The Campaign Trail by Mike Tyler // Part Three
(suggested songs to listen to while reading: Bob Marley: 'Get Up, Stand Up', 'I Shot the Sheriff', 'No Woman, No Cry')
Probably at this moment in Brooklyn, a borough of the City of New York, that you in the U of K know well 'cuz your favorite footballer named a child after it (by the way my friend Ty did that first, and he was actually a Brooklynite), there is a very grizzled young man (the young men of Brooklyn look grizzled) holding up a can of cheap beer expensively bought, saying something like:
'You bet the jockey not the horse.'
Hipster pontificating on horse racing that is (again with the trying to pre-date electricity so he can, ah, date in the internet world), but I'd like to ignore the shallow, trendy context and just look at the comment, and um, apply it to our story, the US Presidential Election. The horse in this case would be the candidates. The jockeys? Their campaign advisors.
Campaign advisors become famous in the US; especially if they win. (My country has a high regard for winners, and a low regards for, um, who?) Right now there are two ex-campaign advisors that share a lot of media bandwidth to this day. One, James Carville, President Clinton's electoral svengali, who is often portrayed and parodied as a kind of lizard and Two, Karl Rove ('Bush's Brain), who is actually a lizard (just kiddin', I think). When you see both of them, regardless of what you feel about them as people, or lizards, or of their politics, or their lizard-ics you do sorta see why their guys won. They are well, ruthless. In a knife fight they use a gun.
Obama the peaceful, has a pugilistic ex-boxer journalist, named David Axelrod to bash in talking heads for him. (I have no idea if he actually ever was a boxer, but it just seems right to make things up like this about him). When you watch his noggin' talk on tv, you see him bob and weave and flinch and jab, sentences are hits, and … paragraphs, when they come, are combination take-downs. He is not a showy pontificator like our Brooklyn boy at the top of the piece. He has wins, not whims.
On the other side is Eric Fehrnstrom. It's not just that he seems very nice. He probably is very nice. (Wow, damning). Eric takes the Mitt Romney message, and it is a message, one message, 'the economy is bad, the economy is bad, did I mention the economy is bad' to the public peacefully, and with a hint of sorrow. You can tell it's a strategy. Even though Obama's sitting in a sink-hole of economic sewage, he's still popular – enough. So Eric and the Romney campaign want you to know, it's ok to fire this guy; it might even be the 'nice' thing to do. Which jockey to bet on? One is tough, one is nice, but they both are very mean.
Mike Tyler is a celebrated post-beat poet who has been covered over the years everywhere from The Times to Wired. He is releasing his debut UK album, Erection, on August 20th via The Art Can Not Be Damaged.