Half-Wits And Hellhounds

Eh. Muhhh. Pbbt.

So, it’s like this.

I’ve mostly cooled it on the political posts — not because I think authors shouldn’t talk about religion or politics (to the contrary, I think they should, because authors who are only mouthpieces for their books are boring donkeys), but because a) I’ve been busy and b) I’ve been trying not to think about it, the way one might casually ignore the rabid gorilla with the fire axe standing in the corner of the room.

Which, of course, makes me part of the problem.

While the Tea Party has been stomping on people’s heads making lots of raucous ruckus about their points, the Democrats and Independents have been politely sipping tea rather than misspelling racist political signs trying to make an actual point. The most we do is get online and start Tumblr accounts and say, “Hey, haha, look at these assholes and their silly signs,” and then we all high-five one another and tickle each other’s doily-draped balls and then wonder on Election Day exactly how it is that the same assholes who can’t spell “Moron” somehow tra-la-la’ed their way into power.

Well, duh.

Listen, as an author, you start to see how the entire world around you is a tangled skein of many narratives. Some of these narratives are genuine, and many more are artifice, but when a narrative grows legs and gains momentum, it’s never impotent. The story matters. And stories compete. Truth versus fiction. Ignorance versus awareness. Any versus counts: men versus women, liberal versus conservative, old versus young, homophobic racist monster fuckfaces versus enlightened tea-sipping cherub cheeked pinheads.

And so on, and so forth.

Thing is, we have increasingly allowed the loudest monkey in the room tell the story. I mean, it makes sense from a spectacle standpoint: big froth-mouthed chimpanzee swings up to the podium and starts screeching out something approaching a story and hey, we’re all rapt. What is that monkey saying? Hahaha! Silly monkey. Listen to how loud he is! Look at his big bug eyes! He’s so cute in that gray Pee-Wee Herman suit of his and OH NO OH MY GOD HE’S BITING MY FACE OFF AND NOW WE’RE ELECTING HIM TO OFFICE WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUUUUUUU –

It’s like this: you see a particularly troublesome child running around the yard chasing the cat with a pair of scissors. You can stand by and be entertained by this. Or you can stand by clucking your tongue and saying, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, he is eventually going to either stab that poor cat or cut off his ear with those scissors.” Or you can get off your crap-can and do something about it. Yell! Grab the scissors! Protect the cat!

That is the current political process, and for the most part, Democrats and Independents (and even the GOP to a point) stood back and chose one of the first two choices rather than stepping in, yelling at the kid, and taking away his scissors. And now scissor-wielding cat-chaser kid can make legislation.

For the most part, the election yesterday felt like a battle between half-wits and hellhounds. It felt like — what? It felt like a choice between active evil and passive incompetence. Intolerance? Or ignorance? As I tweeted yesterday, in Star Wars terms it was a battle between Darth Vader and Jar-Jar Binks. Sure, Darth is an evil child-murdering and Jedi-killing dude. But at least he gets up in the morning and knows what the fuck is going on. Jar-Jar just bumbles around and steps in shit and seems blissfully unaware of his own stink. No, of course you don’t want Darth Vader to rule your lands. But when the question comes up: “Hey, what are we going to do about the economy?” at least Darth has an answer:

“We’re going to sell the shit out of Wookiee pelts,” Darth says.

And you’re like, “But — whoa. Whoa. I cannot abide that, Doctor Vader. Wookiees? We love Wookiees. They’re cute, but in a, ‘I Will Tear Off Your Face Over A Bad Game Of Parcheesi’ kind of way.”

Darth just shrugs.

Then you ask Jar-Jar. Hey, blah blah blah, economy?

“Meesa don’t know! But meesa sure it gonna mooey mooey work out!”

And then Jar-Jar poops in his hand and wipes it in his big floppy hairless bunny ears.

