“We are in the bottom of the ninth.
“Much like the 1969 ‘Miracle Mets,’ Barack Obama stands on the precipice of history. Barring an error of Bill Buckneresque proportions, Senator Obama will very likely be the winner of the seemingly perpetual 2008 presidential election. The Senator from Illinois- home of the Cubs, the White Sox and ‘Da Bears- could not have run a more efficient campaign had Tony LaRussa been at the helm.
“That being said, it may have been Senator McCain’s Boog Powellian selection of Sarah Palin that put the runners in scoring position. And like Ron Swoboda in the year of Woodstock and Broadway Joe, Senator Obama used that error, one in a long line long of errors by the McCain campaign, to drive the message home.
“Finally, to paraphrase a line from Paul Dickson’s 1991 book “Baseball’s Greatest Quotations,” ‘If the Mets can win the World Series, the US can get out of Iraq’.
“Good night and good luck.”
-MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann during a recent ‘Campaign Comment.’
When teased by an MSNBC intern that the Mets were, in fact, not in this year’s World Series, Mr. Olbermann shattered a New York Yankees souvenir bat over the head of the intern and stormed out of the MSNBC studios muttering about Tom Seaver and Willie Randolph.
Mr. Olberman, all intern clubbing aside, is not far off the mark. While lacking his ‘objectivity’, many a pundit has echoed the sentiment that Barack Obama has run an exceptional campaign and, should the polls hold true, will be the next President of the United States.
However, as Yogi Berra says, “It ain’t not over til it’s over.”
Until the fat lady sings next Tuesday, there is technically a lot of campaign left. Undecideds and soft supporters still make up a sizeable 20+% of those likely to vote on November 4th. To put it another way, this campaign is still one October Surprise from making the pundits look bad.
For the past month, GonzoGeek reporters have dug deep into the campaigns of Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, examining what the two candidates stand for and what they propose to do if elected.
We present their work to you, as non-Olbermannly as possible.
And don’t worry, we left the bats at home.
Economy: I’m free…free falling
With the economy on its knees, the stock market in free fall, and panic running wild, Senators Obama and McCain found themselves back in Congress in early October to vote for a flawed and costly rescue effort. Ultimately named the ‘Troubled Asset Relief Program (or TARP), this plan allows the US Treasury to take bad debt off the hands of banks and transfer ownership of that debt to the United States Taxpayer. While both candidates supported the bill, they did so with a number of caveats. Senator Obama asked that CEO pay for companies accepting government assistance no longer be based upon ability, but spread around within the company based upon need. Senator McCain asked that the rescue plan be made retroactive to 1989.
However, passage of TARP does not automatically fix the problem. The beleaguered institutions that made mountains of money buying and selling debt, financed by debt and guaranteed by debt are still on the ropes, and rightly so. There is no ‘quick fix’, as a number of prominent economists have pointed out. Rep. Barney Frank (D) of the House Financial Services Committee described the current situation thusly, “It is a house of cards built on a cardboard box outside in the rain; a ramble-tangle of poor lending practices, nonexistent regulation, political cheerleading and endless finger pointing.” When asked about his role in the mortgage debacle, Mr. Frank said. “Yes, I encouraged Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to relax their lending practices and expand the sub-prime market to include the barely literate, but that was all rhetoric. I never expected them to actually do it. I was as surprised as anyone when the roof blew off.” And he was not alone.
Senator McCain, as late as the morning of the day things fell apart claimed that the fundamentals of our economy were ‘strong’. He later amended that statement to mean ‘the American worker is strong,’ and then again to “Hoard your money, my friends. There’s a shit storm coming, and we’re all going to take it prison-style.” In contrast, Mr. Obama said nothing, choosing to revel in the political windfall that just fell into his lap.
Moving forward, Senator Obama has put forth the idea of a rather vanilla stimulus plan and a broad middle class tax cut, provided you are not a quarter of a millionaire. Senator McCain, on the other hand has proposed a plan that has been called both ‘visionarily maverickesque’ and ‘ruinous folly’. Under the McCain plan, the IRS would be abolished and tax collection would be privatized. Taxes, on the whole, would be determined by the market.
On a recent episode of ‘Hardball’ with Chris Matthews, Air America and MSNBC commentator, Rachel Maddow, called the plan “The most addle-pated of addle-pated schemes. Letting the market decide how they’re taxed? Well, on the upside, you’ll close a lot of ‘fat cat’ corporate loopholes that no one’s going to need anymore. The market is going to start with a top rate of 0%, and work its way down from there. That sucking sound Ross Perot heard 16 years ago wasn’t jobs going to Mexico,” she added, “it was our future being flushed down the crapper.”
