even though their ideologies conflict. They stand on each other’s shoulders to escape from the asylum. A game of tic tac toe where, if you block the top, they go diagonal. The money boys tolerate the racists and some of them are racists, the fundamentalist tolerates the racists because some of them are fundamentalists and racists, and the racists tolerate everyone because they have no other place to go.

The McCain campaign is so lackluster and defeatist that they let anyone with a conservative petticoat announce for the candidate. Leading to apologies and then apologies for apologies and explanations for explanations. The game is fixed and his lead is now so great that he is as unstoppable in the primaries as he is unelectable in the general election. McCain cannot put the Republican Cootie Bug together.

He is too pragmatic for the make-me-tax-free crowd, not redneck enough for the birchers and doesn’t thump his Bible nearly enough. Without the money boys, no bucks, without the Bible thumpers, no fire, and the rednecks, well, they’ll vote for him anyway because he has all the necessary requirements. He’s not Obama and he’s not married to Bill Clinton.

But the Republicans, like the Democrats, have seen great stress on their party machinery. The party chose McCain, now you go vote for him! But, in great numbers Republicans have said, No! The support for the loony tune Huckabee is a protest vote. The Ron Paul phenomenon is a party rebellion as well; Shut up, McCain’s speaking! Republicans are telling their party the same thing that the Democrats are telling their party.

We don’t like the way that you guys are running things and the candidates don’t match our aspirations. This is not to say Obama is a shoo-in, these boys are far too used to winning to give up that easy. There are always hopes for Obama, the tank commander photos or a bimbo eruption. In ’48, Dewey took days off from the campaign trail because he was certain of the outcome, as does McCain for the same reason. But, come fall the media and the party will inflate McCain like the Michelin man and he will be made to appear 10 feet tall.

The real contest is inside the party machines, the nomination was McCain’s and the voters are unhappy about it. The nomination was Hillary’s but the electorate took it away from her and gave it to someone else and the party is unhappy about it. They might yet try and take it back with convention shenanigans and by assuming that McCain is unelectable. The Republican’s pray for such a miracle, just as Huckabee prays for a miracle.

But both parties need to find their way home, or they will find themselves homeless. Then 2012 could be a real barn burner.



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