AS some of you know, every so often I'm struck by the inexplicable desire to turn on cable news, and, y'know, just watch it for some reason. Obviously not for the news, of course. This used to happen to me with fast food, too. Once a year or so I'd be driving somewhere and suddenly duck into Burger Abomination, not because I was particularly hungry, usually, and if so not because I imagined I'd find food there, but because it sounded good. Almost impossible to explain, and certainly impossible to justify in the forty-eight hours following the consumption of a Double with Cheese, Petri Dish of Death Germs, and fries.
As I recall it that didn't last beyond my twenties, and I can't even think of the last time I ate out of a bag. Perhaps the coming of cable replaced it with more intellectual pursuits. That is, very slightly more intellectual.
This morning I climbed on the exercise bike, having placed the remote control on the book holder dealie, because it slides out of the cup holder. It didn't occur to me when I bought the thing to check if the more expensive model had a cigarette lighter, too. And something simply came over me, and without even checking Turner Classics I went right for the McRib Sandwich of cable news, Morning Joe. And I lasted, I kid you not, twenty seconds.
(We spoke yesterday about my Poor Wife's--in fact her entire clan's--maddening fastidio-queasy approach to foodstuffs. The McRib, which has become some sort of seasonal product, like eggnog or lemongrass ale, is the ne plus ultra of gag inducement at our place. This may explain her near-psychopathic channel surfing, now that I think of it--just a glimpse of those slaughterhouse floor sweepings injection molded to look as though it came from a slightly more expensive portion of the animal, then coyly hidden behind some food additive chemist's molecular duplication of the cheapest store-brand barbecue sauce you could find, in the Third World, will put her off her feed for seventy-two hours, minimum. This is, of course, completely understandable, but medical science is at a loss to explain how the entire process can take place faster than the autonomic nervous system is capable of responding even under optimal laboratory conditions.)
It was Tweety. Okay, first, it was a clip of Hillary Clinton and, quite frankly, it's highly unlikely I will sit through anything anymore which involves teevee "talent" talking about either Democratic candidate, or what's left of their race. But for cryin' out fucking loud, why is Chris Matthews on in the morning too? He's got his own show, which, as I understand it, the American public has rather resoundingly declared it will watch for precisely as long as it takes to find fresh AA batteries and get the remote to work again. At one point he had two shows, which apparently gave twice as many people the opportunity to see what a despicable slimewad he is. But he's still Joe's "guest" in the morning. This is, of course, an extension of the hiring of carnival talker ("barker" is incorrect) Barbara Walters to anchor an evening news program, an event which explains everything that has gone wrong since, everywhere in the world, and which is still so raw in my memory it's painful to type. Bob-wah begat Tom Brokaw, whose own stint in the previously-respectable morning "news" game proved that, for The Greatest Generation, it took a man to solidify the acceptability of reading the news with a speech impediment. It's Brokaw who established the practice of anchors turning up on the morning froth-fests to act as "experts", meaning that, unlike the professional blabbermouths who actually hosted those things, he knew which hemisphere Nicaragua was in without being cued. It might have been Dan Rather, actually, but CBS held on to the hard-news-in-the-morning format longer than the others (RIP Hughes Rudd), and anyway, Danny was more like that uncle of yours who came back from the war a little funny in the head. Brokaw was the guy who not only tried to sell you the Extended Warranty you'd already said no to, but did so in a way that let you know he'd be thrilled to death if you'd waste $99.95 so long as it made him look like a complete toad to the Higher Ups.
But I digress. Tweety, over the Clinton clip, says something to the effect that she'd "calculated" she could get by the Democratic primaries with her Iraq War vote and get the nomination "by entitlement, or whatever", before mov...
That was all I could take.
This reminds me that last week's commenters were kind enough to act as though I'd swung a corked bat at both Obama and Clinton supporters, which might have been the just thing to do, but isn't the thing I did, nor, really something I'd ever done. And I spent part of my weekend wondering why that was.
