Mitt Romney may be my least favorite politician since Richard Nixon. Actually, I begrudgingly dug Nixon, who might’ve been an all-right chap to hang with in some Pacific Ocean cliffside golf country club cocktail lounge, sucking down old fashioneds and buttering up the old crafty pol to cut loose with those cool stories about squeezing the testicles of the opposition and hiring dirty tricksters to take the bark off them. You know, all that groovy political arcana that’ll turn you into an arachnid-gobbling lizard if you roll with that world for longer than a week.
Romney, however, bothers me on a really visceral level. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it; was it the patrician anti-Bob Dobbs look, or the prep-school prick mien? Not quite. Was it the godlike über-Mormon persona, the wielder of the Keys of the Priesthood, that magic-underwear-clad Adonis here to save us “gentiles” from our wicked ways? Partly, but not really.
Finally, I think I figured it out. Mitt Romney is that soccer dad on the opposite team, the yuppie dickhead who’s constantly working every angle with the refs, cajoling, whining, bitching and carrying on like a primadonna, making sure little Biff or Morgen’s team gets every break. Call him on it, and insufferable entitlement will ooze out of every pore as he comes right back at you with his patent neo-robberbaron bullshit.
I saw a guy pull this crap once. My kid was six or seven, and he was pulling for his daughter’s team from the sideline across the soccer pitch. He was nonstop with the refs, wrongly figuring that the working-class Mexican scruffs (i.e., our team’s dads) would take it up the tailpipe just like he’d been serving up Monday through Friday at whatever bank he probably held court in, dishing out laughably high-interest loans to the poor saps who crossed his transom. But they did call him on his tripe act, by yelling back and openly jeering him. And that pissed him off.
“Fuck you,” he snarled, adding two extended middle fingers for punctuation. Suddenly it was on, and one of our dads ran across the soccer pitch and felled him with one punch. The other team’s dads quickly piled on, and then our team’s dads jumped in, and all of a sudden it was like a cartoon punchup: Biff! Bang! Pow! Cops showed up rather quickly. I grabbed my kid and another girl, the daughter of the guy who threw the first punch, and we got the hell out of there.
Anyway, I’d like to see one of those people who has gotten metaphorically prison-raped by one of these “private equity” job-killing enterprises like Romney’s Bain Capital throw a nice roundhouse right at Romney, but that isn’t gonna happen. Actually, I don’t encourage violence at all; it’s wrong, it’s counterproductive, and it’s bad energy. But still, I understand the seething resentment of the underclass, who have yet to break through the One Percent-funded hypnotic propaganda from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel and the Bain Capital-owned Clear Channel radio network clearly enough to articulate the true nature of who stole their American dream and stomped all over it.
I could go on about Mitt Romney. Is it that Mormon doctrine of “Eternal Progression,” which tells good Latter-day Saints that they will get to play God and Mrs. God on their own planet after their promised resurrection to the Celestial Heaven? I don’t want to pick on his religion, because that wouldn’t be fair or wise; I only want to point out particular doctrinal quirks that may predispose some members to certain behaviors. Eternal Progression, or “as God once was, man is today; as God is now, man someday will be,” certainly poses a weakness for a narcissistic authoritarian like Romney, much in the same way that, say, that Roman Catholic dogma might be a thorn in the side for anyone in that faith who’s predisposed to unnecessary guilt. LDS Eternal Progression, mixed with a bullying tendency here on earth, might make for a recipe for a really weird star-spangled Mussolini figure. This asshat Romney already thinks he’s god, so a coronation by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers’ pocketbook will make an apparently nasty problem even worse.
Nevertheless, I think Romney’s unfitness for public office has more to do with his career as a silver-spoon-fed big business sociopath, a man who will do and say anything to get elected. Anything. He comes off like the character Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, sending out little poker tells to those of us who are really paying attention, but playing the part of the central-casting silver-templed Wall Street sage to the rubes who haven’t sussed out his monster vibe yet.
I hope they do. I don’t believe in the Antichrist, but if I did, I’m guessing he would look a lot like Mitt Romney. So beware, brothers and sisters. Beware. —Jackson Griffith
Don’t own a TV, but I’m certainly not one of those snobs who turn his or her nose up whenever the trashy content of most television programming is mentioned. No siree. I’m inclined to revel in bad TV. In fact, I’ve spent so many hours and days and years in front of the idiot box, Devo started writing songs about me. There’s no programming too stupid for me to get sucked into, unless you’re talking about anything involving the Kardashians. But that’s because I’ve got an anti-procyonic bias; you won’t cold-bust me watching any cutesy nature shows about raccoons, either.
