Down the road in the Alaska Superior Court this morning, Republican lawyers are up on their hind legs making a last ditch plea to try and stop glaciergate/troopergate subpoenas. Since the subpoenas were issued by a legislative subcommittee, I can’t even begin to understand the basis of law off which they’re working, but nor can anyone else, even the lawyers.

The parties are spread out across the tables at opposite ends of the Snow City Cafe, the standard issue funky cafe that I suspect is airdropped into remote cities everywhere, and just folds open with instant gaggia machines, riotggrrl waitresses and noticeboards advertising spoken word gigs and vacancies for bass guitarists.

“This is nothing isn’t it,” I asked one guy in the coffee queue.

“Off the record … this is nothing.”

“I guess I should ask one of the Republicans.”

He looked tired.

“I am one of the Republicans.”

Someone showed me the court calendar. Apprehended violence order, apprehended violence order, opposed custody agreement, sexual assault deposition, apprehended violence order, ex parte injunction against special investigator, apprehended violence order…

Funny, I don’t remember drunken gang rapes in Northern Exposure. Must have missed that episode…

This is a place which proudly advertises itself as nowhere. It’s three days into the world financial meltdown and it still hasn’t hit the last frontier, cushioned as it is by last week’s cheques.

“Is that a dividend tip,” a waitress said across the counter.

“No I want some of the twenty back.”

Flying out today, all my exciting Woodward-Bernstein leads eaten up by the New York Times, who have three reporters and two stringers here, and are set for the long haul, renting apartments, or so the gossip has it.

Would like to stay and not only because the beauty is so eerie that you could almost believe — along with Sarah Palin’s loopy church — that Alaska is the promised land, the last place on earth, the redoubt for Christians during the seven years of struggle with the dark angel…

But also because here it’s slightly easier to ignore the stunning, endless, utter ineptitude of the Obama campaign, their determination to lose under any circumstances.

Consider: the damn financial system is crashing and crashing because of the deregulation of it put in place by, among others, Phil Gramm, John McCain’s economic advisor. McCain says the fundamentals of the economy is sound, that $5 million-plus is rich, that he doesn’t know how many houses he owns, his advisor says the recession is a “mental’ one, another advisor, Carly Fiorina, says Sarah Palin isn’t fit to run a company (and only later adds McCain and Obama to that list)…

…and still Obama is getting no traction on the issue. And McCain, bloody McCain is, for all his stumbles, adding to his image as a maverick, a “trustbuster” who’s going to make trouble for the “fat cats” on his own side.

“This has got to be good for Obama,” says Brit Hume on Fox News.

“Yes but the Democrats should be streets ahead,” says a commentator, “and they aren’t.”

Damn right. McCain comes on like gangbusters and spits bullets about sticking it to the greedy Wall Street types who are betraying the honest American worker and hell I want to vote for him, he sounds like the type of guy who can sort this out.

Obama comes on and whines about John McCain, and throws some nine syllable words around about a “failure of regulatory oversight”.

How has this come about? Simple. From day one the Obama campaign has refused to attack the Republicans for one very central failing — that they’re Republicans. That they represent the rich. That they have impoverished large sections of middle America. That there is such a thing as class.

Why did they fail to do this? Because of the same failed, stupid advice by the loser political professionals that sit at the centre of the Democratic party like heart cancer, working overtime devising new ways to lose without honour.

Their thought has always been that American politics will not bear class warfare, that you have to talk in the language of false univeralism — we’re all in this together, we’ve got to find consensus. To quote Kirk Douglas from Billy Wilder’s great satire The Big Carnival:  “We’re not all in the same boat — I’m in the boat, you’re in the water.”

Because the Democrats left a vacuum where a populist class politics should be, John McCain is moving into that space, marshalling a right populism last associated with Teddy Roosevelt.

And he is getting away with it! He is frikkin getting away with it!

He has more lobbyists in his campaign than… than a very big lobby full of people… and he’s getting away with it!

I give up.

Really, it’s a retroactive judgment on Obama. I’d always assumed that he would shift out of the “hope change love all serve all” rhetoric after the primaries, but that hasn’t happened. There is something vacant, absent about Obama, some sort of lack of understanding about what is required — in terms of message, in terms of soundbites, in terms of sheer fight.

Hell, what would Hillary be making of this? McCain and the Republicans would be sashimi.

Of course the Democrats may still win. Godhelpus that would almost be worse. Staggering along with the same crap crowd, scraping in by one state where they should be clear by 10…

If they lose of course they will blame Nader.

The way things are running, these subpoenas will be overturned, and Palin will be home free on glaciergate/troopergate.

I have had no luck in having this scandal renamed. Approaching an aide to Tony McAllister, Palin’s governmental press secretary, I outlined the “glaciergate” case. He had time to listen cos hes got f-all else to do — the McCain campaign have cut Palin’s Alaska staff out of all media management.

“Pal,” he drawled, “we’d do it if anyone listened to a thing we said.”

3pm rain slanting sideways outside. Winter is coming, but first there is fall.

Peter Fray

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