It doesn’t take long to be like, “Ehhh. Nnngh. Thank you, Senator Binks? (Jesus, is he really the incumbent?) Okay, sorry, Wookiees. We like you and all, but it’s time to give up those pelts. At least Vader over here has a plan. Like, any plan at all.” Because when you’re stuck in a hole and you feel like all is lost, who are you going to listen to? The guy who shrugs or the guy who says, “If we kill one of our own and use their bones to make a step-ladder, we can all live?”

Do I believe the Democrats really don’t have a plan?

To a degree. It certainly doesn’t feel unified. They’ve had the majority for how long now, and they can’t seem to come together. If you want to give the GOP anything, it’s that they organize well. Even in the face of Tea Party mutiny they still put a pretty bold smile on it and come together in the end, a fractious empire made whole. The Democrats act like a box of cats shaken up and loosed into a Macy’s store.

I don’t believe that the Democrats have accomplished nothing. We, as a very impatient country, expected everything to get fixed in two years, which is borderline brain-diseased as far as notions go, but what I do believe is that the Democrats did little to combat the narrative — there’s that word again, “narrative” — that they accomplished nothing. Only in recent weeks did I start to hear how they “did some shit,” which was accurate but far too late, and in far too quiet a church-mousey voice.

Again, it’s the kid-with-the-scissors chasing a cat. The Democrats are the parents trying to reason with an unreasonable child by “communicating.” “Tommy, honey, shh. Stop chasing the cat with the scissors. I’m sure the kitty doesn’t appreciate that. Would you appreciate being chased by a boy with scissors?” I swear, we were on vacation in Hawaii and a couple was carting two children up to the Kilauea Lighthouse, and the one child was squalling and carrying on as children are wont to do, and the parents were trying to reason with this screeching three-year-olds.

They literally said: “Honey, if you don’t stop crying we’re about to enter a ‘Time-Out Situation.'”

A time-out situation?

That is not language a screaming child understands, nor cares about.

And so it goes with the Democrats, whose language used to describe their successes sounds right in line with that. They never boldly stepped forth and said, “Here’s the list of awesome shit we did. Boom!” They never dropped the mic and strode triumphant off stage. They always felt like a nebbishy fist-struck nerd trying to justify why you should not, again, hit him in the face.

So, they lose.

Hey, fine.

They lost the narrative. We lost the narrative.

Lose the narrative, lose the election.

Now the GOP — a party whose ideals I don’t necessarily oppose on paper but of course the “fiscally conservative” party spends record-setting amounts of money to get elected, so, uhhh, ehhh, eek? — has sauntered forth to steal the podium, and a number of the Tea Party lackwits have stepped up to do the same, and this is a trend that will continue.

Unless we can change the narrative.

I’m not convinced we can. I’m not convinced we care enough. I’m not convinced that liberals actually have the backbone. I’m not convinced that they won’t flinch — again and again — any time the GOP fake a punch (“two for flinching!”). I’m not convinced that our voices are loud enough. Sure, we like to giggle and nod at the Rally for Sanity, and I certainly enjoyed watching that entertainment on the television, but once again — church mouse voices speaking only to other church mice, painting with so broad a brush to be generally meaningless. A whimper, not a bang.

I might be too cynical. It might just be the political hangover talking.

But two years ago the message was YES, WE CAN.



  • Largely, I agree. The GOP, and in particular the Tea Party, have one more key component that the Dems seem to lack all around – they know how to play on the emotions of the audience. Not trying to get into any of that fear-mongering rhetoric (no matter how true), they know how to frame things in a way that can capture a lot lay people. It’s why, I think, people like Christine O’Donnell ever got on the ballots in the first place. They can cultivate that earthy appeal people seem to like.

    I also think people, in general, suffer from political amnesia. Superhuman expectations were placed on the Obama administration – as if the simple act of him taking office should undo the previous eight years. Nor do a lot of people, I think, realize that the Executive has only so much power and influence when it comes to policy. When things didn’t automatically recover folks weren’t too keen to admit they had impossible expectations. Must be Obama’s fault. Must be our shiny Democratic Congress’ fault. Let’s vote them all out. No more taxes (despite that the Congress under Bush spent way more on two pretty shitty wars than on anything actually benefiting the American people, and probably will again if they get a president to match in ’12).

