Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Five Weeks Left

It's so hard to believe that this, the longest presidential campaign in history, is nearing an end. In five weeks Americans will head to their polling places and decide on local, state, and national races. Despite my original intention to head home for Election Day, I will instead be voting absentee. I don't believe NH absentee ballots will be available until next week, but if you are a college student registered to vote in the Granite State but won't be able to make home November 4, the absentee process is really, really simple.

First, print off and fill out this form. Then, find out where to mail the form by looking at this list of NH town clerks. Next, dole out the 42 cents for a stamp and put the form in the mail. Your town clerk will mail you a ballot. What's cool about voting absentee is that you can take your time before sending it back to your town of residence. Of course, make sure the ballot you send back is postmarked by November 4. Otherwise, you're ballot won't count and you'll have done all that for nothing.

OK, now that my absentee voting tutorial is out of the way I can get back into the current issues of the day. I don't want to sound overly optimistic, but I don't see much of a way that Barack Obama and Joe Biden lose this election after the events of these past few weeks. John McCain, with his schizophrenic and irresponsible attitude towards the financial crisis (i.e., saying the "fundamentals of our economy are strong" and then "suspending" his campaign and describing recent events as a financial Pearl Harbor within about a week), his inability to control surrogates like Carly Fiorina and Douglas Holtz-Eakin (who unbelievably said McCain was partially responsible the creation of the BlackBerry, a device McCain would have no idea how to operate), his lackluster debate performance, and the absolute joke his VP choice has turned into (more on that later).

McCain's completely botched political stunt last week, which included his petty attempt to postpone Friday's debate, may have provided all of us with a look into how a McCain presidency might look. Senator McCain suspended his campaign last Wednesday, even though his ads continued to run throughout the country, his surrogates made every attempt to portray Obama as an America-hating liberal tree-hugging dope fiend, and had enough time to do an interview with Katie Couric before heading back to Washington to New York. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard, that last bit pissed off a certain late night TV host.

So he went to Washington, sat a huge table in the White House where he apparently said nothing, and went back to Capitol Hill to try and save the day. Well, no deal was struck before Friday afternoon, he "un-suspended" his campaign, whimpered to the debate, looked really old, and then headed back to Washington. McCain spent all day Saturday on the phone with people directly involved in the process. Then, on the campaign trail Monday morning, he accused Obama (who has looked every bit the part of presidential throughout this crisis) of "phoning it in" in terms of trying to get the bailout legislation ready for a vote. Umm, yeah. I suppose we should now start being concerned about McCain's short-term memory.

The rest, as they say, is history. The House voted down the bailout plan by a 228-205 vote, leaving everyone scrambling for a new answer. McCain's campaign then had the gall to blame Obama for failure of the bailout plan, even though ANYONE paying attention to this process knows the deal failed because of the intransigence of House Republicans more concerned about losing their own jobs than figuring out a way to stop a 2nd Great Depression. The three-headed monster of House Republican jackasses of Blunt, Boehner and Cantor, for their part, blamed the failure of the bill on a partisan (yet entirely factual) speech given by Speaker Pelosi before the final vote.

(Quick aside: Are you fucking kidding me? The most important economic legislation since the New Deal was voted down because of a SPEECH BY THE HOUSE SPEAKER??!?!?!? That's beyond reprehensible. And these assholes wonder why voters have flocked away from their party in recent years.)

Anyway, I believe we've seen John McCain's true colors throughout this excursion. The old man just doesn't have the faculties, temperment and judgement to be president at this critical point in history. He decided to stop everything in his campaign so he could come back to Washington and deal with this economic issue (which, as I understand, is the first economic issue McCain has attempted to take a lead on during his entire time in Congress), and he couldn't even stick to his word. His campaign was immediately prepared to blame Obama for the failure of the bill, even though Obama's had literally nothing to do with process thus far (at the insistence of those in his party) and it's not entirely clear if either McCain or Obama would have supported the bill had it passed the House. When McCain's campaign issued their proclamation of blame on Obama, I knew for sure what I'd suspected for a long time:

The McCain campaign is so desperate right now that they will literally say ANYTHING, true or false, to disparage Obama.

I know that's not rocket science, but it should tell you something about McCain. The King of Straight Talk has turned into the King of Bullshit. As Ohio, Viriginia, New Hampshire, Florida, and Missouri slip away, McCain will continue to get even more desperate. I'm almost afraid to see where this will take us over the next five weeks.

Speaking of afraid, I present to you, in her unfettered glory, Mrs. Sarah Palin. I need no words to explain this except to say that former McCain adviser Mike Murphy, former Bush speechwriter David Frum, and conservative columnists Kathleen Parker, George Will and David S. Brooks have all called, in some fashion, for Palin to be removed from the ticket. Unbelievable.

I know I said I didn't want to sound too optimistic, especially in these dark times, but can you blame me?

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