Saturday, February 24, 2007

The "Presidentiables"

AOG, London

I am saddened by the current state of affairs within the Democratic party and the upcoming presidential election in the US.
A couple of weeks ago I was semi-content with the idea that the next president of the US could have been a woman-Mrs. Clinton, or Mr. Obama. Yet, as the pre-presidential pageant runs, a few bits and pieces have begun to surface that make me think that, unfortunately, the next president of the US will be a Republican, if not, in fact, Senator MaCain.

I remember life in the US back in 1988, and the presidential election that year. The Democratic party, boldly endorsed the nomination of a certain, unheard of, Mr. Michael Dukakis. For a while, I believed he could be electable, though I remember thinking at the time that I preferred Reagan. I even remember a bumpersticker that read: "Let Dukakis become President, lets make Reagan King!" Ha ha ha... but I do think it represented the popular feeling at the time. Mr. Reagan had been a good president. At least I thought so at the time. So did many others.

I also remember that the media were very much against Mr. Bush Sr. at the time. I remember the quips about Bush Sr being boring, about not having served much in war, about being weak and a bit of a coward.

All looked good for Mr. Dukakis.

And then I saw it. I saw the one thing which made me understand immediatly that Mr. Dukakis would not win. There was a skit on Saturday Night Live on NBC, which parodied the presidential election. To this day I remember its slogan "Vote for Bush, he is more white!"

And then I knew it. Somebody somewhere had stumbled upon the one thing which would turn the election in favor of the weak, cowardly, tiger tatoo on his buttcheek Mr. Bush: his whiteness, or rather, his "more whiteness".

Sure enough, as my family flew out of the US on election day 1988 headed for a new life in Europe, voters in the US elected Mr. Bush.

I think this week it happened again. Whilst both camps intermittently boo and cheer their candidates, someone somewhere has stumbled upon the one thing which will turn the election away from Mr. Obama: his religion. As ridiculous as this may sound to most people, the mud has been flung about Mr. Obama being a Muslim -the bit about his middle name being Hussein has also taken its toll, but, it being just a name, and the infamous Saddam being dead, it is a bit of a "so?" issue- and it has begun to stick.

Fox news constantly decries that he has attended a muslim school in Indonesia, that he has tried to hide his past. That...well, lets face, that Mr. Obama "...just ain't a Christian!" And guess what? I don't think the US is about to elect a non-Christian into the White House. Mr. Obama has already decided not to favor Fox news any further during his campaign. Although this says a lot about the current state of affairs in America's partisan media, it also shows Mr. Obama may have noticed that Fox has struck upon something which may hurt his campaign no end.

As for Mrs. Clinton, the current climate looks less rosy with each passing day. The latest pecadillo by the "presidentiables" (Spanish word neologised into english to mean "those who are eligible of being elected to president") is the running spat between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama. is this a good thing? It is if you are a Republican.

So far, the only thing the Democrats have against them is that their candidates are seen as a) a woman, and b) a Muslim. So far, the only electable candidates the Democrats have are a) a woman and b) a Christian who used to be a Muslim.

Are these things important? Well, in any other country on earth, probably not. But in the USA, perhaps both these things are seen as much too important. If you take a look at the american press, it soon becomes obvious that no one is talking about major issues yet, and most everyone is talking about how each candidate is running their campaign- not what their campaign is about.

Is this democratic? Oh, of course it is. Democracy is the rule of the people. And if the people elect politicians on looks, religion, gender and...what else is there? I forget...

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