All the kiddies are saying they want CHANGE. Of course,
there's nothing new under the sun, and the would-be agents of change
usually trying to turn the clock back to a time they liked better. For
example, this site has already had occasion to warn you about the
nature of the change promised by the Hillary campaign when it was still
high and not in fear of Obama. Part of Hillary's fall from grace is no
doubt due to the large number of people who still remember the
so-called "Golden Age" of the Clintons. Thus, the Democrat electorate
has decided to look even further back in time -- to the Seventies --
which are being recreated for us at frightening speed by the power of
No, dears, it's not just the
cyclical nature of world events. It's the fulfillment of a deep
subconscious yearning of long standing by the Democrat power structure.
They're obsessed with returning to the days before the Reagan
Revolution, when they owned the presidency and overwhelming control of both
houses of Congress. The last time that state of affairs existed was in
the Carter administration. Note how many current circumstances reflect
the conditions that were either immediate precursors of Carter's
election or concomitant with his presidency:
1. The rash, irrational, and self-destructive determination by a
head-in-the-sand Democrat Congress to defund a vulnerable ally we had
spent much military blood and treasure supporting as part of a global
foreign policy strategy. (THEN: S. Vietnam; NOW: Iraq.)
The Fall of Saigon. The Pelosi/Obama
Vision of Departing the Green Zone.
2. The refusal to deal with a crisis in energy supplies -- and
consequent runaway pricing -- by authorizing more nuclear plants and
freeing the hated oil companies to develop new domestic sources of
petroleum and more domestic refinery capacity. (THEN: The preferred
socialist solution, a "windfall profits tax" that raised gas prices
higher while all nuclear plant projects were stopped in their tracks.
NOW: The preferred solution, a windfall profits tax that will raise gas prices even higher
while still prohibiting domestic drilling, refinery expansion, and new
nuclear plants in favor of the food-destroying ethanol boondoggle
and various windmill/solar/hydrogen/Learjets-for-the-rich "alternative"
approaches that will punish the poor for the purpose of "saving" a
planet which is more-or-less impervious to our existence.)
GAS LINES. A good thing we ousted the Shah and ushered in the age of Ayatollah
Khomeini and a far more stable & devout muslim leadership
Everything's been so much cooler ever since, right?
we were taught to think of it. Of course, nobody took a big toothy bite out of the cooling
tower and nobody died. Except for the American troops who
have had to keep the mideast oil flowing to electrify your
3. A Democrat "change strategy" for the future based on lowered
expectations, draconian dis-incentives for consumption and economic
growth, and a concerted effort to blame the capitalist system and
ordinary Americans for the leadership's impoverished vision of the
future. (THEN: Carter's "malaise" speech. "NOW: Obama's "we can't eat
all we want" speech.)
Yes, we really can have it all back again -- the whole
liberating idea that what really REALLY sucks isn't
the Democrat in charge but US. READY, SET, GO...
Change is gonna be
so goddam great, ain't it?
4. A weak economy created by Democrat
market interventions and
non-productive tax-the-rich schemes in the name of "social justice,"
whose destructive effects are nevertheless blamed on everyone and
everything but socialist Dem policies. (THEN: the inflationary effect
of ballooning Democrat entitlements cut loose from government budgeting
authority -- Medicare, Medicaid, and a raft of "Great Society" giveaway
programs. NOW: The collapse of the housing market and real estate
equity created by Democrat programs designed to pressure private
lenders into writing mortgages for people who couldn't qualify for
them, plus the reckless insistence on adding still another socialistic
and ungovernable entitlement, "Universal Health Care.")
Index. Just gotta love those Carter Seventies. Of course, we've
done what Wikipedia won't do: highlight
the later rather than the
higher or average index number.
