Charlie Sykes Approves this Message

I know what side MLK,Obama,LGBT,Churchill,Buchannan,FDR,civil rights,Lambs of Abortion,America,me and my fucking gun will be on, you whiny white bitch. Comments are moderated by Aryans and will not appear on this fictional stupid dream until after they have been reviewed,approved,rejected,sanitized,sent to TSA through the FBI and our other expensive government security savior organizations and deemed appropriate for posting.

Race & Gender.

How can the candidates be talking about transcending race and gender?

Clinton hopes to keep Obama from rolling up a big-margin victory in Virginia by courting white suburban women,Latinos,federal workers in Northern Virginia and poor,rural whites to the south and to the west. Obama will likely be weakest in those poorer rural white parts of the commonwealth the Shenandoah Valley and Southwest Virginia. Sen. Clinton has actively campaigned in Northern Virginia,where she tailored her message to appeal to demographic groups her campaign believes she can win. She appeared with Hispanic supporters at a Sunday town hall in Manassas,a middle-class town in the western suburbs of D.C. that has seen an influx of Latino immigrants in recent years. She singled out Rep. Ruben Hinojosa,a Texas Democrat whose district is nearly 70 percent Latino and who was on hand to support her.

This is the sort of fuel for the disillusionment of politics.

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

I’ve managed to pry myself from the warmth of my house for the fresh air of a local coffee shop down the road to read & write. Jen and I are sitting in the farthest point from any window or door,which does little to escape the cold breeze when the few patrons manage to wonder in. I read a few more chapters in my neglected attempt to find time to read For Whom The Bell Tolls. This is having the profound effect in my thinking,mainly of War. Over the weekend,Obama somewhat quietly took 3 more wins in Washington,Louisiana,and Nebraska,with another win likely in Maine tonight. An oncoming recession seems to have Americans putting War back on the shelf and focusing on our own scheduled debt repayment plans and the wisdom of Adjustable Rate Mortgage rates when the rates hit rock-bottom. The Big Squeeze to buy more house,and our uniquely American credit drive.

Its hard to imagine those crowds of small-government Republicans at Mitt and Huck campaign events as they tout government cuts – to cheers – and proclamations of the success of the Bush Administration – to even more cheers. They’re clearly not cheering the record-size budget clocking in at $3,000,000,000,000 put before Congress last week that doesn’t include funding for ongoing military operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. They don’t seem to be cheering for much in Iraq – except how "right" they were about The Surge. And they’re certainly not praising the faultering nation-building efforts in Afghanistan.

The whole thing stinks of a blind,deaf, and dumb country free-wheeling on its credit drug and reeling from its own violent excess.

Not many people want to recall the image of Rumsfeld,much less his profound quotes to congressional oversight committees. The sort of stuff filled with simple-minded and imortant, common sense phrases that appealed so much to the Bill O’Reilly folk. It all goes out of fashion fast in the harsh reality of hindsight. You break it,you bought it. It just doesn’t seem to jive with the outsourcing of Afghanistan to the international community – and its subsequent failures. The Bush Administration is selling the same broken dream in Iraq to the American people,and maybe we’re thinking we’ve got that third mortgage going now,why not? It’s time for us to buy a little American Success. Hey,we’ve earned it,right Mitt?

Of all the comparisons to Vietnam that Iraq seemed to provoke,maybe the most accurate one is our American concept of Success. With the right wind on a quiet city day,you can still hear Kissinger and his legion of military spokespersons still saying "we could have won that war,if we _wanted_ to…" There’s the brave men and woman of our Armed Forces against the ignorant hippies and peaceniks,the fearful domestic pussies afraid of hardship and death. Yes,the American Win,that divine providence of war that seems so elusive yet so attainable at the war rallies and sabre speeches.

You’d have a hard time finding any group of proud Americans who see Vietnam as a victory. But within that cross-section of red,white,and blue,you’d see a certain percentage who feel something Good about Afghanistan,and even more about Iraq. Maybe even some who use words like "Win" and "Victory" and "Success."

Today we have the future. We can pinpoint cruise missles and launch unmanned drones from warships on television monitors. We can listen in on our citizens using government lawyers and telecom businesses,torture enemies of the state. Our elected officials vote for it on CSPAN. They’re hailed as Victories for Americans in our security and dedication to our War on Terror. All this confusion between our loss in Vietnam and the debates over Afghanistan and Iraq.

