Yes We Might! | Issue 15
The Quasi-totalitarian Insipid Disappointment Machine
Welcome to Critic’s most redundant new column: a weekly update on the United States Presidential election. Redundant, because over the next few months you will have so much Decision 2012 dumped on your head you’ll feel like German zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt, who, having administered 22 doses of animal laxative to his constipated elephant Stefan, strayed too close to the plugged-up pachyderm’s derriere and was buried alive. To stretch the metaphor to breaking point, my role in this story is like that of Brigitte the antelope handler and amateur scatologist, who stood by and analysed the poo as it cascaded downward.
Anyway. One factor more than any other ensures that this will be the most omnipresent election ever. Namely a case called Citizens United v. Federal Electoral Commission, which effectively removed donation and spending limits on political campaigning. The candidates (through their proxies, called “super PACs”) are free to spend as much as they like, and rumour has it Barack Obama is on track to accumulate the world’s first $1bn election war chest.
So it’s a pity the two candidates (no, Ron Paul doesn’t count) are so utterly uninspiring. Obama has fallen a long way from his shiny hope-y poster Jesus persona of 2008, and now is merely the world’s most politically correct quasi-totalitarian insipid disappointment machine. The extent of Obama’s drift to the right was reflected in the Republican nomination race. The race was largely an attempt to articulate a coherent position to the right of Obama, and – surprise! – all the inhabitants of this ideological Mordor turned out to be completely insane.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, suffers from what I like to call John Key Syndrome – he’s a fantastically wealthy man with no real beliefs or policy, making it difficult to see why he’s running for office at all. Maybe he wants the cool house. Maybe he wants to be on the new $1,000 note when inflation gets really bad. Maybe he’s just a cold, power-hungry robot. Maybe we’ll never know.
In a nutshell, this election is the best possible advertisement for not having elections. It will literally make you hate freedom, and you will wish you never hear the word “Obamacare” again (but rest assured, you will).
So yes, I’m already a jaded, cynical wreck, but at least by the end of the semester I’ll have you as company.