Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baked Alaska: What If Sarah Palin's Backyard Turns Out to Be The Canary in The Fetid Tea Room?

Back before there were ventilation systems in coal mines and no state and federal regulatory safety compliance standards to speak of — a climate of criminal deregulation advocated by Senate Tea Party candidates Rand Paul and John Raese in the mining states of Kentucky and West Virginia — coal miners would take a caged canary down into the mines as a sort of early warning system of the build-up of dangerous gases that cause explosions and cave-ins. Canaries are particularly susceptible to methane gas and carbon monoxide, and would keel over in time, it was hoped, for miners to evacuate successfully.

With five days remaining in this election, the state of Alaska may turn out to be the canary in the coal mine for the lower 48, warning of an impending disaster if the Republican Tea Party candidates are elected next Tuesday. The latest poll has Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller self-destructing as Democrat Scott McAdams surges past Miller and sets his sights on write-in Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski.

In fact, the fetid odor of rotten political eggs  emanating from every pore of the Tea Party may finally be registering in the consciousness and smell test of low-information swing and independent voters. The vaunted “enthusiasm gap” promoted by the beltway Idiot Punditocracy is a myth, at least with regard to Democratic voters and the base. Interestingly, it was an invention of the GOP-leaning Gallup Poll, which may be the Fox News equivalent of pollsters.

Quantifying a so-called “enthusiasm gap” is so subjective it is practically worthless as a measure of voter intention. But with “News Nation” anchor Tamron Hall and others breathlessly reporting the mythical “enthusiasm gap” number, its likely effect, to the extent it is uncritically reported, is to suppress Democratic turnout and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fortunately, most Democratic voters aren't swayed by the bogus Gallup numbers as evidenced by angry e-mails and tweets to Contessa Brewer (a marginally more skeptical anchor) from Democrats who insist they will be voting and resent being told they lack enthusiasm. Sure, Democrats are disappointed, angry, upset, worried, anxious about the state of the Union. In a conventional election year, this might be reason enough to stay home and cede the advantage to the other party. But not this year, not considering the alternative.

As Chris Kofinis rightly noted on Countdown, “the choice isn‘t about Republicans and Democrats.  It isn‘t about mainstream Americans and Republicans. It‘s about mainstream and extreme.” That reality may finally be resonating with voters, horrified by these images of thuggery, reports of extremism (which is an euphemism for fascism in America) that are finally breaking through the fog of white noise from political attack ads to right wing propaganda to the idiocies of the beltway punditocracy.

In Alaska, the Idiot Punditocracy is surprised and unwilling to recognize it has been blindsided. The  “amazed” Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, colleague to bewildered Jonathan Capehart, dismissively referred to Alaska’s Democratic Senate candidate Scott McAdams as a “local mayor.” Strangely, he has also refused to recognize the thuggery of the right wing as a manifestation of proto-fascism in America, which is an empirical historical reality. And so we see these verbal gymnastics in which Chris Matthews uses the euphemistic phrase of “hoodlums in another country in the 1930s” to describe the thuggishness of  Rand Paul Teabaggers roughing up and stomping on the head of a young woman demonstrator. At least he deserves credit for making the comparison:

Indeed, one of the attributes common to the Idiot Punditocracy is an unwillingness to “go there” as employees of the corporate media. It’s understandable. Not every journalist can afford to be completely independent; as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman noted about his colleagues, most of them, unlike Krugman himself (a tenured Princeton economics professor and Nobel Laureate), cannot afford to run afoul of their corporate employers. They also have mortgages to pay and children to support. Yes, it’s understandable, but not the public interest journalism we deserve. That Keith Olbermann actually said the word “fascism” to characterize such thuggish behavior from Tea Party hired goons is a victory for straight shooting journalism, both written and electronic.

Sarah Palin was a local mayor too, Mr. Cillizza. But the Alaska race, “writ large” (to coin a fancy Maddow-Hayes liberal elite-ism) is that (a) it’s wide-open, (b) Tea Party candidate Joe Miller is literally self-destructing before our eyes, (c) Lisa Murkowski faces an uphill fight as a write-in candidate locked in a three-way race, and (d) Democrat Scott McAdams, a quality candidate known mostly to Alaskans, is surging in the polls. Once Alaskan Democrats realize McAdams is a viable candidate who can win, they will break his way. If the choice is between a false Democrat (Murkowski), a real one (McAdams) and a Teabag Republican (Miller), Democrats will choose McAdams over Murkowski.

Miller, the fascist Tea Party candidate, will poll in the mid-30s, the same as Hitler and the Nazi Party did in Germany of the 1930s. Regardless of the preferred terminology, this nation's fascist vote is around the mid-30s, ticking up into the 40s depending on how much lipstick Republicans can put on the Tea Party pig.

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