Monday, November 05, 2012

In the End, Vote for Obama Because Fuck Romney

The Rude Pundit

Finally, at the end of four brutal years of the 2012 presidential campaign, the Rude Pundit is exhausted. He's exhausted and disgusted, and there's so many factors as to why, some of them Sandy-related bullshit, some of them political bullshit, that he'll just bring it down to one: that we as a nation put ourselves through a four year-long campaign because, truly, once Jeb Bush and Chris Christie decided they weren't going to run for president, the election was over. Why did they take the 2016 off ramp? Because they knew the inevitable outcome and they didn't want to dim whatever gleams they have reflecting off them. They knew, as the Rude Pundit knew (demonstrably), that Barack Obama was going to win reelection. If they thought he could lose, they would have run. So the smart narcissists got out of the game, leaving only the dumb narcissists.

And the dumbest, richest narcissist of them all bought the nomination for himself because that's the only fucking way such an illegitimate, empty vessel of a religious fanatic, this charlatan, this con man could have gotten this far in our nonsensical system of choosing a leader.

The Rude Pundit wants Mitt Romney disgraced. He wants Romney pelted with rotting vegetables because Romney is also "Romney," the avatar of the avaricious, of the Kochs and Sheldon Adelson, of the bounty of disinformation that flowed because of the democracy-killing Citizens United decision (which Obama Super PACs took advantage of, too), who has no actual plans to do anything other than assure that the greedy are allowed to wallow in their shit-filled cash pits like the pigs they are and laugh while the rest of us argue over the scraps of issues like "abortion" and "education" and "health care," avoiding the real damage of income disparity, the confronting of which would necessarily take care of the other issues.

He wants Romney pantsed and whipped through the streets until he disappears, yowling into the wilderness, never to be seen again, because the Rude Pundit wants to kill the myth of the businessman-as-leader. Let's be clear: Romney had only four years of experience as an elected official of any sort, far less than Obama when he ran in 2008. So Romney's left with his Bain Capital experience, and we're supposed to believe that because he knows how to contort the finances of failing companies in order to profit his investors, he should be allowed to decide whether or not we should go to war with Iran.

Romney needs to have election results shoved up his ass and down his throat because he has approached the presidency as something that is his by some kind of rich white man's birth right. And that's not even getting into the lies, the shifting positions. People like to call Romney a "robot." That's not even close. He's like the alien in John Carpenter's The Thing, a horrific, oozing miasma of a being, devouring those near him and mimicking what they are in order to be accepted by others, a creature with no discernible shape of its own, one that exists for the sole purpose of taking over the world just because it thinks it can do so.

Romney has nothing, offers nothing, is nothing, other than white and rich, which is, sadly, to our great disgrace, enough for nearly half the nation. He never had a chance.

But, still, we allowed ourselves to be put through the four-year campaign. The pathetic, craven, soul-sucking media forced a narrative that allowed this race to even have the illusion of a close race. The pathetic, craven, soul-sucking media refused to acknowledge the truth, that Obama failed personally less than he was cock-blocked by Republicans (and cowardly Blue Dog Democrats) at nearly every step of the way. Why didn't he close Gitmo? Because Congress specifically blocked any funding to do so. Why didn't he get a jobs bill through? Because Congress said it might be successful and mustn't be passed.

Fuck, let's just narrow this down. Why didn't the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy? Because Senate Republicans would have prevented jobless people from getting extensions on their unemployment checks. Why didn't over 400 bills from the Democratic House pass? Because Senate Republicans. Why are there still so many positions unfilled in the government? Because Senate Republicans. That's the fucking story of the last four years. That's the story of the Obama presidency. That's the story that has been ignored, even by the Obama campaign, presumably because it seemed whiny.

No, Barack Obama ain't poor and he ain't perfect. And this blog has pissed off more than a few readers by pointing that out, especially on civil liberties, and even more especially on drone attacks. He could have been even more aggressive with those who opposed him. He could have developed a way to communicate what the health care reform law does, what the stimulus has done, and more. We could list a shitload of his accomplishments, and that would be enough.

But it's also enough to say this: Fuck Mitt Romney. Fuck him and everything he represents. Vote to make him pay in a way he never has had to in his entire awful life.

(Note to fellow liberals: If you don't wanna vote for Obama or want to vote for Jill Stein, well, it's your vote, motherfuckers. Do with it what you will. Some people spend all their money on meth. It might fuck up their lives permanently, but they sure feel good while they're doing it.)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Iraq: Requiem for a Profound Misadventure

Joe Klein in Time magazine.