5. A de facto -- and grossly hypocritical -- "Two Americas" approach
for transferring the costs of Dem-created shortages and
environmental impacts to ordinary Americans who are supposed to be
grateful for government controls spun as egalitarian reforms. (THEN:
the passage of CAFE standards which led to the manufacture of unsafe
automotive junk called Pintos, Vegas, Mavericks, Chevettes, Pacers, and
Gremlins for folks who could no longer afford to gas up Cadillacs and
Corvettes. NOW: a nonstop propaganda campaign against SUVs and trucks,
plus a renewed legislative push for stricter CAFE standards designed to
push those who can't afford big Benzes and Bimmers into brand new
high-tech, unsafe automotive junk that will get them killed saving 10
percent more gas.)
Less is more.
Even if it's a lot less.
Like with this little "green" hottie
for us masses.
6. A truly perverse (and, yes, absolutely
unpatriotic) ongoing effort to reduce, marginalize and even criminalize
the military so that it cannot be used in future to impress America's
supposedly corrupt will on the superior barbarians who hate us. (THEN:
a post-Vietnam military so politicized, under-funded, and demoralized
that it failed humiliatingly to rescue 52 hostages in the FIRST Iran
crisis. NOW: The vaunted Obama's stated policy of disarming
nuclear capability and destroying the greatest military force in
recorded human history by decreeing surrender and abject withdrawal
from a war already won under almost impossible and absolutely unprecedented political
Carter's Iran Rescue Mission. It'll
be so gratifying to get back to THIS level of competence by the
U.S. Military, won't it? Eh?
Yes, we're ramping up for the big throwback. Kids who have always had
everything they could possibly want are bound to just love the hell out
of being told they're selfish little pigs who need to be punished. (SQUEAL! The new metrosexuality!) I'm
not going to try to disabuse them of the joy the return of the
Seventies will bring them in that respect. They're probably even too
sunk in their bored ADDS stupor to realize just how fatal the new double-nickel speed limit will be
to people who have a hard time staying awake despite the simultaneous
inputs of iPods, iPhones, and MySpace transactions. That argument will
have to wait for the grim new statistics about how many indispensable "Millennial
Generation" centers of the universe have been scraped off the
nation's roads after falling asleep at the wheel on highways designed
for 70 mph cruising.
But what I can do is offer a
glimpse of the sartorial hell that went -- and undoubtedly will go --
with the Neo-Seventies Obama Era. Actually, I can do that with a single
I can also offer them an anthem (ref. audio file). Maybe they can
figure out some way to
They better. Or we're all completely screwed.
[Private message to
TYPING. Nobody else pay any attention to this. The apprentice is in
pain. The Boss is obligated to help.
This (above) is an exact replica of the machine 'Kinesis' was first
typed on. Nobody hates typewriters more than I do. (Nobody!) I'm
not even going to say it's good for you. It isn't. Typewriters are
responsible for more bad writing than any invention since the
ball-point pen. Just hang in there.
There's a poem that sometimes helps some poeple. (Well, not usually.)
But it's all I can come up with.
Often the lone-dweller waits for favor,
mercy of the Measurer, though he unhappy
across the seaways long time must
stir with his hands the rime-cold sea,
tread exile-tracks. Fate is established!
So the earth-stepper spoke, mindful of hardships,
of fierce slaughter, the fall of kin:
Oft must I, alone, the hour before dawn
lament my care. Among the living
none now remains to whom I dare
my inmost thought clearly reveal.
I know it for truth: it is in a warrior
noble strength to bind fast his spirit,
guard his wealth-chamber, think what he will.
Weary mind never withstands fate,
nor does troubled thought bring help.
Therefore, glory-seekers oft bind fast
in breast-chamber a dreary mind.
So must I my heart--
often wretched with cares, deprived of homeland,
far from kin--fasten with fetters,
since long ago earth covered
my lord in darkness, and I, wretched,
thence, mad and desolate as winter,
over the wave's binding sought, hall-dreary,
a giver of treasure, where far or near
I might find one who in mead-hall
might accept my affection, or on me, friendless,
might wish consolation, offer me joy.
He knows who tries it how cruel is sorrow,
a bitter companion, to the one who has few
concealers of secrets, beloved friends.
The exile-track claims him, not twisted gold,
his soul-chamber frozen, not fold's renown.
