Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who You Calling "Electable"?



The division of sports and leisure is in charge of Roxie’s World this evening, on account of the non-Lady Terps are down in Durham squaring off against the evil empire of Duke. The political team has taken the night off to lick its wounds following last night’s resounding defeat of Hillary Clinton in the Crab Cake primaries and to reassess our official position on the issue of electability. That position has been colorfully yet clearly articulated by Moose, who for months has maintained that Democrats could nominate “poop on toast” and win the presidency this year, given the unappealing field of Republican candidates and the spectacularly failed presidency of George W. Bush.

This morning, though, the moms woke up to a cold, ugly rain and the sound of a triumphant John McCain launching the peroration of his victory speech last night in Virginia – and the opening of his attack against the man many now assume he will face in the fall:
I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need. I seek the presidency with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me.
“Holy crap,” Moose muttered, “turn off the radio. There goes the election.”

“No kidding,” Goose replied. “You just can’t beat such gorgeously balanced sentences, such elegant use of antithesis – ‘I do not seek the presidency on X. I seek the presidency on Y.’ That is poetry.”

I swear, Goose is almost as weird as Moose is sometimes.

“Yeah, but it’s also a withering attack on Obama’s sole claim to the office – his personal magnetism, his followers’ belief in his salvific powers. If McCain can effectively re-frame those appeals as signs of arrogance, vanity, or a young man’s belief that ‘all glory [is] self-glory,’ as he says earlier in the speech, well, that’s just devastating to Obama’s cause. McCain doesn’t have to bother pointing out that Lyndon Johnson’s support was crucial to the success of the civil rights movement. All he has to do is talk about the brotherhood of war, which he also does earlier in the speech, to prove that he understands interdependency and the nobility of fighting for a cause greater than oneself. He’ll never let someone label him a racist for saying that either.”

“No one will even try. That’s the kind of weasely move Democrats only pull on one another. You know what this whole Obama cult of personality thing has got me thinking about?”

“What?”

“The opening song from Jesus Christ Superstar, where Judas tells Jesus how dangerous this whole messiah thing has gotten to be. He accuses Jesus of succumbing to all the hype about him.”

“Oh, yeah,” and then Moose started to sing,
You’ve started to believe
The things they say of you
You really do believe
This talk of God is true
And then Goose chimed in,
And all the good you’ve done
Will soon get swept away
You’ve begun to matter more
Than the things you say
And then they both started to laugh. I covered my ears with my paws. It's so embarrassing when they go all 70s on me.

“But seriously,” Moose said, “you know what this debacle has me thinking about?”

“Unh-unh.”

“The iPhone. Obama doesn’t represent a new kind of politics. He represents the triumph of branding in politics. He’s positioned himself as the iPhone in this race, while somehow Clinton has been turned into the political equivalent of your grandmother’s rotary dial phone. The problem with that strategy is that voters-as-consumers or voters-as-fans are likely to be fickle. They may move on to a new product by fall.”

“But do you think McCain is a product they’ll be interested in buying?”

“Hey, Republicans are nothing if not marketing geniuses. They sold enough people on Shrub to get him into the White House for two terms. McCain’s speech last night unnerves me because it suggests a brilliant line of attack against all of Obama's pretty rhetoric.”

“But isn’t it just another version of Clinton’s experience argument?”

“Basically, but he’s a guy, a war hero. He doesn’t have to prove his commander-in-chief credentials, which is a big part of what Clinton’s experience argument was aimed at doing. McCain can make a contest between him and Obama all about who’s the manliest man, and the old white former prisoner of war is going to win that contest every time. All he has to do is stand there stiff as a board, make a couple of well-timed references to ‘Nam, and suddenly voters remember that grandma’s old rotary phone never dropped a call and didn’t shatter into pieces when it got dropped. Obama looks like a self-involved pretty boy, a puff of smoke. Faced with the two of them, voters realize they don’t want to be cool; they want to be safe.”

“A pretty boy? So McCain can use a subtle combination of racism, ageism, and effemiphobia to beat Obama, where Clinton’s age and experience are held against her?”

“Sure, honey. That, it turns out, may be how you beat the bitch -- and the black guy. C’mon. Let’s go downstairs and have some coffee. It’s time to face the day.”

(For a round-up of commentary on the Obama Messiah Watch, see this from our blog pal Jon Swift.) And if you, too, can still recall all the lyrics to Jesus Christ Superstar, even if you can't remember what you had for breakfast this morning, then click on this vid. Just close your office door first. Please.


8 comments:

  1. Wow Rox, it’s been a good run for evil empires, but the Patsies did go down.

    I completely agreed with Moose when she said that Democrats could nominate poop on toast and win the presidency this year. Yet here they are, ready to get beat. Again.

    Obama can’t win a general election. When it comes down to it, Moose is exactly right, voters want to be safe, and Obama will never be that choice.

