Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Notes from the Cave

Because I've gotten so much commentary on my series on political parties, I know you all are waiting expectantly for part 3.  Never fear, it's coming.  (That's a joke, by the way.  I haven't had a single comment, on the site or in email, about these posts.  Haha.  Gonna keep publishing them anyway though.)

I'm off work today (I work this weekend), and I've kept Spawn the Younger home from daycare with me.  I will be taking her to Kindergarten at noon.  She is running around harassing the dog.  She just came up to me and asked if she could spray her toy dog with body spray.  I told her no.  She's doing it anyway.  

I'm teaching a business lesson later on today at Worldwide Frontier.  This is the language and culture training company that I work for.  We market primarily to Asian people looking for help with English, and for training in American business culture expectations.  A high school friend of mine runs the company, which is based here in the Cincinnati area.

I realize it's no secret to most of my readers that I am an avowed liberal when it comes to politics.  Be that as it may, I can't help but look at someone like Newt Gingrich and just marvel at how so many people can be so enamored with him.  This is a politician who, while Speaker of the House, was reprimanded and fined $300K for ethics violations.  The vote to impose these sanctions passed 395-28, in a Republican-controlled Congress!  This was, and is, the only time in United States history that a presiding Speaker of the House was sanctioned by the House of Representatives!  The following year, in 1998, he resigned both his job as Speaker, and his job as a congressman from Georgia, stating that he was "willing to lead" but was "not willing to preside over people who are cannibals."  

Then, of course, it comes out last week, right before the South Carolina primary, that Gingrich had asked one of his ex-wives for an open marriage.  Of course he denied it, and of course he blasted the media for playing a dirty trick on him (airing this interview right before the primary), but I don't think there are very many people who doubt that it is true.  In addition to this, his ex-wife also said he was carrying on an affair, and that it was happening during the very time that Gingrich was leading the impeachment crusade against Bill Clinton for having "relations" with Monica Lewinsky.  

Now we can debate all day long about whether these accusations are true, or whether this is just a jilted ex-wife trying to get back at her former husband, but clearly Gingrich has some skeletons in his closet, and those skeletons  make his inquisitional crusade against Bill Clinton seem all the more insidious and hypocritical.  

Yet the Republican voters of South Carolina, never ones to worry about inconsistency, voted for him in the primary by an overwhelming margin!  He didn't just win this primary, he won it by almost 15% of the vote!  That would be a landslide in a presidential election.

How can so many people who consider themselves the party of "family values" and "character" and "faith" vote for a man with this sort of background?  House ethics violations.  Multiple ex-wives.  Past affairs.  Accusations of unfaithfulness while he, himself, was trying to impeach a president for the very same thing.   

I suppose these people would respond in one of two ways: either they'd say that his ideas for how to "fix" the country overshadow any problems in his personal life or past political life, or they'd say they simply don't believe any of the "lies" put out by the "liberal media" against Gingrich.  

Anyway....Gingrich is simply one of those politicians for whom you can pretty much assume that if his mouth is open, he is lying.  Even as a liberal, I don't, and wouldn't, say that about all Republican politicians.  I wouldn't say that, for instance, about Ron Paul or even Mitt Romney (though I don't care for either one of their platforms).  

But, to me, Gingrich is basically just Bill Clinton with conservative values.  And considering how much the conservatives hated Bill Clinton for being smarmy and unfaithful and unethical and  having "no character," it's shocking to me that so many conservatives are supporting Gingrich, who is essentially an exact replica of Bill Clinton in that regard.  

(Don't get me wrong: I loved Bill Clinton and thought he was a wonderful president, but I have always been able to admit his personal flaws and failures; those flaws and failures just didn't overshadow his political leadership - for me, anyway.)   

And don't think this parenthetical statement makes me a hypocrite, since I just criticized Republicans for looking past Gingrich's personal flaws.  I, after all, am not the one who wanted to impeach Clinton for being unethical and unfaithful.  It was the conservatives who did that.  And it is conservatives who always harp on family values and "character."  So it makes their overlooking of Gingrich's flaws inconsistent at best, and hypocritical at worst.   

In the end, of course, all of this is probably a moot point, because I still don't think Gingrich has any legitimate chance to win the nomination.  South Carolina's trend of always picking the winning Republican candidate notwithstanding, I do not think the Republicans across the country will support Gingrich, precisely because of the issues I raised above.  I think South Carolina Republicans are just a special example of unashamed hypocrisy.  These are the original secessionists, after all - the veritable home of American disunion.  And for some reason, they think this is a tradition worthy of glorification, with their anti-American Confederate flag flying over their state capital. 

Can you tell I don't care much for South Carolina?  Pretty beaches, traitorous politics.

Anyway, I wonder if this will generate some hate mail from South Carolina readers?

What else?  Don't care about football.  Happy to see the Kentucky Wildcats back on top of the college basketball polls, with a unanimous vote for #1 this week.  It will be interesting to see how long they can stay there.  They don't have any tough games in the next few weeks, so unless they fall apart against someone, they should be able to maintain the position until at least mid-February.  

I'm watching free episodes of "Lost" on my Kindle Fire.  I had always wanted to watch this show, but by the time I got interested in seeing it, it was already several seasons into its series run, and I knew I'd be lost (excuse the pun) if I tried to start watching it at that point.  So I never watched it, always assuming I'd eventually buy the DVD's or something.  Now, with my Amazon Prime membership, I can watch it for free on my Kindle Fire.  It's fantastic.  I am totally obsessed.  I've watched the first 6 episodes in just the last two days.  If you've not ever watched Lost, I highly recommend it, in whatever format you can access it.  

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