Political Gum Hockey

Political Commentary and Humor

Fearing being ignored, Bachmann Names Names

Michele Bachmann today made a desperate plea for attention.  After surging to the top for several hours one day last summer, Bachmann has since been written off as a political has-been despite constant unserious claims to being a serious candidate.  And today she went for her Hail Mary pass.

Yes, she named her fake short list for possible VP running mates.  They include:

Rick Santorum: The only serious person in the bunch.  Though the whole “hate gays” thing is probably not going to win over too many Independent voters.

Donald Trump: I’m not kidding.  No, seriously, I’m not kidding.  She actually mentioned Donald Trump as a possible VP.  If nothing in the world had convinced voters that Bachmann is a joke, then this pushed them over the edge.

Jim DeMint (South Carolina) and Marco Rubio (Florida): Wow, can you say “pandering” to the tea party?  The same tea party that fell in love with her (see above “several hours one day”) before dumping her on the way to the day that they would set the date for the rehearsal dinner.  The tea party has since jumped to Trump, to Cain, to Perry, to Gingrich, and to new levels of insanity.  So yep, the once tea party darling thinks that picking other once tea party darlings as a running mate is going to get her the nomination?

Wow.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled ignoring of Michele Bachmann, the serious person with 5 natural born children and 23 foster children (for at least hours at a time).

P.S. Yes, the photo is on purpose. You figure it out.

Advertisements

December 1, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Implosion of the Republican Candidates for President

The past few weeks have seen a remarkable implosion of the 2012 Republican candidates for President.  And it’s only October, still 3 months before the first (early) ballots are cast.

Not long ago Michele Bachmann was riding high on her win in the Iowa straw polls.  The straw poll, which actually hasn’t been a very good predictor of who wins the Iowa caucuses or the nomination, was for some reason seen as a watershed moment.  Bachmann wins! Bachmann rises to the top of the field!  Bachmann got less votes than she had paid for in tickets! Oh. Since then Bachmann’s fortunes have run down like an unsuspecting sucker at a curbside craps game.  In fact, “since then” was immediate, as in when Rick Perry declared his candidacy the very same day as the Iowa straw poll.  And since then her campaign manager has dumped her (and trashed her), her campaign is racking up debt, and now her New Hampshire campaign team has resigned en masse (or not, depending on who you ask).  Other campaign staffers haven’t been paid in at least a month.  So the tea party backing of Bachmann is back to back-stabbing and backward glances as Bachmann struggles desperately to keep her head above water.

Then there is Rick Perry himself.  He flashed onto the scene and immediately was elevated by the tea party crowd as their newest savior (claiming that he was their first choice all along, well, after all the others who said no).  Then Perry did something he regretted.  He showed up at a Republican debate.  Big mistake.  Perry’s performance was at best uneven.  And it was all downhill from there.  Half the time he seemed to barely there in ensuing debates.  And when he did say something it usually made him sound like he didn’t have the foggiest what he was saying.  Not the kind of performances that inspire the passion of the zealots on whom his candidacy must rely.  And so he sank from the top to somewhere in that middle where former top people go before they disappear into the ooze with the rest of the bottom feeders.  His most recent performance woke up the zealots, but showed that he could counter his lack of knowledge and debating adroitness with arrogance and pettiness.  Good one.

The latest to implode is Herman Cain.  What’s surprising is not that he is imploding but that the tea party had chosen him to inflate beyond all proportion in the first place.  Cain made a name for himself early in the debates by declaring that he is an anti-Muslim bigot.  Since then he has stolen a ridiculous catch-phrase (9-9-9) from a video game and even more ridiculously suggested that it was a serious attempt to fix the tax system.  Which he would do by raising taxes on the working poor and the middle class while virtually eliminating taxes on the very wealthiest.  That is exactly in line with what the tea party has pushed with nearly all of its hostage-taking tactics, so there is no surprise they love it. [It’s also in line with how he made Pizza Hut profitable – by closing half of its stores and laying off thousands of workers.]  Clearly a serious contender for the Presidency can’t have such a complete lack of awareness of his own silliness, but there it is every day.   And now he’s devolved into Palinesque incoherency where, as one conservative commentator and former Republican congressman put it, Cain is just making stuff up as he goes along.  Cain isn’t very able.

