FORESHADOWING

The 2012 presidential race has begun in earnest, notwithstanding the six month Gathering of the Juggalos / circus sideshow / island of broken toys that was the GOP nomination process. The Romney vs. Obama square-off is all of about 2 weeks old, and I'm already consumed with cold dread at the prospect of sitting through six more months of this.

Now that we've just passed the one year anniversary of the death of bin Laden, Republicans are courageously asserting that no president worthy of the title would ever make a campaign issue out of a foreign policy success.

Read John McCain's incontinent, 74 year old hissy fit. Then read the comment thread.

I can't, people. I just can't. I'm so full of Can't and Nope. I really don't think I have it in me to handle six months of this stupidity. Can't we just fast forward to November 15 and let the GOP focus on its post-election excuses? Do we really have to sit through half a year of hysterical nonsense and irrelevant "issues" blown out of all sense of proportion? Wouldn't it be great if we all consciously declined to talk or think about this meaningless noise and instead, like, read a book or something?

The campaign seeks thee not. It is thou, thou, that madly seekest it.

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56 Responses to “FORESHADOWING”

  1. cromartie Says:

    The top line isn't where the action is at. The action is on the undercard, and seeing how many House and Senate seats the Republicans can stupid themselves out of. All politics are local, after all.

  2. FMguru Says:

    The worst thing about the next five months is that nothing that appears in the news or blog coverage is going to matter at all. Literally nothing that is going to happen before October is going to tell you anything about the outcome of the election.

    None of the polls are going to matter until three weeks before the election. None of the day-to-day media shitstorms and nano-scandals. None of the fundraising numbers (the real important numbers are in the hands of the private superPACs, and those won't be visible until the end). None of the economic indicators. None of the articles about strategy or messaging or critical demographics. It's all bullshit. And not because of the usual Gush/Bore, lesser-of-two-evils, not-a-dime's-difference bellyaching, but because the election is going to be close and the things that will determine the outcome (in a handful of well-known swing states) won't be visible until just a few weeks before the election. You could tune out the election completely and when you come back on, say, October 15, you won't have missed anything important.

    The next five months are going to be unbearable. Dust-ups and demands for apologies and the CNN Situation Room going to the 4-in-1 talking head grid to discuss the latest breaking "news". Kill me now.

  3. J. Dryden Says:

    Two ways to go with this:

    1. Deep breaths–hyper-ventilate–psych yourself up into a raging inferno of misanthropy, and take a Mencken/Bierce/Swiftian joy in the proceedings.

    2. Approach it simply as an intellectual exercise–ignore the candidates and focus solely on the professionals behind the scenes who engage in the (often impressive, often impressively disastrous) gamesmanship of shaping public perception. Campaigns are damned entertaining from the inside, so adopt that perspective–that adrenaline-fueled yet cold-blooded managerial perspective–and enjoy watching the work of people at the top of their professions. This one promises to be a doozy, given that these wizards must find some way to revive engagement with a bloodless failure, and rouse enthusiasm for a milk-and-baguette borefest. The bar for the pole vault is raised an extra three feet–the hammer and shot-put are weighted an extra 20 pounds–the javelin is shaped like a corkscrew–let's see what these contenders can do!

    I'm gonna go with the latter path, because I tried the former during the Bush-Kerry go-around, and it damned near killed me.

  4. zombie rotten mcdonald Says:

    there is a Third Way, Dryden; heroic intake of drugs and alcohol.

  5. Daniel Says:

    Mitt seems like he is playing out the string already. "Look at meeee!!!! I got personality!!! I got a sense of humor!! How about those sitcoms folks??? Anyone watching that Charlie Sheen show? Is that still on TV? Eh, fuck it."

  6. Ben Says:

    I just think of it as a billion or so dollars worth of stimulus that would otherwise just be extracting rent somewhere.

    Thinking that almost helps.

  7. eau Says:

    But, but, but… But Gin & Tacos is what makes it bearable for the rest of us!

    A pretty successful fiction author once told me that a writer's job was to be bored on behalf of his readers. He was quoting someone else, but couldn't remember who.

    Maybe part of what you do here is absorb boredom (and bile, and confusion, and white hot rage, etc) and excrete goodness?

