Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Emperor Has No Clothes


The nation's 230th birthday should be a day all Americans celebrate what’s made this country great – freedom of speech, of thought, of religion; equality; diversity of perspective, race, ethnicity, interest. But if you keep your ear tuned to the speeches of Republican politicians today, I bet you'll hear the national holiday used as a soapbox for bashing the less patriotic among us (read -- anyone but them).

The last few week’s news offers these clues:

  • The Republicans ridiculed the “cut and run” Democrats on the House and Senate floor.
  • Select Republicans in both houses branded the press, and particularly The New York Times, as “treasonous” for writing what the president in so many words had already said: The United States is monitoring global financial transactions in the hope of catching terrorists.
  • Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said the Democrats (and by extension the Supreme Court itself) were for extending “special privileges for terrorists” by applauding the court’s ruling that the administration could not try suspected terrorists any way the president saw fit.

Now, I hate an unfair fight. So I thought I'd use Independence Day to prep the Democrats for their fall campaign against George's minions.Democratic candidates, it's time to punch back, take a stand. It can even be fun. Just find your slogan ("we're nicer" won't cut it) and ride it until November.

This is American politics. Five words are ample. I'd recommend "The Emperor has no clothes." Once more, now: "the Emperor has no clothes." If used daily – at least two-dozen times a day -- it's a surefire winner. Repetition is key. Karl Rove and the Republicans have built a mirage of toughness by talking tough – and repeating the same lines as frequently as a parrot on speed.

So try it out for yourselves, Democrats, maybe with a bit of inflection …. “The em-purr-roar has nooo clothes.” And follow that with … “and my opponent and his/her fellow Republican tailors have no thread.”

Think about it: This slogan has promise. “The emperor” opens Front 1. This is the guy who has ignored the Constitution’s separation of powers. He doesn’t believe in The First Amendment: When anyone delivers bad news he either scowls, clears brush, or has his minions shout treason and threaten prosecution. He doesn’t believe in the Fourth Amendment. (“Remember those phone records, my fellow Americans, you thought were private? What else is he looking to spy on – your garage sale receipts?”)

Next, candidates, let your voices rise – subtly, of course.

“And speaking of an Inconvenient Truth, this is the man who has flouted international law and agreement repeatedly. He’s ignored Kyoto and continues to fiddle while the world burns. He’s ignored the most basic of international agreements – the Geneva Conventions -- forged over the two great wars that left millions dead. He’s dispensed endless favors through no-bid contracts to friends, flouting the law. And when Congress passes new laws, he doesn't bother vetoing those he disagrees with. He just ignores them. Is that the mark of a president in a democracy?

It’s time for front 2 – the “neck-ed” part, as W. might say.

“The emperor's party is one of no clothes and imaginary thread. Look closely at his policies and you’ll see that our emperor stands naked as a jaybird – even as all those Republican tailors in Congress tout the beauty of his plummage. The emperor promised to reduce the national debt and then ran up our current version to the ga-trillions, making America the greatest debtor nation in world history. It's your children and grandchildren who will be left with the insurmountable bills."

(Audience chants: The Emperor has no clothes)

"The emperor said we’d capture Osama 'dead or alive' bin Laden. But he forgot to mention he meant capture bin Laden on weekly audio tapes. Then he invaded the wrong country, Iraq, and promptly forgot about this Osama guy all together."

(Audience … you get the picture)

"The emperor vaulted onto a carrier deck off San Diego to declare 'Mission Accomplished.' That was three years ago. Then, with slight variations, he declared it again and again – when we killed Saddam’s sons, when we captured Saddam, when Iraqis elected a Parliament, when the Parliament chose a Prime Minister, when the Prime Minister nailed down his cabinet, when we killed al-Zarqawi. That’s at least six times the mission has been accomplished, but if you glance at the daily headlines, that mission is still hemorrhaging blood. It seems the only rockets going off in Baghdad this July 4th are bringing death, not independence. This is the daily death of dozens of women and children whose only sin is shopping or being born into the wrong sectarian group. It is the death of our men and women, still coming back in body bags that the president and his party would hide from sight."

"The emperor said we were ready for Katrina and then stood by paralyzed as hundreds of Americans died in their homes and thousands more wilted in the heat, waiting for rescue.The emperor has promised us a more secure America and then cut its Homeland Security allocation to vulnerable cities.Is this a man – and a party – that meets its promises? Does this administration really make you feel safe? Is this the guy to whom you want to write another blank check to by electing another Republican Congress – a whole passel of tailors with no thread, a gang of yes-men whose only accomplishment is spinning George W. Bush’s yarn?"

You're out of time, reader? And I’m just getting warmed up. I'm working on the rhyming bit (essential in all campaigns).

“He spends on his friends.”

“He screws up, you queue up”

"He’s fluff but acts tough."

OK I’ll stick to my day job. But can’t the Democrats please pay someone else to do this better?


Blogger Michael said...

Jerry, this was entertaining, if nothing else. Good for me it was something else.

I’m waiting for a congress to be sworn in that’s logical enough to get rid of the Electoral College and implement IR voting.

The Electoral College is looked at as only affecting the presidential election every four years. However, as I’ve written, the E. C. has a trickle down affect that will keep us tied to our one party, two department political system for a long time.

The point you make is a good one. On the other hand, I believe that your solution isn’t going to work. I think that a good slogan like “cut and run”, “these colors don’t run” and especially “the emperor has no clothes” can get people on board. The first two did with the Republicans and the third can do the same for the Democrats.

The problem was summed up by George Wallace in 1968 better than I can sum it up today. You may remember Wallace made the statement that there “ain’t a dime’s worth of difference” between the Republicans and the Democrats. I’d never have supported Wallace in 1968 because of his racist views and I’d never support someone today who holds those same views. To his credit, Wallace obviously did some soul searching after he was shot and became a changed man.

Although the rhetoric may say otherwise, Wallace’s perception is still correct today. Talk is cheap. A good example of action is Clinton’s supporting and signing NAFTA, a bill that hurt a lot of Americans. One person told me that the Democrats and Republicans “drink from the same trough”.

I belong to MoveOn.org and they campaigned almost as adamantly against Ralph Nader as they did against George Bush in 2004. I was caught up in the ABB movement and voted for Kerry. During the campaign period, however, I questioned many of Kerry’s positions and came to the conclusion that Kerry was merely George W. Bush with a different voice and a different face. Kerry is anything but a pregressive politician.

You’re right, Jerry, the Democrats are pushovers. In fact, they’re made up of people who’s ideology on important issues differ tremendously. One could say that they’re made up of more than one political party. For this reason, I agree with you that they’ll prove the present polls wrong and will ultimately lose in November. You know what? I don’t think that possibility bothers any of them. They’re just in it for “the game”.

It’s time to take the reigns of government out of the hands of people who just “want in” and put it in the hands of people who care.

To friendship,

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