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Mr. President: I have a Plan!!! Tickle Me, I’m for Health Care!
Old fans of Dr. Strangelove will warm to the spectacle of the Commission on Presidential Debates organizing to let their two men put their plans before the American People. Think about that for a moment while I finish watching the “debate.” It’s hard to concentrate while my wife keeps shouting (to Kerry): “You’re arguing against a broomstick! Speak up! How can you let Dumbledoer get the best of you, you idiot!”
Lo and behold, Bush mentions Gay Marriage—respite of the desperate and the damned. The issue didn’t resonate with the people, despite millions of dollars spent on mean-spirited, anti-humanist political pressure, with church-funded reactionary gay-bashing. Nonetheless, Kerry refuses to go with the flow, of course.
Interestingly, I was in the company of a friend of a friend who introduced himself, without flinching: Hi, I’m Ken, and this is my husband Paul. No eyebrows raised—well, maybe a few, but just a blip in the circle of introductions. Hi, I’m Ken, and this is my husband Paul. It’s that simple. If Homer Simpson can get it, so can Bush and Kerry—eventually.
Bush’s appeal, no surprise, was aimed entirely at stupid people, or at least at those who aren’t paying attention. Obviously, the ‘president’ considers the rest of the electorate to be at least as stupid as he is. “When you’re a colleague of Ted Kennedy’s….a Senator from Massachusetts” blah blah blah. The problem for Bush is that everyone’s base has a limit. Unless they steal the election, the Republicans can’t be clinging to their base in October and still have any hope of winning the election.
Kerry, on the other hand, who, in a tip of the hat to the neocons’ Preventive War strategy, abandoned his base in March, and continued his strategy through Clash of the Titans III: “I would do it in a way that Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy and others have done…. I broke with my party….” Ugh. Kerry’s handlers told him it would be good to mention both The Sopranos and Law and Order. And John Stewart! Way to go! Every advertiser wins!!!
But enough of beating up on Senator Longhead, as my wife calls him. Let’s focus on the Lesser Evil philosophy for a minute. Bush is a joke—nothing short of a global embarrassment. Reward school districts that are working??? (And punish those that aren’t, of course—even if Jonathan Kozol, Tracy Kidder and others have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that this win-lose strategy is a classist, racist
Fiscal sanity in the halls of congress?? He’s got to be kidding. After three years of unprecedented control, his legacy is red ink as far as the eye can see. Of course, as long as the bleeding feeds the War Machine, all’s well that ends—well….that is, if it ends. But if spending were to go to protect the most vulnerable among us….well—now that’s when that famous Christian compassion gets a little fuzzy.
Republicans obviously complained that their candidate looked small….so they adjusted the cameras like the zoom function on a standard copy machine. The result is that Bush looks like a bloated balloon in the Macy’s Parade in his split-screen match up with Senator Tall. The whole charade makes me withdraw into Randy Newman’s unparalleled prose (before he sold out to Hollywood):
I never drink in the afternoon
I never drink alone
But I sure do like a drink or two
When I get home
Ain’t gonna worry no more
Every evening what I do
I sit here in this chair
Pour myself some whiskey
Watch my troubles vanish into the air
Overall, Kerry did a good job of exposing at least some of the meanness that underlies this retrograde throwback administration. But without the natural anger that the Worst Administration in History should elicit. Without the attitude?? Why? Attack the SOB! He’s a jackass and a liar and a war criminal and a front-man and a….ahhh…never mind.
The first administration since Hoover to lose jobs should take the rap for it, unless he wants to foot the bill for all the Bushvilles that will spring up in its wake.
Like a broken record, Bush keeps regurgitating the same spittle covering the same range of favored interest groups Republicans have been preying on for decades. Earpiece or not, Bush is a solid, reliable sock puppet repeating what he has been drilled. Knowing they would lose if they had this screaming, angry moron pacing around the stage, Rove & Co. rubber hosed their boy into drinking, writing, pausing, and furrowing like “his opponent.” To paraphrase Gary Trudeau on debates past: “Now then, which of you is Senator Kerry? Our only hope is that viewer will notice, in a quintessential Seinfeldian moment, that Bush’s puppeteers have “heightened” him a bit too much. Pass the Bourbon.
© 2004 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint permission granted with credit and link to
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Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia
Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The
Greenhouse School. Some of his articles have been broadcast on radio, and translations are available in up to 20 languages. Links to the website are appreciated at danielpwelch.com.