    I'm a big fan of your election coverage, but if you want to turn this into a baseball blog for the next six months, I'll still read it. I won't understand what the hell you're talking about, but I'll read it.

  8. Middle Seaman Says:

    It's all our fault. We have to choose between testicular cancer (Obama) and stomach cancer (Romney). The punishment is six months of radiation of banks propaganda and heavy nausea. We have this immense talent to find the worst candidates for president and allow every rich putz to dictate tone of the campaign.

    Sex with animals seems an attractive alternative.

  9. wetcasements Says:

    I know it's tasteless to quote one of your own tweets but: "Remember when George W. Bush put on a flight suit and landed on an aircraft carrier and didn't kill Osama bin Laden?"

  10. Dennis Says:

    Seal Team Six killed bin Ladin, wet casement.

    They're the ones not doing the Ickey Shuffle for the last full year.

  11. c u n d gulag Says:

    Yes, the next 6 months are going to be ugly, what with right-wing political fiction-writing contests, endless accusations, and hysterical hissy-fit's over silly things, turning mole-hills into the Himalaya's.

    But what else have Conservatives/Republicans got?

    Wedge issues, tax-cuts for the rich, and deregulation.
    That's it!

    Oh yeah, I forgot – war with Iran.
    "Let's see, Visa? Nope – maxed out.
    Mastercard? Nope, ditto.
    AmEx? Nope, might have to start to pay while we're still in office.
    We've got it – DINER'S! YAY!!!"
    No thanks! We've got all of the involvement in the Middle East we can stand for the next three generations.

    The wedge issues are mostly about women, black and brown people, and homosexuals.
    And these are as a result of the Conservative's reaction to the 1960's – which have BEEN OVER FOR OVER 40 F'IN YEARS!!!
    And the fact that they've never come to grips with the 60's, and haven't moved on, like the rest of American society, is what makes them angry.
    Oh, to be able to un-burn those bra's!
    And have separate, "but equal," be the law of the land again!!!

    And as for tax-cuts for the rich and deregulation, these aren't NEW ideas!
    Conservatives/Republicans haven't had a new idea since somewhere between FDR and LBJ, when they went from being strict isolationists to war mongers. And I, for one, would welcome a revival of that isolationist road-show.

    And tax-cuts and deregulation have been tried for the last 30+ years – AND FAILED.
    HORRIBLY!!!!!!!
    They're what turned American, once by far the most prosperous nation in the world, into a near Banana Republic with worlds largest nuclear arsenal.
    Thanks, Banana's Republicans!

    And you feckin' idjits think we need MORE tax-cuts and deregulation?
    That's like taking an anemic patient and covering every inch of his/her body with leeches.

    The next step down is to be like a larger version of Haiti.
    Is that what you Conservatives want?
    Never mine, don't answer that!
    I already know the answer…

  12. Tim H. Says:

    The TV will mostly stay off, and I'll tell people that what it'd take to get me to vote republican is for democrats to nominate the satanically reanimated cadaver of Bob Berdella. I suppose the next six months we'll be hearing astonishing BS about Obama, and I do plan to read some books, great idea, that.

  13. Dennis Says:

    The next step down is to be like a larger version of Haiti.
    Is that what you Conservatives want?
    Never mine, don't answer that!
    I already know the answer…

    Here, if you disagree with this lunacy, you are a troll.

    Funny that.

  14. c u n d gulag Says:

    Dennis,
    ZZZZzzzzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzZZzzzzzzzZzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  15. butler Says:

    One of the better comment threads. Nearly pissed myself at "Sex with animals seems an attractive alternative."

    The election as pro sporting event thing horrifies me and is a big part of the problem.

    As far as alternatives… it seems clear everyone here finds this a farce. Why not sidestep this nonsense and OCCUPY?

  16. Major Kong Says:

    This is the standard Karl Rove "Attack your opponents strength" tactic.

    Since Obama had a foreign-policy success, pretty much all they can do is say "Well, he shouldn't talk about it".

    Mind you, in upside-down rightwingworld, having the worst terrorist attack in US history occur on your watch somehow makes you the tough-guy foreign policy experts (at least if you're Republicans).

  17. RosiesDad Says:

    There's always The Daily Show and Colbert, which are what make it bearable for me.

