As campaign seasons go, this one has been one of the most outre that I have been witness to, perhaps in my entire life. Not saying much, I know, but this one is taking so many cakes that the bakery is going to have to go into three-shift production. So many races have just gone from bad to weird that it is hard to know where to start. So, local is better and that means Virginia Senate race where we have the incumbent George Allen (R) going against whats his face... oh, yeah, Jim Webb (D).
To start with we had the Washington Post pull a surprise on Allen by announcing that he... *gasp*... had Jewish ancestry! For shame! For shame! On Mr. Allen who's grandmother did not reveal this because she worried about Nazis after escaping Germany and fleeing to North Africa to escape the Holocaust? No. For shame on the Washington Post *not* to leave *any* part of *anyone's* life with respect to a Public Official as PRIVATE. That right to privacy also includes NOT having the Washington Post nose around in your ancestry *especially* if the individual involved did *not* want to talk about it because of the horrific experiences she went through. That was damned low even for the Washington Post.
The next major turn (and how many of them have there been?) was Mr. Allen bringing up the sex scenes that Mr. Webb had written about in a novel. Now I am neither here nor there on trashy novels, and most of what I have read in the way of intimate sex scenes is pretty dull stuff. And that wonderful newspaper the Washington Post asks the following in its coverage of this story, or non-story as the case may be:
With 10 days remaining before Election Day, the allegations about sex-laced passages in Webb's writings inject a new question into a campaign that has centered almost exclusively on character issues: Should the author of a fictional work who runs for office be personally held to account for the scenes in his books?I will go the Post one better: Should a newspaper care about the ancestry of a candidate if said candidate does not make an issue of it? And do remember this happened right after it was revealed that Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) had... *gasp*... exchanged lewd and lascivious emails with a former page who was 'of age' at the time. And after it was revealed that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) may have made some money off of a land sale that happened as part of a Federal Contract and that his 'maybe' partner is a known associate of the Mafia. But I notice only one of them stepping away from office due to accusations... oh, well, thats the media for you!
Say, did anyone notice that Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) had asked the Soviets for help in the 1984 to run a media campaign against the President? No?
So back to written works: I hope that it was at least better than the dreck that serves as sex scenes in most novels. At least *that* would have some prurient interest value and might even have added some literary value to that... mmmm... body of work. Now, Mr. Webb could have done many things, most of which is saying: "Those are novels, folks, not how I view actual relationships." But, does he do so? I mean science fiction writers get away with all sorts of strange alien sex, and that doesn't even begin to *touch* the X-Files. Webb contends that he is taken out of context, that the sex scenes revolve around combat... hmmm? Sex AND violence? Covering all the bases are we? In any event he goes on to say these are depictions of what he saw in South East Asia, so its *real* fiction or fictionally *real*. Whatever.
Basically, he does say that he wrote them, that they are what he saw but *fictionalized* and that Lynne Cheney has written worse and complain about her, why don't you? You know a lurid lesbian scene in one of *her* books? Now, this was then brought up when Mrs. Cheney was interviewed about a children's book on the 50 States that she had written and was now in publication and that got on to Wolf Blitzer's show at CNN. And Mr. Blitzer then staged something that I would call an 'attack interview from ambush' on Mrs. Cheney, her husband and dragging her into a Senate race where she isn't even running! More on the Wolfster in just a moment, but first a note to Mr. Webb:
I was prepared to vote for neither you nor your opponent. The extremely dishonorable behavior of your response has changed my consideration as a Senator that cannot recognize that the Nation needs better ways forward against its enemies should *not* be replaced by an individual who flings about mud and personal smears outside of a campaign as justification for his actions *and* brings in someone who is partisan but running for absolutely no office at this time, anywhere.
That should be absolutely demeaning to you and if you had thought for one brief second about what you were going to say, you would have realized that.
The fact that you *did* this indicates that you know no bounds of personal honor or dignity and such individuals should *not* be in one of the highest offices of the Land. Thank you for clarifying yourself to me, Mr. Webb. Your opponent no matter how brain-dead, how sleazy, how incompetent at least has the dignity and honor to hold YOU to the things YOU have done.
It will take a really idiotic move by George Allen to lose my vote on this, but, in this race, that is possible. These guys are really heading out of the gutter and into the sewer and the cesspit appears to be getting very close.
