Hit the road Halloween. For those who loathe politicians (count me in) there’s no more horrific time than the final days of a presidential race. Our flesh creeps as the last candidates standing (sort of) do the Transylvania Twist faster and faster, spinning their true (sort of) beliefs on a dime and contorting themselves into whatever position seems ripe for the moment. We choke back our screams as campaign hacks steam up the screen in Nightmare On Election Street, partisan porn oozing from their lips as they extol, decry, and deny. Then there’s the media blood feast. In every election cycle someone gets made into a monster. Peasants in babushkas and business suits brandish the torch of journalistic truth and storm the castle in search of unpaid parking tickets and slips of the PC lip. Small wonder only ghouls and lawyers run for office. To be dead, to be truly dead, is a blessing when the news hounds come baying.
Not every moment of Nightmare On Election Street is scary. There are dull talky parts. Like when candidates pontificate about their constantly changing Plan 9 From Outer Space. Aka the domestic or foreign policy fixes hatched with the help of retread advisers from prior administrations. Got dud policies? Ones that sent us into Iraq, jazzed NAFTA, or inflated the housing bubble? No problem. The next prez knows who to blame. Igor dropped the brain. And Igor always belongs to the other party.
True, Doc Frankenstein didn’t hire wisely. Candidates with lurching campaigns should learn from his mistakes. And candidates who want to play God must remember that villagers aren’t dead bodies to be harvested. Many still cling to their pitchforks and old-time transcendent religion — as opposed to the worship of government. Taxing can’t be passed off as tithing. Speaking of false appearances. . . .
Here come the brides! More undead than Dracula’s multiple mates! Wives of presidential candidates are real live human beings when campaigns begin. But political consultants, who fear the reaper of public opinion, soon drain their blood. The brides go on walking and smiling and appearing on The View yet they’re no longer alive. If a mirror were held in front of their lips no breath or genuine opinion would show. Thankfully, the effect usually dissipates after the campaign. Spouses of failed candidates have been known to wax colorfully wroth at their mate’s ex-consultants. And one bride, whose hub made it to the White House, even sprang from her coffin and became co-president! Charles Willeford, the late great pulp fiction guy, wrote a book called “New Hope For The Dead.” The subject was crime and corruption in Florida not the reanimation of candidates’ wives. Still, the title applies. And not only to wives.
The word “reanimation” isn’t used in the blasted book of campaign clichés (a tome second only to the Necronomicon on the sorcerer must-have list) because of grave robbing connotations. However, “revitalization” appears frequently. Either in incantations to be delivered by candidates when wooing mayors of cities where corruption is the sole industry and the dead vote in droves, or in broader promises about “growing the economy.” The premise of said promise rests on the impressive success of one Doctor Praetorious (a colleague of Dr. Frankenstein) in growing homunculi in bottles sans reliance on any natural process. Also covered by the blasted book: how to invoke the image of “Average Americans worrying about finances while sitting around the kitchen table.” Though this image evokes La Vida Ralph Kramden rather than the gobble-n-go text message life of today’s overtaxed John and Jane Doe, a good political incantation never dies. It just gets hoarier and hoarier.
By the time a new prez is finally elected voters feel like they’ve walked with an army of zombie hookers, pounding the pavement from coast to coast. Thanks to an extra early start, this particular hike seemed to last forever and ever and ever. Yet the long march is almost over. In a few days we’ll be able to peek through our fingers and see who gets to be the new caretaker of the Overlook Hotel oops White House. Let’s hope the new guy does better than the old guys.
Mister and Miz America — Here’s Johnny/Barry!
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
Send comments or confidential tips to: