Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Displaying the form that made bestsellers of Obliviously On He Sails and A Heckuva Job, tales of the Bush Administration in rhyme, Calvin Trillin trains his verse on the 2008 race for the presidency.
Deciding the Next Decider is an ongoing campaign narrative in verse interrupted regularly by other poems, such as a country tune about John Edwards called “Yes, I Know He’s a Mill Worker’s Son, But There’s Hollywood in That Hair” and a Sarah Palin song about her foreign policy credentials: “On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok.” It covers Mitt Romney’s transformation (“Mitt Romney’s saying now he should have known / A stem cell’s just a human, not quite grown”), the speculation about whether Al Gore was trimming down to run (“Presumably, they looked for photo ops / To see what Gore was stuffing in his chops”), the slow-motion implosion of Hillary Clinton’s drive to the White House (“Some pundits wrote that Hil’s campaign might fare / A little better if Bill wasn’t there”), and the differing responses of Barack Obama and John McCain to the financial crisis (“Though coolness has its limitations, it’ll / Prevent comparisons with Chicken Little”).
Beginning at the 2006 midterms, Deciding the Next Decider resurrects the nonstarters like George Allen (“He fit what’s often valued by the Right: / Quite cheerful, Reaganesque, and not too bright”) and the low-energy Fred Thompson (“The pros said, ‘That’s a state he has to take, / And he just might, if he can stay awake’ ”). And it carries through to the vote that made Barack Obama the forty-fourth president of the United States.
the Blowout? The prospects for the GOP looked dim Before the credit crisis got so grim That economic sages weren’t averse To saying things were bad and could get worse. McCain had said forthrightly all along His grasp of economics wasn’t strong. McCain’s main man on economic matters Said our economy was not in tatters. The problem was, he said, our point of view, And that’s been whiny rather than can-do. Phil Gramm Says We’re a Nation of Whiners As senator, Phil was among the
now couldn’t be the claim. So they just ran, by lowering their aim, The most distorted ads they could devise. The Times and others called them “flat out lies.” McCain of old would not allow such scat. His honor meant much more to him than that. But into Bush’s role with Rove he’d slid. What torture couldn’t do, ambition did. 26 Fundamentals As Rove-o-Clones in deepest mud kept slithering, The criticism in the press was withering. McCain’s ads, many said, were a disgrace. The
my father said, when the car was loaded. “Yiffniff,” my cousin Keith said clearly, announcing the assigned word in the spelling bee style. “Y-y … “ Y-y! Using y both as a consonant and as a vowel! What a move! We looked at my father for a response. He said nothing. Emboldened, Keith picked up the pace: “Y-y-g-h-k-n-i-p-h.” For a few moments the car was silent. Then my father said, “Wrong. Next.” Suddenly the car was bedlam as we began arguing about where our plans had gone wrong. “Maybe we
moved to bet That he was destined for the next top spot. They made such statements, Hillary or not. When Kerry lost, the buzz did not abate. Some said Barack could well afford to wait. He had, they said, no end of times to run: In twenty twelve he’d be but fifty-one. According to a long-established tenet, He should mature for years yet in the Senate. (Producing legislation at a trickle, Some Senate members don’t mature, they pickle.) Obama, thinking time would not improve The chance
Mitt as candidate is now legit. The pundits now aren’t writing Mitt’s obit. If one thing counts, they think, then money’s it. 8 Show Me the Money So funds were needed. Campaign costs were mounting. And who snared funds became a way of counting— A way to say, with voting months away, Which candidates might leave and which might stay. With Internet appeals and banks of phoners, All candidates looked urgently for donors. Yes, raising funds became the salient factor, And Clinton,