    Though I’m going to poke the elephant in the room and say that the largest problem facing liberals is voter apathy among youth, moderates and minorities. (Less than 5% of the African American population turned out to vote. THAT IS A PROBLEM). Politics is still very much in the hands of the old and white. I see a lot of people in my age group with similar ideals seeing politics as an exercise in futility. As a moderate independent, it becomes harder since things seem to be pulling increasingly toward the extremes. Dems, barring perhaps Obama himself, really lack people that appeal to these demographics.

  • I’ve been a little out of the loop with what’s happening on the American political scene, living in my little Oceanic bubble called Australia, but from what I can see you’ve punched this thing right in the gut.

    Liberals are great. I’m a liberal, he’s a liberal, that guy in the corner’s a liberal. We’re everywhere, but liberals everywhere have a reputation for having no spine. Hence why communism and other radical movements were so big in Europe in the last century. Liberals sat around debating things while their opponents said “we’re going to burn this motherfucker down.” And people love that stuff.

    It makes me wonder if it’s something innate to liberalism. We’re so concerned with being tolerant that we lose an edge. Or maybe we’ve just got to change the culture that goes along with being a tolerant, compassionate, politically-interested sort of person (and I don’t just mean liberals when I say that).

    I dunno, but whatever’s going on, it’s sad to see the racists and the haters and their ilk getting the upper hand. They make things look simple, and they know their schtick. And from the perspective of your average, politically-unmotivated person, there’s a lot to be said for that.

  • @Frank You are correct, sir.

    Re: Liberals without spine. A liberal, by definition, is a person who thinks freely. To be a “liberal” and to march in lock step with other “liberals” is sort of a misnomer. Also, associating the Democratic party with liberalism isn’t quite accurate either. There are conservative, moderate, and liberal camps within the party. It truly is the “big tent” party (unlike the GOP, whose idea of having a big tent means they’ll let in black folks so long as they tow the line).

    Americans, generally, are skittish and impatient and silly and and above all, fundamentalists (there are, of course, Americans who are none of these things). A fundamentalist wants the narrative to be black and white, good guys and bad guys. If you ain’t like me, hang from a tree. This isn’t a recent development but new media helps fundamentalists collapse in on themselves. They can wrap themselves in the warm cozy blanket of being right and never have to deal with those people different from themselves.

    Politics has lost the nuance. Not that it ever had much, but it definitely seems gone now. The if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ crowd has have their claws sunk into people who are only politically motivated out of a sense of competition. People want being right to be as easy as rooting for the Steelers.

    But I could be completely wrong, too.

  • While I agree with the assertion that liberals don’t have a coherent message, I have to take issue with the “they/we have no spine” thing. It’s a weak political narrative, just like “Rebulicans are fiscally conservative,” that everyone seems to have internalized and now can’t shake. Obama fought back against this when John Stewart brought it up in his interview, and I think he was right to do so.

    Yes, more could have been accomplished in the last two years. But the main obstacle wasn’t a lack of spine or effort, it the Democrats’ lack of party discipline. The Republicans formed ranks and presented a unified minority while the Democrats continued to have policy arguments with themselves. Most of these were arguments worth having, but nothing came of them because only 2/3 of the legislative body was actually involved.

    I don’t know that I’m entirely in favor of all liberals joining in GOP-style lockstep on the issues, but I hope our elected liberals at least make more of an effort at unification. The game-as-written requires them to do so at this point, and unless they’re going to suddenly grant my fondest wish and change the rules entirely, they need to start playing to win.

    • @Zack —

      Well, they’re either a party, or they’re not. A unified party wins. A broken party is just a collection of individuals.

      I’m comfortable with the spineless assertion — I think that narrative exists because it exists. Obama, who I like very much, is a quiet pragmatist. Gone are the speeches from a man at the pulpit and now are the calm words of a practical man. That said, despite all opposition, despite all defiance from the other side, despite all the egregious misinformation, Democrats (and Obama, to a lesser extent) have not been particularly *loud* at getting their message out.

