When the chips are down and all the prayers to God to win the election and protect you from witchcraft haven't worked, everyone knows it's time to call in the big guns: the forces of evil. And, if they're too busy helping the Axis of Evil get nukes and shit, well, then you can always call in the forces of pettiness and covert racism, as they've been helpful in many an election here in the States. But Swampland 's Ana Marie Cox and I will insist on, at a minimum, throwing rhetorical spitballs at the hordes and making assfucking jokes as the sky is falling, so there's that, at least... after the jump.ANA MARIE : Greetings from Milwaukee's FINEST hotel. MEGAN : You're at a Marriott, aren't you. ANA MARIE : But you know, I had to wait, like 90 minutes for my luggage last night. I didn't get a king size bed! There is no creamer in my in room coffee! WIRE COAT HANGERS!!!! Actually, we're at "The Pfister," which has led to many attempts at humor from the traveling press corps. Personal favorite? "Pfister? I hardly knew her." (Hi, Sasha!) MEGAN : See, I prefer wire coat hangers to the kind that don't come off the rod, which it's just like: really? I'm going to steal a hanger? Fuck you. ANA MARIE : Actually, the coat hangers are fine. And there's a robe. That was all a rather extended segue into Alex Balk's rather awesome rant about a certain campaign journalist's peak at "how the other half lives." That someone would — apparently unself-consciously — use the title of a book about the lives of the desperately poor to describe the life of a pampered campaign journalist is... gosh, the word "ironic" is overused, huh I admit: I have complained about such things as HAVING TO GET UP EARLY. Or WAITING IN LINE. MEGAN : Not that I like mornings. Or other people in my way. ANA MARIE : Totally! It sucks! MEGAN : Or pretty much anything before coffee. ANA MARIE : But you know what? I am staying in Milwaukee's finest hotel. And I'm not being sarcastic. MEGAN : I used to work for a Milwaukee-based company. It's really not a bad town. It's way better than Lansing. Plus, you really can get cheese with pretty much everything you'll eat there. ANA MARIE : But to anyone complaining in public and unironically about pretty much anything inconvenient about life on the trail gets one response from me: I bet they deliver the luggage right on time in Baghdad, asshole. Seriously: More journalists have died covering that illegal war than any other international conflict. So if you are unsatisfied with the food in the file center, I am sorry. And this is just staying in the realm of "other bad jobs IN JOURNALISM you could have." If we went in the direction of "thankful for having a job at all" I could get a little angrier. Oh, and I've just made a discovery! Outrage is as good a pick-me-up as coffee. MEGAN : Yeah, asshole, come blog with me! My couch can totally fit two people and I guarantee you won't have trouble finding your bags because my apartment is small. Also, I mean, like, has that guy not traveled other than for work? My sister went on her honeymoon and the airlines lost her luggage for two days. ANA MARIE : Oh, and did I say "other bad jobs in journalism"? I meant "other jobs you could have in journalism which is rapidly shrinking pool thanks to the ever growing trend of treating news as entertainment and otherwise not putting any money at all into actual investigative reporting but instead spending $50k a month to keep you on the trail covering Barack Obama from the confines of a slightly off-smelling CHARTER PLANE." MEGAN : He should be thankful it's not a bus. ANA MARIE : A bus that people the color of certain presidential candidates used to sit at the back of. I suppose we should move along. But if I see Dean Reynolds today, I will ask him if he slept well on the pillow top beds here at the Pfister. MEGAN : Why, so we can state obvious things like McCain's mortgage buyout plan will cost taxpayers money ? Let alone make the government the entity responsible for foreclosing on people? ANA MARIE : Oh god. Well the good thing about McCain's plan is that it depends on him being elected president. MEGAN : But he's that one with the stones to bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran which we're obviously going to need to do. ANA MARIE : Well I was worried we'd look silly going bankrupt as a nation spending on only two wars. Three? That makes us look like at least we have a reason. MEGAN : Well, if we actually gave a shit about nuclear proliferation we might have had 4, but since it's all about posturing and hating on those of the Islamic faith, we might keep it to 3. ANA MARIE : (Side note: apparently outrage+hangover is a worse combination than coffee+hangover because I'm kind of nauseous!) MEGAN : Not including Pakistan, of course, we would never attack Pakistan, what with its stable and Democratic government run by a kleptocrat with little intention of hurting his personal access to power and money by reining in Taliban and al Qaeda insurgents on the borders that are attacking American troops in Afghanistan. There, well, that's a time for diplomacy. ANA MARIE : But Megan, they're all BROWN (ish)! Can't add NoKo to the list just based on that? Well, Pakistan is a failed state. MEGAN : It totally was (not) when Musharraf, our Great Ally, took it over in a political coup. ANA MARIE : I am too hungover to even roll my eyes. MEGAN : Also, do you think anyone in our foreign policy establishment has looked around and gone, hmmm. Maybe the reason countries like Iran want nukes is because when countries like Pakistan get them —regardless of their politics or warlike nature — America starts