So by not owning a TV, apparently I am missing out on a hella full-tilt brown-acid meltdown involving various members of the Republican Party who’ve been running for president this year. From what I’ve gleaned by watching clips online, there’s this one guy named Willard, who used to be an empty suit who fronted for a band of rapacious venture-capital coyotes called Bain Predatorial. He looks a mite brittle, like that prick blueblood dad whose browbeaten kid is on the opposing team at your eight-year-daughter’s suburban soccer game, that entitled guy who’s constantly getting in the faces of the refs so that his kid’s team can eke out a win by repeatedly penalizing your kid’s team. You know, that guy about whom you cannot stop obsessing over the idea of ritually disemboweling with a rusty old beer opener. His nickname is “Mitt,” which is Biff’n’Muffy short for “Mittens,” and he is utterly without the subgenius concept of “slack.” He has no slack. None. Zero.
Mittens Romney’s biggest problem, in a field of competitors who are desperately trying to out-Jesus each other, is that his particular religion, while it makes claims that it’s “uniquely Christian,” is considered to be some sort of apostate say-tanic cult by the hyper-drooling, Jeebus-wanking fanatics that make up the majority of today’s GOP. Sure, Mormons wear special undergarments if they’ve qualified for their temple recommend card, and in their temples they baptize dead people, including your relatives, and probably mine, too, by proxy into their church, and their doctrine of eternal progression runs at least a teensy bit contrary to the Christian concept of salvation by grace, but when you think about the stuff that the more over-the-top branches of evangelical Christians believe, which is about one Amanita muscaria cap short of a full-on UFO abduction by day-glo Merrie Melodies cartoon characters who ebb and flow in exquisite Busby Berkeley-choreographed formations, I’d think your average Latter-day Saint is pretty darned reasonable by comparison. My major quibble is that the LDS mothership in Salt Lake City bankrolled a “Don’t let the gays and lesbians get married” initiative in my home state of California, then bused a bunch of “volunteers” to my state to push for its passage. Not cool, Mittens and other Mormons. Not cool.
Fortunately for Romney, his competition is hilariously unelectable. Consider one Isaac Newton “Newtler” Gingrich, who has been described as what looks like viscous lumps of mashed potatoes poured into a suit, then topped by a rotting Jack O’Lantern that was thrown away by the neighborhood serial killer/child molester, who’d tried and failed to carve the pumpkin to look like Pedobear to draw the kids within striking range, but instead it ended up looking like some hallucinatory Aztec approximation of a Hieronymous Bosch angel of death. Gingrich tries to sound affable, and smart, and even reasonable, but his patronizing and bullying natures usually come out when he’s challenged, whereupon he behaves like a cross between a cornered wolverine, or more accurately a honey badger chomping on a week-dead cobra, and a petulant toddler dragged kicking and screaming past the candy aisle in a Walmart. But don’t you want to “do” his third wife, Callista? That spray-on newscaster helmet hair! That kabuki makeup! Imagine her in banana-yellow silk lingerie, her head and neck dripping with jewels from Tiffany, crouched on all fours on a cheap flea-market rug resembling the U.S. Constitution, cooing the 70-page John Galt address from Atlas Shrugged as you, uh, gosh darn it, I’ll shut up now before I get myself into real trouble. But I already am.
So, well … uh … Ron Paul, on the other hand, looks like Mayberry deputy sheriff Barney Fife, if ol’ Barney’d sold his soul to the devil and then got tricked by Baron Samedi into spending the rest of his earthly days stealing nuts from squirrels. The one caveat is that Barney the nut stealer was given the gift of charisma by Auld Scratch as a consolation prize for his bedebbilments, so that he would appeal to anyone thick enough to have made it all the way through The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged without laughing derisively or throwing those literary masterworks into the shredder, instead acquiring a fanatical devotion to Paul and his ideas. (And you Pauline apostles, especially you pot-smoking ones, I wrote the above just to piss you off. I fully expect you to fill my inbox with angry letters defending your hero. Do not disappoint me.)
