While running for Congress in West Texas in 1978, a young George W Bush attended a training school for Republican candidates. In a class on fundraising he was struck by inspiration. "I've got the greatest idea of how to raise money for the campaign," he told David Dreier, now a California congressman. "Have your mother send a letter to your family's Christmas card list! I just did, and I got $350,000."
The web of wealth and family connections that has levered Bush to power and has since characterised his administration is an indictment of America's political culture. "George W Bush was named [after] a father who excelled at everything," argued Bush Jr's former speechwriter David Frum. "He tried everything his father tried - and well into his 40s, succeeded at almost nothing."
I know, right?
These paragraphs open an article from Gary Younge of the Guardian, a British paper doing some fine reporting on the ol' US of A. This line sums up his point: "If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, nobody under the age of 50 will have had the opportunity to vote for a viable presidential ticket that did not have a Bush or a Clinton on the ticket; 40% of Americans have never lived without a Bush or a Clinton in the White House." So he sees progressives as having more than just a symbolic fight on their hands.
But these elections are so tied in with culture, so I wonder what an Obama presidency would mean for American culture. I'm thrilled at the idea of having all those bad Bush impersonations out - think of all the cultural space we'll get back! (I'm feeling the way I did about the Beavis & Butthead impersonations in the 1990s - enough, can't we move on?) I know we'll still have plenty to criticize about the goings-on at the White House, but the enemy won't be as evil, surely - even with a new Clinton in office.
And what will happen with progressive publishing?! Forget the extra time from Bush impersonations, think of the extra pages when we don't have Bush to kick around! The Bush books have been endless. I didn't really work in publishing under Clinton. What do progressive presses, enjoying some real success under the Bush regime, publish under a more liberal executive branch? What should us editors look for out there, and what will progressives want to read?
I don't really know, but I'd love to find out. Please, please let me find out...