Which leaves who?  Mitt Romney, of course, who other than this last debate came off as being one of the few adults in the room (not counting the journalist moderators).  In the “adult” category you can add Jon Huntsman, but he seems way too reasonable for the tea party (not to mention his comedic timing is really really bad).  There is Newt Gingrich, who sort of sounds like an adult because he uses bigger words than the others, but also has a tendency to sound petulant.  There is Rick Santorum…oh, never mind.  There’s those two or three guys who are running that no one knows because they can’t garner enough support to even qualify for the debates (which is pretty sad given that Herman Cain is there and so is Jon Huntsman, who can’t seem to get much more than his immediate family to notice him).  And let’s not forget Ron Paul, who has a loyal following amongst the more libertarian folks who think the American government is some communist plot to steal all of our freedoms.

So we have the tea party running the Republican show these days and latching onto every incompetent nutjob they can find to be – in  succession, – “The One.”  And each and every “The One” sprints to the front of the pack only to be run over by the pack as they flame out and drop into the mud of their own creation.  Then there are the also-rans that run also, but nowhere fast.  And then there are the serious candidates.  Right now the closest thing to a serious candidate the Republican party can muster is “the next guy in line,” Mitt Romney.  And the tea party (rightly) hates him.  Romney epitomizes everything the tea party says they hate about government – the slick establishment politician, the “say anything to get elected” candidate, the “compromiser,” and OMG, he’s not the “right kind” of Christian.

So will the tea party prove themselves to be hypocrites and vote for Romney knowing that Romney would actually not do any of the things the tea party wants him to do?  Or would they “stick to their principles” and make sure Romney doesn’t get the Republican nomination.  After all, Romney is “one of them establishment” politicians and “not one of us.”

October 22, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Republicans Come Together to Debate Obama, Talk About Their Kids, Ignore Each Other

Five children and 23 foster children trumps merely 7 kids.  That seemed to be the theme last night at the first real Republican debate.

Okay, they did talk about other stuff too, but it did seem odd that how many children you have would be used as a qualifier for the nomination of Republican party candidate for president.  But unlike the bizarre “Coke vs Pepsi” questions of moderator John King, this one seemed to set the tone for the debate.

In short, the debate (insert air quotes around that word) was about trying to say the right things to get the tea party vote.  It was an exercise in attacking the sitting President without even seeming to be aware of the differing opinions of the seven Republicans standing on stage.  And the result was as expected – Romney came off looking presidential, Santorum and Paul came off looking irrelevant, Cain came off looking like a backtracking anti-Muslim bigot, and Pawlenty came of looking like a guy who couldn’t figure out how to change his recent attacks against fellow Republicans into somehow being all about Obama.

Which left Michele Bachmann.  As already noted in the last two posts, PGH thinks that Bachmann will win the August straw poll in Iowa, and barring any major faux pas, will likely take either #1 or #2 in the caucuses in early 2012.  Last night she demonstrated that she knows how to play the media better than Palin while coming off smarter and less incoherent.  I know that isn’t a high bar and Bachmann has straddled it before in the past, but last night she managed to be extreme without sounding too crazy.  Perfect for the tea party crowd, which is probably licking its chops right now.

In any case Bachmann “pre-announced” her “official announcement” that she was running for president.  No shocker there, but the fact that she chose the debate to do it shows her ability to manipulate the media with the best of them.  And as PGH accurately predicted yesterday, she also rattled off quite a few sound bites that were red meat to her base – the most extreme tea partiers.  Ever happy to toss out meaningless platitudes like “job killing EPA” (which distracts from the fact that EPA was started by a Republican president to help clean up the mess industry had made of our air [visible] and water [on fire]), she went straight to the far right end of the tea party spectrum.  And they love it.