[It is a matter of some relief that Barack Obama did not announce the end of major combat operations in Iraq under a banner that said "Mission Accomplished." He did it in a speech to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the most grave and sober audience imaginable. And appropriately so, after a war that should never have been fought, a war that by some estimates will cost $3 trillion before it's done (including the health care services rendered to those represented by the DAV), a war whose casualties number in the hundreds of thousands. Iraq hasn't been much in the news over the past year, but this is an important milestone — even if our mission there will continue on a much smaller scale for 16 more months — a moment for reflection and humility in the face of a national embarrassment.

There is no "victory" in Iraq, nor will there be. There is something resembling stability, for now. There is a semblance of democracy, but that may dissolve over time into a Shi'ite dictatorship — which, if not well run, could yield to the near inevitable military coup. Yes, Saddam is gone — and that is a good thing. The Kurds have a greater measure of independence and don't have to live in fear of mass murder, which are good things too. But Iran's position in the region has been strengthened. Its Iraqi allies, especially Muqtada al-Sadr's populist movement, will play a major role — perhaps one more central than ours — in shaping the future of the country. Our attempt to construct an Iraq more amenable to our interests will end no better than the previous attempts by Western colonial powers. Even if something resembling democracy prevails, the U.S. invasion and occupation will not be remembered fondly by Iraqis. We will own the destruction in perpetuity; if the Iraqis manage to cobble themselves a decent society, they will see it, correctly, as an achievement of their own. (See a timeline of the first seven years of the Iraq war.)

There are other consequences of this profound misadventure. The return of the Taliban in Afghanistan is certainly one. If U.S. attention hadn't been diverted from that primary conflict, the story in the Pashtun borderlands might be very different now. The sense of the U.S. as a repository of tempered, honorable actions may never recover from the images of the past decade, especially the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison. (See pictures of the aftershocks from the Abu Ghraib scandal.)

The idea that it was our right and responsibility to rid Iraq of a terrible dictator — after the original casus belli of weapons of mass destruction evaporated — turned out to be a neocolonialist delusion. The fact that Bush apologists still trot out his "forward strategy of freedom" as an example of American idealism is a farce. That feckless exercise in naiveté brought us a Hamas government in Gaza, after a Palestinian election that no one but the Bush Administration wanted. It raised the hopes of reformers across the region, soon dashed when the Bush Administration retreated, realizing that the outcome of democracy in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be the installation of Islamist parties that might prove more repressive than the dictatorships they would replace. Freedom may well be "God's gift to humanity," as Bush insisted, radiating a simpleminded piety that never reflected another of God's greatest gifts — the ability to doubt, to think difficult thoughts and weigh conflicting options with clarity and subtlety. But I'm pretty sure God never designated the U.S. to impose that freedom violently upon others. (Comment on this story.)

It is appropriate that Obama's speech to the DAV will not be remembered as vividly as George W. Bush's puerile march across the deck of an aircraft carrier, costumed as a combat aviator against a golden sunset, to announce — seven years and tens of thousands of lives prematurely — the "end of combat operations." Obama's announcement was no celebration. It was a somber acknowledgment that amends will be made to those whose lives were shattered and that their courageous service in an unnecessary cause will be honored. A national discussion about America's place in the world, and the military's excessive place in our foreign policy, would also be appropriate in the wake of this disaster, but I'm not holding my breath. (See photos of 100 years of the U.S. Army Reserve.)

As for myself, I deeply regret that once, on television in the days before the war, I foolishly — spontaneously — said that going ahead with the invasion might be the right thing to do. I was far more skeptical in print. I never wrote in favor of the war and repeatedly raised the problems that would accompany it, but mere skepticism was an insufficient reaction too. The issue then was as clear as it is now. It demanded a clarity that I failed to summon. The essential principle is immutable: we should never go to war unless we have been attacked or are under direct, immediate threat of attack. Never. And never again.]

Friday, July 16, 2010

The great Dick Cheney empathy test

Mark Morford

[Former Vice President Dick Cheney disclosed Wednesday that he has undergone surgery to install a small pump to help his heart work, as the 69-year-old enters a new phase of what he called "increasing congestive heart failure." -- Associated Press

Here's how it works. You read the story above. You note how Dick Cheney, former vice president, Bush babydaddy, sneermaster supreme, befouler of nations, lover of war, hater of, well, almost everything else -- has undergone yet another major heart operation, this time to place a little valve-assisting pump (called an LVAD) in his withered and long dysfunctional ticker.

