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From the Pod

Posted on 2003.09.30 at 17:24
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
Current Music: Blind Willie McTell - I Got Religion, I'm So Glad
Getting chemotherapy sounds like it is a nasty business. I am glad that I have not had to have it. Watching people get it, which I am currently doing, is actually pretty boring. My Dad is knocked out by some kind of heroic hospital dose of Benadryl while they wait to infuse him with various anti-cancer drugs. They do this in a little are called a 'pod,' which has four comfy chairs, two beds, and a fridge full of snacks and sodas for people. The woman in the chair next to us is watching the 700 Club, and has said that she wants to buy a winter coat "while she is here in the big city." "Of course, " she said, "I won't be going outside to smoke as much anymore." I guess not! There is no smoking area in the chemo pod.
So basically I am bored. It isn't really an ideal place to do any work, since I am sitting in a wheelchair and typing on my lap, so I thought I would rant and rave some more at y'all.
I was going to do some kind of religious homily appropriate to the season, but I will save that for later, and instead reveal the secret of how the Democrats can beat Bush. Perhaps I shouldn't say it just in case Karl Rove reads this, but somehow I kind of doubt anyone does, let alone GOP operatives.
The basic thing is that Republicans don't understand that people don't trust them with the economy any more. There are certain stereotypes of the parties out there, most not entirely fair, but nevertheless potent. One of the ones about the Democrats is that they are weak on defense issues and national security. This is why, when Michael Dukakis rode in that tank, and wore that helmet, the image was so powerful. He didn't look all that bad in the helmet, and I think that anyone else wearing it with a tie would look just as awkward. There are several ways that the Democrats can counter this image, such as by pointing out the total foreign policy failure of this administration, but the surest argument can be summed up in one phrase: Supreme Commander of NATO, General Wesley K. Clark.
The thing that the GOP doesn't realize is that it has a weakness just as potent, and just as vibrant in the popular imagination. This is the idea that they don't care about common people, that they run the economy solely for the benefit of the wealthy, and are out of touch with the economic situation of those non-millionaires among the populace. This perception is why the tape of George H. W. Bush seemingly baffled by a supermarket scanner struck a chord. I have heard that the tape was misleading, that he was not really amazed by it, that it wasn't that he hadn't seen one before. I can believe that, and frankly, I don't care if he hadn't. He had been Vice President for 8 years, President for 4, and I sort of hope that people doing jobs like that are too busy to do much of their own grocery shopping. In any case, the image stuck. Why? For the same reason that Dukakis in the tank stuck. It played to the stereotype, that the Republicans were a bunch of patrician country club types who were completely out of touch with the lives of regular people. I think that the point at which Bush lost the election was when he started saying that we weren't really in a recession, at a time when people were feeling really insecure about their jobs and finances. This is true even though I think that technically he was right.
Sound familiar?
W. and his familiars have been doing the same thing, going around on all the Sunday shows, talking up the economy, how stocks are up and all that. Bad idea. Even if this is true, consumer confidence is way down, and people are insecure. People's stocks still aren't where they were a few years ago, and jobs are fleeing the country, including a lot of tech jobs. So people are scared, and every time W. smirks and explains that all we need is another tax cut, people get scared.
None of this means that Bush is going to lose. Will Rogers said "I don't belong to an organized political party; I'm a Democrat." I believe the Democrats are quite capable of screwing up. But if they don't, if they do something to innoculate themselves against the perception of being weak on foreign policy, military issues, and national security, and exploit the weakness of the economy and how badly it has been handled, they can unseat Bush, and that would be a wonderful thing for America.

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