Notes from the admittedly liberal sidecar following the campaign bus…
The cry across the land is for jobs. Millions of people are hurting. The companies that provide the jobs haven’t actually weighed in on the issue. It seems they believe it to be someone else’s problem.
But whether or not there will be jobs created or fresher air or cleaner water or opportunities for education, and whether or not segments of the population who believe they are being held back can be free, all comes down to politics. And the notion that whoever is “in charge” is the boss and can do whatever he or she wants to do. Some people still believe that and get angry when the boss doesn’t fix all that’s been broken and fix it right now.
The current field of political candidates was thought to be dull. That thought has ebbed a bit. Now, no one says they are dull – nuts, maybe, but not dull.
As I write this the Republican Party has three front-runners for its presidential nomination. About a week ago, it had none. Now begins a curious version of the dating game in which candidate #1, candidate # 2 and candidate # 3 each exaggerates his or her capabilities and lies about their accomplishments to determine who will go on to the final round. There the winner gets a chance to take out President Obama, metaphorically speaking, of course.
Most people give the edge to Massachusetts’s former one-term governor Willard “Call me Mitt” Romney. He was granted such status because he is ridiculously wealthy and looks like some people think a president should look – distinguished, middle-age, rich and white. But boring – really boring. He went to Stanford for a year, was as a Mormon missionary, attended Brigham Young University, and got a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration degree from a program run by the Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. So it appears, while he might be a stiff, he’s certainly not stupid. He also seems less nuts than some others in the field. Mr.Romney and his lovely wife, Mrs. Romney, have an estimated net worth between $70 million and $100 million, held largely in blind trusts. To the millions of people who are unemployed, disadvantaged, broke and scared, it’s safe to guess Mr. Romney does not feel their pain.
New to the race, yet seeming eerily familiar is James "Call me Rick" Perry, the governor of Texas who got the job in 2000 after the previous governor of Texas was given another position by several Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Governor Perry is said to remind people of his predecessor and, as the expression goes, not in a good way. He attended Texas A&M University, where he was a cheerleader, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in animal science. He exudes charm, confidence, conceit, and is an easy person not to like. Some people have said he is a lot like former President George W. Bush, only Mr. Bush is smarter. (Whoa!) (I gotta think about that a while.)
Unlike the other two front runnuers, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, for reasons unknown, seems to go by her actual name, though she could certainly take the name “Winnie” if she chose to and no one would mind. After high school, she spent time working on a kibbutz in Israel and, in 1978, received a bachelor of arts degree from Winona State University. She went on to receive a Juris Doctor degree from the O. W. Coburn School of Law which, at the time, was part of Oral Roberts University. Later she received an L.L.M. in taxation from William & Mary School of Law (LL.M. is for Master of Laws, a program typically open to students who have a degree in law and receive additional education in a specific field; hers was tax law.). She tells people she has a law degree from William & Mary, though that’s not quite accurate. It’s probably fair to say the folks at the O.W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University are very proud of her and wish she would mention them more prominently in her bio. After all, it’s not like she graduated from Regent or some place like that. Also in 1978, she married Marcus Bachmann, a clinical therapist with a master's degree from Regent University and a PhD from Union Graduate Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio (which is another interesting tale, but perhaps best left for another time). People who know the Bachmanns were surprised to learn they are both high school graduates. (NOTE: Okay, the last sentence is a lie, but everything else in the paragraph is true.)
As the media had a buzz-on for a few days over reports that Congresswoman Bachmann'shusband received government funding and practices therapy to "cure" homosexuality with prayer, other reports drifted in suggesting Marcus Bachmann was setting off gaydar alarms. According to an article in Slate, “It started as a subtle joke among bloggers. Then it progressed to parody and overt insinuation. On Tuesday, Dan Savage said the Bachmanns' marriage was frigid because Mr. Bachmann may have ‘tiptoed down’ the road to homosexuality ‘just a couple of ‘inches … maybe six, maybe seven.’…
“There's nothing new about calling somebody gay based on a lisp or a girlish gait,” the Slate article continued, “What's unusual is seeing grown-up gays and liberals do it in 2011 with such open ridicule. But don't worry: The new queer-hunters are progressive. They detect homosexuality based on science, not stereotypes. Savage cites a series of studies, written up two years ago in Scientific American, in which college students correctly distinguished gay from straight men based on facial features. He concludes: ‘Gaydar is for real.’"
Presumably, in the 21st century, whether or not a candidate for office is gay should no longer be an issue, much less the sexuality of the candidate’s spouse. Unless the candidate or spouse is a Republican. And a conservative. And has built a career (or, in this case, two careers) on being anti-gay. If only from the pen and microphone of Dan Savage, it’s probably a good bet that there will be more coming on this subject, Congresswoman Bachmann’s political fortunes notwithstanding. It’s a shame the Bachmanns didn’t simply take their cue from the Seinfeld show’s take on being gay, “… not that there’s anything wrong with it.”
Note to campaign staff: If your candidate is aggressively anti-gay, try to avoid having her pose for a photo as she is appearing to bite into a a foot-long corn dog. It can become one of the most “googled” photos on the Internet and recirculated millions of times with very unpresidential captions added. And with a companion photo of her anti-gay husband seeming to be having too good a time with his own corn dog. To add a religious note, OMG!
As the public approval rating for Congress soared to an impressive 13 percent, Republican leaders still say they are committed to keeping President Obama from winning a second term. This is in contrast to their position on his winning a first term, which was to pretty much just pretend it never happened and act like they are still running everything. Might this be a good place to slip in an only in America?
Many pundits are wondering if Governor Perry’s entry into the race isn’t just a ploy to make Ms. Bachmann seem less stupid. Governor Perry recently called Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comment that he might direct the Fed to print more money (which is one of the things the Fed does), “treasonous.”
Ann Coulter, a leading voice among the conservative’s idiot class, wrote a book titled Treason, a 368-page dump on liberals, which suggests neither of these people actually know what treason is, but like tossing the word around. (Hint: It doesn’t mean someone who disagrees with you should go to prison.)
Chris Matthews, on a recent installment of his program Hardball, noted “America’s in a rotten mood.”
And sadly, the world is watching.