You then read how Dick is recuperating in intensive care following said installation -- which, by the way, is usually only a stopgap measure, just a delay tactic until the device in question gives out and the patient requires a full heart transplant. Is Dick a candidate for that? Doubtful. Also, they say LVADs are usually reserved for patients with end-stage heart disease, a last resort, the final straw. It is, they say, only a matter of time.

So it begins.

The first knee-jerk response to the Great Dick Cheney Empathy Test (GDCET) is, of course, the easiest, and the most obvious, the most available to your giddy puppydog consciousness, and my guess is it shot through you like a fast and wonderful lightning bolt of OH MY SWEET JESUS YES the instant you read the story above.

That response was, shall we say, not very subtle. It was, I'm guessing, a not-so-secret howl to the universe that the sooner Dick exits this earthly plane, the healthier, lighter and happier we will all be, planetwide. Dark shadows will lift, flowers will bloom more brightly, 10 million female uteri can finally unclench, and so on.

But then, perhaps you sigh, ponder, probe a bit more deeply. Is that how you really wish to be? What of those noble traits we all strive for: compassion, benevolence, forgiveness, a wan but merciful smile in the face of thine enemy's condemnatory sneer? Is wishing a scaldingly painful death on one of the worst and most shameful characters in American history really the right way to treat your fellow man? Any fellow man? Of course not. Well, maybe. No, no, definitely not.

After all, if you wish such a thing, what does that say? About you? About us? About this paragraph? Would we not all be wallowing on the same filthy level? Is it not similar to the death penalty argument so beloved by liberals, that no matter how vile the criminal, to wish death upon any human makes us just as base and ugly as those we deem to be evil? This is no way for an enlightened consciousness to evolve.

I know what you're thinking. And yes, passing the GDCET would require all your courage, all your gumption, willpower, whisky and every ounce of benevolent energy you can muster. You would have to invoke all your Jesus-flecked Buddha nature to turn the other cheek, love thy enemies, forgive the sinners -- basically dredge up every maxim, axiom, aphorism, proverb and Hallmark card you can think of, toss them into a karmic blender and shoot them straight into your wary soul like a desperate and godly emetic.

It ain't easy. You must first resist the very reasonable, insistent screaming of your calmly vengeful side, the one that would be very pleased indeed if Dick suffered a million scalding rashes and burned in hell with Jerry Falwell, Saddam and Strom Thurmond for all eternity. That would be wrong. Stop thinking that.

Perhaps a reversal is in order. Perhaps it's better to wish someone like Dick a longer life, so that he may bear witness to the well-deserved implosion of all his nefarious plans, his cronyist empire. The man is, by most accounts, responsible for countless thousands of innocent deaths, the acerbic tainting of our national identity, a flagrant mutilation of everything we once held dear. You sort of want the guy to feel it. Repeatedly.

Are you a seriously impassioned ultraliberal with a thing for vengeful whimsy? You might even take this notion a step further and hold out a flicker of hope that Dick will live long enough to one day be put on trial for his war crimes, hung in a public square, slowly eaten by swarms of feral pigeons. Or crows. Pugs. Whatever.

This is, of course, a total fantasy, akin to imagining Rush Limbaugh getting busted for snorting meth from a gay teenage hooker's thighs just after fellating Mel Gibson in Newt Gingrich's fetish dungeon. Doesn't matter. As long as Dick is alive, it's a fantasy that keeps many a liberal heart aflutter.

Maybe you sense there is no rush. Maybe you know there's need to wish Dick an immediate demise, given how everyone knows that before long he'll be taking the Great Escalator down to the basement. Surely a great reckoning is coming. In the grand arc of spacetime, what's a few more years?

Besides, will it not be lovely for Dick to witness Obama sail into his second term, replace a third of the Supreme Court with people who actually have souls, and overturn/reverse nearly every law, stance and spiteful stratagem with which Dick ever fouled the earth? You bet it will.

Or perhaps, finally, you can appreciate the value of a living Dick. Every culture needs its demons, yes? The villain is just as important as the hero. Dick has been, and continues to be, an ideal foil, the complete monster, the perfect perversion of humanity by which we can all measure subsequent people and deeds. You may look upon any modern atrocity, any upstart political ogre, any personal abuse and say, well, at least it's not Dick Cheney. That's something.