Back to the attack interview for just a second. Mr. Blitzer was, in my opinion, a somewhat centrist individual, willing to put partisanship aside and have a little bit of dignity with his on-air guests. He has been a bit out-of-touch on some things and his personal slant was apparent on others, but, by-and-large he was no worse than most of the clueless commentariate of the mid-1970's that *tried* to appear neutral. That is now gone. After spending the majority of the interview time on politics and attack oriented questions he spared very little time for questions on the actual BOOK that was the point of the interview. After that, Mr. Blitzer confessed that he was surprised when Lynne Cheney responded so readily to his ambushing her with questions that were, in and of themselves, trying to drag her into a Senate seat battle that she had ZERO part in and then to further question what her husband said about waterboarding. He also remembered that she had been one of the co-hosts on CNN's Crossfire. So when his ambush hit he found himself with the tables turned when she questioned *him* about CNN's decision to air the Iraq sniper attack on a US soldier and its slanted coverage of the entire election and its 'Broken Government' program. Perhaps Mr. Blitzer should stick to talking about the things he had intended to interview people on and not stray too far from those. Especially when you know the individual is a damned skilled debater and your own organization is *not* above question and, in point of fact, is now quite questionable.
Finally, on just what Lynne Cheney did or did not put in her book, do remember that her daughter is a lesbian and trying to work out one's own attitudes and emotions via writing can be a huge help. Perhaps some of that spilled over into her writing. I cannot say for intent, but for the heavy amount of Gay and Lesbian support the Democratic Party gets, I am astonished with how operatives are manipulating them, in the case of Mr. Foley, and actual politicians are bringing up the fact that the wife of the Vice President having written something in FICTION about a lesbian relationship being a *problem* to be something highly suspicious. If you are in the GLBT community and *support* the right to privacy and not to be harassed about your orientation, then doing the same to those who do not want it publicized is absolutely contrary to the right to privacy. And as that is a basic right, going against that IS a civil rights offense.
In the Maryland Senate race we have incumbent Michael Steele (R) facing off against Ben Cardin (D) in a race that has featured many bits and pieces of strangeness. We have the entire Oreo portion of it which, quite frankly, I can make neither the here nor there of it, so it must be a really local thing. Apparently there is an accusation that Mr. Steele threw Oreo cookies at some debate in 2002, and that was brought up by Ben Cardin's campaign. Then one of his female staffers made some anti-jewish remarks and various allegations which are damned difficult to sort out, so she was sacked. Well, fired, I doubt if it was getting in the sack that did it, but one never knows. Then there is the fact that the Mr. Steele is attracting black voters because, well, he is black and his Democratic opponent is white. Yes, those Oreo things just keep popping back into your head, don't they? Be that as it may, Mr. Steele is throwing out that Mr. Cardin is just paying lip service to black voters while he embodies how far a black man can go when he sets his mind to it. Of course it doesn't help when Mr. Cardin brings up slavery.
From there this entire race really goes into the silly end of things. Mr. Cardin charges that... *gasp*... Mr. Steele believes in what the President and leader of his party are doing! And actually VOTES that way! Except, of course, when he doesn't. And Mr. Steele is apparently... *gasp*... a puppy lover! Damn those puppies! Mr. Cardin charges that his opponent can't even locate where the proposed new Metro line would be put in after finding himself flummoxed when asked about that in a debate.... and Mr. Steele then he finds out that the ad he made about that was at the *wrong* station. Apparently they are BOTH out of touch with the actual geography of Maryland. As Mr. Cardin has been finding his popularity slipping he even has pre-arranged an attack on the election system.
Michael Steele has been, perhaps the best counter-puncher of this election, as witness to what happened after Mr. Cardin tried to bonus off of the Michael J. Fox Missouri ad for their fetal stem cell initiative. He mischaracterized Mr. Steele's position as against ALL stem cell research which is not true, and also impugned Mr. Steele's character by saying that he did not care about those suffering from conditions that stem cell research might help. The response was devastating and absolutely classic in the response ad: a woman comes on and tells what Mr. Steele's position is and that he *does* care about those suffering with conditions that this research might help. How does she know?
She suffers from MS.
Michael Steele is her BROTHER.