Bottom line – Bachmann showed she can do well in the debates, which means she could siphon off the tea party votes from less extremist candidates, which means the potentially electable folks will have to shift even more to the right and say things that the Obama team will easily prove are false.  This puts people like Romney, and likely Huntsman, in a position where they will be turning off the very people they need to get elected by pandering to the extremists in the primaries.

This could be an interesting election, from a pundit point of view.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | 2012, debate, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PGH Quick Take – Sarah Palin’s Emails

Today is the release of thousands of pages of emails written by Sarah Palin during her time as a half-term Governor of Alaska.  All of the media outlets are gearing up to go through them looking for signs of dirt or whatever else will improve their ratings and ad sales.

Ho-hum

PGH doesn’t expect any huge revelations from this data dump, especially since a couple of thousand emails won’t be released (for confidentiality reasons) and neither will her private Yahoo account emails (on which she apparently conducted a ton of State business).  Frankly, it’s rather bizarre (and I would of expected, illegal) to be carrying on state business on a personal Yahoo account instead of your official state email account.  Given that she did, and if she were doing anything untoward, wouldn’t she have done that on a non-official site?  Duh.

But the thing I really thought was funny was the following quote I found in the CNN article on the topic:

Palin told Fox News Sunday that “those e-mails obviously weren’t meant for public consumption,” saying she was sure the material would be taken out of context.

“They’ll never truly know what, the context of each one of those e-mails was, or each one of the issues were that I was working on that day, or in what time period,” she said.

Yes, folks.  Here we have Palin – as part of her paid speaking slot on Fox News – pre-whining about how the emails could be taken out of context and misinterpreted.  She’s right, of course.  The irony is that both Palin and Fox News know how this works all too well.  After all, it was Palin and Fox News that helped promote the fakegate non-scandal when about 1000 emails were stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.  Fox and others blatantly cherry picked and intentionally misrepresented lines from those emails, and still continue to do so despite six different investigations that all concluded the emails were being “cherry picked and intentionally misrepresented.”

So now the stilleto heel is on the other foot.  Palin and Fox are worried that others will “cherry pick and intentionally misrepresent” her emails.

As I’ve said, I doubt there is anything of much interest in the subset of emails that will be released.  And I most certainly don’t condone any intentional misrepresentation of them.   But the irony of her complaining about them possibly being taken out of context is priceless.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Sarah Palin | , , , | Leave a comment

Santorum Officially Enters Presidential Race – Upstaged by Weiner

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum officially began his candidacy for Vice President of the United States on Monday.  And no one seemed to notice.   It seems Santorum just can’t catch a break – first his name was given some rather campaign-unfriendly connotations, and then on the day he makes his announcement the press seems more interested in New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s…um…tweeting habits.

It is the policy of PGH not to splash in the gutter so I apologize for the references in the first paragraph.  With that unpleasantness behind us let’s move on to the substantive issue of the day – Santorum’s presidential ambitions.

Not that Santorum’s presidential ambitions are all that substantive.  Santorum kicked off his candidacy with a great deal of no fanfare in his home state of Pennsylvania, from which he served two terms as Congressman and two terms as Senator before being soundly defeated in 2006.   While  always a social conservative, it was in the 2006 election that he first entered the realm of bigotry.  That may sound a little harsh, but there is no real way around the attitude that he began espousing at that time and apparently continues today.  In short, he hates fascists.  Especially “Islamic fascists.”  And worries about Sharia law somehow overtaking US law.  He likes to think of himself as Churchill reborn, warning us of the impending Muslim invasion.  A bit hyperbolic for normal Americans, but the tea party loves it.