So, how did you do? Did you pass the GDCET? Fail instantly, way back up top, when you read the headline to this column? Not quite sure?

You might be like me. See, I try to wish no violence or death, illness or pain on my fellow man. I do not always succeed, but still I strive, every single day, with every breath, even if I can't always forgive or be as uniformly compassionate as I'd like, then at least to proffer kindness, to see the larger picture and above all, to refuse to let the poison enter my heart.

However, I'm quite sure I would not be the slightest bit displeased to learn that the laws of brutal karmic repayment have come into full, painstaking, searing effect on our boy Dick. No, I wouldn't mind that in the least. After all, it's the empathetic thing to do.]

Monday, June 14, 2010

You might be a Republican IF.....

By Loren Adams, 13 June 2010

You might be a Republican IF…

You think toilet paper should come in Q'uran and NYT print.

You find nothing contradictory about your sign that reads "Hands Off My Medicare" next to a "Government Run Healthcare Makes Me Sick" sticker on the bumper of your gas guzzling Humvee,

You think that affirmative action is only acceptable for Michael Steele and Marco Rubio.

You don’t like being called “The Party of NO” but instead like being referred to as “The Party of HELL NO!” only because Sarah Palin suggested it.

You think "Semper Fi" should be changed to "Git R Done"

You think your Tea Party posters are not misspelled that read: “I am Joe the Plummer,” or “Make English Americas Offical Langage.” Or “Say No to Socilism.”

You think Stem Cell research is what killed Terri Schiavo

As part of your boycott of all names French, you change the name of your favorite sex toy to "freedom tickler."

You think the 2000 election was fair & square when Bush stole the White House but the 2008 election was stolen by ACORN for Obama.

You've ever announced your gratitude to our troops for fighting for your freedom to drill baby drill and spill baby spill.

You feel your duty in the war on terror is to hunt down Mexicans crossing the border. (Then you hire undocumented workers to do your lawn and housework.)

You've ever complained about abuse of welfare while depositing earnings in an off-shore tax-sheltered account or you cash your disability check before heading to the gym.

You think WMD are still in Iraq but hidden by liberals to make Bush look bad.

You think Mark Felts should have been executed for treason before dying of natural causes, and Gordon Liddy should get the medal of freedom.

You've ever blamed anything on "Activist Judges" while supporting the Supreme Court decision to reject corporate spending limits on political campaigns.

You think Glenn Beck is a prophet.

You think Sarah Palin is a goddess.

You think Rush Limbaugh is the greatest broadcast journalist ever.

You watch only one news channel, FOX, because it’s the only one fair and balanced.

You firmly believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Or Indonesia. Or anyplace outside the USA.

You think Barack Obama is the Antichrist.

You think Barack Obama is Muslim.

You think Barack Obama is Socialist.

In honor of Terri Schiavo, you kept the deer you shot alive for twelve days.

You think there should be a "constitutional exemption" at home to shut your wife up.

You feel the only acceptable time turning left is at a NASCAR race.

You think Capitol Hill should be re-named "Six Flags over Jesus."

You think gay marriages would somehow taint the sanctity of your six failed marriages.

You make your wife wear a "no spin" t-shirt during sex.

You think that listening to three different conservative talk shows and FOX gives you all the variety you need.

You name your testicles "shock" and "awe."

You wear a strapped-on assault rifle to a President Obama event but would never consider doing the same to a Bush or Palin or Limbaugh or Beck or Hannity rally.

You think that Healthcare Reform includes government death panels designed to kill your grandma.

You've ever considered your finest point in an argument to be, "Oh yeah, well, you hate America!"

You feel the "culture of life" should be the standard – that every life is worth the same (except Muslims, Mexicans, gays, Africans, liberals, activist judges, and anyone for gun control).

You think Civil Rights acts were unnecessary and should be repealed, or at least sections of them – the parts dealing with private businesses refusing to serve “coloreds” and the Fair Housing Act.

You think “American exceptionalism” means God singled the US out as the most favored, thus all others are inferior and not divinely blessed.

You've ever yelled "Hell yeah, man, I agree!" while Sean Hannity was speaking.

You’ve ever experienced an erection watching Sarah Palin on TV.