      I’ll admit, loudness is crass. But it’s effectively. I don’t feel like that side of the spectrum represents itself well, meaning — they don’t defend themselves. Stewart called Obama on it, but Obama a) shouldn’t been ahead of that narrative, not behind it and b) could’ve been more strident. I don’t want to have to go to glib websites like What The Fuck Has Obama Done to find out what Obama’s done. They need to get in people’s faces and be assertive with truth and success as opposed to being forced into the constantly defensive “not in the face, not in the face” position.

      My two cents, of course.

      — c.

  • I have to say, I think you hit it out of park on this one. Right now – and this particular status has swung back and forth over time, I think – you have the Party of Using Their Inside Voice against the Party of Standing On An Overturned Buick and Screaming Until Frenzied Spittle Washes the Logos Off Their T-Shirts. And that’s not much of a contest.

    I’ll come out and say something that’s pretty unpopular right now: when they first appeared, I applauded the Tea Party. I didn’t agree with them – still don’t – but I thought, “hey, at least they feel passionate enough to get organized and say something without feeling a need to be part of an established party.” Shortly thereafter, of course, the GOP gobbled them up (though not without choking on it more than a few times), so there’s that, but early on, I was rooting for them in a gadfly sort of way.

    One of the things that’s interesting to me is how many Americans bemoan the lack of more than just our two creaky political parties, but whenever another party tries to poke its head up, it gets slammed with scorn and ridicule. Not saying that most of them don’t deserve it – Tea Party, Green Party, Green Tea & Eggroll Party, whatever – but still, I find it an interesting comment on just how entrenched our current system is.

  • Besides not being the loudest voice in the room the Democrats did a piss poor job of expressing their message.

    The world’s problems are complicated. And along with our day to day bullshit it’s a lot to fit into our tiny, little heads.

    Compare “CHANGE IS BAD CHANGE WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN SHOOT YOUR DOG FUCK YOUR DAUGHTER RAWWR” with a nuanced, complex discussion on the needs for a unified health system that not only meets the requirements of the citizenry but also doesn’t destroy the entire health care industry which employs several thousand people.

    The Democrats need to not just be louder, but to simplify their message. They need to break things down into bit-sized chunks and focus on the right parts.

    I heard a lot more “It’s the right thing to do,” messages than I head, “If we don’t do this you are fucked and this is how in very small, very loud words.”

    And that’s something that they really need throughout their party, not just in a small handful of political thinkers. They need salesmen. They need better grifters. I hate to say it, but they need someone like Glen Beck.

    Those people with the badly spelled signs at the Tea Party rallies are exactly the people the Democrats need. Because there are a fuckton of them and they vote.

    And they only understand small words.

  • I wrote the following six years ago during the run-up to the Bush/Kerry election to summarize my opinion of what passes for political debate in this country. Sadly, i think I would only have to change the candidates’ names for it to apply today.

    Noise from the left: Bush is evil. Bush is a purblind simpleton.
    Bush is the unswerving and unwitting tool of dark corporate
    interests. Bush, while a blithering dolt with the IQ of a prawn, the
    worldview of a troglodyte, and a yawning frigid space where God had
    intended a soul, still somehow is the powerful Captain Evil directing
    a plot for achieving national and global domination that boasts more
    moving pieces than a Swiss watch – no, wait, that’s not Bush, that’s
    Cheney and Rumsfeld, with the unfortunate Powell tethered to their
    leathered wrists like a pet falcon to lend a patina of reason and
    balance, while some dark host of other forces no doubt backed up by
    the auspices of the Trilateral Commission, Free and Independent Order
    of Masons, and the religious right doing their dark and secret
    bidding across the land. Throughout the bowels of corporate America,
    white men in thousand dollar suits and Balley shoes, their skin oiled
    daily with a compound derived from the essence of dollar, the sweat
    of the masses, and the last tatters of our constitution trade secret
    handshakes while plotting the final undercutting of every freedom,
    every decency, every step of progress made by, well, everyone but
    them. Only Dean – no, wait, only Kerry – can save us.

