Party primaries are still three months away, with nearly a year to go before the general election, yet Robert Novak reported in a column over the weekend that the Hillary Clinton campaign is harboring, but declining to reveal, secret, damaging information about Clinton’s chief opponent for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama; meanwhile, on the Republican side, Mitt Romney has recently been the target of derogatory push polling. Is it too early in the campaign season for such dirty politics?
“When isn’t too early for dirty politics?” would be a better question. Is there an almanac that candidates are issued after they file their paperwork? Does it have a little calendar printed on the inside cover, dates to remember, so everyone knows when it’s okay to start slinging mud at the other guy without being called for bad form? I wonder if it’s all based on set dates, or if there’s a sliding scale depending on how one is doing. Like, it’s okay to run an attack ad if you slip below a certain percentage in the polls, or if you lose a primary you thought for sure you’d win. When is the porridge just right?
It does seem a little early for the underhanded stuff, though, now that I think about it. I mean, Lyndon Johnson waited until about two months before the general election to whip out that awful TV ad with the little girl plucking the daisy right before getting nuked by Barry Goldwater. And in 2000, Bush held out until the last minute before hiring people to call and spread racist paranoia about John McCain in South Carolina. Here we are almost a year away from the actual election, and they’re getting set to tee off on each other. What a pitiful state of affairs.
A diverse selection of candidates having honest and substantive debates on relevant social issues prior to an election is too much to ask for, I suppose. It’s at times like this that I am grateful to be far enough outside the widely accepted definition of a person to be exempt from both the taxation and representation of the U.S. government. Nowadays, the former hardly seems justified by the latter.
Too early? Is it too early?! I wish they’d break out the bag of dirty tricks on the first day of these dull-ass campaigns! What else would I rather hear candidates for president talk about — immigration? Social security reform? I live on someone’s bed! Other than the occasional gentle wash cycle inside of a pillow case, I have no material needs. The only thing the presidential election cycle represents to me is a source of entertainment. The earlier they start ripping into one another, the better. Remember in 2000, when Bush had people push-poll against McCain, calling up potential voters in South Carolina and telling them that McCain had adopted a black baby? And it worked! Bush won the South Carolina primary, and the nomination, and got elected president!
If Hillary really has something on Obama, I say out with it! But really, how bad could it be? Obama already wrote a book where he admitted to smoking weed and snorting coke while he was in college, for Christ’s sake. What’s the secret dirt — that he knocked up his wife while high, then wire-hangered his unborn crack baby? That’d be something, wouldn’t it, if that’s what it was?
Really, though, I’m pulling for Obama. My dream 2008 election would be between Obama and Giuliani, because if that got dirty, it’d make everyone forget all about that time George H.W. Bush called Ross Perot’s daughter a dyke on national television. (That did happen, right? I’m not imagining it?) Here’s how a debate between Obama and Giuliani might go, if I had my way. Just think how awesome this would be:
OBAMA: Blah blah blah, health care reform, war on terror—
GIULIANI: Shut your stupid nigger face!
OBAMA: Don’t call me a nigger, you guinea cocksucker!
GIULIANI: The mouth on you! Kiss your mother with those big, fat lips?
OBAMA: Make me come across this stage, greaseball, and I will cut you!
GIULIANI: You moolie bastard, I’d like to see it!
TIM RUSSERT: Mayor Giuliani, if we could talk for a moment about what your tax policy as pres—
GIULIANI: The balls on this moolie bastard!
Tell me that wouldn’t be the best debate ever. If only I could vote for them both.