You stand and salute when George Bush or Dick Cheney is on the air, even though you've never served in the military, but you flip the bird at the TV screen every time Barack Obama appears.

You’ve ever twittered Sarah Palin or Michele Bauchmann love notes.

You registered to vote at a Tractor Pull.

You boycotted your local convenience store because the clerk let it slip he voted for Obama (even though you had bought all of your NASCAR apparel there.)

In honor of Bush, you donate to his new “LIBARY” in Texas: two cartons of crayons.

You think the U.S. Treasury should replace Ulysses S. Grant’s picture on the $50 bill with Ronald Reagan’s and exchange George Washington’s on the dollar for George W. Bush’s.

You've ever answered a gun-control issue with "when they pry them out of my cold, dead hands."

You think that fetuses have a right to life but newborn babies don’t have a right to healthcare even if their parents pay for it.

You consider BP, Halliburton and Transocean Ltd. eco-friendly companies.

Your solution to the BP spill in the Gulf is to nuke ‘em.

You don’t believe in global warming but believe it’s a leftist plot to turn America socialist.

You think scientists that endorse global warming should be arrested and tried for treason.

Your strongest defense for the reason Bin Laden wasn’t caught during the Bush years is "Because they all look alike."

You think the only solution for the Middle East peace is to bomb them all to hell. (Then let God sort them out.)

You think all Democratic presidents should be impeached.

You think the only three campaign issues that matter are “God, gays and guns.”

You think the imposition of government regulations caused economic meltdown and, oh yes, Barney Frank.

You think the Bush years were glorious, but Clinton and Obama ruined America.

You think that budget deficits began only after January 20, 2009.

You approve Arizona’s “papers please” bill but demand the government uphold constitutional freedoms and stay out of your personal life.

You think GOP stands for “God’s Only Party.”

Friday, April 17, 2009

Special Comment: 16 April 2009

As promised, a Special Comment now on the president's revelation of the remainder of this nightmare of Bush Administration torture memos. This President has gone where few before him, dared. The dirty laundry — illegal, un-American, self-defeating, self-destroying — is out for all to see.

Mr. Obama deserves our praise and our thanks for that. And yet he has gone but half-way. And, in this case, in far too many respects, half the distance is worse than standing still. Today, Mr. President, in acknowledging these science-fiction-like documents, you said that:

"This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke."

"We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history.

"But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.

Mr. President, you are wrong. What you describe would be not "spent energy" but catharsis.
Not "blame laid," but responsibility ascribed. You continued:

"Our national greatness is embedded in America's ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future."

Indeed we must, Mr. President. And the forces of which you speak are the ones lingering — with pervasive stench — from the previous administration. Far more than a criminal stench, Sir. An immoral one. One we cannot let be re-created.

One, President Obama, it is your responsibility to make sure cannot be re-created. Forgive me for quoting from a Comment I offered the night before the inauguration. But this goes to the core of the President's commendable, but wholly naive, intention. This country has never "moved forward with confidence".without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past.

In point of fact, every effort to merely draw a line in the sand and declare the past dead has served only to keep the past alive and often to strengthen it. We "moved forward" with slavery in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And four score and nine years later, we had buried 600,000 of our sons and brothers, in a Civil War.

After that war's ending, we "moved forward" without the social restructuring — and protection of the rights of minorities — in the south. And a century later, we had not only not resolved anything, but black leaders were still being assassinated in our southern cities.

We "moved forward" with Germany in the reconstruction of Europe after the First World War.
Nobody even arrested the German Kaiser, let alone conducted war crimes trials then. And 19 years later, there was an indescribably more evil Germany and a more heart-rending Second World War.

We "moved forward" with the trusts of the early 1900s. And today, we are at the mercy of corporations too big to fail. We "moved forward" with the Palmer Raids and got McCarthyism.
And we "moved forward" with McCarthyism and got Watergate. We "moved forward" with Watergate and junior members of the Ford administration realized how little was ultimately at risk.

They grew up to be Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. But, Mr. President, when you say we must "come together on behalf of our common future" you are entirely correct. We must focus on getting things right in the future, as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.

That means prosecuting all those involved in the Bush administration's torture of prisoners, even if the results are nominal punishments, or merely new laws. Your only other option is to let this set and fester indefinitely. Because, Sir, some day there will be another Republican president, or even a Democrat just as blind as Mr. Bush to ethics and this country's moral force. And he will look back to what you did about Mr. Bush. Or what you did not do.

