The International Writers Magazine: US Politics
Let The Games Begin!
Massachusetts Republican senator Scott Brown, who won temporary rights to Edward Kennedy’s old seat last year in a close by-election, is up for re-election next year for a full six year term, and he is starting to realize how slim his chances are going to be going into a presidential election year.
Whatever else happens, Obama will surely sweep Massachusetts and likely carry in on his coattails whomever the Democrats decide to nominate to run against Brown. You don’t have to be a pedigreed news analyst to figure those odds.
Not that there is much original thinking going on in New York. Newsweek magazine brought in retread wunderkind Tina Brown to reinvigorate its brand, and the breathtaking news coming out of that organ is that she is going to kick off with a cover story featuring none other than George Clooney, who is as stale as a 20 year-old cheese sandwich.
But Scott Brown, being an attorney, bless him, has kicked off his re-election bid by going for the sympathy vote. In a campaign biography released this week, Brown has revealed that he is the child molestation victim of a rogue summer camp counselor forty years ago, when he was ten years old. He claims that he is revealing it now in the hope of providing solace to other victims who have heretofore concealed their shame.
This revelation comes as a relief to me personally. Now I can reveal that I also was molested by a gang of renegade rabbis that I came across in a dark corner of one of the more doubtful precincts of Brooklyn, who were betting on an illicit game of dreidel. Much to my horror and eternal shame they inserted a counterfeit Chinese torah into my rectum and then danced around me, lasciviously singing “Hava Nagilah” as I writhed in mute nostril agony. Forty years later I still cringe in humiliation every time I see a rabbi.
No matter. You have to learn to overcome past traumatic episodes. That is the message the Republicans are putting out over the Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt. Forget about all the Tea Party rallies where people showed up bearing Colt revolvers and automatic weapons. Forget about Giffords’ own Republican congressional opponent sponsoring campaign events that invited donors to shoot off an M-16 assault rifle. Forget about Rush Limbaugh billboard posters featuring metal plates perforated by large caliber bullet holes. Forget about Sarah Palin campaign literature illustrated with bulls-eye targets focused on Giffords’ congressional district.
It was all in fun, and not meant to be taken seriously. Only, nobody thought to point this out to knucklehead shooter Jared Loughner, who was left out of the joke. Loughner figured that blowing away Jewish Democratic congresswomen was an acceptable form of social expression because it was featured in the media with the regularity of Simpsons cartoons.
Now that the nasty deed has been carried out, genius attorneys in the Arizona prosecutor’s office have focused on Loughner, with no mention of the official Republican position of forcibly “taking this country back”. Never mind the concepts of hate speech, which is a crime at least in New York if not in Arizona; depraved indifference to human life; conspiracy to commit murder etc.
These are all charges that would indict Sarah Palin for the Giffords assassination attempt, if the prosecutors chose to interpret them as such, which they don’t appear to be doing. They are preferring to pinpoint the whole case on Loughner without consideration of the broader aspects of the case, the same as the focus was magnified on Lee Harvey Oswald for the Kennedy assassination, despite the fact of the whole anti-Kennedy hysteria which was paid for and fanned by highly-placed Dallas business interests, who took out full-page newspaper ads threatening the president’s personal safety.
Who can be safe in such an environment, where monied reactionary interests can sway murderous public sentiment against whomever they please with total impunity? Is this a modern age of enlightenment, or just a replay of ancient Rome, where life was cheap and vengeance immediate?
But the Republicans have lost no time in sweeping all that under the carpet. Since the Giffords shooting, all discussion of armed threats has been forgotten. Basically, Jared Loughner has deprived them of their sexiest issue, threats and insults. So now they have turned their focus to cost cutting and deficit reduction, even though we are in the recovery phase of a depression that was triggered by Republican economic policies of deregulation and lax enforcement.
The current Republican focus concerns union busting. The newly-elected Republican governor and legislature of Wisconsin, after having busted the budget by granting tax breaks to big business, have decided to pay for them by eliminating collective bargaining rights for public service employees, which has provoked a hornets’ nest of pushback from the workers.
Fortunately for society, instead of mounting this union busting campaign in a compliant red state like Indiana or South Carolina, where the population are complete slaves to capital, the reactionary interests decided to push it through in Madison, WI, home to the University of Wisconsin and a notoriously liberal city. Madison is the Midwest equivalent of Berkeley or Cambridge MA, and the chances of getting the people to lay down are completely nil. Whoever in the Republican establishment was responsible for this tactic will surely end up in Republican Siberia, if such a wasteland can be imagined.
In the meantime, the newly Republican House of Representatives is choosing to pick ideological fights with the Obama administration concerning de-funding of the SEC, which they claim to have a deficient record in combating securities fraud (whose fault is that?); de-funding of the EPA; de-funding of the new Consumer Credit Protection Agency, which is already preventing massive credit card overcharging fraud and inhibiting the banks from raking in billions in unethical charges. Never mind the health insurance reform, which they have vowed to overturn!
Taking into account the reforms passed by the 111th congress which are anathema to the old way of doing business, and which reactionary Republicans have sworn to reverse, the 2012 election is shaping up to be absolutely the most contentious election since 1936, when Roosevelt also had to fight off a reactionary Republican offensive. It is going to be tooth and claw right down to the wire. The only sure bet is going to be the political demise of Scott Brown, notwithstanding his recently sensitized hindquarters.
© Dean Borok Feb 21st 2011