Desperately Seeking the Holy Grail of Epic Fail

Ah, the final blood-curdling days of October in an election year. Filth and stupidity on the radio, nudity in the streets, shameless pandering on television—and that’s just the World Series. No no, I won’t be meditating on the apparent collapse of the Tampa Bay Cinderellas as they turn back into pumpkins, because Gorgeous George Will can handle that, but recent developments both in baseball and politics have yanked my cerebrum into thoughts of Novembers past.

Yes, November: graveyard of many a politician who has succumbed to the brutal transparency of terminal narcissism. We don’t celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos at this time for nothing, folks, and baseball is not the only Haunted Game in our nation’s twisted history. No, politics has that market cornered for the conceivable future.

Oh sure, epic political failure has always been a lurking menace in American politics, but recent history has thrown up more examples of massive electoral defeat than you can shake a hanging chad at. Landslide losses at the presidential level by Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, and Walter Mondale are just the tip of the iceberg, of course, but since I don’t have relevant data at my command right now, let’s just make my thesis skate on some ice thinner than the 2000 election results and ignore hard facts, because like, everyone’s been doing that for so long now that it’s just routine, right? Aimless speculation’s all the rage, right?

Right, dude. Election ’08 is crushing us all right now with the weight of a planet, so we might as well acknowledge this year’s potential candidates for Epic Failure. John McCain tops the list, of course, since a loss for him would cement the doom of an already dismal campaign and, as many other important and self-important people have mentioned, also signal the final death-shriek of Reagan-era emasculated government. Desperation is indeed a stinky cologne, John.

However, should Barack Obama somehow remember that he’s a member of the Democratic Party and therefore intrinsically able to snatch defeat from the slobbering jaws of victory, the junior senator from Illinois would be thrown down in the ditch with Thomas E. Dewey, Dick Nixon (1960-62 model), George H.W. Bush, the hyperventilating hydra that is Dukakis/Gore/Kerry, and everyone else that has blown every chance they every had.

“Indeed, Senator Obama may even be worse off then all those bastards if he loses; he would veer deep into 2004 Yankees territory, especially if—”

Damn it George, didn’t I say you weren’t welcome in here? Just because we’re both Cub fans doesn’t mean you can invade my self-important bloviating, man. Jesus. Where was I? Um, I think maybe I was gonna try to make some tenuous connections between the general direction of epic failure and the hopeless losers of presidential primaries past, but shit, we’ve all soiled too many pixels already this year over Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and the Sinkhole of Suck that was the 2008 Republican field. That leaves:

1) Congress, but obviously that would be even more useless and pointless. Hell, Congress was designed to be an epic failure.

2) Vice-Presidential candidates, who were also designed to be epic failures, especially when fraternizing with third graders and others of their own kind.

3) State-level elected officials, who, as I’ve said before, are required to be at least three kinds of crazy before they’re even considered worth covering by regional media. For example, in my neck of the woods, we’re treated to a minor-league brawl between a notorious asshole Republican with IRS nightmares (Tony Strickland) and a notoriously mic-stealing stage-hog of a Democrat (Hannah-Beth Jackson). These two dingbats have brought new idiocy to the phrase “mutually assured destruction.”

“Which naturally brings to mind the epic failure of third parties in the American political system, because, like baseball’s short-lived Federal League, and—hey, what are you doing with my vintage Ernie Banks Louisville Slugg—”


George, that’s the last fucking time I’ll ever name-drop your ass again. Stay the fuck out of Malibu, dude.

Still, the old cocktail weenie does have a point. As we all know, third-party alternatives to the Democratic/Republican reign of terror haven’t done themselves, or us, any favors with their headless-chicken routines, especially when they poach cast-offs from the two “major” parties. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that the Greens and Libertarians haven’t realized that Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr are, respectively, using those stinking backwaters to serve their own megalomaniacal needs. Third (and fourth, and fifth) party candidates have always been delusional fools—and yes, I’m including the Bull Moose himself in there, too. That line of frantic desperation runs from TR to George Wallace to John Anderson to Ross Perot to Pat Buchanan.

And yes, Ralph Nader. I would never forget him because old Ralph is, unbeknownst to him, a very personal reflection of my own political epic failure. No no, I’m not ashamed that I voted for him in 2000 instead of Al Gore (against, I might add, the violent wishes of every woman in my family)—I include Ralph here, all by himself, at the end of this pointless exercise of a post, because this is where he belongs, now and forever: a burned-out coda to a wasted two hours.

Oh, in case George does come crawling back, Philadelphia is forcing an epic failure on the Rays in Game 4 of the World Series. Tell him that I could care less, though. I don’t like the Phillies (and I hate Jayson Werth), but the American League is still an unnatural, horrifying abomination, so I can’t truly wish for a Tampa Bay victory. Oh well.