The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Decision '08: Goose or Gander

I'm pretty confident that most of us are already feeling an intense dread of the coming year. Not just because the GOP hopefuls are tripping all over themselves trying to out-unitary executive and out-Grand Inquisitor each other, but because the press is already giving us a repeat of the 2000 and 2004. Yeah, I know. You know that. And I know you know that. And so on. But sometimes just laying it out and seeing how breathtaking the whole thing is can just really inspire a sense of awe.

Two things that are the most obvious: the press is dying for Hillary Clinton to be the candidate. It'd make for easy copy, lazy reporting, and as I've mentioned before, book contracts or elevation to a Maureen Dowd sort of spot as "Renowned Catty Pundit." Every trivial word or gesture would be endlessly scrutinized, analyzed, and criticized. Actual record and positions on the issues? Ignored.

For their part, the GOP candidates still inspire homoerotic paeans to their masculinity and toughness-- again to the exclusion of actually checking out their records in public life. While early on, Fred Thompson seemed to be the phony tough-guy of choice for 'conservative intellectuals,' (I still snicker a bit when I write that) but the press has dumped their former boyfriend John McCain. Mike Huckabee gets plenty of serenades from the press, in spite of a rather checkered past, but perhaps in no small part because of the way his last name lends itself to oh-so-clever column titles.

But more and more, the press seem to be gravitating toward Giuliani. Which is a shame, because in a field of movement conservatives of dubious intellect, integrity, and morality, he's as bad as they come. Not to mention the nightmare of another kook evading scrutiny by paying lip service to bipartisanship or demagoguing 9/11. (I wish I could remember who came up with this description of Giuliani's every sentence: "(Noun)(Verb) 9/11.")

And now that this is already too long, thanks to my usual noodling, I'll get to the articles:

Hypocrisy? Yes, please.
John McCain yesterday on the "bitch" flap: "I can't dictate what other people say -- that's not my business. Nor is it an appropriate role for me to play in a gathering at a restaurant, and if anybody thinks that I should, then I think they have the wrong idea of what gatherings are all about."

John McCain in September on MoveOn's Petraeus ad: "Now, [the Democratic presidential candidates] acknowledge that [Petraeus] is an honorable and fine military man, but they refuse to repudiate And as you say, if you can't stand up to them, how can you stand up to the tough challenges that are presented to you as president of the United States? I don't know the answer to that."

The definitely level playing field

Try to imagine what would have happened if Hillary Clinton had called a press conference to announce that she had secured the endorsement of Minister Louis Farrakhan. Reporters would be apoplectic with the shock of it. How could she do such a thing? What about all the crazy things Farrakhan has said? What about the anti-Semitism? Why would she want to be associated with such a man? (. . .)

When the support of someone like Pat Robertson -- a man who expresses disgust at American society, who advocates the assassination of foreign leaders, who believes that adherents of any religious sect other than his own are destined to spend eternity in hell, who says that presidents of the United States are agents of Lucifer, who propagates bizarre, antiquated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, whose hatred and mania know no limits -- when the support of such a man is eagerly sought by a party’s presidential candidates, we should not be surprised when each campaign that party runs is more centered on fear, more grounded in hate, more morally putrid than the one that came before it.

The same article cites a few of the "scandals" that have already cropped up around the Dems, by contrast:

As Christopher Hayes detailed recently in The Nation, emails are circulating around the country claiming that Obama is a practicing Muslim; the Obama campaign is evidently concerned enough about them that they have issued statements explaining that he is not a Muslim but a Christian. Emails are also circulating in Iowa claiming falsely that Obama refuses to put his hand on his heart when saying the pledge of allegiance; this follows on a spasm of feigned outrage over the fact that Obama doesn't bother to engage in that most meaningless of patriotic poses, the wearing of an American flag pin. "First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb," said the spectacularly dim-witted Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends.

It's enough to make a fisherman cry.