Conservative commentator, Pat Buchannan, countered Ms. Maddow, “Rachel, you fail to see the beauty of this plan. TARP will put indirect control of the banks and credit institutions under the wing of the US Treasury, which is a part of the executive branch. ‘The market’ will, in effect, be an extension of the office of the President. McCain is simply evolving a process already put into place by the Bush administration; the simplification of self-determination.
“In this day and time, there are just some things in a democracy that are too important to be decided by a vote. They must be put into practice on the people’s behalf by a strong, central authority. This is a reality that George W Bush and Dick Cheney understand. It will be their legacy and Americans will learn to accept it,” he concluded.
Both Ms. Maddow and Chris Matthews were stunned.
Energy: It keeps going and going and going….
The Obama campaign may have been slow to the party, but they too have jumped aboard the ‘Drill, baby, drill!’ express. Not to be outdone by his Republican counterparts, Sen. Obama has upped the ante on exploiting our natural resources. In a Facebook ‘friends only’ campaign address, the Senator from Illinois proposed that Yellowstone National Park be opened to geothermal development. “This steam is our steam,” he says, “from wooded forests to Gulf Stream waters, from California to the New York island. This steam belongs to you and me.” Mr. Obama then added, “If we do not get this steam for ourselves, we will forever be beholden to places like Iceland to fulfill our need…our need for steam.”
The candidate has also pledged up to 250 billion dollars to fund promising ‘cold steam’ technology.
The RNC has given the cold shoulder to Senator Obama’s ‘thermal agenda’, accusing Mr. Obama of looking backwards, towards the failed policies of the industrial revolution. “Reverting to steam power flies in the face of everything Big Auto and Big Oil have done to this country,” says RNC Chairman, Mike Duncan. “What are we supposed to do, go out and buy a Doble? Maybe see what Robert Fulton is doing these days? Oh that’s right, Fulton is dead. Know how? Second hand steam. Burned his lungs up. This is not the kind of change America can believe in. No thank you, Nobama.”
Lest more ground be ceded to Mr. Obama, Sen. McCain has renewed his push to put ‘…a nuclear reactor in the hands of every man woman and child in America.’ Critics of the Senator’s energy agenda have noted that handing out 300 million nuclear devices is ‘not good’. “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light,” says Dr. Egon Spengler of the Ramis Institute, “That bad.” Undaunted, Sen. McCain thrilled supporters at a rally just outside of Ohio when he openly challenged lawmakers to meet his nuclear mandate. “Friends,” declared the Senator, “let me be perfectly clear. I will not rest until this country had been thoroughly nuked.”
Healthcare: The fundamentals of our health are sound.
In a whitepaper released last spring, the McCain campaign proposed massive changes to our current healthcare system. Hoping to duplicate the perceived successes of the financial markets at that time, the plan featured massive deregulation of the healthcare industry. The thinking went that greater competition for the healthcare dollar would result in more choices, better care and lower prices. Jeff Trewitt, spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry advocacy group, applauded the plan, “By removing such barriers negotiated tiers, FDA approvals, and mandatory coverages, the healthcare industry will be able to deliver a whole range of new and innovative products to consumers, such as Probonercil, an combination erectile dysfunction/hair restoration/acne cream made by our partners as Pfizer. Welcome back, tiger!”
The Obama campaign has taken a much more ambitious approach to reforming the health care system. Under an Obama administration, low-income families unable to obtain health insurance in the United States would be made Canadian citizens and absorbed into their healthcare system. “We believe this is win-win,” says campaign spokesperson, Robert Gibbs. “By becoming Canadian, the poor instantly qualify for health benefits not available to them in this country. And once we’re finished deporting the indigent, we’ll be able to declare victory in the war on poverty. Mission accomplished!’
Should the program prove successful, America itself would formally apply for Canadian provincehood sometime in late 2011.
Running Mates: Opposites attract
Despite being declared a ‘stroke of brillancy’, Sen. McCain’s choice of running mate Sarah Palin has been seen in recent weeks as a drag on the ticket. Responding to critics through an iTunes podcast, McCain defended his choice and pointed out that ‘Governor Palin’s name was not picked out of a hat as the liberal media would have you believe. My advisors and I thoroughly discussed and debated each candidate on my short list. Then the names were put into a fishbowl, not a hat, for me to pick from.’