    They provide a life lesson—it's healthier to make fun of the clowns for being ridiculous, hypocritical, dishonest (or pick whatever other adjectives come to mind) than it is get red in the face angry and run the risk of blowing an aneurysm.

  18. belle Says:

    cromartie has it right. all politics is local.

    concentrate on your local races, up to and including Congress, work for a candidate. you won't have time for TV, which will relieve your stress and may do the country some good.

  19. comrade x Says:

    Great, tasteless moments in Bush administration grandstanding:
    1) The weird, Roman style triumphal military motorcade down Pennsylvania Avenue after declaring our " victory" in Iraq in April, 2003.

    2) The GI JOE carrier landing stunt.

    3) The grotesque display of Uday and Qusay Hussein's bodies on TV after they were killed in a shoot- out with U.S. forces.

    4) " We got him." The triumphal announcement of the capture of Saddam Hussein, a shit no doubt, but a shit that never was a direct threat to the U.S.

    Obama's referencing of bin Laden's death during the campaign season has precedent, and is muted compared to the " foreign policy to get headlines" approach of the previous neoconservative junta that proceeded him.

  20. Number Three Says:

    I am also ready to be done with the presidential campaign. And, as a DC resident, I don't have a congressional race to follow locally (nor, for that matter, does my presidential vote matter, as Obama wins DC handily).

    So my plan is to read the new Caro book. That should take six months, right?

  21. c u n d gulag Says:

    #3,
    Only if you recover from Caro-elbow, which often results from holding his weighty tomes, fast enough, and you don't need surgery.

  22. Hawes Says:

    Political junkies tend to scoff and the low information voter who decides whom to vote for based on the weather and how their local sports team did that week.

    But secretly, we envy them, don't we?

    Ignorance being bliss and all?

  23. cerb Says:

    I'm going to try my best to just avoid all politics until late October. I'm pretty sure massive amounts of alcohol and the White Sox can tide me over until then.

  24. John Says:

    Today the DOW Jones opened up at a four year high, well over 13,000. Honestly, I think that the proper way to handle the next six months is for the Obama campaign to just put out TV, radio, and web ads on an infinite loop that replay recordings of Hannity et al circa 2009 (when the DOW was down to historic lows) spouting over and over again how much the DOW matters as a measure of presidential success, all the while flashing the latest total that is WELL over where it was even before the original tank.

    As the Kong noted, this is straight out of the Rovian playbook; Obama has a foreign policy win, so attack it as inappropriate to even bring up, because Mittington Romworth sure as fuck doesn't have anything to say to that.

    Once, just fucking once, I would like to see a presidential campaign that played the metagame, rather than the game itself.

  25. Xynzee Says:

    @CU: ¡Smack! Bad CU! Naughty CU! No more of that! The vet put the gimp er troll on a diet.

    We could write Mothra the Dominatrix Disciplines the Troll fan fiction.

    What's the title of that book you're often quoting. The one from your childhood back in 1846 ;) now might be the time to read it. That or bone up on our Middle English, because if the Rs get in Chaucer here we come.

  26. Dan Says:

    I'll keep the television off as I usually do. No good can come from watching the coverage of this election season.

    BTW, one of my former HS classmates manages this FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenn-Jacques-Unapologetic-Conservative-Extraordinaire/413732245432

    After reading through the comments from her and her followers, I can honestly say that none of these comment threads even affect me anymore. They simply make me think that a Northern and Southern States of America is a really, really good idea.

  27. Purple Says:

    I can't wait for the impending Romney landslide that panics Obama into releasing the photos of bin Laden's corpse in a desperate attempt to win back his political base. But wait, he can't release the pictures, because bin Laden's still alive.

    The above paraphrases my favorite comment thread from the McCain statement.

  28. acer Says:

    The Obamney showdown is going to be as draining for me as it is for the parties' respective warchests. But I'm with cromartie. And I hope you're not too burned out to do Congressional forecasts.

