I've been thinking a lot about Obama's chances in November. He's clearly a better speaker than McCain, smarter, more charismatic, and the camera loves him. These are the things that help a candidate more than anything else, for many American voters -- if they can be bothered to care at all.
Given this economy and the Iraq occupation, more Americans than ever are bothered. And McCain unfortunately has pledged fealty to the person most of them understand is the root of US failures in domestic and foreign policy. It should be a cakewalk.
But there's that nagging little fact Obama is black. The 28% Bush dead-enders wouldn't vote for a black man if he declared tax amnesty for every white man in America. I don't think they are proud of their racism; in fact, I imagine most of them expend a great deal of energy rationalizing why those policies and people they hate deserve it and, purely coincidently, happen to be non-white.
The rest, I have been reassuring myself, can be brought over to our side if for no other reason than they hate watching the country go down the shitter and they know another 4 years of neocon rule might be the tipping point from which we never recover. The crimes and corruption, the bleeding of the treasury, the loss of life, and the destruction of the middle class gives even the staunchest Bushies some pause.
But at the end of the day, will they really pull the lever for a Democrat? Or has the brainwashing of the Noise Machine so polluted their psyches that they could no more vote non-Republican than they could stick a knife in their own gut?
I've recently had an experience that, sadly, tells me that Obama has no chance with a great majority of them.
I read an online forum devoted to a modern muscle car. I don't own the car for various reasons; but I wanted to know the geeky, technical stuff folks were doing with the car and I enjoy reading about others who love the car and enjoy it.
Given the price tag, the car's owners have to be more wealthy than average or in debt. Given this car is a domestic brand, it rules out the pinky-lifting, elite Republicans that would normally make up an import/luxury demographic. Instead, these are mostly guys that work in industries less affected by outsourcing or still have union influence [not that they are in unions; but they enjoy the higher wages that result from unions] or own their own businesses [and therefore are pro-Republican and anti-worker, which the former group never understands.]
One of these forum members posted a rant on how she was writing a letter to the Supreme Court protesting the Boumediene v. Bush decision to restore the right of habeas corpus at Gitmo. The usual nonsense about activist judges, and we'll all be killed in our beds, and even a little non-sequitor about abortion thrown in.
Now, given this forum is 80% neocon, I ignore threads like this all the time. Once in awhile, when the talking points mantra is full-steam, I chime in. So this rant was passionate, but so ignorant of what the decision really meant I had to chime in.
The ferocity and ignorance of the replies really caught me by surprise; and this was just after I'd been subjected to over-the-top screaming for claiming that climate change isn't an Al Gore telemarketing scheme.
Here's what passes for critical thinking in the right-wing world:
"What's your religion?" "[Pictures of a soldier's funeral]" "Why should blood-thirsty terrorists have more rights than (us, Mexicans, we do in other countries, etc.)?" But more than any other: I (was, know people who were, am, support, wish I could be) in (Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Grenada) and therefore, I'm right."
No matter how many times I tried to get one person to argue why habeus corpus didn't apply in Gitmo: no one would touch it. Not even one person went for the easiest, and the Bushies only argument, that Gitmo isn't "American soil."
Instead, reply after reply that everyone in Gitmo is the worst of the worst of the Devil's Rejects; that US soldiers never raised a hand to anyone; that Gitmo is Club Med; that we'll all die in our beds thanks to me personally; and even a death threat.
Mouth-frothing, hysterical attacks. Now, this isn't anything new; and it's nothing you wouldn't find on any white supremacy website. But these guys were very, very careful to refrain from actually saying raghead or sand nigger -- only due to copious editing before posting, I'm sure.
It was so surreal; to be in a virtual room full of upper middle-class white guys and a couple gals; and not a single person who would argue their side. Not even a feeble attempt. Just chest-beating and flag-waving. And lots of "semper fi, motherfucker -- I'm a marine and I bust heads; and I never, ever exploit my service to silence dissent; NEVER -- UNDERSTAND YOU PATHETIC LOSER CIVILIAN?!!?"
Big deal, right? Same shit you hear on talk radio 24/7, right? But what disburbs me about it is, I sensed this real, deep-down belief in the propaganda. Unlike right-wing pundits, who shovel the shit but always leave a tiny bit off the table to try and save their souls from Hell, these guys were letting spittle fly and I think they genuinely believe that in order to save the village; we must burn it to the ground. Their forefathers worked too hard to build this country on freedom and rule of law to have it taken away by Hadjis --- so we better damn well revoke those freedoms and laws be damned!
Do you think these people really give a damn that Obama might changes politics as usual? Do you think they care that McSame wants 100 years of war? Well, yes, they do care -- because THEY want it, too. Iran? Sand/glass/hooray-we-win.
Granted, assuming everyone on the forum who says they've been to Iraq actually has been -- there's probably an incredible urge to salvage the legacy of their service. They went to Iraq, busted their asses, lost brothers and sisters; and all to occupy a country that never attacked us. Respect for the soldiers has been elevated to almost worship-like levels; and yet, it isn't enough. The Commander-in-Chief punked them, and through no fault of their own, the Iraq fiasco will always be remembered as a gigantic Bush fuck-up.
This leads them to prop him up, to "celebrate" the "victory", to give up everything in pursuit of "saving" this steaming shitpile. To some extent, these same motivations can be attributed to the media. They were complete fuckups on the war; and anytime they are criticized [see Charlie Gibson] they cry and froth they a good job and no one could have known, because no one in the administration told them what to write.
With all these forces: the military and families suffering cognitive dissonance, the whoring corporate media, the military fanboys and 101st fighting keyboardists, the top 10% drowing in war-profiteering; can the last remaining sliver of sane Republicans resist the tribal instinct to vote for their own?
I wonder. I really wonder.