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Wednesday Words: Theodore Roosevelt

flat550x550075fThe United States does not have a choice as to whether or not it will or will not play a great part in the world. Fate has made that choice for us. The only question is whether we will play the part well or badly.

— Theodore Roosevelt

If you read me regularly, you know that I’m a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt, the “last great Republican” who, arguably, was more responsible than any other single person for the grand switch that turned the Republican Party–the power brokers of which regarded TR as a class traitor– towards corporatism, and headed the Democratic Party, in word if not deed, towards populism.  That’s how the party of Lincoln became the party of Nixon.  The evolution of the Democratic Party is a little more complex, largely due to it’s entanglement in race politics of the south.

In simplest terms, the millionaire President, disgusted by his party’s betrayal of his populist legacy, ran for election under the canopy of a third party, the Bull Moose Party, drawing many of the most moderate Republicans with him.  Democrat Woodrow Wilson easily defeated the fragmented opposition.  Following the election, the Bull Moose supporters either joined the Democrats or, chastened, skulked back to the Republicans.

like-a-boss-e1350189178780_6As  flawed as any man, Roosevelt was not only an idealist, but an iconoclast–a leader with no fear of doing what he felt was right (even when that “right” meant invading Cuba pretty much because it was convenient, and seemed like fun).  He was not afraid to embrace the disdain of his peers, and a stubborn son of a bitch in just about every sense of the word.  I started thinking about him yesterday, when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie–a candidate with much of the oratorical bluster but none of the substance, conviction, or verity and integrity of TR– declared himself as the 14th candidate for the Republican Presidential Nomination.

It occurred to me then, that across just the two major parties there are now sixteen hopefuls running for possible election, and if the vote was held today I’d have to defer. What has become of our country that we have so few viable leaders.  What does is say that Bill Clinton, with his severely questionable personal choices, shines in comparison to to the ineffective and unremarkable George W. Bush?  That even while Barack OBama has accomplished a few things domestically, his management of our middle east entanglements falls somewhere between naive, inept, and highly questionable (drone kills, kill lists, domestic surveillance….), and his most notable accomplishments have occurred not by gathering popular support, but by fiat and litigation–all of it timed to fall after he was free of the possibility of political fallout?  To be blunt, he waited until things were safe before he extended himself. Roosevelt would have pushed in his first term.

*Beginning Today, Wednesday Word of Wisdom will be called, simply, Wednesday Words–making for less unwieldy titles and more flexibility in the type or tenor of quotes I include.

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Comedians Endorse “Any And All” Republicans For Pres.

republicanIn direct opposition to stereotypes of the “Liberal Hollywood Elite” voting en masse for Democratic candidates, members of several comedy and theater unions, including The National Association of Comedians and the powerful Screen Actors Guild have take the unusual position of endorsing every 2015 Republican candidate for the US Presidency

“It takes a lot of money to garner the influence of a political campaign,” comedy spokesperson Al Kikurass explained, following self-styled tycoon and ceaseless self-promoter Donald Trump’s announcement that he,  too, will join an already crowded field of candidates. “We’re hoping to take a collective approach by embracing the entire field so no matter who wins, we win with them.”

In a hastily organized press conference held at the struggling Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City, MD, Kikurass explained the comedic strategy.  “Hillary is practically a sure thing;  but she’s not funny. Not one bit. She’d be good in the sense that she isn’t likely to repeal the Affordable Care Act, nor turn Saturday, the most important night of the week for comedians, into a second, solemn day of Christian Worship.  Unfortunately, she’d do nothing to otherwise sustain our industry. If we’re lucky, maybe she falls down, like Gerald Ford, or maybe her husband has another affair, but there’s no guarantee. Bill Clinton isn’t getting any younger, and he’s had heart trouble.

“The Republican field, on the other hand, boasts another Bush brother as its most viable candidate–the one with the Cuban wife and the coke-addled daughter.” Kikurass explained.  “Beyond Bush, you’ve got Rubio, Cruz, Huckabee, and that’s not to mention the wildly popular (with comedians) Rick “Man On Dog” Santorum.  Santorum’s entry into the race was considered by many to be the most important moment in a comedic community that was rocked last year by Michelle Bachman.

“Losing Bachman was a blow,” Kikurass admitted. “Dress up in heels and a Lane Bryant suit, affect a Minne-SO-tah accent, go on stage, and mumble anything nonsensical–the crazier you sound, the more realistic the impression, and the louder the laughs.”

cpac-clown-car-gop-620x288“This is a gold mine,” Kikurass continued, barely holding back a smile. “Any single Republican is bound to mutter some deeply offensive, half-witted bomb–like calling LeBron James a “good negro boy” or proclaiming that if female rape victims tap their heels together, squint really hard, and say Bill O’Reilly’s name backwards three times they won’t get pregnant.  Having a dozen of these guys–not to mention Carly Fiorino, who thinks the drought in the west is a liberal plot— shouting to be heard over each other will be an unprecedented font of comedic opportunity.”

Sources report that, following Santorum’s announcement a few weeks ago,  jubilant Saturday Night Live writers, realizing they won’t need to put any effort into opening monologues or the weekend update for at least the next eighteen months, had desolved so far into a dizzyingly libertine orgy of ivy league group sex revelry, bathing in a jacuzzi filled with warm, ironically and symbolically mediocre Iron City Beer shipped in from Santorum’s former hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

602603_412811998786715_32205572_nTrump’s announcement, a spit-spraying tirade of condemnation, vitriol, and virtually incomprehensible mutterings, drew hundreds of comedians to Atlantic City, where the billionaire real estate mogul, television character, and hissyfit birther has been such a strong and sometimes divisive figure, where they smashed their way into abandoned casinos, dragging velour sofas and circular beds into the street as fuel for exultant bonfires around which celebrants danced long into the morning.

“Our goal is to organize support that works towards keeping all of these bumpkins, ignorant sociopaths, and proudly cynical opportunists in the race as long as possible.  With this particular slate of candidates, the opportunity exists to sustain comedy well into the winning candidates second tier.” Kikurass had explained.  “We’re even taking the unprecedented step of dispatching a diplomatic outreach team, led by Kathy Griffin, that Hot Pocket guy, and Boomhower from King of The Hill to former front runner Chris Christie and aspiring angry fascist and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.”