teabagging their leaders? ANA MARIE : (And drinks last night were, of course, bought on the tabs of various major news organizations. BUT THEY DID NOT HAVE BASIL HAYDEN AT THE BAR, so I'm pissed.) Or, you know, countries like Iran want nukes because we have them? MEGAN : My hangover is brought to you courtesy of a $9 bottle of Greg Norman Syrah bought at the grocery store. My outrage is from 2 years of a foreign policy Masters program. ANA MARIE : I love Greg Norman wines! I had some GN chard on Tuesday. At the PF Changs in Nashville. Where dinner was courtesy of a nice Secret Service agent. BUT THEN IT RAINED. FUCK YOU, UNIVERSE. MEGAN : Well, it was after Labor Day, presumably you weren't wearing white. ANA MARIE : I haven't worn white since my thighs grew to their current size. MEGAN : Best headline to a boring story we'll get all day: "Todd Palin had unusual access to wife's staff." ANA MARIE : His wife has a staff? I thought we only made transgender jokes about Hillary! Yay, progress! MEGAN : Also, I guess we now know what kind of kicky sex she was with "Driller" who I think the Secret Service probably should have dubbed "Drillee" if this is true. ANA MARIE : I'm just glad women in power no longer have to be kind of butch in order to have people suspect they have a penis. MEGAN : Well, they are pretty easy to buy these days, except in Mississippi. ANA MARIE : And Scalia is so pissed about that. I see Hannity re-upped with Fox . So, you know, the nation is safe. In the sense that Colbert will not be cancelled for the next whatevermany years. MEGAN : I think Scalia is pissed at the proliferation of sex toys because he blames them for not getting any ass. When, really, even lacking a sex toy, I would not ever have fucked Scalia. I don't think I'm alone in this. ANA MARIE : Okay, I have met Scalia and I found him charming. But I also — in my single days — was not a stranger to sex with guys that made me hate myself. (Thank you Chris for saving me from that!) MEGAN : You know, I actually thought about it and there's not anyone I hate myself for fucking. But I am also really egotistical, so it might have just not made a dent. ANA MARIE : I actually argued with Scalia about partial birth abortion. At a party. MEGAN : And? Did he argue back? ANA MARIE : He basically tolerated my and my friend's drunken ranting with good humor. When he probably could of had us arrested. Or killed. Quick side note: I was once telling this story the daughter of one of our major presidential nominees and she asked, "Who's Scalia?" MEGAN : Ok, but, I mean, it's not really fair to ask Malia to know these things. ANA MARIE : Hint: this daughter had skin that could not in any way be described as "dusky." To be fair, Malia was really articulate when she defended the Kelo decision. MEGAN : Anyway, should we discuss the new Ayers ads ? ANA MARIE : Christ. Here's the thing — and I know you might/will definitely disagree — what's weird about the Ayers shit is that, of all the things you could use to draw Obama's judgment into question, the best you can come up with is Ayers? Serious? Because I honestly think the 20 years he spent in Jeremiah Wright's church is a more interesting question. I ultimately don't think it changes my mind about voting for the guy, but it's a more interesting question. MEGAN : Well, I mean, I don't disagree with you that there are better rational things but I think the Ayers think allows McCain's campaign to repeat the word "terrorist" over and over again and you know people ain't thinking some white college professor dude. ANA MARIE : Yeah. Tho I don't think McCain actually focus-grouped that. Then again, he didn't have to. MEGAN : It's like a twofer. It's hard for people to articulate why it's racist and wrong and it engenders the responses you want. ANA MARIE : And the really funny thing? I don't think anyone on the campaign actually put any thought into that strategy. It just sort of happened! Like casual racism everywhere. MEGAN : I don't know, this is the team of political strategists that gave McCain a black baby 8 years ago. I don't think it's unintentional. Because, like you said, the Wright thing is more interesting and complex. And, God knows, McCain's got his own bad associates , so it's not like they're doing Ayers to avoid getting into Palin's religion either. ANA MARIE : You're going to make me link to my article about how Steve Schmidt is not a "Rove protege" again, aren't you? MEGAN : You can, but I wasn't necessarily talking about Steve Schmidt, either. The Bush 2000 team pre-dates Schmidt. ANA MARIE : Interestingly, most of the Bush 2000 team is actually working for Palin. MEGAN : Who is, naturally, the person out there hitting on Ayers the hardest. ANA MARIE : Yes, that is suggestive. And not in a good way! (Unlike, say, the idea of Palin's "staff".) MEGAN : It's just another wink and a nod from Bible Spice. ANA MARIE : Can we use that metaphor from now on, instead of "dog whistle"? Which is insulting to dogs. MEGAN : Yeah, it's really unfair to compare dogs to racists. ANA MARIE : Someone last night caught me watching Top Model on the plane and (there is a connection here) I had to explain that after a long day of covering an increasingly ugly race, pretty much the only things that help me unwind are really bad reality television shows and pictures of adorable animals. MEGAN : I watched Project Runway , but, in the end, I wish I'd just stuck to Rachel Maddow. ANA MARIE : NO DO NOT TELL ME SPOILER ALERT ::HANDS OVER EARS:: LALALALALALA MEGAN : Ana, I hate to tell you, there is no Santa Claus. ANA MARIE : I am bitter and cling to my belief in a gun-toting Easter Bunny.