Nasty Campaigns by Angry Old Men

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Nasty Campaigns by Angry Old Men

Nasty wins in short term political elections – but nasty does not serve well as a way of life – or as a way of domestic or foreign policy. But that is what the country has experienced. So now we have a new election. The election of 2008 will be studied closely by historians. This is one of those pivotal (hopefully) global elections that either corrects or affirms the course of humanity for the next several decades.

President George W. Bush played the ‘nasty card’ several times in two Presidential campaigns. He won both elections. John McCain and Al Gore were both recipients of his venom in 2000. John Kerry took his lumps in 2004. So what, Bush won didn’t he? Yes – he did – and the country lost. The affirmation of nasty as the road to victory carried over into the Bush Administration. The formation and execution of policy decisions that represent all of us to the world have been based on a fundamental premise of nastiness as the means to an end.

Grasping the totality of a Presidential campaign is difficult – even for the experienced political junkies. So let’s reduce this quality down to more personal terms. In the politically correct world of today we encapsulate nasty people in the category of ‘Angry.” When we see a grumpy old man with a cane snap at the clerk at Wal-Mart we mutter to our fellow shoppers, “Oooh, he is an Angry Man.” Everyone in the check out line nods their approval. Yes, they all agree, his problem is unresolved anger from his childhood – everyone has been in therapy and they know the jargon. Then the store manager shows up and grants the grumpy old man the discount demanded on his two cans of chicken soup.

What is the lesson here? Nasty works! Angry old men get their way because everyone just wants to go home and fire up the grill. Most will stir the hot coals, turn the ribs, and drink their beer and laugh as they tell the story of the nasty old man at Wal-Mart. The cynical nasty old man goes home and warms up a can of chicken soup and and eats by himself as he watches Fox News. He grumbles, “The audacity of hopelessness, bah – humbug!”

So it is with ‘nasty’ as foreign and domestic policy. The United States sits alone, sipping the bitter soup of vengeance and anger. Our fictional Wal-Mart, based in Saudi Arabia, granted the nasty old man a ten percent discount on the 100 percent markup. The grumpy old man savors his small victory while Saudi Arabia builds new buildings and lends money to the Bin Ladens.

John McCain has adopted the campaign tactics of King George W. Bush. And he is savoring his small victories. He is learning that nasty is a good way of life, as did King George.

I am standing about thee heads back in the check out line – watching the transaction unfold. My fellow shoppers and I all know that the Grumpy Old Man – John McCain – will win a small victory in the daily news cycle.

I will go home, fire up the smoker, rub the ribs, and feel grateful that some candidates actually have the audacity to hope.

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There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. We have this belief that nasty and mean is tough. I think that we as American fall for this foolish stuff all the time and if we believe the polls we will fall for it this time as well. I think that if we continually fall for the same thing that we get exactly what we deserve.

  2. I really loathe nasty campaigning especially from my chosen candidate. There are more, well qualified candidates to lead the free world, but who would want to with race being the precursor to all things in America. The white American male can never win. He is viewed as a sexist, racist, bigot with only one thing in mind, advancement of the white community and his own pocketbook. And the merry go round spins. Who fits this description? A conservative, right wing, republican male. He is the man who started this sterotype in the first place. So where does that leave the compassionate conservative? Not running for election but instead defending the wayward conservative whose views are not quite his own, but is the only representative he has. I applaud Obama for not employing the “Downtrodden Minority” campaign. Here comes the first person to say ‘listen up, minority or not, pick up the pieces of your own life and make something happen’. The more I hear this man, the more I like him, maybe, just maybe, this right wing, conservative might vote liberal, but not quite yet.

  3. @Capt. America
    I’m a newly minted US citizen keenly observing the American president election process and what strikes me is that Republicans are abandoning their principles of small government (the current US government is the largest this country has ever known, under Republican leadership, to boot), fair chance (not everybody in this country is given a fair chance, it’s undeniable that privileged kids have a better chance to get to the “right” school than their less moneyed counterparts), and civil liberties (why should the government decide what I should do with my body as long as I don’t step on any body else’s freedom to do the same, within the framework of the law). To be sure, the Democrats have also left behind some of their principles (e.g., fair share, but that may sound “socialistic” in the US), the defense of the under-privileged (single mothers, mentally or physically handicapped people, etc.). It seems to me that this contributes a lot to the nastiness evoked in this thread. What else is there to talk about when the ideals of both parties are trampled upon by these very same parties? Where does that leave people like me: Like the Republicans, I believe in small and efficient government, and like the Democrats, I believe in “fair share” and social freedom. Where is my candidate?

  4. @ Marc,

    If you are looking for a current candidate who is for small govt. and fair share, I’d think your candidate would be Ron Paul. I will probably stick with John McCain, but I feel like I can empathize with him. I do not think Obama is necessarily the wrong choice, but not mine. Really this all boils down to what I know. I have followed John McCain since he first ran in 2000, of course I was still in the military and what I knew was military and to me this man was a war hero. What scares me with Senator Obama is what Bill Clinton did, downsize the military. I will have to keep watching and see. To be honest, I’m not real excited about Sarah Palin, but I am aligned with some of her beliefs.

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