Mayan campaign mashup 2012: Angry hamsters spinning in a cage

12 09 2012

Sad sad sad.

No, not that the Romney campaign can’t tell its ass from its elbow—good news, from the perspective of this Obama supporter—but that the Republican party refuses to recognize that there is, indeed, a difference between an ass an an elbow.

Which is to say, I’m of two minds regarding the GOPpers gobsmacking incompetence. . . well, wait, three.

Mind one: AHHHAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA!

Mind two: That one of the two major parties has gone around the bend so far that it doesn’t realize the teeth sunk its buttocks are its own.

Hm, perhaps that’s not the best metaphor. Rabid ferrets? Tasmanian devil feeding frenzy?

(Okay, I don’t really know how the taz metaphor would work: Are they fighting over the carcass that is the GOP? their souls? the spoils of power? Or maybe the hypothesis that all of that snapping at one another has led to the spread of a cancer which is endangering the species is applicable. . . ?)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, trying not to concern troll the GOP. I honestly and truly believe that the major parties in a democracy must also be responsible parties, and, at the federal level, at least, the Republicans are less major- than bush-league. While good, in the short term, for the Dems, this is not good if it persists over the . . . . oh, fuck it, never mind.

Yes, there is a serious point to be made about pluralism and reason and evidence but I’m about ten minutes away from slipping into my pjs and after I’ve posted a vid of howling Tasmanian devils, I can’t really hoist myself to the high ground to reach that point.

So, on to the third mind: Mssrs. Romney & Ryan have had a bad week (heee!). Bummer for them, but a bad week in September may just be a bad week in September. However much I might enjoy their for-medical-marijuana/nope-against-it, for-parts-of-Obamacare/nope-against-it-all, for-military-budget-cuts/nope-against-’em, acknowledgment-of-troops-fighting-in-Afghanistan-is-just-so-many-words acrobatics—and yes, I really do enjoy these contortions—they may not, come November, matter all that much.

Oh well. At least I got to post a vid of Tasmanian devils.

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I will follow

10 07 2011

How can a political freak not have fun with a fellow political freak—oh she of the Goth eyeliner (which only serves to accentuate her cheerful bats-in-the-belfry look) and psycholbin-inflected understanding of American history, someone given to hiding behind bushes to spy on an open protest and screaming about lesbian bathroom-kidnap plots—like Michele Bachmann?

I’ve had a lot of fun with the Republican representative from the sixth district  of Minnesota, and, frankly, I expect to continue doing so. She may be an ideological menace who would make a terrible, terrible president, but she’s so manifestly unsuited to the job that I have no real worries about her delivering an inaugural address in January 2013.

So I feel free to mock her at will.

There is, however, one (semi-? sur-?) real issue that her candidacy brings to the political debate, that of the influence of her husband, Marcus. Ms. Bachmann, you see, proclaims adherence to the “wifely submission” model of marriage.

How she and her hub run their home is, in the main, not my business, and the practice of a spouse influencing a politician’s decisions is hardly new (if only John had listened to Abigail’s admonition to “remember the ladies”. . .).  But outside of Edith Wilson’s alleged takeover of the presidency during husband Woodrow’s stroke-induced decline, it’s generally conceded that whatever the influence, the president is still is charge.

If, however, that politician states outright that she is not in charge, then what are constituents and voters to decide?

Marcus Bachmann, after all, isn’t the one taking the oath of office. He makes no promises to “uphold and defend the Constitution”, nor does he hold any responsibility to his wife’s constituents. He is in charge without being accountable.

Now, given that Rep. Bachmann stated in 2006 that “The Lord says be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands” a month before she was elected for the first time to the House, and has been re-elected twice, it’s entirely possible that her constituents decided they were just fine with voting for someone who answered to her husband before she answered to them. Maybe that they both claimed to answer to God was sufficient assurance that even if this greater accountability to the Lord translated into a lesser accountability to the people, the greater was for the better.

The issue of authority in marriage is a big issue in conservative Christian circles. The “complementarian” versus “egalitarian” models of marriage each (apparently) finds support in scripture, and even those marriages which claim the husband as head can look awfully equal. And with or without any scripto-ideological positioning, marriage can be a bugger.

Given these complexities, it’s possible that those who hear “submissiveness” translate the term  into “agreement”, and are thus unbothered by any notion that Mr. Bachmann might tell Mrs. Bachmann what to do; they’re simply a married couple, like any other, trying to keep it together.

That’s one end of the interpretive spectrum, anyway. At the other end, however, is the possibility that the Mister is in charge, and that what he says, goes, period. No oaths of office, no promises to constituents, matters as much as the God-infused authority of the Man of the House.

I’ll take the cynical middle course: Rep. Bachmann may see no conflict in choosing amongst her various accountabilities—her God, her husband, the Constitution, the citizens in her district—because these constituencies all line up. That is, because she doesn’t recognize that there might be other legitimate interests, because she doesn’t acknowledge the existence of those who legitimately (i.e., are motivated by something other than hatred or ignorance or some sort of anti-American bias) oppose her, she doesn’t have to reckon with the mess of pluralism—which is to say, the mess of American and global politics today.

Nope, she’s just able serenely to float above it all, hand-in-hand with her hubby, utterly unable and unwilling to engage in the realities of life as Other people live it.

We’re not real to her, and thus not to be taken seriously.

Which I guess frees us not to take her seriously, either.

_____

h/t Jill Lawrence, The Daily Beast; Jason Horowitz, The Washington Post; Molly Worthen, New York Times Magazine





It seems strange that she should be offended

24 08 2010

I  swear to god, this is my last post on this. . . and I swear to goddess, it won’t be long.

So, does anyone remember when people pundits used to ask ‘Where are the moderate Muslims? Why aren’t any moderate Muslims speaking out against terror?’

(Emily Hauser, over at In My Head, did a fine job of assembling at least some Muslim response to extremism, and in so doing, poking a stick in the eye of gently reminding those same pundits not to confuse their lack of attention for these folks’ lack of effort.)

And now here’s a man, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, who has been sponsored by both the Bush and Obama administrations to speak about the United States to Muslim audiences, who has a long history in the United States, who’s a Sufi, who’s praised by Jeffrey Goldberg fer cryin’ out loud!, who steps up and wants to make nice, and how is he treated?

Mm-hmm.

I don’t know this guy, and I don’t know if this center will ever actually be built, and as a non-but-only-very-rarely-anti-religious type who thinks pluralism is nifty, I don’t much care one way or the other if this joint is built. If it is, dandy; if not, okey-doke.

But. As a resident of New York City, as an American citizen, and as adherent to a kind of chastened humanism which sees the kind of hate-based intimidation which has been all-too-prevalent in this so-called debate as a danger to us all, I most definitely care that some among us are cast out out of public life not because of what they do but because of what it is feared that Those People will always and inevitably do.

This hatred diminishes us all, closes us down and corrodes our body politic. Damn those who revel in it.

*Update: Matt Finkelstein has more on the shit thrown at Rauf.

(h/t The Daily Dish)