Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wanted: Sidekick, Must Be Able To Take A Punch

So, it's come down to Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney?

After three years of listening to the screechy monkeys wailing about Obama and crying about taking "their" country back, conservatives have apparently chosen Mitt Romney as the de facto GOP candidate.

Mitt Romney.

It's just me, right?

Yeah. It’s just me. Pardon me while I guffaw in hearty, yet ironic, amusement.

Mitt Romney.


Let's review, shall we?

The first to fall was the warm up comedy act, Dominar Rygel the Sixteenth Donald Trump.

The first real actual candidate to bow out was Jon Huntsman. As I said when he declared his campaign beneath the baleful copper gaze of Lady Liberty, Huntsman never had a chance. And that is a damned shame, because Huntsman probably came closest to what most Tea Party, Libertarians, and large number of conservatives say they want. Ironically, these are the same things moderates of both parties, many Liberals, and a significant number of the Occupy movement say they want as well. But I digress. Savvy, smart, experienced, down to earth, hardworking, about as non-partisan as you can get and still be a politician, a guy who understand business, a guy who was one of the most popular governors in US history, and a solid leader who likely understands China and Asia better than anybody else in the world (certainly orders of magnitude beyond any other current politician). Huntsman is a guy who doesn't much care for either of the mainstream American political parties and he is somebody who advocates for congressional term limits, profound campaign finance reform, and a major overhaul and strict limits on Congressional redistricting. A rather large number of Americans who have been going around calling themselves We The People claim they want to take their country back from the politicians, the things Huntsman advocates would go a long, long way towards giving them exactly that.

Naturally, Huntsman was eaten by the flying monkeys first.

The Three Stooges were next. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry each appealed to their own small paranoid fringe demographic of underpants gnomes. It should give all of us pause that they made it as far as they did, obviously there is a much larger population of the untreated mentally ill running about than any of us would have guessed. None of these goofs ever had a real chance, despite the personal endorsement of the Almighty, there just aren't enough Unibombers or members of the Texas Independence Movement to make a significant voting bloc, and let's face it, Godfather's pizza sucks giant dirty donkey balls. I do admit, however, that as somebody who writes about politics and as somebody who is as easily amused as I am, I was really rooting for Cain. I would have paid actual real genuine American cash bucks to see Herman The Pizza Man debate President Obama one on one, man to man and mano a mano, constipation to Constitution, live on national TV. I might even have subscribed to HBO for that that, because, honestly, there hasn’t been a really worthwhile comedy special since Palin's interview with Katie Couric. In my mind's eye I picture Cain’s head flopping backward and a crazy little Herman face looking out of his neck like Sam Rockwell's character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy madly shouting, "Magrathea! Magrathea!" (or maybe "Cheese Pizza! Cheese Pizza!").

Cain, Dread Cthulhu, talk about a guy whose brain runs on lemons, but I digress yet again.

Seriously, Zaphod Beeblebrox had a better chance at the nomination than any of these three twits.

Much less amusing was the other glassy-eyed religious zealot in the mix, Rick Santorum. Santorum is about as funny as cervical cancer and his brand of theocracy is just about as accepting and tolerant as an Ayatollah at a Castro District Pride parade. He was supposed to appeal to the conservative base, but he couldn't even muster up enough votes to win his own home state primary.

Next out was Newt Gingrich. Of course, he's not actually out yet, but will apparently announce next week that he's officially quitting the race. Then he'll take all his toys and retreat to Moon Base Reagan and write a book about how he won a moral victory and how he’s not really sulking. We're all just supposed to ignore the fact that Gingrich has repeatedly sworn he would stay in until Tampa, no matter what, cross my heart and hope to die. Of course there's nothing surprising about Gingrich's failure to keep a promise, it's pretty much his trademark. If he can screw over a couple of wives in the process, he gets a royalty payment.

Frankly, Gingrich only lasted as long as he has because the universe doesn't prevent crazy people from being Las Vegas billionaires or starting superPACs.

Then there's Ron Paul. I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that I really dislike this guy. I think he's a galloping goof and if his kid is any indication, it's probably a hereditary condition. His followers are starting to verge on the walleyed gibbering version of lost cause fanaticism (Magrathea! Magrathea!).  If they all decide to move to a jungle compound in Guyana and start eating each other I won't be even mildly surprised. But even I have to admit that Paul does seem to live up to what he preaches - that's fairly unique in a professional politician, especially this crowd, and especially one from Texas (Yes, yes, I know. Look I hate to keep busting on Texas, but seriously, you stop and I'll stop).