He remembers hall-warriors and treasure-taking,
how among youth his gold-friend
received him at the feast. Joy has all perished!
So he knows, who must of his lord-friend,
of loved one, lore-sayings long time forgo.
When sorrow and sleep at once together
a wretched lone-dweller often bind,
it seems in his mind that he his man-lord
clasps and kisses, and on knee lays
hands and head, as when sometimes before
in yore-days he received gifts from the gift-throne.
When the friendless man awakens again,
he sees before him fallow waves,
sea-birds bathing, wings spreading,
rime and snow falling mingled with hail.
Then are the heart's wounds ever more heavy,
sore after sweet--sorrow is renewed--
when memory of kin turns through the mind;
he greets with glee-staves, eagerly surveys
companions of men. Again they swim away!
Spirits of seafarers bring but seldom
known speech and song. Care is renewed
to the one who frequently sends
over the wave's binding, weary, his thought.
Therefore, I know not, throughout this world,
why thought in my mind does not grow dark
when the life of men I fully think through,
how they suddenly abandoned the hall,
headstrong retainers. This Middle-Earth
each of all days so fails and falls
that a man gains no wisdom before he is dealt
his winters in the world. The wise man is patient,
not too hot-hearted, nor too quick tongued,
nor a warrior too weak, nor too foolhardy,
neither frightened nor fain, nor yet too wealth-greedy,
nor ever of boasts too eager, before he knows enough.
A warrior should wait when he speaks a vow,
until, bold in mind, he clearly knows
whither mind's thought after will turn.
A wise man perceives how ghastly it will be
when all this world's weal desolate stands,
as now here and there across this Middle-Earth
blown on by wind walls stand
covered with rime, the buildings storm-shaken.
The wine-halls molder, the wielder lies down
deprived of rejoicing, warband all fallen,
proud by the wall. Some war took utterly,
carried on forth-way; one a bird bore off
over the high holm; one the hoar wolf
dealt over to death, one a warrior,
drear-faced, hid in an earth-cave.
Thus the Shaper of men destroyed this earth-yard,
until, lacking the cries, the revels of men,
old giants' work stood worthless.
When he with wise mind this wall-stone
and this dark life deeply thinks through,
the wise one in mind oft remembers afar
many a carnage, and this word he speaks:
Where is the horse? Where the young warrior?
Where now the gift-giver?
Where are the feast-seats? Where all the hall-joys?
Alas for the bright cup! Alas byrnied warrior.
Alas the lord's glory! How this time hastens,
grows dark under night-helm, as it were not!
Stands now behind the dear warband
a wondrous high wall, varied with snake-shapes,
warriors fortaken by might of the ash-spears,
corpse-hungry weapons--famous that fate--
and this stone-cliff storms dash on;
snowstorm, attacking, binds all the ground,
tumult of winter, when the dark one comes,
night-shadow blackens, sends from the north
rough hailstorm in anger toward men.
All is the earth-realm laden with hardship,
fate of creation turns world under heaven.
Here goldhoard passes, here friendship passes,
here mankind passes, here kinsman passes:
all does this earth-frame turn worthless!
So said the one wise in mind, at secret conclaves sat him apart.
Good, he who keeps faith, nor too quickly his grief
from his breast makes known, except he, noble, knows how beforehand
to do cure with courage. Well will it be
to him who seeks favor, refuge and comfort,
from the Father in heaven, where all fastness stands.
Yes, it's sad, and even sorrowful, and tragic, and moving, and immersed
in searing desolation. But it can't compare with the agony of the man
who has lost his computer, and must now bleed his soul's blood onto
lined paper, with mechanical keys, or even a Bic pen. Yea, the path is
dark, and it is my own dim memory I quote, when I repeat these dread
[T]he wise one in mind oft remembers
many a carnage, and this word he speaks:
Where is the horse? Where the young warrior?
Where? Up shit creek. That's where.
I couldn't be more sympathetic. Not without a flagon of Colt .45 mead
Uh, get back to work. Wandering is for post-modern silly-asses.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
affecting memoir on film.
