Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chelsea For '20

Seeing the writing on the wall of his wife’s Presidential campaign, former Prez Bill Clinton did what any self-respecting Arkansas yellow dog Democrat would do in the situation: he threw the connubial also-ran under the bus and reached out to the next generation. Yes, the mantle of First Woman President has passed from Mom to Girl Child. Chelsea’s the one.

“If you asked me (if Chelsea would run for office) before Iowa, I would have said, 'No way. She is too allergic to anything we do.' But she is really good at it," quoth Bubba.

The era of the twelve year Presidential campaign is upon us. This one will culminate in 2020 when the former First Daughter will break the mystical 40 year barrier and become politically eligible to inherit what was really her mother’s by right of putting up with her father through all those horndog years standing by her man in Little Rock and Washington.

She’s already got twenty eight years experience at the heart of the Clinton ménage, eighteen of them as First Kid. She’s also on record as sharing her mother’s death-defying sprint through deadly rocket and sniper attack in Bosnia, an episode which in and of itself establishes her credentials as a Democratic contender alongside Internet Inventor and Global Salvator, Lord Al of Gore and Cambodian war hero and triple purple heart (go ahead, count them) recipient, John Kerry. It’s no wonder she’s up and running already.

She shares her name with a South London suburb and its football team but she was actually named after her mother’s favorite song, Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning”. She was also named after the world famous Chelsea Flower Show which her parents visited the year before her birth. No wait, she was really named after the yacht Schell See which sailed past Sir Edmund Hillary as he was resting on a beach chair in his native New Zealand after conquering Everest. In fact she was originally named Armstrong after the first man to walk on the moon but her parents changed it after the little tot was teased in pre-school. Among family and close friends her nickname is “Armee”. Any similarity to Napoleon's Grand Armeé is purely coincidental.

An accomplished ballerina and varsity soccer player, she is a fluent German speaker and Volkswagen Beetle owner. She also plays a mean piano! She makes the list of New York’s most eligible batchelorettes and was voted “The Gutsiest Kid in America” in 1999 though most of the credit for this must go to her father’s impeachment ordeal.

For all that, the road ahead is not smooth. The Clinton camp has already put out feelers for a Senate seat in two years time when Chelsea will be thirty and thus qualify for a family seat in the hereditary Upper Chamber. A short list of baseball teams she “was always a fan of” has already been drawn up in order to narrow the range of choices. Her election will break another barrier as she and Hillary will be the first mother/daughter pairing to serve in the history of the Senate.

She will, of course, have to play second fiddle to HRC in ’12 and ’16 as her mother strives again and then again for the Democratic nomination. These campaigns, while doomed from the beginning, will give her further invaluable experience of the rough and tumble of Presidential politics and enhance her already impressive Senate resumé. Her parents’ acrimonious divorce will also garner her a great deal of sympathy and support.

The fateful year 2020 will dawn as she and her mother face each other across the snowdrifts of Iowa. Chelsea loses narrowly to Hillary but rallies dramatically in New Hampshire when she tears up on the campaign trail on seeing a little dog that “reminds [her] of poor Buddy who had the same cute little tail, all waggly and stuff”.
In South Carolina the campaign goes negative as former President Clinton informs reporters that “Uh never had sexual relations with that woman, uh, Ms Rodham, since muh daughter was conceived”.

Meanwhile in San Francisco Senator Hillary Rodham, addressing a private gathering of the Bay Area Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trangendered Forum, is caught on tape declaring that she only tolerated Bill’s “fumblings” in order to “get a kid” since “the small bitter minds in those small bitter towns will only vote for ‘normal’ people, people like themselves with guns, Bibles, family and all that.”

This is seen as a master stroke since, the previous year, the DNC had mandated that half of the party’s pledged delegates should be drawn “from the LGBT community”. However the next day Matt Drudge publishes a photograph of Chelsea from her Oxford days dressed in a tuxedo and smoking a cigar as to the manner born. The issue fades from the news.

