Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AN ECHO, NOT A CHOICE. There's no place in a rational campaign for the kind of tabloid crap that's been making the rounds today. Of course I'm not the only one who thinks so, but some parties, such as My Pet Jawa and Jules Crittenden, have come around late, having been more excited when a Democratic candidate was getting the treatment. Now MPJ is more dismissive and Crittenden, well below the fold, insists "who's gonna care." Well, wisdom is welcome whenever it comes.

But it's hard for a citizen to know what does qualify as relevant. The President goes on TV to plead for for a massive Wall Street bailout, and gets oddly distracted readings from his advocates. Kathryn J. Lopez wonders if Bush's speech "wasn't a wasted opportunity to convince the unconvinced (including worried conservatives)." Larry Kudlow, usually reliably energized in his cheerleading, claims without force of logic or argument that "ironically, this huge government action will be solved by free-market auctions and private sector loan workouts that will pay us back." He adds that he doesn't really like the plan, but "When I spoke to Alexander Hamilton last night about this, he told me it was the right thing to do. Like he did in the 1790s." Sadly he did not supply quotes, reminding me of the old story of a young reporter wiring from the Johnstown flood, "God looks down upon a desolate Johnstown tonight..." to which his editor wired back, "Forget flood. Interview God. Rush pictures."

Meanwhile the Republican Vice Presidential candidate reassures Americans worried about a new Depression that "Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on," and won't take a stand either way on the bailout, while her running mate bails out himself.

But Obama doesn't want to get stuck either, and has joined McCain in a non-denial denial, though without endorsing the Republican candidate's more spectacular plan to avoid the storm by retreating into its calm Congressional eye. It may be that Obama's cautiousness supports McCain's claim that electoral politics is not at present meaningful, but the impending deal seems not to have much real drama in it either: that will come afterwards, when the shouting heads debate winners and losers.

Bukowski used to say that in America money was more serious than death. It would appear to be more serious than politics, too. It may be that after the hurlyburly's done some of us will begin to wonder whether all our political shouting is worth more than the baying of wolves at the moon.

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