HERE. It's the day we remember those who made the greatest
sacrifices in uniform for our country. As I thought about it, I
couldn't imagine a better year in which to highlight Proud, a modest movie from 2004
about the USS Mason, a WWII destroyer escort whose enlisted crew of 160
men were African-American. I saw it about a week ago, stumbling into it
on a cable channel so that I missed the beginning and had a deal of
catching up to do, because while it has a none of the cinematic
brilliance of Glory, it has
an altogether different quality which you have to watch through to the
end to discern: a kind of innocence that contrasts sharply with the
sometimes bitter subjects it relates.
The USS Mason was assigned to the North Atlantic convoys and
experienced the danger of both U-boats and the extremely severe weather
that brought many naval vessels to grief during the war. Ossie Davis
(the last film project of the late actor-director-WW
II veteran) narrates the experiences of the crew, and it takes a
while to realize that this is not simply a filmic device but an
authentic memoir of what occurred. The action proceeds not as a plot
but as a series of anecdotes, mingling events of war with the
characters and conflicts of the men involved.
I kept thinking as I watched, "This is not a good movie. What a shame."
The interactions between characters are stilted, stagey, at their worst
like a bad play, and all our glimpses of the families back home seem
glossed with an overdone prettiness, which results eventually in a
sense of unrealism and sentimental excess. "This could -- should --
have been so much better," I thought.
But I was wrong. I won't reveal the cleverest devices of the movie, but
I will tell you that anyone who's had a close relative who was a
wartime veteran will recognize at last the validity of the chosen
narrative technique. The men who commit their own war experiences to
paper as a memorial -- not as a bid for some Mailer-esque heavyweight
writing championship -- tend to do it just this way. With the idealized
eye of those who look back from far more experienced old age and see
the good in the friends of their youth, the unforgivable acts of
certain others, smoothing some of the rough spots along the way and
spotlighting some of the key events, which are known to be key because
they have been remembered and learned from throughout a long lifetime
This movie dramatizes the memory
of a virtuous and humble man, one who loved his country and wanted to
serve her despite many provovations to the contrary. In the end, what
appears in the telling to be a certain cleaning up of the facts
actually confirms the solid values and honor of the narration. It's
like listening to your own grandfather -- what he wants you to take
from his hard-won experience, without all the clutter of real-world
complications that so often obscure what's truly important.
Go find this movie and watch it. Note that I haven't given away any of
the details. Behind the pride there is real courage, both physical and
moral, real racism that had to be contended with, valorous behavior by
black and white men, and a
realization of casualties deserving of remembrance on Memorial Day that
go far beyond flesh-and-blood wounds to encompass lifelong hurts which
may or may not be salved by memorializing their pain with almost
A CBS DISGRACE. Last Veterans Day, 60 Minutes chose to ignore
any recognition of the U.S. military and focus instead on the
twenty-something brats who are joining the white collar workforce. We
noted it at the time as a suspiciously
ill-timed story. Now, 60 Minutes has run exactly the same story this
Memorial Day weekend. There can be no possibility that it's a
coincidence. It is a deliberate, malicious slap in the face of our
armed forces. The only mention of Memorial Day on the Sunday program
was a self-absorbed reminiscence by Andy Rooney that dealt exclusively
with the friends he lost in his own WWII experience, with no mention of
the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who represent the strongest antidote
to the emerging plague called the "millennial generation." To CBS and
the other sick narcissists of the MSM, the brave young men and women
presently serving in uniform don't exist at all. (Oh yeah, there was a mention of Iraq -- another bad
news story about the peril of Iraqis who "collaborated" with the
U.S.) Andy Rooney wants a "new religion" that does away with war. It
appears that until this ridiculous dream is realized, he prefers to
stare haughtily down his nose at all things military, just like his
corrupt fellow-travellers at CBS. All we can do is call them on their
