I try to stay away from politics around here. There are other bloggers that are really into it. They are better at it. But I guess it is hard to avoid it with the Presidential election staring us in the face in a couple of days. That and something I wrote for Bourbon and Boots here recently has caused me to reflect on the current political landscape. It was mainly for fun. You can read it here if you feel so led: http://www.bourbonandboots.com/vote-for-the-crook-its-important-dirty-politics-in-the-south/
In the BB piece I discussed Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards's last stand for public office. It was against the Republican nominee David Duke who had past relevant experience as the Grand Wizard-or whatever-of the Ku Klux Klan down there. I wrote about how the Republican establishment was aghast at the prospect of Duke actually winning the election and how much of it worked against him.
Here in Arkansas we have 2 Republicans running for re-election to the Statehouse who are on the record as saying that slavery was not all that bad. One of them has gone so far as to say that "the peculiar institution," as Lincoln called it, was a blessing to black folks. I know lots of African-Americans. Never heard a single one refer to slavery as one of the blessings conferred on them by history. Another GOP stalwart has said that the concept of public education is derived from the Communist Manifesto. Yet another one of the GOP's candidates has written a book called "God's Law" which posits that all Muslims should be deported and that capitol punishment is appropriate for unruly children.
While the state Republican Party has rightly described these notions as "highly offensive" it has taken no further action saying that the candidates involved are entitled "to their right to freedom of expression and thought." That and there is apparently no political downside in Arkansas to candidates going on the record against freedom of religion if you are a Muslim and for judicially imposed infanticide.
This is madness. But at least I believe full well that these local crackers are speaking from the courage of their convictions. They are just ignorant-assed convictions.
On the other hand, I don't think that Mitt Romney believes 1/3 of the shit he's been putting out on the stump lately.
Romney is on the record as saying that FEMA should be abolished and disaster relief should be left to the states. Of course that was before Hurricane Sandy blew through the East Coast causing what was described as "incalculable damage." ( Query: Do these guys not have access to long term weather forecasts?) Now I do not believe that Romney thinks that Mississippi could have dealt with the BP spill on its own. Not only that, neither did Mississippi if you will recall. I do not believe that he is that completely irresponsible. But I believe that the final days of this campaign have amply proven that Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected.
Take Ohio for example, a place that benefited greatly from the automotive bailout which Romney opposed. He couldn't very well stick to his original theory that it didn't work because it did. So, the campaign is now putting it out there that Chrysler, in exchange for the handout from Uncle Sam, is going to outsource building Jeeps to China.
This is not true. The President of Chrysler (undoubtedly a wild eyed communist and security risk as CEOs of major corporations tend to be) put out a statement saying it was not true. But the Romney campaign, when last I looked, is sticking to this canard.
When Romney was Governor of Massachusetts he was for universal health care and enforcement of the individual mandate for every person to be covered. His plan, which was cooked up in conservative think tanks, is pretty much the blue print for the detested Obamacare. So now he's opposed to it. Or at least parts of it.
You get my drift.
I have a friend who used to run a Federal Agency. He says that everybody hates the government until they need the government. There are obviously many people that want to vote Barack Obama out of office. Fine. I get that. That is their right. But I don't think that any reasonable person really believes that Florida should have been left to its own devices when the housing bubble burst, that the Gulf Coast needed to fend for itself after Katrina or that the people of New Jersey have only to look to their National Guard for assistance. We damn near experienced a Depression in 2008. If the government had not intervened into the private sector, the long range effects on a worldwide basis could have been catastrophic. Even George W. Bush saw the need for intervention by the Fed. This was a bad thing?
Nobody believes this except hard right lunatics that have an inordinate say about GOP policies that otherwise sensible guys like Mitt Romney have to appease. And guys like the fools mentioned at the beginning of this post who will likely be elected to the Arkansas General Assembly despite giving voice to complete and utter nonsense. For which there is apparently no penalty.
The wonderful Charles P. Pierce puts it simply. He reminds people to pay attention to what candidates say while out on the trail because, not to put too fine a point on it, they are saying these things to get you to vote for them. Duh!
We will muddle through some how. I think that President Obama will be re-elected. I believe that the nursing home, hospital and pharmacy lobbies will manage to appeal to what passes for reason in the minds of some of our state legislators before they defund Medicare or something equally calamitous.
But would the Republicans oppose David Duke if he ran for office today? I'm not so sure.
At least not in Arkansas.