Saturday, August 30, 2008

This Is the Week that Is

It was almost magical. Someone described his acceptance speech on Thursday evening as "a symphony". That might sound a bit over-the-top but under the circumstances, the person who described it as such should be forgiven. Truth be told, it was music to many an ear. There stood the Illinois senator, a mile high in the American night, the first non-white person in the history of this troubled republic to receive the nomination from a major political party - the oldest political party on the planet earth - to run for the office of president of the United States of America. Is this a great country, or what?
Moments such as this are few and far between these days. During the last eight years, it was difficult if not impossible for a thinking person to hold his or her head up high and bubble with pride at the thought of being a citizen of this doomed country. Witnessing Barack Obama deliver his address to the Democratic National Convention brought that pride back with a vengeance. Thank heavens for video tape. As a result of two hefty glasses of vodka and vegetable juice, I nodded out on the couch and missed the whole damned thing. My apologies to Mr. Daniel G. O'Brien of St. Petersburg, Florida. (See "Wake Up America", 27 August, to understand what I'm talking about).
The following day, in order to dampen Barack's thunder, John McCain chose the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, to be his running mate. At the moment her name was announced, I immediately began to do some research on her. The first (and only) thing that struck me was the date of her birth: February 11, 1964. Coincidentally, that was the very day that my beloved, maternal grandma, Loretta Doran Clements, passed away in South Bend, Indiana. Other than that poignant fact, there was nothing that resonated with me as far as the Palin biography is concerned.
She typifies the kind of nominee so often found in the top ranks of what used to be known as the "Party of Abraham Lincoln". Don't get me wrong, she's obviously a very good person. When told early in her last pregnancy that her baby would have Down Syndrome, she chose to bring the child into the world regardless. God bless her. But goodness aside, we're not talkin' genius here, folks. Did you get a load of her acceptance speech yesterday? She looked and sounded like a giddy little fifteen-year-old who had just been elected class president. Not a whole hell of a lot of gravitas there to be sure. She reminded me of Sally Field as Gidget.
When told that she was being considered for the ticket, Governor Palin looked straight into the camera and asked, "What exactly does a vice-president do?" There is footage out there of her admitting that she hasn't thought too much about the war in Iraq. That is perfectly obvious since she seems absolutely tickled pink that her oldest son is now headed there.
And this is the person who will be walking the delicate, geo-political tight rope of international diplomacy should a prospective President McCain become incapacitated in any way? Did Johnny even think this one through? I am convinced that the poor old bugger is on the verge of dementia. There is no other possible explanation. None.
It is interesting to speculate that were it not for the efforts of a man who was born five miles down the road from my birthplace, Sarah Palin would today be a citizen of Russia, ineligible to serve as vice-president of the United States and we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
It really doesn't take a political scholar to figure out what the Republicans are up to. In a lame and clumsy effort to tap into the disaffected Hillary Clinton voters, they just had to nominate a woman to run as second on the ticket. She is the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Although GOP propaganda have called it a "city", it is, in fact, a small town of under seven-thousand residents. From there she went straight to the Governor's mansion in Anchorage where she has been for less than two years. Hardly an impressive resume. Remember, Alaska is a rural state. Eddie Diana, the county executive of where I live in Orange County, New York, has more responsibilities than Governor Palin. Comparing the governors of Alaska and, say, California is like comparing the presidents of the United States and Upper Volta (Never heard of it, huh? It's there - or at least it used to be - Look it up.)
