Columbus, OH
Are we seeing a tightening of the presidential race? Maybe, maybe not. The press if full of the language of compression – a kind of follow on from this year’s big hit, the “credit crunch.”

Apparently, Iowa and Virginia are back in the air – although this was all but certain to happen as they both went for Bush (as far as we know) in 2004. Despite showing poll leads in both states, Obama has been back to invigorate his campaign, as the numbers begin to converge. Such is life in the “heartland” where old habits die hard.

Take the number one McCain schtick of the moment, for example, which is presumably applying the vice in those states. As conservatives will do, the Republican candidate is deploying the language of fear to its utmost in a bid to scare floating voters into backing him. Promising a tax-less utopia, or appearing to do so, McCain continues to accuse Obama of seeking to tax the “middle class.”

Stirring the halloween cauldron, McCain told voters in Hanoverton, OH today that for some reason, when Obama and Biden say that voters earning under $150,000 will receive a tax cut, that means that they will actually soon be more heavily taxed. The semantics are delicious. McCain charges that Democrat definitions of “poor” have a tendency to slide downwards. Well, to be honest, only in America could someone earning $150,000 be considered poor, so he has a point. But in the context of the Great Satan, it’s great to see a man who publicly failed to remember how many houses he owns and has described someone earning $5 million per year as poor, keel-hauling his opponents for hammering middle class workers.

The layers of irony slop like syrup from his stump speech. At one point, he accuses Democrats of playing the fear card (the grim reaper, no doubt) at every election, accusing Republicans of seeking to privatize social security, on which seniors tend to depend. That’s in the context of whipping up fear of socialism in the U.S.A.

Poor old Patrick Swayze seems to be making a comeback in LA, but it seems to me that McCain must have been watching his 80s classic commie-baiting movie, Red Dawn for tips. The absurdity of the charges are right out of a Reagan-era period piece.

Another irony for the detached observer is that it is Obama who is plugging the ol’ Russia threat line to assert his manliness and international gravity. Yet the even bigger irony is that it’s often thought that the U.S. really doesn’t “do” irony, at least not self consciously. But it is irony. It’s a rotten great big steaming psycopathic chunk of it.

Unfortunately, the spectacular pantomime of presidential politics which overlays massive economic exploitation and public manipulation to sell wholesale international slaughter airbrushes out all hint of reflection upon such things.

As I say, it’s like a great big, sloppy syrup oozing pancake.

The pantomime has waltzed into town today, and I’ll be heading down for a laugh. The appearance at the hotel of the Straight Talk Express bus (soon to be plying the Chicago to Cincinnati route for a budget carrier I heard) raised suspicions last night. It turns out that Mac is in town to appear with the Terminator himself. I personally just can’t wait to see the Gubernator lay into Obama’s socialist plans.

And it’s halloween. How perfect can you get?

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