October is the cruelest month of any election year, but by then the pain is so great that even the strong are like jelly and time has lost all meaning for anybody still involved in a political campaign. By that time, even candidates running unopposed have abandoned all of hope of victory. They live only for the day when they can seek vengeance on treacherous bastards who said they were loyal friends and swore they were in it to win it.

October in the politics business is like drowning in scum or trying to hang on through the final hour of a bastinado punishment. . . . The flesh is dying and the heart is full of hate: the winners are subpoenaed by divorce lawyers and the losers hole up in cheap hotel rooms on the outskirts of town with a briefcase full of hypodermic needles and certain knowledge that the next time their names get in the newspapers will be when they are found dead and naked in a puddle of blood in the trunk of some stolen car in an abandoned parking lot.

Others are not so lucky and are doomed, like Harold Stassen, to wallow for the rest of their lives in the backwaters of local politics, cheap crooks, and relentless humiliating failures. By the time Halloween rolls around, most campaigns are bogged down in despair and paralyzed by a frantic mix of greed and desperation that comes with knowing that everything you have done or thought or worked for or believed in for the past two years was wrong and stupid.

There are never enough seats on the last train out of the station . . . .

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “Songs of the Doomed: More Notes On The Death Of The American Dream/Gonzo Papers Vol. 3”


  1. Anon says

    Tweety at Martin’s Tavern:

    Note what Tweety says about the internet – There’s probably some residual Gore-panic in his dissing of the internet. But in typically Tweety fashion he gets it opposite –

    The internet gives you too many odd stories – not no odd stories.

    Who has no clicked on stories on the web they never would have read in a newspaper?

    What a jackass —

  2. Comment says

    McLaughlin seems to have abandoned his reason (“too close to call”) intentionally. After all – the heart has its reason that Reason does not know.

  3. Anon says

    This is an example of the neocon political meme being exhausted. Ofcourse in McCain camp thinking there is some great difference between McCain meeting with Syria and Obama doing so. But it’s impossible to explain this to ordinary people – just as it was impossible for McCain to explain why Obama was wrong to threaten Pakistan, but it would be ok for him to do so.


  4. Comment says

    You’re right – backstab counter-narrative competition soon heats up. Obama falters and combines with natural cycles. Right wing comback follows. Dictatorship of the Palintariat proposed by demented preachers. Dollfuss type gets the nomination.

  5. DrLeoStrauss says

    Not sure it is in the immediate cards. Think rather 1918-1919 than 1949-1998 and an even belated effort to recognize objective historical facts in the historians’ debate.

  6. Comment says

    Leo, how many years have to pass post Bush for a true
    Republican Vergangenheitsbewältigung?

  7. Anon says

    We have to differ in one sense with Hart – Reagan and Nixon, in theory, would have agreed with Obama’s speech against the war – In reality, they may have just regarded it as some Hyde Park stuff. Nixon would be very much influenced by Obama’s celeb and left base to be against him. That’s not to say he wouldn’t have mixed feelings and secretly agree policywise. It’s easy to imagine Nixon in a ball of self-loathing pretending and resenting to agree with the neocons. He would host them at Saddle River and condemn them to his dog when they left. It’s also easy to imagine Obama, Like Clinton, indulging Nixon as a great man and asking for his advice.

  8. Hunter says

    re Paulson

    Well, yes, but of course I didn’t post that quote or link to talk about Paulson. The quote was more for that nice line about humility and the link for its overall discussion of how Washington and Wall Street do and don’t work. Similar issues wrt foreign policy/Pentagon-State relationships have been discussed extensively on this fine site, and I thought some people here might enjoy seeing things play out in another important (to the Republic) arena.

  9. Anon says

    McCain losing Anne Applebaum:


    This sort of symbolic – Applebaum represents a large faction
    of “Serious” people who always cut McCain slack
    because he winked at them and let them know
    that he secretly knew his GOP colleagues were wackos.

    The Applebaum faction is appalled by Sarah – By
    enedless stupid DNA for bears comments – by SCOTUS
    stuff – etc.

    Even so – IMO – McCain could have kept these people on
    board had he nominated Money Honey as his veep. Or
    just about anyone else.

    re Paulson – he wanted to deal with Dems because
    he has little patience for some of the dummies
    in the GOP caucus.

  10. Hunter says

    This should probably be in the last thread, but it’s getting a bit long, and I only just came across this.

    The piece is long, but well worth the read. I know folks around here are fairly National Security focused, but a little look at another aspect of the system might be of some benefit. A longish quote from the dialog follows:

    The IRA: Paulson’s first instinct was to talk to the Democrats on the Hill. A very revealing decision. But the fact is that the numbers are so compelling that the recapitalization priority for the banks would have made its own case eventually. Having it in place now allows the US banking system to prepare for the next four quarters of losses and restructuring of retail and commercial exposures.

    Whalen: Let me interject into this illuminating discussion one important thing, a point that applies to both Greenspan and Paulson namely regarding power. When people are elevated to a level of extreme visibility and seeming omni-competence, where they are believe to be almost god-like in their powers, they are deeply reluctant to admit that they don’t know anything. To pick up the phone and ask somebody, “what about this?”

    Kubarych: And Volcker did that all the time.

    Whalen: He was Paul Volcker. He knew who he was and was comfortable with colleagues like yourself and his circle of friends both sharing and acquiring knowledge. Decades ago when we had created the primer on financial crisis for Reagan, there was still an enormous amount of education required within the government and with the public. I can remember when one of the smartest people in the Reagan Administration, a very young David Stockman, called me one day and asked in hushed tones “is there anyone else on this line?” I replied “no” but worried what he was about to confess. Then he asked if I knew about something called “commercial paper.” I said: “I’ll be right over” and we met later that day to discuss the matter. I showed him the back of the Journal of Commerce with the rates for various types of commercial finance and he got it. Think of the many times when this republic of ours has been saved by a very important person having the humility to pick up the telephone and ask someone a question.

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