The Democrats have every reason not to be jumping for joy over such a eye-poppingly lousy choice. In 1988 George Bush the elder, chose as his running mate J. Danforth Quayle, a man so utterly lacking in substance he reminded one of a mannequin in a department store window. Twelve years after that, the GOP had the misfortune of nominating a half-witted cowboy wannabe, the son of George 42. The guy was so rip-roaringly stupid, he made Dan Quayle look like Albert Einstein. The Republicans won both of those elections. Four years later, the people foolishly reelected the younger Bush. Given the nutty, recent history of American electoral politics, the Democrats have every reason to be cautious.
If you thought the campaigns of 2000 and 2004 were dirty, hold on to your hats, kiddies! Those contests were but a prelude of things to come. We are now living in the age of Karl Rove and should be prepared for anything.While I was writing the previous piece on this site, quoting Dennis Kucinich's address to the convention, I noticed something very ominous about the words, "Up with Obama-Biden". Oh, shit! I thought. The similarities!
Osama bin Laden
In anticipation of where the assholes on the far right would go with that, yesterday I telephoned Obama's national campaign headquarters:
"Listen", I told the poor bastard on the other end of the phone, "you've gotta be careful how you print those freakin' posters and bumper stickers, okay? 'BARACK AND JOE IN 2008'? Fine; 'THE DEMOCRATS ARE BACK'? No problem; 'BARACK ' n' ROLL'? Cool! BUT FOR PETE'S SAKE, NOT 'OBAMA-BIDEN', AWRIGHT???"
"Gee!" the guy replied in a robotic, albeit perfectly amiable voice, "I hadn't noticed that. I'll bring it up with the Senator."
Whether or not he was ever able to "bring it up with the Senator" is now beside the point. In this morning's Times Herald-Wreckage of Middletown, NY, a cartoonist has already picked up on the idea (in a satirical way, of course). Count on these silly, right wing jackasses to seize the banner at any moment. There is no depth to which these knuckleheads won't stoop. Count on it.
It is depressing as hell to contemplate how astonishingly dumbed-down the American people have become in the last thirty years with respect to affairs of state. This contest should have been the easiest call since 1932. On the eve of the election that year, someone sent a telegram to President Herbert Hoover with the following, very cheeky message:
The only way Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be able to win this thing will be in a landslide. Don't forget that the Bush Mob were able to steal two elections only because the margins were so damned razor-thin. They have had those new, easily hackable, computerized voting machines conspicuously installed in the so-called "purple states" where victory for the GOP is not-at-all a forgone conclusion. Senators Obama and Biden have to get out there and convince the American people that a vote for McCain/Palin is the equivalent of committing economic suicide. That very fact is so incredibly obvious, why is it that so many just don't get it. What in the hell is wrong with the American people?
One has to go all the way back Jack and Bobby Kennedy to find American politicians as extraordinary as Senator Barack Obama. Sure he has a bit of a funny name. But a year-and-a-half of it being repeated over and over again in the mainstream media has somewhat softened its edge. One has to give credit to the guy for not campaigning under the name "Barry" (as in "Goldwater") which is how he is known to his closest confidants. Maybe it is too much to expect of one mere mortal, but I believe he has the potential to save America's political soul. Heaven knows it sure needs saving.
John McCain offers us only the tired and failed, trickle-down ideas of the last thirty years that should have been buried with the body of Ronald Reagan. In Barack Obama we have something new and inspiring. Hope: It's not a meaningless campaign slogan. It is a very real emotion that many Americans are feeling for the first time in decades.
Said Teddy Kennedy when endorsing him earlier this year, "I feel change in the air." Yeah, I feel it too. Can't you?
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
In homage to the great Beth Quinn who always gently reminded the readers of the Times Herald-Record (Wreckage) how much time was left until January 20, 2009 before Rupert Murdoch purchased that paper and she was summarily fired without explanation:
There are one-hundred and forty-two days to go until the disgusting, criminally corrupt and incompetent administration of George W. Bush is history.
Just in case you fell asleep in front of your television on Thursday night, here is a link to the incredible speech that Barack Obama gave to the convention. It truly was an historic moment:


