Political self gratification (3)
MAOTE: Ah, the day after election day. Remember when everyone was worried that the protracted Democratic primary was doing so much damage to both Clinton and Obama that neither one of them would be electable by the time it was done?
DN: I do indeed. In fact, I was just reviewing my last 'political self gratification' entry... Wow. We had no idea just what was lurking around the next turn back then, did we?
MAOTE: What do you think was the biggest surprise of the '08 election season? The biggest game changer?
DN: Sarah Palin, without a doubt. If McCain hadn't thrown Palin into the mix, chances are he'd have... well, I don't know if he'd have won, but he'd have run a much closer race... maybe close enough that the Repubs could be contesting the election and demanding recounts in a lot of swing states right now.
MAOTE: You really think Palin did that much damage to him? I think without her his conservative base would have remained lukewarm for him, at best. By naming her, he really galvanized the far right.
DN: Of course I agree, as you are, indeed, me. Nonetheless, his electoral math was for crap. Yeah, Republicans were desperately afraid that after eight years of endless Republican scandals... and not just policial or economic stuff, which conservatives largely don't care about, but sex stuff... gay sex stuff, some of it involving young Congressional page boys... they were terrified that this stuff had so disgusted their conservative base that the base wouldn't turn out for the election. McCain figured he needed to get those people out to the polls. The Palin pick did that, certainly. But it cost him the center, and it especially cost him college educated young people. Going to college won't necessarily make a person smart, much less wise, but any kind of higher education (even the crap we call higher education here in America) is going to give a person the ability to discern whether or not a Vice Presidential candidate is competent to do the job or not.
MAOTE: So you think most of the undecideds, especially the educated ones, decided Palin wasn't ready to be President?
DN: She was so not ready to be President it was terrifying to anyone with more than three functioning brain cells. Her party did an excellent job downplaying most of the really scary shit about her... her enthusiastic membership in one of the more crazy ass nutjob Pentecostal/Millenialist subsects of Christianity, her similar involvement in an extremist Alaskan secessionist movement, the fact that she has absolutely no principles, scruples, ethics, or sense of personal integrity whatsoever... the last of which makes her a perfect Republican politican, by the way, but you can't let the hicks in the voting booths know that... but although they covered most of that pretty well, they couldn't hide the fact that she plain straight up didn't know a single goddam thing the President HAS to. I mean, she made George W. Bush look like a Constitutional scholar, for Christ's sake. The droolers on the far right don't care about that shit, but the rest of us do. And after year after year after year of charismatic Republican figurehead Presidents being run by evil fuckers from behind the scenes, I think most of the country was just sick of that shit.
MAOTE: Do you have a guess as to why she won't release her medical records?
DN: My guess... my completely uninformed, utterly from the gut, 'use the Force, Luke' type of hypothesis... is that she's probably had at least one abortion at one time or another and she was scared shitless that would come out before the election. Or maybe she's been treated for VD. I don't know. Maybe she had a boob job. There's something in her records that the far right wouldn't like, though. That's for damn sure.
MAOTE: None of this matters much, though, now that Obama has been elected. Happy days are here again, right?
DN: Er... well... okay, a few things to that. First, Palin's shit does still matter, it matters very much. She's positioning herself to be the little piece of grit that an entirely new Republican coalition forms around. She's like one of those reality show stars; they get a taste of it and then they can't live without it. She's not going back to Alaska willingly; she sure as hell has no plans to stay there. My bet is, if Ted Stevens wins his election -- and I'm sure she voted for him for this very reason -- then she appoints herself to take over his seat in the Senate when he has to resign, "to better represent the people of Alaska on a national front" or some shit. Or at least, that's her plan right now. Older, wiser heads may try to shut her down... but she's going to be very popular with the far right lunatic fringe for a long time. She's going to be trouble. Count on it.
MAOTE: And the other things?
DN: Obama hasn't been inaugurated yet. I have this little paranoid gut impulse that wonders, why did Dick Cheney, with an approval rating of something like 12%, come rolling out three days before the election with a big endorsement for McCain? That couldn't have helped McCain any. Maybe Cheney and the Senior Partners of the Republican Party made a deal with McCain... he could run for Prez and if he managed to win the election, fine, he could have the chair. It's not like he was gonna live long; the guy is 72 years old and has had cancer like 17 times. But if McCain couldn't win the election fair and square, well...
MAOTE: This isn't that old thing where you figure Bush doesn't want to step down so they fake an attack and declare martial law, is it? Because that is sooooo crazy. You know how nuts you sound when start in on that, right?
DN: Yes. And here we go. They wouldn't be faking an attack, they'd be faking ANOTHER attack. 9/11 worked real well for them the first time; now that they're going to have to give up the only thing they really care about... power... why wouldn't they go back to that well?
MAOTE: It... look. 9/11 was a terrorist attack by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. It was not staged by the Republican Party so George W. Bush could be a war president and they could do whatever the hell they wanted with our government for eight years...
DN: Although that's exactly how it worked out for them. Cui bono? Who benefits? Always, always, always ask yourself... who benefits?
MAOTE: But that's INSANE. They're not that competent. They couldn't run FEMA for God's sake. The press would have been all over it.
DN: They're not that competent? Read this. The press would have been all over it? The press is almost entirely owned by three large corporations, now, nearly all of whom are in the Republicans' pockets. They print what they're allowed to print. And as to anything else you're about to say, read this. Or don't. But if you haven't, you simply are not entitled to say anything about 9/11, because you're hopelessly ignorant. So shut up.
MAOTE: So you seriously think that some time in the next two months, there is going to be another big terrorist attack, and the Bush Administration will use that as an excuse to declare martial law and postpone Obama's inauguration?
DN: Is there some reason they wouldn't do that?
MAOTE: Well, it's... I just can't imagine... I mean, common decency... rule of law... the integrity of the American democratic system...
DN: Are you listening to yourself?
MAOTE: Yeah... okay, well, more than half the country will take to the streets in a frenzy of civil disobedience and armed insurrection if they try to pull anything like that?
DN: That's more like it. But we don't know if that would actually happen. The American people are extremely lazy. We know the Republicans stole the last two elections, and we haven't done a goddam thing about it except piss and moan. Here's what we have going for us -- it won't be Bush's decision. It won't even be Cheney's. If it was up to either of them, they'd probably go for it, because, what the fuck, if it doesn't work out, they've got a bolt hole somewhere and they've already planned out their getaway. Fortunately, the people who actually make the decisions don't want riots in the streets, they want business as usual. They want the illusion of a functioning democracy to stay intact. It's possible Obama isn't in their pockets, but they probably figure he can't hurt them that much in one term, or even in two, and they've got plenty of Democrats on the pad. They can let Obama take over, it's good P.R. for democracy. They can ride it out.
MAOTE: So you don't think anything is going to happen...?
DN: I don't know. I think there's a distinct chance that Cheney and some of his people are plotting something. Our hidden masters aren't monolithic. There are different factions. Sometimes they work together, other times they don't. I guarantee you, somewhere there are some invisible power brokers who are not at all happy at the thought that we're about to inaugurate a President who has promised to end the war in Iraq. We're just going to have to wait and see. But you know, a military-industrial cabal really did come very close to performing a coup on FDR. That's how scared they were that he'd upset their little applecarts. I think there are a lot of people out there... powerful people, I mean... who are similarly scared of Obama.
MAOTE: In our last installment, you mentioned a whole laundry list of policies you'd like to see Obama, or some other President, pursue, while stating categorically that no President ever would.
DN: You stated categorically that no President ever would, or, if he or she tried, they'd get shot.
MAOTE: But I'm you.
DN: Yes. Okay, what's your question?
MAOTE: Have you changed your mind in the six months or so since then? Do you think there is any chance that Obama, now that he's been elected, will pursue any of those policies you feel are vital to the restoration of true individual freedom and civil liberties in our country?
