Friday, September 5, 2008

Return Of The Wedge Issue

[UPDATE]: Heh. The New York Times agrees with me. Imagine that.

Okay, folks. If you liked the culture wars, you're gonna love seeing them drag on for another four years. War on Christmas, beeyatches!!!!!

Last night’s speech by John McCain was so lackluster, it took real effort to keep from switching to, oh, I dunno, a World Series of Poker rerun. As one commenter at Eschaton posted, “the crowd went mild.”

And what was up with the green screen? Have they learned nothing?

John McCain has already been overshadowed by Sarah Palin. I’ve had fun taking potshots at Palin this week: the puppy killer, the slutty daughter, the podunk town she ran that is supposedly the perfect proving ground for the White House. But she’s a far more effective speaker than McCain, prompting more than one person to wonder: At what point will Palin drop McCain?


But really what Sarah Palin has done is bring the evangelical base back into the voting booth. And along with them come those rancorous, divisive social issues. Karl Rove is ecstatic. 

I really didn’t think this election would be about gays and abortion; I mean, after eight years of this crap who isn’t sick of being hammered over the head by an issue that has absolutely no bearing on jobs, gas prices, healthcare, the mortgage crisis, or any of the other real issues affecting people’s daily lives?

Aren’t we sick of being manipulated by divisive social issues? Haven’t we had enough of that crap?

Apparently not. At least, the Republican Party doesn’t seem to think so.

And here’s where I see an opportunity for Barack Obama. The whole point of the “Yes We Can” message was to say, let’s move past the politics of divisive wedge issues and work together to solve the real problems challenging American families.

Here’s an excerpt from Obama’s January 27 speech after he won the South Carolina primary:
It's the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon, a politics that tells us that we have to think, act and even vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us, the assumption that young people are apathetic, the assumption that Republicans won't cross over, the assumption that the wealthy care nothing for the poor and that the poor don't vote, the assumption that African-Americans can't support the white candidate, whites can't support the African-American candidate, blacks and Latinos cannot come together. We are here tonight to say that that is not the America we believe in.

Yes, my friends, that is change we can believe in. And that is not what I’m hearing from the Republican Party these days.

Adding Sarah Palin to the ticket did not offer any change from the past four years. To the contrary, it showed us that if elected, the debate of the next four years will look exactly like that of the past eight: more wrangling over “activist judges” and Roe v. Wade, more rancor over funding for abstinence-only education and who’s wearing a flag pin (and by the way, last night John McCain was not).

We can expect more Dr. David Hager-type appointments to key posts affecting women’s health, and more Monica Goodlings in the Justice Department. Sarah Palin is George W. Bush in a dress, so if you’ve liked debating gay marriage while American jobs are shipped to China and India, then by all means go right ahead and support the GOP ticket.

As for me: I’m sick of these stupid distractions. I’m sick of Rove-style wedge issues that allow the corporatists in Washington to raid our treasury and undermine our economy.

So, my advice to Barack Obama is: get back on message. I’m sick of politics as usual, wedge issues, gays-guns-and-God. Surely I’m not the only one.