At 11:42 AM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,

McCain's pick of Palin is simply mind boggling. It is either incredibly stupid or a stroke of genius. The sad thing is that it relly does not matter who he picks as a VP choice. If McCain and Co win, this country is more screwed than ever. And the really sad thing is that reason and rationale will simply be tossed out of the window and we will really never know how this is going to play out until people walk into the voting booth and ask themselves if they can honestly vote for a black man. Never underestimate the stupidity of the Anmerican people. It is not as far to the election as it has been, but I am already getting a sick feeling about it.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Good afternoon Tom. Nice column today. I knew you wouldn't let this one pass before too much water flowed under the bridge.

So, the ex-POW has chosen a gun-toting, anti-environmental, big-oil supporting, ex-beauty queen creationist to be his first officer. It really is shaping-up to be the team of (Mc)Cain & (Un)Abel leading the evangelical run over the cliff, isn't it? How could a campaign, that's prided itself on adopting the slogan of "Country First", place the needs of a nation into such a compromising position?

May I have the remote back, please? I need to switch channels. This parody of an election is making reality TV seem more-and-more sane in an increasingly more volatile and insane country. Oh, and please pass the platter of mooseburgers.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Jefferson's guardian:

"(Mc) Cain and (Un) Abel"

I'm going to remember THAT one, Buster! That's the title of a future column! Dang you! Wish I'd thought of it first! Thanks, pal.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Tom, one more thing...

Please tell me yesterday's surprise announcement was just a rerun of an old SNL when John McCain hosted. It was, wasn't it?

Is it just me, or does she remind you of Tina Fey, the comedienne from the late-night comedy show? Every time I see the presumptive Republican VP nominee on TV, or on YouTube, I can't stop thinking I'm watching a skit on SNL.

Who said conservatives were humorless? ;-)

Oh, sure, please use it (the "Cain & Abel" tag). Promise me you will. Let's fight fire with fire.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Actually, Jeff, I just inserted a line in the piece that she reminds me of Sally Field as Gidget!

All the best,


At 3:13 PM, Blogger stoney13 said...

Bush one actually had "Ronnie Ray-Gun's" coat tails to ride in on, and Bush two had Diebolt to hand him the election, and any number of brain-dead individuals in Florida waving signs at cameras.

McCain has a half a dozen liver spot things happening on his head, and some kind of weird shit growing on the side of his face that nobody in medicine can seem to explain. None of that shit will get you into The White House!

Now he's got the scariest psycho woman that God every breathed life into! The woman has barely been in politics for five years, and she's thrown her own party under the bus twice in a mad dash towards anything that even LOOKS like relevance!

I can't WAIT for the Vice Presidential Debate! Biden will rip her into meaty chunks, and piss on them! The woman has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever!

I can see her ripping a moose's throat out with her filed teeth, while her poor unfortunate husband runs for his life to the oil fields!

The McCain campaign is like watching a train wreck! You know it's fucked up to watch, but you just don't want to miss anything entertaining!

I wonder if any trolls will pop up today! I suddenly feel a craving for raw meat!

At 3:29 PM, Blogger dick wagner said...

Good god Tom...can you believe it? It's no longer about the core issues that affect the American's about the insane choice of John McStain for veep. Since he will probably die in office, she will become the most uninformed, neocon president this country has known. With all the negative dirty politicing the republicans are so good at, multiplied by the inherent ignorance of the American electorate and all encapsalated by the prejudicial republican keywords "Liberal", "Progressive","Baby Killers","Patriot" etc. etc.,we can expect an already twisted media to create sympathy and support for the horror of a McCAin/Palin ticket. Kiss this country goodbye.
Dick Wagner

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading the Rant for a while now and I have to say that I believe this whole Democrat/Republican contest is nothing more than a good cop/bad cop stunt to entertain us, the sheeple. I think you know this as well and I bet future Rant editions will be dedicated to how Obama has sold out. What have the dem's done so far? Frankly, I'm voting for Nader. He may not win but at least I won't feel betrayed next summer.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

Here's a article on how Nixon and gang usurp the Paris Peace Accords by promising they'd do a better job than Johnson, and of course Rotten Ronnie's negotiations with Iranian guards that held the hostages. It is extremely telling as to what bastards and traitors this entire political "machine" is in lighted reality.

Sarah Palin.

Where do I begin my OUTRAGE?? I'd like to take her by the throat and ask her what the HELL she is doing.

Oh, Tom, it is admirable and, coyly a political gambit to the positive, to let it be known that she carried Paxson to term after learning that he would be born with Trisomy 21; how far will that go when the REALITY that she is abandoning a vulnerable 4-month old infant to Ride the Straight Talk Express?

I am OPENLY HOSTILE that a woman who claims to be an "evangelical Christian" and pro-life would think so little of a child who MANDATES extra attention during his first year of life due to the medical intricacies of the disorder and the ramifications that result from what the average child survives.
Sure, it's a Wikepedia info sheet but you can google Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome and find out how much care and increased effort a child such as Paxson REQUIRES in his early years.

The chances of heart disorders appearing as he grows, the need for extra "patterning" (google it) to move his limbs in a manner which they would normally do as other infants who automatically wiggle limbs and learn to move and crawl. The extra assistance in motor skills; grasping fingers, holding a bottle a sippy cup and SO MUCH MORE.

