(1) They have created two red herrings to divert attention from the country's real problems and to arouse, as before, nativist fears and prejudices. On the international level, it's the supposed Iran nuclear threat. On the domestic scene, the play is for nativist resentment against immigrants. The Hispanic version of "The Star Spangled Banner" becomes the conservative rallying point, just as gay marriage and racism did in previous elections. This is the perverse Zen of Karl Rove; he knows how to create reactions in liberal quarters that show them to be everything that red state consciousness had feared. No expensive ad space is required, since the news stations willingly seize on such imagined controversies as the "real," and liberals do most of the work of their self-destruction.
(2) A Bin Laden tape appears one week before election day. This happened in the last election. Now ask yourself, why would Bin Laden be so unsophisticated as to release a tape at such a crucial time, knowing that it can only benefit the Republican election campaign?
(3) Bush makes the appearance of being reasonable on Iraq by withdrawing some troops a month before the election.
(4) Oil prices go down in July and August to $2.50 a gallon and remain there until after the election. By the following April they are be back at $3.50 or higher. Republican poll numbers start quickly climbing.
(5) The coup de grace: Diebold goes into action wherever the congressional race is close.
"Winter (From a Dream)": Yosa Buson, 1716-1783
with one pawnshop between them--
in a winter grove.
Translated by Steven D. Carter, Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology (Stanford UP, 1991)
Note of interest from Anne Carson's Economy of the Unlost (Princeton UP, 1999) on the fifth century B.C. poet Simonides of Keos (the first poet to professionalize his art), Paul Celan, and gift economies:
"Phidias the sculptor worked on the chryselephantine sculpture of Athena in Athens for 5,000 drachmas per year, out of which he had to pay himself, his workmen and his production costs. And Herodotos tells us of a successful doctor whose annual salary was 6,000 drachmas when he lived in Aegina, 12,000 drachmas when he lived on Samos, and 10,000 drachmas when he lived in Athens. This same amount, 10,000 drachmas, was the fee commanded by Pindar for a single dithyramb compose in honor of the Athenians. Meanwhile, Gorgias the sophist required his students to pay him 10,000 drachmas apiece for a single course in rhetoric and made enough money this way to erect a solid gold statue of himself in the precinct of Apollo at Delphi." Later Carson notes, "It has been estimated that 10,000 drachmas would have been equivalent to about twenty-eight years of work for a laborer at one drachma per diem."