A quick run down of his beliefs puts him in the range of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and other tea party folks, though he cuts a stunning corporate image in his well-tailored suit so lacks the wild-eyed crazy look that others seem to have.  He actively courts the tea party and has a cute little big patriotic photo of the liberty bell on his official campaign web site.  He is adamantly anti-gay rights, pro-gun rights, believes creationism (and its new name, intelligent design) should be taught in schools as science, denies climate change, wants to restrict a woman’s right to abortion, and like everyone else it seems these days, claims to be a fiscal conservative.   With his long-time marriage and seven kids, he definitely fits the conservative tea party mold.  Including some convenient hypocrisy regarding his Pennsylvania residency.

So what are his chances of becoming president?  In a word – None.

Okay, better than none.  But not much better.  His name recognition is not up there in first tier candidate list, though he is fairly well known in some circles (e.g., Fox News watchers).  The problem is that he just doesn’t seem to excite anyone except the far right wing social conservatives, science deniers, and xenophobes.  For someone who is known as an “in your face” kind of confrontational guy, he doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on mainstream voters.  That could change of course, but PGH would expect him to be more of a VP afterthought than a likely presidential nominee.   Basically he fits to the radical right of someone like Tim Pawlenty, who also seems not to instill much passion in the Republican voters.   Still, there are those who say there might be a path for Santorum to get picked for the VP running mate of Mitt Romney – with Romney appealing more to moderates and the hopes that Santorum might bring in social conservatives.  PGH thinks this is unlikely, as it is those social conservatives that are now working so hard to topple Romney’s chances at the nomination, so Santorum is likely to be burning bridges with Romney before they even get built.  And the fact that he is just a slightly more Washington DC/corporate version of right wing extremism isn’t likely to be palatable to Independents, moderates, and, well, most Americans.

Only time will tell, of course, how viable will be Santorum’s candidacy.  He participated in the first Republican debate (yes, there was already a Republican debate), during which he was upstaged by Herman Cain (and everyone else).  There will be another debate coming up soon in which Santorum will try to get some news coverage, but given that he made his announcement in Pennsylvania and not Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, he seems to already be acknowledging that he has a pretty big hill to climb if he wants to even be still in the race before the first Republican primary polls open.  Not that it will matter much.

June 7, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Republican, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin the False Celebrity, Robert Gates the True American…Both on Tour

I read a fascinating article this morning by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.  I highly recommend everyone read it in full, which you can do here.  He starts off his piece describing the intellectual dishonesty of Sarah Palin this way:

“It’s not about me,” Sarah Palin said as she rode a bus emblazoned with her name in three-foot letters. “It’s not a publicity-seeking tour,” she told her Fox News interviewer, as the cameras rolled.

It was, rather, “about highlighting the great things about America.” Such as: Donald Trump’s digs at Trump Tower and Fox News headquarters in New York — both stops on her “One Nation” bus tour.

Milbank’s article later goes on to describe other aspects of Palin’s media manipulation and buffoonery.  Interspersed are Milbank’s comments about another tour, of sorts, being undertaken by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  Gates, who showed true duty to country, served his first two years under former President George W. Bush, then stayed on at current President Barack Obama’s request.  During that time, unlike Sarah Palin, Bob Gates has shown that he loves his country and has a penchant for straight talk and honesty.  According to Milbank:

Gates, who remained on the job at Obama’s request, took on sacred weapons programs at the Pentagon, fired ineffective generals, won the surge in Iraq, revived a crumbling war effort in Afghanistan and got Osama bin Laden.

Gates brought new accountability, firing top officials over the outrages at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the mishandling of nuclear weapons. He fought with Congress and the military bureaucracy to redirect funds toward troop protection. His championing of mine-resistant vehicles saved countless lives, and his push for better Medevac in Afghanistan cut the average time-to-hospital for wounded soldiers to 40 minutes from 100.

His unusual frankness continued right into his farewell tour. During his trip, he affirmed that “everything is on the table” for defense spending cuts, spoke in detail about disputes with China, discussed shortcomings in Afghanistan and acknowledged his disagreement with Obama’s decision to attack Libya.

