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The Last Bastion of America's Liberal Media

Nov 8, 2004

Turd of the Week

The American Voters, congrats on letting the seductive message come to you rather than working to find out what's really going on. Now we all get subsumed by the colon candy for the next 4 years.

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Iraq War Cost
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The Uglier Aftermath
Many of us were accepting the probability of a Bush victory. We understood that this county is deeply divided, perhaps moreso than any time since the Civil War. We thought we were prepared for the emotional impact. We had no clue.

I am sure I am not alone in feeling adrift. How should we feel now that America vindicated Bush's extremist (now redefined as mainstream) agenda? How do we look at America? How do we look at ourselves in the context of a contravening culture? How can we feel a sense of national connection after this?

Personally, I'll do pretty well under the Bush leadership. My job is safe. I'm paid well. I'm of a gender, ethnic background and sexual orientation that will be overtly rewarded by the frightening shift to the right. I live in a rural area not likely to be targeted by terrorists. I'll get a fat tax cut (not Cheney fat, of course) which will be presumably used to prop up the economy in one way or another. But what about the have-nots at home and abroad? What about our kids who will bear the brunt of the soon-to-be-permanent tax cuts that prop up today's fragile economy through the consumer purchase of Korean made flat panel TVs? What about the inevitable curtailment of human rights through Supreme Court appointments that see Robert Borks replacing John Paul Stevenses?

I am not remotely upset that many Americans didn't care for the Kerry Edwards ticket. Then Johns were okay in my book, and I figured they'd do a pretty good job, but I can understand discomfort with awkward imagery of Kerry shooting geese while windsurfing, his provocative spouse (whom I kinda like as sassy and spunky, but that's just me), and his frequent inability to explain complex issues in words that pander to a nation hungry for sound bites over substantive discourse.

But the disturbing part was that the election served as a referendum on the disastrous decisions of the Bush people, and the majority of Americans who give a shit approved. The first time America voted for Bush, we didn't know what we were getting. Bush was supposedly a moderate, a new hybrid of conservative fiscal discipline with compassion for the downtrodden and of course, no thought whatsoever of "nationbuilding." The first time, we didn't know better. This time we knew exactly what we were getting and we voted to have a second helping. That is what is most disappointing.

Now we get to suffer not only the will of the ill-informed and/or the Old Testament holy warriors, but we have to suffer the autopsy of liberalism and intellectual thought by the self-serving victors. The pathology report indicates multiple causes of death, from failure to speak simply to the working class interests (true) to the inability to project toughness abroad (false).

I'd like to offer a different point of view. The Republicans keep winning because they view the electorate as a market. The market must be captured, using all the advertising savvy in which America leads the world. The market insists on being a passive consumer, choosing the product with the most compelling imagery. As is the trend in our consumer culture, the market is not expected to research the issues or find out about the underlying quality of the product. The electorate just sits in the recliner watching the blood sport, deciding which product suits their fantasized self-imagery of rugged warrior with a heart of gold.

And here's where the dilemma lies for the Democrats: Do we field similarly vapid candidates who can steal Republican market share by dumbing down the message of liberalism until it fits on a bumper sticker? (Medicare: It's Crunk!) Dear God, I hope not. What we need is someone who can talk the bubba speak, while understanding the myriad nuances of the many foreign and domestic challenges that face America. Perhaps a Bill Clinton without sexual esteem issues.

Until America can begin to see the value in understanding the complex challenges it faces, we will continue to sit back and let the parade of sound bites compete for our attention along side diet informercials, so-called reality shows and MTV fast edit imagery of crotch grabbing young men screaming angrily from bling laden Cadillacs, surrounded by silicone balloons crudely mimicking women.

Surely, this column will have fodder galore for the next few years.

Damn, I was hoping to work on that ship in a bottle...


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