Undebatably Yours, Revisited
Okay, okay, mea culpa. My most recent assessment, after the Democratic candidates' debate earlier this week, was to leave it at that. The Democrats had their say. I already know to the point of nausea where the republi-CONS stand, so why bother suffering through another round of them extolling misplaced macho and the seventh century A.D.? Then again, America loves a trainwreck (why else would many of us have put up with George W. Bush for this long?), and I'm not against looking as I pass one. After all, these ARE the Quagmire Kids. So let's just jump in with 'em head-first and get sucked down into oblivion together, shall we?
Some impressions: I think the Flat-Earth Society members must have noticed the uncomfortable reaction to their stated rejection of evolution, and tried like hell to dance away from that strident blunder and back into present-day reality's arms. All of a sudden, it was Reverend Huckabee trying to reach out (presumably to us heathens) and back off a little, waxing almost poetic, certainly trying to be thoughtful and measured, even circumspect - about science versus God. And here came Tancredo, and Brownback, and eventually most of the others, trying to sound reasonable and broad-minded, even while pounding away on God, God, God, God, and more God. As a result, I remained wary and alienated by it. As mild-mannered as they tried to appear, I still detected a "yes, but" undercurrent, that signaled these gents' acceptance of differing opinions on church-versus-state, just so long as those opinions thoughtfully matched the candidates' course. Let us differ on how this impacts public policy matters and they'd probably be tempted to burn someone like me at the stake.
Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, life-long Catholic here. I was born into Catholicism and still embrace much of it, even if I disagree with some of the man-made spin. I just have a galaxy-sized problem with the idea of a bunch of politicians telling me about religion, and how much of theirs will feed into what they'd do as civilian, secular leaders. If they want to shed their laity status and join the priesthood, fine. Then they can tell me all about religion. Frankly, I'd suggest they go Protestant or Jewish rather than Catholic, so they can still have sex, wives, kids, and property of their own.
It made me wonder if that's why Tancredo actually stuck his neck out far enough to state categorically that he'd tell the soon-to-be-plain citizen George W. Bush not to darken his door - as Karl Rove once ostracised him. Was that an attempt, however off-the-mark, to reach out to moderates and independents - or even (GASP!) liberals? And was the Devil strapping on ice skates? I was actually agreeing with Tom Tancredo on something. Perhaps it was born of a personal slight. Whatever. At least he saw that much of our national calamity clearly, or at least claimed as much.
The response about keeping Bush around after January 2009 to help fire up young people and other nations, speaking of honesty and commitment -- all hail the laugh line of the night! Let me guess -- they're talking Orwell, not Bush, here. Honesty? Junior? Good grief. What planet is this, anyway? Those who were willing to two-step around that one seemed to think Bush would be okay to keep nearby. Maybe what they meant was actually a version of that old addage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. Those not holding their nose to avoid Dubya's stench might do well to check with the rest of the world, expanding numbers of the voters at large here, and even regularly increasing handfuls of their own conservative base - who are realistically facing, and embracing a serious case of buyers' remorse. YOU take him, guys. Don't mind the rest of us - who are breaking land speed records running as far away from him as we can. But then don't sell us voters on embracing Bush when you're president, and then bemoan how your party has strayed from its "core principles" of low spending, small government, and individual freedoms. EVERY ONE OF THOSE ideals has been turned on its ear by the would-be dictator who's turning most of you GOP hopefuls politically schitzo.
It was reassuring to see how many good, close friends John McCain has. Even if they're attacking him on immigration and marrying him to Ted Kennedy (I thought they all hated gay marriage), he still cherishes them. That's nice. Very generous. Very generous of him to acknowledge that native American tribes in his state use their own language. Give him the generosity prize of the night. Except, of course, when it comes to the time left to individual soldiers he'd have marooned in Iraq until that God he talked about so much knows when. Or how their medical or psychiatric or housing or aging or family needs would be met after they finally come home - in whichever future decade that may occur.
They all still love that war, don't they? They all think it was still the so-called right thing to do. Aha! Maybe THAT'S it! They're taking the word "right," the word whose meaning they've thoroughly perverted, and using it here to mean "reactionary," or "stubborn," or "closed-minded." Or maybe "right" to them means entitlement. THEIR version of entitlement. These republi-CONS earnestly insist that entitlement programs are bad. But the World's Biggest Entitlement Program is sheer, bedrock, GOP life-blood. The World's Biggest Entitlement Program is that in which republi-CONS regard the White House as THEIRS and THEIRS ALONE. The power, be it on Capitol Hill, the Oval Office, Wall Street or wherever else most of the money and privilege and elitism is - belongs to THEM, either by Divine Right or the Royal We or just because they're owed or simply because they think they're better. They alone deserve to hold the presidency again and again and again. Same with the majorities in both Houses of Congress. And they call us Democrats elitists.