As I read Milbank’s excellent article I realized that he had succinctly captured the problem with this country.  We reward vacuous and hubristic celebrities who contribute nothing to society, and in fact cynically seek to manipulate society via distortion and dishonesty for their own financial gain.  But we largely ignore the very real and positive contributions of true Americans who have served their country with great humility and capability.

Shame on you Sarah Palin, and shame on all of us Americans who give so much attention to such an insubstantial personality.

Thank you Robert Gates for reminding us what true service to our country and to humanity entails.  PGH hopes that all of us will take the occasion of your coming retirement as an opportunity to reaffirm the values that make this country great.  The values of service, of honesty, and of taking on the difficult battles both here and abroad to keep America the world leader that it has been, continues to be, and will be in the future.  Leadership like yours and the President’s are an inspiration for us all.

If you haven’t already, please read Dana Milbank’s article in the Washington Post.

June 4, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, Robert Gates, Sarah Palin | , , | Leave a comment

PGH Quick Take – Palin Does Dallas (Okay, the North East)

Sarah Palin does what Sarah Palin does, which is attract attention.   And the media do what the media do, which is get attracted to attention.  After many weeks of (thankfully) relative quietude, Sarah Palin took to the road starting this Memorial Day weekend to do, well, no one actually knows what she is doing, but do it she did.

Avid readers of PGH will know that we long ago detailed why Sarah Palin won’t be running for President.  And contrary to the ratings prostitution of the MSM and blogosphere, PGH isn’t falling for her latest little stunt any more than her previous stunts.  This blog had intended to spend time talking about serious candidates for the Republican nomination (the Democratic nominee is pretty much a given), but since there don’t seem to be too many serious candidates for the Republican nomination I guess I’m stuck with the periodic pronouncements of Palin’s partying.

So to save us all some time – no, Sarah Palin isn’t going to run for President.  There, that was easy.  Any questions?

Oh, and the tea party loves Sarah Palin.

‘Nuff said.

May 31, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , | Leave a comment

The Republican Potential Presidential Candidates – Who is in, who is out, and who is going to be standing in the end?

Okay, it’s time for Political Gum Hockey to offer its combined two cents on the Republican presidential field.  And we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s worth both of those cents.

So who’s in and who’s out?  It’s been a busy week, and the next few weeks will be even busier.  But essentially we know who will be in the race for the Republican nomination.

First, those who have already said they are NOT going to run:

Donald Trump – Doesn’t matter, since he was just “in” as a really long and obnoxious ad campaign for his reality show.  The scary part is that the tea party in droves took him seriously.  Which pretty much shows how seriously we should take the tea party.

Haley Barbour – After titillating the GOP establishment by visiting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Barbour surprised everyone by opting out.  He wouldn’t have gotten the nomination anyway, but most thought he would run.  Nope.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee decided his heart wasn’t in it and opted out.  He may have actually had a shot at the nomination (or, maybe not), but we’ll never know if he would be taken seriously or end up an also-ran.

John Thune – A potential rising star and giant killer (he knocked out former minority and majority leader Tom Daschle).  Thune rightly decided his time will come…in the future.  PGH predicts you’ll see more of Thune, eventually.

Mike Pence – Pence wisely realized he has no chance at president, but a heckuva good shot at getting the Governorship of Indiana.  This could be important because President Obama barely squeaked out an electoral win in Indiana and Pence being on the ballot might be enough to swing the state the other way.


Now, those who have not yet said anything but in the end are NOT going to run:

Sarah Palin – Okay, most sentient folks already knew this long ago, but it appears the rest of the tea party and GOP are finally figuring it out.  PGH has written about why she won’t run before, so you can just read it there.

Okay, that was a short list.  Mostly because there are a bunch of people that others are trying to draft into running.  They include Jim DeMint (no, really), John Bolton (no, really), Rick Perry, General David Petraeus, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie.  All have said repeatedly that they aren’t jumping into the race.  The fact that people are still trying to get them into the race tells you something about the people already in the race.