    Clinton can win the general election. The problem is she can’t win the nomination running against Obama. The Democratic Party has more people that want radical change, more people who want that iPhone, so they don’t make the safe choice and go with the “Hope and Change” revolution. At least enough of them do to put the “safe” nominees out of the running. I even thought Edwards would have had a shot in the general election but, again, he can’t beat Obama for the nomination.

    I agree with Moose, turn off the radio, this thing is a wrap. But where does the democratic party go after this? I think Hilary will be damaged goods, look what happened to Edwards and Kerry after their unsuccessful campaigns. Obama isn’t going away, but will there be enough shine left on him after McCain smacks around him?

    It’s a royal mess they have.

    Now look at the republicans, unappealing field and all, about to win the presidency for the 6th time in the last 8 elections. All this talk about Clinton’s and Bush’s (hehe) has taken away from the real dynasty, the Republican Party. How do they do it?

    They could have had their own Obama, their own win the battle, lose the war scenario. Huckabee. He’s the republicans’ Obama. And he got trounced. Republicans don’t like McCain, but they like him better than Clinton or Obama and enough of them are smart enough to nominate a candidate who CAN win the general election.

    The delegate count for each party clearly has an effect and I don’t see the logic in the democrats’ way of doing things. It pits the nominees against one another for too long if there isn’t a clear-cut front-runner, like this year. They need either to change to the republican format or stop letting two good candidates run against each other.

    They should have redshirted Obama and let Hilary beat up on Edwards for a couple months, until right about now, when she could start on McCain and we would have had a great general election contest. Even if Hilary lost, it would have been a close race and democrats could have accused the republicans of stealing another election with Obama ready to save the world in 2012.

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  2. Brilliant analysis, Spuds, especially on the matter of delegate-splitting. When will Dems learn how not to steal defeat from the jaws of victory?

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  3. RutgersAlumna12:29 PM EST

    Erika Jong, et al, a number of interesting pro-Hillary posts from women authors today!

    For Roxie & your moms —
    A commemorative Valentine!

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  4. OMG, RA -- Thank you for the glorious Valentine! Did you take all those amazing photos? We bow in homage to your skill and artistry! We promise never to post any of Moose's pathetic little travel photos again. Glorious stuff -- Thanks for sharing.

    A happy belated VD to RA and all the beloveds of Roxie's World.

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  5. Dear RA,

    This is Goose, who LOVES your Valentine to us. Thank you SO much. You are an AMAZING photographer.

    And, to add to this thread, I have found myself asking "What has the Democratic Party done for women?" For 35 years I have been waiting, and have defended Democratic men in spite of their foibles. And what have they done for us? They've let abortion rights be limited and limited and limited, and they didn't fight hard enough for us to pass the ERA and haven't tried to resurrect it. I just went to Obama's site to see what he would for women and it's all platitudes. Like a terrier, I'm sticking by Hillary, whose positions are clear and expressed in detail.

    Thanks again, RA!
    --Goose

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  6. RutgersAlumna4:41 PM EST

    Thanks Moose and Goose, seeing your posts together on Roxie's blog, makes my very pleased -- like getting a valentine! (All the photos in the "afterthoughts" folders I linked to are mine).

    I try to keep an open door to Obama in case things go that way, but I will not give up on Hillary until she says, "I'm outa here!" which I hope doesn't happen until after her 2nd presidential term!

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  7. Dudley's Human10:29 AM EST

    Good point, Goose. If Obama has specific material about women, outside of civil rights in general, I didn't see it--and, like you, I looked.

    Just for the sake of fairness--I know he's been criticized here for lack of specificity--he does have quite a lot of specific material on issues, though, with links to pdf files containing more detailed plans and information. But nothing special on women.

    Just as a general remark on both websites, Obama's lists the issues so they're easy to find on the pulldown menu: "civil rights," "healthcare," "immigration," etc. Alas, whoever put together Clinton's website seems to have concluded that it's better to use action words, even when, IMO, they're not needed. As a result, you find categories as "restoring America's standing in the world," "reforming our immigration system," "fulfilling our promises to veterans." We know anything about immigration will involve reform; we know anything about veterans is about fulfilling the country's promises to people who serve. But hiding the operative word at the end of the phrase makes it hard to find stuff.

    OTOH, her website is more colorful, more eye-friendly, warmer in tone, makes more use of icons and generally is easier to navigate.

    Debating getting a Hillary cap or water bottle. . . Was thinking of a Hillary leash or dog scarf, but they don't seem to have those. May have to settle for some Uno gear whenever it comes out.

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  8. RutgersAlumna3:29 PM EST

    How about Kathleen Reardon's comments yesterday at the Huffington Post. She's challenging the top leaders of the Democratic party, including Howard Dean, for not stepping in sooner and demanding that their members cease using Obama support as an excuse to indulge in misogyny!

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