Oozing out of the Lone Star State, Rick Perry pretty much dumb-shat himself into oblivion with an on-camera derp-derp-derp moment that was breathtaking in its stupidity. So he’s back at the old family hermitage in Cabeza del Negro, Tejas, pondering whether or not to attempt a Gee Dubya-swaggering comeback in one of the Southern primaries, riding up, ahem, bareback on some hawse from the family ranch, firing a couple of nickel-plated Colt 45s at any lib’ruhl media clowns who might be lurking about. I say go for it, governor. Wear the ass-less chaps the lads in Austin say they’ve seen you sporting in local watering holes while you’re at it. You know them Babtists don’t care if you’re one of them hoe-moe-sekshuls as long as you ain’t one of them Utah Mormon devil worshippers, because you of course love the real Jesus.
There’s another dick in the race, I mean another dick named Dick, because there are a big bag of dicks running as Republicans this year: Rick Santorum, however, is somewhat of a surprise. I guess if you stick around for long enough, somebody will ask you to dance. In this case, it’s a half-bright lawyer from the Keystone State who got elected to the Senate, and managed to lose the next election by, what, 40 points? This guy is that hammerhead on a high school debating team who, when he isn’t comparing gay bedroom behavior to “man on dog” bestiality, or Mormon polygamy, keeps whipping out his toolbox of logical fallacies to pummel every opposing viewpoint like a drunken chef tenderizing some calamari, to where everyone else is snickering and betting on what completely idiotic spew the sweater vest-wrapped bonehead will say next. And I won’t even mention how he’s enriched himself with wingnut welfare from private healthcare companies, or that thing with the stillborn baby that squicks me out so badly I can’t even make a joke about it, not even one involving cheesesteak preparation.
Hey, speaking of food, let’s look at the others. Pizza Guy flamed out, which is too bad. I thought that with that smoking campaign manager, Herman Cain was almost fixing to get ready to ratchet up the surrealism to way past where it already is. Maybe bust out some fine music at his campaign appearances, like the extended mix of “Candy Licker” by Marvin Sease, or maybe “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, while the big-butt dancers from Bobby Rush’s blues revue come parading out onstage to shake major can at befuddled reporters and Republicans. Maybe unveil a big Baphomet logo when he discounts the price of his nine-nine-nine extry-sausage combo to six-six-six. Meanwhile, the trouble with one sexually harassed female crawling out of the past is that, pretty soon, they’re crawling out of the woodwork like cockroaches after a pyrethrum cleanout in the kitchen of a greasy spoon. What to do, what to do? Don’t be a pussy: Own it! “Shucks, yes, American voter. I have been known to be a victim of my lustful urges. But I am deeply sorry, and I have confessed to my God, and Jesus, and my preacher, and my loving and faithful and understanding wife, so I have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb the Redeemer, and I am ready to like be your president and stuff.” That’s how you handle that shit.
Michele Bachmann dropped out, too. She’s bag-o-nuts crazy, of course, but nevertheless I’m disappointed, because her husband the pray-the-gheh-aweigh “doctor,” whose loafers are reputed to be even lighter than Liberace’s, would have done a fine job redecorating the White House. But she’s no longer a factor. Boo hoo. And who else is left? Jon Huntsman? He’s still in the race? Oh, he’s all right. His daughters are kinda dorky for making those videos, but they’re kind of hot. Maybe Huntsman will do well in New Hampshire tomorrow. But he’s the same religion as Romney, which unfortunately does not “test well” with certain dominionist Christian types.
And where is Sarah Palin? Why, God, why?
It’s bedtime. I could write more snarky stuff about these clowns, but I think I’ll go buy a TV instead. —Jackson Griffith
Now, I’m not sure how things are going to play out on November 2. Perhaps the $140 million that California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman spent of “her own money” — to which my involuntary response goes something like “[cough cough] Koch Industries [cough cough] Valero, Tesoro [cough cough] horsepucky bullswaggle [cough cough]” — will be enough to propel her into the governor’s office. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mrs. Harsh is going to be horribly butthurt on the morning of Wednesday, November 3, however I am not a psychic so don’t count on my hunches and above all don’t put any money on them.
Anyway, I like Meggie’s whole California poppy logo thing and also her ads, which have a certain pastoral vintage Massengill vibe to them. But one thing that bothers me is this whole “I’m gonna run California like a business” meme that she’s been banging like Khrushchev’s shoe on a U.N. desktop throughout her campaign. A lot of these conservative pols seem to get mileage from the idea that a government would be much better if it were run like a business, which I can’t understand. They’re two different things.
For example, when I had a dog, I wouldn’t try to run him like a cat, which would have meant that I could just let him out into the street whenever and expect him to come back, and ignore him except to feed him and clean his box, which he would not be crapping in, because as much as I might wish that my dog was a cat, a dog is still fundamentally a dog, unless you feed him magic mushrooms, at which point if you then duct tape a cute little pair of red paper antlers on his head, he becomes a reindeer.