I was fairly distressed to hear Romney detail the building of his own version of what happened in Iraq based on wholecloth and not reality. On the other hand, I was once again not nearly as bewildered by some of what came out of Ron Paul's mouth. Now, honestly, what on earth was he doing up on that stage with that bunch? It was hardly the venue allowing for serious questioning of that epic foreign policy blunder and every malevolent motivation for it. I was amused by the many conservatives who insisted they can fit conservation in there somewhere, too. I was not surprised to hear another round of The Resurrection of Ronald Reagan. Nor was I startled to hear EVERY republi-CON's best friend (not just McCain's) - the trusty ol' September 11th - hauled out a few more times. This is, let's not forget, the GOP, with Mr. 9/11 himself, Rudy Giuliani, sitting in the subliminal front-runner seat smack-dab in the middle (where he can hardly be, politically). Psst - Rudy, uh, that's where they positioned the dreaded and severely-threatening Hillary Clinton a mere two nights earlier.
And there's old reliable Duncan "MY wall's BIGGER" Hunter, daring to hypothecize how a tactical nuclear strike would be an option against Iran. Are you SURE you want to speak about opening that Pandora's Box, Congressman? Maybe it's not just the size of his wall that's an "issue" here. After all, we've now got Vladimir Putin accusing us of stirring up a new Cold War because of the way we're playing In-Yer-Face in Eastern Europe. Exactly how high DO you want to up the ante, Duncan darling? How much DO you intend to stuff in that codpiece? Unfortunately, we're back to what seems to be an inevitability with these guys: reducing most of this discussion the size of their muscles-er-missiles. I guess it's just really THAT important to them - the testosterone thing. My, how well that's working out for us so far in Iraq. I always found that those who tend to swagger around most noticeably about it are frequently those endowed with the least to boast about. I'm reminded of that book entitled "Everything I learned About Life, I Learned in Kindergarten." Seems to me that most of these boys on the republi-CON debate stage never really got OUT of kindergarten.
One of the other extremely revealing segments involved a question about pardoning Cheney office felon Scooter Libby (the guy who still unapologetically clings to his kindergarten-era nickname). A rare few of the GOP hopefuls indicated they would not pardon Libby. But the rest were clear that they would. Oh, they'd do the "reasoned, unextremist" thing and read the transcripts first. But shockingly, at least two of them vehemently suggested there was no crime committed here? And these are the people from the "law and order" party? Okay, maybe they're now drinking what Mitt Romney puts on his hair every morning. Obstruction of justice and perjury are not crimes? If indeed they're not, perhaps these august gentlemen would then agree to apply that same standard to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and modify that outcome accordingly.
Just as we were reminded repeatedly by Bill Richardson that he is the Governor of New Mexico, former governor Tommy Thompson assured us that HE is the Thompson you want, not that other guy who hasn't jumped in yet. Tommy! Can you hear me? Don't give that other guy free advertising! Think of all those voters who won't be able to differentiate between you on primary day. Another former governor, Jim Gilmore, actually introduced us to an entirely new candidate besides the population explosion we already have on that side of the aisle. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Rudy McRomneyson! Wonder how many different sides of the same issues he'll be taking?
The winner, I'd say, was the panel of Democrats that preceeded these strutting, overstuffed, Trojan-Horse holier-than-thous by a couple of days. You know - the group that on its very face looks a lot more like America (with a woman, a Black, and a Hispanic in the club, plus a guy making poverty a central issue of his campaign) than this particular Tuesday Night bunch could ever hope to do. The group that seems more grounded in reality, overall (21st Century reality at that), and in the genuinely Christian ideals of tolerance, peace-making, and the needs of the have-nots than this free-market piracy profiteers' collective would stoop even to consider. The Dems' debate was the one scheduled in the late hours of the Lord's Day, interestingly enough. God didn't strike any of them dead. Indeed, it's worth noting that none of the Democrats' microphones got zapped from above during their presentation. You don't suppose that's an omen, do you?
Then go DO something about it.