DN: Um... well, let's see. Immediate withdrawal of all American troops stationed abroad in any place where the indigent population doesn't want us. He'll never do that. Declassification of anything and everything classified by Bush and Cheney and immediate release of all those documents to the public and the media? He might do some of that. Maybe. Immediate IRS audits of all corporations doing business overseas? No way. But he might do some of them. Simplify the Federal tax code... maybe a little. Crack down on lobbyists. Maybe. Not as much as we need, but something would be better than nothing. Universal health care... well, he'll try, and we'll probably get something, since big business favors it now. Give some forensic accountants special prosecutor powers and turn them loose in the Federal budget? Ha! Everybody has a dream. Um... what else... serious anti trust prosecutions across the board, but especially with the print and broadcast media. Those monopolies have to be broken up. And he might take a shot at that, I don't know. Outlaw paid political advertisements, like they do in Britain. Never happen in a million years here. Buy up all the foreclosed houses in America and give them to combat vets. I doubt he'll do that, but I can hope. Rebuild the Veteran's Administration from the ground up, with the creation of a Veteran's Bill of Rights as a Constitutional Amendment. Again, I can hope. Things like redistricting and Federal pay rates and like that put up to a national referendum. That's never going to happen either.
MAOTE: Still, it sounds as if you think President Obama, should he get into office, will do at least some good.
DN: I... yeah. Okay. I'm hopeful. He won't usher in the millenium, or anything... he's not going to take us from bottom of the barrel to utopia in four years, or even eight. But neither do I think he's going to continue gutting the working class to feed the super rich, either. And I think he might actually try to equal things up a little bit, and maybe he'll succeed... which is really about all we can realistically hope for.
MAOTE: So, do you think Obama is really a socialist?
DN: Jesus. No. You know who's a socialist? Sarah Palin. She believes that the people of Alaska collectively own the resources of Alaska, and if the energy companies want to use those resources for their own profit, they need to pay the State of Alaska for the privilege, and she actually divides a portion of those payments up and passes them along to the people of Alaska. That's socialism, and it's change I could believe in, too. I'd like to see that policy enacted on a Federal level... any corporation that makes use of any American natural resources should pay through the ass for it, and every American citizen should get a check. The easiest way to do that would be to just confiscate, say, 80% of some of these insane CEO bonuses and divide them up amongst the citizenry... especially if the citizenry is paying to bail out the corporation that the CEO ran into the ground.
MAOTE: So maybe Palin wouldn't be such a bad President?
DN: You think the people who actually run things would let her pull something like that on a national scale? No way. She might bring it up because she knows it's a guaranteed vote getter, but as soon as she mentions it, the powers behind the throne would tell her to sit down and shut up. And she'd do it. They let her do that stuff in Alaska because the population base is so small, and they make such a huge profit they can throw her a bone. You start talking about confiscating a CEO's Constitutionally guaranteed multimillion dollar bonus, though, and you'd better lock yourself in a bank vault and govern through your cell phone. And even then, they'll get you.
MAOTE: With soup?
DN: Or something in the ventilator shafts, yeah.
MAOTE: So, overall, you're hopeful, but not too hopeful?
DN: I will say this -- I think Barack Obama is the kind of leader, the kind of human being, he has the kind of mind and the kind of personality, that comes along maybe once every two or three generations. I think he is a genuinely wise man, a genuinely compassionate man, and more than that, he's a smart guy who has the ability to actually inspire and unite. The American people have needed leadership like that my entire lifetime... since JFK was assassinated, really. And we need it now more than ever. Is he a JFK type? I think he may be better, I think he may be an FDR type. I hope he is... and hope is one of the most valuable things he's given us.
MAOTE: Wow. That's pretty starry eyed, coming from you.
DN: Yeah. Well, he's got one hell of a tough row to hoe, here. But at least I think he's got a shot. I cannot begin to explicate how incredibly fucked I think we'd all be if McCain and Palin had gotten in.