Two years, 16 candidates (at least),
a billion dollars (at least),
and it all comes down to tomorrow
I arrived in San Diego about a week ago, to spend a couple of weeks being Grandma and trying not to think too much about politics, or follow it like a bloodhound, as I had been doing for what seems like an eternity. I have succeeded better than expected, in the belief that it is all in God's hands now and there's nothing anybody can do more effective than straight-up prayers that the world's last super-power will save itself from the government many might say it deserves.
If at this moment there is anyone still undecided (I never believe in that old canard about the massive mooshy middle), then you, sir or madam, have not been listening or reading or engaging in the most basic thought processes for, lo, these many months. And you're too witless to deserve a vote. On the other hand, you could very well have been snuffling after truffles of information and still be monumentally ILL-informed, if not UN-informed, the state of mass communication being what it is.
It is almost impossible to believe that 24 hours from now it will (probably) all be over and we'll know whether it is possible for a vast, free nation to act entirely against its own self-interest on the basis of the grandest of Grand Illusions, by voting into the nation's highest office (as it is roundly believed they shall) a man who is little more than vapor or shadow-puppet, who has spent hundreds of millions of media dollars to make absolutely sure that as little as possible is revealed about him.
His name is Barack (Barry) Hussein Obama. He stands poised to be elected leader of what is left of the free world. According to Britain's Economist magazine, "IT'S TIME."
Is that right? Time for what, exactly?
Trying very hard to look more serious than they are, the editors wait until paragraph 11 of a 17-paragraph piece to put forward the simpleton argument which is the core of their endorsement: that "it's time" for America to put its first black man in the Oval Office. As the Economist sees it:
...it would be far harder for the spreaders of hate in the Islamic world to denounce the Great Satan if it were led by a black man whose middle name is Hussein; and far harder for autocrats around the world to claim that American democracy is a sham... At home he would salve, if not close, the ugly racial wound left by America’s history and lessen the tendency of American blacks to blame all their problems on racism.It defies comprehension that this hoitiest-of-the-toitiest prestigious international journal would actually put forward the middle-name argument, a claim so transparently foolish and jejune that the candidate himself used it but once, in early days, and then realized he's be better off to keep mum about it, and to intimidate everyone else into doing the same.
How the non-election of Obama would paint American democracy as a sham before anyone, least of all the world's autocrats, eludes me completely. As my old sailor-dad would say, "bilgewater."
But the heart of the matter is that Obama's election would supposedly heal America's "racial wound." Now, is that Obama's election, or, as the editorial clearly implies, merely the election of somebody who is a member of America's principal aggrieved race?
Are we to assume that in the absence of an Obama, any black man, or woman, will do, to address these concerns about wounds and to impress the Islamic world's hate-spreaders? Would Al Sharpton do? Jeremiah Wright? Bill Cosby? Wilt Chamberlain? Whitney Houston? Queen Latifah? Cynthia McKinney? The possibilities are endless, if all these ills can be salved by mere skin pigment. I don't think the Economist meant that -- but that's essentially what they have said, and they have a mob in their corner with that argument.
Nestled within these assertions is the claim that "Americas's allies would rally to him: the global electoral college on our website shows a landslide in his favour. " Well, isn't that special.
With breathtaking arrogance, the pundits of the Mother Country consider their approval, and that of their fellow FOREIGNERS as expressed in a repugnant "Global Test", to be a plus for Mr. Obama in the American electoral decision. Moving on.
To conclude, the Economist admits that Barack Obama represents a gamble. However,
Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency.Anyone who thinks that Barack Obama's "portrait" has been "detailed" is looking at a dreamscape canvas on which they have projected their favourite illusions, which look brilliant to them only because the canvas itself is blank. The Economist's endorsement of Obama speaks of the adolescent sexed-up fantasy and cult myopia which has characterized his election pageant since his debut at the 2004 Democratic convention. The notion that he "deserves the presidency" based on a stylish and disciplined campaign (meaning he wears his suits well, is photogentic and media savvy, and is less gaffe-prone than his opponent), turns the stomach -- all the more since he brings to the reins of power little more than a popular belief in his "potential."
As a cure to what ails America, racially, economically, and on the question of reputation and prestige, Barack Obama can be expected to prove as popular and as effective as leeching the humours or drinking Kickapoo Joy Juice with a side of mandrake. We'll be lucky if we all don't die.
There's an assumption in that remark: that he-- The Anointed One -- is going to win. I am not resigned to assuming that.
I am, however, looking at the prospect of McCain pulling tomorrow's election out of the fire kind of like a Dead Man Walking waits for the Governor's phone-call of commutation.
It could happen!
Final Thoughts at Vespers,
24 hours from our fate:
As this past summer progressed, with all the political ups and downs, and the endless ENDLESS polls, telling different stories hourly, I have often wondered where we would be and what I could say when this hour of November 3rd finally arrived. As usual, it is better left to better writers than myself. A clutch of the best have summed up how the future might look this time tomorrow:
MARK STEYN unveils the reality of the two-dimensional man who is Candidate Obama.
FOUAD AJAMI analyzes the mindless Politics of Crowds and the grim history of the will of the mob.
ALEXANDER LeBREQUE recognizes the workings of a run-of-the-mill Marxist Cult.
