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The Capitalist Crucify the Old Man - 1880's


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have begun to wonder if the loneliest person in Minneapolis-St. Paul this Labor Day is not going to be “Mike” Duncan, Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The elephants start their 39th nominating convention on September 1st, post Olympics and pre-World Series, in the Xcel Energy Center. They intend to drag the action out for four action-packed reinventing-the-brand-name days. Beyond the 2,380 delegates and 2,227 alternates, the Repubs say they are expecting 15,000 journalists, which would make this the best attended funeral since Princes Diana’s. But I have my doubts. If anybody outside of Fox Spews and “The Daily Show” bother covering this Gopher State right-wing wing-ding I will be greatly surprised. There are bad omens scattered about like the first coughs from Laura Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie. Chairman Duncan’s first political campaign experience came when he helped his uncle run for school superintendent. The uncle lost by eight votes. And can you guess who picked Mike to be RNC chair? If you said George Bush you win first prize. And if you voted for George Bush you’ve already won the booby prize: here’s your booby.

The last time the Grand Old Party held their convention in Minneapolis was in 1898, when they nominated the incumbent Republican President Benjamin Harrison; a guy so cold the only person who actually liked him was his wife, and she died of tuberculosis two weeks before the election. Harrison didn’t even get the sympathy vote: he lost to Grover Cleveland, who four years previously had failed in his own Presidential re-election bid, to Harrison: Presidential musical chairs was a popular sport in the late nineteenth century. After his defeat Harrison told family and friends he felt as if he had just been released from prison. This election will release America from prison. And Minnesota has not gone Republican since 1972 when Richard Nixon won every state except Massachusetts, including Minnesota, which was the home state of Democratic candidate Walter Mondale. And look how well that Republican landslide worked out for America. Well, what more could you expect from a place whose state bird is the Common Loon?

I bring this all up because this year the road to Main Street in Gopher Prairie seems to run right past the grave yard. I am speaking here specifically of 67 year old Frank Powers, the retired Wall Street maven who wanted to run for the Staten Island Congressional seat currently occupied by embarrassed and embarrassment Repulsive-an Representative Vito Fossella. Vito got pulled over in Northern Virginia for drunk driving, and in what must have been the best road side confession since Mel Gibson unburdened himself to the Malibu P.D., Vito explained that he was on his way to see his infant daughter, she not being his and his wife’s daughter but his and his mistresses’ daughter. The Grand Old Party turned on Vito with all the compassion of cannibals at a pot luck picnic, and in response Vito has checked out of Republican Party politics. And Frank Powers seemed the perfect choice to replace the only Republican left from New York City in Congress. Frank had committed to spend $500,000 of his own cash on the election, and that made him the favorite son of the Grand Old Party: emphasis on the “Old” part, because over the weekend Frank dropped dead from a heart attack, which says something about the best laid plans of grumpy old men, I guess.
Fossella joined LaHood of Illinois, Ramstad of Minnesota, Rebula of Ohio and Walsh of New York, all retiring Republicans, and in the face of Republican disciplinarians they voted with the Democrats to extend unemployment insurance past the standard cut-off date. Said the frustrated Minority Whip, Roy Blunt, about these mass defections by defectors “It’s not helpful”, meaning it was not helpful to party discipline, even if it was helpful to the voters and tax payers who are out of work. It was just such arguments for unity above individual self interest that has led the Repubs so far from the American mainstream that three out of four Americans say they now prefer a Democrat representing them in Congress. And come late August, as we head off to “Greater Minnesota”, land of ten thousand lakes, birthplace of the Mississippi River, tuna hot dish casseroles, the Lake Wobegon Chatterbox Cafe and the most famous airport men’s room in the free world, Republicans will be asking themselves (such as Governor Tim Pawlenty, Lieutenant Governor Carol Malnau and Senator Norm Coleman – Republicans all!) why the hell the party is coming to a state they stand very little chance of winning, unless it is to highlight the party’s bankruptcy – moral and monetary.
Charles Black, lobbyist for Ferdinand Marcos and Mobuto Sese Seko, and a close advisor to Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, told Fortune Magazine this month that a new terrorist attack against the United States would be good news for McCain. If he get's really lucky maybe we'll all come down with malaria. He later apologized for saying that but it raises the question of just what might be good news for John McCain? Short of a signed photo of Barak Obama shoving Hillary Clinton into a shredder I don’t think such an event is possible. The American people know almost nothing about Obama and almost everything about McCain, and yet the USA Today – Gallup Poll, the Rasmussen Poll, and the Wall Street Journal-NBC poll all have Obama out in front by six points. And the mask poll at BuyCostumes-dot-com, which has never been wrong, has the Obama mask out in front of the McCain mask by 5%. It’s a long pull till November 4th, and a lot can happen, but McCain’s flip-flopping over energy policy (yesterday he was for drilling and today he is for conserving) did not help the jet jockey convince anybody he’s got the answer to anything. The Republican Party of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the party of “Republican-In-Name-Only” labels: these lunatics have never accepted the “big tent” theory that dilutes their ratings and their power. Their party should be holding their convention in some out of the mainstream corner of America, like Jenna, Louisiana or Crawford, Texas. Because in Minneapolis the “RINO Party” will be out in broad daylight, a very inhospitable place for its convention. Minnasota is a progressive state where “the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Can you say, "Oh, yah, sure"?
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