Ron Paul doesn't have to drop out, he was never actually in the race to begin with.

And so, after all the moaning and wailing and teeth gnashing, after three frantic piss-filled years of Hitler-tossing and horror struck dire warnings of sodomy and socialism, liberalism and death panels, communism and the end of the world and the Anti-Christ, totalitarianism, Marxism, the shambling undead corpse of Ronald Reagan, and OMFG Nazis! we're finally down to it.

And who did the Republicans pick?


Mitt Romney.

Ha ha h… wait, what?

After three years of bitching about presidential arrogance and the red tide from China, Republicans didn’t pick the down to earth guy with the foreign policy experience.  After three years of pointing out how the current occupant of the White House never served in the military and hates veterans and the working man and America, they didn’t pick the pray for rain cowboy cargo pilot.  After loudly lamenting the death of “traditional family values” and the insidious sparkly gay agenda, they didn’t pick Ford-Tough-Super-Duty-Uterus  Lady who also happens to be an expert in degayification.  Despite complaining bitterly about a lack of business acumen in the White House, they didn’t pick the guy who more or less claims to have invented the pizza industry single handedly, while walking up hill, both ways, to work barefoot in the snow. After a decade of pissing themselves blind over Muslims and bemoaning the lack of Jesus in the classroom they didn’t pick the Uber Christian. And after three years of complaining about the president’s comparative lack of experience in Washington and the cancellation of the space program, they didn’t pick the Beltway insider Moon Man either.

No, they picked the one guy who is politically closest and ideologically most like, wait for it, waaaaaaaaiiiiiit for it, most like Barack Obama.


You're shitting me, right?

So, in the end, after all the rhetoric and all the anguished rending of garments and self flagellation, after repeated threats of government shutdowns, after all the talk of taking our guns to Washington, after tea parties and talk of treason and secession and civil war, after the patriots and powdered wigs, after the tear gas and the Tasers, after the ridiculous idiotic birther nonsense and the endless silly comparisons of who the better Christian was, after all that bullshit about elitism and who had lost touch with the common man, they picked the handsome moderate elitist millionaire with a private elevator in the garage of his vacation mansion and the weird religion made from magic underpants and the funny marriage customs who championed universal healthcare, gun control, big government and made his fortune by liquidating jobs and closing businesses and who said that he would do pretty much exactly what the current President has been doing to end the war and fix the economy (only he'd do it faster and without any OMFG Nazis!).

Refresh my memory, what was all the rabid frothy objection to Obama again?

What could it be? What could it be?

Hmmmm. It’s a puzzle.

What’s that you say?

Oh, yeah, that. Riiiiight. I'm sure that's not it. Never mind. Move along, nothing to see here.

So anyway now that the GOP Sausage Machine has spit out this cycle’s wiener, the only question remaining is: who's Romney going to select as a running mate?

Marco Rubio? Chris Christie? Paul Ryan?  Rubio is supposed to appeal to Latinos because apparently Mexicans can’t tell themselves from Cubans either. Paul is supposed to appeal to people who like spread sheets and poverty. Christie is supposed to appeal to people who are still in mourning over the end of The Sopranos.  All likely choices. All boring and predictable. Just like Mitt himself. 

Romney needs to shake things up, show some spontaneity for crying out loud.  Appeal to those fringe elements who bailed out of the process and hightailed it for their mountain shacks and bible bunkers when Romney’s fellow candidates fell by the wayside.

Sarah Palin?  As amusing as a rerun of Word Salad Sally would be, there’s spontaneity and there’s going rogue.  Rogue is what they call it when an enraged elephant goes completely nuts, begins trumpeting wildly and biting at its own tail, tramples everything around into pulp, and is then eventually shot dead by the surviving bloodied villagers after rampaging through a church bus filled with crippled orphans.  Nobody wants that (well, OK, almost nobody wants that).

How about Ted Nugent? He’s already on a first name basis with the Secret Service and he’d be a hoot at fundraisers.


So who then?

Republicans picked the candidate most like Obama for president, doesn’t it make sense to find a guy similar to Joe Biden for Veep?

Let's see, Biden is old, white, outspoken, profane, gaff prone, a lawyer, Catholic, immodest, nonintellectual. He got out of going to Vietnam with a draft deferment … holy hell! Joe Biden is practically a Republican already! If we could get him to snort cocaine out a gay prostitute’s belly button, or maybe torture a prisoner or two, his journey to the dark side would be complete! He’d forget all about that equal rights and sissy global warming stuff.