Its nip and tuck all the way to June when Chelsea eventually passes the 33,587 delegates necessary to achieve a majority in the Democratic Convention that will be held in Mexico City’s Grand Bull Ring in late August. Chelsea accepts the olés of her Party alongside her husband Salvador Allende Chavez while she hugs her five year old daughter, Armstrong (the pre-school teasers were led away in handcuffs this time round).

On the Republican side Texas Governor Jenna Bush Limbaugh handily defeats Arizona Senator Meghan McCain Buchanan to set up an enthralling Fall campaign.

Meanwhile in an Oprah Special Senator Hillary Rodham and one time actress and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell announce that they will marry in a beach ceremony in Malibu the following weekend. “When I first met her and couldn’t get a word in edgewise,” confides O’Donnell, “I knew right away she was the one.”

Senator Clinton declares that, whatever the outcome of the November ballot, she would be seeking the Democratic nomination for President again in 2024. “The time is right for America to have its first other-oriented President,” she said.

“And I’ll be the first First Womyn,” gushes a teary O’Donnell.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The GOP - On The Road To The Little Big Horn

There is a rotting corpse in the Republican well. It's juices are leeching into the water this election year and poisoning the party's candidates all over the country even in the conservative heartlands. The decomposing carcass is the political remains of George W. Bush, titular leader of the Republican Party and Dead President Walking of the United States.

If the polls and the results of special Congressional elections are anything to go by the Republican Party are the Seventh Cavalry all saddled up and about to head out for the Little Big Horn of the November ballot. The electorate are the Lakota, Oglala and Hunkpappa Sioux now gathered about their campfires swapping tales of how they'll trap and overwhelm the Longknives and slay their intrepid leader, the impulsive egotistical Yellow Hair.

It may well come to pass. By the Fall the electoral Badlands will surely be strewn with the stripped and mutilated bodies of Republican candidates, victims of the wrath of a people long abused by the Great White Father in the East and his many Congressional minions. They promised peace and prosperity, the people cry. They gave us a vicious yet farcical war with no end in sight. And a tottering economy burdened by a national debt only a raving psychotic would have dreamed possible a few short years before. They preach virtue and restraint yet wallow in a steaming slurry of fornication, sodomy and financial corruption undreamed of since a landslide of fire and brimstone swept the ruling regime from office in Gomorrah all those millennia ago.

Yes, like the Plains Indians of Custer's day, the electorate are in an ugly mood. They ain't gonna take it anymore. The knives are honed, the arrows fletched, the spears gleaming in the moonlight. The morose Republicans, shifting uneasily in their saddles, trot inexorably on under a blazing sun, all but leaderless, with nothing left but the courage of the doomed and the ploys of the desperate. Every so often along the trail a smouldering cabin and the unburied bodies of the savaged homesteaders provide a grim prologue to their own fate.

They tell themselves fables to embolden their fainting hearts. The price of oil may tumble. An economic boom may fall from out the clear blue sky come October. Crippling mortgages may melt away in the July sunshine. Bin Laden may slip into the Vatican to be baptised by the holy Pope's hands. Iraqis may turn into Swiss and resolve their differences through gruff guttural arbitration and endless plebiscites. Their various Democratic opponents may be found with a pleasing multitude of dead girls and live boys. The autumn rains may wash the people's memories clean and purge their souls of vengeful thoughts producing a compliant electorate of simple-minded amnesiacs just in time to avoid a November bloodbath.

Only by such absurdities can the Seventh Cavalry of the GOP manage to keep themselves sane through the endless months that stretch ahead before they're declared officially DOA.

But what then, sang Plato's ghost, what then? - as the poet Yeats might say. It is well to remember that though the Sioux warriors won a stonking tactical victory at the Little Big Horn, a victory that shall be forever memorialized in the annals of military conflict, their essential strategic position remained hopeless. Crazy Horse and Young Man Afraid Of His Horses were brave and skillful fighters but their people eventually had to surrender. Sitting Bull, the legendary Hunkpappa chieftain, died in a petty quarrel on the reservation years after his momentous triumph.