No one bothered to explain what that Victory is. How would the country function? Economically? Security? Insurgency? Those old-style hardliners seem believe in a hypothetical Victory in Vietnam by killing every last Vietnamese that believed in their own country. We seem to blindly accept the same problem in Iraq and the War on Terror. As we apply the word Victory to death,we simply ignore our perpetuation of the problem as Success. In Vietnam,in Afghanistan,Iraq,War on Terror,our domestic surveillence or torture. We’re given the most simplistic goals. By authorative military sources. Victory on the Battlefield,taking out key targets,destroying the Feared Republican Guard. Feel-good tokens of assurance replayed in every theater of war handed out to press,on the breakfast tables,in the corner of the coffee shop. Yet we still lose.

The concept isn’t lost on Bush or his White House nor his Grand Old Party,as evidenced from those wonderful soundbites like "The battle for the hearts and minds",and "nation-building." It’s a subversion of the focus on those simplistic military "Victories" towards something intangible and indefinable,something that might not seem like so much of a loss. Something with a little sugar coating to make it go down easy,no matter what it does to the stomach lining and the fact that we shit blood on a daily basis now.

The fact remains that the military is still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan in a significant capacity. Bush is happily still a War President,and America is still at war,and the question of whether or not America will be Victorious hasn’t been answered. But more importantly,the question of what a Victory would look like in either of our many wars is still completely ignored by the Bush Administration,the Congress,the Candidates,or us. We’re happy either counting our wars as Victories – or calling them failures – so long as the people that sell us those wars never have to define what Victory is in the beginning.

The consequence of this is not merely rhetoric. The most significant is that we’re left with a vague haze of accountability that can be passed on to the next administration and on into history and academics,not to its source,ultimately freeing up future War Presidents’ dreams of stirring up our hot,patriotic blood and calling up more young men and woman to spill theirs. Cheap, easy wars are our future.

You can see it from here. The imminent security threat with a discount pricetag and an overdeveloped sense of military strength and pride,and that key ingredient,no description of Victory. It’s a short-sightedness that I’m not willing to excuse from a Commander-in-Chief. Either our current one is too stupid to know better, or he just doesn’t care. I have deep rooted fears about any candidate that touts the same tendencies and capabilities as if foreign policy strength had anything to do with taking a nation into war. With a big enough gun,any kid can point and shoot and kill. That isn’t what makes a war president.

Success in Iraq and Afghanistan,far from being defined,will ultimately entail more bloodshed and violence in its chaotic quest to stability. The hard part to swallow is that it will probably forsake the very benchmark we’re currently using for justification of another $100,000,000,000 budget this year. A notably un-democratic,Islamic Iraq will emerge from sectarian violence. The templates are all there in places like Pakistan and Palestine and Iran, and the Bush Administration has a hard time pointing out what their ideal Iraq would look like without removing every political and Islamic root tied deep into its history,and probably the entire Arab region, given the long Israel-Palistinian conflict that Bush has systematically ignored. Afghanistan’s opium trade has survived military threat due to the incredibly stupid and childish economic vision put forth by this War President. A vision that seems to defy his own domestic ideals as we argue over just how bad our own economy is doing.

All the while Mitt and Huck Republicans rally and celebrate a Bush Administration’s Victories. The Republicans who reluctantly get behind a McCain nomination,because he’s too liberal of a war hawk. The Anne Coulters who believe in the same Western religious war the militant fundamentalist Islamic terrorists fight for.

Caucus Activists don’t count,but MI,FL,and empty promises for D.C. do.

Clinton argued that caucuses are "primarily dominated by activists" and that "they don’t represent the electorate,we know that."

She couldn’t have stated her claim to centrist position any clearer than that – even at the expense of writing off ‘activists’,using a page from Bill O’Reilly. Now she’s arguing for the "rights of voters" in Washington D.C. just like she told the voters in Michigan and Florida whose delegates were stripped due to their disregard for the party’s established primary dates. It just seems to me that she’s claiming wins in places that don’t count and making promises for more wins that she can’t keep. Has representation in Washington D.C. been a mainstay of her political platform before today? So far,I don’t think any specific phrase has captured my disillusion for Clinton more than her writing off of "activists",something that I believe is integral to the Iraq protestors,social progressives,and the Democratic party.

"These are caucus states by and large,or in the case of Louisiana,you know,a very strong and very proud African-American electorate,which I totally respect and understand."

Activists like MLK,for instance.

The CNN Gun

It’s all OK for Clinton and McCain switched tunes to It’s a Free-For-All in the Early States.