arrogance and their dishonorable omissions. And remember what they
Friday, May 23, 2008
ALSO-RANS. As you may
have noticed, the
is cranky and, to be honest, he's bringing everybody down around
It's not really his fault. The election campaign has become some kind
of eternal purgatory that afflicts us all with disastrous candidates on
every side. And there's no end in sight. So I'm going to do something
different. Rather than weep and wail every day about the stupidity and
duplicity and the boneheadedness and outright lies -- which we all know
are inevitable, like some over-hyped History
Channel Mega-Disaster --
I'm going to reach out a hand to the young'uns, specifically the ones
our boy Brizoni referenced in an email to me:
They're heavily cynical, but cherish
unflinching passion and belief... they love cool-looking mysterious
stuff.... [They] fancy themselves literary, the type who will
actually say things like "I like books," or "I love reading." Those who
listen to NPR because they think that's all that's out there for smart
I'm thinking the media-savvy kids who still know what books are also
believe they know everything worth knowing about pop culture in the
twentieth century. They may feel a bit shaky about history over the
long haul, but they're pretty sure they're up to speed on the pop
celebs and media highlights of multiple generations before them. They
know about Lucy and Jackie Gleason and Kurt Vonnegut, Hemingway,
Fitzgerald, Rod Serling, Andy of Mayberry, Frank Sinatra, The Brady
Bunch, Jack Kerouac, Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan, Marilyn Monroe, Walter
Cronkite, Orson Welles, Mary Tyler Moore, and Miami Vice. They've seen
a ton of movies, and thanks to Nickelodeon, TVLand and dozens of
Hollywood remakes, they're familiar with even minor Hollywood stars and
myriad mediocre TV shows, including Gilligan's Island, The Beverly
Hillbillies, the Flintstones, and the Dukes of Hazzard.
But all of these are really just samples. Those of us who are older
know the incredibly important truth that in most cases, fame lasts only
for a few years and then all but the very very lucky are, well,
I could be dead wrong about this. But I'm betting that learning
something about the forgotten ones might be something Brizoni's kids
could get into. A way past the superficial shared blur of the pop media
background they have learned to take for granted. The basic point:
there was always more going on in the past than our easy
generalizations suggest. Even the contemptibly familiar terrain that's
become the consensus past of awards shows and retrospectives contains
fascinating individual talents who were very much a part of people's
lives and dreams whether we remember them anymore or not. Those are the
people I'm going to focus on.
The criteria are complicated and I'll probably make mistakes. I'll pick
some people that really are better remembered than I thought. And I'll
pick some who maybe weren't that talented to begin with. But my list --
which is long and has been vetted by multiple representatives of three
generations -- consists of people who were famous in their time and now
seem to be no more than footnotes. You rarely hear their names, and
when you do, most people draw a blank or can recognize them only as
belonging to some specific media category, though not with any real
knowledge of their work. Some of them should have been remembered but
haven't been. Others were perhaps the Paris Hiltons or Grey's Anatomy cast members of
their day, manufactured celebs who vanished with the turning of a
calendar page. But they were all part of the sum.
You can see how difficult the selection process is. I'm happy to
consider your nominations, but I will remain the final arbiter of who
gets chosen and who doesn't. For example, a good friend of my
approximate age nominated Noel Coward, because he thinks Coward's
singular talent has been forgotten. I didn't put him on the list.
Enough banging around on the Internet will eventually stumble across a
man who lived his entire life as a star, whether or not his popularity
stock is up or down at the moment. I'm really looking for the ones
Brizoni's kids might never learn about despite their curiosity and
adeptness at exploring the media. But as the series develops, I'm
prepared to bow to good arguments bolstered by the evidence of
Let me know what you think. The first installment will be posted soon.
Fittingly, the first entry will be someone almost no one remembers. But
in all likelihood, you have seen him.
Lawman (1958-1962). He's on the left. The other one is Peter Brown.
I don't know why this had to be the first one, but it just always was.
