Posts Tagged ‘election 08’

How was it for me?

Friday, November 7th, 2008
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Barack Obama by Terry Richardson

It started in Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. The first clear evidence that McCain Palin hadn’t agitated and deceived middle America into voting against someone, something, anything but them. (Update: I know that’s a double negative, but then so are they.)

By the time Obama came to speak, he did precisely that. It was a hard-earned rhetorical ejaculation, sowing the final seeds of a presidential pregnancy. An obamagasm. He was all at once the front man, the gospel preacher, and the erudite impressario conjuring optimism from the ashes of Bush’s still-twitching political corpse.

We can only hope that what we witnessed was not the climax of a grand illusion, a sleight of hand conceived to trick a billion eyes into seeing what it they want, what they expect.

It felt magical in places, but there were no tricks. If President Obama is, like so many before him, a marionette, there were no strings in sight, not like the clumsy puppeteering of The Dick and Dubya Show.

Obama addresses his audience as adults, and looks like he means it. He’s good to his word: change we can believe in, enough at least to spend a few days wrapped up in the comfort of new ideas, new possibilities.

Nobody expects this honeymoon to last forever, or imagines that there aren’t seemingly insurmountable challenges ahead. With barely twenty-four hours passed you can already see some of Twitter’s more acerbic commentators choking on the Kool-Aid.

Most of them seems to be missing the point. These celebrations not predicated on the assumption that Obama will govern well, but informed by an intuitive sense that at least the guy on the other end of the rope isn’t going to let go, let alone cut it.

I think more than anything this is an outpouring of relief that the neocons are finally leaving the building, taking a dog-eared edition of the Bush Doctrine with them. This was a dangerous time for America. The terrifying fact of Dubya’s re-election in 2004 alone attests to that.

Whatever problems Obama faces in the next four years, whatever the manner or measure of his failures, an ideological balace has at least been restored, and a change of direction achieved.

I wish Hunter S. Thompson was alive to see the world get loaded on politics again, if only for one night. I’d love to know what he’d have made of this election. They just missed each other, Thompson leaping off the moving bus of history just before it pulled up in Illinois and Barack Obama climbed on, going one way to Washington.

The Good Doctor’s death was untimely in that respect, but history may yet record it as a famous protest vote, marking a true low-water mark for the warped and important values the former (almost) Mayor of Aspen, Colorado held dear. Thompson’s body was dying, but his brain was still turned on and tuned in, right up until it dropped out. (Well, was shot out. But you catch my drift.)

It is also a sad circumstance of history that Thompson never really got to see the internet become the kind of free-wheeling platform he would have effortlessly monopolised.

This revolution was not only televised, it was recorded and uploaded and played back time and time again by millions of people all over the world.

The Obama campaign embraced a wide array of emergent tech and social media, but the star of the show must be Youtube, already ubiquitous in many of our lives but now harnessed to match the evil machinations of master electoral strategist and neocon neuromancer Karl Rove.

History can now repeat itself ad infinitum, without being systemically distorted through the prism of monopolised media. We can watch it at our convenience, with our own eyes, making up our own minds.

How better then to mark the promise of change, than with a website bearing the same name?

At its heart this is a blog. The blog of a President-Elect. Twitter can tell you how instantly this has endeared him to the legion of outspoken and opinionated bloggers he pals around with, who have played their own interesting part in influencing the outcome of this election for the better.

For my part, I may have tried a few dirty tricks, but I think I kept my tongue in my cheek and my feet on the ground. I’ll keep gunning for Obama, and I’m sure politics will become more of an ongoing theme around here, but this is me signing off for Election ’08, and thanking anybody who’s still reading for sticking around.

Here’s a final treat courtesy of the unrelenting Onion News Network:

“We have a lot of work to do.”

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

From the ever-dependable Jed Report.

Race is almost over

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

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http://resistcomfort.com/votetheissues/

Here we are.  Just gone nine, London time.  This time tomorrow we’ll all be watching, waiting and, if any of us have got any sense left in us after the media clusterfuck of the last few weeks, praying.

Not to the ‘God’ Sarah Palin believes in.  He’s a pretty nasty piece of work, who denies rape victims the right to abortion, and lacks the common sense to put 160 million years of evolution between us and the dinosaurs.

No, we’ll be praying to the gods of decency and reason, the same gods who deserted us so completely four years ago.  They’re well overdue a comeback, and tomorrow could be their new ground zero.

A lot’s changed in four years.  We’re not as easy to deceive these days and, as Dubya himself might put it, we just don’t scare so easy.  We compare notes, sharing information, pooling intelligence, and we know to expect the worst from those who proclaim themselves the best among us.

So it is that now, in the eleventh hour, I find myself toying with a perverse image.  I’m picturing all those mercurial McCain spin-doctors, defenders of the indefensible, gathered together this time tomorrow praying that we’ve all critically underestimated the American people’s capacity for latent racial prejudice.

