Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Storm Clouds: Weather, Politics and Class II Narcotics

With all the media coverage of Hurricane Sandy, the presidential race was largely absent for almost a week. For those paying close attention, however, it wasn't gone entirely—here's what I gleaned of the electioneering efforts in the days since the storm took center stage. (I have 20/20 vision, so I'm pretty good at gleaning.)

With his campaign on hold, Mr. Obama appeared on TV to say some presidential things about the planned emergency effort.

Seeing as press briefings are a typical response to an impending natural disaster even when no election is on the horizon, and since at no point during this appearance did the president re-state that Osama bin Laden is dead, I'll refrain from viewing it as a staged campaign-proxy event.

That said, that sort of leadership display is still a boost for the president's image at this crucial time in the election season, so it's to be expected that his challenger, Mr. Romney, though not wanting to be seen tactlessly campaigning during a time of national distress, would still wish to curry favor with the electorate, as there are mere days remaining until said electorate sets out to electorize a president.

This he accomplished by turning one of his Ohio campaign stops into a canned food drive.

And then by delivering food & supplies to hurricane victims. All of which was accomplished with the utmost modesty, of course.

I should mention that having been figuratively "under the weather" since before the entire eastern seaboard found itself literally under the weather, I spent the days in and around the storm under a cloud of doctor-prescribed, codeine-infused cough syrup. My recall of recent events is consequently a little hazy, but in addition to the actual candidates, I seem to remember John McCain appearing on television and declaring Hurricane Sandy the result of Obama's "disastrous foreign policy."

There's a chance that that one was a hallucination. Or maybe my fevered brain perceived an exaggerated version of his statements. But I can't be that far off—these days John McCain seems to have nothing to do with his time other than to shamelessly and repeatedly parrot any GOP talking-point stuck in front of his nose.

McCain has been repeating that statement about Obama's supposed massive cover-up or gross incompetence ad nauseum for the last several weeks in his every public appearance, and by doing so, not only is he accelerating the shift of his legacy from respected war veteran to transparent partisan shill, he is also firmly placing himself in the company of maniacs like Donald "I'm not a racist but prove to me that this black president wasn't born in Africa" Trump:

On the other hand, maybe Trump is the one who suffers more for their association. McCain's recent statements, and his increasingly hard-right views in general, appear to be a bitter reflection of his own loss against candidate Obama. McCain seems like a once-noble man whose rationality has given way to resentment—who is now all too eager to serve as a cynical and zealous tool for a flip-flopping Mormon in hopes of exacting revenge on the guy who bested him several years ago when we last electorized a president. At least Trump—while he may be is a maniac, and clearly possesses little in the way of rationality—most certainly never says anything he doesn't whole-heartedly believe.

I'm not entirely sure which is worse. Though I'm also not entirely sure that Donald Trump isn't a figment of my codeine-addled imagination. Some things are just too hard to glean.

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