Okay, let’s hop to those who have either officially announced they will run for the Republican nomination or will be doing so within the next few weeks.

Mitt Romney – By far the front runner for the 2012 nomination, and the heir-apparent for the GOP.  As most people know, the Republican party tends to simply anoint the next one in line, and for 2012 that would be Mitt.  Unfortunately for Mitt, 2012 may actually be a bad year for “the anointed” as the GOP seeks someone from the promised land.

Newt Gingrich – Newt has visualized himself in the President’s throne room Oval Office ever since he was speaker.  He thinks that highly of himself, and seems to sometimes forget what is real and what is his own magnificent marketing.  PGH has already given the odds of Gingrich getting the nomination, and the last few days have pretty much borne that out big time.

Tim Pawlenty – Pawlenty has been running for President for at least the last two years, and still his Q-Factor is epitimized by the phrase “Tim who?” Some actually give him a shot, but PGH thinks he might have to eat his words…the ones where he said he was running for President, not Vice-President.  More on Tim in future posts.

Rick Santorum – Who? [Actually, that’s being a bit facetious.  Santorum has some serious conservative cred, but it won’t get him even a minor showing in any of the primaries.]

Ron PaulPGH has written on Paul already.  Paul did well in Iowa last time, but barely registered after that.  He could do better this time with tea party support.  But he won’t.

Gary Johnson – Who? [Okay, I’m not being facetious this time.] Johnson will be out faster than anyone can figure out who he is.

Herman Cain – Former pizza magnate and talk radio host made quite a showing in the first non-debate of five unknowns (including Pawlenty).  If he does well in future debates it means the front runners aren’t connecting with the primary voters, which means big trouble right here in River City (and everywhere else).  Still, he could liven up the place a bit.  Good for ratings.

Michele Bachmann – Talk about good for ratings.  Bachmann is a sought after interview on TV, especially shows that need a bump during sweeps month. Bachmann hasn’t said she’ll run yet, but it’s a pretty good bet she will.  Even she knows that she doesn’t have a shot at President, but I betcha she’ll jump at the chance to take the VP job if offered.  Ironically, if the electorate picks someone more mainstream there is no chance in that really hot place that the eventual nominee will pick another Palinite for VP.  The GOP may be slow, but it ain’t that dumb.

Okay, astute readers will be thinking about now that there are at least a couple of names missing.  I purposely kept these two separate for reasons that will become apparent.  They are the maybe/probably pair, and both could spell big problems for Mitt Romney:

Mitch Daniels – The Republican establishment is desperate for Mitch Daniels to jump into the race.  That should scare Mitt.  Daniel’s will probably run, though it isn’t guaranteed.  If he does, he’s a bit of a wild card.  Will the tea party like him? Is he too moderate?  Can he defund enough social programs in time to get the extremist wing of the Republican party to fall in love with him?  Stay tuned for more PGH analysis.

Jon Huntsman – Huntsman has it all.  He’s good looking, has perfect hair, is Mormon, has executive experience.  Accomplished things that the Obama Administration is touting.  Wait.  Sounds a lot like Mitt Romney?  BTW, did you hear the news that Mitt raised more than $10 million dollars in one night? That wasn’t a coincidence.  Huntsman is even more of a wild card than Daniels.  I suspect PGH will talk more about Huntsman very soon.

Did I forget anyone?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Donald Trump, Haley Barbour, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Republican, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Donald (Trump, not Duck) – Or, Can the Tea Party be Trusted to Vote Like Adults?

Much ado has been making the airwaves recently about Donald Trump, best known for weird hair and pompous self-promotion, and his maybe, sort of, possibly, thinking about consideration of potentially running for President.  Yes, President of the United States of America.

I’ll wait until you stop laughing…or crying.  Whichever seems most appropriate.

