Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It’s going to get ugly before it’s over

It was just a few minutes after reading the accounts of the Chicago-area woman who claims presidential dreamer Herman Cain tried to put his hand up her skirt that I checked my e-mail on Monday to find a pair of new messages.

In those messages, I couldn’t help but see what we’re going to have to endure for the upcoming 12 months as our nation goes through the process of trying to pick a president for the following four years.

ONE WAS A message from the campaign of Tammy Duckworth, the new National Guard lieutenant colonel who is going to try again next year to win a seat in the House of Representatives from the Chicago suburbs.

The other was a message from someone who semi-regularly sends me e-mail messages about whatever political issue is in the news that day, all so he can express his conservative ideological views to me.

Usually, I kind of look forward to reading his rants. They can be entertaining. And sometimes, he can come up with a good zinger. (Although I don’t know if I should use “he” in describing this person, since I have no clue who this person truly is).

But on Monday, it was loaded with ugliness. And when combined with the Duckworth message (which was one sent out to supporters meant to get Democratic partisans excited about the chance to vote for her come the March 20, 2012 primary), it just seemed like the perfect example of what we’re all going to get swamped with as a result of Presidential Campaign ’12 – the race to say something mean-spirited.

THE DUCKWORTH MESSAGE, signed by her campaign manager, tells us that next year’s elections are important because a second-term Barack Obama presidency is going to need allies in Congress, rather than people who are out to discredit his presidency and maybe even try to impeach him (who knows what reason they will give – there are times when it seems they will impeach first, and figure out why later on).

“In the first (post-Election Day scenario), we take back Congress from the GOP and set our country back on the right track. In the second, we face two more years of a Congress held hostage to the Tea Party’s radical agenda,” her campaign manager wrote.

Not exactly nice rhetoric. It is self-serving in its own right. But when followed up by a link to a website where we can easily make a contribution to the Duckworth campaign (just $10 is all they’re asking for now), it becomes downright tacky.

It would be one of those moments that would explain why I often describe myself politically as a “Democrat, but not always proud of it.”

BUT THEN I read the other e-mail message from the ideologue and then I realized why I put up with this type of nonsense even when it goes overboard.

For what my anonymous ideological correspondent wanted to do was rant about the very press conference that I had just read about – the one where Sharon Bialek publicly stated that Cain tried to make sexual advances toward her, although he eventually returned her to her hotel room when she turned him down,.

Bialek is the fourth woman to come forth in recent weeks to claim that Cain’s behavior toward the female gender can be crude, although she’s the first to let us know exactly who she is.

Which is going to make her the target for every ideological ding-dong who wants to believe that a fellow conservative like Cain wouldn’t do such things – or doesn’t care if he does them so long as he supports the kind of actions on social issues that they want to impose on our society as a whole. Personally, I think they should be more concerned about the IRS hinting they want to look into his campaign funds.

MY ANONYMOUS INTERNET “buddy” (the hateful rhetoric is always anonymous) called Bialek’s claims, “stupid harassment charges” and said she is the reason why, “good people don’t get into politics.” As though he's the real victim here.

Personally, I dismissed any possibility that Cain might be a “good person” back when he thought it was funny to make jokes about the U.S./Mexico border needed a wall with barbed wire and electricity going through it (along with maybe that moat with alligators that Barack Obama himself once satirized the GOP for wanting).

Anybody who deliberately plays up to the conservative stereotype with a straight face isn’t a good person. The fact that so many of these sexual harassment allegations are now coming forth merely reinforces my perception that Cain isn’t the most socially graceful of people running for president.

And, of course, he also threw in an Internet link so that we could easily make a donation to the Cain campaign, while also giving us the address and telephone number of Gloria Allred, the attorney reknowned for her involvement in women’s rights issues who is representing Bialek.

AS THOUGH WE’RE all now supposed to waste our time with telephone calls that harass Allred and her legal staff with our rants. It must be nice to have the kind of money that one can afford to run up such long-distance phone charges without giving it a second thought!

That just strikes me as being way too overzealous, and may well be the reason that Obama manages to get re-elected. What if we real people (not the ideologues of either side) really wind up despising the GOP nominee more than we distrust Obama’s abilities?

Every day, that becomes more and more of a real possibility.


EDITOR'S NOTE: I don't feel any need to provide links to the fundraising websites for Duckworth or Cain that I alluded to in this commentary. Look them up yourself if you care enough to make a contribution.

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