Friday, November 30

Which Beer Would You Have A Candidate With?

BY 1968 the United States had been in Vietnam for seven1, thirteen2, fourteen3, eighteen4, twenty-three5, or forty-eight 6 years, depending on when you start counting, but we were only three years into Escalation, which is what we called Surging back when the viral theory of accurate language was imperfectly understood. And we had a sitting President challenged in New Hampshire (how quaint!) by an anti-war candidate, and this at a time when a majority of Americans supported the war and a third of them wanted to go "all-out to win". (By the way, if you imagine this must mean something less that the proposed nuclear annihilation of that portion of the indigenous population of Indochina which had refused to accept Roman Catholicism in the 19th century your faith in human nature is greater than mine. Or than the evidence supports.)

(And for the record, it was support for Johnson's handling of the war--I'm using a lot of parenthesis these days for some reason--and not for the war itself which fell after Uncle Walter told us Tet meant we'd lost, though it had begun falling a year earlier.)

Forty years later a candidate has to have been an opponent of the current quagmire from the start (read: crackpot, traitor, crackpottraitor) to tell the public it once again suffers from Mass Directed Confabulation Syndrome; otherwise one insists that it's all Lyndon Johnson's George W. Bush's fault for an imperfect execution (which lets the public off the hook, since execution is the one thing it could have reasonably expected him to be good at). This despite the fact that this time the public overwhelmingly thinks knows the war to be a mistake, and a disaster, over and above the Moron-in-Chief and the Era of Delirium Tremens he ushered in. Even the guy who was perfectly placed, by virtue of being nowhere in the immediate vicinity when the Resolution passed, and who had every reason to pin the tail on the donkeys who had abetted it--like it was his one chance to win--refuses to do so. All of which makes a certain amount of sense if you're running for the President of Forty Years Ago, but the only explanation for it today is that Money is the antonym of Sense.

Which I didn't mean to spring on you, there, and I trust you were sitting down. It's just that yesterday's Okay Now It's Huckabee! fest (example), predicated on the idea that it potentially could mean something if he does well in a once-totally-ignored straw poll in a state whose second major import, not coincidentally, is straw, made me nostalgic for that Bygone Era--three weeks ago--when It! was Fred Dumbo Thompson. How well I remember Craig Crawford--he's the Olbermann guest who sounds like Bill Clinton with an undisclosed brain injury--informing me that Fred's extraordinary first debate performance, the one where he successfully avoided accidentally setting fire to his own tie, had doomed the Huckabee campaign. Now it turns out that Iowans are increasingly smitten by the way the former Arkansas governor tells that same homily about his preacher over and over. Or at least 24% of the something like 400 who told a voice identifying itself on the phone as a political pollster that they're likely to participate in the caucuses provided there's pie are.

I don't mind telling you I found the news cheering, since I'd begun to suspect that Republicans had gone nuts.

The euphoria was short-lived. Further research (this is why I'm a committed dilettante, by the way) revealed that 9% of respondents told Parents magazine that Rudy Giuliani is the Presidential candidate they'd most trust to babysit their children.

Still, hope springs eternal, and another round of fascinating YouTube debates, with attendant Hey, A Hillary Supporter Got To Ask A Question! scandal, has perhaps hastened the day when we'll choose a Chief Executive by having randomly-selected citizens pick from an onstage selection of luggage. Besides, whoever wins this time will likely be hated right off the bat, thus ending all speculation about when David Broder will write his first "Is the Honeymoon Over?" column.

1 Kennedy sends combat advisors, beginning military build-up.
2 With U.S. backing, Diem announces Republic of Vietnam product roll-out.
3 In the wake of Dien Bien Phu, CIA establishes military mission, protecting the investment, as it were.
4 U.S. money and U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group arrive to aid the heroic French struggle. Note that it is only government/military organizations which find the need to specify their Advice constitutes Assistance.
5 Despite having been bankrupted through standing alone against Hitler, the United Kingdom in the Pacific Ltd., by this point a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uncle Sammy's Postwar Trans-Pacific Ricebowl, Inc., sends troops into Indochina to preserve the French Empire, the French at the time being otherwise occupied in skedaddling. Bolstered by two-hundred years of the sort of Sahib wisdom that permitted them to look upon the Americans a blithering idiots with a bank account, and unable to raise the cab fare to send their own people, the Brits send mostly Gurkhas, thus endearing themselves to the Chinese.
6 The Wilson administration ignores Ho's pleas for a end to French colonialism.


Brendan said...

… since execution is the one thing it could have reasonably expected him to be good at …


… the Era of Delirium Tremens he ushered in …


Fini Finito said...

The Media Hearts Huckabee! I think they just randomly choose a different candidate to anoint every few weeks based on late night poker games amongst the editors of the NY Times, Washington Post, and the Executive Producers of the network teevee nooze. Each player backs a different candidate and at the end of the night whoever wins the game decides who gets the hype until the next game.

pookapooka said...

Waal now aren't we being royally entertained these days?

Prediction: you seen it first here: Huckabee -- the perfect mash of Mark Twain, wannabe, Applebees [hence apple pie], shucks, and Chrsitianism-- will win the hearts and whatever has replaced the minds of the GOP.

Christopher said...


You should've warned me to sit down for that Youtube debate story.

I thought it was going to be one of those "Republicans say CNN is bad, CNN stands by its decision" stories.

You know, the usual.

But the fact that CNN caved just boggles the mind.

I mean... now a "gotcha!" question is any question asked by somebody who isn't a supporter of the candidate they're asking the question to?

The political affiliation of a questioner is more important then THE ACTUAL QUESTION?

Is there any hope for American democracy?

yellojkt said...

In the future, everyone will be the Republican frontrunner for fifteen minutes.

James Stripes said...

In March 2003, I sat down with a bottle of bourbon--an all-American drink if there is such a thing--and watched the war on CNN. The in-bedded reporters gave us a take more celebratory than the televising of Vietnam, contributing to delays in the sobriety of the public. Perhaps if more folks had joined me in sipping distilled corn mash, more of them could claim to have been a traitor from the start.