Sauget, Ill.

edit: below is about 600 words of me talking, some would say, “straight out of my ass.” good thing the occasional reader has always been around to set me straight.

Vanity Fair’s website makes my computer shut down. and that really grinds my gears.

I just watched “Michael Clayton.” it was really, really good. in the last few days I’ve seen “American Gangster,” which was a solid B. “The Devil Came on Horseback,” which was a poorly directed documentary about an American military observer’s time in Darfur. and then, just now, “Michael Clayton,” which will require your undivided attention, but it’s sooo good. it’s good.

I had a little bit too much last night, and then was a zombie when I woke up. so I went running to sweat it out before work. I still didn’t feel well, so I took a long lunch break. got lunch, went outside the bagel shop to get a newspaper and just focus on something, and the Washington Post was sold out.
it’s always sold out. it only costs 50 cents.
so instead, I got a copy of the New York Times. I prefer the Post. it’s the DC paper, and I want to read about government and loathsome politicians. I get my international news elsewhere. but the point is, I bought the Times, and that shit costs $1.25. and that’s some expensive shit for a newspaper! so I took, like, three extra copies out of the box. to hell with them. $1.25 … ooh, look at us, we’re the high and mighty New York Times!
anyway.
so
I read the shit out of the June 20 copy of the New York Times. and I read this column by David Brooks. Brooks is a giant nerd who couldn’t buy humor in a can, and he’s painful to read sometimes. his latest column is about the two sides of Barack Obama, and it wasn’t easy to get through — he uses the phrase “throw you under the truck,” like, a dozen times and riffs on a really lame Jekyll/Hyde theme with “Dr. Barack and Fast Eddie Obama.” — but I think Brooks has a point.

… Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck. In so doing, he probably dealt a death-blow to the cause of campaign-finance reform. And the only thing that changed between Thursday and when he lauded the system is that Obama’s got more money now.

And Fast Eddie Obama didn’t just sell out the primary cause of his life. He did it with style. He did it with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding. Obama blamed the (so far marginal) Republican 527s. He claimed that private donations are really public financing. He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood. …

I have to admit, I’m ambivalent watching all this. On the one hand, Obama did sell out the primary cause of his professional life, all for a tiny political advantage. If he’ll sell that out, what won’t he sell out? On the other hand, global affairs ain’t beanbag. If we’re going to have a president who is going to go toe to toe with the likes of Vladimir Putin, maybe it is better that he should have a ruthlessly opportunist Fast Eddie Obama lurking inside.

agreed. what this public financing thing reveals? this is a campaign, now. the primaries are over, and idealism can suck it. Obama might be a Democrat, but he’s still a politician.
I’m sure I’ll end up voting for him, of course. of, course.

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5 comments so far

  1. Cat on

    Matty, excuse my ignorance, but why the fuck does it matter that he’s rejecting public financing? As long as he doesn’t accept it from lobbyists and gets it from random people like he did during the primary, I don’t understand the issue. It seems like a positive thing: hes’ not taking tax money.

    Is it because we’re assuming he WILL get donations from sketchy donators? If that’s true, how come no one says it that way, and they’re focusing on “breaking a promise?” The promise of, what, taking our tax money? I don’t get it.

  2. Smith on

    I agree with you for the most part, but if it were up to you, if it was your decision whether or not Barack Obama would stay with public financing given his past statements, what decision would you make? Would you rather he stay in the public financing or would you have rather he opt out and be able to outspend McCain 3-1 in the election?

    Don’t forget that one of the chief reasons Republicans were able attain and keep their strangling majority for so long was because they were able to raise millions more dollars in campaign cash than the Dems because of those type of loopholes. All I’m saying is that I’m tired of having our asses kicked because we refuse to get down in the mud with Republicans and fight like they do. I don’t like it, but I’m not so much of an idealist that I would risk another 4 years of absolute madness to help prove a point. Cutting your nose off to spite your face would be an understatement given the amount of huuuuuuuuuuuuge issues we are going to face (or already are).

  3. matt on

    I don’t especially care if he takes public financing or not. I understand why he isn’t. I’m more interested in the fact that it lifts the veneer that I perceive that shows him as some sort of agent of change, sent by the good lord himself, to fix “politics as usual.”
    he’s a calculating politician, and he’s good at it – something I’m not used to seeing from a Democratic candidate. Kerry, at least, wasn’t impressive in that way. and maybe this is a case of hindsight being 20/20, but you kind of knew he was gonna lose, and if indeed he had actually won, it would have been through no planning of his own. he would have just stumbled into it on a wave of anti-Bush fever. turns out that fever wasn’t enough.
    I think it just makes Obama more realistic, is all.

  4. Ashley L. on

    He’s still not taking PAC or lobbyist money. And 85 million in public financing? Please, that’s what Americans spend on Peeps in a year.

    I think this is a media problem–either he’s the messiah, come to deliver us from the model of obfuscating, shit eating politician OR he’s that same shit eater with a better suit and marketing team. I think the reality, of course, lies somewhere in between, and I also think that he’s still head and shoulders above the rest of them. He wouldn’t have defeated Hillary Clinton if he was not a tremendous strategist, but he did it on a platform of engaging people to change the things they think are wrong with the political system. On a platform of hope and change for Christ’s sake. All that isn’t unraveled by a decision to take the opportunity to financially trounce his opponent.

  5. matt on

    Ash hat, I get these emails every time somebody writes something on the blog, so I read your comment at work today, but I only glanced at it because I was busy, right?
    so I get home about two hours ago (it’s 3 am now) and I’m checking my email and I remember the comment, so I was all fixin’ to write you a scathing rebuke,
    but you’re mostly right. good call.
    also, I just watched The Killing Fields. and Ash hole, that movie is fucked up. have you ever seen it? it’s just about my sole source of information on the Khmer Rouge, but it’s pretty scary anyway.


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