And he will see precedent. Or as Cheney saw, he will see how not to get caught next time. Prosecute, Mr. President. Even if you get not one conviction, you will still have accomplished good for generations unborn. Merely by acting, you will deny a further wrong — that this construction will enter the history books: Torture was legal. It worked. It saved the country.

The end. This must not be. "It is our intention," you said today, "to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution." Mr. President, you are making history's easiest, most often made, most dangerous mistake — you are accepting the defense that somebody was "just following orders." At the end of his first year in office, Mr. Lincoln tried to contextualize the Civil War for those who still wanted to compromise with evils of secession and slavery. "The struggle of today," Lincoln wrote, "is not altogether for today. It is for a vast future also."

Mr. president, you have now been handed the beginning of that future. Use it to protect our children and our distant descendants from anything like this ever happening again — by showing them that those who did this, were neither unfairly scapegoated nor absolved. It is good to say "we won't do it again." It is not, however...enough.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Dave Barry

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenteritis, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office he showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the
MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.)

Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You
eliminate everything.

And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?'

How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the
kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this is, but then I pondered what would happen if you got
yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house to sanitize it.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' has to be the least appropriate.

'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, Feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.


Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

On the subject of Colonoscopies...

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous..... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their Colonoscopies.

1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!
2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'
3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'
4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
5. 'You know, in Arkansas we're now legally married.'
6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'
7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'
8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'
9. 'If your hand doesn'ta fit, you musta quit!
10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'
11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'
12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'

And the best one of all.

13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Palin-Whatshisname Ticket

Frank Rich
Published September 14, 2008

WITH all due deference to lipstick, let’s advance the story. A week ago the question was: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? The question today: What kind of president would Sarah Palin be?

It’s an urgent matter, because if we’ve learned anything from the G.O.P. convention and its aftermath, it’s that the 2008 edition of John McCain is too weak to serve as America’s chief executive. This unmentionable truth, more than race, is now the real elephant in the room of this election.

No longer able to remember his principles any better than he can distinguish between Sunnis and Shia, McCain stands revealed as a guy who can be easily rolled by anyone who sells him a plan for “victory,” whether in Iraq or in Michigan. A McCain victory on Election Day will usher in a Palin presidency, with McCain serving as a transitional front man, an even weaker Bush to her Cheney.

The ambitious Palin and the ruthless forces she represents know it, too. You can almost see them smacking their lips in anticipation, whether they’re wearing lipstick or not.

This was made clear in the most chilling passage of Palin’s acceptance speech. Aligning herself with “a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri” who “followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency,” she read a quote from an unidentified writer who, she claimed, had praised Truman: “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity.” Then Palin added a snide observation of her own: Such small-town Americans, she said, “run our factories” and “fight our wars” and are “always proud” of their country. As opposed to those lazy, shiftless, unproud Americans — she didn’t have to name names — who are none of the above.

There were several creepy subtexts at work here. The first was the choice of Truman. Most 20th-century vice presidents and presidents in both parties hailed from small towns, but she just happened to alight on a Democrat who ascended to the presidency when an ailing president died in office. Just as striking was the unnamed writer she quoted. He was identified by Thomas Frank in The Wall Street Journal as the now largely forgotten but once powerful right-wing Hearst columnist Westbrook Pegler.

Palin, who lies with ease about her own record, misrepresented Pegler’s too. He decreed America was “done for” after Truman won a full term in 1948. For his part, Truman regarded the columnist as a “guttersnipe,” and with good reason. Pegler was a rabid Joe McCarthyite who loathed F.D.R. and Ike and tirelessly advanced the theory that American Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (“geese,” he called them) were all likely Communists.

Surely Palin knows no more about Pegler than she does about the Bush doctrine. But the people around her do, and they will be shaping a Palin presidency. That they would inject not just Pegler’s words but spirit into their candidate’s speech shows where they’re coming from. Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager, said that the Palin-sparked convention created “a whole new Republican Party,” but what it actually did was exhume an old one from its crypt.

The specifics have changed in our new century, but the vitriolic animus of right-wing populism preached by Pegler and McCarthy and revived by the 1990s culture wars remains the same. The game is always to pit the good, patriotic real Americans against those subversive, probably gay “cosmopolitan” urbanites (as the sometime cross-dresser Rudy Giuliani has it) who threaten to take away everything that small-town folk hold dear.