In these periodic posts of potential presidential ponderers and prospects, PGH will look at the serious, the not so serious, and the simply silly.  Three guesses as to which category Donald Trump fits into.  The Donald (one of the pet names he invented for himself) has suggested that he may be a candidate for the presidency on the Republican ticket.  Never mind the tricky little disconnect with his previous non-candidacies as a Democrat, an Independent/Reform, or whatever political pseudoparty he makes up for that day.  He’s played this game before, so transparent in its “playing the media/public for fools to promote whatever project he has going at the time” that everyone was prepared to smile and nod and move on to actual real potential candidates and their own political game playing.

But then something absolutely bizarre happened.  Some people actually took Trump seriously.  “Some people” meaning “the tea party.”  The media, of course, played the whole charade up, but we know they are doing it merely for ratings and ad sales.  That and sheer boredom because none of the legitimate potential Republican contenders seemed to be in a hurry to actually officially announce their candidacies (like it’s some sort of secret).  So the media does what the media does.  No shocker there.  What is more incredible, in fact down right scary, is that a significant portion of the tea party actually seemed to not understand Trump’s game.  They actually started tossing their support to Trump in not one but several straw polls.  He actually comes out ahead of the pack in one or two.  Donald Trump!!  Seriously. I’m not making this up.

Which gets me to the point of this post.  The tea party is not to be trusted with intelligent, adult decisions regarding our country.  They have proven it over and over again, with this Trump thing being just one of many examples. They are so divorced from reality and logic that they have in turn bounced from Sarah Palin to Michele Bachmann to Donald Trump as people they consider to be legitimate prospects for the most important political position in the entire country world.  And they are serious.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some legitimate differences of opinion about the role of government in society, the amount of spending versus income, and whether some issues are best dealt with at the federal versus state level.  But those legitimate issues are not being honestly presented or debated by those who self-identify as tea party.  It is those who self-identify as Independents that are having, or at least trying to have, honest discussions with the goal of finding solutions.  The tea party, on the other hand, is prone to hypocrisy, distortion, bigotry, and xenophobia.

Not everyone in the tea party, obviously.  Which is why those who currently find themselves associating with the tea party because they thought the tea party was a mechanism for getting their voices heard should be running away from said tea party at great speed.  The tea party are the crazy guy on the park bench yelling that Elvis is alive.  For a while the guy garners a lot of publicity and news coverage (controversy sells ad space!!), but after a while you start to realize that he isn’t making any sense and might actually be a danger to himself and others.  Then you start to pity him.  [Or more preferably, find him professional help]  In short, the tea party is destroying any credibility any honest Americans concerned with real issues might have expected could undergo discussion.  Not gonna happen. If the tea party pushes it, it instantly has zero credibility, even if it isn’t one of the vast percentage of tea partiers who are birthers or bigots.  [Aside – If you want to have an honest discussion of real issues, check out the Coffee Party]

Which gets us back to Donald Trump.  The man epitomizes the fact that even vulgar buffoonery can’t stop you from becoming filthy rich (or in Trump’s case, building on the riches he father handed to him).  That’s fine.  Trump is one of those curiosities that we all get a kick out of, in part because we are glad we still have normal looking hair and wish we had his wealth and lifestyle.  But while we might envy his wife-model of the month, we wouldn’t take him seriously as a presidential candidate.

The fact that the tea party seems willing to take him (and similar caricatures) seriously when they have some actual qualified candidates available demonstrates that they cannot be trusted to vote like adults.

Sorry.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Donald Trump, Republican, Sarah Palin, Tea Party | , , , , | 4 Comments

Hello, I’m Mitt Romney,* And I Want to Talk About Sarah Palin

Hello, I’m Mitt Romney, and besides having perfect hair I’m running for President of the United States.

I want to take a few moments in my opening statement of this first (and hopefully only) Republican primary debate to eliminate one of my competitors, Sarah Palin. Frankly, I’m shocked that I’m standing up here next to my old new friends Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, that old white guy over there that I don’t recognize but really kind of fits in with the rest of us. Not shocked that I’m here or that they are here, but that Sarah Palin is also here. I mean seriously.