    Of course, something like half the population supports Bush, but no
    matter. They are a vast army of morons led like lemmings to their
    own doom by this small malevolent cabal – a ignorant monolithic mass
    not blessed with the pure light of knowledge shared only by those who
    oppose them. That they can vote is a necessary evil, an unfortunate
    byproduct of a political system that, in a better world, would be
    left solely in the unblemished hands of the progressive elect that
    could selflessly lead us out of darkness to a fair and balanced land
    where only Volvos grace our driveways, where all schools are perfect
    and equal, where healthcare is free, the environment is green, the
    living is easy, and murders occur only in utero – all funded by the
    perpetual money machine of a government finally freed from the
    soulless constraints of the right and now able to spread the common
    wealth across the commonwealth as a soothing balm that cures all
    ills, soothes all angers, ends all inequities – a reality that
    already would have been reached had an election not been stolen, had
    the levers of power not been manipulated, had the intended natural
    order simply been allowed. Amen.

    Noise from the right: Pay no attention to the Saudi behind the
    curtain – you know, the one with the box cutter. Does ya’ want cheap
    oil or doesn’t ya? I will, by jingo, drive my SUV up Johnny Edward’s
    hairdresser’s ass, which likely’s been stretched out big `nuf to
    accommodate it on account of his bein’ a marriage-eroding, family-
    hatin’, Al Queda lovin’ homo who wouldn’t even be erectus if ol’
    Bushie, in his eternal benevolence hadn’t pushed through that there
    drug benefit so as ya’ll could get your Viagra cheap. Hell, if’n you
    damn pinkos don’t love this here country, well then, you can talk it
    over with your scum-suckin’ trial lawyer friends – that is just as
    soon as your shyster finds out which kennel down at Gitmo we’s got
    you stashed in. Yessir, a few months sharing a chain-link condo down
    there with them falafel eaters, that’ll get your mind right. They’ll
    have you squealin’ like a pig, yessir – they’ll go all Abu Gahrib on
    your ass. And don’t give none of that whinnin’ `bout free speech and
    protected political discourse, neither. You don’t want Johnny
    Ashcroft snoopin’ around your bedroom? Why not? What kinda sicko
    perversions you hidin’? Don’t you know there is a freakin’ WAR on?
    You think them Koran-suckin’ raghead’s is goin’ away on there own?
    You want your kid to hafta’ drive some candy-ass Toyota hybrid to the
    prom? How’s he gonna get laid in the back of that?

  • I’d love to bring up a few points that I think have been problematic in general for both parties over the last few years and have contributed to the current political climate.

    First – it is easy to assume that if someone disagrees with us or acts in a way we do not understand, then they must be stupid. Not only is this overly simplistic, it keeps us from engaging people with opposite political beliefs in a meaningful and productive way. Both parties are guilty of this. Those people you see on TV that are so easy to make fun of. I’ve met a lot of people like them. Many of them are intelligent, well informed people who are emotionally invested in certain political ideas and want to be heard. Some aren’t, but having respect for people with different ideas is key if we intend to actually accomplish anything.

    Second – reactionary politics is not limited to the GOP. I lived in Seattle when George W Bush was president and saw my share of emotionally charged rallies, demonstrations, marches, etc from the other side. It’s natural for people who feel frustrated, ignored, unheard and under-represented to respond by expressing those feelings publicly through these types of gatherings. Maybe one of the most important questions to ask is why, in this last election, such a vast majority of our populace felt this way.

    Lastly – there is a truly lamentable shortage of politicians willing to cooperate with the opposite party. From the President all the way to local authorities, politicians are more concerned about pandering to their party and towing the line while simultaneously slinging mud at the opposite party than finding reasonable compromises that could address pertinent issues. Maybe the best thing as voters that we can do is tell our elected officials to spend less time catering to every shifting political wind and more time playing nice and doing their job.

