August 4th, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

…has been felled the past 24 hours or so by a brief but nasty stomach bug. You don’t want to hear any more details; trust me. But I will say I tried to heal myself this afternoon by listening to an audio book by Vancouver new-age guru Eckhart Tolle about overcoming “the Pain-Body.” It didn’t work.

WHAT ALSO DIDN’T WORK: The traditional “bounce” in the opinion polls for a Presidential candidate after his nominating convention. Some polls showed little increase in John Kerry’s standing; others even showed him dropping a bit against Bush.

Why? For one thing, the convention’s TV coverage was divvied up into three dosages. The un-spun, uninterrupted coverage on PBS and C-SPAN was probably viewed mainly by political wonks such as myself. More apathetic viewers might have stuck with the measly three hours on the traditional Big Three networks, which contained only the big-name speeches and a lot of pundit-blather. In between these extremes, the three main cable “news” channels gave all-day coverage to their own (mostly Republican-leaning) commentators bashing what the Democrats were saying, with only brief cutaways to what the Democrats actually had said.

I must admit, though, that the Dems’ convention was a tuff thing to slog through in undiluted form. It was produced by a producer of TV awards shows, and felt just as long, dull, and self-serving as some of those shows are.

And, in keeping with a topic I’ve been researching of late, it relentlessly expressed a “positive” attitude. Very little speech-time was spent dissing what I believe is the worst US President since Harding; a sniveling suckup to looters and polluters who’s made this country less free and the world less safe. Instead, speaker after speaker (including, in short spots well out of prime time, our own Gov. Gary Locke and Rep. Adam Smith) recited the DNC-approved buzzwords about hope, help, strength, and respect. The effort throughout was to plug John Kerry as someone to vote for; not simply, as The Daily Show said in a fake campaign commercial, “Not George W. Bush.”

The problem with this strategy is it fits right in with the Bushies’ strategy—to make Kerry’s unproven qualities, not Bush’s proven failings, the chief topic of the proverbial horse race.

But there’s another front in this particular battle. The “527s,” independent progressive groups funded by the likes of George Soros and various Hollywood/Silicon Valley moguls, have gone where the timid Dem leadership won’t. Because these groups officially don’t work for any campaign, they can raise all the money they can to spread their messages. And because they’re not controlled by party bosses, they can tell the harsh truths in their ads. The big 527s (named for the tax-code line that defines them) include the famous Move On, Americans Coming Together, Howard Dean’s Democracy for America, and even Punk Voter.

Besides these fairly well-funded efforts, there are more thoroughly grassroots anti-Bush outfits as well, such as Seattle’s own “No Vote Left Behind.”

Then there’s the semi-satirical F___ the Vote, which asks “sexy liberals,” especially in the undecided “swinger states” (including Washington), to seduce and convert conservatives. Its home page claims, “Everyone knows liberals are hotter than conservatives—we look hotter, we dress hotter, our ideas are hotter, and we are infinitely hotter in the sack. We must use our sexual appeal to our advantage, as one more weapon in our already diverse arsenal.”

At last—a campaign tactic I can fully support. Sign me up today. I’ll show any Bellevue divorcee or Wenatchee church matron the road to a better tomorrow, metaphorically paved with multiple orgasms.

IN OTHER COMING-TOGETHER NEWS, a Seattle judge has ruled in favor of same-sex marriages. The case immediately goes to the State Supreme Court; there’ll be no official gay/lesbian nuptials ’til that court decides.

AND BY THE WAY, I’m feeling much better now. Sitting down to write always helps my energy level. So did the Hi-NRG music mix I’ve got on my iTunes right now—Serge Gainsbourg, game-show themes, Nina Simone, Petula Clark, Blondie, and more. I’m a word guy, but sometimes music can do much more for me than words.

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