Uh, hmm. I mean, I welcome all my valiant competitors, including the esteemed former Governor of Alaska who served the party so well as our Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008….ahem, er, hack, er… Sorry, something in my throat.

Well, actually, I’ve been through this before and I’m not letting anyone get in my way this time, most certainly not a half-term Governor. So I’ll make this quick.

Former Governor Palin quit her job. In fact, a bunch of them. A quick recap. So, after quitting 4 colleges before finally (apparently) getting a journalism degree in the 5th one, then doing some sports radio and TV, my esteemed Republican colleague got elected to a series of positions.

1) City Council: Okay, she didn’t quit this one, but come on people, Wasilla has less people in it then my mansion on New Year’s eve. She won with a grand total of 530 votes (and got less the next time). [To be clear, she didn’t win by 530 votes, she received 530 votes total. Her opponent received all of 310 votes.]

2) Mayor of Wasilla: Still less people than even one of the little islands I own. And yet she hired some guy to administrate the city so she could focus on practicing her 3rd place runner-up Alaska pageant skills on the populace. But I do give her credit for bringing in those big box stores, you know, the ones that put local merchants out of business and buy all their stuff from China. And she definitely should take credit for hiring those big city consultants to lobby for millions of dollars. No wonder she got all of 909 votes to win a second term.

3) Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: Given that Alaska has a long history of political corruption, Sarah won a prize gem with her appointment to the Commission that gets to decide how all that oil money gets spent. Okay, so she didn’t know anything about oil when she was handed the chairmanship (by the corrupt Governor she was later to charge with corruption), but it gave her a prime spot to get people fired before she suddenly resigned.

4) Governor: Okay, unlike the real states of Utah and Massachusetts, my honorable colleague became Governor of Alaska, a huge state in area that is 75% national and state parks, has a population only a touch more than Washington DC, and has a surplus budget because of all the oil revenues. Which she quit half way into her term. But luckily she lobbied former Senator Ted Stevens and ongoing Representative Don Young to get federal pork barrel funds for the “bridge to nowhere” before denying that she ever lobbied for federal pork barrel funds for the “bridge to nowhere.” [Stage direction: Nowhere Man by the Beatles plays softly in the background.]

So seriously, my indomitable fellow Republican/Tea Party/Alaska Independence Party colleague clearly would be like rolling the dice in Vegas on a tilted craps table in the dark should you choose to unbelievably give her the nomination. All I can say is, make sure John McCain does not pick her running mate if you go down that road.

But since I want to get all those energized Tea Party people to vote for me, you know, all the goods ones and even those who are biased against Mormons or any other religion or sexual preference but their own, I want to end my opening remarks by falling over backwards saying all sorts of nice things about Sarah Palin so that the tea partiers will forget everything I’ve said up to this point.

[With emphasis!] I love Sarah Palin! She has done all of America proud (well, all of “real” America). I look forward to putting her in my cabinet when I get elected. [Perhaps the one in the summer house where my servants can keep her locked up.]

Thank you Mr. Beck for allowing me to run over my time in my opening remarks. And thank you for moderating this first (and only) Republican primary debate. God bless you, and God bless America!

[Stage directions: Mr. Romney turns to face the center camera. The camera on his right side, his best side, zooms in to capture his perfect smile. Cut to Mr. Beck who introduces the next candidate, the old white guy no one recognizes but fits in with the rest of them. Cue camera 2.]

* In case anyone is seriously confused, I’m not really Mitt Romney. This is clearly satire. Sorry Mitt. 🙂

[Editors Note: PGH will do a (mostly) serious look at Mitt Romney’s candidacy in a forthcoming Political Gum Hockey post.]

April 17, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Mitt Romney, Republican, Sarah Palin | , , , , , , | 1 Comment