Yup, they’ll know by then that all their hopes are pinned on a dark little secret middle America is more than capable of hiding from itself, let alone the pollsters.  It’s a fault line that runs deep through US society, and one that once had the power to stop an otherwise decent person short of even openly acknowledging a man like Barack Obama when they passed him in the street.

With the polling as it is now, tomorrow will tell us if those days have truly passed, and America is ready to become the world’s first great immigrant democracy, bringing the values upon which the country was founded back from the dead in the process.

Race is not an issue on which this election has been fought, but it is now the only issue on which it can be lost and won.  Here’s hoping that the knowledge of this will make the taste of Barack Obama’s victory even sweeter.

Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

I’m doing a can of Red Stripe and working on my election eve post, and up pops this:

Shakespeare called it ‘vaulting ambition’.  Mix it with abject ignorance, and an aptitude for the kind of slash-and-burn rehetoric that gets the farm-hands feverishly sharpening their pitchforks, and you have an insidious little cocktail.

Here’s hoping after tomorrow we don’t see this kind of political poison masquerading as competitive electioneering for many years to come.

This. Fucking. Election. (abridged)

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

This is about the point I came in.

For the full story, check out thisfuckingelection.com.

Wasilla’s all I saw

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Right, well, first up a story you might have missed, given it that it jetted in and out of the headlines like US fighter planes encroaching into Syrian airspace:

I’m no detective, but the first thing I noticed was that the ‘B’ is the wrong way around.  Straight away I’m thinking that whoever scratched that into her face was looking into a mirror at the time.  Suspects-wise, I’m looking at a shortlist of one.

That might have been staring you, me and Ashley Todd in the face, but it wasn’t enough to stop the McCain camp aggressively pushing the story, which was subsequently picked up by Fox ‘News’ and the Drudge Report, the only two major media outlets still unblinkingly loyal to McCain’s car crash campaign.

Interesting to note that both the CNN anchor Rick Sanchez and Ashley Todd herself are users of Twitter, the micro-blogging tool identified this week in a draft Army intelligence paper as being of potential value to terrorists in co-ordinating their activities.

Given that Al Qaeda have already used Youtube to screen beheadings, Google Earth to plan attacks against the British Army in Basra and Skype to avoid eavesdropping by Western intelligence services, should we really be surprised that their visionary appreciation of Web 2.0 extends to the occasional tweet?

Terrorists must seem like a distant threat to John McCain, given that he now finds himself facing a more homegrown enemy in the form of what Politico’s Ben Smith has described as a ‘Palin Insurgency’.

It transpires that in recent days Palin has been increasingly disregarding the advice of the former Bush aides tasked with handling her, leading senior Republicans within the McCain camp to describe her as a ‘diva’ and a ‘whack job’ who has ‘gone rogue’.

With seven days to go, John McCain can ill-afford to waste precious valuable time trying to rein in what can only be described as the maverick’s maverick.

It looks like one of his supporters has found a makeshift solution though, and is doing her level best to ensure that McCain is still seen to be getting the full support of his runaway running-mate:

I love the way she graciously acknowledges the plaudits of the crowd.  If Palin is indeed a whack job, that’s one hell of a good impersonation.

She’s not the only fake Palin hogging the limelight on the web right now.

Yes, it’s Who’s Nailin’ Paylin? the porn flick Republicans are up in arms about as they condemn Flynt and Democrats in general for disseminating such left-wing filth all over the internet, rather than having the decency to wait until the election is over before buying the special edition DVD.

Given the very real possibility that this last clip will have been deleted by the time you come to look at it, and the fact that I know how to give the people what they want (except when ‘the people’ is my mother), here is a huge photograph of Sarah Palin lookalike and adult star Lisa Ann reminding us that you might not be able to burn the American flag, but you can sure as shit wrap yourself up in it and get your tits out.

That’s all well and good, but where on earth is the real Sarah Palin?

Well, wherever she is, you can bet your bottom dollar she’s saying something really fucking stupid.

In condemning the earmarks allocated to fruit fly research, Palin deftly brushes aside Nobel prize-winning studies into the way in which genes are passed on via chromosomes, from which we have gained a far better understanding of conditions such as autism.  All this in the context of a speech in which she is reasserting the commitment of the McCain ticket to children with special needs.

As ever, it’s not just the substance of what Palin is saying that invites ridicule, but the surety with which she says it, reinforcing what a dangerous flavour of politician she is. If you’re not prepared to take my word for it, how about those of erstwhile conservative commentator Christopher Hitchens, who concluded a recent article in the spectator with the following observations:

This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.

(Oh, and ‘Wasilla’s all I saw’? It’s a Palin-drome. Gerrit?)

