Monday, May 05, 2008

Candidates: Take Note

I posted before about the book I have been reading, The Shell Game, which is basically a fictional account of the world in 2012 headed for the next 9/11. If you are a hardcore liberal, then all the events woven into the lead-up to the upcoming Armageddon will be familiar at best. This will be enough to derail any conservative or Neocon from getting past the first chapter. But for me, a guy who definitely supported the Neocon view of the world, this book is upsetting. And the fact that it has taken me so long to read is a testament to that. It's not that I believe everything the book's author, Steve Alten, proposes as fact, but I cannot discount him either.

The man has done too much homework. You would just have to read the book to fully appreciate just how true that is.

Without permission from the author—but I'm sure he will forgive me—I am going to reproduce a section of his novel. It echoes my exact sentiments on the upcoming election. I've said it before that I need to hear something from the candidate that I will vote for, and that as of today, I have not heard it yet. Natalie (Magnetbabe) told me that I could do some research to determine the positions, and that is true. But the kind of message I'm looking for would find its way to me all by itself.

The following passage needs a bit of preamble. Jennifer Wienner is an ex-Republican strategist who up until recently had vociferously defended the actions of the administration and its war on terror. She dismissed any rumblings of truth as conspiracy theory. But when Republican president McKuin (sounds a little like McCain, no?) has a "stroke" in accordance with one of those crazy theories, she is finally spurred to take action. McKuin is succeeded by the Vice President, Neocon Ellis Prescott. And with him running on the Republican ticket in the '12 election, Jennifer jumps sides and approaches Senator Mulligan, the Democratic nominee for president.

Here it is. And please, please, please, if any of you presidential candidates are reading this (Hillary, Obama, McCain), you will have my undying devotion if you will only have the balls to say and do what this fictional character proposes:

(Excerpt from The Shell Game, pages 243-245)

Senator Mulligan chides him with a look. "What Silas means is we feel pretty good going into the convention. Guess no one expected us to take the nomination from Senator Clinton."

"Sorry to rain on your parade fellas, but the only reason you won the nomination was because the GOP wanted you to win. Their aim was always to drive Hillary and the other front-runners out of the race. Like it or not, you won by default. And here's another reality check, just in case you don't read the papers: Prescott has three times your war chest and a 7 percent lead in the latest poll. Your campaign's floundering; unless you pull a rabbit out of the hat at the convention, you'll be dead as McKuin come November."

Whitener begins to retort, but Mulligan signals refrain. "Fair enough. But if we're in such dire shape, why the sudden interest? I've never heard of a born-again liberal."

Jennifer smiles. "I'm not a liberal, I'm a realist. We're entering dangerous geopolitical waters, and the Neocons prefer force where tact is needed. America needs to steer the western world onto a new course, the question is whether you have the balls to see it through."

"I'm listening."

"The mistake all Democrats make is moving to the center to try to win votes. Americans need a clear choice, not Republican-lite. You need to carry a new message of hope to the American people, and that message is no more oil. 'In '13 we go green.'"

Mulligan glances at the negative response from his staff. "An entire campaign on the environment? I don't know—"

"Not just the environment—energy. Your platform will radically wean us off oil. If Brazil can do it, so can we. No more oil means creating a new infrastructure, one that produces good jobs that will remain in this country. New jobs mean a new tax base that will help clean up the deficit. They ask you about Iraq, and you tell them we went in for oil, but since we won't be needing oil anymore, our boys and girls can come home, and anyone who refuses to allow our kids home is obviously not a patriot or a parent. Every time the Rove Rats toss another God, gays, or guns grenade at you, you'll repeat this exact phrase: 'The election's far too important to the future of our country to be caught up in the usual republican horseshit."

Senator Mulligan looks around the room. "Horseshit? You really want me to use that word?"

"Yeah, I do."

Cesar Diaz shakes his head. "You'll lose the Christian right."

