A Rant on the 2000 Election Season (Nov. 2000)

In the current election season, and following revelations of Shrub’s DUI in Maine, here’s the latest rant.

The following is an e-mail that is currently circulating around the internet. Following this is AirBeagle’s ranting response. This is all very long, but stick with it.

Subject: Dear Mr. President

I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, “Thank me, I voted for Clinton-Gore.” So, I sat down and reflected on that and I am sending my “Thank you” for what you have done, specifically:

1) Thank you for introducing us to Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Dolly Kyle Browning, Kathleen Willey, and, of course Juanita Broaddrick, who told NBC that you raped her. Are there any others that we should know about?

2) Thank you for teaching my 8 year old about oral sex. I had really planned to wait until he was about 10 or so to discuss sex in general with him, but now he knows more about that part of it than i did as a senior in college.The cigar thing was also neat for the kids.

3) Thank you for showing us that sexual harrassment in the work place (especially the White House) and on the job is OK, and all you have to know is what the meaning of “sex” is. It really is great to know that certain sexual acts are not sex and one person may have sex while the other one involved does not have sex. Monica said frequently while you were on the phone, she would work at one end, and you at the other. What productivity!

4) Thank you for reintroducing the concept of impeachment to a new generation and demonstrating that the ridiculous plot of the movie “Wag the Dog” could be plausible after all. The people of the Sudan, Afghanistan, and Serbia are all running to rent the video, now that you made them part of the story.

5) Thanks for making Jimmy Carter look competent, Gerald Ford look graceful, Richard Nixon look honest, Lyndon Johnson look truthful, and John Kennedy look moral.

6) Thank you for the 72 House and Senate witnesses who have pleaded the 5th Amendment and the 17 witnesses who have fled the country to avoid testifying about Democratic campaign fund raising.

7) Thank you for the 19 charges, 8 convictions, and 4 imprisonments for the Whitewater “mess” and the 55 criminal charges and 32 criminal convictions (so far) in the other “Clinton” scandles.

8) Thanks for remembering the families of the many deceased people who once were your friends, who served you and died so young and suddenly: Vince Foster, Jerry Parks, Ron Brown, Admiral Boorda, Les Aspin, Barbara Alice Wiese, Mary Mahones, Jim McDougal et al.

9) Thanks also for reducing our military by half, “gutting” much of our foreign policy, and for providing no real missle defense system for the American people. Thank you for sharing with our Chinese friends all of our nuclear weapon designs, the supercomputer technology to build such weapons, the ballistic missile technology so they can have more accurate missiles, and the encryption technology so they can keep it all secret too.

10) You are amazing visiting all those countries! Thank you for flying all over the world on “vacations” carefully disguised as necessary trips. It’s wonderful, too, how you have surpassed every other president in the size of you entourage on these trips: 75 jumbo jets and 2000 guests to China alone. Your Africa entourage also was remarkable and it was nice of you to bring Betty Currie. She needed a break from testifying before the grand jury.

Please give my regards to Hillary, when/if you see her. Tell her I’m working on a”Thank You” letter for her as well. Looking forward to January 2001.

Author Unknown

And now AirBeagle’s long and vitriolic comments:

I no longer identify with either party at all, although I tend to swing more towards the Democratic side. They’re just sexier some how. [grin]

But I get impatient with bitter Clinton-haters like the letter writer above. Clinton, like all our presidents, is human and therefore has made some really huge mistakes. We all do. I personally regret buying that silver 1976 Pontiac Sunbird with red stripes and loud side pipes that burned your legs every time you stepped out of the car. I still have the scars on my ankles. And that whole 1980 Volkswagen Scirocco thing. Ugh.

But ALL presidents/national leaders have made huge mistakes in their careers. As Churchill said, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Find me a president or leader, demo or repub, who can comport himself in high office with perfect behavior and I’ll tell you we’ve elected Christ himself. In other words, the perfect president doesn’t exist and is a figment of the collective national imagination. Get a grip, people, and some objectivity!

Now Shrub admits he got stopped for DUI. What else hasn’t he told us? How much more spin will Karen Hughes give us? I’ll bet Barbara is so hacked right now her head’s about to spin around in circles. NOBODY attacks her boys and gets away with it.

But ya know what? I’m FAR more concerned about his statement that Social Security is not a federal program and that he was responsible for having a hate crimes law in Texas, when he did exactly the opposite. So he was stopped for DUI … he’s an alcoholic … there but for the grace of God … but I’m more concerned about how many brain cells the drinking killed than a little traffic stop in Kennebunkport. By the way, do we REALLY think that Daddy didn’t get involved in that? A fine, license suspension in Maine for “a little while” and no overnight drunk tank time? Yeah, right, Poppy didn’t have anything to do with that.

