Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Ron Paul problem

"Lower-tier candidates" get the media backhand

-- Corey Hutchins

Just around the corner from City Paper’s office was a stenciled “Ron Paul for president” sign spray-painted red white and blue on a slab of particleboard similar to the "Deer hunting" signs of Upstate New York or the "Happy birthday Wayne, from T-bones" in other parts of the country. In Five Points, one of Columbia’s shopping, restaurant and bar areas, the Ron Paul sign was tacked to a telephone pole and directly below it was a similarly constructed job that read “Ultimate Fighters Wanted” with a listed local telephone number.

Also, on a nearby freeway there exists low-budget Ron Paul banner that hangs off a pedestrian bridge as if it were advertising a college fraternity toga party for this Saturday night.

So needless to say hearing that Paul currently has more cash on hand for his campaign than John McCain was a only a little puzzling. Personally I feel bad I haven't gotten a chance to get to know about Ron Paul-- I somehow managed to give up the time not spent between my two jobs, checking Facebook and scrolling through blogs to Columbia’s service industry.

But the Ron Paul campaign hasn’t really pulled me in yet— even with its hipster stamp of approval— and, to a more specific point, his moments in the debate were never projected ad osmosis from the voice boxes of Chris Mathews or Tucker Carlson and he somehow managed to stay out of the pages of the New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair while only tickling my funny bone in anything from Mother Jones, The New Republic or Slate.com

And while Hillary Clinton and John Edwards recently got caught saying they believe the other candidates aren’t "serious" and the Democratic pool should be narrowed down, I wonder if this “blunder” wasn’t actually calculated by their individual campaigns to only appear like one.

As for whom Clinton/Edwards are talking about, i.e. Dennis Kucinich et al, I'm not even sure that's the absolute correct spelling of Kucinich's name. I once overheard The Nation’s Washington Correspondent, John Nichols, say that Kucinich’s problem was "about six inches" and I remember reading something somewhere once about "a 5' 7" divorced Jew." I know he shook my hand at the Hunter Gatherer in Columbia a few years ago and afterwards I said, "Who was that?" My roommate looked at me like I was Charles Manson.

And while everyone always says “the media picks the president” we do hear an awful lot about John Edwards (most notably in Men's Vogue in the waiting room of the gay barber), we hear about Hillary Clinton from everyone with a mouth and Barack Obama from every ambitious young black or-- ahem-- "just very progressive" young person in the South (maybe that's too much of an indictment), and , of course, Obama Girl (what a chick) but for the others in the running you really have to go and dig stuff about for yourself. You know… take the time to Get To Know The Candidate.

I too want to get to know Paul and Kucinich, maybe even Mike Gravel, just to understand their ideas and see if I think they’re “electable”— make sure no one can really hammer me for it— but I don't know if I'll be wasting time getting hooked on another Nader wagon like I supported in 2000. And this is coming from a guy who’s shared a few afternoons with John Taylor Bowles.

One thing I don't want to do though is spend my energy bashing the people who support the "lower-tier candidates," (as they’re being labeled by both the other candidates and the media in wink-and-handshake fashion) because democracy, even one as muddled as ours, is all about choices and restricting those choices would go against the same ideological principles that pragmatic, reasonable, progressive people believe in.

Besides, someone needs to be getting millionaire-rich off of "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him/her" stickers if only to one day show us how wrong we were.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hillary video

Hillary Clinton works to soften her image with some humorous campaign videos.

Michael Moore

Mike demands an apology from CNN for Dr. Sanjay Gupta's biased reporting on 'SiCKO' and for helping the Bush administration lie us into a pointless war.