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ISSUE #110
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Features

ArrowThe 10 Most Ridiculous Things about the Midterm Elections
Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Worst Show on Television
An election night diary
Matt Taibbi

ArrowFEELINÊ HAGGARD
Forget the gay hooker; was Pastor Ted a tweaker?
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowCrush, Kill, Destroy
Screw bipartisanship; it’s time for revenge.
Allan Uthman

Local BEAST

ArrowCult Classic
Pseudoscience and Psychedelics in the Church of Scientology
Ian Murphy

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Terrorist Emboldener

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Borat, Saw III, Flags of Our Fathers, The Santa Clause 3

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Tool Box, Another Einstein Weighs In, Army Ad's Still Got It, A Real American Hero and more

The Worst Show on Television
TVAn election night diary
Matt Taibbi

When I woke up in my hotel in Pittsburgh the morning after the elections there was a yellow legal pad and a Pittsburgh Pirates novelty pen ($4.95 in the Sheraton gift shop) splayed on the bedspread, the pad containing about nine pages of single-spaced notes. The night before, after coming home from Rick Santorum's concession speech downtown, I'd flopped in bed, popped a sleeping pill and started frantically taking notes from the various cable-news election spectaculars.

There is a lot of garbage and nonsense in these notes (i.e. "10:47 p.m. Chris Matthews' mouth always looks like it just had a cock in it/something about the way he moves his lips/creepy") but on the whole it is a fairly accurate representation of the long arc of depression I followed before finally falling asleep late in the morning:

10:25 p.m. CNN showing Joe Lieberman's victory speech. Lieberman bearing leprechaunish grin, thanking everyone on planet earth. "And I thank," he shouts, "the firefighters of the state of Connecticut!" Lieberman looks at firefighters in room and smiles, like he really likes firefighters. Then he looks back at the camera triumphantly with a look that says it all -- "Nice try, you fuckers! Get ready for six more years of ME!"

After that Lieberman starts blathering about his "Lieber leaders," drawing more cheers; he does the closed-fist/thumbs-up thing at the word "Lieber." Three years ago in New Hampshire, it was "Liebermaniacs." What's next? "Lieber-holes?" "Lieber peepers?" Worse? And I want to thank all the Lieberfuckers in the audience tonight, without whom this wonderful victory for all our Connecticut citizens would not have been possible...

To me, this ruins the whole evening. I can't see any way to describe any day in which Joe Lieberman wins an election as a good day, but here's the good news: Six years from now, both the Republicans and the Democrats will run serious candidates, and Joe Lieberman will be scrambling for the last eleven percent of Connecticut's half-in-the-grave vote, running on a ticket of "the terrorists support both of my opponents." It'll be worth staying in journalism just for that.

There's a strange footnote to the Lieberman coverage; on virtually all of the networks, both Lieberman and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are listed in the Democrat column in the Senate, and all discussions about the balance of power in the Senate count both men on the blue side, even though both are independents and the real count is 49-49-2. Lieberman, though he considers himself a Democrat, is ideologically distant enough to have had to run against a centrist millionaire Democrat in the general election. And Sanders, though he won the Democratic nomination, is a true independent, beholden to neither party and much closer to Ron Paul than Rahm Emmanuel. I get the sense two things are at work here: Lieberman is being rehabilitated as a Democrat in the media, and the "socialist" background of Bernie Sanders is being kept under the rug a little bit.

This is too bad because the Sanders Senate win was one of the few truly interesting and novel things that happened on this election night -- probably the farthest advance up the face of the two-party mountain we've had in the last fifty years or so. Sanders proved that it is possible to win a major office in this country without having to make a deal with the usual financial interests who control the two parties. True, he did so in a tiny state, on the strength of genuinely anomalous name-recognition numbers and something very close to a personal relationship with every voter in the state, but it was a major win all the same. But for the sake of narrative consistency both the networks and the Democrats are happy having Sanders in their column for tonight, anyway. I'll be interested to see how fast they throw him overboard once Bill O'Reilly does his first show about Vermont's Communist senator.

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