  29. Andy Brown Says:

    There is the potential for a two-tier political season. First is the effort by the two parties to divvy up the "turf" (to use the old gang term) that is the US. That is the farce that will be breathlessly and idiotically covered by the mainstream press and the blogosphere that just can't help itself. I already know that I'll vote Democrat because the alternatives are worse. Second is the contest between the plutocrats and the people, which will be covered reluctantly and poorly by the mainstream media if it is covered at all. Populist anger? the Occupy movement? Overreach by the PACs or the Supremes? That's where the important politics are. But that is going to be a challenge to the politicized blogosphere because it is real, the opposition are not clowns, and it asks for something more from us than critique and comment.

  30. ladiesbane Says:

    Ah, I see what you did there. Tuesday's "Chasing the Rabbit" leads us to the campaign spin cycle and a Moby Dick reference. It's time for an intervention. The doctor prescribes three days without newsfeeds of any kind, followed by a celebration of Mexico's victory over the French.

    If you need a politics-fix of some sort, dive into the Warring States period in China, or Ilkhanate Persia — something far from us in place and time. Different Mongolians; same clusterfuck.

  31. mothra Says:

    Xynzee:

    To respond to your comment from yesterday–yes I am a woman, but when I am doing the dominatrix thing, I dress up as a balding, bearded, hairy beer gutted, middle aged guy in pair of black lederhosen, fishnets with suspenders, bitchboots and riding crop. But with lipstick… It's truly odd how many requests I get for that outfit, as a matter of fact.

    I might just take "Mr. Dominatrix" to the Republican Convention, come to think of it.

  32. Orpho Says:

    Oh, I'm sure there'll be something worth watching. The "how do we forbid guns around the Republic Convention in Tampa" problem looks to be a hoot.

  33. Davis X. Machina Says:

    But secretly, we envy them, don't we?

    Ignorance being bliss and all

    I couldn't stand being that happy.

  34. Barry Says:

    Dennis Says:

    "Seal Team Six killed bin Ladin, wet casement."

    That's odd, then, because I'd have thought that they'd have killed him years ago.

    Can't imagine why they didn't, can you?

  35. Dennis Says:

    I hear ya, Barry. I'm with you, I also wish Clinton would've given them the 'go' signal to take him out…..both times he had the chance.

  36. c u n d gulag Says:

    Dennis,
    ZZZZzzzzzZZZzzzzZZzzzZzzZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  37. Xynzee Says:

    "Seal Team Six! Seal Team Six!" he cried. "See Mistress. I'm being very naughty. I'll say it again, unless Mistress gives me the hairbrush. This time please Mistress, may I get the stiffler-treatment with the hairbrush? Seal Team Six! Seal Team Six!"

  38. Arslan Says:

    "I hear ya, Barry. I'm with you, I also wish Clinton would've given them the 'go' signal to take him out…..both times he had the chance."

    Sorry, right wing AM radio myth. Clinton never had more of a chance to take out Bin Laden other than that time he flipped a bunch of cruise missiles at Sudan and Afghanistan shortly after those embassy bombings in 1998. Contrary to the talking point claim, Bin Laden was never "in custody" in Sudan, nor was he offered to the US.

    In any case, it has been estimated that the cost of finding and killing Bin Laden was $3 trillion. So anyone jumping for joy over this or trying to claim it is an idiot, plain and simple. They've killed thousands of our people for what amounts to an infinitesimal fraction of how much we spent killing him, long after he had been marginalized and was pretty much going in insane.

    But here's the part that pisses me off, Dennis. You see, the Obamabots are running around saying "Obama got Bin Laden," and you guys are playing Captain Obvious by pointing out that the military did it. Indeed, to claim this as a tribute to Obama is suggesting that Bush wouldn't have ordered the mission if it were possible at the time(much in the same way you insinuate that Clinton didn't). We both know that is ridiculous. On the other hand, had Bin Laden been eliminated under the Bush regime, do you really expect us to believe that Bush wouldn't be claiming it as a trophy, and that he would be extra careful to remind everyone that Seal team 6 killed the guy? I don't think so. In fact the result would be the opposite of what we have now: Republicans would be jerking off and screaming about Bush killing Bin Laden, and snarky liberals would be saying, "Like yah, I didn't know Bush was a Navy Seal!"

    And this is why I hate you. The liberals, the conservatives. You are everything that is wrong with America, everything that is ruining it. I wish you would just cannibalize each other and leave the USA to the revolutionaries who want to do something new and progressive with the country.