John McCain is famous for his questioning Barrack Obama's patriotism over, "He rather win an election than a war." What does the choice of Sarah Palin and her acceptance of the VEEP invitation say about BOTH OF THEM?

It says, "He is a dottering old man trying to find a way to win. He met her once, did he look into her eyes, the way his mentor, King George looked into Putin's, and see "trustworthy?" Is that the basis of having a woman with less executive experience than the woman running the shopping Mall and Executive offices in my town of 40,000?

It says, "Phyllis Shafly and the Eagle Forum have won this round, but I doubt they'll get out and tell her to go home and take care of her infant son; Palin is after all a Republican."

It says that despite all the feigned praise about executive experience and "Home and Motherhood" issues, she easily cast all aside after meeting a man with the temperament of a porn movie director--ONCE.

Home schooling, evangelical, pro-life (as long as it futhers HER ambitions) Christian.

I am OPENLY HOSTILE, that child seems to be McCain/Palin POLITICAL CURRENCY instead of a person with a right to A life. He has been abandoned to further his mother's star-glazed eyes.

If these two win? The USA truly will deserve the Government those PUMA's and Republicans want.

I strongly plead with you to read the article on from to see how this year our October surprise could be right out of J. Edgar and Karl's intermingled play book.

She won't sell me that she is pro-life when she abandons a 4-month old infant with an inherently life threatening chromosomal abnormality to feed her own "life."

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...


I have to believe that Obama will be "not your father's Democratic politician". As I said to someone recently, Maybe four years from now, I'll be back here with egg on my face moaning about how Barack let us down. Until that time, I have no other choice but to support his candidacy. I believe....I hope....he will surprise us.


Tom Degan

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Mike Weber said...

I couldn't believe his choice either, its so transparently cynical that its breathtaking. What a slap at Hilary's supporters, he must think every one of them has their head up their ass to fall for such an obvious ploy at pandering to them.

Obama was right he just doesn't get it! Hilary's supporters weren't voting for a woman who happened to be Hillary, they were voting for Hillary who happened to be a woman.

By the way thanks for the plug.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Mike Weber said...

Just an thought that flashed in my head as I was closing. Hopefully, a moment from the upcoming Vice Presidential debate, when Joe Biden looks at Pallin and says.

"I knew Hillary Clinton Governor Pallin, Hillary Clinton was a friend of mine, and your no Hillary Clinton".

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, just what we need a "heartbeat" from the presidency and doomsday button a former "hockey mom" with bleached teeth and a belligerant anti-environment attitude. Who do these GOP freaks truely represent? No candidate in modern history running for such high office has as little experience and credentials than this woman. McSame's decision for VP shows the type cognitive slippage that marks him as totally unsuitable for president or anything else in public service. He ought to go back to the desert southwest and commune with his VFW cronies!

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Mc) Cain and (Un) Abel
The Old Man and The She
I'm stealing both of them.

Though I refuse to own a television, I can watch CSPAN on the computer, so thought I'd take a quick look at the convention and then do something more exciting, like clean the toilet or sort socks.
I ended up watching each night from @ 8 til sign-off, and I was so encouraged. The extravaganza was over the top (hey, it's a political convention), but the key speeches were truly excellent and the entire approach--even when slamming McCan't--was positive and even uplifting.
Nevertheless, I won't be surprised to see the media and the insecure throw this to Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. In which case I hope that hard-hearted Hanna, which is headed straight for my little place out of the country, leaves me with somewhere to escape to.

(Tom, you haven't be ranting quite often enough--stop falling asleep on the couch and start typing more often, please.)


At 11:41 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thank you, Georgette....

I'll keep up, I promise.


At 8:08 AM, Blogger Avram Mirsky said...

As Michael Moore notes in irony - A potential killer storm aims its ugly eye at New Orleans on the 3rd anniversary of Katrina as the Rethuglicans gather to anoint their "dream team."

But now, more than ever, we all have to get off our asses and get Barack and Joe elected. That means work. For all of us.

