Monday, November 14, 2011

In Cloud Cuckooland Mitt der Republicans

The dog-and-pony show called the Republican presidential nomination process goes on, via endless, yet sometimes entertaining debates. Republicans in Congress continue to scuttle President Obama by taking the jobs legislation he has asked for, voting it down, then blaming him. It's perfect Republican thinking. Up is down, down up. By voting against what 90% of the public wants they are doing the public a favor. In 2011 Republicans have given up their American citizenship to become citizens of Cloud Cuckooland, and their presidential candidates reflect the goofiness.

The word is out that the Republican establishment, especially conservatives and tea party types, think of the drawn out nomination process as trying to find someone other than Mitt Romney as their 2012 nominee. The evangelical voters are especially anti-Romney and anti-Mormon. Romney leads in most polls but never by much. Huntsman, another Mormon, was a popular governor before leaving office to be Obama's ambassador to China. His non-starter candidacy has probably been tainted by that, and he's usually last in the polls.

Both Latter-day Saints candidates were born to privilege and wealth. Romney's dad, George, was president of American Motors before his abortive presidential campaign in 1968. Huntsman's father, Jon Huntsman, Sr., is a billionaire industrialist, whose fortune was made by those styrofoam clamshells in which McDonald's used to put their hamburgers. Huntsman the elder has branched out into other areas now that the styrofoam has gone the way of other earth-unfriendly packaging, but he's still worth billions. Huntsman the younger has the money to diddle about in politics, and doesn't need to work. Huntsman Senior also funds the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and is known for his charitable works.

There's nothing wrong with wealth, per se, but neither Romney or Huntsman are "common people."


For television's sake, and the short attention span of the public, we live with sound bites rather than substance. The stories that make the evening news have to do with gaffes or flubs. In a recent debate Rick Perry couldn't remember one of the three federal agencies he wanted to abolish, and that got a great deal of play on TV. What got my attention, and much more important, was the endorsement of torture by both Herman Cain and Michele Bachman. You'd want one of these people as President, wouldn't you? (Shudder.) Herman Cain, who used the Bush-era term "enhanced interrogation technique" to describe waterboarding also said he'd turn over the decision to use torture to the military, rather than to civilians. Not the way we do it in this country, Godfather! Turning over ultimate control of anything to the military is like inviting them to come in the Oval Office, shoot the President and take over the country. Okay, that's extreme paranoia, but it's happened in so many countries around the world it's not like it isn't a possibility.

Saying they don't mind one form of torture shows me they probably wouldn't mind using other forms of torture. Torture is one of those activities we associate with dictators, absolute monarchs and psycho serial killers, not with democratically elected governments. At least not out in the open. (I have a lot of problems with turning prisoners over to other countries with a history of torture for interrogation, then taking the results but washing our hands of the sin.)

For once Herman Cain may be glad to be out of the media spotlight. The story of his sexual harassment of former female employees got a lot of play, and his approval rating is dropping precipitously. But his harassment story was supplanted by the child abuse sex scandal at Penn State University. The public doesn't see sexual harassment as being as serious as men raping little boys, which is cause for murderous public outrage. In the Penn State case former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested for having sex with a young boy in the locker room shower, and another coach is in trouble for not calling he police when he witnessed the crime. A popular head coach (did I say popular? I mean godlike) was fired, as was the University president. Herman Cain and his advisors might be the only people in the country who are glad the story broke in time to take some heat away from them.

Hey, know how other prisoners feel about child molesters?


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