Sunday, May 1, 2011

ARE GOP HOPEFULS HOPELESS?




The other day, I read something that lifted my spirits. It was an article by some supposed Republican “think-tanker” (can’t recall his name) who said (complained, in his case) that US President Barack Obama can't possibly lose in the next election, no matter WHO runs against him!


Later, I did some checking (spent a quarter-century as a newsman and old habits die hard) and found out the article in question was a hoax. The guy denies ever having written it, despite the fact that it was all over the Internet under his name.


But I’m guessing it did come from a real think-tank, despite the bogus by-line and is, maybe, the work of some backroom conservative dirty tricks department (you know, the kind that gave us Watergate, the Iran-Contra Affair, and Monica Lewinsky’s presidentially sullied dress, among other things) seeking to prepare its constituency for the worst.


I mean, a number of the reasons this bogus article gave for predicting an overwhelming reelection win for the president made a certain amount of sense:


It said that African Americans would vote “blindly” for Obama. “It’s a race thing,” it said. This is, of course, only a truism, not a truth. It’s obvious that a very large number of African Americans will vote for Mr. Obama on the sole basis of color. He is, after all, the first black president in US history. John Kennedy took about half of the Irish vote in the United States just on the basis of his coming from an Irish immigrant family. And he got still more votes because he was Roman Catholic—the first RC president in the country’s predominantly white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant political history. It makes sense. But I doubt Mike Steele, for instance, will be red-rovering to the side of his “African American brother” any time soon, even if former fellow Republican icon Colin Powell indeed did. And Herman Cain is hoping to run against him. So, yes, the President will surely get a lot of black votes on the sole strength of the color of his skin, but not anything like all of them. (After all, the president is half white even if not the half that people see, and there are radical segments in his natural constituency who will vote against him for that reason alone if for no other—just as white supremacists would vote against him if he looked white and were half black).


***


It said that college-educated women would vote for Obama. It added that “though they will be offended by this, they swoon at his oratory.” And went on to say that it was “really not more complex than that.” Once again, truism, not truth and much more complex than that. Indeed, many college-educated women will vote for President Obama, but not because they “swoon at his oratory”. They will do so precisely because they are educated and understand that many of the policies the president is trying to put through—in a process that Congress and the Republican conservative wing are making about as easy as pushing a concrete-filled bank vault up the side of Mount Whitney—are good for the United States, socially, ethically, culturally and in terms of the country’s economic and social future. They are also women who have learned enough to know that the United States must consolidate a liberal process that will allow it to draw back from the brink of tyranny on which it teetered during the eight-year corporate junta led by Dick Cheney—seconded by George Dubya Bush, whom Cheney allowed to sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to be in charge, because…well, who the heck would have voted for Dick Cheney? I mean except for the bozo Cheney mistook for a duck and shot, and who apologized when he got out of the hospital for getting in the way and causing the poor VP all that trouble. (In case you hadn’t heard, the guy was behind Cheney at the time of the shooting, so it was like apologizing to Annie Oakley for screwing up one of her trick shots).



***


But that doesn’t mean all college-educated women will vote for Obama. Just ask Ann Coulter and her waspy friends at Fox News. Or Sarah Palin, who managed to patch together a bachelor’s degree in communication/journalism over a five year period in a series of brief stays at University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, the North Idaho (community) College at Coeur d’Alene, Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska and the University of Idaho at Moscow—that’s Moscow, Idaho, not the one she can see “from her house”. (Hey, in all fairness, what Palin actually said in her September 11, 2008 interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson —and that comedian Tina Fey picked up on—was, "They're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska”). Despite her checkered college attendance Palin also won a college scholarship: She got it for being Miss Congeniality (and third runner-up) in the Miss Alaska Beauty Pageant. And she’s certainly not voting for Obama.



***


It said that liberals would vote for Obama, since “he is their great hope.” Well, duh! Probably their greatest hope and America’s greatest hope since John Kennedy, despite the ungodly mess he has inherited and in which he has gotten progressively mired down. But there will be liberals who won’t: the ones who haven’t had the patience to see his policies through to fruition, the ones who expected overnight solutions to essential problems that have been brewing since the Reagan era and that flourished and exploded under the Bush administration’s two terms, and the ones who find he’s too middle of the road for their taste and would like to see someone less ready to seek compromise and congressional consensus.


***



The piece said Democrats would vote for Obama. Geez, ya think?! It added, rather obviously, that “he is the leader of their party and his coattails will carry them to victory nationwide.” Clearly, there are going to be very conservative and very liberal Democrats who are going to wish that they could vote for someone else, and some even might, but most of those probably will just not vote at all, which would be a shame for their party. But, yes, card-carrying Democrats will surely not want to lose the White House four years in (like they did in the Carter era) after sweeping it out of the hands of the Cheney/Bush dynasty (and its continuers) in the last election.