So it is with the electorate. They may wreak a terrible and well-deserved revenge on the Republicans but it will be but a phantom triumph, a mere wraith that like King Hamlet's ghost must flee the coming dawn. As those that survive of the Great and the Good of the GOP preside over the obsequies of their fallen comrades, the victorious Democrats will flood onto the floor of Congress, cram the halls of the Government and throng the Federal Agencies, as thick as locusts, as deadly as gamma rays.

They will smother the nation with their programs and policy initiatives, gigantically wasteful of treasure and human resources and productive of nothing but even more political correctness and social and economic stagnation. They will carpet the rest of the world with their pieties and protocols, while the enemies of America will smile and smile and still be villains.

Identity politics, the oxygen of the Democratic party and the mortal bane of such a diverse nation as the US, will flourish more virulently with even more venomous results to the civic order and the body politic. The rehabilitation of the Supreme Court, in its present form the greatest threat to the democratic process ever tolerated by a nation of free citizens, will be forestalled by the appointment of "progressive" justices eager to legislate in the teeth of the people's will and commited to the perversion of the Constitution through the blind exercise of partisan zeal.

True, the GOP will retrench and after a journey through the wilderness for four or eight years will again be able to plausibly present themselves as worthy of decent people's support but in the meantime the country will be bucketing down the broad, smooth road to perdition beloved of the demons that have for so long possessed the soul of the Democratic Party.

So it is not for their past crimes and misdemeanors that the present shower of Republicans should be damned to hell but for the devastating future to which they have all but condemned us.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Old Order Changeth

West Virginia has already made electoral history. Maybe that's why the Mountain Staters are not so all fired up to do so again. Back when Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphreys and the like roamed the earth West Viginia gave victory to John Kennedy in the Democratic Primary of 1960. A portentous moment. The received wisdom was that, like Al Smith in '26, JFK's religion and ethnicity would do for him.

The good, hardworking, God-fearing white Protestant folk of America were not about to hand the White House to a Catholic Irishman who despite the detergent power of his pappy's money still had the smell of the boghole about him, the stain of Popery in his blood. West Virginia, crammed to the gills with good, hardworking, God-fearing white Protestants, unreceived the wisdom and handed the young, handsome, Catholic Irish senator from Massachusetts a spanking win.

A taboo was broken. John Kennedy became the first Catholic President of the United States. Make that the only Catholic President. Strangely, shattered taboo and all, no Catholic has been elected to the highest office in the land since, though Ronald Reagan became the second descendant of the "mere Irish" to be so honored. The fear that Kennedy would rule in secret league with the Pope of Rome seems laughable now but was taken seriously back then even if it was based on a radical misunderstanding of both JFK and John XXIII, two men who history has shown had a somewhat elastic interpretation of Catholic dogma. Indeed Catholic politicians in the US and elsewhere have shown a remarkable capacity to adapt the supposedly unshakeable verities of their faith to the demands of their careers and still remain within the fold.

All this is very relevant to the greatest taboo breaker of them all, the junior senator form Illinois. If religion can be a hurdle race is a pole vault. Yet if Obama has achieved one thing it is to demonstrate that being black is no longer a bar to the Presidency. It may still be a disadvantage with some folks but so are baldness, shortness and coming from Pittsburgh.

This is not something brought about by Barack Obama himself. Like the Wright (that name again!) brothers' Flyer he merely shows that it can be done if the candidate, like the airplane, is constructed according to the laws of political aerodynamics. Unlike their physical counterparts these laws are contingent and once upon time the color of the fuselage rendered flight impossible and later caused crash landings. Now Obama has shown that long haul journeys are not only theoretically possible but altogether feasible.

