Monday, September 14, 2009

With Joe, the race card is cashworthy

AT THE END of pianist Philip Thomson's stormy performance of the first movement of the Grieg piano concerto with the Akron Symphony Orchestra Sunday night, a woman seated somewhere behind me effused, "He got a helluva lot of music out of that piano!" That appears to be also true of Joe Wilson's slam at President Obama as a liar. The South Carolina Republican congressman reportedly is getting a helluva lot of cash register music out of his contributors following his historic misconduct during the president's health-care reform speech.

As awful as it might seem, Wilson may have set a precedent for other congressional Obama haters. The next logical step would be for one of the southern Claghorns to interrupt a State of the Union speech to challenge Obama to a dual. Politics doesn't limit its questionable excesses when it comes to raising money.

The Republican Party has never been the same since it was hijacked by noisy groups of religious fanatics, racists and cable lunatics. The election of Barack Obama only increased their fervor to do and say outrageous things. And after decades of racial progress, a party without a single African American in Congress is now hosting a retreat to political precincts where racism is a guarantee to a long happy life on Capitol Hill.

The haters are embittered that their war-hero candidate and pink-cheeked hockey mom were soundly defeated by a Democrat with dark skin. This was not supposed to happen, not in an America where The Others were supposed to know their place. After all, wasn't it Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss who cautioned Obama to be "humble" in his speech to the congress? In Louisiana, which is two-thirds white, Republican Sen David Vitter is basing his rise-from-the-ashes campaign by reminding everyone that he has no use for Obama. Even some ministers down there, well aware that Vitter is an out-of-pocket adulterer, figure he can be excused because of his antipathy toward the President.

What is it about Louisiana? Vitter succeeded Rep. Bob Livingston in the House, who in turn was to succeed Newt Gingrich, a Georgian, as the House speaker, after Newt was caught up in his own scandal. And why did Livingston need a successor? Well, he resigned from Congress because of public notice of his own extramarital affair and is living happily ever after as a...yep, lobbyist. I've only gone back on the devious line of succession to Gingrich. For all that I know, it might have begun with the Marquis de Sade.

OK, I might as well haul in California GOP Assemblyman Mike Duvall, who just resigned after unwittingly boasting on a live mike to a friend of his sexual escapades with a much younger female energy company lobbyist. This was the same pol who once received an ehtics award from Chapman University in Orange, Ca., for his deep commitment to meritorious behavior as a family and community man.

Remember: This is the party that boasts of its moral clarity and family values only to have some of its leading lights - Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Sanford and Vitter - seeking sex right off the assembly line.

And this is the party that is adrift in a world where racism and hyprocrisy could become a plank in th next party convention platform.

In his introduction to Stendhal's The Red and the Black, Columbia University Prof. Bruce Robbins observes that the book's protagonist merely reflected his times. Of Julien Sorel he writes:
"If he wants to improve his lowly condition, hist0ry decrees he must be a hypcocrite. In love, as in religion and politics, he must ignore the empty banalities he is fed and take a hungrily scientific interest in how the gears and levers of social power really work."
Since it is also a no-no with the Joe Wilsons et al, science may not enter their premeditated conduct. But the rest of Robbins' words seems about right.


Anonymous said...

Joe Wilson is only the beginning. The "Party of No" is motivated in their no-ness heading into 2010. To keep the blood boiling of conservatives, more Joe Wilsons will develop (and have been encouraged to do so by Rush and Beck) with the vitriol running even hotter. Most evident of this is the growing claims of states rights and even secession beyond the typical Texas swagger - prepare for it as the debate is going to go even more crazy and dangerous for the welfare of the country.

On the issue of racism, I remember reading an article saying that hate groups openly welcomed the election of Obama as it would help with recruiting members. It seems they were right.

PJJinOregon said...

FDR made the phrase " we have nothing to fear but fear itself" part of our political lexicon. Now nearly 80 years later, the phrase should be edited to read: " we have nothing to fear but fear itself and those who profit by spreading it." Catering to preppers who stash food, water, guns, ammo, and gold bullion has become the most rapidly growing sector of American business. Colt .45 anyone?