Welcome to the Idiot's Guide to American Politics. And by "idiot's" I don't mean for idiots. I mean by one.
My political theory library includes four volumes, and three of them are Machiavelli's The Prince. But when you're swimming through Election 2000, even tongue-chewers don't need Floaties. So if you know the meaning of fancy political concepts like "social security" and "taxes," just keep on walking.
Hear that giant sucking sound? That's us, the American citizenry, for even giving these guys Driver's Licenses. We suck. How 200 million people fell asleep at the wheel I'll never know, but it probably has something to do with beer and television.
Al Gore invented the Internet. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest people should be judged by what they do and say, not what we want them to be. There are a couple of meanings I can derive from Gore's absurd claim. First, he's either an idiot or a phony (or some combination of the two). Second, he thinks we're idiots or we value prevarication (or some combination of the two).
Conclusion: Gore is a phony idiot and he thinks we're all morally gelatinous inbreds (Tennessee-style). This evidently doesn't mean much to people, and I'm not suggesting that any and every error should flood the hull. But when I see Al Gore, I see a laughable, pathetic, and (most significantly) insidious child.
I wonder if Tipper Gore knows she made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. She's in the censorship section, right next to Luther Campbell. I'd like to listen in on dinner at the Gore's, with Tipper on her Anti-First Amendment soapbox and Gore having invented the greatest purveyor of pornography society has ever known. Spicy dialogue!
My most telling political experience in high school was when we got out of class to go downtown and chant "We want Bush" in anticipation of George the Elder. While this slogan rates highly with male voters between the ages of 18 and 19, historically it has been received poorly in all other demographics.
Bush. I get the feeling he's worn a few empty 12-pack boxes as hats. A friend of mine who has served the Bush campaign for the last year or so told me that George Sr. was so out of touch with the real world he didn't know what a grocery store scanner was all about. But Dubya, he assured me, is different. I have to assume he was telling me that Junior is down with barcodes. So that's good for the barcode industry as it advances into the 21st century.
If I were penning some presidential flashcards (particularly in the age of globalization), "Learn the names of major world leaders" would probably be pretty close to the top of the deck. But evidently Bushie was reading from a different deck when he decided he wanted to be president. I understand he was governing Texas at the time, but Texas is a part of the world. They even deliver newspapers there. It is my opinion that the most powerful man in the world should be hip to current events. It seems to me that a person interviewing for the job of most powerful man in the world might anticipate such a question. Did Yale not have a Career Center?
This is when it gets really hazy for a political idiot. Seems that about half a percent of us want some freaky Christian bigot, and another half percent like Ralph Nader.
Ralph Nader. For some reason I hear the name Ralph Nader and two things come to mind. One is the Olympics. Why?, I don't know.
The other is Noam Chomsky. I think that's because whenever you see a handbill advertising a Nader speaking engagement on some campus, there's usually a Noam Chomsky one close by. Is this a bad thing for a presidential candidate? Well, I don't know much about Noam Chomsky, but I don't think I want him (or any other linguist) running the country.
Once I saw a guy wearing a tee-shirt with "Where's my alimony?" printed on it. The Libertarians are asking the media the same question with their lack of coverage. What a screw job - the party goes out and nominates the sexiest name they could enlist in Harry Browne, and what do they have to show for it? A newsletter. The only political contribution I have ever made was to this party, and I don't even know what this guy is about. I do know he doesn't make outrageous claims and he doesn't have gobs of special interest money funding him, or he'd be on the news. His wife isn't a rock-and-roll star and his dad doesn't get his butt kicked by Geraldine Ferraro on C-Span debate reruns. What he does have is a fancy "e" on the end of his name (I think that's a French convention).
Maybe I'll write in my dad. He's compassionate but realistic. He means what he says. He'd quit after four years. I'd get free trips to Poland. Unfortunately, his resume doesn't include the invention of bread or the automobile.
De Tocqueville saw it coming. American politics is like pro wrestling. Staged and mediocre. I'd vote for Andre the Giant in this climate, God rest his soul. Who was that big fat president who got the special bathtub put in? Grover Cleveland? Chester Arthur? Lamar Hunt? William Perry? W.H. Taft? Will my great grandchildren ask, "who was that sex-addict president that smoked cigars?" Or, "who was the president who drank beer and watched football with Homer Simpson?"
Is "Read my lips" the best our age can produce in terms of rhetorical greatness?
Where are the great men and women? (The Coast Guard?)