Aneurysm Avoided, For Now

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Memo to Barack Obama: DON'T BE DUMB.

Good speech tonight. You shook Hillary's hand, and kicked John McCain right in his subprime taint*. Clearly, I'm happy with that choice, as for nearly three years, I've been discussing my death by aneurysm after voting for Hillary in November. That won't happen, which should make at least three quarters of you happy. But if I'm going to avoid a one-day delay in that aneurysm, Barack Obama is going to have to not lose to John McCain.

This should be easy. All the portents call for a landslide, even with America's latent racism and omnipresent stupidity. Obama doesn't have the titanium ass-rod the handlers installed in Gore, or the one Kerry was seemingly born with and still carries proudly to this day. McCain has peaked. He's riding on his carefully-crafted image as the maverick behind the wheel of the Straight Talk Express, but he's now said everything to everybody, which means it'll be a piece of cake to find things he's said to some people that will piss off the other people. But he's got the press on his side for the time being, and if you're going to overcome that, you'll have to make absolutely sure you do not listen to any of the following people:

David Brooks: David Brooks is an influential columnist. David Brooks gets to go on the television and say things about you that will be heard by millions of people. He gets to do this despite the things he actually says, which are the ravings of a lunatic. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Obama's problem is he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who can go into an Applebee's salad bar and people think he fits in naturally there."

Let's ignore for the moment that if Applebee's ever had a fucking salad bar, it hasn't had one for a very, very long time. That's just Brooks being stupid and wrong and ironically out of touch. But do not, under any circumstances, take the idea to heart that you have to somehow be a likable doofus who hangs out in chain restaurants. Don't be caught dead next to Guy Fieri in a TGI Fridays. Don't even THINK of risking a Denny's. They say they've changed, but so did Ike Turner. And I don't care how thick the bacon is in their ads, if you eat one of those burgers at Chili's, people will still think you're a secret Muslim.

Because even if you try it, they'll still fuck you over. I'm hoping you learned all about the double standard at play, when the current president can keep falling off his bike, falling off his Segway, and choking on pretzels and be called a rugged man of the people, and you throw a couple of gutter balls and are instantly dubbed the Gay Prince of the Homosexual Kingdom of Elitism. The game is rigged, and don't let anyone, especially David Brooks, convince you otherwise.

Anyone Who Wants Hillary As Veep: There are lots of reasons why this is a bad idea, which in many ways is a shame, because maybe if Hillary had spent her campaign attacking Grandpa McCain instead of you, she'd be a better option. But I don't give a shit what the exit polls last night said, and I don't give a shit if the media tries to turn the Dream Ticket into an inevitability so that they can damn you for not doing it. The Clintons' time is up, and the second most important thing about your presidency is that it will take the Clinton political philosophy vis-a-vis the Democratic Party out behind the woodshed and put it out of our misery.

I mean, don't get me wrong - you're no progressive hero. But if you spend four years pretending to be one, without shame or regret, then it'll make it a lot easier down the road for actual liberals to actually be liberals in public. You can't undo eight years of Clinton centrism and eight years of Rove demonization with a Clinton on the ticket.

JOHN FUCKING MCCAIN: Again, I think you know this, but it's easy to lose track of. Kerry said he'd fight to keep Bush from framing him, and that didn't work out well, did it? You say, with alarming frequency, that you trust in the judgment of the American people. That's the biggest fucking mistake you could possibly make. It's not enough to put out the truth and assume that people will believe it because it's true. You have to put out a better sounding truth. A more appealing truth. You have to not just counter McCain's lies, but dismiss them. Demean them. Diminish them. Make them seem unpalatable, so that stupid people will like your truths better.

And this is even more important when and if it's McCain who's telling the truth and you who's lying.

So congratulations. As a cynic, I can't actually get on board your audacious message of changey hope, but I can hope you won't fuck up too bad, and I can hope you'll be able to do a few things I won't find completely reprehensible, and I can vote for you without any blood vessels bursting in my skull. And for a cynic, that's actually pretty damn good.

*Last week, Salon headlined an article about McCain economic advisor Phil Gramm's ties to an overseas bank with serious problems in the mortgage area as "John McCain's Subprime Taint". Remember this, because I'm going to be using it until at LEAST November.