Insides sources have confirmed that other names in the fishbowl that day were governors Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty, entertainers Sting and Carrottop, and fictional presidents Jed Bartlett and Abe Vigoda. Senator McCain also clarified his campaign’s vetting process, saying ‘You know, we made some calls.’
Senator Obama has faced criticism of his own in selecting Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. While seen as possessing the kind of foreign policy experience and credibility that Mr. Obama lacks, the two-time candidate for President also presents unique challenges, mainly keeping his mouth shut.
‘Biden’s a talker, that’s for sure,’ said ABC political correspondent, George Stephanopoulos. ‘The real key to making this selection work is keeping him on a very short leash and limit his contact with the press. This is no easy feat. Joe’s attracted to open microphones like a moth to a flame. Ideally, the Obama campaign needs to build a time machine, go back, and pick someone else. Probably a girl.’
Although not a girl, Senator Biden has defied expectations and kept the gaffes to a minimum. Sources within the campaign credit the senator’s refusal to read, watch or listen to the news as a big part of that success. As Obama advisor David Axelrod explained recently on the democratic blog ‘Probama.com’, ‘Joe took a beating back in 1988 when he plagiarized a major policy speech from British Labour leader Joe Kinnock. Since then, he has completely cut himself off from outside sources of information to prevent that from happening again. It’s amazing, really, to be so self-aware that he realizes he completely forgets where he is and what he’s talking about at any given time. That’s the kind of quality you want in a Vice President. Someone who knows they’re only important when they screw up, and by and large, they’re not that important.’
Sources in the McCain camp have been quick to point out that Sarah Palin has steered clear of most sources of information as well, although, they concede, largely due to a lack of interest. Governor Palin’s shortcomings were on full display recently when she failed to answer such ‘elitist’ questions as ‘What newspapers do you read’ and ‘How had John McCain been a maverick?’ In reviewing the interview for this article, CBS Senior Correspondent Bob Shaeffer remarked, ‘Wow. I didn’t know anyone could make Katie Couric look like a hard-hitting, big time journalist. Did she really say she reads all the newspapers? Could someone run this for me again?’
The interview in question, as well as an equally disastrous appearance with Charlie Gibson has lead to charges of ‘gotcha journalism’ by the McCain camp, and claims that the ‘media elite’ were out to destroy Ms. Palin because she was not one of them. Mike Wallace, former CBS reporter and father of Fox News’ Chris Wallace, said in response, ‘Being asked what paper you read is hardly ‘gotcha’. ‘Gotcha’ is asking Idi Amin about bar-b-que, then throwing down photos of him eating a dissident cabinet member.” Mr. Wallace then added, “Likewise, being interviewed by Sean Hannity isn’t journalism. That’s propaganda. Hannity…dear God. Did you know I once offered Chris $100 and my old spot on ’60 Minutes’ if he punched that dickhead in the mouth on camera?”
Guilt by Associates: We are known by the company we keep
Both campaigns have attempted to cast doubt on their opponents’ character by pointing out various contradictions in their personal narratives with varying degrees of success. The Obama camp has worked tirelessly to undermine John McCain’s ‘maverick’ image and paint him as ‘Bush III’. Surrogates have been quick to point that Senator McCain’s 2004 reconciliation with President Bush, a man he once described as ‘…beyond stupid, my friends. He is incompetence personified, a dark blot on human achievement’, was nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at connecting with the far right wing of the Republican Party. And in a new Obama campaign spot, Senator McCain the maverick, can now bee seen boasting that he has voted with the Bush administration an astonishing 95% of the time, a fact easily verified through a ‘Congressional Quarterly’ review of Senatorial voting records. The same review also points out that the Senator now ‘mavericks’ a mere 2% of the time, right behind ‘phoning it in’. When confronted with these number, former McCain campaign advisor, Phil Gramm, shrugged and said, ‘Yeah, but at least John has a voting record to run on. Why don’t you whiners go ask Senator Hussein about his racist minister?’
That ‘racist minister’ would be the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, former pastor for Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Senator Obama was a congregant for over twenty years. The same Reverend Wright quoted in Mr. Obama’s book ‘The Audacity of Hope’, the man who presided over Senator Obama’s wedding, who baptized Mr. Obama’s children and served as the Senator’s spiritual advisor until the campaign abandoned him when they could no longer control the damage. As Reverend Wright’s fiery sermons came to light, many white Americans were shocked to learn that black Americans saw the world differently than they did and did not like what they saw. This was a revelation.