Sure, that’s it!

Joe Biden. He could be both Obama and Romney’s running mate.

Hey, smaller government, right? It’ll foster closer ties between Left and Right. C’mon, it’ll be like one of those arranged marriages in Game of Thrones.  Sorry Joe, it’s your duty, for the good of the realm.  You marry Prince Joffrey tomorrow at noon. Buck up, Man, you’ll grow to love him. 

Think of the money we’ll save.

States will save money by having one less name to print on the ballots, it’s not much but it adds up – especially if we could reuse Biden for two or three more election cycles. No matter how it shakes out, we don’t have to change the name on the VP’s office, don’t have to hire new staff or clean out the fridge or redecorate the VP Residence.  Hey! I’ve got an idea.  Dig this, the Constitution doesn’t assign any actual duties to the VP, in fact nobody is really sure which branch of government he even belongs to. He just sort of lurks around Washington watching TV and surfing the internet and making smart Alec comments.  But, and this is my point, he gets a government paycheck.  That’s right, the Vice President of the United States gets paid to do nothing, hell, even Prince Charles has to attend shopping mall openings and polo matches and stuff.  The American VP? Nada.  I say that’s a luxury we can no longer afford to keep on the payroll.  We save money by recycling the VP, we can save even more by putting him to work. So, what can the Vice President do?  Oh the list is endless, somebody needs to wash Air Force One, walk the First Pooch, weed the Rose Garden, clean up after GSA parties.  That kind of thing. There’s nothing in the Constitution that prevents it (that’s totally true, I looked it up on the internet). 

Sure, that’s it, Joe Biden, he’d be the perfect guy for Romney’s running mate.

Ok, just think about it. That’s all I asking.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The People We Were, The People We Are

We used to know each other.

I always wondered what happened to you, where you ended up, what you became, how your life turned out.

My memory isn’t what it once was, but I still remember you, I do.

Despite the years, decades even, I’d still recognize your face in a crowd – at least I think I would.  Probably.

It’s been a long time though, hasn’t it?

We were friends, you and I.  Once, long ago.

Maybe we were inseparable or maybe we just sort of knew each other like people do, either way there was a time I would have counted you among my friends. Yes I would have and I don’t say that lightly.  I have a lot of acquaintances but by design I don’t have a lot of friends; I treasure the ones I do have.  I treasure the people who made a difference in my life, even if they exist only as memories now.

I remember you and the times we shared fondly.

I remember that I looked up to you and valued your viewpoint and opinion. I had a hard time finding myself when I was young, I wasn’t the most pleasant person or the most easygoing back then. I tend to live a bit louder than the average and I truly valued your patience with me. I respected you and you should know that you helped to shape my worldview though maybe not in a way you expected.

We were schoolmates maybe, growing up together during a childhood that is much further away now than either of us like to acknowledge.  We grew up in the same neighborhood.  Or maybe we were boy scouts together.  We met at summer camp, or on the baseball diamond, or at the lake.  Maybe we were co-workers decades ago, back before I left Michigan to see the world. Sure, we slung hash and bussed tables together, we lusted after the same hot waitresses in their cheap polyester skirts who wouldn’t give us the time of day and we hated the same jerk managers and made fun of their silly comb-overs and crappy two dollar clip-on ties.  We worked side by side on the paint line at the car factory, sharing a Marlboro Red during break to get the stink of burning metal and wet enamel out of our noses (Dumb? Sure, but back then we were positive that we were immortal. And why shouldn’t we have believed that? Nothing had killed us up to that point).   We bailed hay and drove tractors and shoveled cow manure together.  We drank cheap lousy beer from a keg around a bonfire at a party in somebody’s backyard surrounded by faceless people that I have long ago forgotten. Or maybe we met in the service. Two and a half decades in uniform, a dozen deployments, one quick month-long war and two endless decade-long ones, a half dozen ships, a dozen duty stations, six continents and seven seas, I met a lot of people. We might have been shipmates, you and I.  Maybe we stood the watch together on some Cold War cruiser off the coast of Africa or Russia or Greenland, or maybe we crossed the Pacific together and sailed through the Straits of Malacca or Indonesia or Hormuz. Maybe we went on liberty together, drinking and swearing and raising hell as only Sailors can through the streets of Mallorca and Tel Aviv and Athens and Rome and Cairo and Sidney and Hong Kong and Singapore and Nairobi and Freemantle and two dozen other places and countries that I no longer recall.  Maybe we hunted pirates off the Horn of Africa, sweating our butts off in that goddamned inhuman heat or maybe we chased drug smugglers in the Caribbean or down off the mysterious Galapagos Islands under the light of the Southern Cross.  Maybe we served together at some long gone duty station in some forgotten part of the world, trying to figure out what the hell we were doing in such a miserable godforsaken place, stuck in the festering armpit of the universe surrounded by people who hated our stinking guts or maybe just the opposite, hell and gone from the rest of civilization and so close to the edge of the world that you could see it.  Maybe we slogged through the same warzone together, wondering if we would ever make it home again, miserable and sweating and afraid and wondering what we ever did to deserve such a fate or witness such devastation.

