Monday, August 4, 2008

Straight Talk Express

Oh, Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye

What a Difference a Day Makes: One of my favorite oldies is the Dinah Washington hit, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Today the Washington that fills our TV screen is not Dinah but D.C. Think back to the days when there were ten or more candidates vying for their party’s nomination for a chance to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. On the Demo side Hillary’s tiara was tucked safely away in her trousseau even though a young whipper-snapper of a pest was nipping at her heels. The Republicans made John McCain the butt of jokes and their big money donors refused to open their purses even to toss a few gold coins his way. Reporters had him flying on low budget Southwest Airlines carrying his own baggage; not because of HIS baggage but because he dared to be a crusty maverick and challenge the machine.

The Day the Wheels Came off the Straight Talk Express: The Senator from Arizona was a pain in the neck if not other parts of the anatomy of the kingmakers of his party so they ignored him. Instead of flying in a private jet or even Southwest, he rode the bus he called his “Straight Talk Express.” One year ago McCain’s campaign manager and his chief strategist both resigned. Rumors were rampant that he was ready to throw in the bloody towel. All the writers and pundits had fun with the line “The wheels came off the Straight Talk Express.” But McCain outlasted his rivals. One by one they fell by the wayside until he alone stood at the altar awaiting anointment by his party. He bought new wheels for his “Straight Talk Express” which looked like the wheels from Charleton Heston’s chariot in Ben Hur - wicked. Then the Express left the Interstate and embarked on the Low Rove Road.

From Maverick to Mudslinger: When Senator McCain began his single-man march to Washington he made party liners on both sides of the aisle shudder. His candor was refreshing and appealed to Democrat voters as well as Republicans – except for the hard-line Right. McCain got away with the unthinkable for a Republican candidate – talking to American Indian leaders, chastising his colleagues regarding their stance on the environment, and other comments of party-line heresy. Just the kind of guy Washington desperately needs. Things change. That was then. This is now.

Out with the old, in with the new: All of a sudden the word on the street is, “McCain goes Negative!” What happened? How could this maverick who vowed to change the complexion of filth in attack ads now be going negative? The once straight shooter and his straight talk have begun to be interlaced with distortion and innuendo. He goads his opponent into taking a trip abroad then complains about the press coverage. He accuses his opponent of playing the race card. He approves one video attack ad after another. How did the Express get splashed with so much mud? What happened to the maverick who promised to bring a cleaner campaign to the American public? Who hijacked the Express? The culprits are disciples of “George Bush’s Brain,” Karl Rove. The McCain flip flop turned into a belly flop that sadly seems to be working despite the slime that oozes into the once pristine bus that was the Straight Talk Express.

Promises made but not kept: The John McCain who once promised he would never question an opponent’s patriotism has announced that his opponent “would rather lose a war to win an election.” An attack ad mocked his status as a celebrity by showing two Hollywood airheads who had nothing to do with the trip abroad. Sadly the party that has conducted gutter politics with “Swift Boat” and “Willie Horton” ads usually won. I’m not sure if that says more about the slime mongers or the American public who are duped into voting for such garbage.

Change is still possible: Neither candidate is has clean hands in this election. But both have the potential to tell the slime mongers who work for their respective parties to go to Hell. Senator Obama’s campaign has raised money from new, young donors and does not need DNC or federal monies. Senator McCain started out being a maverick and it got him this far. Either candidate can do a better job than the current administration but both need to toss out their negative surrogates. The country needs it.

A little blogging music Maestro... Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”

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