Monday, October 18, 2004

Better Red Then Dead

I'm beginning to wonder if John Kerry really wants to be president. I'm starting think the ubiquitous October surprise will be John Kerry doing a Howard Dean impression. That'd be nice. I might actually pay to see it. I've had it up to here with John Kerry (hand to chin). I'm serious. He's just pissing me off now. Yesterday was a kicker. He was in Florida and he said "Its George Bush's fault that there isn't enough flu vacine!" Huh? If you going to blame any one blame the British. They are the ones that shut down the factory that manufactures the stuff for safety reasons, maybe we should be thanking them for looking out for us. Then John Kerry went on to say "If Halliburton made flu vaccine there would be more then enough." That's when I decided John Kerry was swinging at pitches that were in the dirt. He also insinuated that the flu vaccine was something else that George Bush outsourced. Actually, there isn't any profit in flu vaccines. They can't be kept for very long and the ones that don't get used have to be destroyed, however lets not forget that American companies are afraid to make the stuff... why? Because of people like the marionette John Edwards, trial lawyers. They afraid they'll get sued.

Here's something I saw in the Indianapolis Star on Saturday. It comes from the editorial page. I have a certain interest in this one, too, particularly since I'm a bookseller and I'm on the "front lines," if you will of the literary (and I use that term loosely) slobberknocker in the current affairs section. Anyway, here it is:
Here's a fun experiment: Drive to the nearest mega-bookstore and look for the tables and shelves stocked with new nonfiction. Because this is an election year (and one divisible by four) these displays will be top-heavy with politics.

You'll find books advocating a Republican sweep as well as treatises on why we should toss the bums out. You'll find books attacking the president for everything from gross incompetence to corporate corruption to environmental neglect. What you won't find is a great number of books critical of Sen. John Kerry.

The imbalance is striking -- so much so that I approached the help desk of the local Barnes & Noble and asked if I was missing something. On one side of the scales, you have a mountain of anti-Bush titles from authors great and small.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has brought out "Bushworld," a collection of her increasingly incoherent columns. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has written the book "What We've Lost," with the wonderfully chatty subtitle: "How the Bush Administration Has Curtailed Our Freedoms, Mortgaged Our Economy, Ravaged Our Environment, and Damaged Our Standing in the World."

Sen. Robert Byrd's thoughtful side is on display on the cover of his "Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency." The grand old pork barrel king of the Senate poses for the camera, his hand obscuring part of the grimace on his face so as to give readers the impression that these are Grave Concerns.

Former congressman Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has written the book "Crimes Against Nature," which accuses the administration of, well, must I really explain?

These are part of the new eruption of anti-Bush books, which are basically indistinguishable from the previous flow of books on the subject. Last year's "Stop Bush in 2004" has given way to this year's "Stop Bush Now!"

Even to many liberals, this is getting tiresome.

Matthew Yglesias, staff writer for the Washington-based progressive monthly American Prospect read seven anti-Bush books last year for a large review in the magazine. By the time he was done he joked in an e-mail that he wanted to write a book titled "Not So Bad: Why George W. Bush Is a Bad Guy But Hardly the Worst Guy In Human History."

There are few anti-Kerry books to balance against these. WND Books has published David Bossie's "The Many Faces of John Kerry" and Regnery Publishing has brought out the blockbuster "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," but that's about the end of the list.

According to Regnery executive editor Harry Crocker III, the publisher has printed 850,000 copies to date, and the book is near the top of most bestseller lists. When I asked him why there weren't more anti-Kerry books for sale, he took the remarkably contrarian stance that there isn't a market for them, unless they're very well done. Crocker explained that for an anti-Kerry book to sell, it has to be exceptional, because liberal authors have something going for them that conservative authors don't: the frustration that comes with being out of power.

But it isn't clear that all the anti-Bush books, or the dearth of anti-Kerry books, will help swing the election against the president.

By bringing out so many anti-Bush books, the publishing industry has done three things that its mostly Democratic voters may soon regret.

First, it has boosted the president's stature: If this many people are attacking him, some voters are sure to reason, he must at least be effective.

Second, by airing so many frequent, sometimes over-the-top criticisms of Bush, publishers help color the opposition as a bunch of obsessives and crazies.

Finally, the shortage of anti-Kerry books helps to reinforce the senator's image as the candidate of a certain social class, and a lightweight to boot.

The suspicion is that the smart set refrains from criticizing Kerry because they can't stand the thought of a Bush victory, and also because they aren't sure he could take it.

And what post on politics would be complete with out a Gart Varvel cartoon. Again, from the Indianapolis Star.

I'm so ready for Election Day.

No comments: