Residential Politics

I know I am middle-aged and immersed in crisis when I give up a ticket to a concert so I can watch the third presidential debate. Yes, I know – pathetic.

The back story: A slew of interesting concerts started hitting Chicago in late September, by artists I either have always liked and never seen (Paul Weller, Nick Cave), or have recently gotten into but don’t know that well (TV on the Radio). And there was one I actually went to: Stereolab, which falls in the category of always liked and have seen. The current show, sad to say, was a disappointment, compared to their last one at the Vic a few years ago.

The eyes have it

The eyes have it

And then there was the Residents. I can’t say I’m a huge fan, though I do remember almost freaking out – in a good way – while listening to Eskimo some 25 or so years ago, stoned out of my head. And random songs I’ve heard since then have intrigued me; I love their versions of “Latest Flame” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (interesting combo…). So, as I considered all the possible shows, I decided to go with the one I would be least likely to see when we make the trek back to Connecticut. Something told me the Residents would never be playing at Toad’s Place (which has really gone down hill – what’s with all the “tribute bands”?) or the Mohegan Sun Casino.

So I got my ticket in advance, did a little reading up on their latest extravaganza, The Bunny Boy, and got ready to experience some sonic weirdness first hand. But when the day of the show came, I lost my nerve. I never like going to concerts alone, and I realized I was more intrigued with the idea of attending an “avant garde” musical event than with actually going. When push came to shove, I sold my ticket to some young hippie-ish dude who I’m sure had a better time than I would have, deciding I would rather watch theĀ  debate with my wife.

Not that Samantha and I were alone. Local state rep John Fritchey (my god, everybody’s a blogger!) had organized a viewing party at a neighborhood tavern. About 50 Obama supporters filled a room and watched fairly raptly, despite the generally unrapt natures of things. When it was over, I could honestly say, “Thank god I won’t have to do that again.”

Like most partisans, I thought my man came out on top. But his I-have-to-show-my-presidential-demeanor tack seems to make him pretty lifeless. A little passion is ok, Barack, you know? It won’t turn you into Old Man McCain yelling at the damn kids trampling his lawn. Then we have “the people are angry” guy, who I swear to god had white spittle or something coming out of the corner of his mouth at some points during the debate. Or maybe it was just the light hitting the wrinkles.

When the subject of veeps comes up, Obama is pretty restrained; McCain has no trouble lashing away at his “good friend” Biden. And you go heavy negative in your campaign ads because Obama wouldn’t hold town hall meetings with you? That’s a rational response. And then there’s everybody new least-favorite plumber. Joe may or may not be a nice guy. No license? Well, you know, those damn regulations that fetter the free market. Maybe a McCain presidency could do something about deregulating plumbers, and electricians, and, hey, why not doctors? Let’s let everybody do what they want! It’s the American way!

So here’s the latest with Joe. McCain is trying to say Obama’s people are somehow attacking him. Huh? Maybe the media got a little curious after his 15 minutes, and maybe made him squirm a bit, but what did Obama do? It was McCain who brought him into this as one of the most calculated and overplayed ploys to show the “common man” touch that we’ve seen in a while.

I know politicians lie and distort. But it seems McCain & Co. keep sinking to new depths. (My newest favorite, #17 with a bullet: Palin says the Alaska “Troopergate” report vindicates her. What part of “Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110a” isn’t in English?) And lots of people are noticing. The Chicago Tribune endorses a Democrat for the first time in almost 150 years (and don’t say it’s just because Obama lives here; if McCain were at all a viable, or credible, candidate, they would have tapped him); conservative writer Christopher Buckley, son of William F., endorses Obama, saying of McCain, “His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?” And then there was the McCain appearance on Letterman. From the audio clips I heard, we were presented with a man who thinks he has the stuff to be the leader of the free world and yet acts obsequious before a scorned talk-show host. OK, Dave’s a nice guy, but he’s a talk-show host! McCain couldn’t be upfront to begin with, and then shows his true character by pulling a Henry IV-to-Gregory VII-at-Canossa gambit. Lovely.

Is it a coincidence John looks so small?

Is it a coincidence John looks so small?

I don’t think this election is a shoe-in for Obama. Too many weird things can happen (can you say, “voting irregularities”?). And I will be truly worried and pissed if McCain somehow pulls it off. But most of all, regardless of the outcome, I will be so glad when the campaign is over. My guy can be uninspiring and the other guy is a lying jerk who somehow feels he’s entitled to be president. Maybe I should have stuck with the Bunny Boy.

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~ by mburgan on October 17, 2008.

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