I was never that much of a fan of Matt Dillon -- and Chester, and
Festus, and Miss Kitty, and Doc, ugh -- and even as a kid I grew weary
of the fact that Dillon always got shot in the shoulder. Damn, the man
must have had a hole the size of an apple up there after all those
gunfights in Dodge. But Marshal Dan Troop, the Lawman, was believable
Why do I remember this guy as something special among all the TV
western stars of the early sixties? I don't recall a single episode or
plot of the half-hour series. I think it's that he was somehow more
modern, in both his acting and his on-screen character. No bravado. But
he was obviously a man. And he was the law. Excuse me. The Law. The way
we'd all like to think the FBI is, only it isn't. Here's what his
fansite (yes!) has to say about the show:
Asked at the 1998 Charlotte Film
Festival about his best recollections of Lawman, Peter Brown answered,
"John Russell, John Russell, John Russell. He was about as good
as it got." At the 1998 Knoxville Film Festival, Peter
described how John Russell took him under his wing and taught him how
to act in front of a camera. Thus life imitated art.
The format of the show called for Marshal Troop to be mentor to his
young, inexperienced deputy. [In one aspect life didn't imitate
art-- Peter was actually the better gun handler of the two although
John was no slouch.]
Apparently John not only took his young costar under his wing,
but enlisted him in a "conspiracy" to make Lawman a quality show
despite the fact that at the time Warners was pumping out Western and
detective shows like sausages from a meatpacking plant. They had
to contend with hectic schedules, skinflint budgets and a myriad of
writers and directors who were never given the time or money they got
at other studios. The two stars, along with the producer Jules
Schermer were the constants who maintained the high quality of the show
and the consistency of the characters. Schermer complained that
break-neck production schedules meant that directors had no time to
take into account any of the subtleties of the script, including
characterization. Apparently Russell and Brown both understood
Schermer's perspective: "The success of the TV drama depended on
establishing a particular tone. A television episode, he
explained, 'is basically only an incident built up with
characterization. If a director plays the characterization wrong . . .
the total effect of the teleplay is destroyed.'"... Russell and Brown
with Schermer, managed to keep that strong characterization, including
an interesting and growing relationship between the two main characters
You can read more about him at the fansite, but I'm going to quote one
more paragraph here because it demonstrates, I think, that even in the
old hokey days of television we've come to laugh at the medium still
possessed the power to burn through artifice and reveal the genuineness,
or lack of it, of the people inside those tiny screens.
John Russell was born January 3, 1921
in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in a family with four
other children, two sisters and two brothers, all of whom survived
him. He attended the University of California where he was
both a drama student and a student athlete. In 1942, he joined
the Marine Corps where he received a battlefield commission and was
decorated for valor at Guadalcanal. In 1943, he married his first
wife Renata. [The marriage would last over twenty years.]
He was honorably discharged from the Corps in 1944.
In 1945, he was "discovered" by an agent in a Beverly Hills restaurant
which led to roles in a number of B-movies [see credits list],
generally as a villain or secondary lead.
"Villain or secondary lead." You see, that's how you get to be forgotten
even if you've been "decorated for valor at Guadalcanal." That's why I remembered him above
all the other western TV stars. When the Lawman left his office to go
get the bad guy, his specific gravity was ten times greater than anyone
else's. Even to a kid.
What I didn't know when I started looking for him was that he had also
played a key role in the last great western Hollywood ever made. No.
Not Unforgiven.(Someday I'll
hack that piece of overpraised nonsense up the way it deserves, but not
today.) The last real western made was Pale Rider, Clint Eastwood's
but still excellent reworking of Shane.
I was shocked to discover at John Russell's fansite that he
had played the part of Marshal Stockburn, the movie's equivalent to the
Jack Palance character in Shane
and, under Eastwood's direction, almost
as mythic in his villainy as "The Preacher" who comes from wherever (?)
to kill him.
