Now how do I do this? I do this by sitting through things that would only piss you off and do the reporting on them for you. In April 2008, I sat through a debate broadcast on ABC between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton where the most pressing issues, at least to the folks doing the questioning, were American Flag pins (or the lack thereof) and whether or not folks are good Christians, and didn’t kill anybody. I did it so you didn’t have to. Why should all of us be aggravated?!
This year, I’ve done it by sitting through the first of what promises to be a whole gang of debates between the folks running for the Republican Presidential nomination.
I took the time to watch the old: (Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich) the new (Tim Pawlenty) and the Tea Party (Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain) be put through their paces by CNN Newsman (?!) John King for about 90 minutes of a two-hour debate.
The only reason that I didn’t sit through the entire thing is because it was my boyfriend Chris’s birthday, and I was taking him to see “X-Men: First Class”
In retrospect, I probably learned more useful things from watching Charles Xavier, Eric Lensherr (the dude who would become Magneto) and the rest of the mutants than I did from watching this debate…
That’s not to say that it was a total wash, however.
Bachmann announced her presidency for all of us and went on to show that Ed Rollins is some kind of evil genius by toning down her vast reserve of crazy. If you observed Bachmann at all during the 2008 race, she was the one who felt that we should investigate people to make sure that they weren’t against America. One of those people was President Obama, whom she believed to be a Kenyan national until he unveiled his Hawaiian birth certificate.
I also learned that while these paragons of state’s rights wouldn’t step in to try and change a state’s laws regarding same-sex marriage, they were all for a Constitutional Amendment legislating who could get married (a man and a woman in case you’re wondering) and also for returning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to its former form, meaning that gays and lesbians wishing to serve their country would have to aim their rifles from a closet.
(Or a foot locker. Remember, Rick Santorum was one of the folks on this panel. And don’t even get me started on how Newt Gingrich just plain old needs to shut his piehole when it comes to the subject of marriage. If he’s not careful, I’ll have to pull out that 1995 Frontline documentary with his cancer-stricken ex-wife in it!)
We also learned that in the name of market forces and letting private industry do anything it wants including give people really dangerous jobs that pay pennies on the dollar, all of these folks would have let the Auto Industry go down the drain, and take millions of middle-class jobs with it. This is in spite of the fact that the auto industry bailout really helped make things better and that the automakers have already paid the government back on these loans.
We learned that none of these folks would raise the debt ceiling because paying our debts without gutting all of the programs that folks need to live thanks to the lack of employment brought on by all of the tax incentives that private industry received to move jobs overseas first. We also learned that the economy won’t get back on track until taxes are cut so much that practically no one is paying any.
(Something that has already happened in the case of many multinational corporations.)
I regret that I missed the abortion questions. But my guess is that my liver is glad that I did. Downing an entire bottle of Patron in one fell swoop couldn’t be good for it.
However, I did get yet another set of examples of why you should first read the Constitution before you try and teach it to someone else.
A question was asked about the separation of church and state. Now according to the First Amendment, these two things are supposed to be apart because when the folks who founded our country decided to leave Mother England, one of the reasons they chose to do that was because the church ran the state. Everyone but Ron Paul thought that it would be a good idea to put church back in state. Paul, the lone Libertarian in this group, disagreed vehemently.
But the most in-your-face example of how you should read the Constitution before you try and teach it came from Cain, the lone black man in the group. Having already given us such lovely bon mots as he won’t sign anything over three pages long and any deal between Israel and Palestine should be so heavily weighted in favor of the Israelis that the Palestinians get nothing, it didn’t really surprise me that he’s still committed to making sure that any Muslim that just happens to end up in his administration would be a true-blue American…tests and all.
First of all, you’re not allowed to make “What religion do you practice?” one of your job interview questions. That’s unconstitutional. Secondly, you’re not allowed to NOT hire someone because they practice a religion you don’t like.
But thirdly, I now have an argument the next time that someone Black tries and tells me that we as a people can’t be prejudiced and ignorant because these things stem from power relationships. We now know that Black folks are just as capable of being ignorant and prejudiced as people of any other color and Herman Cain stands as your proof.
While it was 90 minutes of my life that I probably could have spent doing anything else, I’m glad I watched his debate. It gives me some indication of what I should put in my Republican Presidential Candidate Drinking Game: phrases such as “President Obama has failed to leaad”, “Obamacare”, “What does the Constitution say” and others are leading so far.
But i’m willing to put my liver on the line for you M (p) S readers. Hopefully, the herd will thin out soon, Meanwhile, I’ll just sit here and wait for Michelle Bachmann’s eventual meltdown. Being the voice of reason is only going to last so long for her…