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January 12, 2000


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Politics has settled down into predictable patterns. In New Hampshire, where I currently live, this is a big deal. This is the one time New Hampshire desperately matters to politicos. Or, indeed, anyone. Right now, we are the official staging ground. We are the launching pad for momentum in presidential campaigns. We have seen more of the candidates in the last six weeks than we ever saw in six years in Maine. Or Seattle, for that matter. Brewster kids have met Al Gore, Bill Bradley, George W. Bush, John McCain, Elizabeth Dole (before she dropped out), Steve Forbes and that other guy who has no chance in Hell of winning a single state.

And, like every time in history where Politics has had a chance to settle down, it's gotten ugly. Oh, it started nicely enough, with every candidate talking about mutual respect and issues and keeping the tenor of the campaign clean. But then, candidates started losing. Their polls dropped through the floor. Now, the first thing that happened was folks began dropping out of the race. A question of money, they said (with a slightly acid look towards George W. Bush). We lost Elizabeth Dole early, that way -- and people kind of regret that. We also lost Dan Quayle that way, and every stand up comedian and late night talk show host in America, Britain or Canada regrets that. (I imagine France loves him, rather like they love Jerry Louis.) Then, the people who've settled in for the long haul started sniping at each other. McCain about Bush's money. Forbes about Bush's attitude. Bill Bradley about Al Gore's lack of compassion. Al Gore about Bill Bradley's lack of fiduciary sense. Everyone about the other party. Everyone but Al Gore about Bill Clinton.

Attack ads haven't fully blossomed yet, but give it a few primaries. By the time Michigan goes to the polls, I expect the Super Tuesday states will be inundated with flying feces and name calling.

As for me? Well, McCain's a man I greatly respect, but he's also Archconservative enough to cut glass. And he supports the CDA, which I think would apply to this journal in places, so my own self-interest predisposes me against him. George W. Bush I find a hypocritical boor -- if he gets nominated I'll vote for a potted plant if that's who the Democrats nominate. On the other side of things, Al Gore is tainted eight ways from Sunday and something of a moron to boot. This is disappointing, as he's a particularly intelligent moron. For a long time I looked forward to voting for Al Gore. Dominic and I, out in Seattle, would have long discussions way too early in the morning on Saturdays about Al Gore and how we hoped that bastard Bill Clinton didn't poison his chances to be president.

Why way too early in the morning on Saturdays? Because Annie (you remember Annie, right?) worked in Des Moines, which contrary to its name is not in Illinois but south of Kent, a good half-hour or so away from our warm beds in Seattle. Dominic and I would get up in the morning, crawl into my 1986 Honda Accord, and be joined by a depressingly awake Annie. We'd drive her to work, getting lattes on the way (the latte was something of my payment, you see), and then drive back. By the time we drove back, Dominic and I were both mostly awake, jazzed on lattes, and in a mood to rant about politics. Which is where Al Gore's name came up.

Well, I'd vote for Al Gore before I'd vote for George W. Bush. But that's like saying I'd vote for him before choosing to be shot in a major organ. But I like Bill Bradley. Maybe it's his jumpshot.

So I'm hoping beyond hope for a Bradley/McCain race. McCain may be a reactionary, but he's an honest one and I can respect that. Bradley would be a good president. Either way, we'd be better off than a Bush/Gore race.

What amazes me is that there's a shot for the Republicans to take the White House. This stuns me. Not only are we in far better shape than we were after twelve years of Republican rule, but historically times of prosperity lead to liberal leanings and backlashes, not conservative ones. So, Bill Clinton's essential shadiness and his inability to keep his little President under cover have led to the possibility of a Republican president and Congress, and that's just not a good idea. Really, a best case scenario right now is a Democratic President and House, and a Republican Senate. Partisan debates can be hashed out and compromised in the Legislative Branch, where they belong, and then the President can rubber-stamp the legislation that the two houses have compromised on.

If we get a divided Congress, a Republican can win the Presidency without too much danger. But for one party to control two different branches of government and have a de-facto lock on the third will benefit no one but that party. And even that won't last more than two years. Look at the fall of Congress to the Republicans in 1994. This was because the Democratic Congress consumed themselves. They couldn't help it. They all had to look good to their Constituents. So, a certain parity was achieved again, and a similar correction would take place in 2002. It would just be easier if the balance were achieved now instead of then.

The weirdest thing of all? The tainted President, Bill Clinton, could almost certainly be reelected by a wide margin if he were able to run again. Al Gore doesn't have his charisma, and without it he doesn't inherit the public perception that Clinton's done an excellent job with the domestic economy. In other words, the people are tired of our Scandel-Ridden President, and may elect the other party's candidate to replace him because they're so tired of him, but if they had a chance to reelect him, they'd take it.

People be so weird sometimes, you know it?


This weekend is Arisia, a Boston Convention that I'm really looking forward to. We're likely to have a full quad for it this year -- myself, Mason, Van and Jon Lennox will all make the trek. It'll be a blast and hopefully I'll be able to pick up the damn commission I made with Craig Enslin last February. Alternately, I may have to have him killed, and that's a shame as he's an amazing artist.

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