11 days to gobama…

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Yesterday we saw the anchors on Fox News springing to the defence of Sarah Palin and her $150,000 campaign wardrobe. How times change. Seems like only yesterday they were pillorying VP candidate John Edwards for his $400 haircut.

Only a Fox News anchor could get away with such a brazen display of double standards. Who else could afford to treat their audience with such contempt?

Look out for the sigh, right at the beginning. That’s the sigh that says ‘I’m tired of having to justify myself to you little people. You seem to think that what I say today has to be consistent with all that stuff I said yesterday. Haven’t any of you fuckers read 1984? Nope? Me neither.’

While a consensus continues to grow that Palin will be the mistake for which the McCain campaign is best remembered, she does seem to have found some support in new quarters. Sometimes you find new friends in the unlikeliest places:

BBC Breakfast it ain’t

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I love the smell of Republicans being roasted in the morning.

My love affair with The Jed Report goes from strength to strength. Here are the pick of this morning’s posts, served up for your delectation over a bacon sarnie and a cup of fresh coffee.

First up, a full three minutes of Hardball presenter Chris Matthews grilling McCain’s senior policy advisor Nancy Pfotenautenhoerotenhauer over Sarah Palin’s latest display of abject ignorance:

What better way to start the day than to watch a this Rovian acolyte with her rictus smile squirming under the spotlight of incontrivertible fact, doing her damnedest to try and wrangle it into a critique of the Obama ticket, and being headed off at every pass.

Next up, “let’s find out why Governor Palin look so good.” So begins this three-minute morsel of Fox News at their very worst.

Look out for the highlight of the smarmfest at around the fifty-second mark:

Yup. “When we stop treating women as sexist figures […] then we can stop talking about how much money they spent on their clothes.”  Erm. Maybe you mean ‘sex objects’?  And, well, that’s probably when we can start talking about how much money they spend on their clothes.  And, y’now, truth be told, all of you, you’re just a disgrace to your profession. Really. A shower.

It’s not all vitriol around here at 8.30 in the morning though.  If you want to put everything back into perspective, and to enjoy a glimpse of the dizzying heights this campaign is occasionally reaching, check out five minutes of Obama in Richmond, Virginia yesterday:

I can’t remember seeing political oratory like this before. Not in my lifetime. Barack Obama is lifting his audiences to new levels of optimism and self-belief. Watching him speak like this, even the most cynical of onlookers could start to believe that this is a man with the potential to lift a whole nation.

McCain agrees. Pennsylvanians ARE racists.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

The Obama camp must be worrying about having their man suspend his campaign for thiry-six hours in order to visit his ailing grand-mother. Still, it could be worse for the Democrats. At least McCain hasn’t suspended his:

In a masterstroke, McCain goes on to call Western Pennsylvanians the most patriotic people in America, neatly insulting the rest of the population of the country of which he aspires to become commander-in-chief.

Smooth moves Senator.

Batmobama and the global flea market

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

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Friend, colleague and fellow blogger Marc Berry pinged me a link to this late last night.  It’s official title is Batmobama & Robiden.

It was on a site called Etsy specialising in selling affordable art online. I instantly contacted the artist behind it, Paul Richmond, asking his permission to feature it on my blog.  Within about another five minutes, I’d decided to buy myself one of the 200 prints he was selling.

This was the first time I’d visited Etsy, but within a matter of minutes I’d completed a transaction to the value of about $45.  I find the dynamics of the transaction quite peculiar.

I became aware of the product because Marc recognised that it combined two things I blog about on a fairly regular basis – Batman, and the 2008 American presidential election.  He knows that I’ve been fixated with some of the ‘Obamaganda’ coming out of this campaign, and have even gone so far as to create some of my own, but as far as I’m concerned this is in a class of its own, both thematically and in terms of its artistic quality.

Because I was able to quickly identify Paul as the artist behind it, and to contact him through the site, even before I heard back from him I had a sense of him as an individual.  With this in mind, my decision to purchase was accompanied by an awareness that the bulk of the cash I was parting with would be going to another human being.

The knowledge that there were only 200 prints available made it sufficiently unusual to seem worth spending roughly £25 on – not a sum of money I’d normally part with for something I was going to hang on the wall.  The fact that there were only 35 remaining added enough of an ingredient of urgency to compel me to buy one there and then, rather than going away and talking myself out of it.

I guess the final factor in this is that I can vaguely remember a friend of mine singing the praises of a service called Etsy.  I can’t remember the details, I just remember someone telling me that Etsy was great, and that it came from somebody whose judgement I trust.

The particular confluence of circumstances added up to this transaction typifies the way in which the social web is changing commerce.  It is slowly re-establishing more traditional values in terms of what a transaction like this signifies, taking place between two human beings, in one of a million colourful corners of the global flea market.

As to the question of whether the piece itself is an accurate characterisation of the key players in the forthcoming election, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Exhibit A…

…and Exhibit B.