  39. Dennis Says:

    Arslan, liberals squealed like gutted pigs after Bush's appearance under the Mission Accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier after Saddam Hussein had been taken out of power. They seethed openly and loudly for the entire remainder of Bush's presidency. Bush didn't do the Funky Chicken in the end zone on the one year anniversary of taking out Saddam Hussein, either, like President Billy "White Shoes" Johnson is doing now.

    Intellectual honesty on the part of liberals would indicate just a slight bit of consistency between their squawking over Bush's brashness and the way Obama is acting now, don't you think? Or am I being too idealistic to expect intellectual honesty from them now?

  40. Arslan Says:

    "Arslan, liberals squealed like gutted pigs after Bush's appearance under the Mission Accomplished banner on the aircraft carrier after Saddam Hussein had been taken out of power. "

    Yes, because it was incredibly stupid and unnecessary. Funny that the fiscal conservatives didn't start chucking tea-bags into conveniently located bodies of water after that expensive stunt. (Not to mention the war.)

    As for this Bin Laden anniversary deal, I do not have access to the news in the US, so I'll just have to take your word for it and assume that the cable news and Obama have been raving about killing Bin Laden for the past two weeks. Or then again, I could use logic, which would suggest that after spending more than ten years and $3 trillion to kill one guy, people might be inclined to bring this up a year afterward. Who knows, someone might bring it up next year too.

    Now I have to ask if you had ever bothered to see what other leftists have to say about Obama and his conduct in the war on terror. For example, do you ever read Glen Greenwalds work? Or how about I give you a link to leftist cartoonist Matt Bors latest work, specifically on this subject: http://mattbors.com/archives/869.html

    Since you're OBVIOUSLY an independent thinker who doesn't just absorb Fox News talking points, you can surely discuss the many left-wing criticisms of Obama which have been raised since before the guy even got elected.

  41. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    I agree with Arslan. After all, it's not as if assassinating Osama bin Laden (yes, I refer to it as "assassination" deliberately – think about it) stabilized international relations or ameliorated U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

    I'm not saying it shouldn't have been done. I just think it's more pertinent to talk about the Pakistani F-16 that tried to intercept the raiding helicopters (surely a perfect metaphor for our relationship with Pakistan) than the bullet that went through bin Laden's head. Alas, the intricacies of foreign policy take longer than a few minutes to explain. Let's all argue about who's better at beating the bad guys instead!

  42. eau Says:

    Arslan, I *do* have access to some US news, and have yet to see Obama declaring victory, under a banner, on an aircraft carrier, or in a jumpsuit.

    By the by, I think many Americans (and their Allies) blew their tops over the whole "Mission Accomplished!" deal because it was just such a bad look and so fucking embarrassing. For better or worse, our heads of state represent us internationally, and Bush looked like a fool.

  43. Xynzee Says:

    @Concerned: Uncle Ho? He took 3 scalps.

    Ghandi. Without firing a shot either.

    FDR/Truman. We haven't had to revisit those theatres again.

    Lincoln for starting, but more importantly finishing what he started unlike other Rs who leave the mopping up to others. Would have been interesting to see how his policies would have played out for readmission to the Union. Would Reconstruction been less brutal and we wouldn't be repeating this farce again today?

    Also "Mission Accomplished" after invading a country means there's no insurgent threat and the invaded country is ready to start over and rebuild. Ie Japan and Germany.

  44. Celynne Says:

    @Xynezee
    Also "Mission Accomplished" after invading a country means there's no insurgent threat and the invaded country is ready to start over and rebuild. Ie Japan and Germany.

    You mean like Germany after WWI?
    Not disagreeing with you, just saying.

    Just saying @ConcernedCitizen has a really good point:
    Alas, the intricacies of foreign policy take longer than a few minutes to explain. Let's all argue about who's better at beating the bad guys instead!

    And ultimately what @eau said:
    For better or worse, our heads of state represent us internationally, and Bush looked like a fool.

    But what I really appreciate, as a border town Cannuck, is what (I think European?) @Elle said:
    I like the fact that people here mostly disagree without hitting below the belt, and are generally clever, insightful, and funny.

    Long live G&T blogger and commenters.

    Otherwise Jon Stewart would be my only access to what's really happening in America.

