Thursday, February 28, 2008

Once You Go Barack, You'll Never Go Back

Last month, I joked that I was going to vote for Hillary just so we'd have a Bush -> Clinton -> Bush -> Clinton order of progression. But after watching the debates, I've decided to throw my support behind Obama. Yes, that's right, Barack. Your pasty white geek contingency just went up by 0.00003%. You could probably quadruple that if you learned to speak Klingon.

And here's the weird thing... it wasn't really the issues that made me a fan of Obama. They may differ in the details, but for the most part, Hillary and Barack come down on the same side of the major issues. No, what made up my mind was the way they're running their campaigns.

Perception is everything, and whether it's 100% true or not, the perception is that Obama is running a clean, above-board campaign. Clinton went negative pretty early on, and it backfired on her. I think a lot of voters are sick and tired of all the retarded mudslinging and have finally come to see just how insulting and condescending those negative ads truly are.

Take the debate in Austin last week. Clinton brought up the issue of Obama's alleged plagiarism (an issue that, like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, should have been DOA from the beginning). Obama dismissed the whole thing and blamed it on "the silly season in politics." Clinton came back with the prepared line, "Lifting whole passages is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox." And she looked out smugly at the crowd as she said it, no doubt imagining a roar of approval for her witticism. Instead, awkward silence. Crickets. And a smattering of boos. Obama just shook his head in disbelief. And as a result, Obama came off looking rather noble while Clinton just seemed petty and spiteful.

Taking a lesson, Clinton did a quick turnaround and tried to take the high road at the end of the debate. She praised Obama and said that if she did not win the nomination, the nation would be served well by him. It earned her more applause than anything else she had said all night.

Unfortunately, Clinton's civility was short-lived. Obama's team recently distributed a pamphlet highlighting the differences between their guy and Hillary. Clinton's team responded almost immediately by accusing Obama of printing misleading information and outright distortions. Now was there any merit to the accusation? Who knows? But perception is everything, and at this point, I think everybody except the most diehard Clinton supporter is willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt.

Clinton went so far as to claim that Obama had "taken a page from Karl Rove's playbook." Meanwhile, the Clinton team released a photo to conservative muckraker Matt Drudge that shows Obama dressed in a turban while visiting Kenya. It was a transparent attempt to play on the inherent racism of American voters, and I guess it was successful, since a lot of conservatives really seem to be up in arms about the whole thing. And to add insult to injury, when Obama's team accused Clinton's team of "fear-mongering," they responded with the statement, "If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed."

That kind of shit plays well amongst the Republicans. Back in 2000, Bush pretty much snaked the Republican nomination away from McCain by spreading the rumor that McCain had an illegitimate black child from an extramarital affair. Karl Rove all but owned up to it, claiming it was legal because he hadn't actually *told* people that McCain had an illegitimate child, but had simply asked them what they would think *if* he had an illegitimate child. Karl Rove is a slimy, unctuous bastard who probably hunts the homeless for sport.

The negative hate-mongering has become such an ingrained part of Republican politics that many of them simply shrug it off as "part of the game." I honestly can't believe anyone was retarded enough to believe half the crap that their man Bush was spewing about John Kerry back in 2004, but they simply embraced it because hey, them's the rules.

The Republicans claim that anyone who buys into Barack Obama's hype is naive and misguided. Of course, most of them still believe that a secret cabal of Jews controls the liberal media, that Bible verses are science, and that the world will be safer once George W. bombs all the terrorism out of it. So I guess naivety is a matter of perspective.

Ironically, Clinton's team has jumped on the "naive and unexperienced" bandwagon as well. Hillary has been totally mocking Obama's optimism that things can be better, while doing everything in her power to paint him as an indecisive coward, a plagiarist, and a terrorist. If anybody is taking a page out of Karl Rove's playbook, I'd have to say it's her.

Optimistic does not equal naive, no matter how much the cynics would like to pretend otherwise. Nobody thinks the change is going to be easy, or come quickly. Whoever wins the election this year is going to inherit a massive shit sandwich eight years in the making. I don't think the situation is hopeless, but I think we're going to need to adjust our way of thinking if things are going to get better. McCain and Clinton represent more of the same. Obama is promising change, and I *really* want to believe him.

So is it naive to vote for a candidate because he represents something better than we've had for a long time? No, not really. It's not nearly as naive as, say, reelecting a cocaine-abusing, warmongering, illiterate retard because of something you read in an email or saw on FOX News. I'm looking at you, lower 51% of the American voters!

Obama 2008!
Change you can (reluctantly) believe in... maybe!


scarletvirago said...

Do you know why I keep coming back to your blog?

Because you can use "unctuous" and "shit sandwich" in the same post.

And also because I totally agree with everything you just said.

Irb said...

What can I say? I learned my SAT vocabulary words on the street, baby!

I'm glad you keep coming back, Scarlet! Sometimes, Nobel Prize winner Al Gore's Internet can be a lonely, lonely place...

Professor said...

Pretty well said (except for the flagrant use of the word retard) and I agree with you, 100%! You rock!

Irb said...

Yes, I know calling our president a retard is hurtful to retarded people, and I really should stop. But barring any drastic changes to the Constitution, this is one problem that should resolve itself by November...

Thanks, Prof. You rock too! Like a hurricane!

Farrago said...

I did that candidate quiz (I think I found it here on CCCB a few months back). Prior to taking the quiz I was undecided between Clinton and Obama. I took the quiz and, based on the issues listed there, I came out 47% in favor of Clinton and 47% in favor of... Obama. At least the quiz proved something!

But, like you, I'm getting this "vengeful, angry bitch" vibe from Clinton's tactics, and I don't like it. Maybe Obama will prove that a nice guy can win.

I met him on a plane once. He sat one seat behind me... in coach!