2008 Watch: The Return?

October 28, 2007

Mr. TWhere have I been? Astute readers will note I was last seen here challenging the internuts to duels. It’s not everyday that I get the chance to brandish my cherished flintlocks, so naturally I entered into honorable combat with a certain gusto. What I had not counted on was that the LAPD would choose to uphold the law–also with a certain gusto (and with significantly more modern weaponry). I was detained by the authorities, but I promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, I survive as a blogger of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me… no wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Regardless, I was on the run from the law and had to maintain radio silence at all times. My benefactor and semi-professional linguist Dash Hammarskjold recently managed to track me down. In exchange for my eternal servitude, he agreed to smuggle me out of California and into a third world country with poor extradition laws. That’s right: Dash (or Herr Hammarskjold as he insists on being called) sent me to Iowa to resume my duties as lead political correspondent for YSMedia and our sister blogs worldwide.

The fact is that whoever wins Iowa will probably be the next president. All of the campaigns have invested so many resources here that to lose will be a huge sign of weakness. Needless to say, there is a lot riding on these January caucuses, especially if you are under the (mistaken) impression that the president actually runs our government. So, here now, is what’s really going on in Iowa which the news media may is ignoring. To be honest, I have no idea what they’re reporting. Per company edict, Dash had forbidden the viewing of any TV network not owned by GlobalSlaladTech Inc. As you may have noticed, however, our TV division pretty much sucks. There, I said it. Actual content after the break.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following text was sent to me by L.P. Mandrake. Although I will say a few words of my own, I have decided to give him credit for the entire post as he is a) one of the finest humourists of our time and I hope to carpetbag on his success; b) trapped in a pre-modern economy and well in need of the bushel of wheat that all YS contributers receive for their efforts; and c) I hope the outpouring of support this column no doubt engenders will convince Mr. Mandrake to return to the fold sooner (re:now) rather than later (upon the ascension of George P. Bush to the presidency).

With the first of these letters, Mandrake has shown himself to be a first class epistolarian (A letter-writer; although it is unclear whether or not the adjectival meaning “Addicted to or occupied in letter-writing” applies), or epistoler, or epsitler, or epistolist (rare); all are recognized forms. Actually, “epistle” is probably one of the more productive roots in the English language (surely a gross exaggeration), as almost everything has been added to it. One can epistolize, although one would hope that the subject of the letter would be epistolizable. But sadly, one can no longer “epistle-v” which, as expected, meanst “To write (something) in a letter.” It’s earliest meaning, however is “To write as a preface or introduction,” now obsolete. This is derived from the also obsolete noun sense of “A preface or letter of dedication addressed to a patron, or to the reader, at the beginning of a literary work.” So even though I have epistled, it is sadly no longer correct in saying so (though it surely sounds uncouth).


The Iowa sunrise spreads itself across the land; cornfields as far as the eye can see. I am driving along a vacant country highway when what should come on my stereo, but Reagan’s new patriotism anthem: Born in the USA. As the song hits its stride, I see across the road a pathetic figure. A man, his jeans and sweatshirt sun-bleached to the same color, sticks his thumb out. Is this man a veteran? Is he the out of place soldier that Springsteen sings of? I pass him by, as so many have before, but mostly because he was heading the opposite direction of me. A large truck zooms past, blocking the man from sight with it’s piles of corn husks, no doubt on their way to be processed into that colorless gold: ethanol. I turn my gaze back onto the open road and I notice a gigantic American flag proudly rippling in the middle of an empty cornfield. At the base of the pole is a crudely painted handmade sign. This one–shockingly–had everything spelled correctly, but still exuded the rage of the common man nonetheless. The words slathered on that sign? “There’s a special place in hell for DEADBEAT MOMS.”

And that’s when I know that I am in America after all.

As a bonus: http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/09/joe_bidens_iowa_strategy.php

The maxim “politics makes strange bedfellows” has probably never been truer than today. While the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Newt Gingrich may be his literary side (his many books, including imagined Civil War histories, and his frequent amazon reviews), it almost certainly isn’t bi-partisanship. In fact, I imagine that many of Gingrich reviews border on publicistika (I spent at least 40 minutes trying to find a good definition to give you. It’s basically reporting that acts as pointed political commentary, frequently as dissent). But its a mixed up muddled up shook up world and that includes Newt who has suddenly decided to cross the aisle, giving a glowing review to Chuck Shumer’s new book on amazon. I can only imagine that Newt, anxiously testing a political run in this rueful clime, has decided that the only way to combat the massive star power of a Hillary Clinton, a Barack Obama, or even a Joe Biden, is to form a unity ticket. Perhaps the amazon review is the opening gambit in his wooing of Chuck Schumer, a bright ambitious yet perhaps nationally unelectable (re: Jewish) senator. Perhaps the world can only hope–although somewhere Chris Dodd is fuming, having hoped Newt and he would amalgamate to end the world’s confusion.

obamaman.jpgThere has been quite a bit of talk regarding the chances that the senator from Illinois will face a serious attempt on his life. He reminds many Americans of the dead Kennedy brothers in his style and vision (note: Teddy may be dead on the inside, but his corporeal form is still ticking). In particular, America has not seen a politician with the transformative potential of Obama since RFK. So, naturally, somebody is going to take a shot at him, right? “Hogwash,” we harumph as we readjust our monocle. The Kennedy comparisons are mostly invalid. As any serious student of history knows, Jack and Bobby were killed by Cuban ex pats in coordination with the CIA and other factions that sought a more hard line policy against Castro. Therefore, so long as Obama does not reveal his positions on Cuba, he will be fine.

If anyone is going to eat a bullet this cycle, it’s going to be Joe Biden. Not only is America not ready for his bold vision of a federalized Iraq, overdone metaphors, or widespread Bidenocracy, but that dude is a serious ass. There have just got to be a bunch of people who want to see that guy take a magic bullet or ten. Sic semper Biden.

Primary Primer: Democrats

February 5, 2007

A quick overview for you political novices out there.


Democratic primaries have tended to be chaotic, no-holds barred affairs. Front runners get targeted early and often don’t make it to the finish line. 2000 and 2004 were atypical historically, but perhaps they represent a new trend towards placidity. While the West Wing scenario is implausibly tumultuous, it is not that far off from real world experiences in 1972, 1984, 1988, and 1992. Will 2008 revert to the mean? Or do Democrats have better control over their process?

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Previously on 2008 Watch…

“And, From all appearances, it seems that Biden as set his sights on a South Carolina strategy. Like a true politician, Biden has been pandering hard, attempting to woo Southerners with his off-the-cuff racism.”

–L.P. Mandrake, 1/30/07

And now, the thrilling continuation

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

–Joe Biden on Barack Obama, 1/31/07