Maybe we shed tears over the same fallen comrades, the same lost friends.

I’ve got a box of old faded photos around here somewhere, because back when I knew you cameras still used film. I’ve still got those albums, and I’ve still got those pictures. You know the ones I’m talking about. I’ve seen you piss drunk and I seen you cold sober. I’ve seen you scared and tired and hungry. I’ve seen you laugh and I’ve seen you cry.  You once told me about your dreams and what you hoped to get out of your life. I remember that you wanted to open your own restaurant, or maybe it was a bar and grill (even going so far as to draw up floor plans and menus and pick out locations), you wanted to be a singer (I heard your demo tape, the one you cut when you were 19, the one you scraped together $500 bucks to make at some fly-by-night studio with a drunk session keyboardist and a second-rate soundboard and a broken microphone. It was terrible, goddamn was it terrible, but hey, it was you and you know what? Even though you can’t sing for shit and I haven’t seen you in decades, I still have that tape and some day, if I can find a working cassette player, I’m going to upload it to your kid’s Facebook page),  you wanted to be an orthodontist (honest to God, what kind of kid dreams about being a dentist? But that was you), you wanted to be a poet, you wanted to drive a taxi, you wanted to go back home and be a small town cop.  You wanted to be a doctor, you were going to do good, save people, serve in the Peace Corps.  You were going to be a priest, you were going to walk in the footsteps of Jesus or Gandhi or Indiana Jones. You showed me pictures of your kids and your spouse and your butt-ugly three-legged dog (or maybe that was your new baby, it’s been a long time, I forget). 

We were going to change the world, you and me. Make it better. Wasn’t that what we were taught? Service above self. Respect. Duty. Honor. Be trustworthy and loyal. Integrity. Help others. Heal the sick. Clothe the poor. Feed the hungry.  Help little old ladies across the street. Leave only footsteps, take only memories.

You worked with others, of all faiths and none, maybe you believed and maybe you didn’t and maybe you just didn’t care one way or the other but you didn’t make an issue out of it.  If you talked about your faith, or lack thereof, you weren’t an ass about it, you didn’t proselytize, you didn’t try to witness me,  and you didn’t try to force your beliefs on me – because if you had, well, we wouldn’t have been friends, would we?  You didn’t hate others for believing differently, or if you did you never said so out loud and that was good enough.

You used to believe in taking care of the planet.  Remember when we were Scouts? Leave no trace, isn’t that what we practiced? You taught me that. Remember when we were kids and that commercial about keeping America beautiful, that one with Iron Eyes Cody and narrated by Robert Conrad? Remember the Exxon Valdez and Love Canal? There was a time when we, you and I, believed that we were stewards of this world and we wanted to leave it better than we found it, we wanted the next generations to know the forests and the lakes and the beauty that we knew.

In all the time I knew you, I never heard you call people who were different traitors or un-American or enemies or lazy parasites who were destroying America, I never heard you call people socialists or fascists or Nazis (Nazis for God’s sake. Nazis) just because they didn’t belong to your political party.  And the only people you called commies were communists, not the 208 members of Congress who happen to have different political beliefs than you.

We used to talk about science. Of course we grew up in the same decade when men walked upon the moon.  We believed, you and I, believed in science, in technology.  In education and learning.  We read the works of Heinlein and Asimov and Clarke and we wanted to go, and hell, we even believed that we would.  Someday.

I never knew you to buy into crazy conspiracy theories and obvious nonsense and hysterical talk radio bullshit.