  • This is just symptomatic of the problem with our political system as it stands. If you’re not happy with how things are under one party, the simplistic (and really, systemically locked) choice is the other party — regardless of the complexities of policy, whose “fault” things actually were, etc.

    It sucks, and the only way for it to end is to change our system to an actual one-man-one-vote representational democracy, allowing for full participation by multiple parties — and that’s NEVER going to happen because the GOP and the Dems make the rules, and are about as likely to push for their own marginalization as… well, a Metaphorical Unlikely Thing.

  • Have you seen this one, Chuck?


    Seriously, it’s not all of the picture, but it explains a lot of it. The Republicans may be a loud yelling mess, but they’re in the same place. The Republicans can, thus, afford to be louder and bolder. The Democrats are fractured throughout everyone else, and saying anything will piss another group off.

    (Oh, and for me? I don’t care for either of them. The only race yesterday I cared about was Russ Feingold’s, and he lost. Sad, sad result. He’s a good man getting the right stuff done.)

  • @Sierra: See, I actually feel the President has done *too much* compromising and pandering to the Republicans who time and time again showed they would never say anything but “no” even when half of whatever legislation had been slashed and replaced by things the GOP wanted. I kept waiting for him to say eff it, we can do without compromise and we can do it without you. But no, he kept on his bipartisan quest anyway. In the end, I think that really frustrated the more leftist Democrats.

    Honestly, there isn’t really a right and a left anymore in American politics. We’ve moved so far to the right on the political spectrum that what passes for “extreme left” (and often omg socialist) per Palin and Boehner and Bachmann is really center-left, moderate-left.

    I agree with this post a lot, Chuck. The Democrats’ problem is they haven’t been vocal enough, haven’t publicly pounded their chests enough and said, “This is what we did for you.” The Obama campaign that got him elected stirred up a lot of hope in many people for some real change. The problem is while Obama and the Democrats got a lot of good shit done, they also veered away from what made that presidential campaign a success. I think the liberals would do well to have a sort of revival a la the Tea Party except minus the craziness – just in terms of the passion it ignited in the GOP’s base. Because from where I’m standing, the only reaction the Dems are eliciting from their base is, “Ehhh. Meh.”

  • The only thing I can say is that Nicolo Machiavelli would have a goddamn field day with American politics. Socrates would set up shop in front of the Capitol building, exhorting people to examine their otherwise worthless, useless lives, right before he quaffs a hemlock shake and falls down frothing. Plato? Let’s not even get into what twisted, convoluted platonic dialogue would come out of elections.

    Even the monsignor from Boondock Saints would get up on a pulpit, telling everyone that “there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”

    I learned something living in the good ole US of A: Americans thrive on fear. Now, I’m not singling anyone in particular out here; I have quite a few American friends, and I think they’re all the bee’s knees. I think they’re fucking awesome. I’m speaking in general, of the general population. Tossing that blanket willy-nilly and seeing where it lands.

    Americans thrive on fear. My perspective, coming from a socialist liberal country, is that the spoon-feeding the news and Washington offers involves fear. And money. Fear that someone’s going to come take your money. Fear that the government is watching. Fear of taxes. Fear of liberalism. Fear of socialism. Fear that there’s no magic button to

    Fear of evolution.

    In the past few years, I’ve often sat there and wondered exactly how long it would take for another civil war to spark. Surely, the half-truths, misinformation and outright lies of the Bush administration would lead people to rise up in absolute disgust and overthrow the corrupt and the selfish. Surely, there would be a limit to how much the people could take.

    And yet. And yet. The system refuses, actively opposes, growing and evolving and changing. The people in it dig in their heels, bury their heads in the sand, clap their hands over their ears and sing LALALALALALALA at the tops of their lungs.

    I know that Canada’s not really all that better. Our minority government, the Conservatives, put a cockblock on the House of Commons when they were going to vote no-confidence against them. The immigration Minister has removed any and all mentions of Canada’s same-sex marriage policies from citizenship exam study booklets. Quebec has been trying to break free of the rest of Canada for years.

