“In the attic, lies.
Real’s a dream.” — Toys In The Attic, Aerosmith
Is it just me, or does the Republican Party seem to be doing everything possible to self-destruct right before everyone’s eyes? Sex scandals, crossdressing judges, financial improprieties, lobbyist influences, dissension amongst their ranks, duplicity and a seeming obliviousness to reality all seem to be the mode of the day in what’s become the legacy of the so-called Reagan Revolution.
This week saw (of all things) innuendo of possible extra-marital relations from presidential front-runner John McCain with (of all people) a lead lobbyist for the telecommunications industry. Apparently this was based upon speculation … but it was speculation by his own senate and former campaign staff – not from Democratic Party insiders.
Could it be the revenge of the conservatives – the Coulter, Limbaugh & Dobson wing of the party? It’s certainly possible. Currently the party and the McCain campaign are trying to deflect the spotlight and force it to the New York Times who broke the story. Unsurprisingly there’s been nothing but outrage coming in concert from the entire GOP party ranks (though I can’t help but think there’s a vengeful smirk on the faces of some of those McCain-haters in hardcore conservative-land).
But before you rush to judge the New York Times for putting the hater-ade on McCain, keep in mind that this is the same New York Times who also endorsed McCain as the best candidate for president over even home-state girl, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Yes the timing of this seems suspicious and the automatic presumption that it was a liberal sneak-attack may well be overlooking obvious saboteurs from within. As I write, it appears there may be some cracks in McCain’s solid denials as other publications such as Newsweek are inspecting this closer.
Beyond the top-level it seems the hits just keep on coming in sanctimonious GOPperville. Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi is now charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering from a land deal he pushed in his congressional committee for a business partner and other which netted him $733,000 at a time his insurance business was strapped for cash. He allegedly worked to conceal the transaction as well, failing to disclose it on that year’s financial disclosure statement. I’m sure the excuse will be “mere oversight … it’s hard to keep track of all these insignificant amounts of money….”
But there’s more! Renzi was also charged with insurance fraud and embezzling from the trust account of Patriot Insurance Agency, his family-owned business in his home district. It seems he raided the business cookie jar and left nothing but crumbs in order to fund his successful election to Congress in the Bush/Cheney coattail elections in 2000. Shades of Tom “the Hammerhead” Delay – or as he’s more commonly known in Texas: BugBoy. DeLay did the same thing by timing his entry to Congress on the Reagan coattails and did so by bankrupting his former exterminating business (slogan: “DDT is healthy!”) to finance his successful ascent to U.S. Congress. Oh – and he left his former partners holding the bag. At least Renzi tried to go back and help his former bagmen. Too bad it’s going to backfire on them.
Then there’s the ongoing saga Idaho Sen. Larry Craig in what was a busy news month (thankfully allowing very little press attention for the senator!) The Senate Ethics Committee gave ol’ Sen. Larry a soft slap-down (admonished, not censured) for his indiscretion. True-to-form he’s going down swinging, saying he was “disappointed” and that he “strongly disagree[s] with the conclusions reached” by the committee. Sen. Larry feels he got the shaft. But hey, he at least had use of a couple-hundred grand from his campaign fund to help him fight to overturn his initial guilty plea! Yep, life’s so unfair to the senate’s top toilet tapdancer.
“I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure reslution and it's a slap on the wrist. It's a, "Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You're a naughty boy. The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy. I'm going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.” — Sen. Larry Craig, remarking on Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky.
Not to be outqueered, there was a Bush appointee to the federal bankruptcy court bench, Robert Somma. It seems the good judge was arrested on a driving-while-intoxicated charge after a minor rear-ender (not the queer part, this was the vehicular variety) in neighboring New Hampshire. It seems Judge Somma was pulled over following a visit to a gay bar while in heels, fishnet hose and a black evening gown.
For Judge Somma, I feel sorry: he hasn’t made a career of being a red-meat, mouth-frothing social conservative – it’s more a guilty by party affiliation situation. Of course that party affiliation will cease immediately now that he’s been found to be trans while driving drunk. DWI by itself is assailable, heterosexual adultery (a la Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana) is excusable in family-values conservative-land. But being undeniably queer? Kiss of death.
It’s not necessarily the press’ fault this time. The conservative papers in New Hampshire only mentioned the drunk driving and had nothing about Somma’s dress – oddly a rather progressive take on it considering it was his DWI arrest that should’ve been the the highlight, not crossdressing. Expectedly, the bloggers – progressive and conservative alike – picked up on the crossdressing part. Now it’s all about the judge’s “perversions” of being caught in drag. On the liberal blogs it’s expected considering this was conservative Bush’s pick and considering the in-your-face conservative hypocrisy displayed this millennium. But conservative blogs? Gotta admire that Good-Ol’-Party loyalty a la Schrock and Foley….
“And does it matter who is right or wrong?
I look for something before I go insane.” — I Feel Insane, Daisy Chainsaw
On the topic of perversion, moving down to the state level there’s also the case of Republican State Delegate (State Rep) Robert McKee from Hagerstown MD. It appears that Delegate McKee recently resigned his longtime delegate seat after authorities obtained a search warrant and seized his computers and files. It appears the delegate, sponsor of bills on child abduction and protecting children from sexual predators had child pornography on his computer.
