16 Sep 2008

When Obama Loses

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Russ Smith feels the time has come to start discussing the unthinkable.

It’s three a.m. on Oct. 31 and a frantic broker awakens you. He’s advising making substantial investments that day in the stocks of Lilly, Pfizer and other manufacturers of anti-depressants, as well as high-end booze, say Grey Goose vodka and Hillary Clinton’s whiskey of choice, Chivas Regal. The calculations buzzing through your head are not insignificant. Barack Obama holds a two-point lead over John McCain in the Gallup poll for the Nov. 4 presidential election, and that slender margin suggests—given the undeniable factor of racism when Americans retreat to the privacy of the ballot booth—that for the third straight time a Democratic candidate will be defeated. Your own preference in the contest is irrelevant: there’s money lying on the table and only a fool would ignore the market’s indications.

A month ago, as any honest Democrat will tell you, this scenario was nearly inconceivable. The Republicans had nominated an elderly and inarticulate candidate in McCain, who was marred not only by his association with George Bush, but distrusted by the critical conservative base as well. ..

In mid-September the GOP resurrection is a simple reality, and though I dislike the cliché “a month in politics is a lifetime,” no one has any idea of how Americans will vote on Election Day. But the fear expressed by a “major Democratic fundraiser” in Politico last week—“I’m so depressed. It’s happening again. It’s a nightmare.”—isn’t isolated and won’t subside unless Obama, to quote a Matt Drudge headline, “gets his groove back.”

I have no clue if or when that could happen, but I do have an opinion of what will follow in this country if McCain pulls off what so recently seemed the miraculous feat of becoming the country’s 44th president. Voter fraud, conspiracy, “sleazevertisements” (the preferred term of many left-wing bloggers), disenfranchised voters, the return of redneck chic; those will be the immediate cries of Democrats who thought the election was in the bag. Once again, scores of celebrities will claim they’re moving abroad (and inevitably won’t). And then the depression will kick in hard.

New York magazine columnist Kurt Andersen, one of the few Beltway-Boston pundits who bashed Hillary Clinton a year ago, when her nomination appeared inevitable, was unstinting in his speculation of the fallout should Obama lose. He emailed me: “Even without post-November 4th rumors of rigged voting machines and the like, an Obama loss will be a deeply, traumatically depressing event for Democrats and other Obama enthusiasts. (Whereas if McCain loses, who will be seriously bummed outside of the McCain household?) There will be so many facets of potential unhappiness. That an eloquent, inspiring, intelligent, subtle black candidate lost—and if it’s close, it’ll be true that racism beat him… That the rest of the world will be reaffirmed in their belief that America is the land of nincompoops (or worse). That a war with Iran looks a lot likelier… That Sarah Palin won it for the Republicans, and gives a bad name to feminism and (terrifyingly) has a one-in-six (Russian roulette!) chance of becoming president before 2013.”

Tom Bevan, co-founder of Real Clear Politics, was succinct: “Two words: Hari Kari. The base of the [Democratic] party is so vested in its nominee…that to lose in November would be one of the most demoralizingin the modern era.”

Read the whole thing.

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One Feedback on "When Obama Loses"

Sallie Parker

Forget the Fluoxetine and vodka. Invest in what there will never be enough of after November 4: riot shields, fire extinguishers, security systems of all kinds. It’ll be Watts ’65, Newark ’67, LA ’91, Detroit any riot year you want…all over, recurrently, week after week. Watch the cause of tolerance be set back a hundred years.

People will be too excited to be depressed. The Clintons will of course be euphoric. McCain will have a free pass whether he tells the rioters he feels their pain, or applauds Bush for imposing martial law.

Riot gear. Invest. Now.



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