Let's Do It Again
What a week in politics, huh? Chills, thrills, spills, something old and something new--it's like picking something to wear to go to a wedding on board a truck driving off a cliff.
So Ralph Nader is running for president again. If I were making his campaign signs, I think I'd print in ultraviolet ink on every one of them STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE. In 2000, Nader ran saying that there wasn't a dime's bit of difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Hmmm. Can I have that dime back now, please? By now, it's gotta be worth, oh, maybe 7 cents in Canada. Then, he ran again in 2004, not that anyone was paying attention, what with Bush getting debate answers wired to him via the small toaster strapped to his back under his coat, and a bunch of Swift-boat liars making John Kerry's military service look like Dick Cheney's.
Anyone who feels Nader should be president, raise your hand. Hard to do that with that straitjacket on, huh? Fortunately, Nader's rubber-room contingent has been getting smaller every year. But let's wish him a happy birthday--he turns 74 years old Feb. 27--and, by the way, if we want to elect a cranky septuagenarian with bad hair and a mean sense of humor, there's one already pretty close to locking up the Republican nomination. Here's your cupcake; now please go the hell away. Nader got 2.7 percent of the vote in 2000 (some of which was in Florida, unfortunately) and barely 0.3 percent in '04, so with any luck, he might make history and receive a negative number of votes in '08. I'm guessing that would involve writing in his name with the word "off" preceded by an active verb.
Ever have one of those days when you're scrolling through the news and you see a story that makes you sit up and say, "What the . . . ?" You know, like if you saw a story out of Dallas where the Secret Service told local police to shut off the metal detectors and just let people into a rally for Barack Obama.
I'm just saying, folks--of all the police departments in the country that might have a little public-relations problem after that business there in 1963, you might think Dallas would be more on the ball. I'm not shitting you: The police chief told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they just wanted to get the 17,000 people into the room faster.
For some reason, I can't see this happening with our current president or vice president. I'm not saying anything about "conspiracy," but should something have actually happened, I'm thinking this would have made the Warren Commission report look like a recipe for tuna noodle casserole. Nevertheless, it would be nice if the first front-running black candidate for the presidency got the same type of protection as any other potential nominee.
Then, of course, since we're talking about things happening over again, we had a bunch of booga-booga from Bush about the expiration of the Orwellian-named Protect America Act, the addendum to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 that would have made legal spying on Americans' phone calls. If you ever had one whit of doubt about the politicization of the Justice Department, you shouldn't anymore, after Attorney General Michael Mukasey's statement to Congress before the weekend, claiming that the United States is "now more vulnerable to terrorist attack and other foreign threats" since the Congress adjourned without passing a bill retroactively exonerating the telecom companies from their part in Bush's illegal warrantless wiretapping. Now we find out that only a few hours after the Mukasey letter, the administration notified congressional committees that the telecoms have decided that they will continue with the plan, as opposed to backing off because of the fear of lawsuits (that hopefully will come anyway, if you look at it like someone who believes in the rule of law).
And wow, Sen. John "Straight Talk" McCain is in the middle of a lobbying scandal cloaked in a nonsex scandal. That's the difference between Republicans and Democrats--with the Dems, you have to climb through the land deals and such before you get to the sex, and with the GOP it's the other way around. McCain is such an opponent of influence peddling and the lobbyist culture in Washington that he allows his main adviser, Republican lobbyist Charlie Black, to get his work done while traveling on the campaign plane.
Nader's back, McCain's saying one thing and doing another when it comes to lobbyists, Bush is trying to scare us into giving him more power and letting off more criminals, and the city of Dallas is trying to relive the Kennedy assassination all over again. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the world of politics is running around in circles or just trying to provide fodder for another Billy Joel song.
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