Hillary Clinton

Somos Los Perdedores

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I usually try to sidestep self-mutilation, but the lure of a two-minute punditry slot on a Bay Area radio station was enough to make me sit through three (3) prime time speeches by the last still-standing candidates from the two 19th century political parties that have proven even harder to kill than Abe Vigoda. I swear to you it's not the bitterness of being put on hold and ultimately skipped over while listening to a competitor prattle on about John McCain that's guiding my voice when I say to you that watching the cream of America's political crop was about as uplifting as witnessing Luciano Pavarotti and Lou Reed's skeleton croak out a version of "Perfect Day." Which is to say, not much.

You can read Dave Weigel's real-time reactions here. Me, I'm not a big fan either of McCain or of political stagecraft, but is it really too much to ask of a distancing-yourself-from-Bush speech in the New Orleans area that you include in your audience, I dunno, some black people? As for its content and delivery, well, let's go to one of the few National Review writers who actually liked the thing:

McCain's speeches don't have to sound this bad, and don't always sound this bad.

As usual, I liked some of his talk about trusting Americans to make better decisions with their money, yadda yadda, but then it would just devolve into a Bill Clinton-style State of the Union Address where no chicken pot would go left unfilled (or unmentioned). Try reading this section without snoring loud enough to get you evicted from the Quiet Car:

The right change recognizes that many of the policies and institutions of our government have failed.

They've failed to keep up with the challenges of our time because many of these policies were designed for the problems and opportunities of the mid to late 20th Century, before the end of the Cold War; before the revolution in information technology and rise of the global economy. The right kind of change will initiate widespread and innovative reforms in almost every area of government policy ? health care, energy, the environment, the tax code, our public schools, our transportation system, disaster relief, government spending and regulation, diplomacy, the military and intelligence services. Serious and far-reaching reforms are needed in so many areas of government to meet our own challenges in our own time. The irony is that Americans have been experiencing a lot of change in their lives attributable to these historic events, and some of these changes have distressed many American families ? job loss, failing schools, prohibitively expensive health care, pensions at risk, entitlement programs approaching bankruptcy, rising gas and food prices, to name a few. But your government often acts as if it is completely unaware of the changes and hardships in your lives. And when government does take notice, often it only makes matters worse. For too long, we have let history outrun our government's ability to keep up with it. The right change will stop impeding Americans from doing what they have always done:

Last sentence intentionally cut off at the colon as a plea to McCain's speechwriters to bring something better than their C-minus game next time around.

Hillary Clinton? A nightmare. After her barftastic statement that "every vote [for me] was a prayer for your country," Ken Layne of Wonkette summed up my feelings exactly: "I never even hated REAGAN like this." Watching this elite lawyer-for-life over these past few months claim eternal sisterhood with the nation's voiceless "truckers" and "miners" was enough to make me want to graduate from college, hook up a lifetime supply of Pinot Grigio, and listen to Klaus Nomi records all day long while wearing my trusty top-hat and monocle. The pathology is certainly not unique to Yes Hill Can, but is there a political tic more nauseating, more unintentionally telling, than a stump speecher wowing the crowd with heartwarming tales about how some poor Iraq vet, or three-job-having pensioner, or one-armed child eating Puppy Chow straight from the bag, pooled together enough pennies with their last usable fingers to donate to a fucking millionaire's political campaign? If any of these stories are remotely true, it says something mildly worrying about the priorities of certain po' folk, but something straight-out monstrous about the egos of politicians who'd rather pocket the 37 cents (and the infinitely more valuable anecdote) than fold the copper back into the helping hand and say "You know what? I've got enough, thanks. Anything I can help you with?"

As for Barry Obama: All you people who claim to be "tired" of the Democratic campaign, realize that we've got six more months of these bland, lefty-econ platitudes, delivered with all the measured, stentorian gravity of Leonard Pinth-Garnell, making trade restrictionism and laments for the death of the vanishing middle class respectable again for NPR listeners.

I have a sneaking suspicion that after another half-year of this, many Americans who (unlike me!) felt at least a spasm or two of prez-politics excitement and hopey-ness this spring will end up feeling not unlike Purple Rain-era Prince did the morning after in "Darling Nikki." As interpreted by a fake Weimar German lass with an accordion.

(Last link from So Quoted.)

NEXT: Supremes Say Money Can Be Touched Without Being Laundered

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  1. Matt

    No snark. That was a beautifully written piece. Thanks. Nice work.

  2. That’s politics

  3. We can only hope that the whipped creamsilver-tongued Libertarian candidate can provide some worthwile speeches during this election season.

  4. Whatever, the horrid Hillary Clinton’s out of the race at last, so I officially no longer give a fuck. I have no strong feelings either way about Obama or McCain, and my presidential vote won’t really count anyway since I live in Illinois. Maybe I’ll vote for Cynthia McKinney; that way I can hector all my liberal friends for voting for someone who’s only HALF-black. Racists!

    Anyway, nice post.

  5. Actually, it’s interesting to have a presidential race between an Illinoisan vs. an Arizonan. It’s sort of like a rematch between Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater in a way.

  6. Nicely done, Matt. Always remember that wine is the only answer.

  7. “We are losers, baby, so why don’t you kill us”

  8. So that’s where Ken Layne ended up.

    That guy brings the bitter/funny.

  9. “If any of these stories are remotely true, it says something mildly worrying about the priorities of certain po’ folk, but something straight-out monstrous about the egos of politicians who’d rather pocket the 37 cents (and the infinitely more valuable anecdote) than fold the copper back into the helping hand and say “You know what? I’ve got enough, thanks. Anything I can help you with?”

    THAT is the best thing I’ve read by anyone anywhere this entire primary season. Well said.