“A minister should preach the truth, he should lead his congregation out of darkness and into the light,” says Pat Robertson, Baptist minister and founder of the 700 Club. “To use the altar as a personal soapbox, to damn this country and blame a specific group of people for all the evil in the world…why that’s unforgivable.” Robertson then went on to say, “But I guess that we should be glad he’s just a racist and not a homosexual.”
Added Pastor Thomas Muthee, a Kenyan bush-priest who once laid hands upon Governor Palin in preparation for her gubernatorial run, “Muggaaa, mugga bu. Buuga, muuuga, gunga la dunga, gabba gabba hey, witches.’
Unfortunately for McCain, attempts to dredge up other Obama relationships for political gain have met with far less success. Real estate swindler, Tony Rezko, struck no chords with voters and attempts to portray Senator Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, former Weatherman and 60’s activist, as ‘paling around with ‘terrorists’ have done marginally better. Observers believe the failure of the Ayers tactic has been due largely to the fact that Ayers was a ‘terrorist’ in the Midwest at a time when Barack was an eight year old boy living in Hawaii. Democratic strategist and Clinton friend, James Carville, has been especially harsh in his criticism of this line of attack. “Let’s get real, folks. John McCain is so old and out of touch with the real world that the only Weathermen and plumbers he knows are Willard Scott and G. Gordon Liddy.” Added Mr. Carville, “And can anyone here say ‘Keating Five’? Whoooo!! Cajun style!”
Fierce Conservative and longtime McCain supporter G. Gordon Liddy countered Mr. Carville on his radio program. “Bring it you creepy, backwater bastard. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done. I just wish those gutless pudsuckers at Creep (Committee to Re-Elect the President) had let me do half the things I wanted to do.’ Mr. Libby added unapologetically, ‘Let me make one thing perfectly clear…I am, first and foremost, a Patriot! The crimes that I have committed; the break-ins, the character assassination, the threats and intimidation, I did those things out of love for my country and my President. John has nothing to be ashamed of in being my friend. He knows that if elected, all he has to do is say the world and I will bomb, assassinate or kill anyone he wants gone from this earth. One quick headshot and ‘POW!’ drop him like an ATF jackboot. No more troubles from that guy.”
Senator Biden, in one of the few instances he has been allowed to talk to the media uncensored, may have had the final word on these ‘guilt by association’ tactics and the campaign as a whole.
“Ladies and gentlemen, for years Mickey Mouse was directly linked to Walt Disney, a known Anti-Semitic, Communist hating, hardcore right wing FBI spyformant, and we in no way assume that Mickey is any of those things. We love Mickey Mouse. And following the election, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama and I are going to Disneyland.”
Parting Shots: Interesting crumbs to mark the campaign trail
– Most of the evidence that John McCain was programmed by the Chinese to be a sleeper agent during his five years in a POW camp is circumstantial.
– Before becoming a community organizer, Barack Obama founded a chain of Irish themed, casual dining restaurants called ‘O’Bamigans’.
– The RNC has spent over $150,000 on clothing to dress Sarah Palin for the campaign, an amount equivalent to the combined salaries of Joe the Plumber and two Joe Six Packs.
– Scientists have found that if someone screams ‘Yes we can!’ loud enough and long enough, light bulbs will change themselves.
– Joe Biden does not receive Botox shots in his forehead. Due to repeated brain aneurism surgeries, the front of his head has been replaced with a removable plastic shell.
– Once a month, when the moon is full, John McCain bathes in the blood of freshman Senators to keep up his youthful energy.
– ‘Obamaphiles’ is not a show about FBI agents investigating Barack Obama’s mysterious past.
– Contrary to popular belief, Roget’s and Merriam-Webster’s do not have the authority to remove words and phrases will from the English language. Therefore, ‘My Friends’, ‘Maverick’, ‘Gotcha’, ‘Main Street v. Wall Street’, ‘Joe’ and ‘You Betcha’ will remain in popular usage well into the foreseeable future.
– A number of polls released recently show Obama ahead by as much as 12% and as a little as 1%. Why the disparity? Blame the pollsters. According to Wikipedia, pollsters are:
“…once-human, slug like, gelatinous blobs, whose skin secretes an electro-sensitive slime coating that enables pollsters to plug directly into any electronic media. They are math sensitive, and experience life as reductive bar graph that they chart against a derivative of relative happiness. Their language is qualitative, spoken in a questioning lilt. Their written language has no periods. When seen in public, pollsters wear elaborate ‘Human Suits’ gifted to them by space aliens living on the other side of the stargate. They must be stopped at any cost.”
We’re GonzoGeek, and we disavow this election.