The Bogeyman

If I were the Democratic candidate for president, and it was September
and my opponent were John McCain, here's the ad I would run: A street
in the middle east. Some cute children playing games. Some women
carrying groceries. A dog trotting by. Back to the children. Cut to
McCain singing "Bomb bomb bomb Iran", but speeded up a little, to
remind people how crazy he is. Cut back to Iranian street scene. The
dog joins the children. Blow them up. Ever see "Failsafe"? That's
what happens at the end. The last few scenes are of folks minding
their own business on the streets of New York. Then they're gone.

The next ad I would run would be film clips of American soldiers in
Iraq, dead, dismembered, dying. Cut to Walter Reed Army Hospital. American
soldiers, men and women, struggling with their injuries. Cut to
funeral for American soldier. Cut to John McCain, smiling, welcoming a
hundred years of war in Iraq.

But I'm not going to be the candidate, and, according to Bill Clinton,
if Hillary is the candidate, she is going to sell us out, because "she
and John McCain are very close," and they've agreed to use the
campaign to put the voters to sleep so that they can get on with
consolidating the military-industrial corporate base of the US
government.

The press concedes the race to McCain already. In Sunday's column
(which I read in the International Herald Tribune, my Times
substitute), Frank Rich maintains that Bill Clinton's surge into the
primaries will bring him serious trouble from the Republican noise
machine, as they rake up one indiscretion after another and throw them
in Billary's face. If McCain wins the nomination, according to Rich,
the Clintons can't beat him because when Bill and Hillary were in law
school, McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and because
Independents like McCain. Apparently, while everyone will rake up
Billary's past, McCain's will be allowed to slumber peacefully,
and, with the connivance of the swooning press, the US will get
to elect a crackpot.

You may remember that in May of 2006, McCain stumbled into the
commencement exercises at the New School in New York City, intending
to give the same speech to those lefties as he had given to the
graduating class of Liberty University, when what to his wondering
eyes should appear but a 22-year-old girl who gave him a sound
talking-to.

Those kids sent the old man home with his tail between his legs. I
would show that, too, in my campaign ads.

Any Republican president would be a disaster, but McCain would
be the biggest disaster of all, because, both by who he is and what he
professes, he encourages the US, as Reagan did, to engage in
sentimental, nostalgic wishful thinking about the effects of American
"goodness" and "power". The nation, which is at last waking up to the
disasters of the last twenty-eight years--the disasters of the "free
market" and "making the world safe for democracy" as a cover for
ruthless exploitation of all natural resources no matter where they
are and who owns them--would succumb the fantasy again, at least long
enough for those disasters to be compounded and rendered absolutely
unfixable. McCain is a walking delusion--that we really are brave,
that we meant well, that mistakes were made but the policies
themselves were sound. McCain reassures us that we weren't so bad
after all, when we were. We can't come to terms with why the US is in
the pickle it is in without consigning McCain to the dustheap.

The majority of Americans do not want to stay in Iraq. The majority of
Americans think that policies McCain supports take the country in "the
wrong direction". The majority of Americans do not agree with McCain,
but Billary and the press are already telling us that, once he is the
nominee, they aren't going to touch him. They are going to let him
break the army. They are going to let him break the bank. They are
going to let him continue and expand the Bush presidency, because he's
a war hero, and if a war hero likes a war, then nobody else's opinion
matters.