Monday, November 03, 2008

Tom Clancy’s End of the World: Four Scenarios for November 5

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/3/08

I have no objection to computer play; the warrior monks at Shaolin Temple who are committed to passive defense are said to hone their skills by playing Street Fighter II. And I read somewhere that surgeons who play on computers have a 15% higher rate of success than those who don’t. But it is worth questioning an author’s veracity when he promotes a computer extravaganza called End War, featuring the vivid destruction of Rome, Moscow and Paris during the Sunday afternoon football game. The ad for this end-of-the-world scenario brought forth by novelist Tom Clancy closes with the voice of the Dark One telling us, “The end begins on November 5.” Which is, of course, the most widely anticipated first day in office of the first black president, Barack Obama.

Supposing the world doesn’t end. Here are four other possible scenarios for November 5.

Scenario One: Obama has won the presidency. But his support proves to be sensory and idolatrous and when he brings in a slate of Clinton-era hacks and party has beens – Joe Biden sets the paradigm, and John Kerry says he has “an understanding” with Obama, understood say reports to be Secretary of State . . . Rahm Emanuel and Clinton staffer John Podesta also keep popping up – elation quickly deflates. To paraphrase the Divine Miss M: When it’s 3 am in Los Angeles it’s still 1972 in the Democratic Party. Economy sours and the country destabilizes. A yearning for stability and action brings in Jeb Bush with Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal as VP in 2012. A new economic era opens after the Panama Canal is expanded and President Jindal brings to the Gulf ports in Mississippi and Louisiana the same explosive energy and excitement that was New York City in 1840, this time coming across the Pacific.

Scenario Two: McCain has won the presidency. Turmoil in the eastern cities, sending the pundits to such chaos in the head that they reach for the Nostradamus quatrains to seek understanding: “ . . . the soldier, always second . . .” says the oracle. (That would be the Palin/McCain Administration.) “The hordes flee north . . .” It is the woman in the red dress that is freaking them out. It is the woman in the red dress that all eyes are on.

Seems unlikely, but in hindsight, the tip off came when calls came in to Congressional offices 10 to one in opposition to the Wall Street bailout. The heartland was in the mood for an uprising, triggered by red dress. Polls all say Obama but there is this from New York Times columnist David Brooks: “ . . . government officials are probably going to be even worse perceivers of reality than private business types. Their information feedback mechanism is more limited, and, being deeply politicized, they’re even more likely to filter inconvenient facts.” Press too and pollsters – Brooks is talking about the financial meltdown but he could just as easily be talking about the current election.

McCain was ahead on Friday according to Zogby. Most are ignoring the IBD (Investor’s Business Daily) poll which had Obama at 46 yesterday and McCain at 44 with 8.7 not sure. That is because the fast-food surveys are using an expanded model which tells them that so many young voters like Obama, and that model is appealing to marketeers. You can tell who they like because of computer use and internet traffic. Computer users are presumably younger than John McCain and more liberal. However, Hitwise, which measures internet traffic, shows more people are hitting the conservative Drudge Report this week than are hitting the liberal Huffington Post, suggesting that conservatives have learned to use computers as well and not just to play Street Fighter II.

A Palin/McCain Presidency could bring a new day and very possibly the rise of a Jeffersonian movement first considered in our times by Barry Goldwater and echoed recently by the Federalist Society and even Ron Paul. This would shake the foundations of our democracy. Most eloquently put by the late historian Frank Owsley, there are two approaches to American government: corporation-based government and family-based government; the first is Hamilton, the second is Jefferson. The two main parties today are both corporation-based. Sarah Palin suggests a breach and a possible a new direction; a family based party.

Scenario Three: Same as Scenario One, but substitute Sarah Palin for Bobby Jindal as VP in 2012. As Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson succinctly put it recently, “I predict we'll have Sarah Palin to kick around for a long, long time.” Red Dress will shake the world. That’s what is freaking out the penguins.

Scenario Four: Barack Obama saves the world.