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October 21, 2008

Fortnight Off

Roy Meachum

Unless you join the apparent throng voting early, the presidential election takes place two weeks from today. A fortnight, as the British sometimes portray the time. With that in mind, I turned on the last presidential "debate." I should have read a book instead.


My soul bears no patience for those who take for granted that the final 90 minutes went to the GOP candidate. John McCain was pushy, shrill and continuously lied. What a friend calls his Karl Rove-type gimmick diverted for the evening – waking no such joy. On further examination, "Joe the Plumber" turned out to be no plumber; he works in a two man company where his partner holds the only credentials. If the Republican Wednesday "hero" could buy the business, it would be no business at all. It would sink in the Ohio River. Incidentally, media reported the man was seriously behind in taxes – imposing a greater burden on everyone else in his state.


Democrat Barack Obama managed to keep his cool when his White House competitor flatly accused him of launching his political career from the living room of a 60s radical. It happened in a motel, as he said. The radical long since morphed into a tenured college professor of education. The two men chiefly know each other from serving on a panel formed and funded by a sugar daddy for Republican causes. When they get together the talk usually spins around the multiple crises in America's classrooms.


For all the GOP furor kicked up over ACORN, nothing substantiates the voter registration entity threatens the republic, as we know it. Fanning out paid workers to collect names for the nation's electoral rolls resulted in some fraudulence that was detected, for the most part, by ACORN screeners and checkers. It turns out the fraud allegations probably stemmed from partisan registration officials – after the names had been already struck.


The craw in the McCain workers' throats arose because of the galloping number of new voters; nearby Virginia came up with a whole new mess of people who never pulled an election lever before. The phenomenon first developed during the Democratic primary; it was attributed chiefly to the fact that the first member of a minority appears to have a chance to go all the way to the White House. The secondary reason posed derived from popular anger with the Oval Office incumbent and his party. And that shapes up still as the overwhelming reason the Republicans will be out on Pennsylvania Avenue in January.


In Wednesday evening's confrontation Senator McCain stopped short of sticking out his tongue at Senator Obama. He should have gone ahead. In for a penny, in for a pound – a singularly English expression that counsels throwing everything in, especially the kitchen sink. The GOP headliner could have tossed his boxer shorts into the mix.


It long ago ceased to matter. Much more than Herbert Hoover, George W. Bush has hoisted the "no-Elephants wanted" sign high over the political landscape. Pity.


As we witnessed in the year that Bill Clinton let Newt Gingrich foist his Contract with America over on the voters, good women and men will be sent home: their sole crime belonging to the wrong party.



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