Also, if I stick the keys into the door of my apartment and expect the engine to start so I can drive my apartment over to your place so I can raid your refrigerator because I’ve heard really nice things about the fruits and vegetables you keep there, as much as I want to step on the gas and get over there mucho pronto for the putatively topnotch snackage, it ain’t gonna happen; first, there’s no gas pedal, second, there’s no steering wheel, and third, a house is not a car, unless you’ve of course ingested certain ergot-derived chemicals, at which point Jack Webb will be stepping out of his pale blue Fairlane sedan to have a talk with you.
Let’s review: A dog is not a cat, and a house is not a car, and government is not a business. One cannot step in and fire everybody willy-nilly and outsource half the various state departments to, oh, Sri Lanka, or Andhra Pradesh, and one cannot just randomly “clean house” in Sacramento because one spent the equivalent of a million dollars a day for almost five months to get elected, which entitles her royal imperiousness to come tell us how a CEO does things in “Silicon Valley” — let’s see, you clean out the company treasury, you tell anyone who complains to go “fark” themselves with Steve Jobs’ pointer, maybe you run a hostile takeover on Nevada, or maybe Oregon, and then you go spend the rest of your time enjoying all your purloined loot somewhere else, like a villa in Tuscany.
My gut sez Guvnah Meg’s a longshot, but is she does pull it off, her shenanigans will make great fodder for editorial cartoonists and comedy writers. Nothing says “ha ha ha” like a Nurse Ratched lookalike behaving like Marie Antoinette might after polishing off a box or two of Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes, before crashing from the high and getting really really surly.
As for my vote, you’ve probably figured it out now. We’ve already had five years of what was essentially George W. Bush with an Austrian accent and a bunch of IMDb credits. We can ill afford another four or eight years of disastrous governing, especially from someone who looks like serious trouble, who spent several dozen buttloads of cash to buy the office of governor, who spouts all the usual dogwhistle memes about aliens and Mexicans, and whose own grown children have a history of behaving like entitled thugs. Not promising. So, yeah, I’m gonna vote for Jerry Brown, who will take office and immediately be besieged by every nitwit radio nutjob who’s trying to make his bones with Clear Channel or Citadel, not to mention Sal Russo and the rodeo clowns over at Eighth and L Streets, who should be bored and disenchanted with the whole Tea Party Express juggernaut by then so they’ll go back on the Hating Governor Moonbeam wagon. Which ought to be fun to watch, as they wheel out that perennial weapon in the arsenal of butthurt California Republicans all over this great state of ours: the recall.
Pardon me. I’m going to the store to stock up on popcorn. This oughta be good. —Jackson Griffith
Conservatives must poke fun at liberals. I mean, all those California jokes, along the lines of “Q: How many Californians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Five — one to screw the bulb in, and four to share in the experience.” Knee-slappers, every one of them. And who can forget all the jokes about “Governor Moonbeam”?
Being somewhat of liberal temperament, I think conservatives can be real knee-slappers, too. Sarah Palin only has to open her mouth, and I start laughing. And I get major yokkage out of lots of other conservative pols, too, like Rand Paul. Even though I can remember a time when conservatives seemed quite grounded and sane, even though I may not have agreed with their positions, ever since the sainted Ronald Reagan, and then bomb-throwers like Newt Gingrich and ruling-class clowns like Rush Limbaugh, it seems that mental illness, irrational beliefs and impaired logical faculties may be prerequisites for conservative marquee status. And, speaking of bugnuts crazy, don’t even get me started on Glenn Beck, who’s probably going to find his own set of golden plates inscribed in “reformed Egyptian” buried in his backyard once his current denomination catches wise and gives him a well-deserved bum’s rush.
Then, there are the pols who speak without thinking. Like Virginia senatorial shoo-in George Allen, who learned a few years ago that if you’re going to poke fun at someone extemporaneously or tell a joke in the age of YouTube, make sure that it doesn’t turn into a macaca moment that sinks your campaign. And even if you’re going to use media less active, like e-mail, make sure it isn’t something that people can beat you over the head with later, like Virginia Republican official David Bartholomew learned when he passed around the following comedy classic:
“I went down this morning to sign up my Dog for welfare. At first the lady said, ‘Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare.’ So I explained to her that my Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is. So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify… My Dog gets his first check Friday. Is this a great country or what?”
