October 28, 2008

And the fire in the air, it felt frozen.
'Til a man come to speak
And he said in one week
That number eleven was closin'



Seth Adelsberger, Untitled, 2005

* A Choice and an Echo. excerpt:

"It seems to have taken forever (the seasons have changed, and changed and changed again), but this long presidential campaign is finally coming to an end. In January, with snow blanketing the trail in Iowa and New Hampshire, I wrote of the Barack Obama phenomenon: 'Shake hands with tomorrow. It’s here.'

"I didn’t mean that Senator Obama would win the election. He still seemed like a long shot to me. But it was clear that the message, style and strategy of his campaign pointed to a new direction for American politics, and that a new generation of voters — younger, smarter, more diverse, more open-minded — was anxious to follow his lead.

"I remember talking with a voter named Debra Gable, who had driven from central Vermont to attend an Obama rally in Derry, N.H. 'I dislike politics,' she told me, 'because we focus on our differences even though we have so many more commonalities. That’s what I think I’m hearing from Obama, so I want to see how he is in person.'

"Ms. Gable had not made up her mind, and the other candidate she was seriously considering — in a Republican field that was still wide open — was John McCain.

"This election is hardly over, despite the impulse of the pundits to write the McCain campaign’s obituary. But Senator McCain has diminished his chances of winning the presidency in many ways, the most important of which was his failure to grasp the most significant new trend in American politics.

"With the country facing enormous problems (even before the meltdown of the credit and financial markets in recent months), the voters wanted more substance from their candidates. They wanted a greater sense of maturity and a more civil approach to campaigning. They were tired of the politics of personal destruction and the playbook that counseled 'attack, attack, attack'”

"Senator Obama was perfectly suited to this new approach. He told the crowd that trekked through the cold and snow to hear his victory speech at the Iowa caucuses:
You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington. To end the political strategy that’s been all about division, and instead make it about addition. To build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.
John McCain didn’t get it. He seemed as baffled by the new politics as an Al Jolson aficionado trying to make sense of the Beatles.

"He answered the desire for a higher tone in politics with ads that likened Senator Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and with attacks that questioned Mr. Obama’s patriotism, blamed him for high gasoline prices and all-but-accused him of being a socialist.

"Mr. Obama, said Mr. McCain, would convert the Internal Revenue Service into 'a giant welfare agency.'
...
"The heyday of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove is over. Yet Senator McCain handed the reins of his campaign to Rove’s worshipful acolytes. With the nation in a high state of anxiety over the conflagration in the credit and financial markets, Senator McCain traveled the country ranting Rovelike about Bill Ayers, trying to instill a bogus belief that the onetime ’60s radical and Senator Obama were good buddies and perhaps involved in some nefarious doings together. Senator Obama was about 8 years old when Mr. Ayers was engaged in his nefarious doings.

"It was the classic fear card that the Republicans have played to such brilliant effect for years. But times have changed. (Lately Senator McCain has been obsessively invoking the name of 'Joe the Plumber' at his campaign appearances, as if that might be the phrase that finally sways the electorate in a way that the Bill Ayers mantra did not.)
...
"Mr. McCain must never have noticed that the public turned overwhelmingly against the Bush administration because of its repeatedly demonstrated incompetence. Now here is Senator McCain, in the midst of a national crisis, with a running mate who is demonstrably incompetent to serve the nation as its president.

"Ms. Palin is a walking affront to the many Republican women (not to mention women in general) who are, in fact, qualified to hold the highest office in the land.

"John McCain could have traveled a higher road. He chose not to. He bet instead on one last gasping triumph of the politics of the past."

-- related: check out these fantastic photos of Obama by Callie Shell.

* The longest running Bob Dylan magazine still in print: Isis Magazine.

* PostRock: Phrases You Will Not See in the Post's Magnetic Fields show review:

"Stephin Merritt is a natural frontman"

"Merritt seemed to be having a great time up on stage"

"Merritt graciously soaked up the applause after each song"

"Merritt had no problem opening a plastic wrapper containing a lozenge, and didn't have to give it to cellist Sam Davol to open for him, on two separate occasions"

"Merritt took just one brief moment to harass the audience about cell phones, cameras or other assorted electronic devices"

* "At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols." -- Aldous Huxley

"Merritt smiled"

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