  45. Abstruse Says:

    Did You Know That John McCain Was A POW?

  46. David R Says:

    "Did You Know That John McCain Was A POW?"

    …. yet somehow that fact doesn't legitimize his sensible views on torture. Wingnuts only use his sacrifices to support the supposed legitimacy of his meanest craziest views. Weird….

  47. Southern Beale Says:

    Can't we just fast forward to November 15 and let the GOP focus on its post-election excuses?

    Aw c'mon it will be fun to watch the GOP implode even further.

  48. bpasinko Says:

    What was Rudy Giuliani running on in 2004?

  49. Major Kong Says:

    "Did You Know That John McCain Was A POW?"

    During my time in the Air Force, I've known people who were POWs, either in Vietnam or Iraq.

    Even the couple days of pretend-POW I went through in SERE sucked massively, and that was the Fischer Price kiddie version.

    As much as I might disagree with John McCain on most topics – I still wouldn't wish what he went through on my worst enemy.

  50. Southern Beale Says:

    Remember when Tom Ridge said the Bush Administration pressured him to fuck with the terror alert system and take us to DefCon Fuschia before the election?

    Remember when an old and suspect Osama bin Laden tape mysteriously "surfaced" right before the 2004 election?

    But Obama, how DARE he!

    Yeah that wasn't an earthquake you just felt, it was the collective eyeroll of 300 million people.

    This is just hilarious. I know Karl Rove's M-O is to attack a candidate's supposed strong spots, but this just seems lame. It's just reminding everyone who really got the 9/11 mastermind and who spent 8 years using him to scare the crap out of everyone at politically convenient moments.

  51. Xynzee Says:

    Not only a POW, but subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques".
    Thus making Rick [nsfw]'s charge that McCain didn't know what he's talking about the new gold standard for ideological f-wittery.

    So yes, we're aware of this. How does this tangential fact relate to his hypocritical hissy-fit?

  52. Abstruse Says:

    Well, it you were t aware that John McCain was a POW after sitting though 2008 then you weren't watching the teevee.

    I guess I mentioned the "DYKJMWAP" meme because it seems relevant. Half of his campaign was based on the fact that he was a shitty fucking pilot that nepotismed himself into beig tortured then turns around and shits all over The Kenyan Usurper for not sucking fucking dick at his job.

  53. Abstruse Says:

    Also +3 drinks

  54. Mike S. Says:

    McCain was a POW, "yet somehow that fact doesn't legitimize his sensible views on torture."
    Well Said, Sir.

    He was also one of the Keating Five, something which generally goes unremarked upon despite its relevance to recent events.

  55. Haydnseek Says:

    Yep, all politics is local. Don't forget that when the endless media fog of 24 hour news cycle trivia/bullshit starts. Ignore all that. Dig deep for information regarding your LOCAL computerized voting machine precincts, because thay WILL be hacked, and it won't be the Democrats doing the hacking. Valid ballots WILL be disappeared by "ends justify the means" hypercons. The 2000 election was clearly stolen, and the burglary tools have become much more sophisticated in the twelve years since then. This will happen. It will be especially egregious in the well-known swing states. We are well and truly fucked, because no matter how much we scream, no matter how many facts we muster, no matter how airtight a case we make for obvious election fraud, we will be dismissed as sore-loser, America hating, terrorist loving soshulists who just can't stand the fact that the Kommunist Kenyan muslim usurper lost. Mark my words. Sometimes history does repeat. This will be one of those times. They will stop at NOTHING. Do I sound a little paranoid? Nah, just ask Al Gore.

  56. Fiddlin' Bill Says:

    It's always going to be a choice between better and worse. And I think the question this time will be how much of a states-rights based counter revolution has occurred over the past few years. It's quite possible, given our Electoral Collage system, that Obama could win by millions and millions in the popular vote and still lose, because in crucial states a lot of his various voting blocs will be kept from the polls via new ID laws and all the other many tried and true manipulations. As obviously terrible as Romney is, he is not a lock to lose given the way the game is played. And people who stand on the heights and deign to give Obama any credit, because he is ultimately a politician, are playing the Ole Ralph Nader yet again. Gore "won" in 2000. We ought to know by now that it can happen here.