  10. Welch, you are the man, great article!

    I’m about to take money from a legless iraqi vet in order to get a Reason subscription.

  11. McCain’s speech is boring by American standards? That’s how all our politicians talk like here (in Australia)…I’ve just concluded the following:

    1. Americans prefer their Presidents to be macho, tough cowboys (e.g. George Bush)

    2. Australians prefer their Prime Minister’s to be nerds (our former PM and the current one wear glasses and have no personality)

    3. Indians prefer their PM’s to be ‘one of them’, i.e. dress in simple poor people clothes.

  12. Americans prefer their Presidents to be macho, tough cowboys (e.g. George Bush)

    I don’t think it’s machoness per se, McCain and Obama certainly are not the most macho of the those who were trying to win the nominations. I think americans like someone with “experience” when times are good, and an outsider when time are tough (or just not as good). And we like candidate we feel we can relate too. Obama will most likely win in november simply because he appears more approachable and more driven than McCain.

  13. When Hillary told the anecdotes about poor people giving her money, my mind filled in “…so I could give it to Mark Penn” at the end.

  14. The length of this post raises a question of grave concern to all lovers of liberty:

    Who edits the editors?

  15. Neither candidate is going to have any ideas on the economy. In the last thirty years economic history pretty much ended. We know what works and what doesn’t. To improve the economy you cut taxes, regulation, the size of governemnt, open the markets and get out of the way. It is not an easy sollution but it is a simple one. The problem is that that is pretty thin gruel for a politician. “I am going to get the government out of your way” doesn’t allow a politician to be a savior. The message requires the politician to have some humility. Worse, it requires the media and the public at large to have some reasonable conception of what the government can and cannot do. The government is not going to “solve crime” or “solve poverty” or “bring America together” whatever the hell that means. American society through the individual uncontrolable and unpredictable choices of millions of people will solve those problems to the extent they are solved. But that doesn’t make for much of a story or much of a speech. Much better to shuck and jive about change and greatness and all of that.

  16. On the way into work this morning I caught five minutes of a McCain speech. It was a litany of “Obama’s answer to [insert problem] is the old way of far-left liberal big-government programs that will only make things worse. My answer is to [reduce regulation in some way]”.

    Anyone else catch any of that? It sounds good, if you can believe it. After the horror of the Bush years, the only thing scarier would be a Democrat Congress with a Democrat Executive.

  17. It sounds good, if you can believe it.

    And if you do believe it, I have some ocean front property in Colorado I think you’d love. McCain has dedicated his life to the glory of the state – the idea that he would do anything to limit it’s power is incredible.

    Someone on his staff told him that he has to make certain noises to sound like a “conservative”, so he’s making them.

  18. In the post above, I meant “incredible” in its original meaning, e.g., not believable.

  19. Matt, downright hilarious piece. Loved it!

  20. It’s sort of like a rematch between Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater in a way.

    If it was even remotely like that, I wouldnt be voting for Bob Barr this time around.

  21. Join us next administration for another edition of Bad Government.

  22. It’s sort of like a rematch between Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater in a way.

    LOL!

    Wait, are you cereal?

  23. Matt, this was fucking brilliant! I just read a big chunk of it aloud to a coworker.

    Very well done, sir. Bravo!

  24. Thanks for the awesome Reed/Pavarotti YouTube. Awesome! Their performance of the entire “Metal Machine Music” album in concert is much better, though.

  25. On the way into work this morning I caught five minutes of a McCain speech. It was a litany of “Obama’s answer to [insert problem] is the old way of far-left liberal big-government programs that will only make things worse. My answer is to [reduce regulation in some way]”.

    Anyone else catch any of that? It sounds good, if you can believe it. After the horror of the Bush years, the only thing scarier would be a Democrat Congress with a Democrat Executive.

    Yes, this time things will be better because the Team Red guy says he really wants to change. He loves you and won’t hit you anymore.

    I can understand libertarians not being able to stomach Obama, but to suggest that having the Blues in charge would be scarier that what Team Red has been up to because – gasp! – they have (also) have bad economic policies…just damn, people.

  26. Damn, Welch! Good job on that one. That’s probably the best work I’ve read so far on this interminable campaign.

    I can understand libertarians not being able to stomach Obama, but to suggest that having the Blues in charge would be scarier that what Team Red has been up to because – gasp! – they have (also) have bad economic policies…just damn, people.

    Point taken, but I think the real fear is that we could end up with a leftist president with a “mandate” and an overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled Congress. Which could lead to all kinds of creative new forms of taxpayer-funded excess. As bad as BushCo fucked things up, they never had that kind of leeway.

    In the end, an orgy of Democratic spending might be the only thing that could wake up the fiscal conservative part of the American psyche. At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for it, since most of us are fat, happy, and not overly burdened by our tax bills. I think that’s going to change if Obama gets elected.

  27. the real fear is that we could end up with a leftist president with a “mandate”

    Every elected president thinks he/she has a mandate. Even the ones who got fewer popular votes.

    The only scary thing about an Obama presidency is all the leftists who will fall in love with government all over again. Just when they were starting to mistrust the institution, Obama comes in and orates them back to sleep.

  28. The only scary thing about an Obama presidency is all the leftists who will fall in love with government all over again

    The left has always loved government and always will. What leftists don’t love is government run by non-leftists.

  29. …is it really too much to ask of a distancing-yourself-from-Bush speech in the New Orleans area that you include in your audience, I dunno, some black people?

    They have black people in New Orleans? I mean, besides Fats Domino…

  30. “Would it be too much to ask that the crowd…actually include some black people?”
    Mayor Nagin arranged it that way because he was hoping to get the whites all in one spot so he could eliminate them: Operation Chocolate New Orleans

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