I don’t remember you being afraid all of the time, afraid of everybody and everything.

I don’t remember you thinking that guns and violent revolution and theocracy were good ideas.

I don’t remember you ever using a racial slur, or demeaning women or minorities. You were the guy who would have spoken up, who would have put a stop to it and, man, back then I wished that I had  half of your courage.

I don’t remember you hating people.

Hell, you used to enjoy meeting people who were different, people like me for example.  You accepted people the way they were, people like me for example, and that was so unusual in my personal experience that it profoundly changed how I viewed the world – and how I treated others.

I didn’t know there were people like you and you have no idea how much I admired you for being you.

You helped me grow up.

That’s one of the things I really, really respected about you.

Even after all these years that’s the thing I remember most about you. Your face grows hazy in my memory and maybe I really wouldn’t recognize you in a crowd after all, but I will always remember the way you treated others, people like me for example.  I’ve always carried that lesson with me and I’ve always tried to live up to your example – even if I haven’t always been as successful at it as I’d like.


Maybe I’m remembering it wrong. 


It was a long time ago and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since we last saw each other. 

But, you know, I remember plenty of folks from the same time who hated others, who were bullies and jerks and hysterical fools. I remember those who were small minded religious bigots. I remember those who thought they could solve every problem with their fists, believe me I remember those people very clearly – despite the various head trauma I’ve suffered over the years that part of my brain, the part that stores those memories, remains solidly intact. I remember those who were racists and xenophobes and haters.  I remember those who treated people who were different, me for example, with contempt and scorn and mockery.

I don’t remember you being one of them.

Maybe that’s why I was so glad to hear from you again after all these years.

You found me on Facebook or saw my Twitter feed or you came across my name listed at TogetherWeServed.  A friend of a friend of an acquaintance forwarded you something I wrote and you realized you used to know me.  You saw a link to something I wrote in the national media or on a blog or via StumbleUpon or Reddit or on Google Plus. 

You did a web search and somehow you ended up here at Stonekettle Station.

One way or the other, we reconnected after ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years.

And that’s when you found out I wasn’t the person you imagined I was.

Don’t feel bad, the discovery was mutual.

You, whoever you are, always start your message the same way. You tell me how smart you thought I was, how much you used to respect me or how funny you thought I was. What a card, what good times we had. But (and there’s always that but isn’t there? I can always see it coming. But.  I used to really respect you, but…  I used to admire you, but… I remember what a smart guy you were, but…). You read something I wrote and you were appalled.  Now to be fair, you gave me the benefit of the doubt, or benefit of your denial, whatever, and decided that I was just misguided.  You could straighten me out if you just quoted Rush or Glenn or the Savage Wiener at me.  When that didn’t work, well, then you couldn’t wait to tell me just how utterly disappointed you were in the way I turned out.

I’m not the guy you think I should be.

Sorry about that.

But hey, it turns out you’re not the person I thought you were either.

I guess that makes us even.

Nowadays you call yourself a Patriot or a True American or a Constitutionalist, implying of course that I am not, despite the fact that I’ve spent my entire adult life sworn to uphold and defend that same Constitution, that same America and despite the fact that I’ve put my life on the line to uphold that oath.

Somewhere in the intervening decades, you stopped believing in science and started believing that science is some vast conspiracy theory, a dodge, a con game to make scientists rich – the fact that you’re surrounded by rising seas and melting glaciers and dying species and the fossil record and can’t point to very many rich scientists doesn’t seem to deter you at all.  If the filthy rich guy in the the multi-million dollar temple of glass and steel and gold says it’s true, well it must be so. 

Somehow, somewhere, you gave up your dream of being a teacher and started sneering at education. Like scientists, teachers seem to deserve only your contempt and scorn. Our parents dreamed of their children having a better education than they did, you demand that your kids, and mine, have less. 

Somehow you went from accepting those that were different, like me for example, and started surrounding yourself with people just like yourself.  You’re the guy that turned the Boy Scouts from an organization that once included all, into a small withering outfit that is largely defined today by those that they hate and exclude.  Don’t. Don’t bother to try and tell me different, I’ve seen exactly what it became with my own eyes when I tried to introduce my own son to an organization I once dearly loved.  I remember a guy we once called a friend, one of the best scout leaders we ever knew, a guy that lived up to the Scout Oath and the Scout Law every single day – a guy people like you kicked out of Scouting because it turned out he was gay.  He died of cancer a while back, with his lifelong companion by his side, and all those Scouts he helped and guided and mentored over the years, well, they pretended that they didn’t even know him. So much for loyalty and courage and doing the right thing.

