Daily Archives: August 26, 2007

The Real ’08 Election Frame: Seduction

It may be fitting in a peculiar way that the first columnist to tell the truth about the presidential race is a tv critic.

Heather Havrilesky writes about television for Salon magazine, and her latest column starts this way:

America has been feeling pretty impotent lately. The march of freedom screeched to a halt a long time ago, and we’ve got a feeble grip on our national identity. After decades of fancying ourselves sexy and invincible, we’re suddenly scrutinizing our teeth in the mirror and second-guessing the Ultrasuede loafers we once thought were so cool.

Thankfully, a new presidential race is heating up, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Who better to put the spring back in our step, than a brand-new lover, one who loves absolutely everything about us, from our stubborn independence to our somewhat delusional egocentrism? With pulpit-pounding conviction and an openly flirtatious grin, our new suitors say they see past the bald spot and the ill-fitting pants, they remember when we were young and brash, when we grabbed the world by the throat and had our way with it.

Hillary flatters us endlessly, Obama gives us long, moony, “Endless Love” gazes, and John charms our socks off. But which of these courtly callers will make us feel like our old virile, bossy selves again? The candidate who can soothe our egos, woo us out of this self-hating stupor and make us feel strong and special again will win the big prize!

She’s absolutely right. The ’08 election isn’t going to be about the Second Gulf War and occupation of Iraq or the economy stupid or the destruction of the Constitution or the general mess the Bush presidency has made of America and its wholesale violation of American values for the sake of enriching the already rich. It isn’t going to be about who has the best plan to clean up the mess or is the most likely to restore our rights or has the stones to put the corporatocracy in its place.

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