    I do not understand. I do not understand. I do not understand how it could possibly come to this. I do not understand how I can sit there and expect revolution and civil war at any moment. Perhaps because it’s already happening. It’s not a physical battle. There are no pitched battles in the Mall. The White House isn’t literally burning. And yet, the division is just as vivid and just as poignant as North vs. South.

    The whole system is collapsing, and sometimes it feels like there’s only a handful up on the hill, waving their arms and trying to get people to realize the whole thing is tumbling down around their ears.

    That’s my view from the Great White North. It’s a political opinion. Take from it what you will.

  • Getting pissed at politics is like getting angry about the weather. Of course, every time i say that something comes along to stoke the fury . . .

    As a long-time unemployed person about to start a government job next week (after a 2-year hiatus, the parting gift one gets in this economy for leaving the private sector to practice non-profit work), i’m of two minds. One, overall change and a cycling of ideologies is healthy. i have no problem with people i may not agree with all the time (or even a small portion of the time) being in charge. My opinions are hardly cast in stone, and have no more value than anybody else’s. And Lord knows, the last thing anybody needs is an asshole like me running the show. i wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

    Well, maybe a couple people. But as they say, the exceptions make the rules.

    But then my second mind kicks in and begins conducting a scorched synapse policy just below my skull. Fueled by the absolute hypocrisy of a party that points fingers about a problem they were primarily responsible for, then offers no plan as to how to solve it. A party that focuses on squelching gay marriage or curbing illegal immigration, when the 800-pound unemployment gorilla is throwing ten percent of the population into a financial abyss. A party that vows to freeze spending during the worst economy in 80 years (the equivalent of going over the fire department’s ledgers in the middle of an orphanage inferno), and wants to reduce the obscene national debt by (caps on for emphasis) CONTINUING TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST CITIZENS THAT THEIR OWN PARTY SET TO EXPIRE. A party that’s rewarding the congressman who publically apologized for the ‘awful way America was treating BP’ during the worst oil spill in history (caps on again for emphasis) THE HEAD OF THE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE FOR NATURAL RESOURCES.

    No lockstep cheerleader for the Democratic party here. But all of this is now like reading a book that’s impossible to put down, for the simple reason that it’s so horrible. No matter how much you try, you can’t figure out how something that bad slipped through the fingers of so many people (publishers, editors, agents, marketing people, critics, etc.). And just when you think you think it can’t get any worse, you flip the page and there it is . . . pirates. Or aliens. Or zombies. Or all of the above.

    That said, i’m buckling in to kick back and watch the show. Popcorn’s on me.

    (Hi Chuck . . . new Stacia Decker client, btw)

    • New Team Decker cohort? For reals? Welcome on board, then. (Who are you? Name! We need a name! We also need a mailing address so we know where to send the cult deprogramming team.)

      Good comment — not much time for my own response (furiously editing), but good stuff, nevertheless.

      — c.

  • Yep. Signed with Stacia a few weeks ago on a European thriller/historical novel. Now in central Ohio (state motto: our politicians are nuttier than your politicians), trying to figure out what to do with all the extra time.

    Case in point about Ohio politics: #1 John Boehner (soon-to-be Speaker of the House who never met a filibuster or tan-in-a-can he didn’t like), #2 James Traficant (convicted Youngstown felon/former congressman, who never met a hairpiece/dead opposum he didn’t like), #3 John Kasich (newly-elected governor who’s previous job was at Lehman Brothers and thinks the unions (or is it unicorns?) brought down the economy), #4 Carty Finkbeiner (mayor of Toledo and purveyor of such concepts like making deaf people live around airports because they won’t complain about the noise . . . not kidding).

    Extra credit: Jerry Springer, former mayor of Cincinnati who was exposed for writing a bad check to a prostitute and later got his own national talk show (yep, that Jerry Springer).

    Name is Patrick Stuart. Pleased to meet you Chuck (apologies for the late reply). And Stacia warned me about the deprogramming team. Glad to be on board!

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