The Stench of Panic

That Oktoberfest directly precedes election day in this country is perhaps the one well-placed blessing of the year. It certainly seems as though the McCain boys are all taking part, because rarely does a campaign, even one as desperately beleaguered as this one, go so far off the deep end so quickly. The GOP bought too far into its own bullshit rhetoric over the past eight years, assuming that the public would still come along for the ride. Terror! Fear! Evil Do-ers! They were lurking in every shadow, hiding in corners and subway stops. Scheming behind Fourth Amendment protected phone lines. Loitering just outside the the cold sweat nightmares of innocent Americans. How quickly we forget that insanity, that Manchurian Candidate hysteria. Some six long years go, swarthy vigilantes from parts unknown were going to put anthrax in your cable bill and blow up your local supermarket. And those damn filthy terrorist sympathizing Democrats weren’t going to lift a finger to stop them!

And like the stumble-stepped ravings of some four-AM drunk, the Republicans just go on shouting those same old lines out into the darkness. Barack Obama is a secret muslim. A terrorist. An arab. A Marxist. He is other and different and impossible to understand. He’s whatever the thing you fear right now happens to manifest itself as. But the Republican party has just now realized that most Americans are shaking in fear, not of the invisible enemy, but of the paper monster. To hell with anthrax – if there’s a letter more toxic than a notice of foreclosure, I’ve yet to read it. People care a lot less about terrorism when they suddenly don’t own anything worth blowing up. And it’s a bit hard to care about something called the Weather Underground when you can’t even make the rent on your shitty basement apartment.

But don’t tell that to old man McCain – he’s got his heart set on pulling out a sqeaker through a carpet-bomb campaign of brick-shitting fear, and he will keep hammering away at the cloudy, smoke and sawdust suggestions that despite better than half the country supporting the man, Barack Obama hates America. McCain tried to scare people with claims about inexperience, and that didn’t work. He tried to scare people with tall tales of taxes, and even that GOP staple fell flat. So now he’s going full on fearmonger! Going, as he openly admitted to Jon Stewart several years ago, “to crazytown”.

It used to be that they secluded this stuff. Kept it hidden, away from the prying eyes of the traditional media. If there were competent sociopaths running this cowardly mud drag, we wouldn’t hear about push polls to Jewish towns in Florida saying that Obama supported the PLO until sometime next March. I’ll say one thing for Cheney, he knew how to keep his minions on a tight leash, and he wielded his brand of bowel liquefying hate like a samuri spinning a katana. The McCain folks, in comparison, are blasting away with a twelve gauge in a crowded mall.

They’ve forgotten that the nastiest of this sort of filth needs to be kept inside the base. It needs to be the quiet thrum of that fringe freakshow ten percent that would vote the party line even if they tried to run Zombie Reagan for office. The majority of Americans don’t want to hear that much crazy coming out of a man to whom they might be handing nuclear launch codes. And they’ve grown tired of the implausible deniability of sending your hatchetmen out to spread the lies and then waving them away, innocent faced, the next day in front of the press. The public knows what Swift Boating is, Johnny boy, and they don’t like it.

They’re tired of hearing about how Barack Obama might be Kenyan or how John Kerry looks French. They want to hear about how they’re going to pay their electric bill. How they’re going to send their kids to college. How they’re going to retire before they hit eighty. John McCain’s wonderfully insulated world, while not as cushy and worry free as George W. Bush’s, doesn’t have room for those sorts of plebian concerns. And he knows he can’t win by speaking to them, because all he has are empty platitudes about low taxes and something he daren’t still call trickle-down economics. Because by now the public is tired of being pissed on.

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5 responses to “The Stench of Panic”

  1. Helm says:

    The Republicans, by now, have lost a majority of the moderate and independent voters. Negative attack ads like these only make them feel alienated and more distant.

  2. lisa says:

    dude, you get better every day. i think yours is my new favorite blog.

  3. Dean says:

    McCain was supposed to launch details of a new economic plan today, but there was apparently some confusion about the plan within his campaign so they scrapped it. That alone is enough reason for me to not vote for McCain. That’s not the kind of decision making I want, and I can’t imagine anyone else who would want that either.

  4. Andrew says:

    @Dean: And how. I mean, in this moment, he’s basically making a high-school student’s Model Government. If it’s such a train wreck now, it will be much worse if he’s cobbling these decisions together while there are five different crises (none of which concern things with which he’s familiar) coming at him all at once, in the real-life White House.

    But maybe he can farm out these intricate questions of economic policy to Sarah Palin. Quick: which of the responses below sounds more like Sarah Palin?

    “Madam Acting President, our economy is in serious danger from stagflation. The Chinese Central Bank has stopped buying bonds from us, and the dollar is becoming worthless. We’ve already raised headline rates to a higher level than they’ve been in ___ years. Yet the already atrocious housing market is taking a huge hit, which is putting pressure on consumer spending, which was non-existent, and the economy is completely frozen. However, we can’t lower interest rates without risking complete inflationary meltdown. What do we do?”

    Which response is more like Palin’s?

    A) “Quickly. This calls for drastic measures. Secretary of State ___? I want you to put together a plan by which you call in the Chinese and Japanese separately, to resolve their territorial and energy disputes to their mutual advantage, offering them energy concessions from our side, or cooperative economic initiatives. If we can do that for them, tell them they need to reciprocate by buoying up the dollar for a while longer. It won’t be forever, but…”


    B) “Well, um, yes! When you talk about the headline rates, these are, you know, they’re serious, I mean, these are things that affect real people, who are, I’m saying I am a real person, who knows what people are going through, and, we’re going to be looking at this really carefully. *Psst–what’s a ‘headline rate?'”

  5. anne says:

    brilliant post. this is sort of off-topic, but there was a great article i read a little while back on the internet that discussed the specific methods the republicans have used in the last 50 years or so to co-opt mid-western democrats and strong union people who had been primarily democrats by using their fear and prejudice and religion against them. it explains why so many lower income, less than intelligent people who the republicans blatantly have no interest in other than finagling their votes would be republican. i should have bookmarked it, but is anyone here familiar with something like that?

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