Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bill Richardson: The Snowball and the Infernal Regions...
Bill Richardson is the latest democrat (small 'd' intentional) to throw his beret (they all wear them, ya know) into the ring for the race to the Presidency in 2008. The current Governor of New Mexico has a stellar resume: Former cabinet-level post (Secretary of Energy), former U.N. Ambassador, former National Security Advisor (I think), spent a term or two in the Congress. All-in-all, being fair, the best-qualified (in terms of actual work) of all the candidates of both parties, to be a nominee.

Unfortunately, he'll never make it.

Because qualifications no longer matter. What matters is that you are able to vilify your political opponents in a way which "energizes your base" while avoiding the pitfall of making people so disgusted that they tune you out. In other words: what really counts in American politics today is which candidate can walk the tightrope between being sort-of-offensive and being too- obviously-offensive.

In the offensive department, we have a whole string of democratic party second-stringers, most of whom (with the exception of Dennis Kucinich and Joe Biden) most people have never heard of, nor care about.

In the too-obviously-offensive category we have the democratic superstars; Edwards and Clinton. Barack Obama, despite the fact that he's an obvious pandering, lying sack of you-know-what, at least comes across as a genuinely nice man. Edwards and Clinton can lie to your face, pretend to be whatever you want them to be, say whatever you need them to say, and it's perfectly obvious that they're lying and pandering, but it doesn't matter; the hand-picked crowds love it. They love it even more when they're in full-throttle attack mode, and it never gets more full-throttle then when it comes to Bush-hatred, which goes beyond politics and ideology and is evolving into a mental disorder.

And here is where a guy like Bill Richardson has the proverbial snowball's chance: The political left has become so unbalanced, so infected by pathological-hatred on individual personalities (Bush, Cheney, Gonzoles, Libby, etc), that there is no longer a point at which a candidate can become too-obviously-offensive. The worse picture you can paint, the better.

Bill Richardson is not that kind of guy. He doesn't have that sort of mean in him. He's not programmed to spew venom 24/7 and then claim victim-hood afterwards. He's not constructed for the ad nauseum repetition of absolute lies. He's a decent man.

And that's what will end his run. He can't keep up with the slime machines of Clinton and Edwards. He can't compete with the media-made-sexiness of Obama.

And it's a crying shame, because while he might be a democrat, I can recognize a pretty good guy when I see one, and Bill Richardson seems to be one. As far as government service goes, he's got the pedigree. The only person I can think of who's had that sort of resume in recent times has been Bush pere, and in retrospect, he seems damn-near regal, never mind presidential.

We are about to set a dangerous precedent in this country; this country will probably, in all eventuality, will have been presided over by either a Bush or a Clinton for the last two decades, depending on the outcome of the dimwit's beauty contest. Which is what makes a man like Richardson all the more valuable (and attractive as a candidate), because there's more Bush's and Clinton's in the pipeline, and Edwards and Gore won't go away until someone gives them a final death befitting the undead (a stake through the heart and immersal in holy water).

There's an opportunity here that I'm afraid we just might miss; the opportunity to re-inject civility and intelligence back into our politics, and the chance to avoid the dynastic rule of two incredibly incompetent families.

Unfortunately for you,Bill, we'll probably never get the chance to see you in action.
John Edwards: The Gift That Keeps on Giving...
I've never liked John Edwards. I've always felt he was a hypocrite and an empty suit, and above all, an arrogant bastard, who's considered opinion is that everyone else on the planet hasn't the same sense that God gave to a retarded Irish Setter.

The phony populism was always easy to spot: the "Two Americas" routine, the "do as I say, not as I do" sort of conspicuous consumption, the hypocritical (and public!) rebuke of Wal-Mart at the very same time he was twisting arms for an X-Box, or whatever it was.

I could hardly believe it could get worse. I was wrong.

By now, we've all heard about the famous $400 haircut. That caused a bit of a stir; a man claiming to be a champion of the poor avails himself of an expensive coiffure and still demands to be taken seriously. It just didn't wash. Especially when Edwards, in defending that haircut, makes a ridiculous statement about his staff making the arrangements and polishes it off with this humdinger (paraphrased):

"I was not personally involved in that haircut. I had nothing to do with it."

That's how stupid he believes you are. The man sat in the barber's chair. It was his hair that was cut. But he wasn't involved.

It's "I didn't inhale" and "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is", all over again.

Now we find out that Mr. Edwards, stalwart defender of the poverty-stricken, makes speeches at 40K a pop (twice the official "poverty level" yearly wage, for a family of four, no less!) and was recently paid $55,000 for speech on (what else?) poverty at the University of California, Davis. I rather doubt Mr. Edwards sees the logical problem here. It turns out by the way, that UC Davis is a public university (meaning it is supported by the taxpayer) which has plans to up it's tuition by 7% next year because, well, at 55k a pop for bullshit, it can't afford to educate folks at the old levels of funding.

This comes on the heels of the discovery that after being soundly whipped in his bid for the job of President and John Kerry's lap dog in 2004, Mr. Edwards went to work for a hedge fund. A job for which he was paid (I believe) $2 million a year. He claims that he took the job in order to study the economics of poverty. Let me repeat that -- the economics of poverty. He said that with a straight face, too -- give him credit for balls, at the very least.

He's also got a proven record of utilizing personal tragedy for personal gain. The tragic death of his son in an automobile accident vaulted him into a Senate seat (which he barely sat in, because he began campaigning for the Presidency five minutes after he was sworn in). He's used his wife's recurring cancer to garner sympathy and push his "health care plan" which basically amounts to "band-aids and eyedrops for thee...I can afford real insurance, thank you".

John Edwards: the answer to the question that no one has asked. If someone has asked it, please shoot them -- they cannot be allowed to reproduce.