THE ED/OP PAGE – This is my favorite part of the newspaper, especially my own brilliant efforts. It’s the editorial/opinion page (ed/op for short), which features opinions, letters to the editor and political cartoons as opposed to the leftist-commie claptrap that infiltrates the rest of the media. Don’t you just despise those bomb-throwers? Why don’t they write what I want to read, and tell me what I want to hear?
Here in ed/op land every four years there are two repeating and predictable
phenomena. First, the yawn before the storm. Over the past several months the pundits have been using weasel words to explain why Obama will beat Romney or the other way around. We have read columnist after sage grind out quotes, observations and the ever-rare common sense, about the upcoming presidential election. Notice these soothsayers never say flatly who is going to win, by how much and why. Their expertise is chock-a-block with “could,” “might” and “maybe.” This does us no good. We need to know who’s going to win BEFORE the election. Anyone can pick the winner on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November — a nod to the Constitution — just as I can give you the winning Lotto numbers the day after the drawing. (Actually, I shall now tell you, not the winner, of this presidential election, but the loser: the American people.)
It isn’t only the printed pundits who cover their tails with vague and meaningless pronouncements. Turn on any Sunday morning TV talking-heads show, or go to the propaganda channels that hide behind the fig leaf of being fair and balanced, and we will see the usual suspects sitting around a table pontificating about the election. Note these are usually the very same people whose writings we read on the ed/op page.
So much for these Olympians who hand down worthless bombast when we need the inside skinny before we bet. Next we have step two: after the election. That is when the gurus give us closing-the-barn-door wisdom. “It was obvious to me that…” “Clearly he swept to victory because blah, blah, blah.” “As I said all along, the left-handed, red-haired single pipefitters were the key to….” Tell us something we don’t know, otherwise gimme the remote. (Incidentally, if you have been wondering about the origin of the word “pundit,” it is an East Indian word coming from “pun” meaning “pompous” and “dit” from “idiot.”)
After the election results are in and the last chad has been hanged, we have the blame game. One side is going to win, and they will bask in their mandate (ha!) from America and do nothing. The winner’s advisers, hangers-on, third cousins and media mouthpieces will carefully explain how their genius succeeded. Ah, but the fun part will be observing the losers. JFK said that success has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.
Those orphans will be finger-pointing, backtracking and explaining what they really meant. It’s Spin City time. Whatever the cause of the defeat, you won’t find a single soul who will say, “I screwed up.” It’s gutless, but understandable because, for the hired guns, it’s their profession and they need to get a new gig next election cycle. Who’s going to hire a loser? Candidates are already lined up for the 2016 presidential election, GAD! The Karl Roves, James Carvilles and faceless speech writers need work. Half of them have resumes frothing with the victory laps. The losing half will be mixing drinks and opening doors for the winning half.
Another group involved in this CYA (Cover Your Anatomy) are the pollsters. For a year or so they have been coming out with their varying surveys telling us who’s ahead among dog breeders. If any of them got the outcome wrong, and their findings will be out there for us to see, they will also have a problem next go-round trying to sell their accuracy.
Besides the pundits and advisers, what about the people who gave the money? What do those donors whose cash was bet on the losing side have to show for their generosity besides an autographed photo of them shaking hands with a has-been? This election has witnessed the Brothers Koch (pronounced Coke as in: Elections go better with Koch), Schwartz György (Dem political moochers know him as George Soros), Sheldon Adelman and many mystery donors, since the Citizens Unit case made secret donations possible. They are going to be licking their wounds and nursing their resentments. Did you make a hefty donation to the losing candidate in hopes of landing an ambassadorship or at least a major defense contract? Sorry, however, your check made a lot of poor chauffeurs, waiters and bumper sticker printers happy. Consider it part of the trickle-down theory.
A major move in the blame game is to find the proper targets. The losers will point to the slimy campaign the other side ran. If Romney loses, he will blame MSNBC, Hollywood liberals, his dog-on-the-car-roof story, that “I like to fire people” quote and obviously the 47 percent solution. Should Obama lose, he will castigate Wall Street, the Tea Party and racists. Or it might be something simple. Historians blame Richard Nixon’s loss to Jack Kennedy on Nixon’s refusal to wear makeup in their TV debates. It made Tricky Dick look sweaty if not oily, like a thief trying to pull off a major caper. Come to think of it….
So we must endure the current cacophony, then wait for all the post-election explanations, filling up the ed/op sections of newspapers and jamming the air waves. But be assured that the losing candidate will not shoulder the blame himself. After his defeat at Gettysburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee told his troops, “All this has been my fault. It is I who have lost the fight.” Can we in our wildness imagination hear the loser say this? More probably he will say, “It’s all the fault of the press.”
Ashby pundits at firstname.lastname@example.org