November 8, 2007

We could slip away, wouldn't that be better
Me with nothing to say, and you in your autumn sweater

Kelly Sears, Crucial Crystal, 2005

* CounterPunch: What We Learned From Stephen Colbert's Presidential Campaign. excerpt:

"I'm no slacker when it comes to politics, but I almost fell off my balance ball when I saw Carol Fowler, the chair of the South Carolina Democratic party, tell Stephen Colbert that her little committee of 16 didn't think he was 'quite ready to be president.' I hate to be the Col-bearer of bad news, but in case you haven't heard, they voted to keep him off the ballot.

"The funnyman had failed the party's 'viable candidate' test despite the fact that one poll showed him statistically tied with Joe Biden and ahead of Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson and Mike Gravel; and another gave him 13% of the vote in a three-way race with Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

"Until that moment, I had no idea that a few political party elites could decide subjectively who was viable and vote to scrap the others before America could have its say. Could a not-so-sweet 16 reject Hillary Clinton willy-nilly if they believed a female had no chance? Is this a backstage glimpse of democracy in action? Shouldn't legitimacy require objective standards?

"Fowler's words felt like fowl play (that's southern for chicken ordure) and no doubt ticked off millions of young people who had crept out from behind 'down with politics' placards to vote for the first time. The sentiment is expressed best on Youtube with the lyrics: 'Get even, vote Stephen Show them you're disgusted. The system's busted.Stick it to the man.'"
"By shutting the door on Colbert's candidacy, some argue the political establishment has revealed its true colors are not red, white and blue. Instead, they secretly salute the flag of monopoly, manipulation, disenfranchisement and hypocrisy.
"The two parties are private organizations with the legal right to choose their candidates however they wish. They can evaluate party loyalty, use ideological litmus tests, weigh campaign nest eggs, cave to daddy's political connections or allow a committee of 16 to call shots 'out' even when the masses would rule them in bounds.

"Muckraker Colbert has shed a light on this irksome game. It is particularly unappetizing because the two parties have a quasi-public reality to them. They are like public utility companies in that they get all the business all the time: a candidate has little chance of winning--especially the presidency--unless he or she is affiliated with one of the two giants. In addition, the parties simulate nonprofits, saying they exist to benefit the public good. Have you ever heard a Democrat or Republican admit it's all about increasing party power and achieving a monopoly; and well, curses to the little people?"
Colbert's fake campaign was arguably less phony than those of competitors because the comedian was honest about the politics-as-usual hustle. Plus the entertaining Everyman offered Independents a place to hang their hats with hope that a mountain of headgear could eventually transform the two parties into relatively harmless molehills.

* Seven way to Really not support the troops.

* In DC? POTLUCK is back!! Next Wednesday November 14, 2007 @ Cosmo (1725 Columbia Road, NW, above Chief Ike's). Leafy Green and I will be playing hits and non-hits from your favorite bands.

* "When men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken." --Benjamin Disraeli


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