The racial component to this brand of politics was undisguised in St. Paul. Americans saw a virtually all-white audience yuk it up when Giuliani ridiculed Barack Obama’s “only in America” success as an affirmative-action fairy tale — and when he and Palin mocked Obama’s history as a community organizer in Chicago. Neither party has had so few black delegates (1.5 percent) in the 40 years since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies started keeping a record.

But race is just one manifestation of the emotion that defined the Palin rollout. That dominant emotion is fear — an abject fear of change. Fear of a demographical revolution that will put whites in the American minority by 2042. Fear of the technological revolution and globalization that have gutted those small towns and factories Palin apotheosized.

And, last but hardly least, fear of illegal immigrants who do the low-paying jobs that Americans don’t want to do and of legal immigrants who do the high-paying jobs that poorly educated Americans are not qualified to do. No less revealing than Palin’s convention invocation of Pegler was the pointed omission of any mention of immigration, once the hottest Republican issue, by either her or McCain. Saying the word would have cued an eruption of immigrant-bashing ugliness, Pegler-style, before a national television audience. That wouldn’t play in the swing states of Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, where Obama already has a more than 2-to-1 lead among Hispanic voters. (Bush captured roughly 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.)

Since St. Paul, Democrats have been feasting on the hypocrisy of the Palin partisans, understandably enough. The same Republicans who attack Democrats for being too P.C. about race now howl about sexism with such abandon you half-expect Phyllis Schlafly and Carly Fiorina to stage a bra-burning. The same gang that once fueled Internet rumors and media feeding frenzies over the Clintons’ private lives now express pious outrage when the same fate befalls the Palins.

But the ultimate hypocrisy is that these woebegone, frightened opponents of change, sworn enemies of race-based college-admission initiatives, are now demanding their own affirmative action program for white folks applying to the electoral college. They want the bar for admission to the White House to be placed so low that legitimate scrutiny and criticism of Palin’s qualifications, record and family values can all be placed off limits. Byron York of National Review, a rare conservative who acknowledges the double standard, captured it best: “If the Obamas had a 17-year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.”

The cunning of the Palin choice as a political strategy is that a candidate who embodies fear of change can be sold as a “maverick” simply because she looks the part. Her marketers have a lot to work with. Palin is not only the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket, but she is young, vibrant and a Washington outsider with no explicit connection to Bush or the war in Iraq. That package looks like change even if what’s inside is anything but.

How do you run against that flashy flimflam? You don’t. Karl Rove for once gave the Democrats a real tip rather than a bum steer when he wrote last week that if Obama wants to win, “he needs to remember he’s running against John McCain for president,” not Palin for vice president. Obama should keep stepping up the blitz on McCain’s flip-flops, confusion, ignorance and blurriness on major issues (from education to an exit date from Iraq), rather than her gaffes and résumé. If he focuses voters on the 2008 McCain, the Palin question will take care of itself.

Obama’s one break last week was the McCain camp’s indication that it’s likely to minimize its candidate’s solo appearances by joining him at the hip with Palin. There’s a political price to be paid for this blatant admission that he needs her to draw crowds. McCain’s conspicuous subservience to his younger running mate’s hard-right ideology and his dependence on her electioneering energy raise the question of who has the power in this relationship and who is in charge. A strong and independent woman or the older ward who would be bobbing in a golf cart without her? The more voters see that McCain will be the figurehead for a Palin presidency, the more they are likely to demand stepped-up vetting of the rigidly scripted heir apparent.

But Obama’s most important tactic is still the one he has the most trouble executing. He must convey a roll-up-your-sleeves Bobby Kennedy passion for the economic crises that are at the heart of the fears that Palin is trying to exploit. The Republican ticket offers no answers to those anxieties. Drilling isn’t going to lower gas prices or speed energy independence. An increase in corporate tax breaks isn’t going to end income inequality, provide health care or save American jobs in a Palin presidency any more than they did in a Bush presidency.

This election is still about the fierce urgency of change before it’s too late. But in framing this debate, it isn’t enough for Obama to keep presenting McCain as simply a third Bush term. Any invocation of the despised president — like Iraq — invites voters to stop listening. Meanwhile, before our eyes, McCain is turning over the keys to his administration to ideologues and a running mate to Bush’s right.

As Republicans know best, fear does work. If Obama is to convey just what’s at stake, he must slice through the campaign’s lipstick jungle and show Americans the real perils that lie around the bend.