Naturally, the doggie poop hit the whirling blade once it started making the rounds. Loved the responses on Gawker:
“So I went down this morning to sign up my dog for the Republican nomination. At first the lady said, ‘Dogs are not eligible to be Republicans.’ So I explained to her that my dog is white, functionally and technologically illiterate, aggressive, and threatens other male dogs while mounting them in private. So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify… My dog gets his first check from Karl Rove on Friday. Is this a great country or what?”
And: “I went down this morning to sign up my cat for the GOP primaries. At first the lady said, ‘Cats are not eligible to help run the United States.’ So I explained to her that my Cat is white, crazy, arrogant, doesn’t give a shit about humanity as long as he gets fed, can’t speak English and has no frigging clue what the First Amendment says. So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify… My cat is on the ballot for November 2nd. Is this a great country or what?”
Is this a great country or what? Meanwhile, in the great state of California, apparently there was some kind of a kerfluffle over Jerry Brown not hanging up his iPhone properly, and someone he was talking to calling his opponent Meg Whitman a “whore,” which Ms. Whitman, or more accurately Mrs. Harsh, tried to beat Mr. Brown senseless with a metaphorical dildo, or Lead Pipe, in the Study, while Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet were en flagrante delicto in an adjacent boudoir, but again I digress as usual. Anyway, were I a political consultant working for Mr. Brown, I would have suggested the following debate response: “Ms. Whitman, I erred in agreeing with the person who called you a ‘whore.’ Given the context of this election, I would say that your role more accurately would be that of a ‘john,’ and the whores would be the people who co-sign your bullshit and vote for you on November 2.”
Which, of course, is why I’m not employed in politics. —Jackson Griffith
One of the things that continually astonishes me is the chutzpah of some of the so-called conservatives in this country. I mean, they sat there like complete morons waving their little flags for eight years while Dick Cheney and his meat puppet Jorge Arbusto drove this country into a metaphorical ditch, and as soon as they lost the White House almost two years ago, the right wing started in with all this business about how Barack Obama and the Democratic Party ruined the economy and turned the United States from a constitutional republic into some kind of socialist nightmare where old folks are pried forcefully from their Buicks in Walmart parking lots, their voting records are examined to filter out those few elderly liberals who aren’t driving Volvos, and then the Republican oldsters are shunted off to death camps in Barry Hussein-O’s gulag.
Ahem. I won’t comment on the irony of flag-waving so-called patriots operating out of the Joe Stalin playbook. The wimpy liberal in me says, oui, I understand that people are stressed and angry and feel all discombobulated about the way things are going, and it’s easy to point fingers when Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and the rest of the cheerleaders of the flying-monkey contingent of the right wing are pointing fingers. But then the part of me that has had enough of this nonsense wants to tell anyone who offers these feeble clowntime excuses for an argument that their inflammatory Foxaganda doesn’t pass the smell test. As in: “You clowns had eight years in the White House to stack the deck they way you like it, and now there’s a different crew running things, so please go to the back of the room now, sit down, STFU and let the adults fix the mess you idiots made when Dicksferatu Cheney and Jethro Mussolini were calling the shots.”
This entire business makes me a sad panda, though. I really don’t want things to be so polarized, and I have more than a few friends who profess conservative Republican politics, and I respect them for their positions, even if we have a “we’ll just agree that we disagree” stance on discussing the issues. Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy, but it really pains me that I can’t talk politics anymore with people who watch a lot of Murdoch media programming, because I really get sick and tired of being called a goddamn communist by people who don’t have the open-mindedness or patience to sit down with me and have a reasonable discussion about what’s going on in our city, or state, or country, or the world. And this makes me deeply sad.
Because I really think we can learn from each other. I don’t think politics has to be a dirty word. I think that business and government people can collaborate on finding solutions to what appears to be overwhelming problems. I think that strength springs from diversity much better than it can arise from closed systems, and that maybe some kind of swarmintel solution will materialize that we’re just not seeing right now, in kind of the way an ant colony that is much smarter than any of the little ants running around spraying pheromones on the ground to mark the path. And I don’t want government apparatchiks running everything any more than I want to see government drowned in Grover Norquist’s proverbial Dupont Circle bathtub so that the brothers Koch and the rest of the GOP rogues gallery of robber barons can rape and pillage whatever they haven’t gotten round to raping and pillaging yet.
So that’s what I’m thinking this Sunday night. Maybe I should go watch a baseball game. —Jackson Griffith