Now Mr. Cardin has gotten Mr. John Kerry (D-MA) to do a swing through heavily black and Democratic Prince Georges County. Mr. Cardin should have stopped while he was sinking as a coalition of black voters in Prince Georges has just announced that they are crossing party lines for Mr. Steele.
In point of fact anyone asking Mr. Kerry for help, like Phil Angelides (D) running for the Governorship of California had best beware exactly who they are bringing in to their area. You would think that such a close runner-up to the Presidency would at least give *some* boost to your campaign, right? Well here is what the barely missed CinC of the Armed Forces had to say about them:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."Just wonderful, isn't that? Means so much to the youth of California! Luckily Mr. Kerry decided that this needed some explaining! So his attempt to do so is here, and I will try to do the short and sweet of it. He thinks it is wrong to think that *anyone* would criticize the military in Iraq. He is tired of being berated by Rush Limbaugh. He really thinks that Mr. Limbaugh's attack on Michael J. Fox's ad and the non-treatment of his disease during making such ads, which Mr. Fox admits to, is despicable. Mr. Kerry criticizes the Administration for widening the terror war instead of defeating the terrorists and that is all tied up with Katrina, too! He tries to characterize the handing over of handling of Afghanistan to NATO as 'cut and run'.
What Mr. Kerry does NOT do is apologize to the Armed Forces of the United States.
And what part of Saddam Hussein supporting terrorism and planning attacks against the US does Mr. Kerry NOT understand?
Further, what does Katrina have to do with Iraq?
And why is using Mr. Fox's own description of how he seeks sympathy unfair to Mr. Fox?
And, Mr. Kerry, how would you characterize Bosnia and Kosovo?
And Mr. Kerry, since you bring up your status of Veteran, perhaps we can finally get to see YOUR full, complete and unedited records from the Pentagon?
And finally, Mr. Kerry, you said you had a PLAN back in 2004, to actually WIN the war. Even in losing, if you had such a plan, you had a responsibility to PUT IT OUT no matter which party you belong to.
And to those partisans who claim this was some sort of 'joke' by Mr. Kerry: what sort of joke is it that would have *that* as a punchline? Demeaning to those serving in the Armed Forces no matter which way you cut it. Senator Kerry is tone-deaf, politically, and using the troops as an object of ridicule is despicable. And trying to say that George Bush is *not* bright and did not do well in school points to the fact that he did better than Mr. Kerry did. So perhaps Mr. Kerry was speaking from experience as HE got 'stuck' in Vietnam while his more intelligent and capable opponent did *not*. But that would just bring up Mr. Kerry's records again wouldn't it?
Now, speaking of Michael J. Fox and Missouri... well, Gateway Pundit has tons more on that than I can even begin to read! Let me say that as an individual who has a chronic condition, one should not try to bring this up as the false promises for decades have really started a hollow ringing sound. And that sound is also coming up for Clair McCaskill (D) in this Senate race in Missouri against incumbent Senator Jim Talent (R). Mr. Talent, just a couple of months ago was behind in this race. And then Clair McCaskill started to aim directly at her feet with deadly accuracy.
Most recently we have her anti-Iraq War ad that does, indeed, have a Veteran in it who was, indeed, hurt in Iraq. What he did *not* have happen was being wounded as he claims but, instead, suffering a volleyball accident. And now Vets that have served *with* him are deeply critical of his disingenuous attitude and playing up something that is no big deal.
On the Michael J. Fox ad we find out that Mr. Fox had not even *read* the amendment he was supporting. So that entire injection of himself and the poor portrayal of Mr. Talent's actual positions are wholly due to Mr. Fox not taking time to understand what he was talking about. Thus, this was not only no *help* to Clair McCaskill, but is now seen as a *hit* piece using a clueless actor as a mouthpiece.
Then there is the whole problem of Clair McCaskill not even being able to remember when she actually has served the people of her state. And then she had a minor 'clerical error' adhering to the election laws on commercials. And another problem with actually paying the proper amount to ACORN workers on her Get Out The Vote campaign.
From all accounts Mr. Talent is running a capable, but not noteworthy campaign and really doesn't need to as the implosion rate for Clair McCaskill is enormous.
Well, that is it for the silly season update. I expect to see even worse in the days to come as the Zero Party System finally puts itself back on track to inaction.
Because we are so good at that.