It’s high time we remember some of the more salient points about our special American history, and how un-perfect it really is:

Our founding fathers were not, in fact, particularly Christian. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, John Adams, et al, to a man were Deists and denied that Christ was the son of God, that Christianity was a healthy religion and that heaven and hell existed. Thomas Paine was especially vitriolic in this (read “Common Sense”). Thomas Jefferson, who believed much the same, kept slaves even while writing “All men are created equal” and had a torrid affair with one of them. Ben Franklin used to sit naked in the window taking what he called “air baths.” By the way, “All men are created equal” actually meant to the founding fathers that “All white, land-owning, males over the age of 21, are created equal.” Nothing more, nothing less. Also, the second amendment was written at a time when Uzi’s and AK-47s were inconceivable.

Abe, the most revered Republican president, was not the saint/savior he’s made out to be. Freeing the slaves was merely a political tool. I quote: “If I can save the union by freeing the slaves, I will do that. If I can save the union by freeing some slaves and leaving others in bondage, I will do that. If I could save the union by not ending slavery, I will do that.”

Another quote: “I will say here, while upon this subject, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution in the States where it exists. I believe I have no right to do so. I have no inclination to do so. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together on the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.” Yup. Really sounds like Abe fought the war over slavery. In fact, slavery was a convenient political expediency to isolate the south and win back foreign opinion for the union, which had been slipping. He was against continuing the trade and allowing it to spread outside of the southern states where it was established. And he was definitely a white supremacist. Further, his stories of log cabin schoolwork with a piece of coal on the back of a shovel were nonsense and the raving lunatic Mary Todd Lincoln makes Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton look like harmless Barbie sorority sisters.

That Teddy Roosevelt stormed up San Juan Hill was probably a myth; as assistant secretary of the navy, he also manipulated the sinking of the Maine into an excuse to wage the Spanish-American War, in itself an excuse for a massive US Imperial land grab.

The three arguably most scandal-ridden US administrations were Republican: US Grant (you name it and it was a scandal); Warren G. Harding (Teapot Dome) and Richard Nixon (The gate thing; the Vietnam thing; the Checkers thing, etc.).

Calvin Coolidge had such contempt and dislike for the office and the people that he preferred to chop wood rather than deal with the daily drudgery of the office. He took no steps to prevent the ‘29 crash. His successor, Hoover, promised two chickens in every pot and two cars in every garage but could do nothing to turn around the depression. And Hoover’s tenure as the Secretary of Commerce and patronage of that department as president created such graft and corruption that his successor, FDR, had to perform a massive cleanup of the department.

As for sexual harassment, what about the great Republican “I Like Ike” and his long-time, well-known affair with his little Army secretary, Kay Summersby. And didn’t Ronnie divorce Jane Wyman to marry the Nanster? In my family’s church, that means he’s an adulterer and goin’ to hell, but they still voted for him in ‘84 anyway.

Poppy George: “Read My Lips” – What’s the difference between that and “I did not have sex with that woman” ?? One was about lying to the American people about a private consensual sex act, the other about lying to the American people about promising not to raise their taxes and take more of their money. Hmmmm. Why is America so uptight about sex, but so not about monetary matters, like huge government waste, an obscene stock market, corrupt corporate greed/welfare/purchasing of politicians and the political process? Also, the price of popcorn at the movies?

Reagan’s debate shenanigans, and what about that stuff about not letting the hostages off the ground in Iran until after he took the oath of office so he could announce publicly “Ronnie’s here, everything’s better, look what I done done”? Or for that matter, just who ran the country in his second term when senility was already setting in? And yes, Iran-Contra. Anybody remember James Watts? “Two blacks, a jew and a cripple.” Did Al Haig have his hand on the nuke button during the assassination attempt? So many questions.

What Democratic scandals other than “I hate Bill” have we had? Eleanor Roosevelt was a lesbian? Marilyn Monroe screwed JFK? Lyndon Johnson lifted his beagles up by the ears and miraculously got the dead people of the Texas Hill country to vote for him? Clinton can’t keep his pants on? Hillary’s a strong woman (read: Bitch), therefore, a de facto threat to all that is male and holy? Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, be the inspiration for Love Story and promises to fight for us?

And lastly, don’t get me started on Dick Cheney and Halliburton. Sorry, but this is a man who made some questionable and rabidly rightwing votes as a congressman, seeks to deny his own lesbian daughter rights and protections enjoyed by other citizens (not to mention attempting to deny she was even a lesbian, even though she served as the gay and lesbian community liason for the Coors company of Golden, Colorado, and once toured the nation with Mr. Leather USA 1998 and lives with her lover in Conifer), and a man who rakes in millions and millions of dollars in cash and stock while using his political connections at home and abroad to obtain lucrative contracts for one of the country’s most sleazy corporations, all while conducting massive layoffs (including my father once and my brother-in-law twice), all while generating record-setting profits. Not to mention that little “Let’s circumvent the Constitution of the United States by living in Highland Park, Texas, but making a quick hush trip to Wyoming to change our voter registration. Shhhhh.” Yeah. I want him a heartbeat away from the throne, pulling Dubya’s strings.