Even more troubling was the resume outside of politics from the family values Republican: Washington County Foster Care Review Board, 1989-95; Western Maryland Children's Center Advisory Board, 2005-Executive Director, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washington County, Little League of Halfway, Inc., 1980-85, Secretary, Parent and Child Center Advisory Committee, 1985-88, Staff, Maryland District I Little League, 1986-. Chair, Maryland State Association of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Agencies, 1986-. Vice-President, Hagerstown Junior Basketball League as well as a member in good stead of First Christian Church in Hagerstown. McKee called the incident “deeply embarrassing” and added that, “it reflects poorly on my service to the community.” You reckon?
Want something local? Here in Harris County / Houston, Texas we’ve got our own red-meat conservative in deep doo-doo. It seems our District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal got into trouble for Email indiscretions (including shared racial cartoons and videos), then after his communications were subpoenaed, he committed obstruction of justice by deleting the evidence. His initial Email trail exposed little love notes to his administrative assistant: things like “every time I fly I think of you” and “I bet I could help you sleep” and “I want to kiss you behind your ear.” When it was just those claims, he attempted to put on the innocent face, claiming it wasn’t what people were thinking they were. Then came the racially-biased cartoons and shared videos depicting African Americans that came to light with much more heat. This from our county, which sentences more people to death row than any other county in the nation in a state that executes more convicts than any other in the nation – the overwhelming majority are minority with African-Americans comprising the highest individual number.
So what does our top legal beagle in the county do when the state’s closing in and orders him to turn over all communication transcripts? Why, what any other good law-and-order Republican would do: delete the Emails. If the White House can do it, why can’t he … right? Meanwhile one of the instant candidates (someone deep in the closet, no less) who swarmed in from the GOP side like vultures on a fresh carcass began the call for Rosenthal to step aside “for the good of the party.” Yeah. Someone’s wearing their ambition a bit too prominently on their sleeve, it seems. And who better to elect than another closeted Republican, eh? Bush redux, or Schrock or Foley or Craig et. al.
Finally, DA Rosenthal resigned this week, claiming his decision-making was clouded due to his prescription drugs. And, oh yeah – the dog ate his homework too. Certainly it makes you wonder about this obscured judgment from the top legal authority in the county that he would even attempt the claim (not to mention all the convictions now lying in the balance considering this impairment). But maybe there’s some merit to this claim (implausible as it seems). On the Bennett & Bennett.com blog noting Rosenthal’s departure and claims about prescription drugs, Mark Bennett notes that Rosenthal’s prescribing physician was Dr. Sam Siegler … husband of Kelly Siegler … assistant prosecutor in the DA’s office and one of the loudest voices calling for Rosenthal’s resignation and herself one of those instant candidates filing for Rosenthal’s seat in the 24-period between the Rosenthal scandal hitting the air and the deadline to make the upcoming primary elections. This is the kind of intrigue and curious maneuvering you typically only see in soap operas.
“Although I have enjoyed excellent medical and pharmacological treatment, I have come to learn that the particular combination of drugs prescribed for me in the past has caused some impairment in my judgment.” — Harris County District Attorney, Chuck Rosenthal
Think this kind of backroom strategizing doesn’t occur in real life? Just tonight I watched as 60 minutes broke the story on former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, a democrat, being apparently railroaded and convicted on bribery charges and sentenced to seven years last summer. It appears that Siegelman was specifically targeted being the only democrat as governor of the bank of states in the Deep South. This rubbed the Bush Administration raw, and none other than master-of-chaos Karl Rove began a search to have someone find a way to frame the governor (for lack of a better word). Currently 52 current and former state attorneys general of both parties – conservative and liberal alike – have called for a congressional investigation into what they feel was a blatant miscarriage of justice. Apparently the entire scheme was plotted to keep Alabama’s governor a Republican. And apparently they can concoct such a plot, find the devotees to carry the case to fruition and lock someone up merely for a political agenda.
This was ordered from the White House administration!
“Leaving the things that are real behind.
Leaving the things that you love from mind.
All of the things you learned from fears.
Nothing is left for the years ….
Toys! Toys! Toys … in the attic!” — Toys In The Attic, Aerosmith
Yes, this Grand Old Party has shown its rotten core from the top to the bottom. Think the GOPpers are slinking away? From presidential frontrunner McCain, it was damn the torpedoes and blast away at Obama, calling the senator’s campaign “an eloquent but empty call for change.” At the local level, I watched nine of the ten GOP candidates running for Tom DeLay’s old seat, all of whom were completely making no bones about their desire to retake his seat and America with a return to “true conservative values,” as candidate Patricia Dunbar put it. All of the assembled on this morning’s local were trying mightily to out-froth-at-the-mouth the others candidates, and in fact the debate was great for a few great belly laughs (which I may write about later). These GOP folk are so clueless they may as well be from another galaxy!
Who needs the “call for change” when, as McCain would infer, we’re doing just great with the past eight years of conservative reign? And they think transgenders are crazy?
“I'm getting (fucking) older but still I'm hanging on.
The world gets weirder – or maybe I'm insane.” — I Feel Insane, Daisy Chainsaw
"There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line." — TV personality, Oscar Levant