What a mess
The long campaign of 2007-08, already sputtering out in fizzled squibs, childish ploys, and pointless personal recriminations, has offered few of the moments of drama or high comedy that Americans have rightly come to expect of our political candidates. The debates have been as drab as Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits, as wooden as Barack Obama’s imitation of Al http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=3732, and as predictable as Mitt Romney’s second thoughts on abortion and immigration.
For comedy, the best act so far has been Mike Huckabee’s appearances in South Carolina, where he was flanked by http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=2445 and Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair, whom he introduced as his secretaries of defense and homeland security. I think I would rather vote for Naitch, who knows he is an entertainer and not an athlete, than for a politician who would use a rassler as part of his act.
But even Huckabee’s clowning, deplorable as it is, falls far short of the performances of Bob Dole, backed up by Sam and Dave imitators singing “The Dole Man,” or the unintentional parody of priggish liberalism performed by Happy Hubert Humphrey, or Jimmy Carter’s antics (the “adultery in my heart” confession to Playboy or, best of all, his proclamation “I will never lie to you”—perhaps the greatest lie ever told by an American politician, and that is saying something). I have not even mentioned Jimmy’s wonderful family—his beer-bellied brother Billy or his evangelist sister who “converted” pornographer http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=2843. Flynt was so touched by grace that he did an Adam and Eve spread in Hustler, naturally in the best of taste. At least we have our memories!Populists have often provided campaigns both with drama and with actual issues. The peroration to William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech was still being memorized by at least one schoolboy in the 1950’s, and Huey Long and George Wallace both scared the bejeezus out of the partitocrats. I do not know why Long was shot, but Governor Wallace certainly gave the GOP a good reason to eliminate him, as Martha Mitchell told the press before being hustled off to an institution. Chuck Colson, who went to Arthur Bremer’s apartment allegedly to plant Democrat propaganda, might know something, but he is not talking.
Political assassination is as American as apple pie, and, as I told Pat Buchanan, when he mentioned something about reforming the Republican Party, the last man who tried that was James Garfield, and he was murdered by a professed “Republican stalwart,” whose credo was “My party, right or wrong.” Threatening to reform either party is like getting between the lion and his prey.
The nearest thing to a populist in this race is the mild-mannered Ron Paul. Despite his timid demeanor—in the 50’s he would have inevitably been compared to Wally Cox—Dr. Paul has his zany side: He believes in the Constitution of the old American republic, and he actually thinks it has some relevance for America today. God bless him, I would vote for him if only for pretending to embrace such a heartwarming fantasy.