Working off the fabulous Crikey expense account means you stay in a lot of cheap hotels, and they’re often as not old 60s or 70s joints, slated for the wrecking ball so long as no-one’s bothered to renovate them like forever. The Best Western Normandy, a weird place in a weird city, is just such an establishment — a cavernous mock-Tudor joint sprawling over a whole block, with a pinging two-person elevator, and a grill-bar of polished wood floor to ceiling. Muzak plays throughout, and the carpet is shades of light brown with a turquoise fleck.

Soon it will go, to be replaced by another gleaming glass tower, connected to all the other gleaming glass towers by Minneapolis’s “skyline” system, a set of 60 or so interconnected walkways between buildings. You can get around a whole 40 block area of the city without ever touching ground. It’s like the future, if we were in 1960, and the future was 1965. Minneapolis is a city which combines the Scandinavian appetite for great design with the American appetite to knock everything down, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad but it’s a hell of a distinctive place.

The whole Twin Cities thing is a freak out too. It’s like across the river/harbour at Williamstown/Manly, there was a whole other city, with its own skyscrapers, newspaper, police force, city hall, local identities — and yet you didn’t go there from six months to the next. Not really equal either. Minneapolis is gleaming, thrusting, new, St Paul is like the place where it stored all its old crap, Minnesota’s garage, and both places could have been laid out by David Lynch.

I’m telling you all this because I don’t want to think about the election.

The Democrats are screwing it up. Totally. Utterly. Everything they do is wrong. My inbox fills with press releases on whether Palin did/did not back the bridge to nowhere, what she knew, what she didn’t etc, etc.

Obama says he won’t talk about her and then on film there he is talking about her.


Obama’s whole style, the tentative thoughtful professor, pausing between phrases, pisses me off and stacks up badly against the Republicans’ attack dog mode.

THREAD THREE: Bob Woodward on Larry King at the moment, spruiking his new book The War Within, the most explosive revelation being that Maliki was spied on by the US throughout — duh. Woodward says what’s been obvious for months: “this is a war that’s not over”.

Obama should have been saying that on Iraq for six months — the surge is a furphy. As soon as there’s a draw-down of troops, insurgents will flood back into Iraq from the Pakistani badlands, and it’s all on again. The Sunnis will never accept a “democracy” that makes it numerically impossible for them to have a stake. The whole 30-year oil deal was the sort of oil theft that gave the Baath party such support in the first place. In five years time, whoever wins, we will be reading about casualties in Iraq …

Simple proposition: the campaign slogan should be “Attention: Sarah Palin is a Republican”. Still, this utter failure to attack the Republicans as a part of the rich and privileged.

Spend six hours watching the cable news networks and the overwhelming impression is that the people the Dems put up are hopeless. They want to talk reasonably about the issues, they want to be fair, they want to singlehandedly reform the soundbite culture of the American media.

So the right slices em up like sashimi. Every time.

Obama’s team are all ex-Kerry people. They should have been taken out behind the shed and shot in 05.

That is only half figurative.

These maggots attach themselves to a big party like the Democrats in college, and play parasite to its host. Winning or losing an actual election is secondary. The key thing for them is to prosper within the belly of the Democrat leviathan. Thirty years of losing campaigns, then you pass on to a high party position, then to an academic sinecure. Your object first, last and always is simply to maintain your position within the left-liberal shadow-state. Elections? A distant echo. The real fight is over who’s got a 3-2 vote in the credentials subcommittee of the rules committee of etc, etc

Lot of strange old pubs in Minneapolis — pub diners, another Scandinavian thing, never drink without food. Jag alskar Sverige men det ar en land mycket svart att forsoka, I don’t want any emails about missing umlauts.

Advice on syntax I will accept.

Giant neon steaks above the door of each pub, glowing pink.

Woodward on Larry King: “there is a secret scheme that was employed in the Iraq war that I cannot talk about …”

Wow … tapes of Bush speaking to Woodward being played … “one of my failures has been to change the tone in Washington to harsh rhetoric” … Bush sounding like the intelligent thoughtful man which some said he was as Governor of Texas … amazing…

McCain-Palin cleaning Obama et al’s clock — we’re mavericks, we’re the rebels, we’re promising change. They have taken every initiative from Obama and Obama let them because his deadsh-t advisors told him the same thing, don’t offend the middle ground, don’t talk about wealth, don’t talk about class, don’t attack. But, remember Marshal Foch: the best defence — attaquez, attaquez, attaquez!

Out into the Minneapolis night, the pedestrian skyways gleaming diamond blue in the dark. There are at least two dozen American states that are separate countries, entire of themselves, with their own myths, histories, cultures. How much happier would the world have been in the last half century if Africa had been one country and the US 30?

Anderson Cooper on now, a man created by gay scientists in underground gay laboratories … back on Palin’s “earmarks”. Wrong approach, wrong approach. She’s a Republican. Every policy they originate hates workers, the middle class, average voters.

God oh God, the Democratic party … a crumbling mock Tudor motel, awaiting demolition.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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