Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pass the Popcorn

The candidates are coming! The candidates are coming! The next presidential election is three years away, but already the fringe hopefuls are coming out of the woodwork to visit NH to test the waters. Or cast the maple leaves.  (Note to candidates: careful with maple syrup. Ask Rick Perry.) Or maybe just to fatten their PAC funds. In any case, it’s time to make a fresh batch of popcorn and settle in to take a look at the first round of  hopefuls who have no chance of reaching the White House.

Former Florida Congressman Allen West will be the keynote speaker at the Nashua Republican Committee’s annual “Steak Out” fundraiser in August. West is a big favorite of the Tea Party crowd. West is indeed a colorful character, so much so that he lost his GOP seat in Florida, of all places, to a Democrat. These days, he’s a paid commenter at Fox News. He recently told Sean Hannity that we should elect someone who has been “called” to be president. Voices in his head? God? Wrong number? Stay tuned.

 In the wake of President Obama’s remarks about racism in the US, West was quick to say he’d never experienced any such thing as a boy in inner city Atlanta, because HIS parents brought him up to be respectful. His respectful nature fails when it comes to women. In 2011 he called colleague Debbie Wasserman Schultz, “despicable, vile, and not a lady.” Before being elected to Congress, West was a monthly contributing writer to a biker magazine that regularly featured misogynistic material, including one article asking readers to imagine having sex with the aforementioned Congresswoman. Other pieces referred to women as “oral relief stations.” If Allen West were coming toward my car, I would lock the doors post haste.

West was forced to retire from the Army after he admitted to watching his men beat an Iraqi policeman that West suspected of planning an ambush. West fired a gun near the man’s head to scare him into divulging the details of the alleged ambush. There weren’t any. There was no plot, as all investigations revealed, despite West’s claims that his actions saved lives. Far from being repentant, he campaigned on being proud of his actions. In some circles, torture and detainee abuse is something to be proud of, along with Islamophobia.

That leads us to noted Islamophobe, Congressman Peter King of NY, who will be speaking to the Carroll County Republicans in August, and the Strafford County GOP in September. King is considering a run for president because he wants to push a national dialogue about the need for a more robust national security. Given that we are currently shoveling 58% of our federal discretionary budget at the Dept. of Defense, one wonders how much more robusticity we can afford. Rep. King was the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee. The Dept. of Homeland Security is one of two cabinet level federal agencies that are unable to pass an audit. The other is the Pentagon.  

King was quite annoyed with Senator Aqua Buddha’s recent filibuster on drone strikes, calling it a “trivial and unimportant debate.” King also recently called for the prosecution of journalists who report on classified information. He doesn’t seem to think that we have the right to know about the US surveillance programs that came to light thanks to Edward Snowden. King would like to make sure that you don’t sully your pretty little head with any knowledge of what kind of things the government is up to in your name.

Tea Partier Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is coming to headline a NH GOP fundraiser in late August. He’s also going to be the keynote speaker at a Florida Tea Party event hosted by the Koch Bros. funded group Americans for Prosperity.

Cruz was elected to the Senate last year. This is the first time he’s held office. Cruz was born in Canada to a father who was a Cuban citizen and an American mother. There are some questions as to whether he’s eligible to be president on those grounds. The rest of us have other questions about his eligibility.

Cruz is a proponent of the Tea Party/John Bircher tin foil hat brigade on the issue of Agenda 21. Cruz thinks it’s a plot by George Soros who is leading the UN to eliminate golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. Senator Cruz apparently slumbered through 2008, and thinks that turning the Social Security Fund over to Wall Street is a good idea. He also believes that Sharia law is an “enormous problem” in the United States, despite a lack of any evidence that this is so. It’s GOP standard issue Islamophobia.

Cruz is definitely a big bagful of nuts. He recently said that marriage equality would lead to hate speech laws and the imprisonment of pastors who support traditional marriage. Again, there’s no evidence that any group is moving toward any such thing – but a lack of fact or evidence doesn’t seem to deter the folks on the far right.

NH GOP Chair Jennifer Horn calls Cruz, “one of the most principled and exciting new leaders in the Republican Party.” This is the same Jennifer Horn who has also said that the philosophy of the Free State Project “is something that’s right in line with the Republican Party.” The Free State Project is a group of libertarian anarcho-capitalists moving to NH with the goal of taking over the state, dismantling state government, and threatening to secede. They’re hoping to move 20,000 of their fellow Rand worshippers to NH in time to swing the 2016 election. As people in some towns and counties (notably Carroll, Strafford, and Belknap) can attest, they’re already doing some very real damage. In a video of a panel discussion of Free State office holders, Rep. Mark Warden said, “The Republican Party asked Carol McGuire (also of the FSP) to recruit more FSP candidates.”

The NH GOP has obviously learned nothing from their last round of electoral defeats, and has every intention of continuing to merge with the fringiest of the fringe. This first round of presidential wannabes are straight from the Mad Hatter’s table.

Pass the popcorn. 

© 2013 sbruce
published as a bi-weekly column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper


Mike Hickerson said...

I'm looking forward to the 2016 republican primaries. They have a high bar to surpass the hijinks and shenanigans of the 2012 crowd, but I have faith this will be yet another reality show winner. I'm buying a case of popcorn.

Anonymous said...

My biggest concern is that elections, particularly the Presidential are not in fact fair and "democratic" but are "fixed" and have been for quite sometime. Going through the motions of voting is I believe merely that. A routine to make us believe our votes are actually valid. The fact that it has been virtually impossible to distinguish between Republican and Democrat is I feel further proof. We are now a one party nation headed into the abyss. Hail to heroes such as Snowdon and pray for his safety.