Somehow environmentalism became a dirty word for you.  Leave No Trace somehow became Drill, Baby, Drill.  Conservation became Consumption and anything else is just plain unpatriotic.  Our children can live without the forests and the lakes and the beauty we knew, so long as they can still buy an SUV.

Somewhere along the  line you stopped believing in bearded happy robe-wearing Jesus, that guy who welcomed all and admonished you to do onto others and love your neighbor as yourself.  Instead you took up with the Mirror Universe Messiah, the angry goatee wearing soldier Jesus who carries a high-capacity 9mm H&K concealed in his cammies and hates pretty much every goddamned body.  Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the sick, love your neighbor, that hippy garbage is for suckers and socialists and people who want to enslave us all.   You’re all about America being a Christian nation run by militant Christians in accordance with Christian values, just as long as that means government can use Jesus as an excuse to dictate a woman’s reproductive and healthcare choices, but not when it comes to having a government that does what Jesus specifically commanded you to do – because charity, of course, is about individual choice. I guess it’s a whole lot easier to shoot an abortion doctor than it is to feed and care for the tens of thousands who go to bed hungry and cold and sick every night.

You used to be fearless, but somehow you ended up afraid all of the time.  Afraid of everything and everybody, afraid of change, afraid to hope, and afraid of anybody different, people like me for example.  You live in the freest nation in the world and in a time of nearly unlimited opportunity, you have enough to eat and a warm place to sleep and unfettered access to endless information, you’ve got fresh water and healthcare and a sanitary place to take a shit without it ending up in your food supply and you’ve got all the goddamned guns you can afford. Your worst damned day is better than what ninety percent of the world’s population will ever experience, ever, in their entire miserable short brutal lives.  But you’re still afraid. Maybe it’s because you only listen to people who tell you to be afraid, dimwitted small minded fearful haters who make a profit on your fear, folks like Ted Nugent and Allen West and Sarah Palin. Maybe it’s because you only listen to people like Rush and Glenn and Sean instead of actual scientists, engineers, economists, or people who have actually gone more than fifty miles from where they were born, people like me for example.

Maybe it’s because you want to be afraid. 

For all the things I once admired about you, for all the things you taught me, for all the glad memories we share, it saddens me that it should be so. 

We used to know each other.

I always wondered what happened to you.

I always wondered where you ended up, what you became, how your life turned out.

Now I know.

And I wish that I didn’t.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The War Is Over, But The Battle Rages On…

And then there were, er, uh, two?

Two actual GOP candidates I mean. 

And one of the two is Ron Paul, so technically it’s really just Mitt Romney.

Or is it?


Santorum’s out. For sure. Sort of. Maybe.

We made a decision over the weekend that, while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting."

We’re not done fighting.

But, we will suspend our campaign.

Santorum is out like Newt Gingrich is out.  Like Michelle Bachmann is out.  Like Rick Perry is out.  Like Herman Cain is out. 

They’re out. But they’re not out out. They quit, but they didn’t quit quit.

They lost, but they’re still fighting. 

Kind of like their queen,

It may be tempting and more comfortable to keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand [that you] sit down and shut up, but that’s the worthless easy path. That’s a quitter’s way out

That was Sarah Palin, during her resignation speech when she quit her job as Alaska State Governor on July 3, 2009

It’s over, but we’re not done fighting?

We’re done, but we’re not done.

We quit, but we didn’t actually quit.

What the hell does that even mean?

Honestly, suspend? We suspended our campaign. It’s so totally not like quitting.  We’re not running for office any more, but we didn’t quit. No no, quitting is for quitters.  We not quitters, we suspended our campaign. We’re suspenders

Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry, and now Santorum all “suspended” their campaign.

Then they all vowed to keep fighting (just like they all vowed to go all the way to Tampa, but I digress, as is my wont).

Refresh my memory, aren’t these the same people who so utterly despise “political correctness” and who pride themselves on “saying it like it is” without sugar coating? Really aren’t these those people?

Why the hell can’t they just admit that they lost and they are now quitting?