***



The article later claims Hispanics will vote for Obama. Reason: “He is the path to citizenship for those who are illegal and Hispanic leaders recognize the political clout they carry in the Democratic Party.” Well, this is a jingoistic, racist, ignorant thing to say, and if I’m right and this paper has come from an ultra-conservative think-tank, then it just goes to show how out of touch with reality conservative Republicans are regarding this massive minority of nearly 50 million people from across the political spectrum. For one thing, Obama’s immigration policy hasn’t been nearly as liberal as anybody expected, including many of his own co-party leaders. Furthermore, there is no zealot like a converted zealot, and some of the toughest stances I’ve ever heard against illegal aliens have come, precisely, from Hispanics who have gone through proper legal channels, gotten their citizenship and become part of the mainstream North American community. Many of these Hispanics, and many more of their children, who try their best to forget their Hispanic heritage, are as ultra-conservative as any “Anglo” you’d ever want to meet. Particularly so if their families were exiled from communities like Castro’s Cuba, an experience that tends to turn them violently anti-communist and, therefore, way right of liberal. But, yes, many Hispanics will vote for him in gratitude for his defense of civil liberties in openly opposing the kind of police state legislation Arizona has implemented and which some other states have threatened to emulate.



***


The “bogus” story said that Union members would vote “overwhelmingly” for Obama. One can only hope…But in the end, it depends on what “overwhelmingly” means. The fact is that, while his campaigners at Organizing for America immediately showed how anxious they were to give nationwide vent to the union protest movement that took shape in Wisconsin, the administration eventually pulled back a bit from this stance, by making sure everyone knew that the Obama camp saw this as “a grassroots story” rather than a Washington one. And this has placed the president in the midst of a sort of delicate dance (as described by the Huffington Post) with unionists ever since. Nor are workers as enthused as they once were about Obama, since the new jobs he promised are materializing rather more slowly than expected. Still, there’s no denying that the president has a very strong base in labor. And frankly, if you were a union worker and had the choice of voting for Obama or for The Donald, The Huck, The Mitt or Citizen Cain (yet another CEO), what would your choice be?



***


The piece claimed that Big Business would support Obama. Well, yes and no. True, to the utter chagrin of many staunch liberals, it has been on President Obama’s watch that a new rule has come into play, allowing removal of the ceiling on what corporate America can donate to political campaigns, and the president does indeed seem to have an almost carnal relationship with GE and eccentric liberal tycoon George Soros. But from there to thinking that, say, Big Oil, or Big Defense or a lot of other major Big Business segments would ever be anything but conservative Republican is a bit of a reach. Still, perhaps the friends Obama has made in the corporate world will be more than enough to put him over the top in the 2012 campaign.



***


The media, this “spurious” article says, love him. This is a half-truth. Obama had a major honeymoon with the media (well, not Fox News, but, certainly, the serious media) in the beginning of his administration. But he has taken considerable criticism since then, and it’s not like the media as a whole remains “in the tank” for his administration. It is true, however, that the president himself remains something of a rock star. He has charisma. In fact, he and his whole family have charisma and the press loves leaders it can idolize. And come on, admit it, it’s nice having a president that doesn’t make you want to hide you head in a paper bag every time he opens his mouth. Eight years of that was enough already.



***



Finally, the article said that half of all Independents would vote for Obama. Personally, I’m hoping that there’s a greater percentage of intelligent Independents out there. I’m hoping more like 80 percent. But still, according to the story that no one’s claiming, “he doesn't need anywhere near that number because he has all of the groups previously mentioned. The President will win an overwhelming victory in 2012.” All I can say is—as the old Spanish expression goes—may God hear you.



***


Wherever the article came from, you kind of wonder whether there’s not some truth to the notion that the Republicans have seen the future…and they’re not in it. Why? Well, just look at the potential candidates!


I mean, maybe that's why the Republicans are gathering such a list of clowns to run against Obama. As an old rural Argentine saying goes, why waste gunpowder on a buzzard? They're cannon fodder! I mean Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin and The Donald ‘Gump’? Or is it that they really just don't have anybody else? Of course, there's Mitt Romney—wonder what that’s short for, Mittens maybe...like, maybe he was named after George Romney’s favorite cat(?)—who has, at least, an outwardly presidential look. But in some of the latest polls, he's barely tying with Huck Finn...I mean, Mike Huckabee. What does that say about his popularity?


Then there's Cain (maybe they figured that with a little white-out, they could use the leftover posters from the last election). He does have some executive experience: He ran 400 Burger Kings and did such a good job that Pillsbury bumped him up to CEO of Godfather's Pizza. And he's another (though lesser known) Fox News regular, so he's got a foot in the door with the GOP propaganda machine, but so far they're not paying a whole lot of attention to him.


And finally, there’s wild card Sarah Palin. She’s been out making some noise again, so there’s new speculation that she might yet announce her candidacy. She and The Donald have also been courting each other in the media (she talking about his ‘frankness’, he talking about her ‘energy’), so the United States might yet see the horror of a ticket formed by two of the most self-confidently ignorant players in politics. What am I talking about? Here are just a few quotes from the former Alaska governor:


When asked by CBS anchor Katie Couric which newspapers she read regularly, Palin couldn’t think of a single one. Showed how “quick on her feet” she was though, by answering, “All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years.”


Also in that now infamous 2008 interview, Couric was trying to establish why Palin thought she would be qualified to handle foreign policy. Her answer, “As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where…where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border.”


