We all know the (in)famous tales of Sarah Palin shooting wolves from a helicopter, turning the Alaskan wilderness into her personal blood spattered penny arcade. Now, in the final days of the McCain/Palin campaign, the Republicans are shooting from their helicopters at any Obama target in sight, from a mild mannered Palestinian scholar Obama once met to the tired old Rezco, Rev. Wright connections, hoping to bag a few votes with their fear inspiring machine-gun tactics, and knock a few voters off the registry. Something has gone terribly wrong with the McCain/Palin aim. They are missing their targets, and the recoil from their gun is beginning to hurt their own credibility big time.
What I see in the Palin candidacy is only fear: the decision of a frightened candidate, John McCain, desperate to appeal to the lowest fears of the voters by selecting a rabble rousing, sarcastic, street-fighter, an expert in demonizing her opponents – who better than one who went to her local church to have her personal demons exorcised by a witch doctor? This would be laughable because it’s all so loony, but it could be tragic if any of this scattered gunshot changes the course of the election. I doubt that it will, but there are a few days to go, and not being fearless I fear that the polls are just sweet talking lovers, there to seduce us, and abandon us after they have worked their comforting charms.
A note on the recent vote of my city council in New York to extend term limits so as to allow Mayor Bloomberg and the council to run for re-election. Hiss! Bah! Humbug! Although I am against term limits, I know that they were early on supported in New York City by an influential cosmetics billionaire, determined to keep certain “elements” in city government from gaining permanent power, and by the voters themselves who feared entrenched power. I am so tired of rich men being able to buy their way into power time and again; the argument in their favor is that the rich are less likely to be corrupted than a poor candidate. Who is kidding who? Or is that whom? Bloomberg, a good Mayor during a time of prosperity (and that ain’t hard to be) now tells us that he is the only one who can see us through the hard times. Ah, echoes of Giuliani after 9/11! Bloomberg is running on his record, some of which is open to question. He is the Mayor who encouraged unchecked development in the city (let us all fall down before the god of real estate taxes!!!) but forgot to build the schools for the children of the new neighborhoods, or intelligently improve the infrastructure of the city while applauding rampant growth. A tour down what was once Yorkville, now a hodge-podge of new, hideous skyscrapers lacking in human scale – our rebuilt East Berlin - shows the appalling results of that growth. Bloomberg is another candidate who uses that helicopter of his to shoot down dissident voters with his powerful personal money. Chances are a desperately strapped city will re-elect him, but that will turn New York City into a banana Republic where the rules can always be changed to benefit the rulers.