Honestly, I think there needs to be some kind of federal law or Constitutional amendment or a Fatwa from His Humungous, the Pope, or something that compels politicians to stand in front of a camera and say this exact line, “I quit.  I am defeated. My campaign is over. I concede. I have lost.  I am a loser. I was beaten. I am no longer a candidate. I am a worm.  I am lower than whale turds on the bottom of the sea.  I have lost, lost, lost.  I will now slink home where I will sit in my darkened living room wearing nothing but a pair of dirty boxer shorts and watch reruns of SpongeBob Squarepants while moaning like a small child with a belly ache. I will drink cheap red wine straight from the box and go unwashed and cry until my wife brings me a grilled cheese sandwich with the crust trimmed off and some Chef Boyardee Spaghetti-O’s with the little cut up weenies in ‘em.”

Then they should be publically marked with a large “L” drawn on their foreheads in indelible black Sharpie Marker and be forced to wear their underpants on the outside of their clothes for a year whenever they are out in public.

I guarantee that a law like that would dramatically cut down on this “suspend” bullshit. 

Yes, yes. I’m an idea man, everybody says so. Make sure they spell my name correctly on the Nobel, my middle name is “Goddamned.”

The battle is over.

But we’re going to keep fighting.

What? Like one of those Japanese soldiers they used to find in a cave on some long forgotten South Pacific island fifty years after World War II ended? All wild-eyed and bearded and raggedy-assed, living on rats and drinking his own piss. Still fighting for a long defunct Emperor and a nation that had been burned to the ground and rebuilt as a country that makes fuel-efficient cars, creepy Anime porn, and music that sounds like a cat and a fire alarm in a blender? Like that? Is that how they’ll “keep fighting?”  Because I would totally pay to see Rick Santorum drink his own piss, I’m just saying.

Santorum didn’t give a reason for his non-quitting campaign suspension. 

The press seems to think it was because of his daughter, Bella, who has a rare genetic disorder and was hospitalized over the weekend. As a parent myself, I’m sure Santorum loves his daughter with all of his small calloused heart and her welfare is of the utmost importance to him and I think he’s perfectly sincere when he says so. And if he did quit because he puts the welfare of his family over his own ambition, well, you know, good on him.  But I think that ship sailed about six months ago,  his daughter didn’t just get sick, she’s been sick since the moment she was conceived and she’s always going to be sick despite all the prayers to the Great Bird of the Universe to make it otherwise – well, unless secular science and the Satan-spawned stem-cell medical research Rick Santorum doesn’t believe in finds a cure, but I digress yet again.  His daughter’s tragic illness is nothing new, and I seriously doubt that it was the reason for Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign even if his campaign does decide to officially use her as an excuse.  I have no proof of this, of course, but I strongly suspect that like the other ego-driven jackasses who have also recently fallen off the GOP bug-wagon on the way to Crazytown, Santorum bailed out so that he could claim that he went out a winner.  I think he quit, ur sorry, suspended his campaign because the polls in Pennsylvania were looking pretty damned grim for Rick Santorum.  These are the folks who know Santorum the best, and they’re the ones who handed him a big pink slip after his second term in the Senate. It’s not his daughter, it’s his ego, he just can’t stand the thought of having to admit he lost. To Romney. In his own home state. Even Gingrich didn’t have to suffer that indignity. If Santorum can’t even win over his own neighbors, hell, his own family, on his own home turf, it’s going to be damned hard to avoid having to drink his own piss on national TV.  But if he bails out now, before Pennsylvania, he can claim that he left on his own terms, i.e. as a winner – which is a lot like running the Boston Marathon for five miles, then stopping, doing a few stretches, and claiming victory by saying, “hey, at least I didn’t end up puking on myself in the middle of the street in front of my own children. I’ve still got my dignity, man, and that makes me a winner. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go give the actual winner some advice on winning…”

We will suspend our campaign.

But, we’re not done fighting!

Honestly, what the hell?

What if we actually did business that way? No really, what if we all behaved like this? As a society? What if civilization operated like some institutionalized version of Road Rage? What? You beat me to the exit?  You passed me? You cut me off? Oh no you didn’t girlfriend!  Why you dirty rotten son of a bitch! Now it is so totally on!

I know by definition we’re all supposed to be adults here, but we’re just going to go on acting like petulant children. Why not.

What if we approached civil rights like this? Sure the marches and protests and court cases are long over. We know what the right thing is.  Everybody is equal, sort of, and yeah, sure we voted for segregation and Separate But Equal and George Wallace, and sure we ended up on the wrong side of history.  But you know what? We’re just going go right on hating people based on their skin color and ethnicity and gender and sexual orientation and we’ll just keep right on trying to deny them an equal share of society. Yep. The war’s over, but we’ll just keep right on fighting for something we know is wrong.