But then you think, well, maybe she’s wised up a bit in the past couple of years. Alas…At the end of last year, in a radio interview with Glenn Beck (now, we’re talking Fox News, not CBS, these are people who like Sarah Palin and were trying to keep the questions gentle), when asked how she would handle current hostilities between the two Koreas, she blithely danced onto another foreign policy land mine by saying, “…Obviously, we've got to stand with our North Korean allies.”


Of course, The Donald doesn’t lag far behind in the dumbest quotes department. Asked by ABC News about the possibility of his running for the presidency he talked about, what else, money—campaign money in this case— and said, “I mean, part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich. So if I need six hundred million dollars, I can put six hundred million myself. That's a huge advantage…” In a celebrity interview he once said, “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me—consciously or unconsciously…” This speaks to his general grip (or lack of same) on reality, I think. And how about this The Donald gem: “In life you rely on the past—and that’s called history.” I mean, the guy makes Dubya look like an intellectual.


One thing you can say for Donald ‘Gump’, though: He has keenly honed diplomatic skills. In a radio interview with star radio and TV journalist Larry King, he once asked, “Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad.”


Oh, and I almost forgot Christine O'Donnell: She's a declared enemy of masturbation—talk about platform planks(!)—so she's probably lost 99 percent of the male vote (the other one percent is made up of liars) and an estimated 60-70 percent of the female vote before she even gets started! Plus, listen to these gems from Pristine Christine's lips:


"Co-edness is a radical agenda forced on college students."


"We had the ‘60s sexual revolution and now people are dying of AIDS."


"Creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that." (Huh?!)


O'Donnell/Huckabee or Huckabee/O'Donnell, now there's a ticket ya gotta love! When a Bible-thumping Huckabee was once asked if he thought Jesus would support the death penalty, he said “Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office…that’s what Jesus would do.” He also said he was “pretty sure there’ll be duck hunting in Heaven and I can’t wait.”(He said it to a gathering of the National Rifle Association). Huckabee, who holds a theology degree, also made clear his understanding of science when he claimed that “Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution. That’s why it’s called the theory of evolution.”


I know, I know, they haven't rolled O’Donnell out yet for 2012, but give them time. Everybody who's ever been a Fox News commentator ends up on the campaign list. Well, except for Bill O'Reilly, because he's an Independent. If you don't believe it, just ask him. That’s why he gets 20 million a year to be the star anchor on a channel whose secret logo is a red elephant.


2 comments:

Sylvia said...

Hi Dan!
What a clear-sighted article you've shared with us. Love it! You've made me enjoy politics with your keen insight and outright sense of humor- I usually keep up with world news as a sort of obssessive habit. I wish you'd let us know the name of the no-no author of the double hoax.
I think I would take the stance of those Liberals you mention in third place (but I would vote for Obama all the same):
"...and the ones who find he’s too middle of the road for their taste and would like to see someone less ready to seek compromise and congressional consensus."
So often I've felt like shaking Obama and saying "Look here, why don't you just say what you think and to hell with compromise! Get your act together and you'll be a hero"...and so on. But we know what happens to heroes, they get shot by some "crazy loner"...humph...and then we'd be Obama-less.
OK, now he's been fortunate to have gotten Bin Laden in the nick of time to raise his re-election chances, but there's still a lot of murky stuff going on that's disappointing (Dropping Bin Laden in the sea brings up horrible memories of our own Armed Forces's behavior, but I reckon average U.S. citizens never bother to look as far south as Argentina). Was that necessary? Let's hope his coffin doesn't float up on some beach, as the French nuns' did, and many others.
Which reminds me, Dan, perhaps one day you could write a piece about the difference between terrorists, subversives, freedom fighters, underground resistance groups and maybe anarchists as well as the new crop of anti-migrant guys, etc. Well, never mind me.
I won't ramble on, but I do want to say that it really doesn't sound pretty to have killed a bunch of Gadaffi's grandchildren instead of the man himself. Great selective bombing, huh?
Perhaps I should get back to Kate & Wills' latest news, before they, too, do something really BAD.
I've truly enjoyed your article, Dan,thanks a lot! ¡Viva Obama!

Dan Newland said...

Thanks, Sylvia, for your always enlightening and trenchant comments. And let it be said that I thoroughly agree with you regarding the disposal of Bin Laden's body. These, for me, are major political (to say nothing of legal) errors. The first thing I thought yesterday - before any mention of this was made - was, "Where's the body?"
There are lots of problems (other than the more obvious ones) about killing a terrorist of Bin Laden's stature and dumping the body before anybody sees it. For one thing, it begs a habeas corpus question:If there's no body, was there really a deed - in other words, is the guy really dead? I'm not saying he isn't, I'm just saying...Second, the disposal of the body should have been as "surgical" as the commando sting: dispassionate, legally and procedurally correct, fully documented, etc. Third, by not doing it that way, Washington risks turning perhaps the worst mass murderer of the 21st century into a Che Guevara-type folk hero and surely an Islamic martyr. After a sting operation that was about as close to perfect as one can imagine, dumping the body was, in my opinion, a monumental mistake.