Halloween

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-- Ed Kilgore's comprehensive guide to the 2010 elections. -- A flashback to midterm predictions past. -- David Frum explains how gays created halloween

Well, it wasn’t exactly must-see TV--which was probably good news for both of the women involved as they work to rebuild (a public image in one case, ratings in the other). There was no Tom Cruise-esque couch-jumping moment. No one wept or cursed or called anyone an ignorant slut. Both gals were unfailingly polite. Oprah was gentle with her poking and prodding. Palin neither embarrassed herself nor went after Oprah with a Bowie Knife, exceeding the extremely low expectations that only somewhat justifiably plague her. Overall, I thought the in-studio bits weren’t particularly compelling.

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It was Halloween 2001, and Kennesaw State freshman Nick Ayers was sitting anxiously in an Atlanta airplane hangar. A friend had recommended him for a campaign position with Republican state senator Sonny Perdue, who was mounting a long-shot gubernatorial run against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. The portly, middle-aged politician disembarked his Bellanca Super Viking and, as Ayers recounts the story, walked down the stairs holding a lid-less cup of coffee. Eager to make a good first impression, the nervous blonde teenager extended his hand for a firm shake.

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Randall Terry is clearly full of it when he says his ghastly "Burn In Hell" contest, which invites Halloween revelers to submit videos of themselves burning effigies of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, aims to help frustrated Americans "peacefully vent their rage." Terry's goal has always been to pour gasoline on the frustrations of the pro-life populace until it is hot enough to burn down the entire nation in God's name. He needs their rage like Fox News needs GOP press releases.

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COLUMBUS, OHIO--Less than a week before Election Day, the buzz in Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s office is about a Halloween mask. On Thursday morning, The Other Paper, a local news and entertainment weekly, had published a cover plastered with a picture of Brunner’s face, complete with dotted lines where readers could cut it out to wear for the holiday.

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Just a quick thought about that Obama "Saturday Night Live" appearance you've no doubt seen by now. The obvious punchline is that Obama is comfortable enough in his own skin to show up to a Halloween party as himself, as opposed to Hillary, who is constantly rooting around for a winning persona. "I'm not going to change who I am just because it's Halloween," Obama says. But there's another interpretation of the sketch that's less flattering to Obama: That he's so self-absorbed it didn't occur to him to come as anyone other than himself.

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When exactly did Halloween become a primary focus of America's psychosexual anxiety? As Andrew briefly noted over at the Dish, some gals are troubled by the complicated sexual politics of costumage. Moms and dads, meanwhile, are freaked out by the trend toward increasingly trampy kids' costumes. Best of all, every few months I seem to run across some article disapprovingly citing Halloween as Exhibit A in the trend of Baby Boomers' refusal to grow up.

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Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition by Stansfield Turner (Houghton Mifein, 304 pp., $16.95)  "Arrogant, insensitive, absurd ideas … [he] has ruined the place. …" That was the common run of rightward Washington comment on Stansfield Turner as director of Central Intelligence by the end of 1977, his first year in office. By then Jimmy Carter no longer maintained his deceptive pretension to bi-Pauline balance.

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