by Ms. Christine Todd Whitman
An Op-Ed from the April 29, 2009 New York Times
. . . And I’ll cry if I want to. You’d cry too, if it happened to you!
Ms. Lesley Gore, 1963
As I approach that day when I stop pushing fifty and start pulling on it, I can’t help but notice I’m just an unhappy cross between Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Douglas Adams’s Arthur Dent: I wake up some days, convinced I missed some giant chunk of time, either from a really long nap or getting lost in one of the space-time-probability axises.
As they like to say in the HBO series The Wire: “Ya feel me?”
Wait a minute--was there a Kurt Vonnegut time quake or a Madeleine L’Engle wrinkle in time, and I just missed it? What was George W. Bush’s address to the United Nations and Colin Powell’s presentation to the Security Council about? Not to mention the endless series of statements FROM Richard “You Don’t Know DICK!” Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Karen Hughes in the run up to the invasion. Come on now! I don’t mind so much that YOU people have the three second memory that goldfish are supposed to have…but why are you assuming **I** am that clueless? As they say where I come from: I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.
Now, Lesley Gore…I mean Christine Todd Whitman dusts off a really dusty civics book, and says “The United States needs two vibrant, competitive parties. With the economic crisis, the war in Iraq and countless other issues facing the nation, the stakes are too high to simply let one ideological segment of the country determine our fate. And a Moron says ‘What?’” Okay, I made up that last part. Nevermind where Ms. Whitman has been, but where on earth does she think I have been for the last eight years?
When the Republicans held majorities in both houses of Congress, the presidency, and President George W. Bush became the third in the number of appointments to the federal judiciary (328, behind only Presidents Clinton’s 379 and Reagan’s 384), did anyone NOT get fired for even suggesting support for a two party system? When Monica Goodling, Harriet Myers, Kyle Sampson, and maybe Alberto Gonzales (he can’t remember) made America nostalgic for the high morals and impeccable ethics of John Mitchell’s Department of Justice, did anyone say “the stakes are too high to simply let one ideological segment of the country determine our fate (and a moron says ‘What?’)”? Maybe Patrick Leahy, but nobody cares what he says.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
I mean, a member of the GOP says the war in Iraq merits OPEN and HONEST DEBATE between BOTH Parties? Here I thought I was facing hard time in hypocrite hell—but Ms. Whitman…! Dag, I’m back working on my papers, requesting a pardon. I got hope!
So--the Republican Party consists primarily of two-faced hypocrites and partisan incompetents with an agenda—plus Senators Snowe and Collins. Knock me over with a feather.
Nevertheless, there are two additional points I want to make (my first point, just in case you missed it, was “Republicans are jerks”). First, what with all the GOP calls for a return to their salad days of whatever it was that Republicans were supposed to be for, it might behoove someone in the Grand Old Party to take a peekie at just what issues the LAST Republican legislature focused on. Second, there has been a tremendous sea change in American politics, and I know both the Republican and Democratic Parties also know it, but both Parties are pretending not to notice.
As to my first point--not to be Captain Alienation or anything, but maybe…just MAYBE… there’s a reason the GOP has lost 51 seats in the house and 13 in the senate in the 2006 and 2008 elections. I know I am a bitter, old crank, but there ARE good reasons why I am still complaining about Bill Frist’s Senate and the House under Denny Hastert. Remember all the good things the 109th Congress accomplished? Me neither. In a December 15, 2006 editorial in the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Daniel Schorr stuck a fork in the GOP run legislature, calling it “the most unproductive session in recent history.”
However, the 109th Congress DID engage in what Mr. Schorr called “spirited debates” over flag burning and gay marriage. The Republicans also managed to shutdown the entire government over what I would argue was the most inappropriate and bullshit issue of the decade: Terry Shiavo. Oh, and Congressman Mark Foley was forced to resign after years of sending inappropriate e-mails to adolescent pages. That was good. Unfortunately, the House Ethics Committee decided that while Congress had been negligent in protecting the pages, no rules were broken. That was bad.
Gee—I can’t figure out why the GOP got half their ass handed to them in November of that year.
Now, for anyone who’s thinking “Oh yeah? What about Harry Reid? Are you trying to tell me Harry Reid doesn’t suck?” I have two responses. First, if you think like that, then why the hell are you reading anything I (of all people) have to say? Don’t get me wrong—I’m flattered and all—but why are you reading childish leftwing name calling, when there is so much childish rightwing name calling to be had? But be that as it may, while I have to breath in a paper bag to keep from fainting while I type this: Harry Reid does not suck….well, suck like Bill Frist anyway (There. Now I feel much better).
In a word, the Senate was hopelessly gridlocked, especially with an opposing Party in the White House.
Contrast that with Bill Frist’s Senate: with a comfortable majority in both houses, his own Party in the White House, the Republicans had such a clear run on legislation, that President Bush was in office for five years before he vetoed a bill, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, on July 19 2006 (I have a giant rant on President Bush’s use of “signing statements,” but I will spare you. At least, for now. I’m going to need a ton of photos of 1940s hotties for THAT one…..).
My point is, if the GOP legislature under a GOP President still could not (or would not) perform their basic obligations—preferring instead to grandstand on flag burning and pimp on the tragedy of Terri Shiavo—then by any objective measure, it’s time for them to go.
And Ms. Whitman is right, if she is talking about Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, George Wallace, and Pat Paulsen. But something weird happened in 2008. I can’t find the information right now, and if I am wrong, I’ll slam my hand inside a car door (or apologize to Christine Todd Whitman (my choice)). But if you looked at the various campaign finance reports, you could not help but notice that Mr. Barack Obama as an individual not only raised substantially more money than the GOP, he also raised a boatload more than the entire Democrat Party. Is that unusual? I believe so (see “slamming hand in car door,” supra).
What does it mean that the strongest and most influential political party in America is the Barack Obama Party? For the Democrats, that does not mean when President Obama says jump, they ask “How high?” It does mean they jump first, and THEN ask if that was high enough. And they’re okay with that, because by any objective measure (so far as we know), Barack Obama is a good man. But even if he wasn’t—it’s not like they’re in a position to do anything about it.
And what does that mean for the Republicans? Well, I’d cry too, if it was happening to me.