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"I’m John McCain and I Approved This Lie"

Is it only me, or is anyone else beginning to gag on the stench of Republican hypocrisy?

I’m not talking simply about Sarah Palin, but she’s a good place to begin: this naïve little girl with a worldview of a Galapagos blue-footed booby.

Are Republican women (who can’t stop singing her praises) that ignorant?  Is there something to admire about a person who can’t utter a coherent sentence, follow a logical argument, even understand what is being asked in a simple question?  The answer to those questions is obvious.  Now that folksy Sarah has had her big debate—you betcha she’ll be muzzled again, prevented by her own party from answering any questions.  What is the GOP trying not to tell us about her?

We’re told repeatedly that John McCain and his snarky running mate are candidates the average American would like to drink a beer with.  Apparently, that’s the sole criteria for many voters.  Barack Obama is too intellectual, too academic.  Have voters already forgotten that similar statements—“He’s just one of us”– were made about George Bush?   Do these voters choose their doctors the same way?  Even their stock-brokers?  How many elections need to be driven by Republican stupidity?

John McCain tells us that he has consulted dim-witted Sarah many times on foreign policy and appears undaunted that his decision to pick her as his running mate might have disastrous consequences for the entire world.  Is Palin, in fact, an indication of others whom McCain might pick for his administration, should he be elected?  Let’s see, how about Donald Trump for Secretary of State?  Or how about Tom DeLay as the next Treasury secretary?  O. J. Simpson for Health and Human Services?

You think I’m joking?  Well, let’s do a quick reality check: the current economic disaster, brought to you by the Bush tax cuts (for those at the top), the unpaid-for war in Iraq, and the sub-prime debacle.  And who gave these items his blessing?  Alan Greenspan who would go along with anything in order to keep his job.  Tell me, Mr.
Greenspan, if someone knocked on your door and said he wanted to borrow $300,000, would you hand over the money without asking if he had a job?  With no credit check?

But that’s what you did by admitting that you didn’t understand what was going on in the mortgage business.  Yes, Wall Street (and the mortgage brokers) took your negligence and ran the other way with it, but that in no way exonerates you for having closed your eyes. At what stage will you begin to hang your head in shame?

Isn’t it time that McCain, Palin and their fellow Republicans admit that they have caused the current economic meltdown, already worse than any economic disaster since the Depression and already leaching into the economies of dozens of other countries around the world?  Do Republicans really believe that they can be trusted to clean up their own mess?  I find it incredible that more Democrats than Republicans have been willing to vote in favor of the latest bailout, as flawed and as unlikely as it is to fix our economic crisis.  But I really shouldn’t be surprised that Republicans refuse to fix the problems they inflict on the country.  This avoidance behavior is probably the best example of their lack of patriotism.

Let’s examine that for a moment: the Republican mantra of patriotism.   If you disagreed with the administration about the need to invade Iraq, you’re unpatriotic.  That’s the simple version.  If you question the Bush administration’s utter callousness in dealing with the needs of our returned veterans, or ask about the high level of suicides among these vets or the highest number of solders ever going AWOL, that also makes you unpatriotic.  Ergo, if you question any of these you are unpatriotic.  The list, sadly, goes on and on.

So let’s move on from patriotism and ask ourselves about the real election unfolding in front of our eyes.  Back to the cultural wars.  And yet McCain and Palin say we shouldn’t look backward but only forward.  Let’s get American voters so riled up that they can’t see the forest for the trees.  After all, that approach has worked in the last two elections.  So I’ll dare ask, will obsessing about abortion balance the American budget? Will fixating on gun control save your retirement funds from tanking?  Will keeping the country safe from gay marriage save the nation from slipping into a full-fledged Depression?   Do these cultural issues address any of the major problems confronting America today:  the economy, the war, the environment?

We’ve seen examples of these diversionary tactics (hypocrisy) before.   Remember when Dan Quayle rhapsodized about family values?  All hypocrisy, of course, as soon as we realized that those family values applied to Republicans only.  The mere idea of being concerned about the greater American family, well the GOP (Grand Old Prosperity?) can’t be counted on that.  Or let’s consider Ronald Reagan’s equally duplicitous remark that the less privileged should be taken care of by individuals and the private sector (not the government), yet as soon as his first tax returns were released after he was in the White House, what did we discover?  No significant donations to charities that might benefit those distressed by our highly stratified country.

So I don’t know about you, but I’m outraged by Republican lack of accountability for anything that treats the country as a whole. Republicans are fabulous at taking care of themselves, but the lies and distortions of their leaders are threatening to destroy the very
fabric of our country, and even I can’t believe that that is what they really want.  Is patriotism the monopoly of one political party?

In a few more years, if we have nothing but a continuation of the same, even Republicans will not recognize the country they constantly remind everyone that they love.

CHARLES R. LARSON is Professor of Literature at American University in Washington, D.C. His books include Under African Skies, Worlds of Fiction, The Ordeal of the African Writer and Academia Nuts. He can be reached at: clarson@american.edu

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Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = clarson@american.edu. Twitter @LarsonChuck.

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