Monday, February 1, 2016

Politiki Note

Eye Oh Way

Election years are when the currents of American society rise and collide in all their noisy, discordant glory; it's particularly true in Presidential campaign years.

A time when every politician in the contest tries to evoke a connection between the electoral process, and the rural-farming, pre-industrial, small-town roots of the nation's past : of torchlight parades; Lincoln and Douglas debating; Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt campaigning from the platform at the back of the last Pullman car in a train that whistlestopped through the heartland.  It's a myth of continuity, of fairness and democracy, an attempt to bind us to an age that disappeared long ago; and it begins with the caucuses in Iowa.

Half of my people are from Iowa -- Muscatine (Pop. 22,000+); Moscow (Pop. 361); Atalissa (Pop. 311). Small places, at the eastern edge of the Great Plains not far west of the Mississippi. And the chances are good that some third cousins, twice removed, are casting their ballots tonight.

Tomorrow, we'll get to see who the winners are. There is a large contingent, left, right and center, that are praying on their knees that this will be the end of Trumpolina. We'll see.
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MEHR, MIT EINE KLEINE SCHADENFREUDE:  The Paper Of Record's headline this morning -- "Cruz Wins In Iowa, Dealing Trump a Humbling Loss".  But in looking at the percentages, it wasn't exactly a crushing rejection of Trumpolina by Iowa's caucusers: 27.6% = Cruz, 24.3% = Trumpy; 23.1% = Lil' Markie. So not yet the singing of O Donny Boy, Da Pipes Da Pipes Is Callin'...

And, please remember that the 'winner' in this nightmarish scenario is Greg Stillson. Greg Stillson, ladies and gentlemen. This is a person who will be ecstatically happy to shove their concept of religion down the throats of every member of American society. It is an evangelical Xtian's sacred duty to do so, and so help bring about whatever crazed, brain-damaged delusional mutant freakshow image of their own private interpretation of selected parts of the Bible the will of god (well, somebody's god, anyway).

As a Repub candidate, I'd take Donny any day. But it all comes down to money. It comes down to whomever Addeled Sheldon, the KochBrudern, Lil' Rupert and a few other HNWIs at home and abroad (remember, offshore contributions, properly sheep-dipped, aren't illegal after the Scalia Court's Citizens United decision!) want to purchase to be that candidate. 

On the Democratic side, ony a few tenths of a percentage point separated Hillary The Inevitable !  from Senator Bernie Sanders: the contest continues into New Hampshire.

And, the press recognizes that this election season, the focus is not "jobs" or "the economy" or "the war(s)"; it's about a fundamental Rage At The Machine. As Michael Barbaro noted in the Paper Of Record:
The vote here in Iowa was a portrait of red-hot America, so disaffected that it turned to a pugilistic evangelical Republican who calls for demolition of a system saturated with corruption. And it sent a forceful message to Democratic leaders that it was unwilling to put aside its resentment of Wall Street and corporate America to crown a lifelong party insider who has amassed millions in speaking fees from the big banks.

Monday night’s results confirmed that despite the widening cultural and political fissures that have divided right and left, voters are united in an impatience, even a revulsion, at what they see as a rigged system that no longer works for them.

For Republicans, the enemy is an overreaching government, strangling their freedoms and pocketbooks. For Democrats, it is an unfair economy, shrinking their paychecks and aspirations.
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