Everyone has the candidate they’d really like to see win — and even more so, at least one candidate they’d really like to see lose.
Watching a clip of Clinton “rallying the troops” for Jim Webb, it occurred to me I’d really like to see George Allen and Joe Lieberman lose. I’m well aware Lieberman’s currently favored. And Allen may well win. But I can’t respect either of them.
Both men are horribly, delusionally wrong about Iraq. Allen has his racism, his arrogant sense of privilege, his good ol’ boy faux populism shtick and his awful positions on issues. Plus, he’s a bully. Lieberman has been a suck-up to Bush, insensitive to women’s reproductive rights, utterly gutless, and has a soporific speaking style more dry than a piece of burnt toast left in Death Valley for three days.
However, in addition to all that, I dislike both men because whether through political posturing or a true gap in their souls, they are scolds, they are prudes, they are twits when it comes to culture (in the case of Allen) and pop culture (in the case of Lieberman). They are hypocrites at worst, blowhards at best. They actually believe the youth of America would be better off listening to them on such matters. They believe there is nothing they need to learn in return. They may have their uses, but I can never trust such men. Allen is Bush without the brains. Lieberman seems to think that kowtowing to an opponent without receiving anything in return is advanced statesmanship, and that the obtuse, dull lecture is the most elevated form of human discourse.
Lieberman’s fuddy-duddiness is not as big an issue in this election, but if you need a reminder, here’s his moralizing about Clinton on the Senate floor, and here’s a compilation of some of his greatest hits.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post had a withering, witty op-ed slamming Allen for attacking James Webb’s novels. Here’s the link, and here’s a substantial excerpt:
Mr. Allen, a Republican whose campaign professes profound moral shock that actual sex should occur in fiction, has spent months trying to extract himself from his own "macaca"-inspired tailspin. When all else failed -- including an Allen ad in which a woman accused Mr. Webb of misquoting her, although he never quoted her at all -- Mr. Allen apparently decided that what he needed was a sex scandal crafted to smear his rival and timed for the campaign's fourth quarter. Lacking such material in real life, he turned to Mr. Webb's novels, most of which concern the wartime experiences of soldiers and international intrigue. There he found -- horrors! -- sex. And what better place to spread the word than the Web site of Matt Drudge, the online gossip-monger. That ensured the story would be echoed by radio talk show hosts in high dudgeon.
Mr. Allen has spent months disparaging Mr. Webb as a writer of fiction, as if a novelist's experience is any more divorced from everyday reality than the life of a U.S. senator. His campaign suggests that because some female characters in Mr. Webb's books are portrayed as sleazy or servile Mr. Webb must himself see women in that light. Please. Maybe Mr. Allen also believes that J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, takes too soft a line on wizards.
Mr. Allen certainly is an inspiration -- to anyone who believes that political campaigns may be won by diversions and dirty tactics, even as the candidate calls high-mindedly for a discussion of "the issues." Win or lose, he'll be remembered for his performance during this race, and not fondly.
There’s also a brilliant letter to the editor about Allen’s attacks on Webb’s novels:
Sen. Allen, what do you think of a writer whose works include scenes depicting the violent deaths of children, a 30-year-old man with an incestuous fascination with his mother's sex life, the blinding of an elderly gentleman by a married couple (who are his houseguests, no less!) and teenagers who defy their parents in order to become sexually active?
Given the affront these works present to good Virginia families, should we not ban from schools, bookstores, libraries and theaters Shakespeare's "Macbeth," "Hamlet," "King Lear" and "Romeo and Juliet"?
Allen is an outright knave, playing prude and attacking a book as a political gambit. He deserves to lose. The same goes for Lieberman, who (as others have noted) possesses a campaign slogan that says it all: “Connecticut for Lieberman.” Joe has long ago forgotten it should be the other way around.