If you read the user
comments on Pale Rider at
imdb.com, no one remembers who
Russell is. They think he's a Lee Van Cleef lookalike. But Lee Van
Cleef couldn't have played this part any more than Jack Palance
could The Stockburn character works because he's every bit as
skilled, experienced, and determined as a 60-year-old gunman could be,
but he can also show the sudden fear of a brave man who knows that his
number is unaccountably up. It's a key contribution to the movie. He
doesn't run. He stands his ground. But he knows -- and through him we know -- that the Preacher isn't
just a man. Stockburn would kill any man.
If you read further, you'll find that Russell was very ill when he made
Pale Rider. He's no longer
with us. But I, personally, can't wait to see Pale Rider again. Hats off to Clint
Eastwood for giving the Lawman his final bow. And if you're an
obsessive about trivia, here's what is still known
about each and every episode of a series that honestly couldn't be more
John Russell. Wish I could have met him. How about you?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Life in These
57 United States
A GOOD DAY TO BE
DAFFY. Sometimes there just isn't that
much to say about it all. Daily events play out exactly like an
cartoon, as a series of sight gags that defy explanation. Yesterday,
for example, we had the great Democrat brains of the Senate
that oil executives tell them why gas prices are so high, as if the
execs could do anything about
OPEC -- or
as if they should go politely
out of business rather than pass their costs on to their customers. I
suppose the bottom-line implication is that they should forego all
future profits because the Congress isn't ever going to let them drill
for non-OPEC oil or build any new refinery capacity. Their real
responsibility is to take the blame when Congress and the whole
DC establishment drives the U.S. out of business. Sure. That makes
We thought Dick Durbin was especially
effective in his interrogations.
Meanwhile, the selfsame Congress that wants to punish oil companies for
high prices they can't control also decided to reward
farmers for the
runaway food prices which have been directly created by collusion
between the farm lobby and -- ta da! -- Congress. I guess there's no
political mileage in pounding the table for surtaxes on windfall
we begged enough, don't you think we could have one of those solid gold tractors
Events were unfolding just as sanely on the campaign trail, where Tom
Harkin suggested that being from a military family makes one
automatically a danger to the republic in high office, while Father
Barack added his wife's campaign speeches to the lengthening list
things Obama about which it is "unacceptable" to speak. The dark
warning to "lay
off my wife" seemed to imply an unspoken "or else" that
inspires a certain amount of wondering speculation. Is personal
vengeance a task he'd delegate to old pals like Bill
and Bernardine? Or
would he himself become the righteous, smiting hand of God his adoring
flock already believes him to be?
know he's got the necessary Bible training. But does he have a
Not that the Democrats have any kind of monopoly on slapstick nonsense.
The Republicans, who know they're facing open revolt from their
conservative base because of eight years of profligate spending, were
tripping all over each other to be first in voting for the $380 billion
farm bill. Yep. That's gotta be the perfect way to serve the
constituents and save the party.
have a strategy: "Go to hell. Go
directly to hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect on
your $380 billion sellout."
But at least McCain is having a good time, a big
old barbecue (way to
distance yourself from GWB, smart guy) with 20 old white guys angling
for the VP slot and one young brown guy who's the very last person any
clear-thinking Republican would want to yank away from his golden
opportunity to show the country what entrepreneurial principles can do
to save New Orleans and Louisiana from themselves. If he weren't a
rock-headed, egomaniacal old coot, McCain would know that the best
decision he can make in the 2008 campaign is to leave Bobby Jindal
right where he is. And if he weren't a pandering tool of the Luddite,
mankind-hating environmental lobby, he'd know that the best possible VP
candidate he could find isn't a man at all, but the only governor in
the country who has the
guts to stand up and fight against last week's
catastrophically corrupt designation of the polar bear as a threatened
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Something about Alaska. Maybe something
about women, too. Knowing that humans and animals are in this together,
not pawns to be manipulated against one another in a lose-lose shell game.
I'm not even going to make the case for why Palin is the best choice.
There's no point. It doesn't matter what anyone says this year about
integrity and responsibility and principle. Absolutely everybody in the
middle of the national political game right now -- including McCain,
Obama, Hillary, and all their supporters, staff, and hangers-on -- is
really just one laughably transparent character. But don't worry. I'll never tell who it is.