Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The ongoing sex and security scandal is depressing. Seems like there might have been some time for the country to digest a decisive presidential election, and for everyone to think about the way forward on a number of serious matters. Used to be the press had a helpful, teaching function in this process. Given that the electoral victory was so strong for Mr. Obama, it's reasonable to think that a good majority of states stand behind his very centerist approach to the large issues of the moment. The handful of Republicans with actual governing responsibilities, such as those in the Congress, seem at least tentatively willing to have more serious conversations with the Administration than in the previous four years. It is even possible that the freeze-him-out strategy the Republicans had adopted on January 20, 2009, has been shelved, at least for the moment.
Now we have this utter mess, involving very top military people who we have always expected to remain professional, together with broken families, twin bombshells (my heavens!) who begin to seem like the adult versions of Monica Lewinsky's initial life choices, and on top of all this, a faux foreign policy scandal being ginned up by Fox News and VDare's Pat Buchanan. Last night on Hard Ball a reporter from the Washington Post assured Chris Matthews that there was no security breach. I wondered if she was using "security" is a rather technical sense. After all, we're at war with the Taliban in Afganistan, and the Taliban is a quasi-religious body which when in power there publicly shot women for adultery. Seems to me that they now have a rather striking observation to make, namely that the commanding General of the occupying force in their country is apparently an adulterer. Allegedly or possibly of course, at this point.
The further wrinkle in all this is that even the publicity of the scandal may well be a manipulation of public opinion, since the FBI agent who contacted Eric Cantor with information concerning the emails to Ms Kelly had, apparently, a political axe to grind. And the fact that Mr. Cantor stood silent until after the election possibly raises his diplomatic cred a notch or two, at least when compared to a few of the bumper cars that operate in the House. Would Michelle Bachmann or Darrell Issa or Steven King have been circumspect (as surely they should have been). One of course never knows, do one.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama has an important agenda that we all ought to want to encourage. There must be conversation concerning the so-called fiscal cliff, including some changes in the ill-conceived tax structure that Mr. Bush created the moment he arrived in 2001-- unnecessary tax cuts which have contributed greatly to the current fiscal issues facing all of us. There must be an end to resistance to implementing the health care reforms--reforms which will help millions of Americans and should actually help fiscal matters. Perhaps there should be an end to the Afgan adventure in the light of the military train wreck that seems to have been going on in silence for a good long while--it's something to think about. (A guy at work yesterday compared the scandal to the Penn State situation, in that everybody on the inside covered things up--he has a point.)
Sadly, it appears that from now till Xmas obliterates all political conversation, mostly what we'll have is endless sordid details about something that isn't really news. While Mr. Huckabee pretends that the scandal is a symptom of our modern fallen state, King David actually engaged in similar shenanigans some goodly while back, and Mr. Shakespeare, writing in a most godly era, tells us similar tales. Oedipus was a Greek play before it was a complex.
Ahh, Huckabee. Ain't he a piece of work. I hope you watched him on the Jon Stewart show two nights back. He exemplifies lying to oneself as well as anyone around. If you opened him up, and compared his innards to the fallen General's, my guess is, Huckabee's heart is the blacker. The poor General just fell for a pretty woman. He's not much worse than the comedian who went hiking in Argentina instead of western NC a couple of years back. Huckabee, on the other hand, pretends to be a moral advisor to all of us, a politician preacher reaching the heights of Elmer Gantry and Jerry Falwell. And yet he lies as much to himself as to his public, as a matter of what he'd probably call "life style." In the case in point, Huckabee put out an ad that suggested that a vote for a Democrat might lead the vote caster to Hell, then when called on that by Stewart, had hisself a nice pat technical answer: "I wasn't talking about Hell, I was referring to some verse in Corinthians, as any Christian knows." "I'm Jewish," Stewart responded. Huckabee just went on and on, a used-car salesman working till the end to try to make the sale.
You'd think that a nice, decisive election would shut the manipulators and liars up for at least a few weeks. It's really kinda sad. For all of us.
[photo Mike Huckabee and family, some Xmas or other]