Let’s get right to the point. Is there anything that Barack Obama might do to nail it tonight? Or anything you or I can do, to help our neighbors notice what’s significant?
One thing I’ve noted is that both McCain and Palin eagerly and strenuously grabbed the chance to be the louder -- and first -- supporters of Israel, forcing both Obama and Biden to play catch up. If he's totally smart, Obama will mention Israel FIRST THING, even in mild terms, so that MCC will seem to be playing catch up when he does his thump.
While I am at it, I’ll mention a few core things that I’ve also told my cousin on the Obama campaign, about missed opportunities. Obama should at least mention in passing:
* - that McCain backed the Bush plan to invest social security in the stock market.
* - that Iran is the chief beneficiary of our self-ruining adventure in Iraq.
* - that Phil Gramm and several hundred other Bush-crony sidekicks prove McPalin and Busheney are siblings, they are not reformers.
* - Mexico (!) - helping it not to fail. (A great reach to hispanics while showing that Republicans have foreign affairs tunnel vision.)
* - Science and Technology(!)
* - The readiness issue.
* - The abused civil service and officer corps
We’ll see. Meanwhile, what about you and I?
Well, it may not be the most dignified thing to suggest, but just spreading the viral message to watch McCain’s tongue-flick might be useful. Tawdry, but, well, they started it.
But there’s more... and some of it is worrisome.
-- One possible silver lining to the financial crisis...
I wrote a while back that the economic news should derail lesser culture-war distractions, e.g. 527 Swift Boat stuff. And this (so-far) has proved true, with the attempts to smear Obama with pathetic “connections” to Bill Ayers, who long ago planted bombs before recanting. Most people have little patience for such minutiae, at the moment. Not even “he’s a muslim.” (Have any of you in battleground states witnessed much of this?)
An aside: see an important article in Salon that starts with this quotation: “My government is my worst enemy. I'm going to fight them with any means at hand." Only this is from the leader of the Alaska secessionist party that Palin’s husband joined for seven years and of which she has spoken highly and repeatedly.
Will these theatrically stupid attempts at swiftboating fail? Likely. Only then will the other side, growing desperate, benefit from a different type of distraction, something much larger, may be in the works. You know what I mean. Yes, many of those who are forecasting an “October Surprise” come from the loony fringes. Still, the aromas swirl all about us. Can it hurt to take precautions?
I believe there are a few small things that Barack Obama can say - even in passing - that would "bruise" the possibility of an October Surprise, without openly referring to one. Things that people would simply nod-to, in agreement.. but that would make him seem prescient and ready, if something happened.
Right now, I have to tell you -- the prospect of Bush issuing 1,000 blanket pardons in December fills me with wrath. And yet, another part of me has to be glad that he has that power to get his cronies and fellow gang-members off scot-free! Because, otherwise, the prospect of prison would probably make his core cabal so desperate they'd be sure to do something really stupid. His promise of a Get Out Of Jail Card may be the one thing that lets us get all the way through till January, somewhat okay.
Still, I wish the topic of the coming “Pardon Tsunami” would start getting discussed. For one thing, it distills how badly we’ve been reamed. For another, Nancy Pelosi et al should do something to constrain those pardons -- putting fences and conditions around them, in advance. Don’t assume it's impossible! Elsewhere, I described how it might be done, in a way that has a chance of getting by the Courts.
Anyway, one thing is obvious - the best way to prevent an “October Surprise” is simply to make the election such an utter blowout-landslide that the SOBs can’t imagine winning, even by wreaking massive harm upon America.
-- Nevertheless prepare -- on the off chance -- for bad events!
One final thought about those paranoid fantasies. These days it is prudent -- not paranoid -- to take basic precautions. There are too many variables. Too many of the super-mighty see their interests teetering. Too many are desperate to avoid accountability. And of course we do still have those Jihadists to worry about, as well.
What else can we do? Well, I’ve long urged folks to take CERT training and join their local Community Emergency Response Team -- the tiny (but still significant) remnant of civil defense that the Bushites have left still standing. You’ll get 20 hours of class in useful skills, a meaningful ID card -- and accompanying duties to care for your neighborhood and family, if anything major happens, plus some nifty tools and a shopping list of things to store in your shed as any responsible citizen should do. This isn’t militia/survivalist stuff but the government-sanctioned and totally mainstream thing that a large fraction of us ought to volunteer to do. The sort of thing prior generations did, as a matter of simple habit.
At least do the minimal things - buy those Costco bins of things you’ll eventually wind up using/eating anyway (and do live up to that.) Batteries, solar radio, safely stored cans of gas. And get your neighbors doing the same, without sounding kooky.
Just in case.
-- And more paranoia! ;-)
One more reason for us to pray for an utter blowout-landslide. If they see that coming, corrupt red-officials (in league with Diebold) won't dare try much cheating at the polls, to swing the election for president. Anything too glaring will invite scrutiny... and prison time. (A recent effort to do just that, in Michigan, blew up in their faces, thanks to wary citizens, and now the GOP campaign has fled the state.)
Alas, though, the prospect of an Obama blowout may only change the nature of their efforts, diverting them down more subtle avenues. If Obama seems destined for a landslide, there won't be giant plays for electoral votes, but instead tweaks that are concentrated on local races, where Diebold and company might get away with it. For example, amid all the excitement, nobody will be looking very closely at state assembly and state senate contests. But those are exactly where you can bet there will be wholesale vote rigging.
Especially in states where it seems possible that the legislature may slide into Democratic hands. Remember, these legislatures redraw every district, in a collusive crime that both parties engage-in, called gerrymandering. If the dems squeak into complete power in a formerly "red" state, they will be able to transform that squeaker into a new lock. The GOP can't allow that to happen. And you can be sure they won’t.
(In fact, there are some surpising and rather bizarre aspects to this gerrymandering scam, that I explain in detail, elsewhere.)
In the short term, voters should check their paper receipts on election day, and not just for president! We need poll watchers! And media must recognize the importance of these lower level offices.
--- From the 2004 Republican Platform -- ah such a marvelous/historical document:
"The most significant barrier to homeownership is the down payment. We support efforts to reduce that barrier, like the American Dream Downpayment Act and Zero Downpayment Mortgages."
Ah, but now they blame the poor folks... gurggle...
--- And Now Some Political Miscellany ---
Top Ten viral political videos.
“If elected he will be the first to enter the office without financial backing from the major business, industrial or professional groups with their PACs, their contribution bundlers and lobbyists. That first day, which Hillary Clinton has made famous, will find Obama not owing a thing to the big money pressure groups. You would have to go back a century and a half to name an incoming president with so few debts to repay.” http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080324/vonhoffman
Also...some fun satire of Obama as an elitist.
Stefan offered this hilarious gem.
A theme I go into... along with other aspects of this vital election.
And more from the War Against Science.
And finally, continuing a fascinating topic... whether there is underlying psychology or biology, behind whether a person chooses to be Republican or Democrat. Individuals who are more easily startled by threats are more likely than others to support protective policies, such as military spending, the Iraq War and the death penalty and other classically conservative views, finds a new study.