"You never had the Christian right. Let the American public see you as the no-nonsense guy you are, not the wimp these middle-of-the-roaders have turned you into. Speak your mind, but stay on message. When they ask you about Kyoto, you say we'll sign, even if China refuses. Then you force the Chinese to stand alone. They'll cave, believe me. They can barely breathe in their big cities. When the media corners you on abortion, you look them straight in the eye and say, 'I'm all for outlawing abortion, but only if we start doing a better job educating our teenagers about having unprotected sex.' When they ask you about the war on terror, you go back to the energy message, and how it's America's addiction to fossil fuels—an addiction fueled by oil pushers like Ellis Prescott and his new running mate—that helped hijack our foreign policy. Simple message: No more addiction. We create a twelve-step program to wean us on green. In '13 we take our country back from the pushers. You repeat that every day in every interview, in every debate, on every bumper sticker, and you'll win the White House."

Suzie Perlman claps.

Cesar Diaz is not as enthused. "What about money? You start targeting big oil and the military suppliers and—"

"And what? You think the scraps they're tossing you now are meant to feed you? Wake up, Amigo! Those funds are designed to keep you in line. Stick to your message, and money will come—big money---because the majority of Americans actually feel the same way you do, only they've been waiting for a democratic candidate with a set of testicles who can rally the troops while not looking like some staged, gun-toting dork. Bill Clinton may have dipped his wick in the Oval Office, but his poll numbers never dipped; that's because America likes a man in the White House who has something hanging between his legs, not some prissy Ivy Leaguer who spends his weekends sailing. And no photo shoots with Hollywood celebrities! You think Jack and Jill Average American can relate to these people? You graciously accept their contributions and tell them we'll see 'em at the inauguration ball. Until then, just sign the check, and stay the hell off the TV."

Jennifer looks around the room, the men dumfounded, Suzie grinning. "Any questions?"

Senator Mulligan smiles. "When can you start?"


Kathleen said...

You know how Liberal I am...I wish someone would have the cajones to say this, instead of appeasing the Right. The Republicans certainly never care about appeasing the Left.

Alan said...

So let me get this straight.

The Vice-President's name is Ellis Prescott?

"Ellis PreScott?"

Scott said...

Kat - Me too.

Alan - I caught the Ellis part, but the Scott part. Whoa. Was this book written just to me?

Alan said...

"Ellis, pre-Scott." Maybe it was written to your Dad with you in mind.

Some weirdness is just too weird to ignore. :-)

magnetbabe said...

The only problem with this is that the candidate who said these things wouldn't win. They would get my vote and your vote, but not the votes of the everyday people who only care about $20 in their pockets from gas tax relief and getting their rebate check in the mail so they can give the $$ right back to China via Wal-Mart.

The guns and gays comment sounds eerily like what bittergate turned out to be, which along with Rev. Wright might cost Obama the whole election. Most people are not willing to believe he is telling us the truth about the gas tax holiday despite what every single economist says. Instead of listening to experts, they think he is an elitist who cannot connect with the people. You may think this is off topic, but I truly believe that Obama is the closest we will come to a candidate like the one in this passage, but if he gets the nomination (big IF at this point thanks to all the mud-slinging) he will still be too "radical" for a large slice of America.

I feel a tremendous sense of urgency to clean up the environment, get off of foreign oil, optimize alternative energy sources, create "green" jobs. But issue #1 right now is the economy. Issue #2 is Iraq (which unfortunately is intimately tied with our economic woes). Saving the planet isn't even on the radar for most people who can hardly afford to buy groceries and who are only in short-term solutions. If a candidate in 2008 stood up and said those things, he'd be committing political suicide.

Scott said...

Read it again, Nat. This isn't about cleaning up the environment, though a nice side-effect, this is about energy and creating an economy that can sustain through the loss of oil. And again, it's about getting out of Iraq because we will no longer be interested in oil. If the candidate can stay on message, economy and Iraq are front and center of his or her platform.

Scott said...

And if Obama is getting mud slinged in his face, then he should just refuse to be taken off topic. I'll respect the evasion totally, because that kind of attack is getting old. I won't even read about this preacher that Obama used to see. I don't care.

magnetbabe said...

