Sunday, May 11, 2008

Partisan poseurs and pollen

Angry talk about politics has been wafting about in the springtime air like pollen. To put it mildly, some partisans aren’t exactly pleased with the candidate who has emerged as their party’s nominee apparent.

Presently, the Rush Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party can’t stand Sen. John McCain, because his conservative bona fides haven’t met its standards. The so-called Dittoheads I know haven’t been shy about slamming McCain, some still take pride in saying they can never vote for him.

Since Limbaugh needed a segue to get off of that kick — because he will later support McCain — Rush has been playing the Pied Piper to his followers, to make mischief in Democratic primaries. If it flashes his awesome reach to prospective advertisers that‘s all good, too.

Given Limbaugh’s long history of loving to bash Sen. Hillary Clinton, he would probably still like to see her somehow steal the Democratic nomination from Sen. Barack Obama. It would surely be good for business.

Some of those who had long expected Clinton to be the Democratic nominee now see Obama as a ruthless usurper. Amid whispered suggestions about America not being ready to elect a black man as its president, they are also flinging accusations of sexism in every direction. All that to explain away their candidate’s disappointing performance in the only nominating game that truly matters, winning delegates.

Of course, there are cynics who get irritated by the sound of such political talk in the air at this time of year. To them, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between any of the politicians in either party, so everybody ought to shut up. These guys would rather be in a conversation about lawn care, or how much they hate four-way-stop intersections.

So, in springtime’s allergy season, all sorts of voices can get raised to amp up weak arguments. Tables can get pounded for emphasis to condemn candidates, or all of politics, itself.

At this point the strange bedfellows award goes to the unholy alliance of recent weeks, putting Limbaugh and Clinton on the same Stop-Obama team. It must have seemed a bit exotic for the most determined anti-feminists who have actually posed as Democrats for a day, to vote for Clinton in a primary.

So, I have to wonder if those culturally conservative Republicans dressed any special way to look less Republican, as they stood in line for a Democratic primary. Coat and tie? Sweatshirt and jeans? How about disguises? Fake mustache? Wig-hat?

As the primary season draws to an end there are grumbling elephants and donkeys aplenty, threatening to withhold their support from their party’s nominee after the summer’s conventions. Maybe some are just trying to bully a presumptive nominee into making certain moves in their direction, perhaps others will actually stay angry enough to sit the election out.

Ruffled feathers aside, most sane and civic-minded Republicans, Democrats and Independents will not fail to find significant differences between McCain and Obama in October, once they are in the stretch run of the race for the White House.

Just for starters, the next president will be appointing Supreme Court justices and deciding what to do to get America out of Iraq in the best way possible.

While McCain and Obama will be aggressively courting moderates without party affiliation, there will be clear differences in what they will say about approaching those two pivotal tasks. This election day there will be a clear choice. By then, springtime's irritating words will have mostly been washed away by the summer’s storms.

In spite of the leave-me-out-of-it cynics and sulking partisans, all making blustery noise in May, because of the unprecedented interest in issues and candidates this year’s presidential election will probably have the biggest turnout in decades.

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