Monday, July 09, 2007

Politics as usual, as usual

By now you must be aware that Al Gore III was arrested in California for drug possession and speeding in a Prius. (A Prius -- heh heh.) You must be aware, because it was on the national news, the local news, the entertainment news, the business news, and I think I heard it mentioned on "Baseball Tonight." (Well, young Gore does look a little like Boog Powell, the Orioles slugger of the Sixties and Seventies.) With all that coverage, there was only passing mention of the other driving-related story of the week: Rudolph Giuliani's car ran out of gas in New Hampshire -- in the middle of a Fourth of July parade.

If we actually had a "liberal media" in this country, that would have been their lead for three days: "Rudy's energy policy: get out and push." "He wants to lead the most powerful nation on earth, and he can't read a fuel gauge." "Doesn't he know cars need gas? No wonder it took him six years to realize he'd married his cousin." Then a segue into the previous week's story, about the South Carolina chairman of Rebs for Rudy, or whatever it's called, being charged with dealing cocaine, tied together with the old Kinks song "Gallon of Gas." ("I can score you some coke and some grade-A hash, But I can't buy a gallon of gas.") "Badger News: Don't Mourn -- Organize! Stay tuned for the Howard Zinn Show." Ah, well...

So where were the Boys on the Bus? With so many candidates, they may be spread as thin as American forces in Iraq. A lot of them cover Fred Thompson in the hope that his wife will have a Janet Jackson moment. Others are waiting for Tommy Thompson, the other white meat, to issue his position paper on "African-Americans and Rhythm." (Tommy, you may recall, kicked off his campaign with a speech praising the Jewish people for their extraordinary ability to make money.) A few are waiting to catch Mitt abusing another mutt. (You strap one dog to the roof of your car and some people never let you forget it.) So much triviality, so little airtime.

I admit it: I have a serious jones for Republican political news, especially now with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in reruns. The Democrats are so cautious. They're all about crafting the message and explicating the position and trying not to make a single gaffe during this endless trek to the election. One or two have already selected the Bible verse they will place their hands on while being sworn in, they're that confident. (Bill's Bible tends to fall open to the Song of Solomon, and Hillary isn't taking any chances.) It's a good thing they come in different colors and genders, because there's not that much to choose among them. The Republicans, by contrast, take one look at Albatross George and his even more hated puppet-master Draft Dodger Dick, and sigh inwardly. Even before the Libby liberation, they had the proverbial snowball's chance, so they don their hand-tailored suits, put a shine on their Italian loafers, and say whatever comes into their tiny minds.

I can't wait for the next big "debate." I want the moderator to ask for a show of hands from those who believe in gravity. "Newton's Law? More like Newton's theory. Eve picked the apple, it didn't fall down by itself." I'd like to know if El Gitmo Grande will require the annexation of an entire Cuban province. Or perhaps President Sarkozy would like to sell us Devil's Island. Who would introduce the guillotine for abortion providers, as in the Third Reich? Mr. Hunter? And you'd also construct a permanent evangelical "Hell House" on the Mall, opposite the Joe McCarthy Monument? (Fifty years after his death, it's shameful that Tail Gunner Joe is hardly remembered in the city that once trembled before him, like Rome before Scarpia.) Is it enough to build a fence along the Mexican border? Shouldn't we also deploy guards with searchlights and machine guns, like those who manned the Berlin Wall? Maybe the same ones. Tax cuts? School vouchers? Shoes for the dead?

Murray Kempton wrote, "Presidential campaigns do us no special mischief except by breeding and spreading the germs of the delusion that vast and salutary changes are once more ours to arrange." Got my beer and my nachos -- on with the show.


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