Clearing out my mental cloakroom as election fever burns …
The recall campaign is nearly over, and I know deep in my heart that my feckless scribblings are unlikely to tilt the election Tom Barrett’s way. Like most of our state’s residents, I’m just electoral cannon fodder: a plaything of the Super PACS – an inconsequential citizen thrall to the big-money powers-that-be.
Somewhere, David Koch is shouting, “I wager 300 quatloos on the newcomer.” (If you got that reference, come join me for a Warp Core Breach and a Wrap of Khan. And if you got that reference, please have my children – assuming you’re not an overweight male comic book fan with more Scarlett Johannson Black Widow action figures than friends, which, of course, you are.)
As you can see, my mind is reeling, listing, and ready to plunge to the bottom of the sea, where its fancy cabinetry, dinner finery, and tasteful naked portraits of Kate Winslet will be preserved by the icy grip of the North Atlantic for decades.
I had a dream in which Tom Barrett was grinning madly while holding up a copy of The Chicago Tribune that said “Dewey Defeats Truman.” Hey, it could come true. You can get reproductions of that edition just about anywhere. I’m sure Tom Barrett could too.
Anyway, here’s just a sampling of my mental flotsam as dark thoughts continue to cling to my enfeebled mind:
According to one analysis, Scott Walker and his allies have outspent Tom Barrett and his allies by a 3-to-1 margin. That’s not hard to believe. Scott Walker ads have blanketed the airwaves in the last couple of weeks, and Barrett’s forces are barely able to keep up. Both sides’ ads are filled with gooey fact-like content and distortions, of course, but when you get to throw so much more dreck at the screen than your opponent, it stands to reason that you’ll have a huge advantage.
I don’t know the answer, other than agitating for some form of public financing of campaigns that’s robust enough to compete with all that private money, that passes constitutional muster, and that doesn’t make taxpayers vomit at the thought of preserving the integrity of our democracy by subsidizing endless video of Michael Dukakis’ tiny head riding around in a tank. (If you got that reference … oh, never mind.)
Really, the only antidote to these advertising blitzes is an educated populace that vigorously and assiduously challenges the half-truths and distortions of political ads while rewarding those candidates who play fair and seek to inform, rather than insult, voters.
Ha. I crack myself up.
Seriously, though, some things that were once more or less accepted, or simply dismissed as intractable problems – like racism, drunk driving, and schoolyard bullying – are now considered morally noxious, and the public has zero tolerance for them. Why can’t throwing gobs of cash behind absurd lies – aka bribing politicians in order to make more money – become one of those things that decent people simply will not accept? Someone other than me needs to get that campaign underway.
Since decency is no longer allowed in political campaign commercials, I would like to produce and pay for the following two ads.
The first, from my new Super PAC Citizens Against Scott Walker’s Post-Journey Steve Perry Mullet, would begin with a shot of this picture:
That’s it, actually. The voters can pretty much write their own ad copy. The election’s basically over anyway. Why not huff the few remaining fumes?
The second ad would go something like this, and would see heavy rotation in the battleground state of Florida:
“Did Mitt Romney baptize dead evangelicals and Orthodox Jews into the Mormon faith after they died of heartbreak knowing that their own marriages were now ruined because Massachusetts had legalized gay marriage under the watch of Gov. Mitt Romney?
“He won’t say. Which means yes. Yes, of course he did.
“What is Mitt Romney hiding?
“When Newsweek magazine asked Romney if he’d ever baptized dead non-Mormons against their will, he said, ‘I have in the past, but not recently.'”
Show Xerox copy of Newsweek quote underneath blurry Photoshopped pic of Mitt Romney in a soil-covered frock and bishop’s miter wandering through a Florida graveyard with a shovel, a gold scepter, and a Juan Valdez-sized sack full of crosses and yarmulkes.
“Even the dead can’t escape the reach of Mitt Romney – not even George W. Bush’s long-buried economic policies, which Romney plans to resurrect in 2013.
“Don’t die of Republican-induced poverty and then get baptized against your will by Mitt Romney. Re-elect Barack Obama.
“Paid for by Terrified Mere Mortals Against Mitt Romney, Tom Breuer treasurer.”
I love this ad because it’s inspired by true events. Romney really did say that bit about baptizing dead people in the past. But hey, the past is the past. I once tried to contact Larry King via seance before realizing he wasn’t dead yet.
I never really understood the term “cloakroom” when I was a kid. We never had so much as a pair of elven boots to hang, much less a cloak. You know, I wish we’d worn cloaks more often as children.
I am a nerd.
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