I first came to this realization long before I even heard of the same Barack. I was watching 24. David Palmer became President. Ten minutes later it struck me. Hey, this guy's black! I was of course aware from the start that the actor playing the part, Dennis Haysbert, was black but I now realized that the President was a black man. In other words I was not at all struck by any incongruity, any straining of reality to accommodate the script to some Liberal ideal completely at odds with plausibility.

I'm talking about Demi Moore as G.I. Jane or Geena Davis as a CIA hit-woman or a senior high school class of thugs and thugettes turning into so many Henry Thoreaus and Marie Curies simply because the newly arrived charismatic teacher believes, I mean reeeeaaallly believes in them! No such absurd suspension of common sense was necessary for me to accept Palmer as a viable contemporary American president. The rise and rise of Barack Obama has subsequently validated my instinctive reaction.

This is a cause for rejoicing. Martin Luther King was right and will continue to be right "till rocks melt i' the sun": we should all be judged individually by the content of our character not the color of our skin. No American should be excluded from any office because of race. Now no one is. All Americans can and should be proud that this is so. And grateful to Obama for demonstrating it so dramatically and irrefutably. A crushing historical burden has become lighter as a result.

Does this mean that Obama will be elected in November? No, but he could very well win. That's the point. Will some vote against him because of his color? Of course. The same as some voters couldn't support Kennedy because of his Catholicism. But, as with JFK, they do not now constitute a critical mass that would deny Obama a plurality. The country has changed on this issue. And for the better.

All the signs are that West Virginia will give Hillary Clinton a handsome win on Tuesday and pump more futile oxygen into the corpse of her campaign. Kentucky will most likely do the same next week. As may Puerto Rico next month. Yet she will remain the Leader of the Undead of the Democratic Party as she rallies her fellow zombies among the Super Delegates. She rages against the dying of the light but she rages in vain. Ask not for whom the sun sets, Hill, it sets for thee.

In the absence of a July Surprise Barack Obama will be the first African American to be nominated for the Presidency by a major party. This will formally mark the beginning of a new period in the tumultuous history of the United States, a period which really began in Iowa all those months before.

Whoever wins America will never be the same again.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hill's Lost The War But Must Battle On!

All of us who have frittered away our time in school goofing off, hanging out, chilling with a Bud, thinking the long, fuzzy, wingéd thoughts of youth, have calmed our inner prefect by promising to get down to study tomorrow, next week, Christmas vacation, next semester, Easter for sure. Then the hour arrives when we break open the books, beg, borrow and steal class notes, sharpen the pencils, set the coffee pot on the stove and get to work.

After an hour doubts are rustling in the wainscoting. A couple of hours later a swarm of dreads are knocking furiously on the windowpanes, fear is scratching at the door.
Then at the very witching hour of night full blown terror swhooshes down the chimney and takes possession of the room liked a poltergeist with a three week old toothache. We stand rigid in a goggle-eyed panic before collapsing on a bed that's as stale and unmade as our mind.

Through the chaos one thought emerges as clear and sharp and unwelcome as broken crystal: You have left it too late, it says. There is too much to do and too little time to do it. Your failure is assured. Your golden future will never happen. You have proved yourself a little man and are now doomed to live a little man's life during which your early promise, your wasted talents, your broken dreams will never cease to mock you.

This is where Hillary Clinton is at. If North Carolina blew her away Indiana cruelly just broke her fall enough to allow her to limp away from the disaster with too few injuries to grant her a merciful death but enough broken bones and internal bleeding to guarantee that no future treatment will do anything other than prolong the agony. Obama holds the centre of the ring while his opponent, heaving on the ropes, blind in one eye, jaw dislocated, one eyebrow a bloody gash, pleads through split lips with the referee not to stop the fight.

