Whenever I feel the pessimissism and cynicism creep up reagarding the 2008 Presidential campaign, I have to step back, take a breath, and politely remind myself that the truth will out. Americans really aren't that stupid. They really will vote on actual issues that affect their lives, not endless mass-media parades of triviality and bullshit.
So I go from feeling slight bouts of despair at the endless replays of Jeremiah Wright on the TV news stations - the unemployed woman who asked Obama about the flag at the last debate is iconic - to feeling a bit more optimistic. At the end of the day, everyone will have to deal with the endless war in Iraq, the worsening economy, rising bankrupcies, collapsing infrastructure, rising pollution, global climate change, domestic spying, torture as official US government policy....yadda yadda.
The bottom line is that George W. Bush's tenure in the White House has been a disaster. And it's widely seen as a disaster, by historians and the voters themselves. Don't even get started on world opinion - yes, Fry, there really is a "rest of the world." This spells doom for the Republican Party in November, any way you slice it.
And, sooner or later, attention will focus on the general election between Obama and McCain, and McCain will have to answer on those deeply unpopular issues. We've seen that this week, with the uneasy shifting around his "100 years" remarks about Iraq. You can shift it around and mold it all you want, but the simple truth is that the Republicans want us to stay in Iraq forever. Doesn't matter how many years of conflict or secatrian violence, followed by how many years of supposed peace and prosperity, ala Germany or Japan. The mantra remains the same: We Are Never Leaving.
Sooner or later, Iraq will sit closer to the center stage of our attentions, especially in the general election debates. Today, at least, I'll be optimistic and believe that Americans won't base their vote on who's wearing a flag pin, or whether gay people are kissing somewhere. Do you want an American military presence in Iraq for the next 100 years? Yes or no? It's an easy enough question for you.
This is going to be a looooong campaign. Don't squeeze the Sharmin. Pay attention to things.