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The Guilfoile-Warner Papers

Nov 2

As we arrive on the cusp of election day, I find myself with less and less to discuss. There's nothing left but the doing, which makes me begin to wonder about what's next after the doing is done. Monitoring the fortunes of Barack Obama has simply become one of my daily routines, a kind of constant vigilance over news and polling and speculation and opinion from left, right, and center. I've been fascinated with politics since I was a kid--my first question after getting off a plane ride to Washington D.C. in 1974 was to ask where the "watergate," was--but I can't remember ever caring so much. Today's vigilance introduced me to what I believe is the most reassuring news yet, a projection from the Pew people based on polling and demographics and statistical modeling that puts Obama's victory margin at 52-46. When I read the article, I began to realize for the first time, somewhere deep inside that it really is going to happen. Come Wednesday I think there's going to be a real void for a lot of us. It's going to be like after the Super Bowl and your team has won and it's awesome, and you jumped up in the air at the final whistle, spilling chili dip all over the rug and your clothes and your dog, but you don't care because your team won and you spend the next couple of days watching the replays over and over, mouthing the words, "we won, we won," reveling in the victory, savoring it, but a little less each time until the day you just have to move on. The last act is to pull the trigger on that Sports Illustrated commemorative issue that will arrive in six weeks and barely get looked at. One of the things we'll be doing after the election is listing the "winners" and "losers" beyond the obvious choices of the candidates. One set of losers we should be talking about is the traditional political punditry, including some of our most revered names like Maureen Dowd, who has been consistently shallow and shitty through the entire campaign season. (Dowd's snark is from a different era, shedding neither light nor heat, and she seems more and more out of touch with each column.) Or, another old hand I'd like to point to, the so-called dean of the White House press corps, David Broder. Broder is known for his sober fairness, but one man's sober fairness is another's delusional fool married to false equivalency. Broder lives in some kind of fantasyland completely divorced from reality. In Broder's Sunday column he is already busy absolving McCain of his worst campaigning sins. After lamenting that "a potentially captivating experience" was lost when Obama declined to do joint town halls with McCain, Broder goes on to say:
[T]hanks in large part to McCain's personal aversion to any suggestion of racial campaigning, the issue never fully emerged in a negative way this fall, sparing the country what could have been a divisive experience.
Apparently, because McCain has refrained from making Jeremiah Wright front and center, he deserves some credit. This is like saying a guy behaved honorably in a fight after a series of eye gouges, hair pulls, and sucker punches, simply because he didn't also kick him in the 'nads. With all the usual caveats about politics being bloodsport and bare knuckled and all that, it's impossible not to view McCain's campaigning as a disgrace to his own past reputation as well as the nation. He has consistently stoked anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment in some kind of effort to rally enough bigots to his cause to get him to an electoral majority. The newest McCain surrogate, Joe the Unlicensed Plumber, is on Fox News even today, telling us not to vote for Obama because he doubts Obama's loyalty to America. Memo to Mr. Broder: This is the McCain campaign's official surrogate less than 48 hours before the election declaring that the major party candidate of the democratic party, the runaway prohibitive favorite to be the next President of the United States, is a potential traitor. One candidate is bringing the country together, while the other is trying to tear it apart. I know which one comes much closer to deserving the "t-word" label. Broder disgraces himself by excusing these tactics. He implies that "McCain had to do it," because it was his only shot at victory as though victory could absolve all sins. What a total crock of shit. One of the great benefits of the new media landscape on display like never before in this election season is that people like Broder, who are venerated, but are actually a pox on the punditry landscape and a drag on honest discourse have to put up with some spitballs from the likes of me in our little virtual corner telling them so.
biopic

TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner

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