So here, as chronologically as I can relay it without doing any actual work, Why I'm Not As Irritated (In Print) By Clinton Supporters:
1) I'd already rejected the candidacy of Senators Clinton, Edwards, and Dodd after the Iraq War authorization. This meant that, throughout 2007 she appeared to me as Another Democrat I Had No Interest In Voting For Although I'd Vote Against Her Opponent, making her the seventh such, or something like that. The bad news with Hillary was already discounted.
2) Senator Obama, on the other hand, once he started to distinguish himself from the pack, proved far too wedded to a campaign image (end partisanship!) which didn't seem to make sense. You're a student of politics, you're a South Side activist, and you think partisanship is our greatest obstacle? Either tell me how you came by this, or I have to assume it's the result of the image-making that's gone on since 2004.
3) And don't get me wrong; I don't object to image-making, and what if I did? It's the system, although the still-untapped potential of the astonishing Perot vote in '92, which was, what? 17%?--say what you will about the man, even when he was flat-out nuts he sounded like a man trying to be honest and reasonable--seems to me, as time goes on, less like a lost opportunity and more like a political consultant's idea of how to make more political consultants. But Senator Obama ran with this about as gleefully as Tom Brokaw runs with another idea to separate seniors and their money.
4) The Halloween Gang-Tackle and the Lukewarm Response By Clinton Opponents. You know what's great? Elizabeth Edwards excoriating our pathetic Press in the Times. Y'know what would have been greater? If he husband hadn't seen fit to collude with Tim Russert and Brian Williams for the crime of out-polling him.
5) Premature Coronation Week and the Damned Racists crying jag. Is Brooklyn Still In The League? I thought there was nothing worse than excessive celebration by a front-runner, until I witness the deflating loss in New Hampshire being explained as The Bradley Effect by that bunch on MSNBC, who looked like it was the only thing that kept them from hanging themselves en masse. And more's the pity.
6) This, then, would be the beginning of my Tripartite Obama Problem. The eruption of Obamist bloggers I read into what, frankly, struck me as bat-shit Klintoon Khronicles craziness; the Dog Staring At A Ceiling Fan campaign the Senator has run ever since, including Those Reagan Remarks; and the fact that as frontrunner, both his campaign and his campaign supporters should have shown some recognition that sunrise and sunset are regular occurrences they've been familiar with for some time. The front-runner is going to need those votes after the dust settles! Why was that so hard to recognize?
7) In this you may detect a double standard--mine--and you're partly correct. I'd rank Senator Clinton as Just Another Centrist Democrat who happens to be particularly good on national health care. I expected her to say things to get elected. It astonished me to see her get criticized for the simple act of declaring that she thought she'd make a better candidate. I don't deny Senator Obama the same right, but it'd be nice if your political persona, and your published positions, decrying partisanship were matched by a little post-partisan behavior. Unless "blaming old people, women, and racists for not voting for you" is the new post-partisanship.
8) Alternately, if you're a lifelong partisan and an Obama supporter, then you ought to acknowledge the distinction.
9) Of the dozen or so bloggers I try to read everyday, and the dozen or so more I try to get to, some went full-tilt Obamanation in January and never looked back. There weren't that many declared Clinton supporters--Tom Watson is the only one I can recall--and people such as Lance, who may've stated a slight preference, were thoughtful, respectful, and apparently cognizant of the figures on morning sunrises. On the other hand, three blogs I read regularly went insane, and generally not for Obama as against anything Hillary Clinton had ever touched. This is, after all, my movie. Coulda found Clintonistas who angered me as much, yes. As it turned out, though, I'd largely have had to seek them out.
10) I generally do not reply to other people's commenters, and I genuinely try to avoid the truly egregious. But the rolling yahooglianism of "Get out of the way, Old White Woman!" is, simply, beyond the pale. The prospect of sharing a party with you this November fills me with McRib.