Obama’s doing exactly as expected – the harsh reality in numbers in MA and MO are going Clinton by more than what Obama wants,but only by somewhere in the 5% range. What Obama needs is that close race in CA,and better-than-expected numbers in CT, which he’s doing… The media outlets are still spewing hard Fox News style facts on vague margins based on state-wide popularity. The democratic race won’t fall subject to simple slight-of-hand majorities and magic blue screens.

Tyler says "I like how the’yre all gnawing on each others’ entrails" after watching Fox News speak about the GOP race.

Late notes on the eve of New War. Vote from the Gut.

Ask yourself this. What do I want in the President?

There are names. George Washington. Roosevelt. Ghandi. Alexander. MLK. JFK. Nixon. These icons of character in our history that seem to stir up something at a gut level. Hrm. Ted Kennedy is on the television bellowing and barking like a frightening drunken hound underneath the Obama banner. John Kerry already spoke. He made a few subtle points that were lost in the cheers of the idolic crowds. It’s a late night in Boston for these old men. Kennedy finished up with a caustic hoarse call for that old standard – The Next President of the United States.

There’s a long wait as the U2 song plays on. Everyone’s using U2 these days. Obama’s late. The camera searches,focuses briefly on a security guard. There,finally – he comes on after the verse,arriving somewhere in the middle of Bono’s chorus.

There are details. Arguments. Things like unity versus partisanship,how McCain and Obama seem to cross party lines,undecided voters in open primaries. Questions like whether Clinton has a centrist or experience platform. Whether Clinton’s experience in the Washington machine means any different deals than Obama bringing Republicans and Democrats together. Clinton’s campaign ads depict her discussing the pros of experience in the perspective of the cons of inexperience. "The stakes are too high,the challenges too great…" An Obama ad replays his amplified campaign speech wailing on his epic ideals. Details and Questions on important issues that make and break political news. CNN and MSNBC and Fox News and CSPAN build graphs and tables on these points. But maybe these data points and criteria aren’t quite making as much sense anymore. Does it answer that question? It seemed to work in 2006,but not in 2004. The country is at war, these responsibilities need to be met and applied for,right? Hrm. What were the positions of those iconic names? Where did they plot on the CNN/MSNBC graphs?

Then there’s the numbers for tomorrow. At the heart of those dark numbers is the looming question Obama will face when he finally closes the door in his hotel room somewhere late tonight. What kind of loss would Obama be dealt to knock him out of the campaign? The polls show him tied in CA,a long-time Clinton strongold,where she held a 20 point lead for most of this year and last. That kind of turn might doom Obama,where outside of IL and GA,Obama faces various losses,even given margins of error. The news outlets are finally discussing the Delegate race in prime-time. Clinton maintains a delegate lead only due to her early endorsements from superdelegates – delegates that aren’t pledged at convention time,which looks more and more a likely posibility. 1700 delegates will be sorted out tomorrow,closing in on the majority needed for the nomination. But after tomorrow,there are big numbers yet to come. WA,MD,VA,WI are coming later in February,OH with 141 delegates and TX with 193 delegates on March 4. PA on April 22 with 151. NC on May 6 with 91. With those big numbers coming down the pipe,it will be hard for Obama or Clinton to suffer a decisive blow,where even if Clinton takes everything but IL and GA, Obama will hold her to within enough delegates to compete in those later states. In total,there are some 1300 delegates after tomorrow. Obama would have to lose momentum by being down by some 20 points in close states like CA,AL,AZ,CT. He’ll take the bigger losses in MA,NJ,and TN. An Obama upset in MO or more importantly MA would hurt Clinton by showing vulnerability in what should be an iron campaign,with insurmountable leads. Clinton’s already talking about superdelegates, which I think is indicative of her continuing reliance upon the standard political machines to keep her campaign afloat. MSNBC is talking about headlines of Clinton winning state majorities,but I don’t think so. The headlines will be short-lived without the fuel of beating Obama by eliminating his chances to "come back" in those later states. As long as he can win half those races,he’s got the message and the money to take her on all the way to the convention.

On the GOP side,McCain’s got all the poll numbers outside of Mitt in MA. Mitt will need his closest race in TN to remain even remotely viable. But the remnants of the big GOP field are long gone now… Huck’s staying in,eyeing a meaningful slot somewhere on a McCain ticket…

The more I see, the more all those political details and arguments and questions of policy all grow more and more distant. What do you want in a President? Fuck it. Vote from the gut,shoot from the hip. The hell with these bastards. I’ll be up late tomorrow,taking aim and hopefully writing something more significant than "fuck it." But probably not.

PS. Clinton’s lead is still there; the concept that she’s lost her numbers across the board is some sort of imaginary media experiment.