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Rocky Times Out

Message Jayne Stahl

The chickens of Rocky past are coming home to roost as 1972 presidential Democratic nominee, George McGovern, defected from the Clinton camp to endorse Obama which is further proof that any analogies between Rocky Balboa and Hillary Clinton are strained. McGovern joins a chorus of those who think Clinton should walk away.

But, echoing the Bush mindset, Hillary ignores those who suggest that she do now what she must inevitably do. She has just lent her campaign another $6 milllion to stay in the race which makes $11 million out of her own pocket, but who's counting? After all, it's her business how she spends her money. The only thing that should concern us is that her decision may well come at the expense of her party's victory in November.

After watching the obsessive Democratic political contest that has plagued the airwaves for months, the only thing that is clear is that politics has become the drug of choice in Washington. What keeps the race going? Is it Clinton's tenacity, and vigor? Is it her determination? Or, is it the mainstream media that has kept Clinton's improbable campaign on life support. Indeed, the same media that prolonged what should have been a thirty second sound bite into seven days of nauseating nonstop coverage of Reverend Wright who was propped up for one reason, and one reason only, to feed the omnipresent god of ratings.

What we don't know is why the American consumers of news continue to go along for the ride? Can it be we are no different from ancient Romans who bought tickets to watch the gladiators have at each other thousands of years ago; so much for "intelligent design."

Okay, bottom line: the Democrats still don't have one definite presidential nominee, so what? They have a platform, right? The Republicans have an escalator.   And, make no mistake, their escalator goes in one direction only---up, up, up for those making hundreds of thousands a year leaving the rest of us to head for the stairs.

Who cares about McCain's policies, after all, when we have survivor T.V., and a free for view media circus that is complicit in making the decision about who will lead the Democratic ticket, in November, largely irrelevant by the time it is reached.

Who cares that a rubber-stamped Republican nominee-in-waiting is poised in the wings to run away with the prize? Why should it matter if the majority of voters know only that John McCain is a senator from Arizona, who was once a prisoner of war? Why would we expect anything more from a media that was infatuated with Paris Hilton's DUI, and O.J. Simpson's high profile run from the law?

But, how can we just sit back and allow a presidential election to be hijacked by the special interests of dumbing down the electorate such that a presidential contest is barely distinguishable from the Indianapolis 500, or any inelegant freeway car chase?

This same media that feeds us our daily pablum about the efficacy of the surge is letting the McCain "maverick" label stick, a label that is about as current as bell bottoms. Anyone who still thinks of John McCain as a reformer hasn't been paying attention to his recent voting history with respect to veterans, and pay discrimination, nor how he's reneged on revamping campaign financing, as well as ending the Bush tax advantage for the rich.

Maybe we should all turn our televisions off for three weeks in protest, and insist that the broadcast media put on their boxing gloves, and go a few rounds with the heir apparent, so-called presumptive (read "designated") Republican nominee for president. After all, doesn't John McCain deserve equal air time? We then can be treated to a McCain v. McCain debate, and can witness the McCain who was against Bush before he was for Bush.

Instead, we ought to go back to the days of  Paddy Chayefsky, get "mad as hell."   Remember when "you pays your money, you take your choice?" Nowadays, -you pay your money, and you lose your voice.
Strange, isn't it, how artfully selective deception is practiced. Notice how we didn't hear a peep from the mainstream about why Rudy Giuliani dropped out so quickly, or whatever happened to Ron Paul. What about how Mitt Romney can supportsHillary Clinton, or why she's on Bush's buddy list?

What does it tell us about any candidate who shadow boxes with a sitting president, and passes up the opportunity to challenge her Republican Party opponent? Can it be because there is little, in McCain, for Hillary to challenge. With the possible exception of nominations to the Supreme Court, we can expect little difference between the presidencies of McCain and Clinton when it comes to foreign policy--i.e., war. One can only hope for a seismic economic shift should John McCain prevail.  
Obama, on the other hand, has made it his mission to take on McCain openly, and what he calls a "third term for the Bush White House."
Since we're not given the benefit of watching the Republicans go for each other's jugulars endlessly on primetime T.V., maybe it's time for the media itself to step up to the plate, and give the Republican nominee a run for his money not on the nonsense issues like who his minister is, but maybe even on how he voted in 2000, as Arianna Huffington has suggested. 
But,  why is the mainstream media complicit in rigging an election? By hyperfocusing on the infighting of one political party, the MSM has virtually stifled the crucial dialogue between the two parties vying for the White House in one of the most important presidential campaigns of this republic.

By allowing John McCain to bask in silence and, in effect, drowning out his stand on vital issues that have taken center stage in the Democrat's debate, the press is effectively engaging in the politics of disenfranchisement.

It's time for John McCain to do his time in the spotlight, and for the media to do its job. If it had, the Clinton campaign would have timed out weeks ago.





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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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