Damned straight.

Or say the environment?  Oh yes, sure, okay, turns out that you can’t just keep dumping sewage and heavy metals and industrial waste into the water supply without consequence.  Turns out that natural resources aren’t, in fact, infinite. Turns out that if you destroy enough of an environment or kill enough of something, it goes away forever and God doesn’t just wave his big juju magic God stick and make more.  Sure, ok, we’ve seen enough dead lakes and Exxon Valdezes and Love Canals and Cancer Alleys and superfund sites and Dustbowls and mid-ocean garbage patches and Great Irish Potato Famines and deep water oil well blowouts and Salton Seas and droughts and plagues and famines to know that we can’t just keep shitting in our own nest without consequences. Sure we get that, but we’re just going to keep acting like we can because despite all evidence to the contrary and a thousand years of recorded human history and thousands, hell millions, of examples to the contrary we’re going to believe that industry will regulate itself.  In our best interest.  Just because.

Drill, Baby, drill.

And not only industry, Wall Street too.  Sure, despite the catastrophic implosions of unregulated markets during the 1720 Mississippi Bubble, or the Great Panic of 1819 (and 1837, 1847, 1857, 1884, 1893, 1896, 1901, and 1907), followed by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 which plunged the world into the Great Depression, the recession of 1937, Silver Thursday and Black Wednesday, the Dot Com Bubble, and don’t forget the Housing Market Crash, and the recent Not-So-Great Recession, what we need here is less regulation. Sure.  Because banks and business can regulate themselves and what’s good for them is good for us. We need to get out of the way of the job creators, like Lehman Brothers and Enron and Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and, well, we’ll keep fighting for those corporate citizens, because they’re people too you know.

And you know what else those citizens need?  More tax breaks. Sure thirty years it’s been now and so far trickle-down economics has mostly trickled from the billionaires to the millionaires, but sooner or later, yeah baby, it’ll trickle right on down to us peons. You just wait. Any minute now Reagonomics is going to pay off big time. Any minute now. And sure, those rich bastards have been basking in the Bush era tax cuts for a decade now, and so far instead of creating jobs they sent about six million of them overseas or liquidated them all together, but man, you know what they need? More tax breaks. Then they’ll create some jobs. You’ll see.  Hey, only in a great country like America would unemployed folks whose jobs were sent to India be out in the street wearing Tri-Corner hats and demanding tax breaks for Millionaires.

Seriously, is this a great club or what?

Hey, here’s some good news, we got the Israelis and the Palestinians to sign another peace treaty! Because, this time, this time, man, Hamas won’t suddenly start lobbing rockets into Jewish towns and Hezbollah won’t decide to detonate a car bomb in downtown Tel Aviv or a bunch of Orthodox Jewish extremists won’t suddenly decide they just have to build a new settlement right smack in the middle of some Arab’s olive orchard.  This peace treaty is signed but we’re just going to go right on doing the same stupid shit and killing the same people and hating each other. Because that worked out so well up to now.

And speaking of bombing the Third World into democracy, sure we damned near bankrupted ourselves by invading Iraq and Afghanistan, but you know what would pay that right off, invade Iran! Peace through more war.  Of course, sadly, the war is over.  We didn’t win, but, heck, we’re not gonna lose either.  Now, we could have peace and get on with the business of rebuilding the country.  Sure, we could do that … or, we could just keep blowing shit up anyway. Maybe strap on some C4 and go light that sucker up in the middle of the market place. Keep shootin’ people randomly.  You know, like that.  We quit, but we didn’t quit quit if you know what I’m sayin’. And a hundred years from now the Iraqi equivalent of Rednecks will still be driving around Bagdad with Saddam Hussein’s flag plastered across the back window of their pickup trucks and explaining to everybody that will listen how denying Shi’ites equal rights isn’t really, actually, bigotry, it’s just a symbol of our history, man. 

Oh, yes, let us have some more of that.


You know, on second thought, it’s probably a good thing we don’t run civilization like these silly self involved bastards run campaigns, eh?





And then, this afternoon Newt Gingrich said despite suspending his campaign and bouncing checks to the state of Utah and having basically conceded, he was going to continue the fight. He said,

I want to keep campaigning!

Man, I really hope this doesn’t mean we’re all going to have to start drinking our own piss.

I’m just saying is all.