Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Agony and the Ecstacy

Bad news on the doorstep. I couldn’t take one more step.

We need some HUMOR: With all the dour political news – which we’ll get to later, I just needed to start off with a little humor from my favorite humorist, Anonymous.
Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called 'Yam.' Of course, they wanted the best for her.

When it was time, they told Yam about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn't get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like 'Hot Potato,' and end up with a bunch of Tater Tots.

Yam said not to worry, no Spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her! But on the other hand, she wouldn't stay home and become a Couch Potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her Shoestring cousins.

When she went off to Europe, Mr. and Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland, and the greasy guys from France called the French Fries, and when she went out West, to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn't get scalloped.

Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn't associate with those high class Yukon Golds, or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say 'Frito Lay.'

Mr. and Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that's Potato University) so that when she graduated she'd really be in the Chips. But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home and announced she was going to marry Tom Brokaw.

"Tom Brokaw!?"

Mr. and Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn't possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he's just ....


Back to the Present and Future: I have not yet gotten a phone call, text message, or email from the Obama camp asking for my solution to the economic crisis that the country allegedly faces since the bailout plan was defeated. Choose your own villain. Is it a president and his administration who has cried “Wolf” (not Blitzer) once too often to pass his often inane and wrong-headed legislation? Is it those poor little conservative House Republicans who changed their votes because that nasty Granny Pelosi hurt their feelings? Or is the whole plan just a sham as the constituents whose phone calls run 200-1 against passage have decreed? Or as the slick and sometimes slippery pundits say when they don’t know the answer, is it “a little bit if each.”

It’s the packaging, stupid: I have been working on the “Dr. Forgot Plan to save the country and the world and get a new administration elected.” Here is the plan (don’t tell the opposition). Since John McCain has been flitting around like a hummingbird presenting plans that have all failed, then blaming his opponent, the one is best implemented by the Baraksters. First, change the name of the plan from “Bailout Plan” to “Investment Plan.” Next, redesign the plan so that all the language that caused you to say, “This is not the ideal plan but it is passable,” is removed. Third, spin it out to the public as a savior to Main Street. Be sure to get the support of the public by telling them they will own stock in America. Fourth, get all your party on board to support this new investment plan. Remember, you hold the majority in the Senate and if you pick just a few Repubs in the House, you’ve got it made. Finally, it better work or you or you will be out on your keister in a few years. To make it work, once elected you must do several things.

The new president must be Zorro: Zorro is the Spanish word for fox. The new president must recognize and embrace Hispanics, the fastest growing minority in the land, projected to be a majority at some point in the future. But he must also be like the movie and television character Zorro and slash the pork out of the budget. That means no more lobbyists, many of whom are former legislators who are corrupting the system by writing legislation for their newfound constituencies. Also eliminating earmarks or at least making them transparent so there is some level of accountability. Next (and brace yourself on this one for it will bring all the right wing nuts out of the closet with cries of “Blasphemy”) eliminate the tax exempt status of churches and religious organizations who use their pulpits to spend a "substantial part of [their] activities in carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting, to influence legislation," or those so-called religious organizations who, "participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office."

The above quotes are already part of the tax code but are rarely enforced. Religion scholar Martin Marty writes in some length about “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” in which a group called Alliance Defense Fund encouraged pastors to break the law. The new president must look at the budget on a line-by-line basis (Sorry Sarah, no lifelines are available) and have the courage (or “cajones” as our Hispanic brothers might say) to take his Zorro sword and slice and dice the pork as well as seek input from various committees to redesign the tax code and other bloodsucking facets of our government. We just might be in a place to get that movement started.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive: The quote from Sir Walter Scott in the nineteenth century could easily apply to Senator John McCain in the twenty-first century and his plan regarding the impending (or not) bailout. First he raised the stakes by suspending his campaign (or not) to fly to Washington and negotiate a deal. The failure caused a bipartisan blame game – both blamed Senator John. So he left Washington and flew to Iowa to try to distance himself from his involvement in the deal. But top Repub John Boehner tripped him up in a press conference in which McCain was praised for his involvement in the fiasco. The tactic hurt him in the polls but there is even a more somber aspect to the Wannabe President’s impetuousness. The so called “Hail Mary” decision making process that has been typical of him – Pailin for VP, solutions to the bailout fiasco, keeping the VP away from the media then blaming them when she stumbled, etc. Those might be good tactics for a fighter pilot trying to be top gun but after 8 years of what the current administration has put this country through, I shudder to think what his “bing-bang” decision making will do as head of state. In the meantime, credit scores continue to fall and people continue to lose their homes.

A little blogging music Maestro... R.E.M’s version of: “Bad Day.”

Dr. Forgot

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