Yes, I got that. And I totally agree with everything that is written in the passage (haha, big surprise) but I got veered off a little because I think global warming is the number one issue of our generation yet it is never a front and center political topic. And interestingly the environment, energy, oil, Iraq, these things are all linked. I agree that if the platform is about the economy and Iraq, even if the environment is only a "side effect", people might listen. But, it just seems like as a population we have this perpetual problem of taking the eye of the bigger picture in favor of "what can you do for me tomorrow?" People want rebate checks and to keep driving their SUVs but pay less for gas, they don't want to make the sacrifices that an oil-free society might require, and they certainly would be upset if they had to wait for it.

My husband is very jaded about politics and he strongly feels that our government simply cannot undertake and succeed in a major project (like upending the entire economic and energy infrastructure) simply because the government deals only in (4-year) election cycles. Not to mention the constant across the aisle bickering. If a politician could pull this off, it would be bigger than the New Deal and walking on the moon combined. I am skeptical, but I can't help but be a little hopeful.

Scott said...

I for one would have to make a huge sacrifice financially. I drive a Ford Expedition, and would never had bought one had I been so in tune with the oil crisis. I can't afford not to drive it, or better stated, to buy another vehicle that is either a hybrid or all-electric (not that electric doesn't mainly come from oil). This is so important that the government should make it economically feasable to turn in these old vehicles to be recycled for something modern. But they won't do that, not with oil folks in charge. A candidate that attacks this head on will win.

The Zombieslayer said...

Ha ha. That's pretty good. Good lines.

Is that Ellis Prescott guy Bush? Isn't Bush a Prescott?

And yes, energy is the most important issue of our time (besides overpopulation but there's not much we can do about that now).

that's because America likes a man in the White House who has something hanging between his legs, not some prissy Ivy Leaguer who spends his weekends sailing.


And loved the line about Hollywood celebrities. I'm getting so sick of what they have to say. You know what? They're all stupid, every single one of them. They don't know what it's like to WORK, I mean, really work. I've done both physical and mental labor and would take 10 hours in front of a camera any day of the week over both of them. That's so easy.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Politicians? Having the Cahunas to tell it how it is? Look what happened to Ron Paul...

Scott said...

Zombie - Yeah, Prescott represents the Bush administration. I liked that line about Clinton (indirectly) too. And how true is it. I enjoyed watching Bill Clinton talk. He was a real charmer, and I didn't have a problem with what he was doing in his personal dealings. I don't agree with what he did, but it's really none of my business. As if any president isn't entirely sexual underneath it all.

Toast - That's something I've been thinking about lately. What happened to Ron Paul? I have to look that one up. I guess he's no longer in the race? I haven't had quite the stomach to watch what's going on. I don't want to see the 527 ads and listen to the mudslinging. I got turned off by Hillary and Obama bashing one another. I listened to conservative talk radio this morning and hear all the Obama bashing there. It's pathetic.

The Zombieslayer said...

Scott - I don't agree with what he did, but it's really none of my business. As if any president isn't entirely sexual underneath it all.

That's the thing. It's none of our business. Geez, these ass clowns are like the Taliban. Someone else's sex life is none of our business, unless they have sex in public, of course.

I'm no fan of Clinton, but I will call a spade a spade. Sending 4000+ Americans to die for oil is much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much worse than having a little nookie on the side. And yes, it is about oil. Yet another reason we need this Solar Power initiative to go through, so we could pull out of the Middle East once and for all.

Let them blow themselves up. It shouldn't be our problem. Let Europe lose sleep over that, not us.

Tee said...

Loved this excerpt. Sounds like an awesome book.

If you're looking for a candidate close to this - this year you're lucky. I'd say Obama and Ron Paul both reflect at least part of what you're looking for.

Tee said...

Got some links for you, too:

Minnesotablue said...

A great post Scott.Being the ultimate political junkie, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the info

Dixie Belle said...

Sounds like a great book!