Friday, November 07, 2008

unborn for Obama (undead for McCain?)

I don't usually talk about politics on this site, but this snippet from caught my eye. In a piece about the Newsweek article "Secrets of 2008 campaign" and the process that resulted in McCain's pick o' Palin as a running mate, Kate Harding writes:

"Secrets" confirms what we already knew: That McCain himself wanted Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, and if not Lieberman, then Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Problem was, aides advised that "a pro-choice pick would deeply antagonize the religious right, maybe even provoke a floor fight at the convention."

I think we can agree that McCain lost for several reasons. He was unprepared to handle the economic crisis, he tilted his campaign towards an increasingly select base of abysmally stupid people, and in any case, John McCain was a man on the wrong side of history. But the choice of Palin as a running mate damaged his campaign to such an extent that there was no way of recovering from that one. Every time undecided voters considered McCain, that grinning, winking, pan-smacked face rose up in their minds. Palin embodied a little too completely the face of American ignorance: blandly pretty, unjustifiably confident, insulated from and wholly unsuited to the real world. She turned a vote for McCain into a vote for the worst tendencies in American culture, and too many Americans were heartily sick of her kind of attitude.

Anyway, if the above snippet is true, the chief criterion for Palin's selection was her position on abortion. Could it be that this was the first American election that fetuses had a hand in deciding? Maybe we should be upgrading their status.


Black Hockey Jesus said...

And I heard Obama's dead grandma's vote still counted too. How could the guy lose when he was backed by ghosts & fetuses?

palinode said...

bhjesus - And why does 'backed by ghosts & fetuses' sound like a too-literal translation from Mandarin?

Disgraced Media Baron said...

"Ghosts 'n Fetuses". I used to play the tabletop of that in Formerly's at the Hotel Saskatchewan. That's the one where you're the knight with the axe, isn't it?

palinode said...

dmbaron - Yeah, that's right. You've got an axe for the ghosts and a coat hanger for the fetuses.

Sad to say, there are no more arcade games at the Hotel Saskatchewan.

Disgraced Media Baron said...

Nor is there a Formerly's, which was great in its day. As was I.

Not that I want to take this off-topic, but only now does it occur to me after all this time: how on earth can one use an axe to kill something that is not only dead, but does not exist in a physical plane?

palinode said...

dmbaron - Magic axe. Perhaps even a Golden Axe.

Just how long ago were the days of Formerly's? I moved out here in 1989 and this is the first I've heard of it.

Disgraced Media Baron said...

Formerly's was the basement watering hole in the Hotel Sask. (it got its name from being called "The Ranch Room" for a couple of decades previous, and when they changed the name the imaginative full moniker was "Formerly the Ranch Room", shortened to "Formerly's" soon after.) The entrance was beside the east door of the hotel.

In the 80s and early 90s, it was pretty much the only downtown tavern of any import, save for Bart's (before Bart's began its long, tortured slide into oblivion), Cafe a Go Go on Scarth and the old Cultural Exchange Club on Broad. Otherwise it was other hotel lounges, or the Elephant & Castle in the Cornwall Centre. Where you didn't want to go unless alcohol was absolutely necessary, and judging from the clientele that's exactly who they catered to.

Formerly's was a great, smoky little place, dark at all hours because of its basement locale. Darts, a pool table, and fresh, hot popcorn(!) popped right on the bar. A tiny little one-person stage that was occasionally overtaxed by smallish jazz groups, or largish bands (the Thunder Lizards played there a more than a few times, if memory serves.) It was the last place in Regina I recall seeing a cigarette vending machine, the kind with the backlit push-button rectangles. Your words could describe it more eloquently, but I think you get the picture.

When new owners bought the hotel around 1992 and extensively renovated the place, they closed Formerly's, tore up the outside staircase and door, and for years it was a storage area. I think it's now a health club for the hotel.

palinode said...

dmbaron - Ah, so there was only a three-year overlap between my arrival here and the life of Formerly's. I had just turned eighteen in 1989 and even after I hit legal drinking age it took me a few years to understand the dark joys of dive bars.

I did, however, go to places like the old Exchange Club before it burnt down, as well as The Venue (which was the first place I got carded, when I was trying to get in to see Jonathan Richman). The Exchange was the default place for me and my friends to go whenever we felt a lack of Thunder Lizards, Funkenstein, or Fall Down Go Boom in our lives. I remember the Thunder Lizards chiefly because they did a great cover of one of my favourite Husker Du songs.

And yes, there's a health club in the basement of the Hotel Sask. From cigarette vending machines to Nautilus machines. Telling.

Last month I realized that Bart's had closed. The cab driver told me it been shut down for nearly a year. I remember when everyone used to go there for karaoke, before The Plains became an inexplicable hipster hangout and karaoke draw.