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Vetting the Candidates: An American Tradition

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America is a country that prides itself on being able to identify a "straight shooter" or "the genuine article" when it comes to our leaders. As a nation we can "feel it in our gut" when someone is giving us a bum steer. We have a free press ("Free press" is trademarked by GE and Viacom) and freedom of speech (with the ability to monitor said free speech at the president's discretion). In other words, we vet our candidates thoroughly and with rigor.

We vetted Reagan and found out he was an ex-cowboy who starred at Notre Dame and was able to communicate with primates ala Jane Goodall. And after Reagan was vetted he rewarded our free press (™) by taking away some regulations that were making it hard for them to vet and merge and take over effectively. And the fifteen or so corporations that owned the media were thankful.

Bush Sr. was put through the ringer as well. We learned that he was an all-glove, no-bat first baseman who had probably killed people in cool ways at the CIA. And best of all he had hung with Reagan. Another job well done by the eight or nine corporations that owned the media at that time.

Then reform-minded Clinton came along and the five or six corporations that owned the media got to work again. We learned that in 1964 he had ordered a ham sandwich and then we went through literally every second of his existence from that point on. We even hired a full-time prosecutor to investigate him 24 hours a day. Now that's vetting. And while this was happening Clinton raised minimum wage and capital gains taxes and a slew of other things that made the four conglomerates that owned the media and most of Congress really mad. But finally the diligence of the American press and people paid off and we learned he had received a blow job. Once again America had vetted its leaders.

Next came W. Bush and the vetting kicked into high gear by the four companies that owned the press, W. Bush, Congress and mailboxes in the Bahamas. The American people did their part by listening to what that press said and believing them. Not always an easy task. We learned W. Bush was, like Reagan, a cowboy. And that he was a regular guy who, unlike Al Gore, loved Jesus. And oh yeah, the liberals whined about some other stuff like the fact that he deserted from the Air Force, bankrupted companies, had a huge gap in his resume during which he partied non-stop and had a bunch of DUIs...blah, blah. That aside he was the kind of guy you wanted to have a beer with which canceled out the swiftboating liberal noise.

And now a new crop of candidates comes before the discerning eyes of the American people, (who are too busy to be discerning because they work more hours for less pay and so pass the job of discernment on to the four corporations. I mean free press). And once again the vetting has been thorough. Only this time there's better graphics and Bill is craaazy. Whoo! I love me my vetting!!

After thousands of hours of news coverage we have learned that Hillary is a liar and Barack is a terrorist or something. I'm sure there will be stuff about their positions on the war, lobbying reform, the environment, the economy... I'm sure those details will receive exhaustive coverage. After all, that's what the entire job they're running for will be about. But vetting takes time... And Bill is craaazy!

John McCain on the other hand has locked up the Republican nomination and we know he was a war hero. But right now we're too busy looking into Hillary's lies and Barack's weird name to get too deep into McCain. The only other thing about McCain is that he once called his wife the C word in public. Other than that he seems to have a pretty clean--

Wait, what did you just say?

McCain called his wife the C word in public. It's in Cliff Schecter's new book The Real McCain. And three reporters verified the incident. Here's an excerpt:

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

Hold on, let me drop the facetious tone I was using for the front part of this piece. John McCain called his wife the C-word (or for people from England: cunt) in front of a bunch of people?!!!!! And we're talking about Obama's preacher? McCain dropped a C-bomb and we're spending hours on Hillary exaggerating a trip to Bosnia?!!!

Okay, I get it. We let all Republicans and most Democrats off the hook because they will roll over for the companies that own the media and in McCain's case literally get blown by lobbyists, but come on! Are we not even remotely pretending anymore?

George W. Bush was a silver spoon dolt with no record to speak of other than bankruptcy and selling tropical plants and we let him sail into the White House but Barack talks about religious fundamentalism and guns being prevalent in poor areas and we roast him for weeks?

That isn't just a bias, that's deranged. Big money has seriously warped us. When there is a school shooting the news doesn't talk about basic gun control, they talk about video games and their influence on kids. When we learn that the Vice President planted false news stories to take us to war we get outraged about Simon being too mean to contestants on fucking American Idol. And why? Because big money has log jammed our voice and we know it's too hard to do anything about it. So the dollar drops, the insane war continues, polar bears drown, school shootings continue, the trade deficit soars, gas prices go through the roof and this country fades as quietly as someone falling asleep in front of the TV.

We're not a stupid country; we're comfortable and afraid. Afraid to hear the truth. Our leaders talk to us like a parent avoiding the subject of sex with an eight-year-old and we eat it up. And when someone like Obama talks to us like grown-ups we vet him. And vet him.

Think about it, when was the last time there was any coverage about specific plans to withdraw from Iraq? Or how to curb the influence of big money in Washington? Or re-regulating the media? I watch the news a lot. And I can't remember one time unless you count Bill Moyers or Keith Olberman. This whole game is like someone stealing a person's car by slowly getting them to forget how to drive.

A presidential candidate called his wife the C-word in public.

We have lost the ability to generate our own agenda as a people. This one's easy peesy. It involves a dirty word, an anger disorder and male pattern baldness for cripes sakes. That's the triple crown. And I've heard next to nothing. So if we can't get it up for this what hope do we have for dealing with the really important stuff? And meanwhile in our newsrooms they call law clerk after law clerk... "Did Barack ever say anything sexually suggestive to you...? What about inappropriate physical contact?... Are you sure?"