Get over to and start chopping wood and carrying water. I'll risk being disappointed later than on November 4.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Tom, one item from today's Chicago paper that I had not considered. With McCains idiotic choice, let us not underestimate Hillary. She wanted the presidential nomination and even though I do not like her, I have to admire her tenacity and fighting spirit. Now that Palin is in the mix, you can lay money down that Hillary is going to go after her with teeth bared and claws out. Hillary wants to be the first woman in the White House one way or another and she will not sit back and let some bubble gum brained bimbo beat her to it. With Hillary fighting for Obama and the Democrats, it should be one hell of a campaign to the finish.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

Yep. I got my Irish up.

It all may be moot if posted news articles on Daily Kos and other sites are vetted correctly.

Sarah Palin may, indeed, be just a concerned GRANDMOTHER. As the anti-sex education, evangelical Christian that is claims to be, that would make more sense.

The fact that no one on her staff knew she was 7 months pregnant? A personal matter for a woman who is pro-life and pro-motherhood? Hmmm. . .

Bristol Palin, 16, disappearing from school during the last 5 months of her "brother's" incubation? Extended case of Mono? Hmmm. . .

Sarah Palin, knowing she was an "at risk pregnancy," has water break, gives a speech and flies home from Texas to Alaska while in labor? Just wanted to make sure the little guy didn't have a predilection for cowboy hats? Hmmm. . .

Alaska Airlines not being notified they had a woman in labor on their flight? Personal matter for Sarah Palin? Hmmmm. . .

Delivered one month early. . .

So, the Governor's staff knew she was pregnant for ONE MONTH. Hadn't a clue, not outward signs? Sarah likes baggy clothes? Hmm. . .

Wonder if they will ever have a baby shower and who gets to wear the goofy hat?
Complete with links to Alaskan newspapers, photos of a pregnant Sarah with a previous child and Sarah "pregnant" with Trig Paxson Palin. Sarah big and small. . .

Apparently, Alaskan's in Wassilla are having a good laugh and the high school boys are hoping they don't get the CNN mic in front of their face.

Let's see how well the press and The National Enquirer vet the VP Candidate, since one meeting was good enough for McCain.

Let the games begin. . .

At 5:00 PM, Blogger dick wagner said...

The Palin affair is one big "wwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa???? The plot sickens and all the focus has been lifted from Obama to the Palin Pregnancy scam. Will we get back to outing McCain and lifting up Obama? Time's a waistin'

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

Dick, Tom and all,

My sincere apologies for my "rantings" I posted related to Tom's excellent "Rant."

I was going to crawl back under my rock, however I am taking Avram's directive and heading over to "chop wood and haul water."


At 6:06 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

prarie waif....

Apologize for what? Keep 'em comin', kid!

Love and peace,

Tom Degan

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Tom, I wanted you to know that I did come by...this is Pat of "Labor Day please exclude me from your email" fame. As I said earlier, I doubt we'd arrive at similar conculsions - at leat politically, but I appreciate your perspective, you've certainly put a lot of thought, heart and work into it. The name calling I can do without but then again you're in "good company", Democrat or Republican...nowadays we all pretty much include a "liberal" (sorry, couldn't resist) dose of that kind of thing in our speech. No real harm done...sticks and stones and all that...folks tell me I'm maybe too much a "lady"....SIGH...don't know about that, but I'm glad I came by. Enjoy your blogging.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

Oh Tom!

I cannot miss this opportunity, it's the Leprechaun dancing on my left shoulder!


Mary Jo

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...


If link doesn't connect, just cut and paste into Address.

Waif ;-}

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin (and now her daughter) is a distraction from the real issues. The Rethuglicans are very very good at distractions. It's a tactic that will succeed only if we allow it to. We have to keep hammering away on the real issues confronting us: record numbers of homeless school-aged children; crippling increases in the prices of food, gasoline, and utilities; job losses; rising numbers of uninsured Americans; a dependence on foreign oil that threatens our national security; a record deficit and record individual indebtedness; and a dangerously overextended military, just to name a few.

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re "gun toting." At least she's a better shot than Cheney.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google "mudflats" and have a good laugh.
Of course, McSame doesn't want to discuss REAL issues.
Now the debates will be framed as "abortion", "teen pregnancy", "abstinance only sex education".
Avoid Sarah's environmental debacles (polar bears, wolves) and
blatant power grabbing.

On a side note, notice what's happened to Amy Goodman in St Paul.
Good bye "free press", welcome to USA-Police state. The natzis are in control...nothing to worry about. The "terrorists" are over there, they're not here. Right?


Post a Comment

<< Home