I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Weirdly Boring

This was one of the most historic elections of my life, yet somehow it was weirdly boring. I wound up going to bed at 10pm. Once Ohio was called at 9:30, the game was mathematically over.

On a larger scale, the game was over the week before the first debate when the stock market collapsed and McCain "suspended" his campaign to deal with it. He just looked like he was flailing around, clueless about what to do, and he completely wrecked three decades of opposition to pork by endorsing a 700 billion dollar Wall St. bailout only a day after it was announced. We just don't build enough 300 million dollar bridges to offset spending like that, and even Americans aren't bad enough at math to get fooled by this. If he squelched 16 billion in pork a year, he'd need to be president for 44 years to offset this single 700 billion dollar charge.

I guess I've been spoiled by the last 4 presidential elections. Both Bush elections were squeakers, and both Clinton elections had Ross Perot throwing a spanner in the works. The returns had a little suspense to them. We haven't had a blowout of this magnitude since Bush v Dukakis.

I've been amused by listening to the frothing among right-wing commentators that the reason they lost this time was that McCain wasn't conservative enough. Ann Coulter complains that they couldn't go after Obama on immigration or carbon caps or stem cell research because McCain was on the same page. The far right never did embrace McCain, though they all came on board with Palin. They also complain that the press never did talk about William Ayers or Jeremiah Wright... which makes me wonder just what newspapers they read.

I hate to smear Republican's with such a broad brush, but it feels to me like they have no arguments to make except to stoke our fears and then promise to protect us. Terrorists! Fear them! We will protect you. Gays! Fear them! We will protect you. Scientists! Fear them! We will protect you. Mexicans! Fear them! We will protect you. Liberals! Atheists! Reporters! Blacks! Drug lords! Socialists! Taxes! Darwin! Iran! Iraq! China! Cuba! and, oh my god, the RUSSIANS! They're practically in Alaska already!!! Gather your children, head for the cellar, and mail in your absentee ballot so that we can save you!

Democrats are also guilty of their own fear-mongering. They've been quick to talk about our economy being on the verge of the next Great Depression. Oil companies are going to cook our children and starve the polar bears and Diebold is rigging the election so that black votes don't get counted! If the Republican's ever get their hands on the economy again, we'll all be homeless and uninsured! Still, while I sometimes feel like my intelligence is being insulted by Democrats, I've never had them swerve out of their way to actually insult me personally, the way that Elizabeth Dole did with her "godless" smear ad.

There was a time when the Republican pitch boiled down to: Big army, small government. They've had their shot at power, and what did we get? Our big army is completely bogged down in a nation that never threatened us. Our government has grown to a behemoth with its fingers in every single American pie. They've abused their first promise and betrayed their second one.

How do they crawl back from this? I have no idea, though I suspect Democrats will find some way soon enough to revive them.


Eric James Stone said...

Of course, libertarianism could be characterized in the same fear-mongering sort of way: the government's going to take away all your rights, we're becoming a dictatorship, etc.

James Maxey said...

All of libertarianism is built on a sort of slippery slope argument. If you authorize the government to spend a dollar, soon they'll want to spend ten, then 100, then 1000, then 10,000 and eventually they'll be at a trillion a year and rising.

But, of course, libertarianism is also built on a perhaps undeservedly optimistic premise that if government leaves problems alone, people will eventually work things out themselves. It's sort of the opposite of selling fear--it's selling blind faith in people's capacity to take care of themselves.