Saturday, 18 October 2008

What if . . .

The vicious, last-ditch attacks on Obama’s character make me wonder what the race would look like today if Hillary Clinton had been the nominee and Bill the surrogate-in-chief. We think reactionary road rage is intense now—that pair would have turned it a brilliant, fiery orange. The chatterers, you may have already forgotten, insisted that Hillary was the ‘safe’ candidate, that only she could appeal to lunch-pail Pete and only she had the fighting spirit and ruthlessness to slug it out in a war of attrition for the soft middle of ‘hard-working Americans, white Americans,’ in her own dainty phrase.

Can we imagine what the character-assassination machinery now mobilized by McCain would be doing with the Billarys? If it can gun up a wall of sound with flimsy pretexts like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Wright, how much more mileage would they have extracted from Whitewater, Travelgate and the world-famous Clintonian weenie?

How many new, post-2000 girlfriends would we be hearing about? How many replays of Clinton’s famous lie to prosecutors? How much distasteful recollection of the semen-stained dress and the interminable impeachment campaign that he dragged out to keep their joint career afloat?

How much more would McCain’s ‘Country First’ slogan resonate if the narcissistic Clintons were his adversaries rather than Obama? How would war-heroics play as a contrast to the ambitious senator from New York and her non-veteran husband? How eager would the change-seeking voters be to return the well-known pair to the spotlight?

What would the Republicans be doing with Bill’s role in a future White House? How easily would they dismantle the novelty of a First Female Chief Executive and replace it with a disturbing series of questions about a Co-Presidency?

How would the Democrats have emerged from the Wall Street collapse if their candidate’s husband had placed his signature on the repeal of Glass-Steagal? How much would voters blame both parties equally and cast an eye for a dissident or ‘maverick’ who looked independent from the bad old consensus ways?

No one knows, of course, because we can never be sure of what would have happened had what happened not have happened. But I suspect we would not be about to stage a plebiscite on Republican misrule but heading down Memory Lane with Hil and Bill.

In any case, it’s worth asking to remind ourselves—yet again—that the expertise du jour served up by our wankers-in-residence is just fallible, fashionable opinionating.

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