Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Escaping the Horse Race

OK folks. I have been on the internet for two US election cycles, and have observed that during a Presidential election year, the political web becomes totally fucking unusable, as one gets sucked into a) a vast amount of pointless horse-race coverage and b) the horrific internecine fights of one's friends in vaguely left-wing politics in the US (this has been mainly over Ralph Nader last time round, but the Hillary/Barrack fight certainly appears to have the legs).

Daniel Davies - I bless the rains...

Lately though, I don’t hear so much outrage. In fact, the readers seem to be suffering from what someone aptly called “rage fatigue.” Which is another way of saying the bastards have simply worn us out. And it’s true.

I am not kidding when I say rage fatigue victims have fallen into an ongoing mid-level depression. (Looks to me like the whole country has, but then I’m no mental health expert.) The less depressed victims can be found lurking near the edges of the Obama cult, consoling themselves that a soothing and/or charismatic orator is better than nothing. Obama may yet be borne through the White House portico by a Democratic host of seraphim, but he cannot do much without the consent of a bought and paid for Congress. Only George Bush can do that, and we can only hope God broke the mold after he made George. And like whoever else wins the presidency, Obama can never acknowledge any significant truth, such as that the nation is waaaaay beyond being just broke, and is even a net debtor nation to Mexico, or that the greatest touch-me-not in the U.S. political flower garden, the “American lifestyle,” is toast. But then, we really do not expect political truth, but rather entertainment in a system where, as Frank Zappa said, politics is merely “the entertainment branch of industry.”

And now here's my chance to escape the horse race for a while. For what it's worth, I prefer Obama as the next president to Clinton or McCain. I don't care about his "Audacity of Hope"; I just think he's the only one with the potential to be a decent president. Clinton is too prone to being mis-advised, while McCain is too angry. Unless someone works out how to bring back FDR from the dead, Obama is the best option possible now.

I'm going to wean myself off American blogs for a bit. They're definitely more dramatic that Australian ones, but is that necessarily a good thing when American politics is so dramatic - that is, fucked up?

For now, I'm having a real holiday - not a period between jobs, or traveling from one country to another, but a chance to actually see new places - Tasmania in particular. There's a lot of hiking lined up for us, as the place is brimming with National Parks. And at the end of it all, I want to visit a little distillery in Hobart and bring back a bottle of one of these.

The Lark