I still remember with fondness the sound of a thousand flapping flip-flops thundering with patriotic glee at the 2004 Republican Convention. I get misty when I recall the band-aid Purple Heart ribbons pinned to all those lapels. I choke up when I hear the patriotic poetry tripping off the dry tongue of George W. Bush. And I really admire how they tried to scare the shit out of everyone dumb enough to fall for it.
I laughed my ass off when Dick Cheney suggested that under a Kerry presidency, the U.S. might be hit by another terrorist attack like 9/11. You know the old, “don’t vote for my honorable opponent or THEY MIGHT KILL YOU!” sort of tactic. Rather quaint. Reminds me of LBJ’s famous atomic mushroom cloud warning to potential Goldwater voters in 1964. LBJ was way ahead of his time.
Flash forward to 2008 and it is quite obvious that John McCain has learned much from both Presidential campaigns of George W. Bush. When you run out of ideas, sling some mud. In fact, sling a whole lot of mud because some of it might stick: guilt by fleeting association; character assassination; McCarthyism; ignorant invective; good ol’ time race baiting; and let’s not forget lies. Lots of lies. Cue ominous music: “Barack Obama is not the person you think he is….” So, this time it’s “Don’t vote for my opponent or HE WILL KILL YOU!” Now the wing nut jackals are gnashing their teeth at the blow back caused by years of Republican failures.
Decades ago the Reagan revolution swept across the great plains and transformed Washington. "Liberal" became a bad word while tax-cuts, deregulation, and moral issues had become the governing mandate. Democrats quickly moved to the right in order to fight back the growing shift in the electorate. William Jefferson Clinton is loathed by many conservatives for "triangulating" traditional Republican issues like Welfare reform, fiscal prudence, and deregulation. Yes, Clinton was hated for his overwhelming mastery of politics above and beyond all his Republican rivals (just ask Newt Gingrich). The idea of a popular, centrist Democrat was just too much for them to take. And what drove them insane was the fact that Bill Clinton's approval rating jumped 10 points to 73 percent after the House passed two articles of impeachment!
Now, after eight years of George W. Bush's failed administration, and Republicans controlling Congress for twelve of the last fourteen years, the Grand Old Party is goose-stepping towards a vast political wilderness. And there's a good chance they could reside there for many years to come. They have learned nothing from 1998. As they grope and grasp for the golden age of Reagan, the majority of the country has come to realize that supply-side economics has failed them. John McCain has played the fear and smear card to his shame. As he rages against Barack Obama as a tax and spend socialist, the rest of the country is looking for a real leader -- not another CEO President who will only look out for the wealthy, and push a partisan conservative agenda that's out of step with most Americans' values. If there has ever been a Presidential candidate that deserved to lose an election, it's John McCain. Let's just hope that we've grown as a nation since 2004. Let's pray that the junior Senator from Illinois is sworn in on January 20th, 2009. If not, it we're in for four very long years.