Finally, (aren’t you glad) anybody who can write can cast anyone else in a very bad light. The letter writer above can do it with Slick Willy; I can do it with any Republican administration, including several supposedly above reproach. So we can write the opposite: The Founding Fathers believed religion was an important part of life; Abe freed the slaves; US Grant won the war and was manipulated by unscrupulous politicians; Teddy won us an empire; Ronnie brought morning to America; Poppy won the Gulf War and began the economic miracle; FDR pretty much just continued what Hoover had already started; Gore did play a key role in nurturing the internet and was indeed one of the inspirations for Love Story and probably will fight for us, in a way. And Dick. Well, Dick. How to be nice to Mr. Cheney? Hmmmm. He hasn’t locked up his daughter (yet) and he was a dang fine Secretary of Defense. See? It’s easy. [grin]

As a matter of fact, I’m doing that myself at work. My assignment last week at work was to craft a vice president’s resignation message to the company, in which he/she claims to be leaving because he/she got an opportunity he/she can’t pass up and that he/she firmly believes in the company and what a great company this is and how much he/she loves the CEO. The truth: He/she told someone else last night that one of the primary reasons he/she’s leaving is that the CEO is, in fact, a complete and inveterate liar who can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

Knowing that my rent needs to be paid, which side of the story do you think I’ll be passing on to All NorthPoint? [grin] Yeah. That’s what I said.

So there. That’s my rant for today. If you’re still reading at this point, apologies for the length. I’m in an expansive mood today. Now, back to the salt mines. May God have mercy on us in the next administration.

The following are additional comments from Frank after reading my rant above:

Just a couple of non-brief side notes. Most Americans don’t remember or care about anything beyond the past year (i.e., history is meaningless). Your mention of Grant/Harding/Nixon is accurate and necessary. But nobody cares. I would love to commission a poll asking a scientific sample of Americans if they even know what Watergate was. I think part of our (when I say “our” I refer to you, me, and our age cohorts, or those in our age cohort who even think about these things) indignation about history, political scandal, hypocrisy, etc., comes from our having lived through a time when a president actively and directly circumvented and rode roughshod over the Constitution to take the reins of power into his own hands for his own corrupt uses – and kept a list of “enemies” for political liquidation. But Nixon resigned over 25 years ago. It might as well have been 250 years ago for all that anybody in this country cares about the lessons of history. I was reading an article in yesterday’s NY Times about a 13-year-old kid in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who is the “chairman” of his middle school’s Bush “campaign.” He and another boy were debating about the election in his social studies class. When the Exxon Valdez spill came up, the Bush acolyte said, “People would rather pay less for oil and take the small risk that there may be a small spill. Besides, we did clean up the Exxon Valdez spill pretty well.” We live in a country where national amnesia is the norm, promoted at the highest levels, and starting with parenthood.

Richard Nixon makes Bill Clinton look like a penny-ante third-rate podunk dogcatcher from Little Rock, but nobody will ever admit that, because there is a national interest in promoting amnesia – unless the memory you are exploiting is nostalgic. It’s okay to have entire cable channels devoted to the regurgitation of old film clips of John Lennon, Jackie Kennedy, and Princess Diana, but when it comes to re-examining the wounds and atrocities of our national past, we would rather just stuff it and bury it. Unfortunately, I think the national mood right now is one of collective amnesia and apathy, and this is the perfect climate for someone like Bush II. (See the op-ed article, “George W’s America,” in the Nov. 4 NY Times).

The “author unknown” crap that you paste at the start of your e-mail is the usual boring litany of Republican/right-wing/Rush Limbaugh boilerplate invective against the Clinton years. It is a well-worn script they read from as though they were reciting Romans 1:26-27 for the 3,000,000th time.

These people are blind with rage and hatred, and they are obsessed with Old Testament vengeance, at any cost. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

The lack of “moral outrage” by Republicans over GWB’s DUI arrest in 1976 (and whatever other skeletons he has in his vast closet) has not much to do with a lack of outrage or justice and everything to do with their single-minded mania about recapturing their White House and their virility as a political party, and erasing the fact that their greatest symbol, Ronald Reagan, is now a 90-year-old, doddering, drooling, catatonic zombie. The only thing that matters to the Republican Party is taking the country on a communal time-travel machine back to the days of (putatively) pre-Alzheimer’s and pre-Iran/contra Ronald Reagan – intoning, “Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will”; joking with his surgeons after he was almost assassinated, “I hope you’re all Republicans”; babbling in his farewell speech about “boat people” waving up to sailors on the USS Midway and screaming, “Hello, freedom man!”; and refusing to say the word AIDS in public until 1987.

The mood for amnesia – I just thought of this – is actually a national longing to BE Ronald Reagan (pre-Alzheimer’s). Forgetfulness is bliss. Sweep problems under the rug. Make up corny anecdotes to fit every occasion, bad or good. Reagan’s housing secretary, Samuel Pierce, just died, and in his obituary, the main thing he was remembered for (besides the scandals which plagued him) was that the Gipper had mistaken a member of his own cabinet for a mayor at a White House reception in 1981 (“Hello, Mr. Mayor”).

Hell, there’s even a website called ‘God Bless Ronald Reagan.com.’ (“Remember when we had a REAL president?”) I kid you not.