Sunday, August 3, 2008

And the non-loser is...

Sitting over a couple of beers a few months ago, conversation turned to the US presidential election. Being in a bar in Poland, I was the only North American represented in the discussion and the only one to predict a John McBush victory. My European friends all shared the same viewpoint; the US was ready for change, in need of change and the populace would make the sane decision and vote for Barrack Obama come November. What they didn't, and most people don´t realize is that the winner won't be the man who wins, but the one who doesn't lose.

Flashback to 2004, the electorate is forced to choose between two men; John Kerry, Massachusetts senator, and George W. Bush, the incumbent. The signs are obvious, change is necessary. The war in Iraq is at a low point, John Kerry is a Vietnam war hero, Bush a draft dodger; Kerry is an intellectual, Bush is a ...well, insert your own adjective here. Enter Karl Rove, political master of the black arts. It's the terror, stupid instead of the economy, or the war as he helped Dubya ride a patriotic wave to re-election in 2004. The focus of the campaign was Kerry's flip-flop on a war funding bill and "moral values", two ripe targets for the Christian heartland. Enter the attack on Kerry's service in Vietnam (the infamous swift boat issue) and the gay marriage amendment appearing on the ballot in 11 states.

Fast forward to 2008 and the latest news is the attack style adds of the McBush camp. Why the sudden change from the straight talk express? This year evil once again has a name and it's Steve Schmidt, Rove's protege, who cut his teeth running the 2004 Republican war room and guiding the re-election campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schmidt was brought in last month to jumpstart the ailing McBush effort. Therefore the latest spat over negative ads really comes as no surprise, victory can only be had by bringing down the man known as "THE ONE" in the McBush camp. Obama will be attacked mercilessly from here on in.

McBush goaded Obama into visiting Iraq, so when Obama went one better and his World Tour '08 made him look like a rock star, enter the Spears/Hilton comparisons. I guess it was hoped by the Republicans he'd make a big mistake, he didn't, so now we hear some manufactured story about not visiting wounded soldiers. Obama's popular in Europe, so I'm sure American TV (read Fox News) will be filled with anti-Europe tirades. Don't forget that Obama's half-black, the race card will be played. That middle name thing will be interesting too, Hussein isn't all that popular in the heartland.

Come October, if nothing else is dug up by then, there will be the replay of the Reverend Wright story, over, and over and over again until TV viewers across the land are convinced that he and Obama are one and the same. If all else fails my friends, power being so addictive that the Republicans won't let it go, there will be a "terrorist" attack. I know, I know, now I've definitely crossed the line into conspiracy theories, but it's one bet I'm willing to make, anything to ensure this:

Remember that the US is not a true democracy. It uses the electoral college and just influencing a few voters to vote one way (or not to vote at all) in a few key states is all that is needed for victory. More on that in a later post...