Everyone's a critic
First can I say how much I am loving this Michelle Bachmann controversy? Yes? Thank you. It's wonderful! Hysterical! I couldn't ask for better. Minnesota is just getting weirder and equally diverse when it comes to politics. We were the lone vote for Mondale back in the day, we elected a former wrestler and Z-list actor for governer, are potentially going to elect a well-known comedian and author to senate, and nearby districts have elected candidates as progressive as Keith Ellison while also electing polar opposite Michelle Bachman who probably questions if Ellison should even be allowed to be a part of government let alone the United States. It's bananas and I don't know if I should be ashamed or amused.
So obviously I went looking for opinion pieces on all the crazy shenanigans. I went to the Star Tribune's Nick Coleman for my first source to keep the topic local despite it's national status (Powell's involved!) I guess my first thought about Coleman's writing is that I think it is a welcome change to read something that essentially acts as news, but also has personality. I'm not saying I think this should replace "actual" news as it isn't objective, but there is still a lot of information in the article while also having enough flavor to pack an extra punch. On a personal note, I've had some hesitations in the class so far, as I get a little nervous about being held prisoner by the rules of journalism. That isn't to say I don't respect of understand them, but I can't help but want to inject myself in everything I write. Obviously my writing needs more discipline and work, but I tend to only enjoy my writing when there gets to be some panache or humor in it. Editorial writing appeals to me because it does allow writers to be personal while also delivering information of valuable use. Maybe I'm meant for the blogging age. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. Maybe I'm annoying you right now. Who knows.
Besides my identity crisis, I enjoyed the article. It didn't say anything I didn't expect (Bachmann should just keep her mouth shut? Really!?) but it read well and kept my attention and Coleman didn't become too much of an attack dog in a way that tends to make me disagree with statements I agree with just because I'm annoyed at the over the top lashing of the writer. I would have liked a little more emphasis on the national aspect of Bachmann's remarks and what they say about the way McCain is running his campaign in it's last moments. Or maybe I would have liked a word about the tendency that many Minnesota Republicans like Bachmann, Pawlenty and Norm Coleman have to become eager mouthpieces for all the Republican big-boys. Whatever, it was fine.
To prove I like being in a rut, I went to the Washington Post for a national editorial piece. What I found was a wonderful piece by Richard Cohen about how the tonal shift of the Republican party has changed from this election from the last. The article made me realize, as much as I had been opposed to almost everything Bush stood for in 2004, I didn't quite remember the mood being so nasty as it is now. Of course there were still attacks on candidates and those Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were pretty vile, but as the piece says, Bush ran as a compassionate conservative, which is much different than McCain. However dubious Bush's platform may have been, it does illuminate a stark difference in campaigns. Bush, bless his heart (?), probably did think he had the best interest of little Iraqi children at heart when he pushed forward with the war. McCain, in a move of desperation, is making his campaign almost-retro in it's fear of the unknown or fear of the outsider. That more people aren't calling it racist is beyond me. Perhaps I like throwing that card around too much. The whole tone is anti-immigrant, and shockingly eager to paint Obama as a threat to America for reasons that go beyond economic plans. The McCain-Palin campaign has stood by and allowed rallies to get out of control as crowds basically incite wannabe lynch mobs. Every time someone calls Obama a terrorist, McCain turns a blind eye, not directly taking a part in what's being said, but certainly not doing anything to stop it. Cohen knows most Americans are smart enough to see through it, and he understands the crucial mistake McCain is making as he continues to antagonize a lot of the minorities that Bush admittedly won over. The days of a naively optimistic president are over. If McCain takes office, we'll have one with absolutely no regard to uniting a country in any way shape or form. With Bush it may have been imaginary, but at least it was intended. McCain is all about inciting fear of the unknown back into America. Our buddy Strom Thurmond is looking up and smiling.
I wanted something lighter for the last article, and I found it at the Chicago Tribune's website. Columnist Steve Dahl's piece is on how he doesn't like Halloween. I was drawn to this because the old grumpus ranting about something insignificant has always been a favorite genre of mine. This was a feeling that peaked when I saw a 60 Minutes Andy Rooney segment where he honestly complained about fans sending him presents that they thought would help him. It was 5 minutes of Rooney telling his fans how he hates them essentially. I swear I'd never been happier, and it was one of the first times where I was able to pay attention to one of his segments rather than being distracted by his eyebrows which might as well just be wings for all I know.
Costumes are too expensive! Candy is too expensive! I don't like getting out of my chair to answer the door! Remember pagans? And what's this about dressing up dogs?
Annoyed yet? I wasn't. And that's why I was mad that Dahl actually tried to get a message going on at the end. The moral of our little story was that Halloween isn't that scary compared to what's going on in the world right now. Yeah, I know, I didn't see it coming either. We have Dahl realizing that after years of terror watches and airport security, there is nothing too terrifying about a few rotten eggs and that maybe, just maybe, he'll dress up his black lab as a skeleton. Well I sure learned a lot. So why do I love it so much? The point is=upset people of a certain age are hilarious when I am not dealing with them on the phone at work. I've seen better, usually dealing with technology problems of some sort, but I can't make like my heroes and complain just yet.