[update]The heroically persevering STANLEY KURTZ contributes a summary of his detective work on the Obama we should have gotten to know.
TONY BLANKLEY gives a peak at what our November 5 hangover might feel like, while JEFF JACOBY mulls over what dictatorship might really look like.
FR. GEORGE RUTLER goes all Apolcalyptic on us, about The One We Have Been Waiting For.
And ME, I've had my say about the man with the staggering SANGFROID.
WANT TO KNOW A MAN? ASK HIS WIFE [December, 2004]
WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, OBAMA SHRUGS
The website Obama Shrugged just came on line in the past couple of weeks [to track the Obama donation scandal], but to my mind its name captures what is probably the most dangerous and, in its way, degenerate blot on the Obama escutcheon: his coooool insouciance at the axis-point of a swirling toxic mass composed of every kind of extremism, with which he has been content to surround himself in order to progress to ever higher levels of power and influence.
"Bloom where you're planted," goes the pop proverb, and so Obama has -- having, by his own admission, deliberately planted himself within the most radical political and religious circles, first to hone a personal identity based on racial grievance and Marxist revolution, and then to seek out a launch-pad for a career in race- and class-based activism. A seething racist preacher here, a seething Marxist terrorist there, an easy money-fixer here, a Daley's Chicago steamroller there -- then stir into the pot enough lawyers and academics and philanthropic sugar-daddies to out-"radical-chic" Leonard Bernstein.
As he has fast-tracked his political apprenticeship these past two years, Barack Obama has been sufficiently conscious of the negative aspects of his past associations to have been very, very quiet about them (even suppressing the scheduled appearance of the Irreverent Jeremiad Wright at the announcement of his candidacy), and then, as each successive skeleton wriggled out of his closet, to have blatantly lied about his degree of involvement with each, and finally tossed them all under the wheels of his campaign bus as he drove on to glory.
This is the pattern he has maintained right up to these last days and hours of the contest, all of it with an air of coolness that is the most frightening thing about him. The outrageous words, beliefs, and acts of his thick but rather narrow range of close associates, all of them instrumental in his rise to prominence, leave him unmoved and unrattled -- undeterred and unashamed.
He exposed his children, on hundreds of occasions, to Rev. Wright's perversion of Christianity that preached racism, hatred, and anti-Americanism laced with profanity and sexual innuendo -- and Obama shrugs it off as the excesses of an eccentric "old uncle".
He shares office space and long-term program administration with self-styled Marxist revolutionary William Ayers, who may have grown too old for violence, but who had a hand in terrorist destruction and murder, for which he feels no remorse whatever. Again, Mr. Obama shrugs it off, as if none of this man's crimes leave any taint on one who, like Obama, aggrandized himself by working within the terrorist's orbit.
I tried to make up a list of Obama's most egregious stances, claims, gaffes, lies, cheats, and general outrages, but basically they've all been said and there's not point in re-iterating what the clued-in already know. The campaign has been so long, and revealed so much-- despite the best efforts of the mainstream press to systematically bury it, and of the Republican party to slip-on-the-banana-peel slapstick bumble it -- it's almost impossible as we come down to the wire to re-cap the lot. Here is what haunts me most at the final hour:
The Obamessiah has been RIGHTLY dubbed "The Infanticide Candidate" by Rolling Stone's Nat Hentoff, because he is probably the most extremist promoter of all-out unfettered at-will abortion to have ever come to prominence on the American political scene. His voting record to this point has outstripped his peers in dedicated advocacy of death to the helpless, and we can be confident that, as President, he would fulfill his promise to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, thereby stripping the entire nation of its freedom to choose, within the several states, whether and how to regulate the availability of abortion.
John McCain is a man with as many flaws as he has virtues, but at his core there is one thing which is the engine of everything else, and that is that he loves America, and he has lived that love, and been given life by that love, to a greater degree than any human being on the modern political scene. He will not be the most brilliant president in history, not even close -- but he will be a man in full, and as worthy as few others for the office he aspires to.
The "man in full" reminds me of an earlier observation of mine, about Colin Powell's characterization of Obama as a "transformational figure." A man is not the same thing as a figure. And it is worth remembering:
Americans do not elect a "figure" to the office of President -- they elect a politician, a policy-maker, an executive, a military Commander-in-Chief. The Queen of England is a "figure" -- she has no direct executive or policy-making authority. She does not "rule" or even "govern" in any real sense of the word (despite the fact that the majority party in Parliament is referred to as "Her Majesty's Government" -- that's an epithet of loyalty, not one of obedience or even "consultation" in any real sense of the word).For those who pray, tonight's Vespers, (and for those who can't sleep, tonight's Compline and Matins) should include the Litany of St. Thomas More, Patron Saint of Politicians and Statesmen, the King's good servant but God's first.
Are we clear? If Secretary Powell wants a "figure" he is free to emigrate to someplace where such is considered necessary to the state. On the plus side, monarchies have a built-in "generational change" -- after the aged Elizabeth's reign is over, her place will be taken by her outstanding son (gack). Or, if God is indeed an Englishman, the crown will pass right on to her far more appealing (and probably more intelligent and slightly more calcium-enriched) grandson Wills.
Pray for the man who put country first. And who had the chutzpah to put the first woman on the Republican ticket.
America, America, God shed his grace on thee. By the bucketload.