If this were a World Championship bout the referee at the very least would call in the doctor and he, after a mere glance, would end the carnage. But this is politics, the cruellest bloodsport of them all and one where the cornerman has no towel to throw. The candidate alone decides when to quit and Hillary blindly staggered out of Indiana straight into the West Virginia arena where she hopes the crowd will be more supportive and Obama less surgically devastating with his right jabs and southpaw uppercuts.

This election isn't fun anymore. Rather than being a substitute for warfare this particular political process has transmuted of late into a series of bloody battles where the only thing missing are actual firearms. It's become as much a meatgrinder as Hamburger Hill and is bidding to last longer than the Somme. After each bruising encounter a handful of delegates are exchanged, leaving each side bloodied, unbowed and occupying essentially the same strategic ground.

The demographic terrain is cruel, unyielding, impenetrable to either combatant. Obama is secure among the white elite, the youth and the blacks. Hillary is dug in with the white working class, white women and the seniors. Any attempt to charge across the no man's land in between grinds to a halt under withering defensive fire.

Obama's strategic advantage gained in Iowa and consolidated among the causus states after Super Tuesday has held against the tactical blunders of Flag Pin Hill, Wright's Salient, the skirmish at Bitter Clinging Valley and the assault on Ayre's Redoubt. Clinton failed to turn any of these opportunities into a breakthrough, merely forcing Obama to make an orderly retreat at times but never being able to turn his local difficulties into an overall rout.

Like all wars of attrition this one will be decided by the resources which each side has still in hand. Obama's coffers are full. His forces, though fighting an essentially defensive war, are in excellent spirits. Those watching from the sidelines are more and more tempted to enter the fry on his behalf. And as time ticks away and Hillary's assaults necessarily flag, it's becoming increasingly probable that he will carry the day.

Hillary, on the other hand, is weak where he is strong and weakest where he is strongest. All her treasure is spent and she's sinking deeper into debt. Her followers talk a good fight still but heads are being to hang and crests to fall. Some hitherto staunch supporters are eyeing the chance to defect with dignity, if not honor, intact. Energy and morale are swiftly ebbing in spite of the steely determination of an increasingly desperate general. The uncommitted are now turning away, some reluctantly, others with no little bounce in their step. Her Chief of Staff and Consort is undoubtedly contemplating an end-game strategy which will leave open the opportunity for another campaign in more favorable circumstances.

Like the many Prussian, English, Russian and Austrian generals so often outmanoeuvered by Napoleon, Hillary's only hope is to stick it out on the chance that a random bolt of lightning will strike her opponent dead from out his saddle and give her victory by default. This is no doubt a forlorn wish but in this year of years it is slightly less impossible than one might otherwise imagine. Who of us foretold such a creature as William Ayres rising from his little puddle of history to trouble Obama's dreamings? Or the exotic pastor rampaging from his pulpit to loose a whirlwind of invective against the white race and the nation to which they gave birth?

Are there other dark genies in yet uncorked bottles that lie still undisturbed waiting for the fateful rubbing that will release their havoc upon an unsuspecting presumptive nominee already in the flush of near certain victory? Is there somewhere a tape of Barry and Jerry, drunk on Communion wine, cackling over the vengeance they will wreak on the traditional oppressors of their people? Or a recording of Obama empathizing with Bill Ayres' chagrin at not having thought of a 9/11 thirty years before bin Laden? Or a photograph of Tony Rezko slipping a fat brown envelope to Obama in some shady Chicago nook while burly "associates" with broken noses and bulges under their armpits look unsmilingly on?

These are the visions that smooth Hillary's sweaty brow as she surveys the latest battlefield strewn with the shredded body parts of her lifelong hopes and dreams. This is why she'll hang in there as long as she can. What a galling prospect if she raised the white flag and a week or two later that random bolt of lightning struck leaving the Dems to strap the political corpse of Obama to his trusty steed and lead him as best they could all the way to an inevitable McCain landslide next November.

Now God surely wouldn't play such tricks on a Clinton!

Ya think?